Announcing the Winners of the 2019 Business Excellence Awards

Winners showcase the behind-the-scenes heroes and leaders in our business community that leverage inclusion and diversified practices to achieve competitive advantage.

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – August 20, 2019 — Think Dutchess Alliance for Business is proud to announce the winners of the 2019 Business Excellence Awards. Each fall, the annual awards recognize key businesses and nonprofit organizations of all sizes and industries that are making a significant economic impact on Dutchess County.

This year’s awards celebration will be held on Thursday, October 24, 2019 at The Grandview in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.  A selection committee, comprised of Dutchess County business leaders, determined winners based on a variety of criteria which contribute to overall economic development including innovation, creativity, community engagement and total impact made in their respective industry.

“This year’s winners all shared common missions, strategies, and practices which support a diverse business climate and build strong company cultures that strengthen economic development,” says Sarah Lee, CEO of Think Dutchess. “It’s a great honor to recognize these individuals and companies that enhance our community and truly make a Dutchess a great place live and work.”

The premier business event of the year will honor the following Dutchess County businesses:

  • Innovator of the Year: AccessadoorFor Dana Jones the day-to-day challenges of accessing doors inspired revolutionary technology. Together with a fellow Dutchess Community College student, Accessadoor was born in 2018 to change decades-old technology and create access for millions of differently-abled people everywhere. Now entering the manufacturing stage, these young innovators are a testament to the valuable educational resources and talent that exists in the area;
  • Nonprofit of the Year: Dutchess SCORE No community can survive without a strong entrepreneurial and small business sector. Subsequently, no small business can succeed without the support of mentors who provide guidance and education when it’s needed the most. SCORE’s free advisory services, provided by an all-volunteer team, helps encourage a diverse small business base and support our overall economic vitality;
  • Small Business of the Year: Earth, Wind & Fuego Operating out of the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory, this gluten-free restaurant offers more than just tasty, healthy food. This woman-owned business provides innovative workforce re-entry solutions that work to include marginalized workforce groups and bring new skills to the local economy;
  • Large Business of the Year: S&O Construction Services, IncFor 32 years, locally owned S&O Construction Services, Inc. has been dedicated to generating and creating a qualified labor field in the trades through education, training and inclusion. Combined with a strong philanthropic commitment, S&O’s focus on fairness and giving back to its community has built a formula for success;
  • The Grand Award: iPark 84Since acquiring the former IBM East Fishkill Campus in 2018, the food hub at iPark 84 has already grown to include 8 significant tenants that support the county’s strong food and beverage industry and created opportunities to enhance the tech sector. Home to more than 2,700 employees on-site, the company seeks to develop the property further into the office of future attracting and retaining motivated and well-educated employees.
  • Special Recognition Award: Charles Daniels III– This year, Think Dutchess will also recognize Charles R. Daniels III of Rose & Kiernan in appreciation of his leadership in business, commitment to the community and his contribution to economic development in Dutchess County.

Tickets are on sale now for the October 24th event at The Grandview in Poughkeepsie.





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Why Investment Continues to Grow in Dutchess County, NY

Located in the Hudson Valley, Dutchess County is quickly becoming one of the top business locations in New York. As the northernmost suburb of New York City, Dutchess County offers an affordable alternative to New York City living that is attracting the attention of young talent and businesses alike.

If you’re wondering what makes Dutchess a prime location for people and companies here are just a few benefits to living and working here:

The Perfect Location




Businesses and residents all agree that the quality of life in Dutchess is unsurpassed. Just 70 minutes to Beacon via MetroNorth Rail Road, and with easy access to major interstates, Dutchess is perfectly positioned to enjoy relief from lower metro area costs and congestion.  Additionally, rich in history and outdoor amenities, Dutchess provides an unsurpassed quality of life with access to myriads of recreational activities.


A Diverse Economy

Diverse Job Opportunities in Dutchess County

Our growing and healthy economy provides a wide range of jobs in many different industries from manufacturing and tech to agriculture and hospitality. Supported by a robust tourism sector, small businesses thrive in our revitalized cities and growing towns proving the strength of our entrepreneurial ecosystem. Local growth is equally important to outside investment in creating our vibrant communities.

A Strong Support Network

Build your Dutchess County Workforce

Think Dutchess’ unique ability to connect small and large businesses to the services and support they need, helps companies of all sizes to succeed. Our partners provide access and resources to the business development, workforce development, education opportunities and capital a business might need.

