Catharine M. Young, a longtime champion of agriculture and economic development, was named Executive Director of the New York State Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell AgriTech in March 2019.
The Center of Excellence is a business hub that connects startups and established food, beverage and agriculture technology companies with the resources they need to succeed, including globally recognized Cornell research and innovation, business mentoring, public and private funding, business to-business partnerships, and other supply chain assets. Since Young took the helm in 2019, the Center of Excellence has helped member companies create nearly 300 jobs and realize more than $69.2 million in positive economic impacts.
Prior to her role at Cornell, Young served for 20 years in the New York State Legislature representing Western New York. She rose to a top leadership post in the state Senate and made history when she became the first woman to chair the Senate Finance Committee. As Finance Chair, Young was responsible for guiding budget and policy issues on behalf of the Senate and the people of New York State.
Young also served as Senate Agriculture Committee Chair and founded the Legislative Wine and Grape Caucus. She sponsored legislation to create the New York State Council on Food Policy, and led policy initiatives and economic growth projects that expanded the agricultural and food industries in the state.