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Commentary from:
Timothy McCausland
Managing Director, Private Banking, with Orange Bank and Trust Company

The local E-Week program was presented by Mid-Hudson Technical Societies,
in New Windsor on February 26

Central Hudson recognizes engineers during National Engineers Week

POUGHKEEPSIE (February 27) - Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation celebrates engineers and recognizes their many contributions during national Engineers Week, held each February. The National Society of Professional Engineers first launched Engineering Week in 1951 to show how engineers make a difference in the world, increase public dialogue about the need for engineers and bring engineering to life for students, educators, and parents.

Central Hudson supported Engineers Week by sponsoring and attending the local E-Week program presented by Mid-Hudson Technical Societies, this year held in New Windsor on February 26. More than 20 Central Hudson employees attended to learn about accomplishments in engineering, network with fellow engineers and provide encouragement to students and future engineers.

“The devices, systems and infrastructure we rely upon every day are developed and designed by engineers,” said Paul Haering, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Operations at Central Hudson. “As the engineering profession has evolved, their contributions have grown and opportunities for careers in engineering have increased, as well.”

Central Hudson’s engineers are leading the transition in the energy delivery systems of tomorrow. "Our engineers design the electric and gas delivery systems that serve our region, and work with our field crews and other employees to construct and implement critical infrastructure projects on behalf of our customers," said Haering. “Today, our engineers are working to modernize the local energy grid by improving efficiency and resilience of the energy delivery systems, integrating new technologies and enabling greater adoption of solar and other distribute renewable resources of energy. They are a part of a larger team of Central Hudson employees, implementing improvements to the way we serve our customers."  

Central Hudson also offers an internship program for college students, with opportunities in engineering as well as other fields. "Our program offers interns real-world assignments with the opportunity to make meaningful contributions, and many find careers with Central Hudson," said Haering.

For more on engineering for students, visit; and for more on Central Hudson's internship program, visit


Gold’s Gym opens at Galleria at Crystal Run

TOWN OF WALLKILL (February 12) - Thud, clank, squeak. Gold’s Gym came to life February 10 at the Galleria at Crystal Run with weights being racked and sneakers on the track. What was once the hardware and automotive departments of Sears is now full of machines of another kind.

Owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Don and Tammy Murphy – the owners and operators of Gold’s Gym Newburgh – Gold’s Gym Middletown features There’s even a children’s exercise area.

A smoothie bar will soon open near Gold’s mall-side entrance.

In the hours following its noon opening, Gold’s saw approximately 1,600 check-ins from members and dozens of visits from curious Galleria shoppers.

“The Galleria at Crystal Run is thrilled to welcome Gold’s Gym,” said Ethan Weber, marketing director for the Galleria at Crystal Run. “Now, mall goers who want to keep in shape will have more options than just walking laps around the Galleria!”


James Walker Jr. Named Poughkeepsie Branch Manager for Morgan Stanley

POUGHKEEPSIE (February 7) - Morgan Stanley announced that James Walker Jr., a Financial Advisor, Vice President, and Portfolio Management Director in the Firm’s Wealth management office in Poughkeepsie, has been promoted to Resident Manager.

James and his partner, Rita Gaffney, joined Morgan Stanley in 2009 from Merrill Lynch.

A member of Morgan Stanley’s Diversity Council, Walker has volunteered with a number of non-profit organizations in the Poughkeepsie community, including the United Way of Dutchess County, Vassar Brothers Medical Center Board of Trustees, and Catherine Street Community Center,

Walker  is a native of Ossining.  He attended Clark College in Atlanta Georgia.  James currently lives in Hopewell Junction, NY with his wife and two children.

“James is both a valued financial advisor to his clients and an active member of the Poughkeepsie community,” said Morgan Stanley Complex Manager Dean Wallace.  “As resident manager, he will continue to grow the Morgan Stanley brand in the region.”



HVEDC welcomes Philip Derasmo of TD Bank to Advisory Board

GOSHEN (January 18) – The Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation (HVEDC) announces the addition of Philip Derasmo, Regional Vice President of Commercial Lending in the Lower Hudson Valley for TD Bank, to its Advisory Board.

 “I am excited to join the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation Advisory Board and to contribute to this fantastic group of professionals in any way I can,” said Derasmo. “The work this organization does in advocating for businesses and professionals in the Hudson Valley region is truly exemplary and I feel fortunate to be a small part of it.”

Derasmo has been working with TD Bank in various capacities since 2003, beginning in the Manhattan North region and coming to the Lower Hudson Valley in 2013. He has worked on both the sales and credit side of the business for TD Bank. His current duties involve managing all of the commercial lending activity in the Hudson Valley for TD, predominately on the sales side, but, because of his experience, Derasmo also provides leadership and guidance to credit managers, credit analysts and commercial loan specialist teams that are responsible for the Hudson Valley.

“We are thrilled to welcome Philip to the HVEDC Advisory Board,” said Mike Oates, President and CEO of HVEDC. “It is extremely beneficial for us to have someone on the board with such an in-depth, first-hand knowledge of finance and lending, and who is so clearly invested in our work here in the Hudson Valley. We are excited for his tenure to begin.”


Zurlo and Garafalo

HGAR installs Ron Garafalo of John J. Lease Realtors in Middletown as its 2019 president

WHITE PLAINS (January 18) - The Hudson Gateway Association of REALTORS® (HGAR) welcomes Ron Garafalo, Sales Manager with John J. Lease Realtors in Middletown, as its 2019 President. Renee Zurlo, Regional Manager with BHG Rand Realty in Central Valley, was re-elected as the 2019 President of the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service (HGMLS). Zurlo has served as the HGMLS president for the past three years.

Garafalo and Zurlo, along with the executive officers and directors of HGAR and HGMLS, were officially installed in their new positions at the Falkirk Estate & Country Club in Central Valley on January 17.  More than 250 people from the lower Hudson Valley attended.

“I’m so excited to welcome Ron Garafalo as our new 2019 HGAR President and wish him much success,” said Richard Haggerty, HGAR CEO.  “Ron has been involved with our Association for many years and we’re looking forward to working with him in this new role in the coming year.  I’m also delighted to welcome back Renee Zurlo as our HGMLS president for the third time.”

Garafalo has enjoyed a real estate career for almost 20 years, following many successful years in corporate sales and management.  He quickly became a director with the former Orange County Association of REALTORS® (OCAR) and later, President of OCAR.  Garafalo was an owner of Real Estate United, in Middletown, before joining John J. Lease Realtors.

Today he manages an office with more than 40 agents and is also a New York State certified real estate instructor. He teaches classes for HGAR at its Goshen location, with courses including Ethics, Fair Housing and Licensing.

Zurlo has been in real estate for almost 25 years and currently oversees five BHG Rand offices and 250 agents in Orange County.  Like Garafalo, she was also an owner of Real Estate United in Middletown before joining BHG Rand.  Zurlo also serves on HGAR’s Professional Standards Committee and is a NYS Certified Real Estate Instructor.   In addition, Zurlo was honored as HGAR’s “Realtor of the Year” for 2018.



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.



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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