The problems that exist in the world today cannot be       
solved by the level of thinking that created them.   
  
-Albert Einstein
.


Experience, Skills, & Achievements

Fred Balzac has had a multitude of professional and volunteer experiences—including qualifications that will relate directly to his role as Town Councilperson, should Town of Jay voters afford him the honor and opportunity to serve. He offers town residents a set of diverse skills and a record of notable achievements.

Fred will draw on his background to do his level best to represent the people of the Town of Jay honestly, openly, and fairly.

Experience

Professional

• 30 years of work experience, including:

   - Positions in book publishing as a copy writer, copy chief, and product manager with companies in New York City and White Plains , NY

   - Full-time work as a medical writer-editor since 1990—experience that has enabled Fred to work closely with some of the top doctors in the U.S. and internationally in a range of medical specialties and given him insight into the inner workings of successful major corporations such as Bayer and Pfizer

   - Writing and publishing numerous articles on topics ranging from medicine and health care to the arts and current regional/local issues in such magazines and newspapers as Adirondack Life, the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, and the Press-Republican  

   - Currently a regular contributor to the Lake Champlain Weekly

Volunteer Efforts

• Worked with Supervisor Tom Douglas and acting Supervisor Dot Madden, the Town Council, and a few other volunteers on creating and launching the Town of Jay website, including the first extensive Web listing of town businesses; helped maintain the site for its first 2 years

• Named by Supervisor Thomas O’Neill to the Essex County Occupancy Tax Committee in 2003 and served briefly as the committee’s Chairperson (as approved by the entire county Board of Supervisors)

• Served on the Jay Entertainment & Music Society (JEMS) board (2006-2007), where, as acting Treasurer in 2006, I helped keep the finances in order during a critical phase of the construction of the JEMS building; served as a JEMS volunteer for most of the past 15 years, helping manage (and occasionally emceeing) summer evening concerts on the Jay Village Green 

• Joined in the summer of 2009 the steering committee of the Tahawus Lodge Center (TLC) retail/arts/community space building project, being designed as an anchor of downtown Au Sable Forks

• Currently serving on the Essex County Democratic Committee representing the Town of Jay, voting district #1 (since Oct. 2008); initiated and chaired the county issues subcommittee

• Served as a Director on the Whiteface Mountain Regional Visitors Bureau/chamber of commerce board, 2003-2005

• Produced, directed, wrote, and/or appeared in North Country theatrical productions benefiting such organizations as JEMS, the Elizabethtown Community Hospital, the Brock Marvin medical fund, the Willsboro School Drama Club, and the Arts Council of the Northern Adirondacks (from about 2005 through as recently as May 2009)

• Served on Shared Decision-making Committee of Keene Central School (2008 - 2010) and named to the school district’s School Consolidation Task Force in Spring 2009

• As co-founder and co-chair of The Adirondack Democracy, a progressive issues-oriented advocacy group, produced a panel discussion on censorship, public libraries, and the First Amendment that included North Country Public Radio reporter Brian Mann (at Pendragon Theatre in Saranac Lake in Oct. 2008, following a performance of the play, “The Librarian,” which Fred directed)

• Participant, Olympic Trail Scenic Byway Local Advisory Committee (LAC), working with the Friends of the North Country , the Adirondack North Country Association, and a group of other citizen volunteers that included area businesspeople and property rights advocates (2002-2003)

Participant, Au Sable Valley Cultural Committee (late 1990s to mid-2000s), playing an active role in the formation of this volunteer group that, working with the Friends of the North Country, sought to obtain a building (such as the Hollywood Theatre in Au Sable Forks or the Old Methodist Church in Jay) and develop it into a community cultural center; the committee’s efforts helped spur the JEMS building project and may have generated interest in downtown Au Sable Forks that ultimately resulted in the reopening of the Hollywood as a movie theater and now the TLC project involving the Masonic Lodge

• As a member of the Ausable Valley Promotion Committee (late 1990s), a volunteer group that grew out of the Ausable Valley Downtown Revitalization project, worked with the Friends of the North Country and area residents (including John Sheldrake and Bev Hickey) on such projects as the development of a regional promotional brochure that served as a partial basis for the Town of Jay website

• Co-founder and facilitator of the Jay Council on Tourism (JCT) (mid-1990s to mid-2000s)

   - Working with the Town of Jay , represented the JTC in writing an in-depth proposal for developing regional tourism that was approved by the Town of Jay and endorsed by the Executive Director of the Lake Placid/ Essex County Visitors Bureau. The proposal anticipated the regional marketing plan later implemented by the Bureau, and the proposal also paved the way for the Town of Jay’s first-ever budget items earmarked for tourism, resulting in the town website and beautification program.

