SACKETS HARBOR Seven weeks into a new economic development position for the village, the town of Hounsfield and the village Chamber of Commerce, Peter B. Bryant said hes adjusting to the jobs steep learning curve by soaking in information.
I feel like Ive been in more meetings than I can shake a stick at, Mr. Bryant said.
Charged with persuading other businesses to settle in the town and village, he said the role is somewhat of a reversal from his previous experience running and consulting for his own businesses.
Hopefully, I can have a perspective of coming into that, Mr. Bryant said.
His career has taken him from developing and marketing skiwear products in Vermont to dealing with suppliers and manufacturers throughout Asia, primarily in China.
His company, Wegotgear, supplied marketing orders from as small as glass lens cleaners to Budweiser for its 2003 Bud Bowl promotion to as large as crafting several million customized pins coinciding with the torch run leading up to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Mr. Bryant, a Fulton native, also has local work experience, including the operation of a ski clothing business in Watertown in the early 1980s, along with an online shopping fulfillment operation he ran briefly in the village in 2003. The 71-year-old also worked as a marketer for Sackets Harbor Brewing from 2009 to 2010.
Sitting in his office Tuesday morning, Mr. Bryant could be seen answering a phone call, quickly scribbling down notes on a legal pad. A dinner table repurposed as a desk held a small number of neatly stacked notepads and documents.
His space in the villages Watertown Savings Bank building was lit dimly by a small desk lamp and decorated with an aerial photo of the village, an archival map of Hounsfield and development plans for Madison Barracks.
Among the first things Mr. Bryant said he hoped to do in the position was craft a long-term strategy with town and village leaders for how marketing would proceed in the village.
I dont think theres ever been a master plan, in the sense of where you want to be five years down the road, or 40 years, Mr. Bryant said.
He also is looking to find available funding to help draw new business in fields such as health care.
Though he admitted he was still learning about how to work within the towns and villages bureaucracy, he said both municipalities have to work on making things more user-friendly for new businesses.
However, he said, the town and village benefit from having good schools, safe neighborhoods and affordable housing.
It makes it a whole lot easier to sell people something when the brand is good, Mr. Bryant said.
He also said the large active and retired military community create a high-quality work force attractive to companies, and that there is development funding within the town and village of more than $700,000 available to support new business.
His arrival coincides with the towns development of Water District 5, which should prompt new business in the town near Watertown International Airport. The airport has seen a large spike in traffic connected to increasing users from Fort Drum and Canada.
Theres a lot of opportunity here, Mr. Bryant said.
His hiring came after months of wrangling between the municipalities, which fund a substantial percentage of the position.
However, Mr. Bryant seemed confident residents looking at the common goal would put aside past disputes.
It seems that everybody, no matter if youre from the town or village, wants to see this place get better, Mr. Bryant said.