PAFII Episode 13: Sarah Lee, CEO, Think Dutchess Alliance for Business

About Sarah Lee

Sarah Lee, CEO Think Dutchess Alliance for Business

Sarah Lee is the CEO of the Think Dutchess Alliance for Business and Executive Director of the Dutchess County Industrial Development Agency.

In these roles, Sarah is responsible for overall strategic planning, program development and delivery and budget preparation for the agencies. She also oversees administration resource management, organization linkages and staff supervision of the DCLDC and its departments, including the Business Attraction and Business Retention and Expansion.

Sarah Lee joined the former Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation in July of 2013 as a Business Development Specialist. Less than a year later, she became Director of Business Development. She previously held the position of Director of Business Development and Strategic Planning for Health Quest.

Sarah holds a Masters in Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and is a graduate of SUNY Albany.

Get in touch with Sarah: Email

About Think Dutchess Alliance for Business

Think Dutchess Alliance for Business is the premier one-stop shop for business development needs and activities in New York’s Dutchess County.

A business-led, nationally recognized economic development corporation, Think Dutchess Alliance for Business brings together 10 agencies to offer a single point of contact for a multitude of programs for entrepreneurs, businesses and site selectors:

  • Business Retention and Expansion
  • Business Attraction
  • Site Selection
  • Workforce Development
  • Financial counseling and deal structuring
  • State and local incentives
  • Permitting, zoning and advocacy
  • Commercial real estate listings and analytics
  • Technology and innovation
  • Strategic marketing and networking

Learn more about Think Dutchess: Website

Our Conversation

I’d been wanting to have someone from an economic development organization on the show for quite a while. Finally, the stars aligned and Sarah Lee, CEO of Think Dutchess was gracious enough to come on the show. I wanted to dig in a bit into what “economic development” really means and the impact organizations like this are having on our local economy in the Hudson Valley, and learn a bit more economic and market characteristics of this area, in general, such as the strongest industries, growing industries and so on. It turns out that we had much more to discuss than not so simple matters of economic development, as you’ll hear about Sarah’s experiences as a Korean immigrant growing up all over NY, NJ and PA. We had a wonderful conversation, and you’ll definitely want to stick around to hear about the awesome “Shark Tank”-style event they are hosting, coming up in September!

In our conversation, we discuss:

  • Life growing up in NY, NJ, and PA as a Korean immigrant
  • Strategic thinking 101 and how it can help
  • The top industries in our region
  • How to take advantage of an organization like Think Dutchess
  • Why businesses should think about starting and moving to the Hudson Valley
  • Unique opportunities for entrepreneurs
  • The most important first step to take if you’re thinking of starting a business
  • The upcoming pitch-style event in Poughkeepsie
  • Think Dutchess’ incubator-style program/contest
  • The best kept secret (or most underutilized, but highly valuable) service of Think Dutchess
  • And so much more!

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