Wednesday, April 6, 2016

New Executive Director Chosen for New York Wine and Grape Foundation

News from the New York Wine and Grape Foundation:

Samuel Filler will become the executive director of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation as of Jan. 1, said foundation board chair Trent Preszler.

He will replace outgoing President Jim Trezise, who has served in that position since the foundation was created over 30 years ago.

"When Jim announced his intention to step aside at the end of this year, the board began conducting an extensive search," Preszler said. "During that process, Mr. Filler clearly rose to the top and his appointment was approved unanimously by the board. 

"I am confident that his experience in economic development and his passion for the New York grape and wine industry make him a perfect fit for NYWGF at this particular moment in our history. I anticipate in the coming months and years we will see our vital organization rise to even greater heights," Preszler said.

Since 2012, Filler has been director of industry development for Empire State Development Corp. and directed the "One Stop Shop" and served as a vital liaison between state government and New York's wine, beer, spirits and cider industries. In that role, he administered $9 million in funding for craft beverage advertising, marketing, and tourism projects.

"Sam's direct experience with our industry in the regulatory, financial, and promotional arenas make him the ideal choice to propel the Foundation and industry forward into an even brighter future," said Trezise. "He is well-known and highly respected throughout the industry, and brings the energy and talent required to face the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead."

Filler also has worked in economic development and public service positions in New York City, Washington D.C., and California. He completed leadership training as part of the Empire State Fellows Program, and is  enrolled in Cornell University's LEAD NY program for leaders in the food, agriculture and natural resources industries.  

Filler has a bachelor's degree from Vassar College, and a master's of urban planning from New York University.

"I am honored to be selected as executive director, and excited about this opportunity," said Filler. "The New York Wine and Grape Foundation has an extraordinary history of catalyzing the transformation of an industry from an economic crisis into a major economic development engine. 

"I am excited to build on the solid foundation created by Jim Trezise and the staff of NYWGF, and I look forward to using my experience in economic development and the knowledge I have acquired about this industry to advance that success," Filler said.

Filler will remain at ESD for the rest of 2016. Trezise will remain president of NYWGF until March 31,  working closely with Filler to ensure a smooth transition into the future. 

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