New-look Business Development Conference to celebrate 20th year

BDC Top CutThe SUNY New Paltz chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA), recognized as a top chapter in the nation, announces the 20th annual Business Development Conference (BDC), a premier gathering of members of the Hudson Valley business community held on campus.

This year’s conference, scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Nov. 4 in the Student Union Building Multipurpose Room, will bring a new name and format to this long-standing School of Business tradition. The 20th annual BDC will offer talks by accomplished speakers discussing topics related to the food industry in the Hudson Valley.

“The Business Development Conference offers a level of engagement and networking that is usually found at professional conferences, not student events,” said Dean of the School of Business Kristin Backhaus. “The entire BDC experience, from planning to implementation to participation, is an outstanding opportunity for our AMA student leaders. I am delighted with the program that the AMA team has put together.”

The speakers at this year’s BDC include:

  • Larry Gottlieb, the CEO of the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation (HVEDC).
  • Nels Leader, vice president of Catskill Mountain-based Bread Alone Bakery.
  • Heidi Reale, head of Marketing for Price Chopper
  • Tom Urtz, head of Operations for Shop Rite
  • Michael Sansolo, food industry expert

“This year’s conference is special in the sense that it features speakers addressing a common theme: the food industry,” said Russell Zwanka, faculty advisor to the New Paltz AMA. “It gives our students a unique opportunity to engage with top industry leaders on ideas of how companies connect with their customers and how workers develop the skills needed to succeed in the workplace.”

For the student members of the New Paltz AMA, organizing the annual BDC presents challenges that demand the organizational skills and creative problem-solving that are highly sought-after by employers.

“Our work with the AMA is much more hands-on than what we do in the classroom setting,” said Kimberly Kallansrude, current president of the New Paltz AMA. “For our Business Development Conference we do a lot of planning: recruiting speakers, reserving rooms and coordinating food. It’s a lot of work behind the scenes, but seeing the event happen, having hundreds of people attend and having no glitches throughout the day, that’s exciting. I would never have experienced that if not through the AMA.”

Those interested in registering are encouraged to email the AMA at for more information. Cost of registration is $10 for students, $20 for non-students. Lunch is included in the registration fee.

About the SUNY New Paltz American Marketing Association chapter

The SUNY New Paltz AMA has grown to become the largest student club in the School of Business, with an average membership of about 80 students per semester. AMA membership gives students the opportunity to connect with regional business leaders, participate in professional development conferences and complete AMA Certificate Programs, which supplement their education and make them more attractive to prospective employers after graduation. Over the years, the chapter has completed dozens of market projects for regional organizations including Families of New Paltz and the New Paltz and Ulster County Chambers of Commerce. In 2015 the New Paltz AMA was named the eighth-ranked national chapter at the AMA International Collegiate Conference, from a field including AMAs from more than 350 U.S. colleges and universities.