Core Members Comprised of Major Corporate, Community, and Municipal Leaders; More to Be Added
A new Steering Committee for the Westchester County Association’s Smart Growth for Gigabit initiative was announced today by William M. Mooney, Jr., President and CEO of the Westchester County Association.
The Committee will oversee bringing gigabit-speed broadband to Westchester, beginning with its four largest cities, by giving guidance to the effort, as well as raising seed funding to pave the way for this needed infrastructure.
The committee is comprised of “some of the most informed, respected, and enterprising individuals in our midst,” Mr. Mooney said in his announcement. Mr. Mooney said that the Committee held its first meeting and anticipates that in May, an RFP for a national consultant to assess the county’s current infrastructure, market realities, and help determine the best course of action to bring gigabit broadband into the county will be issued.
Chairing the 15-person Committee is Jack Kopnisky, CEO and President, Sterling National Bank. Members include:
Rizwan (Riz) Khaliq, CMO, IBM Global Public Sector and Smarter Cities. Rebecca Ledingham, Vice President for Cyber Threats and Intelligence, MasterCard Clive Henry, Partner Sales Manager, Media & Entertainment, Adobe Ken Theobalds, VP, Government & Regulatory Affairs, Entergy Joseph Simone, President & CEO, Simone Development Michael D. Israel, CEO and President of WMCHealth Dr. Belinda S. Miles, President, Westchester Community College Mayor Noam Bramson, City of New Rochelle Mayor Tom Roach, City of White Plains Mayor Richard Thomas, City of Mount Vernon Mayor Mike Spano, City of Yonkers William Harrington, Chairman, Board of Directors, WCA William M. Mooney, President & CEO, WCA Joan McDonald, Strategic Advisor, WCA.
In addition, Blair Levin, a national leader on broadband policy and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, is serving as a Voluntary Advisor. Other members from the healthcare, biotech, real estate, and education sectors will be named at a later date.
According to Joan McDonald, a few members of the Committee with draft the RFP, with assistance from Blair Levin and officials from the U.S. Commerce Department, who are well-versed in this process.
“The significance is that five partners – the WCA and Westchester’s largest four cities – are collaborating closely to come up with a plan of action to enhance Westchester County’s digital infrastructure as economically and as impactfully as possible. The object is to find the right solution(s) for the right cost,” she said.
Other Activities Also Announced Mr. Mooney also announced that the WCA and the four cities are planning a series of business and community roundtables, the first of which will take place in New Rochelle in April; the second is in New Rochelle in May. The object is education about gigabit speed broadband.
“The more that people understand the implications for the future – how super-speed broadband will attract entrepreneurs and businesses to the county, and make possible tele-health, online learning, digital equity, business growth, and economic development – the more excitement there will be. Community buy-in is always key.”
Last October, the WCA entered a far-sighted Smart Growth COMPACT with the County’s four largest cities – New Rochelle, Yonkers, White Plains, and Mt. Vernon – to actively collaborate on Smart Growth initiatives. Since then, the WCA organized various Smart Growth committees for Westchester’s urban downtowns to develop Innovation Districts, more multi-family housing, and healthcare policy.
In the coming weeks and months, the WCA, with the help and direction of these committees, will produce a power-packed real estate event in May, “Women in Tech” conference in June, and a technology/healthtech conference in the fall. Other programs will be announced shortly.
Smart Growth in Westchester The Smart Growth philosophy was introduced by the WCA several years ago as part of its Blueprint for Westchester. Smart Growth is one of the most significant economic development trends dramatically affecting the Westchester region today as it emphasizes mixed-use development; sustainable, walkable cities; upgrading our infrastructure; and attracting innovation.
“It’s all about Live.Work.Play.” explains Mr Kopnisky. “This comes at a critical time, as New York City runs out of affordable business and housing space. As a result, Westchester’s cities are enjoying unprecedented transformation of their downtown areas, and the county is becoming more and more attractive to millennials, entrepreneurs, real estate developers, healthcare organizations, and businesses. This is a hugely exciting time for Westchester.”
Mr. Mooney notes: “The WCA in partnership with the four cities, other municipalities, and members of the business, healthcare, and nonprofit communities, will continue to lead our county on a path of transformation, growth, and progress. Smart Growth is what we’re about, and gigabit broadband will be the game-changer. Nothing will have transformed Westchester as much since the opening of the Tappan Zee Bridge 61 years ago. We invite members of the business and general public to join us!”
About the Westchester County Association The Westchester County Association (www.westchester.org) is the preeminent business leadership organization serving Westchester County and the region. The Association is committed to Smart Growth, business advocacy, economic vitality and to providing a strong and clear voice for the interests of business. Its key objectives are to promote positive economic development in the region; foster business development; and providing its members with access and interaction with key public and private sector individuals, agencies and organizations.