The 2017 officers installed by Director Emeritus Howard Kuperman (from left): Aileen Sulliven, Amador Laput, Ulana Emerson, Howard Kuperman, Mary Decker, Robert Schultz, and Susan Smith (Photo provided)
MATAMORAS — The Tristate Chamber of Commerce installed its officers for 2017 at its Jan. 26th meeting, held at Two Rivers Grille in Matamoras.
Mary Decker, president
Community liaison, Bon Secours Charity Health System
Mary Decker has worked for Bon Secours Community Hospital for the past 17 years and is currently the community liaison for the tri-state area. She creates, maintains, and promotes effective conversations and relationships among residents, community groups, businesses, and local officials regarding healthcare services and matters of mutual interest.
She is a past board member of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and the American Red Cross of Orange County; past president of the Port Jervis Kiwanis Club; and current member of Port Jervis Rotary. She spearheaded the first Kucher's Kids Shoe Drive for the Tri-State Chamber in her role as 2016 first vice president. She and her husband, Steve, are life-long area residents and have raised four children here.
"The greatest value of being a member of the Tri-State Chamber has been the connection we've been able to make with many other business leaders in the community who have understood what our needs are, participated and worked with us to communicate what our healthcare system does and the importance of what we provide the community with," said Decker. "The Tri-State Chamber of Commerce has been a true partner to the hospital."
Aileen Sullivan, first vice president Corporate affairs manager, Orange & Rockland Utilities
Aileen Sullivan has worked for O&R since 1999 in a number of positions of increasing authority and responsibility in field operations. In 2011, she became a regional and community affairs manager. She currently covers parts of Orange and Sullivan counties in New York and part of Sussex County in New Jersey, and has developed strong partnerships with the communities, businesses, local emergency services agencies and community response team members.
Sullivan is a longtime area resident. She graduated from Port Jervis High School and raised her two sons, Sean and Tyler, here. She holds an associate degree in computer information systems and a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Misericordia University. She has been involved in many non-profit organizations as a volunteer, board member, and officer, and has served as a board member, director, and officer of the Tri-State Chamber. She lives in Milford, Pa.
"Our focus should be to bring communities together in ways that will support one another," Sullivan said. "O&R's support for the Tri-State Chamber and its participation in chamber programs over the years are practical and constructive ways for O&R to contribute to the community's success and to enhance its residents' lives. There is nothing like serving on a chamber committee to realize we all confront common issues and share common goals."
Ulana Emerson, second vice presidentFinancial advisor, Edward Jones
Ulana Emerson joined Edward Jones in 2014 in the Middletown office serving clients in the tristate area. With nearly seven million clients worldwide, Edward Jones serves individual investors and business owners. Emerson's philosophy is centered around meeting with clients face to face and truly understanding their needs and goals before they invest their money.
She received her bachelor's degree in public affairs from Baruch College and an MBA from the University at Albany. She lives in Sparrowbush, N.Y., with her husband, Jason, and three children. She is an active member of the community, serving as vice president of the Port Jervis Rotary Club, member of the Port Jervis Business and Professional Women's Club, and volunteer coach for the Tri-State Youth Soccer Club.
She believes the role of the Tri-State Chamber is to provide a hub for local businesses and consumers to connect. "My company is a member because as a business and as a local resident, I see it as an opportunity to build relationships with other local business owners and to add value and service where needed," she said. "The benefits of the Tri-State Chamber for us are brand awareness, networking opportunities, advertising, community service, lead generation and learning what is important to members of my community."
Robert Schultz, treasurerOwner, Robert W. Schultz, CPA
Rob Schultz's family has been in Port Jervis for more than 150 years and is an important part of the area's history. Although he's seen the area lose a lot of businesses in the last 40 years, he believes we are currently experiencing a renaissance and turn around in local economies.
Through his accounting practice he helps individuals, businesses, and municipalities implement good accounting plans to help improve finances. His hands-on approach with clients results in strengthened relationships and better understanding of their needs and goals. He is a member of the Port Jervis Rotary Club, president of the Minisink Valley Historical Society, chair of the Port Jervis IDA, and a long time member of the board of directors, past vice president, and treasurer of the Tri-State Chamber of Commerce.
"My firm has been a member for decades because it helps my business grow by exposing our services not only to the membership, but to the entire tri-state area," said Schultz. "I'm a numbers guy, and there's just no better value around."
As project manager for the family-owned Fellenzer Engineering, Amador Laput's concentration is in land development design and commercial property design and development. His organizational strengths include his analytical approach to problem solving, putting current information into a historical context to learn from the past, his inquisitive nature, developing the potential in others and his belief that we are all connected and benefit greatly from the synergy of working together to achieve more.
When Laput volunteers for organizations, he roles his sleeves up and says, "I am your humble servant, how can I help?"
He is the chamber's past president for the last two years, a member of the Port Jervis Rotary Club and past president (2012-13), serves on the Board of Eldred Central School District since 2006, is the Music Minister and Youth Group Minister at St. Ann's Church in Shohola, Pa., and an ardent New York Jets fan.
He and his wife of 30 years, Carol, have five children, Tyler, Evan, Amzie, Bailey and Samantha; and grandchildren, Finn and Sylvia.
Laput has experienced firsthand how the chamber helps local businesses through the good times and the bad times.
"The Tri-State Chamber helps my business and so many others by giving us an enhanced presence in the region, greater internet exposure and advertising opportunities with Chamber events," he said.
Sue Smith, parliamentarianOwner, Floral Cottage Weddings
Sue Smith starting selling flower bouquets in front of her home in River Vale, N.J., at the tender age of 8, using flowers from her mother's beautiful gardens. Her parents encouraged her to pursue a career in horticulture. She received her degree in Ornamental Horticulture and Landscaping from Delaware University.
During her college years she had an opportunity to work for William Penn's Estate, Seven Pine Farm and Burpee Seed Company. In 1994 she opened her first flower shop in Chester, N.Y.
As the owner of Floral Cottage Weddings, Sue has been creating floral arrangements for almost 20 years in the tristate area, specializing in weddings and events. Her clients rave about her service and creativity, and she is a much sought-after floral designer. She uses local growers as much as possible not only because she believes in "buying local" but also because she can provide her clients with the freshest, hand selected flowers and plants. If you've ever watched "Say Yes to the Dress," you may have seen some of Smith's creations.
Sue lives in Glen Spey, N.Y., with her husband, Joe, owner of Lawnsmith, a landscaping business. Together they created and built the Kucher's Kids Shoe Float in the chamber's Holiday Parade. Sue has served the chamber as a director and corporate secretary.
She believes the best business is built by connecting with other businesses, and the chamber has helped her get new customers.
"They have a personal touch and know how to help my business grow through introductions, endorsements and referrals," said Smith. "I've been a member of other chambers, but none have produced the results that the Tri-State Chamber has for my business in the past three years."