BY JOE OLENICK
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — For the first time in its history, the Greater Lockport Development Corp. has a full-time employee as Brian Smith began work this week as its new vice president of business development.
Smith will work for the city development agency and its board of directors, implementing economic development programs and policy, according to GLDC President Chuck Bell. Smith will be working out of office space provided by Lockport Main Street, Inc.
It was Smith's educational background and early work experience that made him stand out, Bell said. Smith has a communications degree and a master’s degree in urban planning from the University at Buffalo and has worked for Niagara Falls Community Development and as a planning consultant for the Lumber City Development Corp. in North Tonawanda.
"One of the things we liked about him was all during school he had very targeted internships," Bell said. "His work experience involves community development."
In the fall of 2012, Smith, 25, a North Tonawanda resident, worked on a marketing strategy to promote outdoor adventure tourism in Ellicottville. Last year he worked on marketing for the Town of Tonawanda, then collaborated on a site development plan for the Kensington Expressway and the return of the Humboldt Parkway. Smith also worked on the North Youngmann Commerce Center development plan in Tonawanda.
Smith said it is the city's recent business development, as well as his experience at Lumber City, that drew him to the GLDC. While at Lumber City, he worked with James Sullivan, a Lockport resident with whom Bell is familiar.
"To work for (Bell) was appealing to me," Smith said. "And Lockport has a ton of momentum, I'm coming in at a good time ... . Everyone I talked to seems excited about where Lockport is heading."
Last month, audiologist James Macaluso was chosen as chairman of the GLDC's Board of Directors. The move was made when Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey decided after taking office not to lead the agency board; that was a first for GLDC.
With a local businessman as chairman and Smith's hiring, the GLDC is positioned to keep Lockport's business development progress going, Bell said.
"We definitely feel it's time for us to move forward," he said.
That's a feeling Macaluso shared in a written statement.
“There are plenty of challenges currently facing Lockport, but there’s also economic development momentum. Now, more than ever, it’s important for the GLDC to have an 'A team' in place," Macaluso said. “With Brian and Chuck working together, we all expect great developments to follow.”Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.