Forness named president of Olean Business Development Corp. | News

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OLEAN – Bob Forness, who has extensive operations management experience in a variety of industries, has been named president and executive director of Olean Business Development Corp.

“Bob brings with him a wealth of experience improving the efficiency and success of multiple organizations,” said Jim Stitt, Chairman of the Board of Directors of OBDC, when announcing Forness’s appointment. “He is the consummate professional and the best choice to lead OBDC as we prepare to take on a variety of new challenges.”

Forness spent 13 years at Dresser-Rand/Siemens in Olean, as Director of Quality and Process Innovation. Most recently he was vice president of quality for Cobham Mission Systems in Orchard Park. He also served as a process innovation engineer for Olean General Hospital, where he streamlined several OGH systems to improve efficiency and patient satisfaction.

Additionally, he worked for 16 years in Phoenix, Arizona for Motorola and ON Semiconductor before returning to the area in 2004.

“I am honored to take on this role at OBDC,” said Forness. “OBDC has, is, and will continue to play an important role in the economic development of Downtown and all of Olean. We have an ambitious plan for 2022, and I look forward to helping lead efforts to continue building a better and more vibrant Olean.

The OBDC is the lead administrative agency for its current flagship project, the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). Already, four different storefronts have been redesigned and 16 more Union and State Street projects are underway.

OBDC is also in the planning stages, in partnership with SUNY Jamestown Community College and St. Bonaventure University Innovation Center, for the recently announced Siemens-funded Energy Supply Chain Startup Program.

Additionally, OBDC, in conjunction with the SBU Innovation Center and JCC, recently announced the winner of the initial cohort of the Laine Business Accelerator program.

“Programs like these are essential for Olean and for OBDC, but don’t represent all of what OBDC is,” Forness said. “We will continue to help start and accelerate businesses, as well as manage our building at 301 N. Union St., home to the Olean Area Chamber of Commerce, Cattaraugus Area Community Foundation and several other important companies.

Forness is a native of Allegany and a graduate of Alfred State College and the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Microelectronics Engineering.

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