The Olympic Regional Development Authority today welcomed a new, diverse group of members to the Board of Directors, appointing four new members and naming Kelly Cummings as Chair of the Board. The new members bring a range of backgrounds and experience to the Board, including communications, infrastructure and construction leaders, local business owners, publishers, educational professionals and elected officials. Each is a nominee of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and has recently been confirmed by the New York State Senate.
“The Olympic Regional Development Authority is a critical piece to the revitalization of both the North Country and the Catskill Regions,” said ORDA Board Chair Kelly Cummings. “Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the North Country and New York State continued to set historic tourism records, in large part thanks to the work of ORDA. As Chair, I am thrilled and honored to be a part of this economic engine and look forward to working with the Board as we continue to drive this momentum forward.”
“I am looking forward to working with the new board members as they bring a wealth of knowledge and a tremendous amount of insight to our organization,” said ORDA President & CEO, Mike Pratt. “The new leadership at the board level will set us up for an even brighter future.”
Kelly Cummings is Director of State Operations and Infrastructure for Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Previously, she served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the Governor, during which she over saw the Governor’s major infrastructure projects and priorities, including the Moynihan Train Hall, the Long Island Rail Road Double Track and Third Track expansion projects, the new Kosciuszko Bridge and the modernization of six upstate airports. As the new Chair for ORDA, she brings a wealth of knowledge in operational infrastructure and state-wide project development, and is excited to spearhead ORDA’s efforts to enhance the economic vitality of the North Country.
Sen. Betty Little has represented the region in the NY State Senate for over 15 years. She begins her tenure on the ORDA Board with extensive knowledge of the area’s challenges, and she understands the vital role that ORDA plays in its economic recovery and the success of bringing world class events to the region such as the 2021 IBSF World Championships and the 2023 World University Games.
Elinor Tatum is the editor-in-chief and publisher of the New York Amsterdam News, the oldest and largest Black newspaper in New York City. She has served on several philanthropic, nonprofit, and cultural institution boards. She has also served on the NY State Tourism Advisory Council. Ms. Tatum is an avid skier and also instructs beginner-level ski lessons at ORDA’s Belleayre Mountain. She is looking forward to expanding the learn-to-ski programs at ORDA with greater participation of non-traditional communities, including the Black and Latino communities.
Diane M.H. Munro will also be joining the ORDA Board. Ms. Munro is currently the Vice Chair of the Coalition for Belleayre Mountain. She has an extensive background in educational leadership that ranges from physical education to senior administration. Ms. Munro is excited to see the further development of the adaptive ski programs along with more opportunities for economically disadvantaged students.
Thomas Keegan is a business leader and entrepreneur in the Hudson Valley for over 17-years. As the owner of Keegan Ales, he has received numerous awards including Ulster County Small Business of the Year (2009). He holds a Master Degree in Business from SUNY New Paltz and is an active member of the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce. As the father of two skiers, Tommy knows how the sport of Alpine Skiing can bring families together.
With ORDA coming off of a successful 2019-2020 season, the new Board will further advance the overall mission of being a major economic driver in the Adirondacks and Catskills. This will include key initiatives such as the expansion of year-round operations, environmentally sustainable modernization projects and opportunities for employment in both the public and private sectors within the mountain resort communities. A major focus will also be that of inclusion and diversity: Operational programs were discussed at the meeting and inclusiveness for rural, urban, economically, physically and mentally disabled guests were positively endorsed.
The Governor has committed nearly $240 million in funding to support the state’s Olympic Regional Development Authority properties since taking office. These unprecedented investments are improving the infrastructure of ORDA facilities to ensure they attract and support large-scale, global events as year-round attractions. Last year, New York welcomed a record 252.7 million visitors who spent $71.8 billion, generating a total economic impact of more than $100 billion for the fifth straight year.
The full broadcast of the ORDA board meeting will be archived here.