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OCCA executive director to head Southern Tier East Regional Planning Development Board

June 23, 2011

OCCA executive director to head Southern Tier East Regional Planning Development Board

COOPERSTOWN – This July, Erik Miller will step down from his position with the Otsego County Conservation Association as executive director to shepherd the Southern Tier East Regional Planning Development Board. STERPDB, an economic development and planning agency, partners with eight member counties to identify and address multi-county issues in order to continue to improve the quality of life within the Southern Tier region of New York State.

Originally brought on as Planning Director in 2005 and serving as executive director from September 2006 to present, Miller has led OCCA through financial campaigns to support environmental programming touching every corner of Otsego County. Planning initiatives, water quality advocacy, and natural resource appreciation have been, and will continue to be, the organization’s primary focus.

OCCA, an environmental resource to government agencies, nonprofits, and the public, has presented and attended conferences throughout the Northeast. Under Miller, membership has grown to support the organization’s geographic reach, just as programming has increased to meet community needs.

"STERPDB is lucky to have brought on a galvanizing leader such as Erik Miller. What he was able to do to grow and stabilize OCCA is only part of the talents he brings forth. He makes staff shine,” said Martha Clarvoe, past OCCA president.

In his new role as director of the STERPDB, Miller takes the helm from veteran Bob Augenstern, who retires after 34 years this month.

“It is with great enthusiasm that I move into this new position with Southern Tier East,” says Miller. “The organization has some of the most experienced and skilled staff in the realm of economic development and planning that the Southern Tier has to offer. Our representative membership in the eight-county region from Tompkins to Schoharie are some of New York State’s finest areas in which to live, work and do business. I look forward to leveraging the region’s existing natural, economic and social resources while moving forward sustainably.”

“After more than 12 years of planning throughout New York State, it’s always great to be able to work in the communities you love, and I get to do just that,” Miller said.

The change in employment for Miller represents an expansion of his previous efforts at both the New York Department of State and OCCA, combining natural resource protection and sound economic development through responsible planning.

OCCA moves on without a glitch in continuing the trend of program expansion and outreach countywide.

"The succession transition has been well planned out and the organization is in more than capable hands,” said Board President Vicky Lentz. Darla Youngs, OCCA administrative director, will preside as acting executive director effective July 1 and Environmental Planner Tavis Austin will assume water quality programming and planning duties as OCCA begins its search for an executive director.

Otsego County’s oldest environmental conservation organization, OCCA is a private, non-profit membership group dedicated to promoting the enjoyment and sustainable use of Otsego County’s natural resources through education, advocacy, resource management, research, and planning. For more information on OCCA, or to donate, visit http://www.occainfo.org

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