County Executive Vince Horrigan was the guest speaker at the Southern Tier Builder’s Association annual dinner meeting Thursday night.
Representatives from 28 companies in the construction and building industry gathered at the Landmark Restaurant on Fourth Street to celebrate the association’s 58 years of participation.
After a short introduction and welcome speech by Bradley Walter, executive director of the association, and Stan Martinelli, board president, Horrigan explained his plans as county executive and how he plans to help those in the industry.
“I’m here because I believe in Chautauqua County,” Horrigan said. “You guys create the jobs. Government doesn’t create the jobs. We’ve got to come together to find common solutions.”
He stressed his belief in the importance of private sector businesses and their importance to job growth in Jamestown and the surrounding area.
An example of this, he said, was the recent sale of the Chautauqua County Home to private company VestraCare.
After several months of debate in the County Legislature, the former government-owned nursing facility was sold at a price of $16 million.
“VestraCare’s plans are to turn that facility into a world-class senior citizens home, and that’s what the private industry can do,” Horrigan said.
Furthermore, he said Chautauqua County needs a workforce that can provide quality labor needed by private companies such as those belonging to the Southern Tier Builder’s Association.
“We’ve got to find a way to be able to take our workforce from non-work ready and unemployable and start moving them to build the jobs that you have,” Horrigan said. “There are jobs in Chautauqua County, and we have a gap between the workforce that you need and the jobs that are available.”
He added that drug abuse is part of the reason why workers are not hirable.
“I’m convinced that is one aspect of a workforce that we can turn around, in addition to job readiness training, so that you have workers you need,” he said.
Lastly, Horrigan commended the work of those at the Industrial Development Agency, and the continued efforts of Rich Dixon, chief financial officer, and Bill Daly, director, to bring new business to the county.
“The future is very bright, but the key to all of this is how we work together,” Horrigan said. “I want to congratulate all of those in business and let you know I’m truly there to support you. It’s the private sector that will lead us into greatness.”
Businesses in attendance included Ahlstrom Schaeffer Electric; Anderson Equipment Co.; Artone Manufacturing; B&L Wholesale Supply, Inc.; Bloomquist’s Landscaping; Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency; Ciancio Mechanical; Clark Patterson Lee; DFT Communications; Duggan & Duggan General Contractor; E.E. Austin & Son; G.L. Olson, Inc.; Haines & Company; Hanson Aggregates; Hanson Sign Co.; IA Construction Corporation; Industrial Welding and Fabricating Co.; Jamestown Fabricated Steel & Supply; Jamestown Macadam, Inc.; Jamestown Roofing; Kessel Construction Inc.; Kinley Corporation; Lake Shore Paving; Lovell Safety Management; Mazza Sheet Metal; Overhead Door Co. of Jamestown; R. Patti Concrete Excavating, LLC; and Southern Tier Supply Co.