Using the media to get out the message
BY KATHY KAHN
It’s a great place to live, work and play, but in order to get more companies to take a look at the New York’s smallest but strategically located county, Rockland’s Economic Development Corporation is using the media to get out the message.
Michael DiTullo, president/CEO of REDC, has partnered with Bill Madden and Focus Media to parlay Rockland’s 200 square miles of county to businesses looking for a new location and outlined the plan to more than 125 members of Rockland Business Association’s members at Nyack Seaport May 15.
“We’ve raised $90,000 in private money and received $50,000 from the county. County Executive Ed Day has made economic development the centerpiece of his administration. The money will be spent on print and online advertising, television commercials and other tools of the media trade to grab the attention of site selectors.
“Rockland has a lot to enjoy and offer, but without the dignity of a weekly paycheck, it’s difficult to partake in its quality of life. We’ve gained a net 3,000 jobs since 2011, and Rockland’s workforce stands at 71 percent employed. 44 percent of our residents are college graduates, more than any other county in the state. Smart money follows smart people—and we have that educated workforce right here,” DiTullo, former CEO of Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, told the audience.
DiTullo said branding Rockland as a business-savvy county—as well as its location, location, location—is an incentive to get site selectors in Westchester, New York City, Bergen County, southern Connecticut and other states to consider Rockland. “When someone comes knocking on the door, everyone in economic development in this county will work together to find the right fit for those potential businesses and give them what they need to succeed.” And do it expeditiously, he added.
The new media campaign will last six months. “We’ll keep track of our digital success,” DiTullo said. “We are focusing on four clusters in particular—biotech/life sciences—we have space at both Pfizer and Novartis campuses for like-minded companies; data centers; advance manufacturing, which is more knowledge intensive than labor intensive—Bloomberg’s new $700 million data center is a perfect example—and as corporate headquarters for companies. We have some tremendous Class A office space available but a vacancy rate of 11 percent.” The goal is to whittle that eleven percent down as far as possible.
The new Tappan Zee Bridge has put Rockland in the spotlight, and DiTullo wants to capitalize on the country’s largest infrastructure project as another positive for potential business.
What can Realtors do to help? “Be positive!” exclaimed DiTullo. “We need to feel good about ourselves. Don’t pray for a lighter load—pray for broader shoulders.”