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Hudson Valley Future Summit

Hudson Valley Future Summit
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Environment & Development

ODD COUPLES IN THE HUDSON VALLEY

People come to the Hudson Valley for its natural beauty, healthy living, good food. But housing is an issue, high taxes are an issue, and jobs remain scarce. Recently, the Valley has seen a boom in agriculture-related business, tech, and the arts. How do we find the right balance between preserving our natural wonders and developing the area to support its residents?

Rick Alfandre ’80, Architect, Alfandre Architecture

What made you decide to work and/or live in the Hudson Valley?

We live in the Hudson Valley because of the beauty and the natural environment.

What would you like the audience and your fellow attendees to know about you?

Rick Alfandre, AIA, LEED AP BD+C is a prolific architect who, over the past 25 years, has designed and built more than 250 projects ranging from multi-million dollar hotels and resorts to solar residences.   The founder and President of Alfandre Architecture, he is expert in the design of maximally energy-efficient, climactically responsive buildings that are solar-ready, and that include state of the art construction systems that maximize the health and well-being of their occupants  He launched EcoBuilders Inc. in 2009 to provide full design and build services to his clients.  EcoBuilders completed projects include office buildings, resort and hospitality facilities, high performance residences and historic restoration projects

 

Tim Allred, Project Manager, Williams Lake Project

What made you decide to work and/or live in the Hudson Valley?

My wife and I moved to Rosendale in order to be "on-the-ground" as our company pursued the redevelopment of the Williams Lake Hotel site as a sustainable resort community.  We initially lived in Rosendale (for 5 years) and currently live in the Town of Gardiner.  Though our decision was driven by my work, we love the area as a place to raise children for its quality of life, engaged community, outdoor recreation opportunities, and relative proximity to New York City.

What would you like the audience and your fellow attendees to know about you?

I am a social entrepreneur with a background in international community development (poverty reduction in Latin America) and real estate development (Hudson Valley).  Our investment group (Hudson River Valley Resorts) believes that real estate development can be done differently -- with a triple bottom line approach that generates profits while protecting natural resources and engaging the local community.  For years, our vision and values have stayed true: connecting with the community, conserving natural resources, honoring the land's history and designing the built environment to promote environmental sustainability and wellness. Over time, it has been rewarding to see society move towards these values: an increased focus on rail trails, wellness, local and organic food, sustainability.  I am thrilled to be part of this summit!

 

Joan Burroughs, John Burroughs Association

What made you decide to work and/or live in the Hudson Valley?

I was born into the this amazing Hudson River Valley through the DuBois family who were part of the founding of New Paltz.  But, my anchor is my great-grandfather and his cabin Slabsides, now owned by the John Burroughs Association.  I embrace the region today for its vitality.  What other region has a Viking ship stopping over, Washington's Headquarters, soul-soothing and accessible nature, Cole's view, rock climbing, farm bounty, non-stop history, film festival, art, craftsmen, diverse recreation, entrepreneurial vibe, and engaged residents and visitors? These are a few of the offerings that draw me in and what I promote about the region to others.

What would you like the audience and your fellow attendees to know about you?

After a career in finance, I found a path back to nature and my roots in the Hudson River/Catskill Region. Now I work to preserve and enhance local land for public enjoyment and promote engagement in nature and am currently part of a broad community-based team to develop the John Burroughs Black Creek Corridor Trail for biking, paddling and hiking. I have always been happiest on the water, or in the woods or garden, close to dirt.

 

Susan Hereth, Education Director for the Kingston YMCA Farm Project; Sustainability Faculty Fellow Internship Coordinator and Adjunct Lecturer, Geography Department, SUNY New Paltz.

What made you decide to work and/or live in the Hudson Valley?

I grew up in Ulster County and have always had a deep connection and sense of place here. Through environmental education and advocacy, I have been blessed to make a living while truly enjoying my work here in the Valley.  

What would you like the audience and your fellow attendees to know about you?

