Christina Orsi joined the University at Buffalo in April 2015 as the associate vice president for economic development, bringing strong leadership skills and more than two decades of experience. She guides university-wide economic development efforts.
Orsi oversees the Office of Economic Development (OED), to help businesses and other community partners connect with UB researchers and resources, including workforce development training, entrepreneur support and access to programs like START-UP NY, to advance UB’s mission as an economic engine in Western New York and beyond. She works with principal investigators, business development executives and commercialization teams at UB’s New York State centers of excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences (CBLS), Materials Informatics (CMI) and the university's incubators and incubation programs, to facilitate commercialization of technologies invented by UB researchers and students. She also supervises the Western New York Incubator Network and UB's Center for Advanced Biomedical and Bioengineering Technology (UB CAT).
Prior to joining UB, she provided strategic direction for the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council and played an integral role in NYS State Governor Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion economic development plan. Both initiatives are pushing Western New York’s economy toward advanced manufacturing, clean technology, life sciences and other knowledge-based industries.
Her leadership as regional director of WNY Empire State Development was instrumental in attracting new businesses, encouraging entrepreneurial ventures, focusing job training and transforming the region by capitalizing on its assets. During her tenure at Empire State Development, she oversaw more than $1 billion in New York State financial assistance to leverage $8 billion in private investment and help create and retain more than 12,000 jobs. Notable projects include the launch of 43 North, the nation’s largest business plan competition, and Buffalo Manufacturing Works, a one-stop shop to help manufacturers grow through innovation, process improvement and workforce training.
Prior to Empire State Development, Orsi was part of the leadership team at Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, a regional business attraction development organization, where she helped companies including GEICO, Yahoo, Fed Ex Trade Networks, New Era Cap Company and Citicorp to invest and grow in Western New York.
Buffalo Business First has recognized Orsi as a “Woman of Influence” in the public policy category and, for the past four years, also has named her to its Power 250 list, an annual ranking of influential people who live and work in Western New York.
Orsi serves on the boards of 43 North and Catholic Charities. She holds an MS in public affairs and urban planning from the University at Buffalo and a BA in political science from Fredonia.