Samuel Filler will become the new Executive Director of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation beginning Jan. 1, 2017, replacing current President Jim Trezise, who has held the position since the foundation’s creation more than 30 years ago.
Trent Preszler, New York Wine & Grape Foundation Chairman of the Board, says Filler rose to the top of the list when the board began conducting its search for a new executive director. He was chosen unanimously.
“I am confident that his experience in economic development and his passion for the New York grape and wine industry make him a perfect fit for NYWGF at this particular moment in our history,” Preszler says. “I anticipate in the coming months and years we will see our vital organization rise to even greater heights.”
Filler has worked as Director of Industry Development for Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) since 2012. In his role, he served as a liaison between state government and the wine, beer, spirits, and cider industries, administering $9 million in funding for craft beverage marketing and tourism.
Prior to his tenure at ESD, Filler held a number of positions in economic development and public service in New York City, Washington D.C., and California. He completed leadership training as part of the Empire State Fellows Program and is currently enrolled in Cornell University’s LEAD NY program for leaders in the food, agriculture, and natural resources industries. He holds a BA from Vassar College and a Master of Urban Planning from New York University.
“Sam’s direct experience with our industry in the regulatory, financial, and promotional arenas make him the ideal choice to propel the foundation and industry forward into an even brighter future,” says Trezise. “He is well known and highly respected throughout the industry, and brings the energy and talent required to face the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”
Filler will remain at ESD for the rest of 2016 and will not officially assume the Executive Director position until Jan. 1. Trezise will remain President of NYWGF until March 31, working closely with Filler in order to ensure a smooth transition.
“I am honored to be selected as Executive Director, and excited about this opportunity,” Filler says. “The New York Wine & Grape Foundation has an extraordinary history of catalyzing the transformation of an industry from an economic crisis into a major economic development engine. I am excited to build on the solid foundation created by Jim Trezise and the staff of NYWGF, and I look forward to using my experience in economic development and the knowledge I have acquired about this industry to advance that success.”