Meet the GCEDC's Professional Staff
The leadership team at the Genesee County Economic Development Center has a plethora of business, project management, and government experience that they use to assist all types of businesses in Genesee County. From brand new start-ups to multi-billion dollar site selection clients, the GCEDC is ready to assist you make your business venture successful.
Steven G. Hyde, MBA
President and Chief Executive Officer
Steve Hyde is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), a regionally focused economic development / industrial development agency located in the “Batavia Micropolitan” community of Genesee County NY which serves as the connection of the Buffalo-Rochester Metro Corridor.
Steve has had extensive private sector experience in sales, business development, marketing, finance and management focused on building and growing enterprises in the technology, life science and medical device sectors. Notable positions include Vice President of Business and Technology Development for ResMed Corporation (a publicly traded medical device manufacturer), Executive Vice President of Business Development for NetSetGo (an information technology services firm) as well as several management positions in sales, marketing, finance and mergers & acquisitions at Xerox, IBM and NCR.
Steve has leveraged his private sector experience with a focus on driving significant economic development growth for his community and region following a tech based economic development approach to the market. A cornerstone of Steve’s efforts focuses on developing industry focused shovel-ready industrial parks, fostering high-tech oriented workforce solutions, enhancing the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem and placemaking activities related to downtown revitalization. He has facilitated strong public private partnerships enabling considerable regional economic growth.
Recently, Steve’s team completed securing funding and bringing a 250-acre site, The Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park (Ag-Park), to shovel-ready status. This site is New York State’s first shovel-ready site dedicated to the food and beverage industry. Working in collaboration with his regional and state economic development partners, the Ag- Park has attracted two multi-national yogurt plants, including the $206M Muller Quaker Dairy (MQD) facility and Alpina Foods. Notably, Muller Quaker Dairy received its building permits in 15 days. In 2017, HP Hood purchased the MQD plant, pledged an additional $200M in improvements and expansions, and will be manufacturing shelf stable fluid milk products in 2018. Steve has been successful in securing over $40 Million in funding for the Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (WNY STAMP), a 1,250 acre shovel-ready campus development project designed for global investment from the advanced manufacturing, semiconductor, photovoltaic, optics/photonics and bio-manufacturing sectors.
During his tenure as CEO of the GCEDC Steve has secured 449 project “wins”, secured private sector pledged capital investment of $1.3B and pledges of the creation of 4,240 jobs. His leadership has driven the Batavia Micropolitan Area (Genesee County) to be ranked by Site Selection Magazine as one of top 10 fastest growing Micropolitan’s nationally the last 18 years running. In recognition of efforts that focus on regionally impactful projects, Steve was honored by the New York State Economic Development Council (NYSEDC) as New York State’s Economic Developer of the year in 2012.
Steve earned his associates degree from Genesee Community College; his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and his MBA from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He sits on several boards including currently serving as on the boards of Invest Buffalo Niagara and Greater Rochester Enterprise, and previous served as chairman of the NYSEDC. Steve is married and resides in Batavia NY with his wife, JoAnn, and has two children, Robert and Carissa.
Mark Masse, CPA
Sr. VP of Operations
Mark Masse is a graduate of LeRoy High School and Nazareth College of Rochester with a degree in accounting, and is a certified public accountant in New York State.
Prior to joining the GCEDC, Mark had been with Freed, Maxick & Battaglia for fifteen years and specialized in small business issues that deal with corporations, sub-chapter S corporations, partnerships and individuals. Those issues range from the preparation of Federal and State income tax returns to compiled or reviewed financial statements. Mark also had extensive experience in working with low-income housing projects financed by HUD and the USDA, and auto dealerships. During his years in public accounting he has gained experience in a number of industries that include construction, manufacturing and agriculture.
Mark provides leadership and direct project management, working with the organization’s civil engineering firm and finance staff, leading the way in the development, infrastructure deployment, financing and management of the organization’s portfolio of real estate assets including the center’s 8 shovel-ready development sites as well as the overall operations and management of the 43,000 square foot Upstate MedTech Centre.
Mark is a 2002 graduate of the Leadership Genesee program and is the past chair of its funding, steering and curriculum committees as well as being a member of many design teams. Mark has successfully completed Leadership Genesee’s advanced facilitation skills training as well as participated as one of the instructors.
Mark has also served on the Economic Development committee and the Public Market committee for the Downtown Business Improvement District in Batavia, as well as serving as a Board member for the Batavia Development Corporation. Mark has served as past President and Treasurer of the board of directors for Genesee County CASA for Children, Inc. a not-for-profit entity. Mark's also has volunteered with the United Way, Junior Achievement, American Red Cross, and YWCA.
Chris Suozzi, MBA
VP of Business & Workforce Development
Christopher J. Suozzi has led the GCEDC's business development success since 2007. Chris came to the GCEDC with 20 years of corporate executive experience in supply chain and site selection management from world class companies including; United Parcel Service, American Tourister/Samsonite, Alberto Culver, Rich Products and Rosina Food Products. He holds an AS from Genesee Community College, BS in Industrial Engineering from Alfred University and an Executive MBA from Jacksonville University.
