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Central Hudson: A Vital Part of the Communities We Serve

A commitment to integrity, a dedication to customers, and a determination to improve the quality of life for others. Those are the hallmarks of the employees of Central Hudson—and of the entire CH Energy Group organization. The men and women of our Company take pride in serving the communities where we live and work. Through our commitment to nonprofit groups like the United Way, and employee volunteer efforts, the company and its employees take an active role in making the world a better place for the people we serve.

Central Hudson's Community Service Award Recipients

In 1988, Central Hudson established its Community Service Award Program to recognize employees who carry the spirit of Central Hudson into their communities and help improve the quality of life in the Hudson Valley. Since then, 125 employees have received the Award. Below are profiles of the most recent Community Service Award recipients, honored on June 6, 2014.

» Click here for the full list of past award winners

Jean Cady - Salt Point Volunteer Fire Company
Inspired by her father and grandfather, Cady has been a volunteer with the Salt Point Volunteer Fire Company since 1987. Cady has held many roles and is currently a driver, pump operator and treasurer. She is the first woman driver in the firehouse’s 50- year history and was named the 2012 Salt Point Volunteer Firefighter of the Year. Cady’s husband was also a volunteer with the fire company. “Volunteering has always been part of my life. It always seemed like the natural thing to do,” she said. “I enjoy helping people and want the community to know we’re here to help no matter what.”

Dan Harkenrider - Triple Threat AAU Basketball
Harkenrider has been the basketball coach for the Triple Threat AAU girls’ basketball team for eight years. Harkenrider has coached his oldest daughter, Mackenzie, since fourth grade, and recently starting coaching his youngest daughter, Madison, as well. The program prepares the girls for varsity basketball, helps them build relationships with their peers, exposes them to new people and experiences, and teaches them to balance their responsibilities. Harkenrider said coaching has strengthened his relationship with his daughter. “It’s nice to be recognized for something you’ve put so much time into,” he said.

Lauren Lawlor - Gateway Community Industries Foundation
Lawlor serves on the board of trustees and development sub-committee for Gateway Community Industries Foundation, an organization that serves adults with mental, development, physical and other disabilities. Her involvement began as an intern in college and continued after graduation. Lawlor plays a key role in the development, organization and preparation of fundraising events. “From the moment I walked in, I felt committed to their mission, their staff, and the individuals that they serve,” she said. “Volunteering is an enjoyable and rewarding experience when you work with a company that you love and are passionate about.”
Douglas Lewis - Esopus Fire Department
Since he was 16 years old, Lewis has volunteered with the Esopus Fire Department. Growing up, volunteering was something his family and friends did constantly. He said it’s very rewarding to fulfill the community’s needs. He has passed the passion onto his three sons who also volunteer with the department. “The community needs you. This is in your blood,” he said. “I appreciate Central Hudson for supporting employees’ volunteerism. I hope they continue to do this because these organizations aren’t recognized enough.”
Hal Turner - Millbrook Youth Hockey Association
Turner has been a board member and coach for the Millbrook Youth Hockey Association since 2008. As a member of the board, he helps the organization, which serves more than 100 children, with its planning and coordination efforts. As a group, the board sets and manages the yearly budget, schedules ice time, organizes fundraising, enrolls players and plans other community events. The league teaches children to develop character, loyalty, teamwork and physical fitness through the game of hockey “It’s nice to belong to a Company that supports its employees and the community,” he said.

Central Hudson activities in the community:

Central Hudson announces $1 million Main Street Revitalization program

Central Hudson and employees donate nearly $700,000 in 2013

Central Hudson helps promote healthy lifestyles with BetterU Challenge

Central Hudson backs college's 3D printing endeavor

Central Hudson participates in celebration of Newburgh history

United Way of Ulster County honors Central Hudson as No. 1 donor

Employees volunteer to renovate home for Wappingers Falls resident

Central Hudson honored for philanthropy by fundraising professionals

Central Hudson receives Workplace Inclusiveness Award

Community Activities Archives

» Economic Development Programs
Incentives available from Central Hudson for projects that boost the local economy.

Our People: The Power to Make a Difference

This feature is dedicated to the stories of Central Hudson employees who volunteer in the communities we serve.

