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Orange County Trust Company names Michael Gilfeather President and CEO.

MIDDLETOWN (March 26) – Orange County Trust Company, one of the oldest community banks in the Hudson Valley, named banking veteran Michael Gilfeather as its President and  Chief Executive Officer.   Gilfeather, who will also serve in the same positions with the bank’s holding company, will be based at Orange County Trust’s headquarters in Middletown, New York. 

Gilfeather brings nearly thirty-five years of banking experience to his new leadership position. Prior to joining Orange County Trust, Gilfeather was the Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Vice President of Hudson Valley Bank where he was directly responsible for the branch network, training & development, human resources and the bank’s trust department.  He was part of the team responsible for Hudson Valley Bank’s growth and transformation into a $2.6 billion, 28 branch banking operation.  Prior to joining Hudson Valley Bank in 2005, Gilfeather was with The Bank of New York for 20 years, where he was the Senior Manager for all retail banking in the borough of Manhattan. 

“Since our inception, Orange County Trust has been committed to growing and expanding our organization as the premier community bank focused on customer service in the Hudson Valley,” said Louis Heimbach, Chairman of Orange County Trust. “Michael’s background and leadership capabilities made him uniquely qualified for this position. We are very pleased to have him join the team.”  

“Orange County Trust has developed a significant presence in the Hudson Valley, now well beyond Orange County,” said Gilfeather. “I look forward to working with the existing management team, employees, customers and the community in my role of leading one of the region’s most well-regarded institutions.”   


O&R’S annual drive raises over $200,000 for United Way programs

PEARL RIVER (March 26) – Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. raised over $200,000 through its annual United Way fundraising drive this year.

O&R achieved this year’s United Way campaign results by combining a dynamic fund-raising drive partnership between the Company and its bargaining unit, IBEW Local 503, with a dollar-for-dollar, shareholder match to raise $200,160.

The O&R-IBEW Local 503 fund-raising drive raised $100,080 from among O&R’s current employees and its retirees. The Company matched that sum dollar-for-dollar with another $100,080 from the shareholder funds of Consolidated Edison, Inc., O&R’s parent company.

Since 1993, O&R and Local 503 have donated nearly $4 million in employee contributions and shareholder matches to the United Way.

 “Successful campaigns like this, generous contributions like this, say more than words can about the fine people who work here at O&R,” said O&R President and CEO Tim Cawley. “They are community-grounded, public-spirited, civic-minded and results-oriented. We are very proud of them for their hard work and their generous hearts.”

O&R employs approximately 1,100 people, almost all of whom also live in the community.

Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc., one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies.



Hometown Bank’s Amy Sherwood completes ICBA course

WALDEN (March 7) - Amy Sherwood, Vice President, Hometown Bank of the Hudson Valley has successfully completed the Certified Community Bank Compliance Officer Program, sponsored by the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA).

To earn certification, Sherwood, successfully completed four ICBA seminars: Developing a Compliance Program, Deposit Compliance, Lending Compliance, and Operations Compliance, and passed a comprehensive examination in each of these compliance areas.

Sherwood has recently assumed the Compliance position at the bank. She joined the Bank in 2001 and has over 20 years of banking experience.

Hometown Bank of the Hudson Valley, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hometown Bancorp Inc., headquartered in Walden maintains five full-service branches including Walden, Montgomery, Otisville, Newburgh, and Monroe, New York.  Visit


CH Energy Group, Inc. and Star Gas Partners close on sale of Griffith Energy Services, Inc.

POUGHKEEPSIE (March 5) - CH Energy Group, Inc, indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Fortis Inc., announced today it has completed the sale of subsidiary Griffith Energy Services, Inc. to Star Gas Partners, L.P.

Under the terms of the agreement, Star Gas acquired the equity of Griffith for US$69.9 million plus working capital.

Star Gas is the nation's largest retail distributor of home heating oil, based upon sales volume, operating throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, with sales of more than US$1.7 billion in fiscal year 2013.

