The Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) has a new leader at its helm, but he is a familiar face to the Queens business community.
Seth Bornstein, former Director of Economic Development for Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and most recently Assistant Dean for Economic Development at LaGuardia Community College, began his first day of work as QEDC Executive Director on Monday, November 16.
“My primary interest has always been neighborhood economic development,” Bornstein said. “I think QEDC has done some really good work over the years, and I’d like to enhance that.”
Bornstein takes over the reins of QEDC – a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to provide broader access to economic opportunity for all residents of Queens County – from Spencer Ferdinand, the organization’s most recent Executive Director.
One program that QEDC currently runs in partnership with the Queens Borough President’s Office is Discover Queens, a neighborhood-level collaboration and partnership between public, private and business organizations and attractions to collectively promote themselves as well as strengthen the Queens economy. Bornstein said that QEDC has done a good job building the program, but he believes there is an even greater opportunity for expansion.
“We need to be a stronger advocate for business and tourism growth in Queens,” Bornstein said.
While talking about development throughout the borough, Bornstein said there needs to be a continued emphasis on the major hubs including Jamaica, which he said has the potential to be an international hub, in part because of the success of the AirTrain and proximity to the airport. However, he also said that smaller areas in other parts of the borough have potential for development and should not be ignored.
In addition, Bornstein believes that QEDC can also play a bigger role in supplying information to current and prospective Queens businesses so that they can make informed decisions. He also wants QEDC to focus on helping borough small businesses – particularly during these difficult economic times.
Meanwhile, Bornstein believes he can tap into his 30 years of economic development experience as well as the relationships he has already built in the Queens business community, to increase the amount of services QEDC provides to businesses.
“I want to work closely with government agencies and community groups,” Bornstein said. “I need to spend time learning what the issues are in the communities.”