  Tim's story ...
"... Being able to contribute to the community not only raises the standard of living for all of us, it is also very personally rewarding."
... Read more
Tim Hayes
Central Hudson Manager of Transmission & Distribution Operations Services and Emergency Response; Board member for the Mid-Hudson Civic Center and American Heart Association
  James' story ...
"Since children are our future, it is imperative that we each do what we can to afford all children the very best opportunities – and these programs do just that." ... Read more
James Jolly
Central Hudson Transmission & Distribution Superintendent and Youth Swimming Volunteer
  Sandy's story ...
"... I am always learning something new about my community’s past,
while being very much involved in its future." ... Read more
Sandy Brady
Central Hudson Accounting Technician; Girl Scouts and historical society volunteer
  Jocelyn's story ...
"With such an active pack, my role has never been limited to one activity. I’ve found myself creating calendars, finding locations to hold events, setting up the Pinewood Derby track, working Curriculum Night and promoting and recruiting for our pack." ... Read more
Jocelyn Swart
Central Hudson Accounting Technician; Cubmaster Cub Scout Pack 70
  Darlene's story ...
"At Central Hudson, I help customers make informed decisions about the energy they purchase, but through coaching basketball, I help girls stay active, have fun, make friends, and demonstrate success on and off the court." ... Read more
Darlene Clay
Central Hudson Customer Choice Coordinator and Hudson Valley Knights President
  Adrienne's story ...
"It’s important to be aware of the needs of those in our communities, and I’m grateful for the generosity of my co-workers and my company. ..." Read more
Adrienne Huy
Central Hudson Associate Staff Coordinator; Ulster County United Way Board Member
  More stories ...


» How Central Hudson is taking action to protect the environment

For further information on Central Hudson community services, contact Vice President of Public Relations Denise VanBuren at 845-486-5563, or via e-mail


Community Activities Archives

Here follow some earlier examples of our service-minded people at work in your community:

The non-profit group Walkway Over the Hudson received a donation of $2,500 from Central Hudson on behalf of the 2,500 customers who participated in the utility’s eBills electronic billing promotion in 2010. For every customer who switched to Central Hudson's electronic billing and payment plan, Central Hudson pledged to contribute one dollar to Walkway. A check was presented by Central Hudson’s President James P. Laurito to Walkway Immediate Past Chair Fred Schaeffer during a ceremony on the Walkway.
“During my seven years as Chairman of Walkway Over the Hudson, Central Hudson has been a good neighbor and unwavering supporter of our project to create a public Walkway,” said Schaeffer. “This donation is just one more outstanding example of that support and their commitment to the betterment of our community.”

When Central Hudson's Good Neighbor Fund celebrated its 25th Anniversary in November, 2010, The Salvation Army honored the utility and its customers and shareholders for their generosity in funding a voluntary program that has extended a lifeline to families who find themselves in true financial difficulty. More than 13,500 Hudson Valley households have benefited from $1.8 million in assistance since the inception of the program, which is funded by Central Hudson customers and shareholders — and administered by the local corps of the Salvation Army in Kingston, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie and Beacon, to ensure that all donations serve local people in the community.

