Dr. Scott Ferguson Named as College’s First Chief Economic Development Officer

SUNY Cobleskill has proudly named Dr. Scott Ferguson as its Chief Economic Development Officer (CEDO). In this newly created role, Dr. Ferguson will lead efforts in driving economic development and opportunity, fostering innovation in the Mohawk Valley Region, and expanding the scope of the College’s Institute for Rural Vitality.

Dr. Ferguson most recently served as Executive Director of the Institute for Rural Vitality where he was instrumental in a number of new partnerships and initiatives, including the launch of the Farm & Food Business Incubator and Accelerator programs. Since taking the helm of the Institute in 2021, Dr. Ferguson has managed a grant portfolio of $4,851,201, of which $4,001,656 was secured under his leadership with an additional $1,125,500 in grant funding currently under review. The Institute has also awarded 1,748 microcredential badges since Spring 2021 and is a SUNY leader, ranked fourth for its 54 microcredential offerings with an 87 percent completion rate.

As CEDO, Dr. Ferguson will continue to oversee the Institute for Rural Vitality. Introduced in 2016 through a $749,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and a unique partnership with Albany Law School, the Institute addresses the region’s most pressing issues in economic development and education, from college access and career readiness to legal support for agricultural businesses. The Institute has provided support services to 620 farm and food businesses and helped launch more than 70 new products to the local and regional food market since 2018.

Dr. Darcy Medica, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at SUNY Cobleskill, said, “Dr. Ferguson’s exceptional leadership in positioning the Institute for Rural Vitality to become the recognized regional anchor for entrepreneurial development uniquely places him to head new economic growth strategies through the College and the Institute. His realized vision for cultivating partnerships and launching impactful programs has significantly contributed to the prosperity of our community’s business owners and producers, and these efforts will only expand through his leadership in this new role.”

Dr. Ferguson will also oversee the College’s many existing workforce development initiatives and explore new community and industry partnership opportunities. Initiatives happening now at SUNY Cobleskill include a partnership with the New York State Department of Transportation to train and upskill staff in the operation and maintenance of heavy equipment, meat processing credentialing courses at the campus’s USDA-certified processing facility and its New York State Ag & Markets-certified Dairy Processing Center.

With the College for more than 15 years, Dr. Ferguson also served as its inaugural Chief Diversity Officer in addition to his tenure as a professor in the Business Administration degree program. Outside of his work at SUNY Cobleskill, Dr. Ferguson is a successful entrepreneur and business management professional, leading small business start-ups and business functions for multinational Fortune 500 companies.




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