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Sullivan named new BDC executive director

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MASSENA — The Business Development Corporation for Greater Massena has named businessman Thomas Sullivan as the new executive director of the agency funded jointly by the town and village.

Daniel S. Pease, chairman of the BDC board, said he was authorized to negotiate a contract with Mr. Sullivan following an executive session at last week’s meeting.

“We met this morning, and we’re able to reach a deal,” he said.

Mr. Sullivan will work a minimum of 25 hours a week with an annual salary of $34,000.

“Tom is an accomplished businessman and over the years has chaired and been a member of numerous boards and foundations throughout the north country. He provides the BDC with proven managerial skills and business acumen, and the board looks forward to great accomplishments as we tackle the challenges of job creation and economic revitalization,” Mr. Pease said.

Mr. Sullivan replaces Michael V. Almasian, whose resignation was effective Friday. Mr. Almasian and his family are moving to Connecticut.

Mr. Sullivan, the owner of Sullivan’s Office Supplies, is optimistic about the BDC’s effort to stimulate economic growth in the community.

“We can stimulate local purchasing,” Mr. Sullivan said. “That will create jobs.”

He said he knows the improvement of Massena’s economy is not an overnight process and will take some time.

“It’s going to be a process that will evolve,” he said. “We will take it one step at a time. We will walk before we run.”

With Massena’s recent struggles in terms of economic development, Mr. Sullivan is aware of the need to attract more businesses.

The 53-year-old earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial management and marketing from Clarkson University, Potsdam, after obtaining an associate degree from SUNY Canton.

He credited the work of his staff at Sullivan’s Office Supply as well as his wife’s business, Season’s, with giving him the opportunity to take the BDC post.

Mr. Sullivan was selected from a field of four finalists.

“We were impressed by his proven business success and his management experience. He showed a great deal of enthusiasm,” Mr. Pease said. “We’re very excited to see what he can do to streamline the office and move us to the next level.”

He said he is confident Mr. Sullivan will be able to handle the position on a part-time basis.

“My expectation is we will find with his ability to prioritize that 25 hours a week will be a huge bang for the buck. We may give him more administrative assistance down the road,” Mr. Pease said.

He said much of Mr. Sullivan’s work in his first few months on the job will be connected to the downtown coalition, an effort to revitalize Massena’s downtown corridor.

“That’s taking a tremendous amount of time right now. We’re also working with a number of contacts for prospective businesses in the industrial park,” Mr. Pease said. “We’ll continue to manage those contacts to see if we can meet their needs. There’s quite a bit going on at the BDC right now.”

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