ANCA looks for new executive director

Kate FishPHOTO PROVIDED

SARANAC LAKE — Adirondack North Country Association Executive Director Kate Fish is preparing to retire after 12 years at the helm of the regional economic development group.

A Lake Placid resident, Fish took over ANCA 12 years ago when then-executive director Terry DeFranco Martino moved over to become executive director of the Adirondack Park Agency.

ANCA Board President James Sonneborn said ANCA has started a nationwide search to find a new leader.

“Kate is leaving a lasting legacy at ANCA and Adirondack North Country,” Sonneborn said in a news release. “Her vision and bias toward action have helped ANCA become a real leader in sustainable economic development.”

He said ANCA’s Clean Energy Program and Center for Businesses in Transition are models for other rural areas, and “we have Kate’s innovative thinking to thank for that.”

ANCA will launch a revolving loan fund for small farms in the North Country later this year, Sonneborn said.

“Kate has worked relentlessly over her tenure to make this happen.”

Fish, who plans to leave at the end of the year, said it’s a great time for ANCA to attract a new leader.

“I’ve accomplished what I set out to do over the past 12 years, building a skilled staff and board, establishing a strong clean energy program, securing new revenue sources, and accelerating our entrepreneur and small business programs,” said Fish in the release. 

“We have a solid strategic plan in place that will benefit North Country communities over the next five years. Our staff are passionate and talented, and each member of our board brings important knowledge and experience to this work.”

The ANCA Board has appointed a small search committee to manage the process, including Dr. Ty Stone, ANCA board member, North Country Regional Economic Development Council co-chair, and president of Jefferson Community College.

“I understand the importance of hiring the right leaders to continue the great progress we’ve made in the North Country,” Stone said in the release. “Although we will miss Kate Fish and her leadership, I am confident that ANCA’s reputation, momentum and impact on the region puts us in an ideal place to attract excellent candidates.”

She said ANCA has been involved with the North Country Regional Economic Development Council and the New York Federal Reserve Bank’s Community Advisory Council.  

“I’m also encouraged as ANCA is becoming a more mindful and compassionate organization where we actively work to center diversity, equity and inclusion in all our program areas,” Fish said. “I will be excited to see how the new director uses this momentum to continue to grow economic opportunities in the region that are equitable and just.”

A job description for executive director is on the ANCA website at: bit.ly/ANCA-ED. The association is accepting applications until Friday, May 7, 2021.

Founded in 1955, ANCA works to build prosperity in northern New York through three core program areas: clean energy, food systems and the entrepreneurial economy.

In 2019, ANCA took on operation of the Adirondack Diversity Initiative when state funding allowed the hiring of an ADI director.

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