Focus for a Vibrant Future

Kylie Peck

I often find myself ringing in the New Year by reflecting on the past twelve months both personally and professionally and categorizing what worked and what didn’t, how fortunate I am and how I can make improvements for the future. For the sake of this column, I will leave the personal reflections out and focus on the efforts put into the future of the Chamber of Commerce.

    At the chamber office we regularly discuss the importance of our members and how to best serve the needs of businesses in the Greater Watertown region. For 2018 we are focused on strengthening the value of our organization to promote and support business and industry and enhance the community in which we live, work and do business. Plans are in place to educate members on the tools and programs available to them through the chamber. We will focus on retaining the interest and involvement of our existing members and want an even better understanding of each of the businesses we serve. What are your wants and needs? How can we fulfill them? I look forward to having these questions answered by getting to know each of our member businesses better, and continuing to build upon our success while attracting new members, focusing on young professionals and enhancing our overall communication.  

    With changes to the horizon on many levels – federal, state, local – the chamber looks to establish partnerships more than ever. There are many entities in the region that can broaden opportunities to our membership base. We look forward to strengthening partnerships in the areas of business development, education and networking and continue to foster our relationship with Fort Drum. If you are a business or organization that would like to partner with the chamber, or if you have thoughts on a partnership that you feel would benefit the business community, please share them with us. We are always accepting of suggestions from the community we serve.

    As we take on 2018 and focus on our goals established for the upcoming years, we are excited to have two new team members on staff. We welcome Director of Events Kayla Perry and Director of Marketing Jessica Piatt. Each of these women bring vibrancy and enthusiasm to our organization and will help us reach our goals of connecting with young professionals in the region and enhancing our utilization of social media among many others. Kayla and Jessica join us with skill sets that complement each other and enhance the Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce team.

    As you continue to map out your year and implement established plans, I encourage you to visit our office to see how we can play a part in a successful 2018. The GWNC Chamber office is located at 1241 Coffeen Street, Watertown, and meetings can be scheduled by calling (315) 788-4400.

Kylie Peck is the president and CEO of the Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce. She lives in Clayton with her husband and two young boys. Contact her at or 315-788-4400.

Retail Woes? A look into the 2018 tri-county economy

The Gander Mountain in Watertown was slated to remain open after another company acquired it, but remains closed.

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Study outlines 5-year strategy to boost St. Lawrence County’s economy

Matt Warren, right, a customer support representative for Frazer Computing, Inc. provides phone support Wednesday at Frazer Computing, Inc., 6196 US-11 in Canton. Also pictured is Mike Burnett, left, also a customer support representative. Photo by Jason Hunter, Watertown Daily Times.

Matt Warren, right, and Mike Burnett provide customer phone support Wednesday at Frazer Computing Inc., Route 11, Canton. A five-year plan compiled for the New York Power Authority recommends small business growth among ways to boost St. Lawrence County’s economy. Photo by Jason Hunter, Watertown Daily Times.

CANTON — A $4 million economic development study just released by the New York Power Authority lays out a five-year strategy for reversing St. Lawrence County’s stagnant economy. [Read more…]

Biennial survey shows Jefferson County employers plan to hire

Nearly half of the employers in Jefferson County plan to hire workers in the next two years, according to a biennial survey conducted by the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency from March 7 to May 1.

According to the survey — which included 76 employers in Jefferson County — 44.4 percent plan to increase their staff in the next two years; 41.7 predict their staff will stay the same, while 13.9 expect to have fewer employees.

Those results are much improved compared with the 2011 survey, which had 81 respondents that included employers from Lewis County. Results in 2011 showed that only 23.1 percent of employers planned to add to their staff over the next two years; 62.8 percent predicted their staff would stay the same, and 14.1 percent thought they would downsize. [Read more…]

Hot jobs for the future

Despite recruiting challenges, health care and manufacturing poised for growth

Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services trains both high school students and adults in technical fields such as nursing and with skills such as welding for careers in the manufacturing field. Photo by Norm Johnston/NNY Business.

As the country heads into 2013 with high expectations for continued economic recovery, the focus in Northern New York and across the United States remains solidly on jobs and job growth. As unemployment rates in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties waver from month to month, no tried and true trend lines have emerged. But business leaders across the north country are optimistic that job growth is in the immediate future. Developing a strategy for growing jobs and identifying potential markets for industries that bring jobs with them has been at the forefront of dozens of discussions in the past several months.

While economists are leery to express too much joy over a growing jobs market, the New York State Department of Labor released a statement in late December outlining how the state added 83,500 private sector jobs last year and the statewide unemployment rate fell from 8.7 percent to 8.3 percent. Industries with the highest rate of growth statewide included professional and business services, educational and health services and trade, transportation and utilities, adding a collective 98,100 jobs in the state. [Read more…]