Glens Falls Business Journal
The FUND for Lake George has announced the establishment of a Council of Business Advisors to help foster the active participation of the regional business community efforts to keep Lake George clear and clean for future generations.
The FUND formed the council to incorporate the business community’s perspective into discussions about lake protection initiatives, and to tap into the community’s business acumen when planning protection efforts, the group said.
Members will offer guidance to The FUND’s staff as they expand and enhance their multi-faceted approach to lake protection, with a particular emphasis on combatting the three greatest risks to the Lake’s long-term health: invasive species, road salt, and excess nutrients from faulty septic, sewer and storm water systems.
The inaugural members of the council are Ed Bartholomew, president, EDC Warren County; Vincent Crocitto, owner, Holiday Inn Resort Lake George; Daniel Davies, president, Davies-Davies & Associates; Patricia Dow, vice president, Lake George Steamboat Co.; Kathy Flacke Muncil, CEO, Fort William Henry Corp.; Tom Guay, general manager, The Sagamore Resort; Robert Nemer, president, Nemer Motor Group; Fred Vogel, president, Lake George Chamber of Commerce; and Marc Yrsha, senior vice president of corporate development, Glens Falls National Bank & Trust Co.
“The FUND for Lake George is a firm believer that providing for the economy and protecting the environment are not at odds. Indeed, they are opposite sides of the same coin, one mutually dependent on the other,” said Executive Director Eric Siy. “The members of our Council of Business Advisors share this belief and a love for Lake George, and we’re grateful to have their business expertise working toward our goal of enduring protection.”
“Lake George is the centerpiece of a $2 billion regional tourism economy, as well as a source of priceless memories for generations of families, including my own,” said Jeffrey Killeen, chairman of The FUND’s board of trustees. “It’s going to take the vision and collaboration of everyone who loves this Lake—those who live here, those who visit, and those whose businesses and jobs are dependent on clear, clean water—to truly protect it for future generations.”
Bartholomew said The FUND “has done an outstanding job of building bridges with the regional business community, and the formation of this council takes that relationship to an even more meaningful level. Given the significance of Lake George to our region from a quality of life perspective, for attracting employers and a strong workforce, and as an economic anchor for tourism, it’s essential that the business community devote all the energy and resources we can to its protection.”
The establishment of the Council of Business Advisors is reflective of The FUND’s Model for Enduring Protection, which revolves around implementing science-guided solutions to the lake’s environmental challenges through partnerships, innovation and investment. The FUND previously established a Council of Science Advisors made up of leading researchers dedicated to protecting the water quality.
Council of Business Advisors member Kathy Flacke Muncil, CEO of the Fort William Henry Corp., said, “The FUND does a phenomenal job of engaging all stakeholders around the lake in a collaborative way, and in taking a balanced approach to environmental protection and economic development. I’m looking forward to being part of the effort. Our business has been here for 60 years and we want it to be here for 160 more, but the only way it will be is if we keep the lake pristine.”
“I’m concerned that there are still business people on and around the lake who do not fully understand the changes that are happening and what we need to do to keep those changes in check and reversed,” said Nemer. If the lake is not healthy, then those businesses will not be healthy, and that creates a ripple effect through the economy.”
In recent years The FUND has invested $7 million to curb invasive species, reduce the use of road salt, and abate the threats of wastewater and stormwater pollution. It is a partner with RPI and IBM in the Jefferson Project, an advanced environmental monitoring system, whose data is driving many of the science-guided solutions currently in place in and around the lake.
The FUND is also a founding member of The S.A.V.E. Lake George Partnership, a coalition of elected officials and regional organizations that is spearheading efforts to reduce road salt use around the Lake, and prevent the introduction of invasive species.