An Inclusive Culture

A number of young professional organizations and community development initiatives, like First Friday provide ways to become a part of the network and leverage business and personal capabilities for a greater good. Additionally, community organizations, government initiatives, and even entrepreneurs like Innovation Challenge Winners Unlimited Tomorrow and Accessadoor, are part of a growing nexus of leaders expanding opportunities throughout the region.

A Revitalization Mindset

New construction and projects working to repurpose existing commercial and industrial spaces for new tenants, especially in our urban cores like the City of Beacon and the City of Poughkeepsie, are on the rise. Meanwhile, properties like 40 Cannon, Eastdale Village, Queen City Lofts, and more throughout the county expand affordable living options and provide city-style amenities.

All of these factors not only make Dutchess an attractive place to do business, they are also drawing young talent who are embracing the economic advantages living outside of big cities. Over the last few years, Dutchess County has seen an influx of out of state and foreign direct investment including New York’s largest sake brewery, Asahi Shuzo, in Hyde Park, NY. Want to see more of the success? Take a look at a few other businesses that have found success by choosing to Think Dutchess.

If you’re looking to expand or locate your business in Dutchess County, or are want to learn more about Dutchess County, contact

Sarah Lee


You Be the Judge

Meet the Judges of the 2019 Innovation Challenge

The Innovation Challenge is right around the corner! On Wednesday, June 5 at Locust Grove in Poughkeepsie, four contestants will pitch their products and services for a chance at landing big investors and a cash and services prize package valued at nearly $9,000.

You can be part of the decision-making team. Those in attendance will help our esteemed judging panel select the first and second place winners in a live vote. Tickets are selling out fast to support leading Hudson Valley innovators. Purchase your tickets here to secure your seat!


Our judges:

Sheila Appel- U.S. Regional Director, Corporate Citizenship at IBM

Ms. Appel is responsible for leading the US team and overseeing a range of programs helping to establish IBM as a leader in a new breed of corporate philanthropy — an approach that promotes systemic social improvement largely through investments of technology, services, employee skills and volunteerism. Holding various management roles at IBM throughout her career, Ms. Appel is recognized as one of the top 100 women leaders in the Hudson Valley region and a key leader throughout New York State.

Ms. Appel was appointed by the New York State Commissioner of Education to serve on the NYS Standards and Practices Board for Teaching, appointed by SUNY Chancellor to serve on the Strategic Planning Committee for Higher Education in New York State, and serves on the NYS Education NextGen Science Standards committee and a member of the Empire State STEM Network.  Ms. Appel is the past Chair for the United Way of New York State and currently a board member of the Public Policy Institute of New York State. She also serves as board chair of the Dutchess County Workforce Investment Board, board member of the Westchester Business Council, Women’s Enterprise Development Corporation and was recently appointed to serve on the board of trustees for Dutchess Community College.

Ms. Appel has been recognized for numerous professional and community accomplishments including New York State “Woman of Distinction”; Future Business Leaders of America with the “Business Person of the Year”, YWCA Salute to Women Award, Dutchess Community College Hall of Fame Alumni of the Year in 2009; Marist College President’s Award in 2011, and received an award from Pattern for Progress, for a career supporting innovative education programs such as P-TECH schools to give high school students access to technical skills training.

Johnny LeHane- Managing Partner, Hudson Valley Start-up Fund; Head of Growth, Accel7; Co- Owner/Co-Founder, Co.; Co-Owner, Director of Sales and Operations; CLUBWAKA

Johnny is the Managing Partner of Hudson Valley Start-up Fund, Head of Growth at Accel7, Co-Owner and Co-Founder of Co. co-working space in Rhinebeck, and the Director of Sales and Operations at CLUBWAKA. A proven leader in business and technical vision, creating and managing partnerships and assisting in the development of culture, brand image and service, Johnny excels at understanding and developing business solutions, helping technical and non-technical people understand each other, advocating ideas and bringing people of diverse backgrounds and philosophies together to achieve common goals. His specialties include: Business planning and development, process improvement, due diligence, brand identification, technical infrastructure, mobile workforce, social media, technology in education, franchising, online and offline social networks.

Chris Shaw- Vice President, Commercial Banker Mid-Hudson Region Chase Bank

Chris is a relationship banker for Hudson Valley-based middle market companies.

Before joining Chase, Chris founded CORE Leader, a leadership development company. While running CORE, Chris also founded the NYC chapter of Bunker Labs, a national non-profit that helps veterans start and grow businesses.