   - Other efforts by this ad hoc volunteer group include coop advertising for tourism-related businesses in Jay that ran in the Arts Council bulletin and local newspapers—work that also resulted in the creation of the “Loop” brochure promoting the Jay, Keene and Wilmington area.

• Participant, Ausable Valley Downtown Hamlet Revitalization project (mid-1990s): Initiated by the Friends of the North Country, this project resulted in a region-wide clean-up effort, including the area around the Jay Covered Bridge and swimming hole (at which members of Bridge and Beyond lent a hand), and the project eventually spun off the Ausable Valley Promotion Committee

• Active member, B&B Adirondack Collection (mid-1990s to mid-2000s), a group of more than a dozen individual owned lodging businesses dedicated to cooperatively promoting the region: Responsibilities included chairing the advertising committee, serving as a liaison to the Lake Placid/Essex County Visitors Bureau and answering the group referral toll-free phone line

• Co-owner, The Book & Blanket Bed & Breakfast, Jay , New York (1993-present)

Co-founder and president, Bridge and Beyond (1992-2000): Efforts by this grassroots citizens group, dedicated to preserving the historic 1857-58 Jay Covered Bridge and protecting the recreational river corridor upstream of it (and recipient of the Adirondack Council’s 1995 Community Action Award), resulted in million-dollar funding by the federal government (obtained by U.S. Rep. John McHugh) and restoration of the covered bridge (in 2006-7) as a pedestrian and bike crossing and enhancement of the park area surrounding it as accomplished by New York State, Essex County, and the Town of Jay—preserving the scenic beauty and unfettered recreational use of the Jay rapids and swimming hole. Duties, all unpaid, included:

   - Representing the group’s views at public meetings and in written communications

   - Lobbying officials and agencies at the federal, state, regional and local levels

   - Public relations (e.g., writing articles, press releases, and letters to the editor; serving as a group spokesperson in TV and radio interviews)

   - Fundraising

   - Initiating and maintaining the group at an organizational level (presiding at meetings, internal communications, maintaining the mailing list, etc.)

   - Implementing cooperative activities with other organizations such as the Residents Committee to Protect the Adirondacks and the New York State Covered Bridge Society

   - Initiating or participating in programs and activities to encourage architectural and historic preservation, in cooperation with such organizations as the NY State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) and Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), and local history (e.g., creation of the Jay Bicentennial blanket)

   - Research on wooden bridges, transportation and historic preservation issues, state and federal laws and regulations, etc.

Education

B.A. in English, Columbia College , Columbia University , New York , NY, 1983 (although he has no knowledge that their paths ever crossed, Fred graduated with the same class as Barack Obama!)

Skills

• Writing, editing, and communication skills

• Lobbying and community organizing

• Researching, grant writing, fundraising, and organizational work

• Project/product management and staff supervision

• Marketing, promotion, advertising, and public relations

• Website development

• Teaching and public speaking

Awards, Honors, & Notable Achievements

Co-recipient, with other contributors to the Lake Champlain Weekly, of the 2008 New York Press Association “Better Community Newspaper” Award for “Best Arts Coverage” (circulation Division 4)

• Awarded second prize in the Adirondack Center for Writing/North Country Public Radio One-Act Playwriting competition, 2004

• Contributed to and helped facilitate discussions and medical journal publications resulting in a redefinition of the medical condition, transient ischemic attack (commonly referred to as a “mini-stroke”)—work that has since been adopted in clinical trials and practice guidelines (2000-2004)

Co-author, with Hudson Valley folksinger and music historian Rich Bala, of the song “A Town Called Jay,” written and recorded in celebration of the town’s bicentennial in 1998

Co-recipient, as a member of Bridge and Beyond, of the Adirondack Council’s Community Action Award (1995), for efforts to save the historic 1857-8 Jay Covered Bridge and preserve the upstream recreational corridor and Jay Rapids/swimming hole

Winner, statewide “Critical Choices” essay contest, celebrating New York State ’s bicentennial (1988), for his essay advocating voting rights for the homeless

• Wrote two one-act plays that were produced Off-Off-Broadway in the East Village, New York City (1986)

Columbia College : Features Editor, Columbia Daily Spectator; Contributor, Columbian yearbook; Dean’s List; first produced play, Barnard College Theatre Company (1978)

• Attendee and subsequently a staff member, New Jersey Leadership Training Conference

Fair Lawn (NJ) Senior High School: Elected graduation Class Speaker by the class scholars, Class of ‘76; Student Council President and Vice President; National Honor Society

• Selected to attend the American Legion Boys’ State in NJ (1975); named state Secretary of Education by the attendee who was elected Governor  


VOTE for Fred Balzac for Town Councilperson * Keep the Town of Jay beautiful—
                                                                                     and affordable!