The Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency has selected its new executive director. Former City of Amsterdam mayor and current Montgomery County Legislator John “Duke” Duchessi was approved unanimously by the board at Thursday’s meeting, marking the end of an approximately five-month search to replace former director Jody Zakrevsky. The board approved a one-year, $52,000 contract for the position.
In September 2017, a search committee was appointed by board chairman Pat Baia, consisting of Joe Emanuele, who has served as the interim director, board members Michael Rossi, Michael McCabe, Baia, Mayor Michael Villa, Alderman Chad Majewski, board attorney Chuck Schwartz, and former Montgomery County personnel director Richard Baia.
Before the vote, Rossi said, “The recommendation, unanimously, from the search committee was to make [Duchessi] our executive director. So with that, the personnel committee from the Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency, which is [Pat Baia], Mike McCabe and myself, are putting forth this recommendation to also hire [Duchessi].”
Later in the meeting Duchessi said, “Thank you for the opportunity, I’m ready to go.”
After the meeting Duchessi cited his governmental experience serving two terms as mayor of Amsterdam from 1996 to 2003, and ten years of grant writing experience as part of TGW Consulting, a grant writing company whose main client has been the City of Hudson, but has also provided services to the City of Amsterdam as well as other municipalities and organizations.
Duchessi said that his involvement in the business will be scaled back and the director’s position will be his main focus.
“This is the type of work that I like,” said Duchessi.
Asked about his goals for the agency, Duchessi said, “This is a very strong board and they use a committee system. I’m going to start out working within those committees and form recommendations as we go. The main goal that I’m going to have is doing a grant opportunity audit.”
“This agency, since 1996 when I was mayor, I think they’ve really righted themselves. I’m looking at their annual reports and their budget. So sustainability at the present time is not an issue for this [agency], so my main goal is to assist the board to keep the agency strong, so that we can fulfill our mission: job creation and job retention.”
At the meeting, the board also approved the sale of the former Mohasco property near Forest Avenue and Lyon Street for $100,000 to Print Bear, a company which operates the website stickermule.com. Owners of Print Bear include members of the Constantino family, who also own Noteworthy Industries, which owns a factory building adjacent to the former Mohasco property.
The board had approved a letter of intent back in September 2017. At the time, Linette Waling, vice president of operations at Print Bear, wrote in regards to the pending sale, “Sticker Mule is growing quickly and aims to be the best place to work in Amsterdam. We are committed to providing an outstanding factory environment where talented people can work and look forward to continued expansion in the coming years.”