Previously, Chris served in the U.S. Army as an aviator in the 82nd Airborne Division. He flew OH-58D armed reconnaissance helicopters and deployed twice to Afghanistan.

Chris earned a BA from Cornell University in History and an MBA from NYU Stern. He lives in Garrison, NY with his wife, Alison, and son, Henry.

Noa Simons- Executive Director of Upstate Capital Association of New York.

Noa is the Executive Director of Upstate Capital Association of New York, a non-profit dedicated to increasing access to capital in Upstate New York. In her role, she manages a robust membership network and convenes events on technology, trends and best practices for deal-making to a wide-ranging audience including investors, entrepreneurs, service providers and professional advisors. In 2018, she took over running the statewide intercollegiate business plan competition (NYBPC), which lays the foundation for entrepreneurship for students. She is also co-founder and manager of the Hudson Valley Startup Fund, a member-managed seed capital fund investing in companies with high growth potential. Prior, Noa was a partner at TD Growth Capital based in Shanghai, China. Her investment work included worldwide technology sourcing, market analysis and diligence on deals both inside and outside China. Before joining that firm, Noa was interim CEO at Norton Motorcycles in Portland, Oregon and built and launched the digital archive housed at the Mary Ferrell Foundation.  She holds a B.A. in Political Science and minors in Economics and Latin American Studies from Brandeis University.

The Prep Team

Our semi-finalists had assistance from the following leaders who generously donated their time while preparing for the competition:

Eric Egeland

Mr. Egeland and Capacity Consulting have been helping clients accelerate success since 1999. We have consulted on and/or conducted hundreds of engagements in the private, public, and non-profit sectors. A published author and thought leader; Eric’s personal values are Caring, Candor, and Confidence. He insists on honesty and accountability and has an innate “need to know”.


Tony Fareed

With over 25 years of broad experience as a corporate executive & intrapreneur, deal-maker, advisor, entrepreneur, and investor, Tony Fareed spent the first 16 years of his career as a capital markets professional working within dynamic global financial institutions, including The Northern Trust Company, CME Group, and Société Générale Group.  In 2007, Fareed founded Bridge Global Capital Group, an independent investment banking and strategic growth advisory firm focused on assisting companies of all sizes and stages optimize market positioning, substantiate value, obtain capital, accelerate growth, and achieve successful exits.  To provide clients with more complete solutions, Fareed spun out 360accel, which is an innovative consulting platform that provides value creation solutions for companies, investors, and boards. Clients leverage 360accel’s proprietary system and pool of domain experts to help assess opportunities, design winning strategies, build stronger businesses, and accelerate sustainable growth.

He taught Entrepreneurship at Marist College (Adjunct Professor) and is an Advisor to and SUNY New Paltz’s HV Venture Hub. He also volunteers as a mentor to Marist College’s IDEA Center and USMA/West Point’s entrepreneurship program.  Fareed has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois; he is also a Certified Public Accountant and holds FINRA registrations 7, 24, 63 and 79 equivalent.

Thomas Hendrix

Thomas Hendrix is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Decisive Point, a venture advisory firm providing bespoke Government Contracting expertise to the DoD Innovation Community. Previously, Thomas was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Zx Ventures and has served as an advisor to multiple early stage ventures.  He began his career in the private sector as an Analyst at Blackstone, the world’s largest alternative asset manager and before that served in the U.S. Army for nearly 10-years as an Infantry and Special Forces Officer.  Thomas earned an MBA from Columbia Business School and holds a BS in American Legal Systems from the United States Military at West Point.

Helene Lesterlin

Helene Lesterlin is the Managing Director of Programs and Startup Services at The Trillions Co. and Idealab NY, focusing on impact investing and social innovation startups; Co-Founder and Managing Director of CO., a co-working co-op in Rhinebeck NY; advisory board member and mentor for, an accelerator for cooperative startups; volunteer and parent at Primrose Hill School; former professional curator, artist, and producer in the contemporary arts and performance.

