Hartz Plans to Keep BTI and Ithaca Sustainable
Greg Hartz, president and CEO of Tompkins Trust Company, wants to ensure that Ithaca remains a thriving community for years to come; a future that requires excellent employers like the Boyce Thompson Institute.
Hartz serves on the BTI Board of Directors where he advises and oversees the financial and administrative aspects of BTI. He also acts informally as an Ithaca representative, maintaining the strong connection between BTI and the local community.
“Boyce Thompson, in my opinion, is one of Tompkins County’s best-kept secrets in terms of being a high quality employer,” said Hartz, citing the large number of professional jobs that the institute provides. “From that standpoint, Boyce Thompson plays a tremendously important role [in the community].”
Hartz grew up in Ithaca and studied agricultural economics at Cornell University. Apart from short stints in New York City and Italy, Hartz has made Ithaca his home, spending the last 13 years working at Tompkins Trust Company.
Keeping Ithaca thriving is central to his volunteer work in the community and his position at Tompkins Trust Company. The bank is considering building a seven-story headquarters downtown, one block away from the Commons, to unify its 300 workers. The company was founded in Ithaca in 1836 and employees have since spread to six different offices downtown as well as numerous locations across four counties in Central New York. While the project is moving forward, the final decision hinges on the total cost of construction and whether they can find adequate parking for their employees.
“Our company has grown pretty substantially over the last 10 or 12 years and we’re very distributed, from a facilities standpoint,” said Hartz. “For the long-term future of this company, we need to make sure it’s a friendly place for our employees to work,” he said.
Hartz also chairs the board of Tompkins County Area Development, a non-profit organization that works to foster business development in the area, giving him an added interest in ensuring BTI’s long-term success.
He first became involved with BTI after playing on a hockey team with BTI President and goalie, David Stern. Ezra Cornell was the chair of the BTI board at the time, and together they approached Hartz to ask him to join. “So, knowing Ezra and knowing David, how could I say no?” he laughs.
Hartz is about to finish his third three-year term. He has enjoyed being involved with BTI’s world-class science and the connections that he has developed with the other board members.
“It’s also been a pleasure to see David operate and grow as the leader of Boyce Thompson,” said Hartz, “and most recently, to grow in his recognition across the plant science industry, as being not only a leader here at Boyce Thompson, but really, a leader in the field.”