SARATOGA COUNTY -- Marty Vanags, president of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, has resigned from the organization effective immediately to pursue new opportunities, the organization announced on Wednesday.
Vice President Shelby Schneider, who has worked for Saratoga County economic development organizations for much of the last 20 years, will become interim president of the organization, which focuses on local economic development planning in the county.
Vanags was the first president of the Prosperity Partnership, which has been caught up in competition with the Saratoga Economic Development Corp. through its entire existence.
Vanags, who was a distinctive figure with his neatly trimmed white beard and characteristic bow-tie, came to Saratoga County in 2015 from a regional economic development position in Indianapolis, after the county conducted a nationwide search. The Board of Supervisors established the Prosperity Partnership in 2014 after a dispute with SEDC over how much control county supervisors would have over that organization.
For years, both SEDC and the Prosperity Partnership sought the mission of trying to attract new business development to the county. However, under an agreement reached last spring, the long-established SEDC pursues business development while the Partnership works with local communities on planning and readying themselves for development. Under the agreement, effective this year, the Partnership's county funding is being reduced from $775,000 to $680,000.
With Schneider overseeing the Partnership, its "mission moves forward uninterrupted," the Malta-based organization said in an announcement.
Vanags thanked the county and Prosperity board for its support. “I very much appreciate the opportunity to have made a positive contribution toward the economic growth and vitality of Saratoga County and its wonderful communities,” Vanags said. “I am confident the Saratoga Partnership board and staff will continue the momentum that has made the county one of the fastest-growing in the state.”
During his tenure, Vanags worked on a number of economic development projects, including the siting of Key Capture Energy, the state’s largest battery energy storage facility, in the Luther Forest Technology Campus; the transformation of the Proctors-Universal Preservation Hall in downtown Saratoga Springs into an art and cultural venue; the Land Remediation Inc.’s new $1.8 million corporate headquarters in Waterford; and the $60 million project that will transform a historic but long-vacant industrial building in the village of Victory into 186 workforce housing units.
Under the Next Wave initiative announced last year, the Partnership is working on local economic development plans with the towns of Galway, Malta and Moreau, and the village of Ballston Spa.
“We thank Marty for his service as the founding president of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, applaud his efforts to lay the foundation for future growth in Saratoga County, and wish him much success in his future endeavors,” said Kevin Hedley, chairman of the Saratoga Partnership Board of Directors. “We are heartened to know the organization is in good hands with Shelby, who is well respected among community and business leaders in Saratoga County, and will provide the organization with strong leadership moving forward.”
“I appreciate the support and confidence of the Saratoga Partnership board in taking on this role, and look forward to working closely with leaders in the public and private sectors to promote a unified, long-term growth strategy for economic development in Saratoga County,” Schneider said.