The Hornell IDA board of directors, at its July meeting, announced the retirement of longtime Executive Director Jim Griffin. A giant among regional economic development leaders, Griffin was involved in the founding of the IDA in 1974. Under his leadership, the organization has applied for and received more than $20 million in state and federal grants and loans for Hornell, resulting in private investment of more than $300 million, according to the New York State Economic Development Council. The board also announced that longtime Steuben County IDA board member Mike Nisbet would take over as Executive Director.
“Jim has been a friend and mentor my entire life,” said James C. Johnson, Steuben County IDA Executive Director. “His contributions to Hornell and the County of Steuben are significant and will continue to touch the lives of our residents for years to come.”
Key among Hornell’s accomplishments with Griffin at the helm of its IDA is the strengthening relationship between the city and global rail manufacturing leader Alstom. As the company’s footprint and impact have grown in Hornell, Griffin and other economic development leaders have worked hard to lay the groundwork for its success – as well as that of other companies looking to establish or grow their presence in Steuben County. Infrastructure and redevelopment have also been major areas of focus for the Hornell IDA. Griffin was also a key part of the effort to bid for and win $10 million in Downtown Revitalization Initiative funds for Hornell in 2019.
In 2020, the New York State Economic Development Council recognized Griffin with a Lifetime Achievement Award in consideration of his significant impact on Hornell and the region.
Jobs growth has underpinned a growing economy in Hornell and Griffin will continue with the Hornell IDA in a consulting role to ensure things stay on the right track.
“Jim Griffin is an institution unto himself,” said Hornell Mayor John J. Buckley. “He has done more over the years than I think most people realize. His expertise in economic development has been incredibly valuable and has benefitted Hornell immensely. It has been an honor and pleasure to work with Jim over the last several years and I look forward to continuing that relationship as he transitions into his consulting role.”
Nisbet has been a member of the Steuben County IDA Board of Directors since 2006 and served a term as chairman. He is also current chair of the Canisteo-Greenwood Board of Education and former chair of the Hornell Chamber of Commerce and CSS Workforce New York, according to the Evening Tribune.