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Background

An Urban Planner & Economic Development Strategist

Irwin L. Davis has been involved in the planning and economic development in the Central Upstate New YorkRegion for 40 years. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Cornell University, and completed his graduate studies in Urban Development and Public Administration at American University in Washington, DC. 

Davis is the past President and CEO of the Metropolitan Development Association of Syracuse and Central New York. The MDA, now called CenterState CEO, is Central New York's primary private-sector vehicle for the implementation of key development projects. Representing the area's business leadership, the CenterState CEO is instrumental in undertaking economic development projects are providing immediate access to the people who can make things happen. 

Davis joined the MDA as Assistant to the Executive Vice President in July, 1968 and became President and CEO in 1976. From May, 1970 to October 1971, he served as the site office director for the New York State Urban Development Corporations's 3000-acre new community, Raddison, located 12 miles from Syracuse, in the Town of Lysander.

Davis is a member of the Upstate Advisory Board of the Federal Reserve Board of New York. He is a Senior Associate for Economic Development at Cornell University. Davis also serves as a special consultant to the largest Dairy Cooperative in the US, Dairy Farmers of America. Davis is also Vice Chairman of the Mote marine laboratory advisory council.

Davis was a director on the following boards: The Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance; the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County, and the Manatee Economic Development Council. 

From 1976-2009, Davis was the Executive Director of the Downtown Committee of Syracuse Inc. which was the first Business Improvement District (B.I.D.) in New York State. In addition, he was the President and CEO of the University Hill Corporation from 1973-2009. The UHC represents all of the public and private institutions surrounding and including Syracuse University. The University Hill, a "town within a city," includes 15,000 employees, 21,000 students and 15,000 residents. The UHC is responsible for coordinating all planning and economic development activities in the most vibrant sector of the city of Syracuse.

In Washington, prior to his role with the MDA, Davis served as an Assistant to Dr. Royce Hanson, President of the Washington Center for Metropolitan Students, and a nationally-known political scientist. Davis was a consultant to the Commission of Human Resources, Washington, D.C. Upon his return to Syracuse, Davis became a Special Consultant to the Commissioner of Urban Improvement. 

​Davis served two terms as Chairman of the International Downtown Association, as organization of development professionals in 400 cities worldwide. IDA is the only international organization that directs its entire efforts to the revitalization of the central business districts. 

Davis served for a number of years as President of the New York State Urban Council. The Council is comprised of public and private-sector officials directly responsible for the implmentation of economic development and urban revitalization projects throughout New York State.

Davis is the former Chairperson of the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency. SIDA is a non-profit corporation created in 1979 to enhance the City's economic development capabilities and is empowered to finance the acquisition, construction or reconstruction of a manufacturing, warehousing, research, commercial, industrial, and pollution control projects within the city limits. 

​He is a former Vice-Chairman of the City of Syracuse Planning Commission. 

Davis was Co-Chairman of the New York Jobs Bond Act Initiative. He was Co-Chairmen of the New York State delegation to the White House Conference on National Growth & Economic Development. He is a former member of the New York State Board of Architecture

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