Jill C. Winters, 35: New York Power Authority


Jill C. Winters says there’s no place like home.

She loves her hometown of Waddington. She loves her job as the New York Power Authority’s manager of community relations in Massena. And she loves doing what she can to serve her hometown and the north country.

“I’m originally from Waddington. I went to school at SUNY Canton. All of my family is here. My parents still own the bowling alley, JC’s River Run Bar and Grill, which they’ve had for 36 years,” Mrs. Winters said. “I was fortunate enough to meet my husband, Vinnie, here. He has a good job here. It’s a good place to raise a family. Waddington is a great community; it’s a tight-knit community. We’re committed to each other. If somebody is down, we lend a helping hand.”

Helping others is part of her upbringing, she said.

“I was very fortunate my parents were both really involved in the community. My dad always sponsored our Little League teams and our T-Ball teams; my mom was always coaching,” Mrs. Winters said. “My dad was the first to step up [to help with the] Bassmasters Fishing Tournament. They have always been involved in some part of our community.”

She also credits other professionals she works with as being role models who have influenced her.

“With the boards that I serve on, I have had good role models like Karen St. Hilaire at the county chamber and Miriam Catapano at [the Massena] chamber,” she said. “When I started here, Paul Finnegan, my boss from the north country, was a great mentor.”

She serves on several nonprofit boards, including local chambers of commerce and the Seaway Trail. She was a founding member of the Massena Winter Carnival Committee in 2009-10 and maintains an active role on that committee. She also served as president of the Massena chamber in 2009 and will begin her second term as president in January.

She was awarded the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year Award in 2009.

“I think it’s a good chance to [serve] the community. I represent the Power Authority on a lot of external boards, whether it’s the Massena Chamber of Commerce, Seaway Trail, New York State Environmental Education Foundation or the St. Lawrence International Partnership,” Mrs. Winters said.

She said her job at the New York Power Authority gives her an opportunity to promote the region to others who may not have experienced what the north country has to offer.

“We have the ability to have a positive impact on the economics of the region by helping with events and helping get the message out to encourage people to come to the north country. We’re not so much about the Power Authority, we’re an extension” of the tourism initiative, she said.

Mrs. Winters said every day is an opportunity to do something new.

“I enjoy going to work to a job that I love. I’ve been here 12 years, eight years in my current job. We have a beautiful building, the grounds are beautiful. We’ve thrown a lot of great community events. NYPA is a great community partner. They take pride in the community,” she said.

Mrs. Winters would like to see others have the same opportunities she has had in her life, giving them a chance to remain in the region.

“I think jobs, of course, are probably the biggest linchpin of any of it. I think we need to have something to get them here, to let them see how great it is. It’s getting them here and showing them what we have to offer,” she said. “We have to come up with a way to have well-paying jobs, good, stable jobs. We have so many great colleges and it would be nice to retain a lot of those students.”

— by Bob Beckstead


The Jill C. Winters File

Hometown: Waddington

Professional position: Manager of community relations, New York Power Authority, Massena

Family: Husband, Vinnie

Education: Madrid-Waddington Central School; associate and bachelor’s degrees, SUNY Canton

Community involvement: Board member, St. Lawrence County, Waddington and Greater Massena chambers of commerce; past board president, Massena Chamber of Commerce, 2009; incumbent first vice president – scheduled to serve as board president next year; founding and continuous member, Massena Winter Carnival Committee; board member, Seaway Trail; volunteer, local carp tournaments; past member, Massena Heritage Committee.

Last book read: “The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution” by David O. Stewart and “A Payroll To Meet: A Story of Greed, Corruption, and Football at SMU” by David Whitford