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Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce and MDA announce merger plan

In a press conference on Thursday Jan. 7 at the Tech Garden, it was announced, pending approval by their respective boards, The Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce and the Metropolitan Development Association of Syracuse and Central New York plan to form a new, unified organization that will serve as the primary economic, community and business development catalyst in Central Upstate New York.

The recommendation was issued by a Strategic Partnership Committee, which was formed by the Chamber and MDA Boards in July 2009. The 11-member committee was led by co-chairpersons Kenneth A. "Buzz" Shaw and Mary Ann Tyszko, the chairs of the MDA and Chamber, respectively.

The committee examined the mission, programs, services, structure, membership and staffing of both organizations to determine whether a formal partnership would better serve their respective members and the region.

"Throughout our entire review and due diligence process, the best interest of the business community and economic growth were our top priorities," Shaw said. "The proposed partnership brings a combined 170 year history of achievement with a network of relationships that transcend geographic and political boundaries. More than 2,000 members in a wide array of industry sectors will form one of the largest business leadership organizations in Upstate New York."

"While we foresee some operational efficiencies resulting, the greatest opportunity presented by this new organization will be the potential to better align programs and services with a common vision -- delivering enhanced benefits to members and improved economic development outcomes," Tyszko said.

Key Recommendations of the Strategic Partnership Committee

A New Organization -- joining the Chamber and MDA, to deliver business services and regional economic development leadership

Integrated Governance -- Single board of directors drawn from board members of existing organizations; Robert M. Simpson will serve as president & CEO

Dual Membership Levels -- "Partner" memberships for businesses seeking access to traditional Chamber services; "Investor" memberships to provide leadership, resources and strategic implementation support for a regional economic development agenda

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