Griffith is a leading energy services provider in the Mid-Atlantic region, distributing heating oil, motor fuels and propane and providing HVAC services to both residential and commercial customers. Griffith has operations in Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

“We wish Griffith future success as a part of the Star Gas organization,” said Christopher Capone, Chief Financial Officer of CH Energy Group.

CH Energy Group exited this business sector to focus on its core utility operations in New York. Lazard Middle Markets served as financial advisor, and Thompson Hine as legal advisor.

Additional information about Griffith and Star Gas can be found at and


Bank of Millbrook earns 5-Star rating from BauerFinancial

CORAL GABLES FL (March 5) - Bank of Millbrook, New York received a 5-Star Superior rating from from BauerFinancial, Inc., an independent bank and credit union rating and research firm,. This rating (based on September 30, 2013 financial data) indicates that Bank of Millbrook is one of the strongest banks in the nation; a dependable and financially sound community bank.

Bank of Millbrook has earned this highest 5-Star rating for 96 consecutive quarters. Having maintained a 5-Star rating for this length of time earns Bank of Millbrook an even more elite designation as a “Sustained Superiority Bank”. Only 5% of the nation’s banks have earned Bauer’s top rating for so long and with such consistency.

“While banks may look alike on the surface, community banks, like Bank of Millbrook, are community partners”, notes Karen Dorway, president of the rating firm. “By keeping deposits local and focusing on the success of the communities in which it does business, Bank of Millbrook has thrived where other banks have faltered.”

Since its inception in 1891, Bank of Millbrook has been committed to providing the best of banking to its community. Its four branch offices are conveniently located in Amenia, Millbrook, Pine Plains and Stanfordville. Bank of Millbrook ( is a member of the FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender.

BauerFinancial, Inc. has been reporting on and analyzing the performance of U.S. banks and credit unions since 1983.  No institution pays BauerFinancial to rate it, nor can any choose to be excluded. Consumers may obtain free star-ratings by visiting


Junior League of Orange County 10th annual A Night at the Races

MIDDLETOWN (February 25) – Join the Junior League of Orange County (JLOC) as they host their 10th Annual A Night at the Races on Friday, May 2nd at 6:00 pm at the newly renovated Villa Venezia, on 2257 Goshen Turnpike in Middletown, NY.  It will be an exciting evening of video horse racing with a veteran live caller and wide array of live and silent auction items.  In addition to the horse racing, this year we will also have casino betting tables. 

The JLOC is currently accepting sponsorships to this great event.  Sponsorship information can be found on our website or by calling the League Line at 845-344-8554.  There are several packages that offer our sponsors complementary tickets and special advertizing benefits depending on the sponsorship package purchased.

The evening will also include Silent Auction donated from our sponsors.   In the past items including golf escapes, spa packages, Hudson Valley Wine Trail tickets, and many other fabulous items.  Some of our biggest items have included a wine cooler stocked with wine, gift certificates hanging from a live tree, vacations and more! For more information on how to donate items to our silent auction, please go to our website at or call the League Line at 845-344-8554.

Tickets are $100 per person and $110 at the door and include hors d’oeuvres, dinner, dessert, beer, wine, soda and 10 Betting Bucks for the video horse racing.  Tickets will also be available for purchase online at, or by calling the League Line at 845-344-8554.  If additional betting bucks are purchased in advance of the event, the price will be 20 betting bucks for $10 dollars.  At the night of the event, they will be available for purchase at full price.

The Junior League of Orange County, NY, Inc. ( is part of an international organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.  All proceeds from this event directly benefit the programs of the Junior League of Orange County, NY and the training of its dedicated volunteers. 

L-R: Leaders of the JLOC: Kristy Horaz, Amanda Merli, Lori Anne Wolkoff, Erin Bratton, Heather Batelic, Tara Bliss,
Karen Brock and Diane Davis



Graphic design firm’s brand-building strategy helps set fabrication company shine in Winter Olympics

CROTON-ON-HUDSON February 13) - A client-customer relationship that began eight months ago has turned into the kind of success story that many companies dream of.