As Vice President of Business & Workforce Development, Chris leads business attraction, retention and expansion projects for the GCEDC's 2,000+ acres of shovel-ready sites, including the Western New York Science & Technology Advance Manufacturing Park (WNY STAMP).
At the Genesee Valley Agribusiness Park, these efforts have enabled businesses to receive site permits in 15 days and enabled over $500 million of capital investment and 1,000 jobs at the regional dairy hub.
Chris also leads a coalition of workforce development and training partners that deliver his Genesee F.A.S.T. programs that rapidly deploy talent and training to manufacturing companies growing or improving their workforce. As a youth career coach, "Coach Swazz" leads programs to excite students on STEM and skilled trades careers, giving advice to students in grades K-12 to properly align students with the local job opportunities in their backyard today and for future opportunities tomorrow in our shovel-ready sites.
Chris is the Founding Co-Chairman of GLOW With Your Hands, serves on the board of the Genesee County Business & Education Alliance, and coordinates projects that have funded modern mechatronics lab equipment and a welding simulator. Chris has also established the first Senior Job Fair where manufacturers recruited pre-trained and industry-focused students, established multiple active pre-apprenticeship bootcamps, and expanded the Finger Lakes Youth Apprenticeship Program to Genesee County.
Chris lives in Batavia with his wife, Lisa, and is an active member of Bills Mafia.
Lezlie Farrell, CPA
Chief Financial Officer
Lezlie Farrell is a graduate of LeRoy High School and SUNY Fredonia with a Bachelor’s degree in accounting. She is also a Certified Public Accountant in New York State.
Before joining the Genesee County Economic Development Center, Lezlie spent six years working in public accounting. She specialized in audits and internal control reviews of government and not-for-profit entities, with extensive experience performing Single Audits. Lezlie’s experience also includes preparation of individual, partnership and corporate tax returns.
As CFO, Lezlie is responsible for directing, coordinating, and maintaining the accounting system for the GCEDC. She oversees cash flow planning, budget preparation, internal controls, procurement policies, and portfolio management, as well as grant and loan funds.
Lezlie is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New York State Society of Public Accountants. She has volunteered for several tax seasons with VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance). Lezlie served as Treasurer for Sunshine Nursery School in LeRoy for 4 years. She resides in LeRoy with her husband Andy and two daughters.
Penny Kennett is a graduate of Pavilion High School, Class of 1993, of Genesee Community College with an associate’s degree in accounting, and D’Youville College in Buffalo with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management.
Penny manages operations, human resources, finances, administrational functions, and strategic planning for the organization. Penny is responsible for the organization and coordination of office operations, procedures, and resources to facilitate organizational effectiveness and efficiency. She also prepares monthly financial statements; cash management and monitoring; budget and audit preparation; financial compliance; oversees payable and receivable functions along with reconciliation of monthly bank statements, and invoicing.
She is responsible for supervision of the board meeting process ensuring that all open meetings rules and regulations are followed; facilitating IDA project and compliance reporting; oversees project insurance and local labor reporting; data management through the agencies Customer Relations Management (CRM) software.
She currently lives in Batavia.
Director of Marketing and Communications
Jim Krencik is a native of Niagara County and a graduate of SUNY Brockport with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science. Prior to joining the GCEDC in 2018, he worked in the news media across Western New York, with a focus on business, agriculture and education.
Jim oversees development and execution of the GCEDC’s communications and marketing strategy to support the continued growth and vitality of Genesee County’s communities, businesses and people.
Jim's focus as a volunteer has been on the development of youth leadership skills and the growth of arts & cultural based programs, including GLOW With Your Hands, Genesee County 4-H, and Leadership Genesee.
Jim is a graduate of Leadership Genesee's Class of 2020 and lives in the city of Batavia.
Lauren Casey is a graduate of Charlotte Catholic High School (Charlotte, NC) and John Carroll University (University Heights, OH) with a bachelor’s degree in Finance and a master’s degree in Business Administration.
Lauren joined the GCEDC in 2019, and as finance assistant is responsible for the agency’s accounts receivable and accounts payable functions, monthly bank reconciliations, and preparation of monthly financial statements.
She assists with grant draw requests and special projects and analysis as needed. She facilitates the organization of committee and board meetings by drafting agendas, distributing board materials to board members, tracking attendance and documenting minutes. She also assists in gathering and entering information into the Public Authorities Reporting Information System.
Lauren moved to Batavia in 2009 and joined the Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County Board of Directors in 2011, where she served as vice president and president of the Board during her 6-year tenure. She lives in Batavia with her husband and three children.
Krista Galdun is a 2001 graduate from Byron-Bergen High School and Genesee Community College with an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration.
Krista joined the GCEDC team in September of 2021 as the Operations Assistant. She is responsible for providing administrative support to the staff and CEO as needed by managing, organizing, scheduling, and maintaining information for the office.
She also assists with the preparation of Board Meeting Minutes, setting up meetings, and preparing board packets.
Krista is also the Treasurer for her local T.O.P.S group located in Byron, NY where she is responsible for the monthly deposits and balancing of the bank account. This is her third year in this role.
She currently resides in her hometown of Byron with her husband Roland and their two girls.