Dick Bird was unanimously elected as the new president of the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) at the organization’s annual meeting held on Thursday, September 26 at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake.
Bird, who has been on ANCA’s board for over 25 years, joined during the time he served as Director of Planning, Tourism and Economic Development for Hamilton County. He is replacing out-going president Stephen Erman.
“Dick’s opinion on issues is sought by everyone on the board—he is the go-to guy. He has a great grasp on not only this region, but of the entire north country,” said fellow director Mike Farmer.
“I’m very excited. It’s an opportunity to bring attention to this part of the region,” Bird said.
Bird is owner of Bird’s Marine and Adirondack Real Estate of Old Forge and Raquette Lake.
He has been actively involved with the local Central Adirondack Association (CAA) for years, serving for a period as president.
He is also past-president of the Adirondack Regional Tourism Council (ARTC).
ANCA is the longest running not-for-profit rural development organization in northern New York and the only economic development organization that reaches across the entire 14 county North Country region.
In part, ANCA helps to foster the conditions necessary for business development including developing projects and partnerships and advocating for the region at state and national levels.
As president, Bird said he is interested in working on bringing in more activity from outlying counties, including Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Oneida, which will make the organization stronger and more visible.
He also looks forward to working on getting better broadband for the Adirondacks—a goal which could ultimately attract new business to the region.
Bird also noted the organization’s work on the Scenic Highway program, support for the biofuel industry, and keeping the Adirondack Railroad tracks intact.
“We are looking at different things all the time. We have a diverse board of directors that are starting to get very active in different projects,” he said.
A recent success for ANCA, he said, was winning the Planning Excellence Award through the Upstate New York Chapter of American Planning Association for its collaborative work on a statewide Cleaner Green Communities initiative.
ANCA helped to develop a plan that maps sustainability strategies for the north country region with the assistance of the organization, Ecology and Environment, and leaders from a seven-county consortium.
Bird also cited ANCA’s work with the Adirondack Film Society and theatres across the north country to raise money for needed digital upgrades.
He also acknowledged the organization’s Adirondack Buyers Days that for 27 years has celebrated the region’s best handmade and locally sourced goods and specialty foods.
Bird added that ANCA’s biggest claim to fame was getting the Northway put in New York state rather than Vermont.