Hudson Valley Graphic Design, a firm based in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., has been instrumental in creating a unique brand for blackwalnut, a set fabrication company based in Rockland County that was responsible for the design and creation of two studio sets that are being used by NBC in their coverage of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Owner Janeen Violante, along with her team, met with blackwalnut last summer, planning a marketing strategy and brand program that would spotlight their unique talent and extreme dedication in an industry that is populated by a handful of firms in the United States.

“We explored various graphic design techniques, such as typography, bold shapes and the use of icons and images, and our colleagues at blackwalnut settled on a design that depicted their unique heritage while conveying a strong brand message,” Violante explains.

In fact, Violante says blackwalnut’s managing partner, Jacob Gendelman, was very deliberate in his branding and marketing strategy. “He was very aware of the power of branding and its role in catapulting a business from one level to the next. He was ready to implement this kind of process in his own company, even as they completed their work for NBC.”

The process of re-branding for blackwalnut was extensive, says Violante, who conducted several “brainstorming” sessions with six of the company’s key decision-makers. “We asked them many questions, recording their answers for use in understanding their intent and brand story. We believe that listening to our clients enables us to understand their needs and figure how best to service them.”

The end result of this comprehensive branding and marketing strategy is one that is uniquely suited to blackwalnut’s target audience, and to their history, says Violante. “Their icon, the blackwalnut tree, is of unique significance because it is based on their brand story.”

“Based on that anecdote, I wanted to tell the story of blackwalnut’s roots, and I felt that using the icon of a tree would depict a natural strength and bold presence for them,” Violante explains.

Hudson Valley Graphic Design, LLC, has been offering smart design solutions to the business communities of Westchester, Rockland and Orange counties since 1991. Established by Janeen Violante, HVGD is a creative team made up of talented designers, marketing experts and production technicians with over 25 year of national brand experience. The company’s strength lies in its strong, strategic and visionary thinking, creating brand identities and packaging that perform in today’s marketplace. For more information on HVGD, visit To see the company work for blackwalnut, visit


NYPA promotes emerging technologies to expand state’s energy economy

WHITE PLAINS (February 7) - The Energy Efficiency Innovation Collaborative (EE-INC), a public-private partnership of energy industry leaders spearheaded by the New York Power Authority (NYPA), is looking to improve energy efficiency in New York State buildings and spur economic growth in emerging technologies, bringing new and expanding businesses to the state.

“The goal of this collaborative is to spur the growth of the most promising energy-saving innovations, with a focus on those that match the energy needs of public buildings,” said Gil C. Quiniones, president and chief executive officer, NYPA. “Encouraging highly promising and expanding energy efficiency companies will also offer increased economic development benefits for New York State. In short, it means jobs.”

“Governor Cuomo has directed the Power Authority and other state entities to ensure that New York is the leader in developing and deploying the latest energy-efficiency products,” said Joanne M. Mahoney, vice chair and Onondaga County Executive, NYPA. “EE-INC will strive to accomplish these goals by uniting organizations that are well-versed in designing programs to expand the use of new energy efficiency technologies.”

NYPA, which has plans to finance more than $800 million in energy efficiency projects over the next several years in support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Build Smart NY initiative, is looking to incorporate emerging energy-saving technologies into the projects that it is undertaking at schools, colleges and universities, offices, health-care facilities and other public buildings throughout the state.

Through a Request for Information (RFI), EE-INC is seeking commercial, but not yet widely deployed, energy efficiency technologies that can be considered for use in these projects. The RFI process is currently open-ended, but it will have periodic cut-off dates to allow for proper review of the submitted information. The first cutoff is scheduled for March 25.

For more information on EE-INC and the RFI process, please go to


HVFCU Named among Best Companies in NYC

POUGHKEEPSIE (February 7) - For the fifth consecutive year, Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union (HVFCU) has been named one of the Best Companies to Work for in New York for 2014. The designation was awarded to HVFCU by the New York State Society for Human Resource Management and the Best Companies Group, an independent company managing the Best Places to Work programs on state, regional and national levels around the country.

The Best Companies to Work for in New York list is comprised of two groups: small/medium sized companies with 5 to 249 employees; and large sized companies employing 250 or more employees.  HVFCU has been named one of the 28 large sized Best Companies to Work for in New York.

