Alumni Breakfast Panel Discussion

Getting There…
The Impact of Transportation on
Economic Development in Rockland County
Please join us at an Alumni Breakfast discussion on Transportation and Economic Development. Our speakers will be

Michael DiTullo
President/CEO – Rockland Economic Development Corp.
Jeff Zupan
Senior Fellow for Transportation – Regional Plan Association

The discussion will focus on our transportation network; roads, rails, and mass transit along with the changing face of Rockland and the influence on economic development. Where are we now and what do we need to do in order to encourage and sustain growth in the area.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
West Nyack Library
65 Strawtown Road
8:00 – 10:00 a.m.
$10 per person

Bring a Guest!
This event is open to the public. Please share this email with your contacts and anyone you think is a potential candidate for the Leadership Rockland program.


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Leadership Rockland and 3D Printing

From the Rockland County Times: (click here to view the original article)

timothy englert

Tim Englert
Class of 2014

To say 3D printing is a big help to visual artist Tim Englert is an understatement.

“I make pieces from wood, and made furniture during the past several years,” Englert of Knickerbocker Bench said. “The Smart Lab has been instrumental in helping me visualize modifications to my work, and to do it in a way that keeps me from making a 600-pound bench” before the design is completed.

Previewed last year, the facility — the first prototype center of its kind in the Hudson Valley — opened in February at Rockland Community College’s Haverstraw extension.

RCC president Dr. Cliff L. Wood lobbied to bring one of the state’s 12 such centers to his school. “Our commitment is a regional center that supports businesses,” Wood, a voting member of the Governor’s Regional Economic Development Council, said. The Center has “$160,000 worth of 3D printing equipment, SolidWorks ™ software to train users in an environment supported by our CAD faculty and student interns.”

While the protoypes are ABS plastic, the software can be programmed for printing glass, metal and gold. “It’s a collaboration of sharing public resources, creating job opportunities and training for current and future employment opportunities,” he said.

After hearing about the facility through Leadership Rockland, Englert is now learning to use its SolidWorks software with help from an RCC intern. “With it, I can make a small change to a bench (which has strict design parameters) and then see what the change would look like,” he said.

Currently Englert, whose work is along the trail at Nyack Beach State Park and at Congers Lake, is designing a 14-foot long table. While he loves the feel of wood, “for me, the creation process first comes from a visual inside my head.”

The Smart Lab offers free-of-charge services to New York companies, including assistance from staff and CAD students. Its 9,000-square-foot expansion includes three 3D printers — Fortus 250 mic, SST 1200 es, and uPrint SE Plus — a 3D scanner, a science/wet lab, four CAD workstations, six new classrooms/training rooms, and business services.

On a table against one wall, a scarecrow, a witch, working scissors, link chain, half a Slinky keep company with other objects made of Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) plastic. One of the three machines was in the process of printing a design that was created using SolidWorks software.

“The shortest build time could be minutes but it’s usually hours, up to a week,” Michael Kluger, Assistant to the HEC Director. “After it’s out of the machine, each figure is put into a special bath to dissolve its support material.”

Manufacturers can evaluate, customize, and expedite prototypes in a sandbox environment, free of charge to New York companies, assisted by RCC staff and CAD (Computer Assisted Design) students. Robert Van Pelt, a mechanical engineer at Sono-Tek Corporation in Milton, said the lab “gives us rapid prototypes that we can use to evaluate their performance, and then have it made (in-house) from stainless steel or glass.”

His company produces ultrasonic spray systems for applying precise, thin film coatings. “A prototype takes less time to print, and we can have something within a day or two,” Van Pelt said.

“We saw an opportunity to bring something innovative to the Hudson Valley,” Wood said. Although RCC has offered CAD programs, “people who know them will now learn this new, cutting-edge technology.”

Support comes from the Ginsberg Development Corp.; Rockland’s Industrial Development Agency; The Center for Global Advanced Manufacturing (CGAM); SUNY 2020: and SUNY WORKS; the U.S. Department of Labor through its TAACIT (Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Training Program.) grant program.

The project is in the Village of Haverstraw, the Town of Haverstraw and the North Rockland school district, “and when they say it takes a village to have a facility like this, it does,” Wood said.

For information, contact Brian Merritt at or 845-786-2413, or Michael Kluger at or 845-786-5340.


Jan Degenshein Welcomes the Class of 2015

On September 16, 2014, the Chair of Leadership Rockland welcomed the Class of 2015 at the Orientation Dinner in Nyack. The text of the address is reprinted below.

Welcome to the Class of 2015, and its theme: “The Changing Face of Rockland.” Yours marks the twenty-fifth class of Leadership Rockland, so we are celebrating a milestone of sorts.

In 1989, an educational experiment called Leadership Rockland was conceived by a handful of community leaders and educators, including among other: Paul Janesch, editor and publisher of the Journal News; a young attorney named Scott Vanderhoef; Mark Rothenberg of United Water; Dr. John Durney of St. Thomas Aquinas College; Holly Freedman, of the Arts Council of Rockland. Their ambition was to equip the next generation of leaders in business and community with a better understanding of Rockland’s diverse composition. The first Class graduated in 1991. On a statewide level, that class witnessed the announcement by Governor Mario Cuomo that the Tappan Zee Bridge required replacement. On a county-wide level, a study was conducted to determine the efficacy of retaining the County nursing home; and the expert advice expounded was to sell it as soon as possible. On a federal level, that class witnessed the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which extended the same Civil Rights to the physically disabled that had been granted in 1964 to other groups who suffered from discrimination.

