Dutchess County IDA director named economic developer of the year

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Sarah Lee

POUGHKEEPSIE – The New York State Economic Development Council,  a nonprofit membership organization that represents public, private and nonprofit economic development professionals, has named Sarah Lee, the CEO of Think Dutchess and executive director of the Dutchess County Industrial Development Agency as the Economic Developer of the Year.

As the CEO of Think Dutchess, Sarah Lee led the former Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation through a rebrand that aligned the county’s economic development partners and decision makers to work toward a single goal of energizing a region’s economy. The new organization, Think Dutchess Alliance for Business, has become the prime resource for attracting businesses to Dutchess County.

The organization said Lee’s ability to identify, unite and build her team and community led to five closed projects with $345 million in investment, over 217 new jobs and over 1,723 retained jobs. Think Dutchess also attracted the attention Frito Lay and Amazon, adding another $225 million and 580 jobs to the local economy.

Some of the programs the Lee has championed include the Dutchess County micro-marketing program, which educated and assisted 45 small businesses to improve their social media presence and increase their customer base, and a marketing program that earned media placements about economic development in 18 publications ranging from Trade & Industry Development to Forbes.