If Destination Bergen County, a campaign designed to drive tourism to the region, can be nearly as successful as the 1970’s “I Love New York” campaign was for New York City, the think tank behind the effort could exceed expectations.
The economic development program presented June 12 by members of the 2012 Bergen LEADS class during a public forum at Bergen Community College (BCC) opened the possibilities by presenting ideas that highlight the best Bergen County has to offer including historical sites, almost 9,000 acres of county parks, and a multitude of dining and shopping choices that make Bergen County a viable tourist destination.
Major events coming to Bergen County over the next year or two could also aid in the branding effort to lure in lucrative tourism revenue including the Ironman U.S. Championship triathlon on Aug 11, where all segments of the race will traverse Fort Lee, Formula One racing, and the 2014 Super Bowl at Met Life Stadium.
William “Pat” Schuber, former Bergen County Executive and Bergen LEADS seminar director said the Bergen LEADS leadership training program is based on a very simple premise – leadership makes a difference.
“It makes a difference in the success of our organizations, and our communities,” said Schuber. “And our future depends upon our ability to foster leadership at the non-profit level and the community level.”
Members of the class presented their ideas or “fruits of their labor”, which they elaborated on over the past year, in hopes of leaving a lasting legacy for the County and its residents.
They include Michael Wilenta of Wyckoff from Wilenta Carting in Secaucus, Rabbi Neil Tow from the Glen Rock Jewish Center, Rev. Dr. Matt Tittle of Oradell from the Central Unitarian Church in Paramus, Shirley Ericson-Seay of Upper Saddle River from the Orange and Rockland Utilities, and Michele Ogden of River Edge, the CHEER Program Director and Community Outreach Coordinator of Visiting Homemaker Home Health Aide Service of Bergen County in Hackensack.
Other members include Christopher Bennett of Englewood, a procurement officer for the NYC Dept. of Education, Division of Contracts and Purchasing, Nino Cammalleri of Haworth, a real estate attorney at Cole Schotz in Hackensack, and Larry Hlavenka, Jr. of Westfield, a public relations professional at BCC in Paramus.
More on the meeting later this week.