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HVEDC welcomes Luiz Aragon to Board of Directors

GOSHEN (January 11) – Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp. (HVEDC) welcomed Luiz Aragon, Development Commissioner with the City of New Rochelle, to its Board of Directors. In his role, Aragon oversees the City of New Rochelle’s Department of Development, which is currently in an ambitious downtown redevelopment initiative and launched its successful Ideally New Rochelle campaign.

New Rochelle, in Westchester County, is home to nearly 80,000 people according to July 2018 census data, placing it among the top 10 largest cities by population in New York State. Vibrant and diverse neighborhoods stretch from a bustling downtown, where new residential towers stand beside live/work lofts, turn-of-the-century apartment buildings and multi- and single-family homes.

With Luiz Aragon as its Development Commissioner, New Rochelle has experienced significant economic growth in recent years, including major revitalization efforts in its downtown and surrounding communities.

“I’m a long-time resident of HVEDC’s seven-county region and a New Rochelle resident today,” said Aragon. “I’ve been an advocate for economic development here for years. The recent growth we’ve experienced in New Rochelle – from new businesses to new properties to new neighbors – has been very exciting, and I look forward to working with this board to bring more of the same to our entire region.”

New Rochelle’s unprecedented redevelopment initiative was launched in 2015 with the signing of a Master Developer agreement with RXR Realty. Accelerated by a novel, fast-track zoning process and the use of generic environmental reviews, the program is on track to create 6,370 new housing units, more than two million square feet of new office space, and more than 12 million square feet of new construction, all within a compact, walkable, transit-rich, mixed-use downtown district. 

“The City of New Rochelle should be held up as a model of what a dynamic development initiative looks like,” said Mike Oates, President and CEO of HVEDC. “Luiz and his team have helped bring transformational change to the city, and I look forward to seeing how his creative and innovative ideas will support our own regional vision and constituents. We are very pleased to welcome him and New Rochelle to our Board.”

Aragon’s two decades of government service in New York City and upstate New York have included work in community development, economic development and revitalization, housing, planning, transportation and environmental management. Under his leadership, New Rochelle has repositioned itself as a leading transit-oriented development destination. Working with the City Council, Aragon has facilitated the rezoning of approximately 300 acres of the city’s downtown to accommodate more than 10 million square feet of development. Development and revitalization projects underway now can be reviewed at the website

HVEDC is the leading economic development agency for the seven-county region of Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland, Orange, Ulster and Sullivan counties.


HVEDC names new Board of Directors Executive Committee

GOSHEN (December 26) – Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp. (HVEDC) announced the selection of five Board Members to its Executive Committee.

Robert Levine, Esq., will continue to serve in his role as Board Chair. Levine is a founding member, Partner and Chairman of Corrigan, Baker & Levine, LLC. He practices in the areas of corporate and real estate law, representing both large and small entities. He has extensive experience counseling and advising clients on corporate formations, structuring and restructuring, business sales and acquisitions, operating agreements, shareholder agreements, employment and severance agreements, and general commercial litigation.

Josh Sommers has been appointed to the role of First Vice Chair. Sommers is President and CEO of Focus Media in Goshen, N.Y., one of the largest public relations and marketing firms in the state outside of Manhattan and recognized by PR Week as one of the fastest growing agencies in the nation in recent years. Under Sommers’ leadership, Focus Media has won more than 200 national awards for marketing in health care, tourism and economic development.

Erin Loosen has been appointed to the role of Second Vice Chair. Loosen handles Government Affairs and Public Policy for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. She currently has primary responsibility for Regeneron’s New York State government affairs, while also supporting the company’s public policy team located in Washington, D.C. Prior to her arrival at Regeneron, Loosen was the director of business development and marketing for C.W. Brown Inc.

Mark Kastner has been appointed to the role of Treasurer. Kastner is President and Principal with The Chazen Companies, a Poughkeepsie-based firm that is a regional leader in providing professional services including civil engineering, planning, environmental and safety consulting, code services, construction services, transportation planning, traffic engineering and more to clients in the public and private sectors. A licensed professional engineer himself, Kastner has more than 30 years of professional experience.

Anthony Gioffre III, has been appointed to the role of Secretary. Gioffre is a Partner at Cuddy and Feder LLP., which has offices in White Plains and Fishkill. He is the chairman of the firm’s Land Use, Zoning & Development Group. He practices in real estate development, zoning, environmental law and related litigation. Gioffre also serves as a member of the firm’s Management Committee.

“These five individuals have a collective finger on the pulse of what makes the Hudson Valley go and what makes it grow,” said Mike Oates, President and CEO of HVEDC. “They have all been involved with our organization for a number of years, and their contributions have helped shape the vision our organization and its constituents have shared, and the successes that have come of it. I look forward to continuing our long-standing relationships and working with them at the helm of our newly energized Board of Directors.”

