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Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Welcomes Two New Members

The council holds virtual public meeting to discuss region’s reimagined future

The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC) today held a virtual public meeting to discuss its continued efforts to support and reimagine transformative projects aimed at harnessing and maximizing the region’s future. Additionally, the council today welcomed two new members to the council that is tasked with implementing a focused, strategic plan that reflects the Finger Lakes region’s efforts to ensure sustainable and long-term growth in the nine-county region. DeAnna Burt-Nanna, President, Monroe Community College and Faheem Masood, President and CEO, ESL Federal Credit Union will replace Lisa Barnes and longtime member Augie Melendez, Chief Human Resources and Diversity Officer at Hillside Family of Agencies, on the council. The FLREDC is working to leverage the region’s advantages in key industry sectors, including agriculture and food production, healthcare and life sciences, optics, photonics and imaging, tourism, arts and skills and talent development. The FLREDC represents a nine-county region composed of Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties.

FLREDC Co-Chairs, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Bob Duffy and SUNY Geneseo President Denise Battles said, "We want to thank Lisa and Augie for their tireless efforts in assisting with our mission. Augie has been with us since the beginning, dedicating himself to our mission and working tirelessly to improve the economic outlook of the Finger Lakes region. Lisa’s expertise in regional business and economic development has served our community well during her tenure. Their contributions and impact on this community cannot be overstated. While we are saying goodbye to two great leaders, we are excited to welcome Dr. DeAnna Burt-Nanna and Faheem Masood to the Council. Together, we will continue to work toward our mission of ensuring a strong and prosperous future for our region. We remain steadfast in our commitment to move the Finger Lakes forward and are lucky to have them with us in that effort."

In May of 2021, Governor Cuomo launched Round XI of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative, officially kicking off a new decade of economic development in a post-pandemic recovery. The 2021 funding round includes more than $750 million in state economic development resources.

The Regional Councils will identify and recommend priority projects that will be eligible for up to $150 million in capital funds on a rolling basis, meaning projects will be reviewed throughout the round. An emphasis will be placed on project readiness and alignment with each region's strategic plan. Additionally, projects within each region will also be eligible for a share of $75 million in Excelsior Tax Credits to help attract and grow business in the region. Projects from all 10 regions submitted through the CFA will be eligible for over $525 million in other state agency funds, which are available on a set timeline. Regional Economic Development Councils will review these projects and provide scores that reflect how well a project aligns with a region's goals and strategies. Over the past 10 years, the Regional Economic Development Councils have revitalized the state's economy from the ground up through a community-based and performance-driven approach to economic development. To date, the Finger Lakes REDC has received $721 million for 950 projects.

DeAnna Burt-Nanna, President, Monroe Community College said, “I’m excited to join the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council to realize a vision that will bring our economy back quickly and energize those who love to live, work and learn here. A highly motivated and educated workforce will make all the difference and MCC is ready to do its part.”

Faheem Masood, President and CEO, ESL Federal Credit Union said, “It is an honor to represent ESL and serve on the Finger Lakes Region Economic Development Council. The work conducted by this council in partnership with Empire State Development continues to be vital to the progress and resiliency of our regional economy. I look forward to collaborating with my fellow councilmembers in our collective efforts to develop a more prosperous Finger Lakes region.”

About Empire State Development

Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency ( The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NEW YORK,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit and

About ESL Federal Credit Union

With more than 100 years of locally owned history, ESL Federal Credit Union serves as a full-service financial institution to more than 378,000 members and 11,800 businesses. Founded in 1920, the company provides personal banking, business banking, mortgage services, and wealth management services through its locally-based 22 branch network, telephone, mobile, online, and live chat center.

The Rochester-based financial institution employs more than 870 people in the Greater Rochester area and holds more than $8.2 billion in assets. Since 1996, ESL has paid out 26 consecutive Owners’ Dividends to its members totaling more than $185 million. Since the creation of its Community Impact initiative in 2018, ESL has reinvested more than $40 million in grants throughout the community. The company has appeared on the Great Place to Work® Best Small & Medium Workplaces list for 10 years since 2010. ESL Federal Credit Union is headquartered at 225 Chestnut Street, in Rochester, and can be found online at

Find and connect with ESL on Twitter (@ESLFCU) and

For more information, contact:

Shari Voorhees-Vincent | | 585.399.7055
ESD Press Office | | 800.260.7313