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Invest Buffalo Niagara COO named one of North America's top 50 economic developers

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Buffalo and Western New York have seen a few rough decades, but our area is in the middle of an economic resurgence, and Jenna Kavanaugh, the Chief Operating Officer of Invest Buffalo Niagara, is making sure companies across North American know it.

"Everyone that comes to the Buffalo Niagara region is pleasantly surprised by what they see," Kavanaugh told News 4. "Even if they've been here five years ago, this is a new exciting time. There's tremendous public and private investment happening."

That's thanks, in part, to Invest Buffalo Niagara, a not-for-profit organization focusing on bringing businesses to the eight counties of Western New York.

Kavanaugh was recently named one of the top 50 economic developers in North America by industry group Consultant Connect.

"It is a great honor, but honestly, it's a testament to the team," Kavanaugh said. "We have smart sophisticated marketers, really knowledgeable researchers, and a relentless business development team, so it's really their work that drove this recognition."

All of their work has really been paying off for our region.

"We have recruited more than 340 businesses to the area. That's $5.5 billion in investment, and over 43,000 jobs," Kavanaugh said.

MORE | Click here to learn more about some of Invest Buffalo Niagara's success stories.

Invest Buffalo Niagara has successfully recruited nine companies to our region in just the last year.

Kavanaugh says her team tailors its pitches for each company it approaches to try to bring to Western New York.

"We're very data driven, and we approach our storytelling based on assets that fit the needs of a certain type of company in a certain industry," Kavanaugh explained. "But, overarching, we really talk about the people here, the talent. The exceptional technical skills, the 21 colleges and universities we have here that feed our industries. We talk about the highly productive workforce, the low turnover, the loyalty of the employees here."

"We also are an incredibly affordable region. It's highly accessible," she added. "We have a tremendous asset with our power, both with the reliability and the affordability of our power, and of course, we really highlight our bi-national location."

Kavanaugh says all of the successful pitches to companies over the years have helped fuel more successes in our area.

"Some of our best referrals come from past wins. They also come from so many unique places in our community, and from many different ambassadors on behalf of the region," she said.

The Invest Buffalo Team is always working to capitalize on those opportunities for our area, but when it comes to talking about exactly which projects are in the pipeline now, Kavanaugh is tight lipped.

"Nothing that I can share with you now," she said, laughing. "Unfortunately, every project that we work with is confidential, we typically sign nondisclosure agreements, but we're really hoping for some good announcements later this fall and closer to the new year."

If you'd like to learn more about Invest Buffalo Niagara's work and the companies it has helped bring to our area, click here.

Jenna Kavanaugh joined the Weekend Wake Up team to talk about her recent recognition and her organization's successes. Watch the full interview below.

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