Finger Lakes Regional Prosperity Network (FLRPnet) and Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Tompkins County

Food Business Development Director

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Posted On: Tuesday, 12th June 2018
Category: Administrative
Location: Ithaca, NY
Job Type:
Full Time

Job Description:


Provide assessment, development, delivery, evaluation, research, and direction / management of educational programming that focuses on Food Business Management in the Southern Tier (Tompkins, Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben Counties), to include farm-based and factory-based food and beverage manufacturers.  This position will focus on strengthening an entrepreneurial ecosystem for the food sector, and developing a Finger Lakes regional identity with a reputation as a strongly supportive environment for food sector businesses, with an aim to expand to other counties in the region in future years.  Program goals will focus on assisting existing businesses to expand, and create good jobs and careers with increased income opportunities for low-income people, and increased business investment in this rural region.

This individual will be responsible for building relationships with producers/ processors, consultants, and other industry representatives, and will provide producers and the industry with frameworks to analyze production and management alternatives to maximize profit opportunities based on emerging best- management practices.


Required Qualifications:

  • Masters Degree in Business, Agriculture, Marketing, or related field.
  • 2 years relevant work experience in food manufacturing, food distribution, or related industry
  • Extensive knowledge and experience with emerging issues in the food processing industry and its regulatory environment.
  • Exceptional communication skills; a dynamic team leader, highly organized, motivated, self directed and capable of managing multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Ability to meet travel requirements associated with this position, including valid driver’s license and the use of non-company vehicle for independent travel when necessary.
  • Ability to meet acceptable background check standards.
  • Ability to work flexible hours which may include evenings and/or weekends, as appropriate. 


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in regulatory environment of food processing in the Northeast and /or New York State.
  • Seven years of progressive experience in the food processing industry involving successfully launching food-related enterprises and/ or growing sales and production of such enterprises to the multi-state level.
  • Understanding of development finance
  • Excellent professional writing and communication skills
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office



Program Assessment (20%): 

  • Visit successful local businesses to gather information about products, capacity, challenges, strategy and vision, in order to assess needs for program content.
  • Apply in depth subject matter knowledge to identify gaps and trends related to food business development.
  • Make recommendations for program offerings, enhancements, and improvements based on feedback and input from identified resources.
  • Participate in multidisciplinary team efforts to assess programs.
  • Serve as direct linkage to Cornell University faculty and program units for program assessment guidance.


Program Development (20%): 

  • Lead the collaboration between CCE Tompkins, Tompkins County Area Development (TCAD) and other outside partners, other Cooperative Extension associations, successful food/beverage entrepreneurs, and others to identify food sector business development resources and to develop programming based on needs and resources.
  • Apply high level in depth disciplinary subject matter knowledge to develop educational strategies.
  • Research, identify, and select resources for the program.
  • Interpret Association and University program direction to create educational programs and program materials to address food sector needs.
  • Participate in multidisciplinary program development alongside other CCE programs and community programs that provide similar education.
  • Serve as direct linkage to Cornell University faculty and collaborators such as TCAD for program development guidance.
  • Make changes to program based on evaluation outcomes.
  • Utilize an ongoing system of community involvement to the program development process, which expresses the demographics of the community.
  • Develop content for the online portal including an asset map and data base of food processing sector resources and information.
  • Create written program materials utilizing identified resources, such as brochures that can be given directly to food businesses and distributed through partner agencies and CCE Associations as handouts.


Program Delivery (10%): 

  • Serve as subject matter expert in Food Business Development for the Southern Tier.
  • Provide in depth business development educational support to small and start-up food processors who have demonstrated a willingness and potential to expand their businesses to serve multi-state regional and/or national markets.
  • Teach innovative programs with high level of discretion.
  • Represent the project in a variety of educational, business, community and governmental settings as part of program delivery.
  • Lead efforts in public relations such as speaking to relevant organizations about the program.


Program Evaluation (15%): 

  • Apply in-depth knowledge in program related topics to evaluate program effectiveness.
  • Design program evaluation framework. Interact with university faculty, TCAD and other collaborators, and program units for program evaluation guidance.
  • Interact with various constituencies to evaluate the program.
  • Analyze collected program evaluation data.
  • Make recommendations for improvement based on evaluations.
  • Interpret evaluation data to community members, funders, and other interested individuals.