HVEDC is the leading economic development agency for the seven-county region of Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland, Orange, Ulster and Sullivan counties.



HVEDC welcomes Marist College President David Yellen to Board of Directors

GOSHEN (December 20) – The Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp. (HVEDC) is pleased to announce the appointment of David Yellen, President of Marist College, to represent the institution on its Board of Directors.

Since being named fourth President of Marist College in 2016, David Yellen has already made a tremendous impact on the institution. He has announced plans to start a medical school in 2022, in partnership with regional health care provider Health Quest. Yellen has also overseen the acquisition of a Marist location in New York City, and the launch of the College’s first doctoral-level program. He has led the development of the institution’s new strategic plan and enhanced its communication and career services initiatives.

“In just over two years, David has spearheaded institutional initiatives and guided several campus development projects at Marist that have served to further raise Marist’s already high national and international profile,” said Mike Oates, President and CEO of HVEDC. “We enjoy a long-standing relationship with Marist that has been a tremendous benefit to our constituents and the entire Hudson Valley, and we look forward to strengthening that bond and doing even greater work with David as a member of our increasingly dynamic Board of Directors.”

Prior to his appointment at Marist, Yellen served as Dean and Professor of Law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law for 11 years, which under his leadership was recognized as one of the most innovative law schools in the country.

“As an institution we at Marist hold ‘sense of community’ high among our values. We understand the importance of providing sound guidance and resources that help shape people and places to be their best and give their best in our shared global community of the 21st century,” said Yellen. “I look forward to working with the HVEDC and representing our institution on its Board of Directors, which I believe shares those values and goals."

HVEDC is the leading economic development agency for the seven-county region of Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland, Orange, Ulster and Sullivan counties.


Freni (center), CH President and C.E.O., with Chamber members
Jerry Amato, left, and Ernie VanDeMark

Central Hudson recognized by New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce

NEW PALTZ (November 30) - Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation was recognized with the prestigious Excellence in Business Award by The New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce at its Business Recognition Awards ceremony this week. These annual awards honor outstanding local businesses and entrepreneurs by celebrating the awardees’ work and achievements and offer appreciation for their contributions to local business and quality of life.

“This award is truly an honor and a reflection of our longstanding relationship with the greater New Paltz community,” said Charles Freni, President and C.E.O., who accepted the award on behalf of Central Hudson.  “Our roots here stretch back to 1892 with the founding of the New Paltz Electric Light Company, which became part of the Central Hudson system in 1924. Today, we remain committed to New Paltz by delivering energy to businesses and residents, providing energy efficiency services and supporting the community through sponsorships and employee volunteerism.”

 “We’re happy to honor all that Central Hudson does for us and our entire community. You truly make a difference and this award is so well deserved,” said Jen Roe, Executive Director of the New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Central Hudson builds, operates and maintains the electric and natural gas infrastructure that powers the region’s economy, responds to emergencies, provides energy efficiency expertise. The utility’s more than 1,000 employees reside in the Mid-Hudson Valley, support their communities and are committed to providing the highest quality service at the lowest possible price.


Impact PR & Communications adds digital division

POUGHKEEPSIE (November 27) - Public relations and marketing firm Impact PR & Communications, Ltd. is growing. The award-winning Hudson Valley-based firm announced the addition of a digital communications division to address the increasing need for strategic digital solutions in the marketplace.

Impact’s new digital arm will offer a range of services to enhance and complement its work on the media relations and marketing side. Capabilities include SEO analysis, customized social media trainings, content creation (social media content calendars and key message development), social media management, social media audits and more. To help launch the division, Impact PR & Communications is hosting an intimate workshop, “Putting the Savvy in your Social Media.” The seminar costs $99 per person and includes breakfast, a presentation on social media best practices and 30 minutes of Q&A with the agency’s digital team. The session will take place on January 17, 2019 from 8:30 a.m. – 10 a.m. with a snow date of January 31, 2019. Seating is limited and advance registration is required.

“As we embark upon our fifth year in business and are observing how much our clients and the market at-large can benefit from smart digital strategies and solutions, adding a division dedicated to such practices seemed like a natural and necessary next step for our agency,” said Filomena Fanelli, CEO and founder of Impact PR & Communications.

To reserve a space in the upcoming seminar, call (845) 462-4979 or email



Regional Economic Development Links


Council of Industry

Dutchess County Local Development Corporation:

Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce

Empire State Development:

Mid-Hudson Pattern for Progress:

Mid-Hudson Regional Information Center:

NYS Small Business Development Centers

Orange County Business Accelerator

Orange County Partnership:

Orange County Citizens' Foundation

Putnam Economic Development Corporation:

Rockland Business Association

Rockland Economic Development Corporation

Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce

Sullivan County Partnership

Ulster County Development Corporation:


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