Companies were evaluated on their workplace policies, practices, philosophies, systems and demographics.  Employees within the companies that were nominated for the award were asked to complete a survey in order to measure each entity’s employee experience. HVFCU will be formally recognized and honored at the Best Companies to Work for in New York awards dinner on May 6, 2014, at the Albany Marriott Hotel. 

Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union is a community-chartered credit union providing personal and commercial financial services to more than 281,000 members. For more information, visit


Cummins and Faranda sworn in

The Hudson Gateway Association of REALTORS and the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service welcome new presidents for 2014

WHITE PLAINS (January 20)  The Hudson Gateway Association of REALTORS® welcomed Diane Cummins, Branch Manager of Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Katonah, as its 2014 President, and J. Philip Faranda, owner and principal broker of J. Philip Real Estate LLC in Briarcliff Manor, as the President of its subsidiary, the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service. (HGMLS).

Cummins and Faranda, along with the executive officers and directors of HGAR and HGMLS were officially installed in their new positions at the Association’s Gala 2014, held recently at The View in Piermont.  More than 250 Realtors from Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Orange counties attended the event.

“We are so excited to have Diane and Phil as our new leaders for 2014,” said Richard Haggerty, HGAR CEO.  “Both of them are award-winning real estate professionals who have been in the business for many years, and we’re looking forward to seeing great things from both of them this year.”

Cummins has been a broker in the Westchester area for almost 30 years.  Prior to her real estate career, she spent 15 years as a theatrical agent in New York City representing clients such as Tom Cruise in film, TV and Broadway ventures. 

Cummins was recognized as the Putnam County Realtor of the Year in 2000, 2002 and 2005. She is the past president of the former Putnam Association of Realtors (serving for 4 years); 2006 Chairwoman of the New York State International Committee; and the NAR President’s Liaison to the Bulgarian Real Estate Association, from 2006 to 2011. 

Faranda founded his own firm in 2005, which today is one of the leading independent brokerages in Westchester.  Faranda has appeared on ABC World News and been a source for the New York Times, Businessweek, the Associated Press, MSNBC, The New York Post, Gannett, AOL, The Real Deal,,, Smart Money, MSN Money,, and various other media outlets. 

Cummins succeeds Katheryn DeClerck of BHG Rand in Warwick, the 2013 HGAR President, and Faranda takes over the reins from Russ Woolley of Wright Bros Real Estate Inc in Nyack, the 2013 HGMLS President.  DeClerck and Woolley will remain on the Executive Committees of HGAR and HGMLS respectively.


Dutchess Chamber announces 2014 Board of Directors

POUGHKEEPSIE (January 20) - The Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce announced its executive committee, five additions to the 2014 board of directors and two new associate board members.  

In 2014, Chairman Ori Brachfeld, owner of Dash Lock & Key Service, will lead the Chamber’s all-volunteer board.  His executive committee will consist of First Vice Chair Joe Bonura, Jr. of Bonura Hospitality Group, Second Vice Chair John Davies of Riverside Bank, Treasurer Vincent Ricotta from Mercedes-Benz of Wappingers Falls, Secretary Rita McPeck of KeyBank, Immediate Past Chair Jill Sammon of Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corp., and Of Counsel Stephen Diamond from the law firm of Stenger, Roberts, Davis and Diamond LLP.

With board members typically serving two-year teams, most of the body remains the same in 2014.  New additions include: Michael Dinizo of M&T Bank, Patrick Moore of Antalek & Moore Insurance, Cathy Secor of TD Bank, Mike Spinelli of The Brake Shop, and Denise Doring VanBuren of Central Hudson.  James Lentz of TEG Federal Credit Union and Daniel Lepore of LCS Companies have been added as associate board members.  To see the complete board, visit

Founded in 1907, the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce is committed to the growth and development of local businesses and the economy.  For more information about Chamber happenings, the complete events calendar, or to find out how they might best serve as an advocate for you and your business, please visit



Scott Krumpholc Named Residential Lender with Rhinebeck Bank

POUGHKEEPSIE (January 13) - Michael Quinn, President and CEO, announces the addition of Scott Krumpholc to the Residential Lending team at Rhinebeck Bank.  Scott previously held positions of Mortgage Renovation Specialist and Branch Manager for financial institutions in the southern Dutchess and Orange county areas.

