YOUNGSTOWN - Eric Planey, the Regional Chamber's point person in the growing oil and gas industry who also was key in laying groundwork for attracting jobs of the future, has resigned to take an international banking position in New York.
Since joining the Chamber in 2009, Planey, a Youngstown native, was instrumental in development of the regional TechBelt Initiative to unite economic development efforts from Pittsburgh to Cleveland, served as the Chamber's point person in economic growth stemming from the oil and gas industry and on international business attraction.
"It was an incredibly tough decision because I have a great love for the Valley," Planey said Thursday. He said he is proud of the fact that he played a role in the economic turnaround of the area and in helping to devote resources toward future job growth.
"We spent so many years trying to play catch-up that we didn't spend enough time thinking tactically about technology and jobs of tomorrow," he said.
As co-chair of the TechBelt, Planey said it was rewarding to be indirectly related to Youngstown attracting the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, or NAMII. Headquartered in Youngstown and managed by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, NAMII is a public-private pilot project transitioning additive manufacturing technology to mainstream usage.
"If the TechBelt didn't exist, then we wouldn't have been able to land NAMII," Planey said.
Other local projects in which Planey was involved included the $440 million Siemens Corp. donation in May of state-of-the-art product lifecycle management software and training to Youngstown State University's College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Planey said he is most proud of his involvement in that accomplishment, which he called a "game-changer."
"I felt I had direct hands on that one," he said. "We were working on that for almost two years. That one I am really proud of."
The "powerful and immense software" will place YSU at the global forefront of both industry and academia, and makes students more prepared, more capable, more marketable for their careers, then-YSU President Cynthia Anderson said.
Planey will leave his Chamber post following next month's third annual Chamber-sponsored Youngstown Ohio Utica & Natural Gas, or Y.O.U.N.G., 2013 conference and expo planned for Sept. 11 to 13 at the Covelli Center in Youngstown, another event that Planey has been very involved in planning and coordinating in each of its three years here.
"Y.O.U.N.G. is something I am really proud of also. It was Tom's idea to do it, but I am proud of how big it has become," Planey said, referring to Regional Chamber CEO and President Tom Humphries.
"Eric has been a significant asset to the Chamber over the past four years. His work in international business attraction, the TechBelt and helping to grow the oil and gas supply chain has helped strengthen our Mahoning Valley economy. We wish him well in his new position in New York," Humphries said.
Planey and his wife, Jakyung, will relocate to New York, where he will assume the position of vice president and client executive for the Leveraged Finance and Financial Sponsors Group for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.
There has been no word on future plans for Planey's Chamber position.