NCIDA chairman resigns from post

Paul Battson/contributorStephen Brady is shown in this 2017 file photo, standing at center with state Sen. Robert Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, at left, and state Assemblyman Angelo Morinello, R-Niagara Falls, at right, as he discussed an economic development initiative for Niagara Falls. Brady announced Thursday that he is stepping down as the chairman of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency's Board of Directors. 

LOCKPORT – The chairman of the board of directors for the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency announced Thursday that he is stepping away from the agency. 

Stephen Brady, who has served as chairman of the NCIDA board since 2016, tendered his resignation, effective Sept. 30.

Brady has served on the board continuously since 2004, except for a nine-month stint in which he temporarily stepped away. He succeeded Henry Sloma in the leadership role two years ago. 

"Fourteen years is a long time," Brady said. "I just thought it was time to step away."

Brady also recently retired from his role as a communications official at National Grid, a job he held for three decades. The former chairman said he is also contemplating the establishment of a public relations consulting firm, which played a part in his decision, as well. 

"I didn’t want there to be a hint of a potential conflict if someone I was representing went before IDA," Brady said, adding that his considerations regarding the work are only "preliminary."

A spokesman for the Niagara County Legislature announced Brady's departure in a prepared statement featuring praise from officials and colleagues. Susan Langdon, the IDA's executive director, offered Brady the "best of luck" in his future endeavors.

“Chairman Brady’s experience and leadership will truly be a loss," she said. 

Brady also commended IDA colleagues during a brief conversation Thursday. 

"I cannot speak highly enough of that staff," he said.

The legislature's statement touted $494 million in private capital investment during Brady's IDA tenure, including $54 million devoted to hotel developments in the City of Niagara Falls, described as one the region's "key industry sectors."

The statement also included praise from two Republican lawmakers from the City of North Tonawanda, including Legislator Richard Andres and Majority Leader Randy Bradt.

Andres said in the statement that finding a replacement for Brady will be a difficult task.

"We appreciated his tenacity toward all projects, big and small, as well as his ability to look at each project objectively and understand that each project could bring different value to a community," he said. "Because of his efforts, we now expect more than 100 new apartments on the river, and residents have been given back the waterfront."

Bradt also lauded Brady's "guidance and influence" concerning the transformation of the Wurlitzer Complex. 

“Thanks to Steve and the IDA Board, that entire corridor has breathed new life into North Tonawanda,” he said. “We can’t thank him enough for the work he’s done, and we wish him the best.”

IDA board members serve at the pleasure of the legislature. A replacement for Brady will be appointed by lawmakers, but until that time, board leadership duties will default to Mark Onessi, the current vice chairman. 

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