Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan Announces Ulster 2040 Working Group on Economic, Community and Workforce Development

Posted September 12, 2019

Ulster 2040 will work to evaluate Ulster’s economy and position the County to invest in our strengths to expand our economic success for all 

KINGSTON, N.Y. – County Executive Pat Ryan announced today the creation of a new economic development working group, Ulster 2040. The new working group is a part of County Executive Ryan’s “Big Five” initiative to grow and diversify our economy for all.  

The primary goal of Ulster 2040 is to align and focus the County’s economic, workforce and community development investments toward a set of targeted focus sectors, and to identify the necessary steps to ensure that all County residents will benefit from a growing and changing economy. The working group is made up of a diverse group of community leaders from throughout Ulster County, representing a range of industries, occupations, and interests. 

“Economic growth that helps all of our residents is a key priority of mine,” said Pat Ryan, Ulster County Executive. “Ulster 2040 is about our mission to align our County with our natural economic and social strengths, and to make the necessary investments to be successful in these key areas. The traditional approach to economic development alone will not drive the County’s success for the future. I am excited that so many leaders in our community share this vision and that they are committing themselves to turn this concept into a reality.” 

“I am looking forward to working with the Ulster 2040 Working Group and translating their strategic vision into an action plan for the Office of Economic Development,” said Lisa Berger, Incoming Director of Economic Development. “I am confident that this effort will shape a new direction for economic, community, and workforce development that can help all of our residents prosper. I want to thank County Executive Pat Ryan and all of the members of this exciting group for prioritizing our local economy.” 

“I am in complete agreement with the vision and direction of our new County Executive Patrick Ryan,” said Tony Marmo, President and CEO of Norman Staffing. “The idea of bringing together a cross section of people in Ulster County to discuss what our future should be in Ulster 2040 is an inspired one. County Executive Ryan is a visionary and a listener, who is attempting to prioritize our resources into an action oriented plan focused on creating the new jobs and the job sectors that will attract people to Ulster County. Combine that with the lifestyle that Ulster offers and we have a formula for success for the decades ahead.” 

“We commend Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan for this initiative in bringing together key stakeholders,” said Ward Todd, President of the Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce. We are a very diverse economy in Ulster County and with dramatic changes in past few years, it is vitally important that we develop a clear roadmap for our future.”  

Over the next nine months, the group will work to develop a strategic framework with goals and metrics to guide the County’s economic development efforts and to respond to short and long-term challenges and opportunities. Tim Weidemann, the County’s Innovation Director, will facilitate the group process. 

Ulster 2040 Working Group Members 

Cheryl Bowers 

Cheryl Bowers, President and CEO of Rondout Savings Bank, joined the mutual bank eighteen years ago. Her in-depth knowledge of the area and commercial banking experience was key to her role as a founding member of the bank’s business banking department.  Bowers has been integral part of Rondout Savings Bank’s executive team since 2008 and has taken her leadership role as the bank’s first woman President and CEO in 2018. She has a strong track record of supporting technology advancements and strengthening consumer and business relationships. 

Ashima Butler 

Ashima Butler serves as the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Ellenville Regional Hospital, where she has been a member of the Senior Leadership team since 2006. In her role, she provides leadership, management and vision necessary to ensure that the hospital systems are efficient and effective. In her tenure, Ellenville Regional Hospital has been recognized at the National, State and Regional level for Quality, Performance Improvement, Innovation and Patient Safety. Ms. Butler has been a speaker at various Regional, State and National conferences on topics ranging from Quality and Performance Improvement including Patient Safety with a special focus on Rural Health issues. 

Scott Dutton 

Scott Dutton is Founder of Dutton Architecture, an award-winning firm that is responsible for major adaptive re-use and new construction projects throughout Ulster County and beyond, including the recently renovated Fuller Shirt Building, which is a 68,000 SF adaptive re-use project in Midtown Kingston that is fully leased-up with a dozen creative design and professional businesses. Scott is a member of the American Institute of Architects and the NYS AIA Westchester/Mid-Hudson Chapter. Over the years, Scott has received numerous awards and citations for his service to the community, including a Congressional Certificate of Special Recognition for Community Service, a NYS Assembly Company of the Year award, and a YMCA of Kingston & Ulster County Leader of the Year award. 

Matt Igoe 

Matt Igoe has worked in agriculture and food production in the Hudson Valley and nationally for the past ten years, most recently with Creekstone Farms and Hudson Valley Foie Gras. He serves as a Councilperson for the Town of Rosendale and is a Director of the Rondout Valley Growers Association. Matt lives in Rosendale with his wife, the musician Andrea Maddox, and two children. Matt is a US Army veteran. 

Kale Kaposhilin 

Kale is the Chief Community Officer and co-founder of Moonfarmer, a creative digital studio specializing in handmade websites, applications, and art. Moonfarmer’s partners include Fortune 500 companies like United Health Group and AT&T as well as mission-driven non-profits like the National Young Farmer’s Coalition, Radio Kingston, and the Good Work Institute. Kale is also the principal and co-founder behind Evolving Media Network, where he has cultivated community in the Hudson Valley by aligning companies and people who are committed to supporting creativity, collaboration, and connection. EMN produces community hubs such as the 3,000+ strong Hudson Valley Tech Meetup, and Catskills Conf, a yearly international gathering of Technologists and Creators at a retreat in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Kale is constantly engaged with the community in the Hudson Valley as an organizer of the Kingston Stockade Football Club, the O+ Festival, and The Hoot, a twice-annual folk music festival. 

