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Vincent joins economic development team in Corry

Vincent joins economic development team in Corry

ERIE, Pa. -- Katrina Vincent, former CEO of DevelopErie, is back to doing familiar work at a new organization.

Vincent, who left DevelopErie in May after the Greater Erie Industrial Development Corp., one of its affiliates, filed for bankruptcy protection, has been hired as real estate director for the Corry Redevelopment Authority.
Meanwhile, her new boss, Rick Novotny, executive director of the both the Corry Redevelopment Authority and the Erie County Redevelopment Authority, is taking on some of the work that once fell under the DevelopErie umbrella.

Shortly after the bankruptcy filing April 25, Novotny said the board of the Erie County Redevelopment Authority authorized him to provide whatever services he could to keep the economic development work of GEIDC alive.
Novotny said there are no immediate plans for the Erie County Redevelopment Authority to take over the entire mission of DevelopErie.

"We are taking baby steps right now," Novotny said. "The DevelopErie umbrella consisted of different organizations. We are really focused on the GEIDC piece of it, which is the real estate development side."

He has, however, taken a role with another DevelopErie affiliate. Novotny said he is serving of chairman of a newly appointed board of the Enterprise Development Fund of Erie County, a nonprofit division of DevelopErie that operated a revolving loan and investing fund to provide early-stage financing to small and early-stage companies.

"We were able to reconstitute that organization that had been shelved," Novotny said. "It does have value. The mission of the organization is to fill the void that was created when GEIDC filed bankruptcy. When you needed to do a real estate deal in Erie County there was no nonprofit to handle it."

Novotny, whose organization has leased office space at Gannon University's Erie Technology Incubator, 901 State St., is hoping that the Erie County Redevelopment Authority can take on not just the duties, but also some of the assets of GEIDC.

Novotny said the group will be submitting a bid to purchase from bankruptcy some of GEIDC's assets, including some of the nine business and industrial parks that had been owned and operated by the organization.

It's important, Novotny said, to be able to find land for companies looking to build or expand in Erie County.
Vincent, who served for less than 18 months at the helm of DevelopErie, an organization saddled with millions in debt as a result of the failed Erie Inland Port project, said she was excited to start her new job last week.

"I did a lot of soul searching," she said. "I realized my heart and soul were in economic development. I am thankful Rick was able to make this work. I think we make a good team."

Jim Martin can be reached at 870-1668 or by email. Send email to jim.martin@timesnews.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ETNMartin.