Lauree Ostrofsky

Lauree Ostrofsky helps women leap into meaningful careers and businesses. Clarify what they want and feel more confident putting themselves out there. She is the founder of Hudson Valley Women in Business with 2400 members in the region, and growing. Her books are, “SIMPLY LEAP: Seven Lessons on Facing Fear and Enjoying the Crap out of Your Life,” a happy how-to about reinventing yourself, and “I’m scared & doing it anyway,” about reinventing her own life after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Find out more about her writing, speaking and hugging at and @SimplyLeap on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


This event would not be possible without our sponsors:

Partner  Sponsors   

Innovation Challenge Leader Sponsor Central Hudson

Advocate Sponsors

Innovation Challenge Advocate Sponsor

Event Sponsors

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Fortune 500 Company to Develop its Largest State-Of-The-Art Semiconductor Factory in Dutchess County

Arizona chip fab manufacturer plans to add nearly 150 new high-tech jobs at East Fishkill, NY facility

Fortune 500 company ON Semiconductor recently announced that it will expand operations in Dutchess County, NY by purchasing and preserving the existing GLOBALFOUNDRIES Fab 10 manufacturing facility located in East Fishkill, NY.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES and ON Semiconductor will enter into a foundry supply arrangement whereby GLOBALFOUNDRIES will manufacture ON Semiconductor-specific chips at Fab 10 from mid-2019 through 2022 as ON Semiconductor increases staff and equipment installations each year.

With this decision, ON Semiconductor has committed to invest more than $720 million over 10 years in the East Fishkill facility. The company’s expansion is also backed by an investment to add nearly 150 high-tech jobs and retain a minimum of 950 existing jobs in Dutchess County.

ON Semiconductor’s decision to locate in East Fishkill will put the company alongside a number of other high-tech and fast-growing companies, including IBM, Gap, Sloop Brewing Co., More Good, Crepini and more. East Fishkill is also home to iPark City: a 300-acre branded mixed-use tech/flex redevelopment that supports growing technology companies from all fields, including digital-based, clean room and laboratory users, as well as offers retail, hotel and residential components.


“This is an exciting announcement for Dutchess County, and we are grateful to Empire State Development for brokering the expansion of ON Semiconductor, a U.S.-based, public traded Fortune 500 company, in New York State and Dutchess County,” said Dutchess County Executive, Marcus J. Molinaro. “Dutchess County continues to be where innovation happens, and we are excited to welcome ON Semiconductor into our community and shepherd in the latest technological innovations for automotive electrification, 5G mobile networks, alternative energy and more.”

ON Semiconductor has received support from various partners in its expansion decision. Empire State Development Corporation has offered to provide up to $17.5 million in grants toward the purchase of the Fab 10 property, facilities and certain manufacturing equipment and $22.5 million in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits related to its investment, new hiring and research and development over ten years.


Source: NY Gov






Lynne M. Ward

National Resources

(203) 661-0055



East Fishkill, New York – September 1, 2017 – National Resources (NRE) has acquired the former IBM East Campus in Fishkill, New York. NRE is taking ownefulfillment00-acres of land with 2 million square feet of buildings from GlobalFoundries.

The Campus is set to become one of NRE’s signature i.Park’s, a branded mixed-use tech/flex redevelopment with retail, hotel and residential components.

GlobalFoundries, with 2,500 employees, will continue to own 160-acres where it manufactures the 300 mm wafer and will lease several buildings from NRE. IBM and eMagin will lease offices, laboratories and clean rooms keeping the tech heart of the park in place. Several high bay spaces are to be leased to new users and high cube build-to-suit warehouses have been designed for distribution and fulfillment centers seeking the direct access to I-84 and New York City at this location.

Over the past six months, NRE has been working with Dutchess County Executive’s Office, Think Dutchess Alliance for Business, the Town of East Fishkill and Empire State Development prepare the site with the suitable zoning and parcel subdivision in order to secure users for its new commercial, industrial and mixed-use facilities.

Joseph Cotter, President of NRE and Lynne Ward, Executive Vice President, are striving for another success to compliment their fully leased portfolio of i.Parks in the NY/CT Metro Area. NRE is a specialist real estate development and investment firm that focuses on the redevelopment of corporate industrial sites and is best known for its landmark waterfront residences and innovative i.Parks. These branded i.Parks take full advantage of infill locations accessible to commercial centers and transportation nodes. Current and past projects include i.Park Hudson in Yonkers, New York; i.Park Norwalk in Norwalk, CT and i.Park Lake Success in Long Island, NY.

“The business plan is to take advantage of the $1 billion in infrastructure that currently exists at the site and provide new warehouse distribution opportunities in the I-84 corporate growth corridor. The skilled workforce in the area should be a major attraction for employers,” according to Joseph Cotter.


For more information on National Resources, visit


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A premier business-led organization, Think Dutchess Alliance for Business brings together 12 agency partners creating a one-stop shop for your site selection, financing, incentives, permitting and advocacy, strategic planning and counseling, marketing and networking needs.