Second career path means representing ‘best place on earth’ for former Darien Lake executive

Having traveled to 40 countries, Brian Cousins ​​seems to have a broad perspective when it comes to judging his place of residence.

And he considers Genesee County the best place to live.

“I think the strengths I see are a little bit like my personal life. You said you live in a place It’s the best climate It’s got the best areas Stay in one of the towns or villages in Batavia and feel the atmosphere of that village or a nearby but not overwhelming big city “Or you can go out into the countryside. Make sure you have plenty of space to relax. So we have four seasons that work very well.” … which is great because agriculture is clearly the number one industry in the county and people need to eat all the time.”

Given that Cousins ​​is the new president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, effective December 19, it is important that Cousins ​​cares about the uniqueness of the county. A position as director of accommodation — at Six Flags Darien Lake, the Corfu resident has steadily grown professionally from his four seasonal gigs before taking his first full-time job as an inside sales representative. Got to work.

Cousins ​​initially thought of doing water testing at Genesee Community College and then working as a microphone for a radio station, but after pursuing communications at Fredonia State University, he found a path that eventually led to a stable job. I found it. He then had a successful career at Lake Darien, where he lived comfortably for 25 years.

His meeting with his wife Sherry has another important factor. She also worked at Darien Lake.

“She worked there seasonally and has been working there seasonally ever since. So it was something that was dear to my heart. It always means something to you,” he said. “She was a Pembroke graduate. She had never worked in a park before I met her there. So it was kind of neat. still lives in Corfu.”

So why are you leaving now?

That’s an interesting question, he said. According to Cousins, he shares a similar career story with former President Tom Turnbull and Chris Suozzi of the county economic development center.

“When you stop at some point in your career or life, you look around and say, ‘Where have I been? What have I been doing? And what do I want to do with the rest of my work career?'” And I was … going to work at Darien Lake until I retired,” he said. “But if you stop and do a little introspection, you’ve lived in the county for most of my life, all of my career working-age life, and when I look around, you’ve worked hard. But no one in the county or any other place around it knows.”

So he reflected on his time at Leadership Genesee in 2018 and how he worked with many business people to make a difference and help people achieve what they set out to do. rice field. Cousins ​​was the kind of glass-half-full guy who saw the chamber vacancy as an opportunity for a whole new “second pass career” and did those things all over again.

“The Chamber of Commerce job ticked all these boxes, and that’s what really drew me to it,” he said.

Since their current lifestyle is 25 years old, he said he had a long conversation with Sherry.

His first two weeks meant learning everything “from soup to nuts” from interim president Tom Turnbull, and he said, “Basically, show me everything I need to know, high-level stuff.” ‘,” said Cousins.

“I’m really looking forward to preserving this place and following in his footsteps and making the organization as proud as he was when he was here,” said Cousins. It’s great, they just want to work hard, 4 out of 6 people here are new in the last year and people have that interest and industry knowledge that can show us the way. I’m here.”

While he doesn’t always describe himself as a “lucky one,” the 49-year-old has learned that he has limited control over life. things go.

“And if you get depressed about things you can’t control, you’ll never overcome the things you can control,” he said.

What he can control is observing how staff work together as an organization and drafting goals and to-do lists, including creating an “incredibly strong team.”

“First and foremost, learn what has been done before, see how it works, understand how it works, talk to the staff here, but also the board, and they Listen to what they want to achieve and see what they want to achieve.I like to understand what worked and what didn’t,” he said.

One of his philosophies is to have a vision, and he sees the Chamber of Commerce providing customer service and relevant and accurate information to everyone, whether they are from out of the county or from Canada. increase.

“For those who have a business challenge and want to talk to us about another resource, or what we can do for them, we want to be able to answer that call. We can work together as a team,” he said.

Cousins ​​believes in systems that systematically address issues and operational factors. That said, he also has an open door policy with communication as the tried and true tenet that is the “lifeblood” of any organization, he said.

There has been a change in one of his routines and that is his and his wife’s travel schedule. They usually have to get around Darien’s busy summers and can now make plans to enjoy Independence Day and other warm-weather holidays. can do.

“Open doors, smiles, outstretched hands,” he said, citing the chamber’s mission. “When companies call us, we do everything we can to promote, support and connect. It’s our job to figure out how to connect them.”

The cousins ​​filled the vacancy left by former president Eric Fix, who is now Batavia’s assistant city manager.

A photo of Brian Cousins ​​in his new Chamber of Commerce offices on Park Road, Batavia, by Howard Owens.

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