Susan Hereth is the education director for the Kingston YMCA Farm Project and internship coordinator and adjunct lecturer for the Geography Department at SUNY New Paltz. Susan is a member of the advisory board for Teaching the Hudson Valley, a certified Master Naturalist, and a beekeeper. A lifelong resident of the Hudson Valley, Hereth deeply believes in instilling a "sense of place" and connection to the natural world in her students.

 

Tobias Levey, Partner, wood 1a

What made you decide to work and/or live in the Hudson Valley?

The people, the beauty, the culture, the convenience.

What would you like the audience and your fellow attendees to know about you?

Tobias spends his time at home in New Paltz and at wood 1a, a company dedicated to the design and installation of cross laminated timber structures. Tobias studied at Duke University and at the Sorbonne, and was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Delhi, India. Prior to wood 1a, Tobias lived and worked in Moscow, Dubai, Riyadh, and Istanbul from 1997 to 2012.

 

Aaron Quint, Vice President Engineering, Agrilyst

What made you decide to work and/or live in the Hudson Valley?

I moved to the Hudson Valley and Kingston two-and-a-half years ago after living in Brooklyn for most of my life. After starting a family while trying to work 100 weeks for a startup, I realized I longed for more balance and more space. My wife, Kat Howard, is an artist as well and longed for the space and freedom to do her work. I took the opportunity to change my work schedule and work remotely so that we could purchase a home and relocate. Since then we've really embraced Kingston 110 percent. I've been very active in the local tech community, we've convinced a number of friends to move up here, and in my new position as VP of Engineering of Agrilyst, I've started to hire and try to grow a team in the Hudson Valley.

What would you like the audience and your fellow attendees to know about you?

Born and raised in Brooklyn but now a full-time Kingston resident, I spend my days working as VP of Engineering of Agrilyst, an analytics and management platform for indoor agriculture. I am also a co-founder of Catskills Conf, the region's first tech conference. On the side I'm also an avid cook and writer, and just published The Pizza Book.

 

Jessica Sillins, Owner Green 209, LLC

What made you decide to work and/or live in the Hudson Valley?

I have lived in New Paltz for almost 20 years. Once I discovered the Hudson Valley I have never left. There is a lure which is often unexplainable. The variety and complexity here makes for incredible access which invariably offers a treat for all of my senses. The proximity to NYC is also enormous as it creates a connection which I undeniably need in order to work and live here.

What would you like the audience and your fellow attendees to know about you?

I have been a resident of New Paltz for almost 20 years. It is a spectacular place to call home. I travel the world and am always so grateful to return here. Truly heaven on Earth.

 

Kevin Smith, Woodstock Land Conservancy

What made you decide to work and/or live in the Hudson Valley?

In 1985, after living in Europe for three years, my wife and I moved to Woodstock and the Hudson Valley because of what we saw as a unique combination for a semi-rural area: abundant natural resources; a dynamic, rich culture very connected to but distinct from New York City; and a wealth of talented people.

What would you like the audience and your fellow attendees to know about you?

I am interested in how our Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountain communities are creating more livable, healthy, sustainable communities and economies with significantly lower carbon footprints. I am an avid road and trail cyclist and a long-time member of a community-based land trust, which has been an early and strong supporter of the emergent county-wide and regional non-motorized trail networks. So a particular interest at the moment is the stunningly disruptive and increasing role an old invention – the lowly bicycle – is playing throughout the U.S. and globally in revolutionizing urban planning, transportation planning and personal mobility.

 

Steve Turk, President and CEO, Rocking Horse Ranch

What made you decide to work and/or live in the Hudson Valley?

I grew up working in the hospitality industry. In the late '70s it became readily apparent that the Sullivan County Catskill resorts were literally fading into history. I realized early on that the Hudson Valley was becoming a more relevant destination; natural scenic wonders, historic sites, agri-tourism and boutique villages all within close proximity to one of the country's largest demographics.

What would you like the audience and your fellow attendees to know about you?

Credibility and accountability are cornerstone ingredients to the formula of our success; there are no short cuts. The Hudson Valley is a relatively small community and word gets around quick. To be considered credible, a business leader must be accountable to his or her company. Turk Hospitality Group employs a staff of nearly 60. It is critical that leadership and management act responsibly and are considered principled business operators.