4:56pm

Wed September 14, 2011
Who's who

Mid-Hudson economic council: Who's in charge

The Innovation Trail is taking a look at the members of the governor's regional economic development councils.  Here's what we found.

Methodology

Our reporters brought back short biographies of the folks behind the councils, including campaign contributions in the 2010 gubernatorial election (courtesy of public filings at the State Board of Elections).

The New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), at our request, retrieved data about the state lobbying expenditures of council members' employers from a database that they created using Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) information.  The also retrieved the party enrollment of council members, where available, from a database that they compiled based on FOIL'ed information (that's accurate as of October of 2010). Bill Mahoney of NYPIRG was instrumental in pulling this information together.

See an error, or want to add more?  Let us know.

And without further ado, here's who's who in the Mid-Hudson region. 

Regional Co-Chairs

Dennis Murray has been the president of Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. since 1979. Marist is a private school with an enrollment of more than 5,000 students. Murray serves on a number of community boards including the Greenway Conservancy for the Hudson River Valley and the Roosevelt Institute. You can read his official bio on the school's website.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Registered Democrat

Leonard Schleifer MD, PhD, is the president and CEO of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, a Tarrytown N.Y.-based biotechnology company with approximately 1,800 employees. According to Schleifer's profile in Forbes, he founded the company in 1988. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that Schleifer previously spent four years as an assistant professor at the Cornell University Medical School in the Departments of Neurology and Neurobiology. In 2006, he was named as one of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News' annual top 20 Molecular Millionaires.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Unable to determine voter registration

General Members

Terri Ward is the president and CEO of the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce. According to Ms. Ward, her background includes nine years experience in event planning, advertising, public relations, communications and marketing. She has been the President/CEO of the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce in January of 2005 where she focuses on homegrown economic development efforts county-wide. The Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce was formed in 1974 by a coalition of business owners in response to the gas crisis. The chamber now has over 600 members.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Unable to determine voter registration

Ned Sullivan has served as the president of Scenic Hudson Inc. since 1999. The Poughkeepsie, N.Y.- based organization works to protect and restore the Hudson River and its waterfront. According to Sullivan's online bio, he spent four years working for Maine's Department of Environmental Protection. Before that he served as deputy commissioner for New York's Department of Environmental Conservation.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Total lobbying dollars spent in New York State by Scenic Hudson in 2010: $21,200
  • Unable to determine voter registration

Carol Fitzgerald is the president and CEO of Life Medical Technologies (LMT) Inc.,a Fishkill, N.Y.-based medical company. Last year, LMT received $2 million from Empire State Development to develop a breast cancer screening device. Fitzgerald previously ran her own consulting firm which worked with clients in the health and environmental sectors. According to her online bio on the company's website, Fitzgerald has served in local Board of Education positions and was a member of the New York State School Board Association. You can also read her LinkedIn profile, or follow her on Twitter.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Unable to determine voter registration

James Bernardo is the president and CEO of Candela Systems Corporation, which installs energy-efficient industrial lighting. The company is based in Somers, N.Y. and also has locations in Georgia and Puerto Rico. According to his bio on the company's website, Bernardo founded the company in 1994.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Unable to determine voter registration

Payal Malhotra is the vice president of marketing for Cafe Spice Inc. which is a New Windsor, N.Y. based ethnic food service company that markets its products throughout the Northeast, including to restaurants, college campuses, and high-end grocery chains like Whole Foods.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Unable to determine voter registration

Mary Rodrigues is the co-owner of A.J. Rodrigues Group Inc., a Port Chester, N.Y. based advertising and marketing firm. According to her LinkedIn profile, Rodrigues previously worked as an executive director for Estee Lauder.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Unable to determine voter registration

Tom Endres is the president, COO and co-founder of Continental Organics. The company is located in New Windsor, N.Y. and uses indoor aquaculture and hydroponics to sell fish, produce and fertilizer to the New York metropolitan region. Governor Cuomo recently announced that the company will receive a $6.2 million incentive package from Empire State Development to expand and open a new facility in Orange County. According to his bio on the company's website, Endres is a retired Army veteran who graduated from West Point and later served as Director of Student Operations for the school.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Unable to determine voter registration

Wiley Harrison is the founder and president of Business of Your Business LLC, a White Plains N.Y. accounting and tax service company. Harrison serves on numerous boards and community organizations, which he lists on his bio on the company's website, you can also read his LinkedIn profile here.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Unable to determine voter registration

Paul Ryan is the president of the Westchester/Putnam Central Labor Body (WPCLB), a labor organization based in Harrisson, N.Y. He also serves as the assistant business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local #3 (IBEW). His bio on the WPLCB website.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Unable to determine voter registration

Dr. Cliff Wood has been the president of SUNY Rockland Community College since 2004. The Suffern, N.Y. school is part of the State University of New York system and has an enrollment of over 11,000 students. Wood serves on a variety of community organizations, which he lists on his resume on the school's website.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Unable to determine voter registration