Applied Research (15%): 

  • Conduct applied research in conjunction with Cornell as outlined in CCE program definition and standard.
  • Collaborate with Cornell, CCE program leadership and community organizations to design applied research framework.
  • Maintain connections with Cornell University for guidance on applied research.
  • Prepare written materials for research publications.
  • Ensure applied research is within the scope of the statewide Plan of Work.


Direction (5%): 

  • Identify foundation, government and corporate funding possibilities.
  • Provide input toward planning a unit budget and funding plan based on program and feasibility needs, including research of grant and other funding opportunities.
  • Assist in the design of a system to build relationships with new partners in order to develop effective strategies for program goals and initiatives.
  • Assist in developing shared Association vision alongside other programs and community groups who work in related areas.
  • Assist in developing a brand awareness surrounding food business development.
  • Assist in developing good marketing strategies in the generation of an appropriate public image.
  • Assist in grant writing and proposal development to support expansion of the program.
  • Develop a work program with outcomes focused on the mission of the program.
  • Establish information sharing and other collaborations with other organizations providing technical assistance and information to the food industry in the service area.


Management (5%): 

  • Manage program budgets and financial reporting activities.
  • Lead discussions with sponsors and create report systems based on funder requests.
  • Manage professional relationships with funders, collaborators, and individuals providing technical assistance for the program.
  • Lead discussions and meetings with potential funders.


Coordination/Operation (5%): 

  • Update content on website portal.
  • Collect program needs assessment data based on program needs.
  • Implement marketing plans based on developed strategies, including direct mail, e-mail, and press releases.
  • Prepare final reports.


Professional Improvement (5%): 

  • In cooperation with Supervisor and/or Executive Director, jointly develop and pursue a professional development plan as a means to increase competencies relative to position accountabilities and to address changes and Association priorities.
  • Collaborate in activities that are in general support of Cornell Cooperative Extension and performother duties as assigned.


Health and Safety (Applies to All Duties and Responsibilities): 

  • Support the Association to maintain a safe working environment.
  • Be familiar with and strive to follow any applicable federal, state, local regulations, Association health and safety policy/procedure/requirement and standard.
  • Act proactively to prevent accidents/injuries and communicate hazards to supervisors when identified.


EEO/EPO and Policy (Applies to All Duties and Responsibilities): 

  • Appreciate and embrace diversity in all interactions with clientele, staff, volunteers and the public.
  • Assist the Cornell Cooperative Extension system in reaching out to diverse audiences.
  • Aware of, and adheres to, established Cornell Cooperative Extension Association of Tompkins County policies, procedures and Cornell Cooperative Extension Skills for Success.
  • Contribute to the overall success of the organization by performing all assigned duties in a professional, timely and accurate manner.



Excellent benefits, based on eligibility, including:

  • Vacation, Sick and Personal time
  • Paid Holidays
  • NYS Health Insurance Program (including Dental Insurance)
  • NYS Retirement
  • Long-term Disability Insurance
  • Voluntary Tax Deferred Annuity
  • Voluntary Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Voluntary Group Universal Life Insurance
  • Voluntary Personal Accidental Insurance
  • Voluntary Legal Plan Insurance
  • Voluntary Long Term Care Insurance
  • Voluntary Auto and Homeowner’s Insurance
  • Voluntary Pet Insurance
  • Voluntary New York’s College Savings Program
  • Vision Access Program


How To Apply

A link to the full position description and application process is available at: The posting will remain open until we have a suitable pool of candidates. If you need assistance with the application process, please contact CCE Human Resources at 607-272-2292. Inquiries about the position are highly encouraged and may be directed to Martha Armstrong of FLRPnet and TCAD at (607) 273-0005 or


This posting will remain open until a suitable candidate is identified.


The Association may make reasonable accommodations to enable applicants to participate in the hiring process and employees to perform the essential functions of their job. If you require an accommodation so you may participate in the selection process you are encouraged to contact Cornell Cooperative Extension Administrative Systems at (607) 255-2117, or via email at:  


The successful candidate must pass criminal background, sex offender registry, and driver history checks.



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