Twenty-five years hence, how has the face of Rockland changed? Today, Rockland County is haven to the most ethnically and religiously diverse population of any community in the United States – with the exception of Queens County, NY. We are a virtual “melting pot”. Little Rockland County: the geographically smallest New York State county outside the five boroughs of New York City. We have opened our doors (albeit sometimes reluctantly) to the “huddled masses yearning to be free.” Keep in mind that diversity has the potential to be a community asset. Yet acts of discrimination incessantly appear in the headlines.

Why? We have only to look at the facts underlying the headlines: The three fastest growing Rockland population cohorts are: the Hassidic/Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community; undocumented Latinos; and senior citizens. All are in one way or another alienated from the larger population physically, socially and economically. All are dependent, to some degree, on services supported by the taxes we pay. Anti-Semitism and disparagement of the undocumented poor are evidenced every day – roiling over the sides of this melting pot.

Statistically, Rockland parallels national trends: Fifteen percent of our Nation’s population – 46 million people – live below the poverty line. But the balance of poverty has changed geographically since 1990. Today, this country consists of more racially and culturally diverse minorities than ever, and they (read that “we”) are more likely to live in suburbs than in cities. More than 51% of African Americans now live in the suburbs than in urban and rural areas combined. Poverty? The suburban poor surpassed the urban poor in numbers by 2012. And the suburban poor continue to grow at a faster rate than the impoverished in urban centers. One emanation of this since the Great Recession is that suburban schools have seen the number of students eligible for full – and reduced cost – lunches grow by 22% in the suburbs, and only 8% in the cities.

And the third group: Senior Citizens. They remain in the community they have grown to know. Or they return from the unfulfilled promise of the Sun Belt to be closer to family and friends. The last of the Baby Boomers turns 60 this December. New York has the second fastest growth rate of seniors in the country. And Rockland has the fastest growth rate of seniors in the state. The only seniors leaving New York are those wealthy enough to wish to protect their estates from burdensome estate taxes. The very people we most wish to retain! Those who contribute more to the economy than they draw from it. Locally, the economic, social and physical structures of the community have not fully addressed the needs of the elderly.

The one fastest declining element of our population is our work-force population, the group whose discretionary income fuels our local economy; the one upon whose labor our collective business enterprise is dependent; the one population cohort which produces a new generation to supplant itself, and infuse new life – literally – in our community.

Of this cohort, the young adult workforce is departing to seek a very different lifestyle, one more urban in character than that which had been desired by its parents and grandparents. The Millennium Generation eschews the two-car garage, once a status symbol, and the automobiles housed therein. Simultaneously, Gen X and Gen Y adults are leaving to follow employment opportunities that are becoming non-existent locally. The workforce wishes to reduce its cost of living without impacting its quality of life; and the employers, faced with a diminishing workforce and a higher cost of conducting business, seek more welcoming environments elsewhere.

Industries found their way to the suburbs in a mass exodus from the cities during the last half of the twentieth century. Cheaper land, lower taxes and utilities, and proximity to the new suburban homestead were among the determining factors. Yet the suburbs, more so than the cities, were hardest hit by the Great Recession. Manufacturing, construction and retail sectors, in particular, have had difficulty recovering. Commerce in Rockland County, which spiked within the last fifty years, has been on the decline. Lost jobs have not been replenished because suburban support systems as diverse as mass transit and child care are lacking.

So . . . twenty-five years later, we are just beginning to build a bridge that was identified as obsolete when Leadership Rockland incubated. To the extent that we couldn’t afford to construct mass transit due to lack of funding sources, the new bridge will remain obsolete.

The Americans with Disabilities Act is unenforced, as illustrated by the fact that the second floor of this very venue is inaccessible to the disabled. And the ADA’s progenitor, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, struggles – as exemplified by our East Ramapo School District – where the oppressed defend acts of oppression against others who are oppressed. There’s the apocryphal story of Rabbi Hillel who – upon being accosted by Prussian soldiers – was directed to explain the Torah while standing on one leg. His simple reply, “Do not do unto others as you would not have done unto you,” seems to have been lost on the East Ramapo School Board.

And our county nursing home was finally sold – amidst lawsuits and the threat of state takeover of County finances. Rockland County government is still reeling from its fiduciary mismanagement.

In retrospect, I suggest that the suburban movement is on the decline. In this new day, we must create a different social, economic and physical model to save our communities. One that will at once better support housing, education, mass transit, jobs and the environment. But we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking employed when we created them. I believe we require a complete make-over. It is the intention of Leadership Rockland to identify issues, inform you of their complex interconnections, and inspire you to derive new, workable solutions.

As John Kennedy observed: “Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” Fear of change is often a stumbling block to progress. Fear is genetically encoded in each of us. We must overcome this primal impediment, for if we do not actively create our own destiny, it will be done for us. And probably not to our liking.

You – as the twenty-fifth class of Leadership Rockland – are being asked on the most personal and primal levels to consider your resistance to change, and to move beyond it. Then you are being tasked with engagement in creative thinking: reverse a growing trend where – at all levels – expense exceeds income; where apathy overshadows participation; where despair increasingly smothers hope. Recruit the wisdom and experience of the entire community. Find ways to engage the energy of the new American adult, as well as the wisdom of the elderly. Develop a formula which can attract those with the potential to contribute positively; and then offer an environment that will elicit the very best they have to offer. Turn what is fast becoming a social crucible of distrust and discontent back into a melting pot blending our unique contributions into a community greater than the sum of its rich and diverse parts.