Krumpholc holds a business management degree from Iona College.  He has been involved with local chambers of commerce and several other community organizations.  Scott has also been involved with fundraising for non-profit groups, and is active in HGAR, DCAR and WCR.  Scott resides in Cornwall, NY and looks forward to meeting with customers in order to serve their mortgage needs throughout Orange, Southern Dutchess and Putnam counties.

Krumpholc looks forward to helping homebuyers realize the American Dream of home ownership.  “I am very excited to be a part of Rhinebeck Bank with its strong and historically-rich past”, stated Krumpholc.

Since their incorporation in 1860, Rhinebeck Bank has been a community bank that believes in serving local neighborhoods.  Rhinebeck Bank has offices conveniently located in Dutchess and Ulster counties and can also be found on the web at


Food Bank of the Hudson Valley receives donation from Walden Savings Bank

MONTGOMERY (January 13) – Walden Savings Bank continues its support of local nonprofit organizations with this year’s Ornament Campaign donation of $3,750 to Food Bank of the Hudson Valley.

More details on our Community Page


Zott Construction donating $1 to the Chamber Foundation for every Facebook like they receive in January

POUGHKEEPSIE (January 6) - Zott Construction, a leader in the insurance restoration industry and proud member of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, is donating $1 to The Chamber Foundation Campaign for every Facebook page “like” they receive in January 2014.  There is no maximum donation, no registration to complete and no exchange of contact information – the simple act of clicking ‘Like’ at will generate $1 to benefit The Chamber Foundation’s scholarship and leadership programs.

“We think this represents a unique opportunity to promote a valuable service to the community and support a great cause at the same time,” said Chris Chichester, Account Manager at Zott Construction.  “Our page provides homeowners with information about avoiding common pitfalls that can lead to disaster and a plan of action should something unfortunate happen.” 

“We’re pleased that a community leader like Zott Construction believes in the mission of The Chamber Foundation and wants to support it,” said Nicholas Shannon, Executive Director of The Chamber Foundation.

Zott Construction assists insurance companies and their adjusters and agents in maximizing customer service to their policyholders when property claims arise.

The Chamber Foundation, Inc. was established in 2002 to promote education and training programs for area youth and professionals with the goal of enhancing the future of economic growth in the Hudson Valley region. The Foundation's mission is to provide educational opportunities for youth and the workforce, to build and strengthen personal and business capacity, develop leadership skills and foster a commitment to community service. The Campaign, which kicked off in July, has raised more than $25,000 to support the good work of The Chamber Foundation. For more information, visit


Hudson Heritage donation benefits Pediatric Department at ORMC

MIDDLETOWN (January 6) - Hudson Heritage Federal Credit Union (HHFCU) has donated $15,000 to Orange Regional Medical Center. The donation has helped establish a much-needed inpatient room in the Hospital’s Pediatric department.

Full details on our Health Page


Regional Economic Development and Government Links


The Chamber of Commerce of Orange County, Inc.:

City of Beacon:

City of Newburgh:

City of Port Jervis:

Council of Industry

Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation:

Dutchess County Government:

Empire State Development:

Greene County:

Hudson Valley International
Trade Association, Inc.: 

Hudson Valley Materials Exchange Community Warehouse

Hudson Valley World Trade Center
at Stewart New York International Airport:

Mid-Hudson Pattern for Progress:

Mid-Hudson Regional Information Center:

NYS Small Business Development Centers

Orange County Business Accelerator

Orange County Government:

Orange County Partnership:

Orange County Citizens' Foundation

Poughkeepsie Area
Chamber of Commerce

Putnam Economic Development Corporation:

Putnam County Government: 

Rockland Business Association

Rockland Economic Development Corporation

Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce

Sullivan County Government:

Sullivan County Partnership

Ulster County Development Corporation:

Ulster County Government:

Ulster County Workforce Development System

Westchester County Government:


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