In the fourth week of April 2009, in recognition of Arbor Day and Earth Day, Central Hudson partnered with the region’s Chambers of Commerce to plant trees at seven local community agencies. Central Hudson purchased the trees to be planted at local not-for-profit agencies selected by the various Chambers from among their membership, and underwrote the cost of their planting by Chamber-member landscaping or nursery firms. Planting trees with the region’s business communities helps beautify and support local not-for-profit agencies, and also supports these two national days of environmental protection.
Karen Kosack, a Central Hudson Customer Service Representative with two autistic children of her own, has been raising money for other Hudson Valley families who have been affected by the mysterious spectrum disorder for years. She is the president of Autism Society Hudson Valley and the founder of the Hudson Valley Autism Walk. She has chaired the event, which has raised nearly $1 million to increase awareness and connect local families with needed services, since 2002.
In 2009 and 2010, Central Hudson Executive Assistant Denise Hector has helped organize the utility’s team for the American Heart Association’s Dutchess-Ulster Heart Walk, but she has been a participant in the annual fundraiser for much longer. Why? Because like so many, Hector has a history of heart-related illness in her family. She says participating in the walk is her way of honoring her father, who had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Hector is one of many Central Hudson employees who have helped raised tens of thousands of dollars for research, over more than a decade of participation.
Each year Central Hudson employees and retirees donate more and more money to the United Way organizations of Dutchess, Ulster and Orange Counties, and former employee campaign chair and Section Engineer Tim Hayes says that’s because it’s the right thing to do. “Each employee and retiree donation – regardless of size – makes a meaningful impact on our communities,” said Hayes, who co-chaired the 2007 campaign, which raised more than the $336,000 goal, and chaired the 2008 campaign, which far exceeded the $342,000 goal. In 2009 the Central Hudson Employee United Way Campaign exceeded its $357,000 goal, raising more than $366,000 in needed funding for the local agencies.
Central Hudson’s Senior Human Resources Administrator Maggi Whalen says it is human nature to want to help others; that’s why she volunteered to be the House Captain for the Central Hudson team during Rebuilding Together Day 2010. For the annual event, teams throughout Dutchess County volunteer to repair homes for income-eligible residents. “In one day you have the opportunity to change someone’s life by making them warm, safe and dry – just by volunteering a few hours of your time,” she said. Whalen and other Central Hudson employees have been active members of the Rebuilding Together – Dutchess County chapter (formerly Christmas in April) since its inception in 1991.
"Customers remember when someone lends them a helping hand,” says Agnes Lugo-Ortiz, a Customer Account Services Supervisor.  Agnes has served as a United Way Loaned Executive, not only to help others, but also because she recognizes that, “Building partnerships with the communities we serve is the best way to strengthen ties with our customers.”  Central Hudson employees have long been leaders in extending helping hands to less-fortunate neighbors through participation in annual United Way campaigns, and unselfish sharing of their time, talent and treasure on behalf of virtually every United Way member-agency.
On the job, Electric Lineman Rick Dorrer regularly completes infrastructure construction projects and often restores electric service in the wake of emergencies.  But many nights—and most weekends, too—he’s frequently found responding to emergencies of another sort:  answering alarms as a member of the Rhinebeck Volunteer Fire Department.  A member of the all-volunteer force for 16 years, the Rhinebeck native currently serves as its chief.  Volunteerism, Dorrer says, is just one way that he gives back to his community, adding that, “it gives me a feeling of pride to help my neighbors.”
The Dutchess-Ulster County Division of the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk has had a staunch supporter every step of the way, for more than a decade, in Central Hudson Cafeteria Attendant Wennie Favaro.  She laces up her walking shoes as a member of the Central Hudson team of walkers each year because she finds it fulfilling to help others, and because she believes that, “…people like to do business with companies they know and whose employees give back to the community.”
Though she uses cutting edge technology as an Engineer in Central Hudson's Gas and Mechanical Division Gail Duncan says it’s still “the people and the team work” that she likes best about her day-to-day job responsibilities. Gail has made it a personal priority to volunteer with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Ulster County for many years.  Why?  “Central Hudson employees have the values, culture and resources to be leaders in the community,” she says.
Senior Systems Analyst Jeffrey Johnson (second from right in this photo) says he enjoys “the continuous challenge to find new ways to enhance Central Hudson’s  communications systems to meet the needs of our customers.”  Little wonder, as he’s well familiar with helping meet the needs of others.  Jeff was 16 when his father first welcomed Joe and Carl into the family’s home as part of a NY state program that places mentally and/or physically challenged adults with families.  When Jeff’s father retired in 1994, it seemed only natural that the men should move in with Jeff and his own family, pictured here.  “Although I’m paid, the income is minimal compared to the fact that they’re a part of my extended family,” Johnson said.
Wanting to “help people in the community and be a role model for my children,” first prompted Jeff May to get involved with Rebuilding Together with Christmas in April, a program that involves reconstruction of homes for income-eligible working families in the old-fashioned tradition of a barn-raising.  “Helping others build a sense of pride and self worth” has kept him coming back since 1997.  Section Engineer of Electric System Protection, May says he “enjoys finding ways to best motivate and utilize the skills of the talented folks” in his department, which is responsible for developing plans to improve our electric distribution system.
Director of Information Systems Development, Nicole Tancredi says she most enjoys the problem-solving aspect of her job duties.  But there are other parts of being a Central Hudson employee that she enjoys, too.  As a new employee in 1997, Nicole joined coworkers in collecting food and cash donations for Dutchess Outreach, a Poughkeepsie-based agency that feeds the homeless.  She has since stepped up to take lead responsibility for the annual Thanksgiving Food Drive.  “Thanksgiving is a time of being thankful for what you have.  It feels good to be able to give back to people who are struggling a little,” Nicole explained.