|Subject: Appears slashing is still happening...(Niagara Gazette)
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Date Posted: Thursday, September 15, 12:40:34pm
Author Host/IP: cpe-74-70-140-50.nycap.res.rr.com/22.214.171.124
There’s been a shakeup at the top of an organization created by Niagara University to strengthen partnerships in the local tourism industry.
Pat Whalen, who has served as executive director of NU’s Global Tourism Institute since 2015, announced his retirement from the institute by social media post this week.
In addition, the Niagara Gazette has confirmed the departure of Roscoe Naguit, who served as assistant executive director under Whalen.
Before joining the tourism institute, Whalen was the chief operating officer of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc., for eight years. His biography on the NGTI website describes Whalen as a “serial entrepreneur” who has started more than 20 business “in a variety of industries.”
Whalen announced his retirement in a LinkedIn post, saying his last day with NGTI will be Friday. In the post, he resurrected what he described as an “old hashtag” — #whatshouldPatdonext — and said he thinks he still has “plenty left in the tank.” While he’s retiring from the institute, he expressed hope that he would not be retiring “from some other way to contribute to WNY.”
The institute got its start in 2014 with a $250,000 grant from the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board, a division of New York Power Authority. Power proceeds startup funds were used by the institute, which was then overseen by Eddie Friel, to establish an office inside the old Power City building on Old Falls Street and help cover personnel and other costs.
In 2016, the institute received another grant from the power proceeds board, this time for $500,000, to implement “initiatives built around research, skills development, technology and business incubation focus areas established under the first project.”
“NGTI’s objectives and tourism focus are of great importance to the region and a natural extension of Niagara University’s long-term strategy to lead in global tourism education and research,” the power proceeds board noted in a release announcing the second round of funding.
As the leader of NGTI, Whalen oversaw the $5 million redevelopment of three buildings at the corner of Seventh and Niagara streets downtown. The properties, which were reopened in 2019 following renovation by TM Montante, housed the institute’s business incubator, known as TReC, as well as office space and apartments.
The redevelopment project received more than $1 million of public funds, including a $750,000 state grant, a $100,000 National Grid grant and a $176,000 grant given to the institute under the Niagara Falls Target Zone Program, which is administered by the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency.
In response to questions, NU spokesperson Tom Burns issued a statement saying the university remains “deeply committed” to its work throughout the City of Niagara Falls.
“Niagara University is reviewing the current work of the NGTI and TReC to ensure a continuation of our existing programs and partnerships,” Burns wrote. “We will review our work within the framework of our commitment to Niagara Falls. We will move forward with a plan that continues our commitment to the city and the revitalization to the region.”
The statement noted that changes in leadership are “inevitable” while indicating that NU’s commitment to Niagara Falls is “unwavering.”
“Pat has been an asset not only to Niagara University, but also to the city of Niagara Falls. Since joining the NGTI in 2015 he has provided insight, guidance, and an innovative spirit to businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the region.”
Of Naguit, the statement said, “During his time with the university, he has built and strengthened our partnerships through the NGTI and TReC.”
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