State's top economic development official on Long Island to leave post on Sept. 5

Andrea Lohneiss, seen at a networking event in Andrea Lohneiss, seen at a networking event in Plainview on Oct. 1, 2013, has led Empire State Development's efforts in Nassau and Suffolk counties since 2008. Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

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New York State's top economic development official on Long Island will leave next month, officials said Friday.

Andrea Lohneiss, regional director for Empire State Development, plans to move to San Diego to be with her husband, who was recently transferred there by his employer, according to an email message that she sent to local business, labor and academic leaders.

Lohneiss, 55, has led Empire State Development's efforts in Nassau and Suffolk counties since 2008. Her last day is Sept. 5.

She provided her email message to Newsday through a spokesman, saying it spoke for her.

"With great regret, I want to inform you that I will be leaving my position," Lohneiss wrote to members of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council on Thursday night.

Referring to the council's work, she said, "the accomplishments of the Long Island region have been unprecedented and it is the result of great collaboration and participation by many."

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The council is composed of 20 local leaders appointed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in 2011 to devise a strategy for creating jobs and to recommend projects for state aid. Lohneiss has been the council's executive director.

She has played a key role in keeping on Long Island the headquarters of photography giant Canon U.S.A. and health foods provider Hain Celestial Group. She also has worked to revitalize downtowns in Patchogue, Riverhead and Wyandanch.

Council co-vice chairman Kevin Law, president of the Long Island Association business group, lauded Lohneiss. "She's done a terrific job," he said Friday. "She will be sorely missed."

Stuart Rabinowitz, council co-vice chairman and Hofstra University president, praised Lohneiss' work ethic and intelligence. "She gave Long Island a tremendous amount of credibility with the state," he said.

State Sen. Jack M. Martins (R-Mineola) agreed, saying, "She helped deliver significant investments in the Long Island's economy and never stopped working to bring new jobs and new opportunities."

Before joining Empire State Development, Lohneiss spent 20 years at Riverhead Town's Community Development Agency and at a regional planning agency in New Bern, North Carolina.

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