Arif Khan 

Arif Khan provides organizational and operational support to government agencies, private companies, and non-profits. He also owns and manages the Hoot Owl restaurant in southern Ulster County. He is a volunteer firefighter with the Shawangunk Valley Fire Department and mentors inmates enrolled in the Defy Ventures entrepreneurship program at the Wallkill Correctional Facility. Arif was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, with a focus on entrepreneurship, civic innovation and community resilience. While there, he received additional funding from Harvard for a community engagement project and won an innovation contest at MIT. Prior to the Loeb Fellowship, he coordinated partnerships for the United Nations to improve global disaster preparedness and response. Internationally, he has secured and managed millions of dollars of humanitarian aid, designed and managed refugee camps, and initiated relief projects that supported hundreds of thousands of people affected by natural disasters and conflicts in Kenya, Syria, Indonesia, Somalia, Yemen, Chad, Pakistan, Lebanon, Myanmar, and Bangladesh. 

Nels Leader 

Nels Leader is Vice President of Bread Alone Bakery, a trained Climate Leader for Al Gore's Climate Reality Project, and a co-owner of Woodstock Meats, Woodstock’s butcher, grocery, and deli since 1964. Nels is also a board member at Farm Ferments and the Woodstock Land Conservancy. He has lectured in the MBA in Sustainability program at Bard College. Nels has a BA in economics from Colby College and an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business. Earlier this year, Nels testified in front of the US Congress, where he was invited to share Bread Alone's story as a model of innovative small businesses throughout the nation. 

Chris Marx 

Christopher Marx is the SUNY Ulster Associate Vice President for Workforce, Economic Development and Community Partnerships. A graduate of Loyola College with a Master’s in Education, Chris has worked in the field of education and workforce development for over 20 years, with most of his work focused on Ulster County and the Hudson Valley region. Chris has served on numerous boards and committees including the Ulster County Workforce Development Board, the Hudson Valley Educational Consortium Executive Committee, the Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce Foundation, RUPCO and United Way of Ulster County where he served as a volunteer for many years. Chris has also completed numerous leadership development programs including the NeighborWorks America Excellence in Governance Program, and the Pattern For Progress Fellows Program. 

Stacey Rein 

Stacey Rein has been the President of the United Way of Ulster County since 1994. Under her leadership, United Way has developed several community services that address the needs of low-income Ulster County residents including United Way's Emergency and Homelessness Prevention Fund, Raising HOPE - a women's mentoring program, free tax preparation services for low-wage workers, a fuel oil donation program, and a child care fund.  She has played a leading role in The ALICE Project, a state report that tracks residents who are asset limited, income constrained, and employed.  She currently chairs the Ulster County Substance Abuse Prevention Board, is previous chair of the Ulster County Disaster Response of Recovery Committee, and most recently has joined the Leadership Committee of the Hudson Valley New York Caring Majority initiative which seeks to increase wages and benefits for home care workers. Prior to her work with the United Way of Ulster County, Ms. Rein was the Executive Director of the Dutchess County Community Action Agency, Director of the Dutchess County Community Development Block Grant Program, and Director of Youth Services for the YWCA in Manchester, NH. 

Arnaldo Sehwerert 

Arnaldo Sehwerert joined the Mid-Hudson SBDC in 2002 and has occupied the director’s position since 2004. After stints running his own consulting business, he worked in the brewing, distilling and advertising industries in various capacities. Arnaldo was President of both Venezuelan based DMS Rapp Collins Direct Marketing and Summa Corporate Communications serving the Latin American market. He currently serves as member of the SUNY Ulster Business Advisory Council, the Board of the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce and US Congressman Antonio Delgado’s Small Business Advisory Committee. He is also a past member of the Educational Committee of the Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Advisory Board of the SUNY New Paltz School of Business. He has a BS in Political Science from SUNY New Paltz, an MS in Management from SUNY Binghamton and a Ph.D. in Manpower Studies from the NYS School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. 

Greer Smith 

Greer Smith is Founder and President of TRANSART & Cultural Services, Inc., which seeks to advance and preserve the art, history and popular culture of people of African ancestry. Individual and community advancement through the arts and an appreciation of non-western aesthetics are hallmarks of her career. Most recently Smith/TRANSART was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts and Local Initiatives Support Corporation to serve as a member of its inaugural Local Leaders Institute on Creative Placemaking. 

Evelyn Wright  

Evelyn Wright is an economist, energy analyst and consultant on energy policy for local, state, and national governments and environmental organizations. She is the founder of Commonwealth Hudson Valley, promoting a more just, democratic, and sustainable economy in the Hudson Valley and beyond. She also serves on the board of the start-up Kingston Food Coop. Dr. Wright has taught economics and environmental policy at Franklin and Marshall College, Towson University, and The Washington Center. She has a PhD in Ecological Economics from Rensselaer.