Sullivan County Democrat
O n l i n e  E d i t i o n National Award-winning, Family-run Newspaper
  NEWS ARCHIVES Established 1891 Callicoon, New York  
home  |  archives
Dan Hust | Democrat

PETER GOZZA, OF Liberry, new chief executive officer of the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development, amkes his comments at yeaterday's press conference.

Partnership tabs Gozza, a 'local boy'

By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO — February 1, 2008 — Pete Gozza thought he could help the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development find its new CEO.
Turns out he became the CEO.
Hired Monday to replace former President/CEO Marc Baez, Gozza was introduced to the press and public yesterday at the Partnership’s Bridgeville offices.
“I’m extraordinarily confident we’re headed in the right direction,” Partnership Board Chair Suzanne Loughlin told a crowd of well-wishers.
“He brings a sense of direction that we need,” seconded County Legislature Chair Jonathan Rouis.
Gozza, a native of Liberty who possesses a bachelor’s in finance, said he was delighted to be back living in his hometown and now working for his home county.
“I can’t imagine having grown up anyplace but here,” he said. “It was fantastic!”
But after leaving Sullivan County more than 20 years ago, Gozza returned this past year to find the endless list of resorts, bustling downtowns and hardworking populace decimated by economic hardship.
Having spent two decades spurring economic development (and redevelopment) in Florida, Michigan, Virginia and Ohio, Gozza eagerly sought a way to make an impact locally.
The 55-year-old husband and father of three had actually started his career in Monticello in 1982 as executive director of the Private Industry Council, but attempts this past year to be appointed Monticello’s village manager and elected as the county’s District 6 Legislator (representing Liberty) failed, and so he occupied himself with his newly started consulting company, Redevelopment Concepts, and serving as a judge of Sullivan Renaissance and now a member of its Steering Committee.
Then came the chance to aid the Partnership’s search committee, consisting of Jerry Skoda, Tim McCausland, Bob Ernst, Lew Klugman, Jonathan Drapkin, Harris Alport and David Fanslau (with the much-thanked assistance of Office Manager Jennifer Clayton).
Suddenly that turned into an opportunity to lead the Partnership, and Gozza, who beat out more than 40 other candidates, said he is excited to be able to influence economic development countywide.
“I’ve learned over the years that the best way to start is with a good plan,” he remarked yesterday, so as to avoid “random acts of development.”
So with the help of the Partnership board, staff and a slew of partnering agencies and individuals, Gozza is formulating a redevelopment plan for Sullivan County that will include a market analysis and economic study.
Notably, Gozza said it will also include the oft-unacknowledged reality that some areas in Sullivan County don’t want much development, preferring instead to stay bedroom communities.
That said, “there is no one who doesn’t want this to be a thriving county again,” he related.
While green projects and casino efforts have his support, Gozza added that his strategy will “not be about any one thing. It’s about a lot of things.”
First and foremost, he continued, is determining the county’s strengths and dreams – and then formulating a way to build upon those strengths and realize those dreams.
“We have to get in the same boat, rowing in the same direction,” Gozza explained.
“. . . We can do anything we want to do. The only thing stopping us is the will to do it.”

top of page  |  home  |  archives