Don Alexander, longtime head of economic development, to retire

Updated: Oct. 1, 2020 at 6:36 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Don Alexander, longtime Chief Executive Officer of the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency, will retire at the end of the year.

Alexander, 80, announced his retirement Thursday morning during a tour of a building on Arsenal Street in Watertown that the Watertown Family YMCA plans to use as an “aquatic and community center" - one of his last projects.

For the 16 years he’s led the JCIDA, Alexander has fought to grow business - and jobs - in Jefferson County.

“Doing economic development for the county of Jefferson has been one of the greatest experiences that I have had in my career, because of the people,” Alexander said.

“We have wonderful, wonderful people both in leadership and throughout the community and it has been a pleasure to work on their behalf.”

County leaders contacted Thursday praised Alexander’s leadership.

“When you lose an institution of knowledge of someone like him that has contributed to the growth of the community and to the betterment of the community it certainly creates a hole,” said Scott Gray, Chairman of the Jefferson County Legislature.

“I don’t believe there is anyone who has been more dedicated to our community over the last 40 years than Don Alexander,” said David Converse, Chairman of the JCIDA’s Board of Directors.

But even though he’s retiring, Alexander plans to continue to serve the county in some way.

“I don’t want to quit because I love what I do,” he said Thursday.

Before going into economic development, Alexander ran two local radio groups, WOTT/WNCQ and later, WTNY radio. For many years, he was the voice of 7 News as well, the voice heard on the recorded openings to newscasts.

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