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ESD names Derek Lynch for long-open position as Government and Community Affairs Manager

Just before the Barclays Center opens, Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing Atlantic Yards  has finally hired a Government and Community Affairs Manager for the position long left open by the June 2011 departure of Forrest Taylor, once billed as an ombudsman but more of a disempowered facilitator.

The position was left open as neighbors endured a steady stream of untoward impacts--violations of construction and traffic protocols or procedures with too little safeguards. Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project, ESD, said in August 2011 that she hoped to hire someone soon and that that person could be more proactive and responsive in community engagement.

New hire

Today Hankin circulated a message:
This past Monday, Derek Lynch started at Empire State Development as the new Government and Community Affairs Manager for the Atlantic Yards Project. He will be working in Brooklyn helping to mitigate the impacts of the Atlantic Yards Project while ensuring that the local community benefits from the jobs and affordable housing created.

Over the last four years Derek has represented both government and the private sector on major development projects, interfacing with local communities and dealing with concerns such as gentrification and transparency. Previous to his time spent in development and policy, Derek worked as an education administrator for over ten years in Brooklyn and Queens. Derek is a native New Yorker, Boerum Hill resident, and a graduate of Brooklyn Friends High School. His ties to Brooklyn go back over 80 years when his grandparents emigrated from Barbados in the 1920s.

Derek looks forward to working with the Brooklyn community to make the Atlantic Yards Project a successful redevelopment that increases business growth, job creation, affordable housing, while improving communication and transparency within the local community. Derek will be reaching out to you in the coming weeks to learn more about your perspective on the Atlantic Yards Project, and to learn how the State can be helpful. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to him directly with your concerns and issues. His email and phone are and (646) 581-6092.

Best Regards,

Lynch worked previously at McKissack & McKissack in Washington, DC, and prior to that at the District of Columbia Mayor’s Office, Hankin explained in response to my follow-up query. (Updated and corrected 9/27: In October  2005, sibling company McKissack & McKissack, the nation's oldest minority-owned construction firm, got the contract to manage $182 million worth of work at the Vanderbilt Yard.)

As with the hiring of a Community Affairs Manager for the Barclays Center, it's obviously better that Lynch is on board before the arena opens, but there's also be an Atlantic Yards learning curve that can't be conquered in a week or three.


  1. Anonymous1:03 AM

    High turnover at ESD. People are fleeing due to poor leadership. Chief of Staff, Justin Ginsburg just bolted. Too many political hacks at this organization who do nothing but get big salaries. Derek is anon at the agency and was never introduced to other employees so we think he's a bit mystery. What Joe Chan does is also a bit mystery and he seems to be Ken Adam's lacky.

  2. Note that I am not able as of yet to confirm that Ginsburgh has left, nor do I have any inside portrait of ESD. So the comment above should be taken with a grain of salt.


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