Agency director looks forward to future
After serving since April 2015 as interim executive director of the Amherst Industrial Development Agency, David Mingoia was officially appointed in January as head of the organization by its seven-member board of directors.
Mingoia, who holds a master’s degree from the University at Buffalo with a concentration in economic development, was the agency’s deputy director for 10 years prior to taking the interim post. A native of Niagara Falls, he has been working in the area of economic development for the past 20 years.
He succeeds Jim Allen, who was executive director of the agency for 37 years and in spring 2015 announced his retirement.
The AIDA was created in 1973 by the state Legislature as an independent state public benefit corporation. Additionally, the AIDA is not a department within the Town of Amherst and does not receive financial assistance from the town to sustain its operations. The agency operates by fees generated on projects.
“State law provides the parameters, and we have discretion to target the types of business for development in the town,” Mingoia said.
Through working for the AIDA for more than a decade, Mingoia said he has expertise that will benefit the agency’s board in creating a new strategic plan, which he said will be initiated and completed this year.
“From an agency standpoint, we are going to take a look at different trends,” he said. “We are looking at development that is different from what was done 40 or even 50 years ago. Everyone now wants more of that pedestrian type of feel for businesses.”
The executive director said that while there is only a small amount of greenfield space left in the town that may be developed, the agency plans to work with future developers to maximize construction on existing properties through smart growth and redevelopment of existing parcels.
Mingoia added that under his leadership he intends to continue the great working relationship the agency has with town departments. He also said that having Town Board members serve on the AIDA’s board of directors has been “a huge help” to improve the relationships.
Supervisor Barry Weinstein has been a member of the AIDA board, and Deputy Supervisor Steven Sanders is a current member, with his term ending in 2020.
“Our board of directors wants to endorse projects that the town is looking for,” Mingoia said.
Additionally, the executive director said the AIDA’s goal is to create a “physical environment in the town that is enticing to people.”
He said it’s important that forthcoming development and redevelopment does not negatively impact homeowners and businesses. He added that he is excited to lead the agency’s future.
“We’re open for business and we’re excited for the future,” Mingoia said. “The board will chart an effective path while having quality-of-life issues in mind.”