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New post puts leader at center of business growth

 
By ANDREA DECKERT

The office she works in may not be new to Julie Marshall, but the view is.
 
"I’ve never had an office window," she says.
 
Marshall, 47, now can enjoy the landscape around Geneseo from the window of her office as director of the Livingston County Development Group.
 
She started in the position in January after being appointed in December by the county Board of Supervisors. Marshall succeeds Patrick Rountree, who retired after a 24-year career with the county.
 
As head of the group, Marshall oversees two entities devoted to economic development: the Livingston County Development Office and the county’s industrial development agency. They have a total operating budget of some $700,000.
 
When she was appointed, Marshall did not have to move her things far; she had been deputy director since 2000. The new job, however, brings new responsibilities.
 
Marshall enthusiastically dived into the work, but she admits it is a position where priorities can quickly change.
 
"No two days are the same," Marshall says. "You think you know how your day will go in the morning, but you are really just one phone call or email away from something else."
 
Marshall grew up in Lockport, Niagara County, and received her associate degree in business administration from Niagara Community College in 1985. She then went to SUNY College at Geneseo, where she received a bachelor of science degree in psychology in 1987. She enjoyed the psychology courses and says they helped her on her path to a career in business.
 
After school, Marshall worked as an office manager in the Buffalo area for a couple of years before becoming Allegany County’s director of development in the early 1990s. She then came to Livingston County.
 
As deputy, Marshall focused on small business development and grant administration. Today, her role is broader.
 
"I do whatever it takes to get the companies what they need," she says.
 
The economic development office helps businesses in three areas: entrepreneurship, downtown revitalization and financing.
 
It has a staff of three: Marshall; Deputy Director Carolyn Baker-Scott, who previously worked in economic development for the city of Rochester; and Louise Wads-worth, the county’s downtown coordinator.
 
The county has diverse businesses, including large international companies. Kraft Foods Inc.’s Livingston County plant is the sole manufacturing plant for Cool Whip and has several product lines for Oscar Mayer Lunchables. The 56-acre plant employs more than 400 people.
 
There is also American Rock Salt LLC in Groveland, the largest salt mine in the Western Hemisphere, which employs up to 350 people.
 
The Livingston County Development Group’s office features products from the food companies that do business in the county. There is Once Again Nut Butter from Nunda, pasta from the Barilla America Inc. plant in Avon and a Cool Whip container from Kraft’s plant.
 
Food processing is big business in the county, Marshall says, and a coup was landing Barilla in 2007. The company opened a 300,000-square-foot pasta plant and warehouse that employs some 200 workers.
 
Small manufacturers-with 50 to 100 employees-are also a big part of Livingston County’s economic development, she notes.
 
One of Marshall’s duties is overseeing the IDA, which owns three business parks: the 80-acre Crossroads Commerce Park in Avon, the Dansville Business Park, which exceeds 100 acres, and the 20-acre Mt. Morris Greenway Industrial Park.
 
William Bacon, vice chairman of the Livingston County IDA, says he is excited to have Marshall on the job, noting her experience.
 
She also is a quick study, given her years as deputy director, he says, and Marshall is committed to helping the county’s businesses grow.
 
"Julie’s focus is on businesses here in the county and letting them know what we can do to help," Bacon says. "She lets them know how we can be a resource, which then helps to grow the local economy."
 
Direct, honest and open, Marshall describes herself as a supportive leader who provides guidance to staff members but does not micromanage.
 
"When you have a good team, you don’t need to," she says, adding that she would not ask anyone in her office to do something she would not do.

Getting settled
Marshall still is settling into her new digs, with family pictures mixed in with boxes that need to be unpacked. Getting everything in its place is something that will have to come later, she says.
 
"It’s more important to meet with the companies here than put my stuff away," she says.
 
She begins her days around 7:30 a.m. and has been constantly busy since she started the job.
 
"My calendar is always full," she says.
 
She meets with the Board of Supervisors, current and potential companies in the county, state leaders and members of the media. She often attends county board meetings to give presentations on projects. The variety is what she likes best about the job.
 
"It’s never the same day," she says.
 
What is challenging is finding enough time in the day to tackle all the projects that need to be done.
 
"I’m not a patient person," Marshall says. "There are things that can’t be accomplished as fast as I’d like because of the time factor."
 
Currently, Livingston County is part of a group of neighboring counties trying to obtain foreign trade zone status, which proponents believe will enable businesses to sell their goods faster, less expensively and more easily in a global market.
 
Livingston County also is heavily marketing its buy-local program and has made strides on its downtown revitalization programs. With the help of private funding and state grants, towns such as Mount Morris have undergone transformations and others, including Avon and Nunda, are about to begin improvements.
 
Downtown Development Coordinator Wadsworth has worked closely with Marshall for the past several years and says Marshall was instrumental in supporting the downtown revitalization program.
 
Wadsworth describes Marshall as organized, detail-oriented and personable.
 
"She works well with just about every personality," Wadsworth says.
 
Marshall is a supportive leader, she adds: "She is willing to listen to new ideas and is open to trying new things."
 
Marshall tries to leave the office by 5 p.m. so she can spend time with her family and take care of responsibilities at home. There, she says, her job is being a mom.
 
"There are groceries to buy at Wegmans, cooking, dusting, vacuuming and laundry," she says.
 
She also brings a tote full of work from the office to complete once her home obligations are met.
 
Even when Marshall is off the clock, she really is still on the job.
 
"I’m always the director of development, regardless of where I am," she says, and it is common for people to stop her at the store and ask work-related questions.
Off the job
Marshall lives in Geneseo. She and her husband, Alan, an engineer, have two children, Greg, 19, and Tom, 15.
 
When not working, her main focus in on her children.
 
"I’m a swim mom," she says, referring to the time she has spent at swimming events over the years.
 
She also enjoys reading and working in her yard, as well as visits to her husband’s family’s cottage in Olcott, Niagara County.
 
Professionally, Marshall has no plans for slowing down.
 
"I plan to be here for the long term," she says.

Julie Marshall
Position: Director, Livingston County Development Group
Age: 47
Education: AAS in business administration, Niagara Community College, 1985; B.S., psychology, SUNY College at Geneseo, 1987
Family: Husband Alan; sons Greg, 19, and Tom, 15
Residence: Geneseo, Livingston County
Activities: family, reading, gardening
Quote: "No two days are the same. You think you know how your day will go in the morning, but you are really just one phone call or email away from something else."

6/21/13 (c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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