Jonathan Drapkin is the president and CEO of Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, which is a nonprofit organization in Newburgh, N.Y.  dedicated to planning, research, and advocacy to promote economic growth across a nine county region. Drapkin also serves on the advisory board of the SUNY New Paltz Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach’s (CRREO), where you can find his online bio.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Registered Democrat

Aleida Frederico serves as chair of the board for Commerce Bank.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  •  Total lobbying dollars spent in New York State by Commerce Bank in 2010: $235,004
  • Unable to determine voter registration

James Taylor III is the CEO of Taylor Biomass, LLC, which is a recycling center based in Montgomery, N.Y.  New York NOW host Matt Ryan, covered the company last March for the Innovation Trail when a federal loan to help it expand fell through.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Unable to determine voter registration

Ken Kleinpeter is the director of Farm and Facilities at Glynwood Farm, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting sustainable farming based in Cold Spring, N.Y.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Unable to determine voter registration

Robin Douglas is the CEO and founder of the African -American Chamber of Commerce for Westchester and Rockland counties. The organization works to promote community and the economic well-being of African-American businesses. Click here to see a video of Douglas discussing her work at a conference for African-American entrepreneurs.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Unable to determine voter registration

Vincent Cozzolino is the president and CEO of The Solar Energy Consortium, which is a nonprofit organization based in Kingston, N.Y. According to its website, the organization has 10 employees, and it works to promote the solar industry. Cozzolino's online bio notes that he has more than thirty years of experience as a physicist and electrical engineer with IBM.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Unable to determine voter registration

Marsha Gordon is the president and CEO of the Westchester Business Council (WBC). According to her online bio, Gordon has lead the organization since 2001. Three years ago, she was profiled in Westchester Magazine as one of the area's most influential residents.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Total lobbying dollars spent in New York State by WBC in 2010: $7,973
  • Unable to determine voter registration

Al Samuels is the president and CEO of the Rockland Business Association, a business advocacy organization with over 1,000 members.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Unable to determine voter registration

Maureen Halahan has served as the president and CEO of the Orange County Partnership since 2002. The Goshen, N.Y. -based  organization works to promote the area as a destination for business. According to Halahan's online bio, she has prior experience in workforce development, public relations, and running her own business.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Unable to determine voter registration

Elected Officials

The regional council also includes a number of local elected officials. The “electeds” serve in an ex-officio capacity and are considered non-voting members of the council.

Rob Astorino was elected as Westchester County executive in 2009. Before being elected to public office, Astorino's career was in radio.  According to his bio on the county website, he has served on the Westchester Business Council’s Government Action Committee, the Mount Pleasant Rotary, the North Castle Land Trust, and the Hudson Valley Greenway. He also served two terms as vice chairman of the Westchester County Board of Ethics.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Registered Republican

C. Scott Vanderhoef is currently serving his 5th term as Rockland County executive. He was first elected in 1993.  According to his bio on the county's website, "Vanderhoef has served as president of the New York State Association of County Executives in 2003.  He serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the NY State Association of Counties and is a member of the National Association of Counties’ Finance and Intergovernmental Affairs Steering Committee." In 2006, he ran for lieutenant governor with then-gubernatorial candidate John Faso.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Registered Republican

Edward Diana was re-elected for a third term as the executive of Orange County in 2009. According to his bio on the county's website, Diana has an extensive background in public office. Before his election to County Executive, Diana spent 12 years as Republican/Conservative County Legislator, and for six years held the position as County Majority Leader. He was also a councilman and deputy supervisor in the Town of Wallkill.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Registered Republican

William Steinhaus was first elected as Dutchess County Executive in 1991. According to his online bio, Steinhaus was first took public office in 1979 as Dutchess County Clerk and Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. Last March, he announced he will retire after completing his current term at the end of December, 2011.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Registered Republican

Paul Eldridge was appointed to serve as Putnam County executive in January 2011, after long-time Putnam County politician, Vincent Leibell III was elected as county executive,  but didn't take office after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice and tax charges. Eldridge will serve until a special election can be held this November. According to his online bio, Eldridge has been the Personnel Director for Putnam County for over 33 years, and is currently on a leave of absence from that position.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Unable to determine voter registration

Mike Hein is the Ulster County executive.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Registered Democrat

Jonathan Rouis has been the chairman of the Sullivan County Legislature since 2008. He is also a Certified Public Accountant and partner at Rouis and Company in Wurtsboro N.Y. Click here to see his resume on the Sullivan County website.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Registered Democrat

Philip Amicone is the mayor of the city of Yonkers, which is the fourth-largest city in the state with more than 200,000 residents. Amicone was elected to his second term as mayor in 2007. His background is as a professional engineer. Amicone previously served as Deputy Mayor of Yonkers. He also worked as the Commissioner of Buildings in White Plains N.Y. and worked for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection agency. His bio is on the city's website.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Registered Republican

Christopher P. St. Lawrence is the supervisor for the Town of Ramapo. According to his own website, St. Lawrence has served as the town's supervisor since 2000. He previously served two terms in the Rockland County legislature, and has been a teacher at the Ramapo Central School District for over 30 years.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Unable to determine voter registration

Sandy Leonard is the Town of Monroe Supervisor.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions:  $0
  • Unable to determine voter registration