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Looking Back 60 Years

What do billboards, industrial buildings and job creation all have in common? A business now known as TDC.

Marketing update from the 1994 annual report

Incorporated in 1961, first as New Industries of Clinton County, followed by Clinton County Area Development Corporation, later The Development Corporation, and now 60 years later, we are known simply as TDC. Our business has had a few different names over the decades, but our mission remains the same. To create and retain quality jobs and investments in our community. Our company is rooted in achieving economic growth through innovation and collaboration across our community.

Over the course of six decades, TDC has invested in hundreds of thousands of square feet of industrial space for businesses to grow and expand. Our current inventory of buildings hosts over 20 different businesses across a variety of industries. Our name has become synonymous with quality, and we are looking towards another 60 years of fostering economic growth in northern NY.


In the 1960’s, a handful of individuals in the business community recognized the need to have a coordinated effort to market the area to growing businesses. This would in turn help to create jobs in our community, helping to retain our population by providing opportunities for a career in their own backyard. The founders of our organization started their efforts by investing in marketing our region. From billboards to trade publications to arranging for visits with personalized tours of the area, founding board members worked tirelessly to draw attention to our community on the map.  Many of these initiatives were supported voluntarily and were often funded out of their personal bank accounts.

An aerial of Air Industrial Park & the Clinton County Airport circa 1990


After many conversations, it became apparent that our community lacked the infrastructure necessary to begin a business. The expense of constructing a building to start or move operations to Plattsburgh, was cost-prohibitive for a lot of businesses. TDC sought to find a solution to this problem and in doing so found a way to financially support TDC’s operations.  In 1973, TDC built its first industrial building, located on Military Turnpike. Since then, we’ve gone on to build, sell, acquire, many buildings to host a variety of businesses in the Plattsburgh region.


Lewis began his relationship with TDC in the early 1960’s. In 1962 Clyde became involved with the organization as corporate counsel. He and his law firm were heavily involved in working with local bank officers and county representatives to help secure funding for TDC’s early property investments. He provided guidance through much of our land acquisition, building development, and financial decisions. He would continue his role as corporate counsel until 1998 and was an active member of our board until 1999. Clyde was always very involved in TDC’s operations, but never served as chairperson of the board. Read more about Clyde Lewis

Gus Lapham, John Colver, Clyde Lewis


Francis (Gus) joined the organization in 1965 and remained a vital part of the organization until he tendered his resignation in May of 1990. He was driven by the sentiment to make our community a better place, including a growing concern of local youth leaving the area for employment in “greener pastures”. With this mission in mind, he set to work formulating a plan. His first notes are said to have been written on a restaurant napkin. From there he went on to serve our organization for 25 years, creating 4,000 jobs and part of the creation of over 2,000,000 square feet of industrial space. In 1991, TDC’s board of directors dedicated a road in Air Industrial Park in his honor, Gus Lapham Lane. Read more about Gus Lapham  


From 1980 to 2018 TDC was the administrator of Foreign-Trade Zone #54. A Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) is a designated area where imported materials are not assessed while in the zone. Companies established in these zones have free use of funds that would normally be paid to U.S. Customs while the goods are on the designated property. Companies also do not pay tariff on products exported to the zone. This was very advantageous to businesses working out of our parks.


TDC is led by a board of directors comprised of business women and men from across the county and spanning a variety of business disciplines. These dedicated individuals have been the cornerstone of our success, leading us through growth, expansion of our inventory of buildings and providing guidance through difficult times. We are grateful to all of our board members, past & present, especially our past board chairpersons for their support. Without the help of these individuals, TDC would not be the organization it is today.

Past presidents, chairpersons, and counsel attending 1990 recognition dinner
Air Industrial Park circa 2020


Our remarkable history has set our organization up for another 60 years of success. We are approaching the start of a new decade with a new name, a new look, and a new website to maintain our relevance in the global business community. We are busier than ever working through the implications of a global pandemic and supporting our tenants and the business community at large the best that we can. Just as our founders listened to the needs and challenges that businesses were facing, we also listen to our business community and find ways to connect them with solutions to their problems. It has always been our mission to create and retain jobs in our community and we’re looking forward to doing that for the next 60 years.

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