meet the chamber
Chamber CEO and President
Bill Gerlach was born in Wilkes Barre Pa. and raised in Claverack NY.
He has Business Degrees from SUNY Cobleskill and Marist College.
He started his career in sales with the former Kd Office Work Inc. He had several roles with Kd eventually becoming an equity partner. When Kd was sold to a Fortune 500 company he started a 14 year career in banking where he started in Business Development and eventually became a
VP of Commercial Lending at First Niagara Bank. In recent years Bill obtained his NYS Property and Casualty and Accident /Health Licenses and served as a broker for Marshall and Sterling Insurance.
During his long career he served 2 stints on the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors and credits his years at the Chamber with helping him attain many of his career goals.
Bill lives in Hudson N.Y.
Kari Van Buren
Kari grew up in Kinderhook and currently lives in Valatie. A former development professional for Not-for-Profits in both Rhode Island and New York, she is excited to be involved with an organization that supports local businesses of all sizes in the community where she grew up.
Kari is on the board of Our Community Cares Inc. and the Friends of Lindenwald. In her spare time, she enjoys learning about local history, gardening, hiking and creating stained glass. She has 2 labradoodles, Oscar and Wilson, and can be seen walking them around town and on the Electric Rail Trail trying to tire them out.
Tambra Dillon is the executive director of Hudson Hall, a cultural beacon in the Hudson Valley, offering a dynamic year-round schedule of music, theater, dance, literature, workshops for youth and adults, as well as family programs and large-scale community events. Prior to joining Hudson Hall, she worked at the Cunningham Dance Foundation to spearhead the $10 million Legacy Campaign and oversee marketing and public relations to ensure a coordinated approach to implementing CDF’s Legacy Plan. Previously, she served as Executive Director of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, and as General Manager of Temple Bar Properties in Ireland where she managed Dublin’s cultural district. She began her career in the arts at the BAM, where she worked for 12 years, first in Planning and Development and then as Vice President for Marketing and Promotion.
Dr. Carlee Rader Drummer, Ph.D.
Columbia-Greene Community College President Dr. Carlee Drummer assumed her post on July 1, 2019, following a five-year tenure as President of Quinebaug Valley Community College in Danielson and Willimantic, Connecticut. Before relocating to Connecticut, Dr. Drummer lived in Chicago where she served as the Executive Director of College Advancement and Executive Director of the Educational Foundation at Oakton Community College for 13 years, and prior to that, was a Vice President at Lipman Hearne, a consulting firm primarily serving colleges and universities here and abroad. She also was Associate Vice President of Communications and Associate Professor of English at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and worked for many years in New York City as the Manager of Communications for The New York Public Library system and Director of Publications and Public Relations at Baruch College/The City University of New York. Dr. Drummer has enjoyed a number of faculty appointments in English, Multicultural Studies, Women’s Studies, and Integrated Marketing Communications. She holds a B.A. (magna cum laude) from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Barbara Klassen joined the Columbia Memorial Health Foundation as Executive Director in March 2019. She works with the Foundation board of trustees to lead development initiatives to further enhance the mission of CMH, including: philanthropy, event planning, marketing, and community relations. Barbara has over 25 years of experience in not-for-profit and healthcare fundraising. Prior to joining the CMH Foundation, Barbara held the position of Executive Director of the Benedictine Health Foundation in Kingston. Barbara and her husband, John, live in Saugerties. They are the parents of twins, Lauren, a social studies teacher at the Bronx Academy of Letters, and Nicholas, 1st Lt., United States Air Force 121st Fighter Squadron.
Erik Larsen is the Vice President of Operations for Ginsberg’s Foods. But his story extends far beyond the Ginsberg’s Foods service area. Foodservice wasn’t always on Erik’s radar. In 2000, he graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in animal science. Erik had designs on becoming a veterinarian, but ultimately opted to enter the workforce and started his early career in animal nutrition. In search of a new career path, Erik landed at Target Corporation, where he spent nine years in various management roles across Distribution Operations, Food Operations, and Retail Store Operations. Ultimately he was tasked with managing the food operations of 75 Target stores across the Northeast. His position kept Erik auditing food safety across the Northeast — a role that matters greatly in his work at Ginsberg’s.
Erik left Target to join Ginsberg’s Foods as the warehouse manager in charge of all warehouse and maintenance operations. Taking cues from his work at Target, Erik crafted the Ginsberg’s Foods Food Safety/HACCP Program from scratch, creating a framework that ensures the company remains in compliance with agency regulations and provides Ginsberg’s Foods customers with peace-of-mind knowing the food products they order are safe. Erik’s significant contributions quickly earned him more responsibilities at Ginsberg’s. As the company’s Vice President of Operations, he’s in charge of the company’s Transportation, Warehousing, Facilities, Maintenance, and Food Safety divisions.
Erik is committed to his professional growth and proudly serves on the steering council at the Columbia-Greene Leadership Program to inspire new leaders across the Hudson Valley. As a member of the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA) Planning Council, Erik plays an integral role in the industry’s development. Work is far from Erik’s only passion. He’s the proud father of two boys and happily married to his wife Melissa of 11 years. He’s a hockey fan and plays in two different leagues. He’s also passionate about charitable giving and making a difference in his community.
Stephanie has been a lifelong Columbia County resident, currently residing at Copake Lake. Stephanie and her brother, Anthony Marchionne, opened 225 Warren Bar and Grill in September of 2019. We were born and raised in the bar and restaurant industry on both sides of our families. The Dutch Treat, a breakfast and lunch diner, located in Craryville. And Moxie’s Italian Restaurant, a bar and restaurant, located in Hudson. We could not have made it this far without our mom, Brenda Marchionne, who is the one in the kitchen preparing and cooking all our amazing food. 225 Warren Bar and Grill, proudly serves and welcomes our community, with our customers being our number one priority. When Stephanie is not mixing cocktails and serving food, she is with her two children or on the golf course. See you at 225, Cheers!
Mark W. Fingar
Voted Best Insurance Agency Ever
Mark lives in Claverack, NY with his wife Sue. Together they raised two daughters. Mark grew up in Germantown and represents the seventh generation of Fingars in Columbia County. He entered the insurance business in 1987 and says, “I have to do a good job…my family name goes on every policy we sell.”
Beth Harring, founder of Harring Properties, LLC joins our Board in 2022 and brings forth 15 years of real estate experience and a lifetime of community involvement to her native Columbia County. As a full time, active broker, she was awarded the Columbia Greene Board of Realtors “2019 Realtor of the Year”, and “2018 Most Cooperative Broker of the Year”, and currently holds a position on the Community Service, Awards, and former MLS Committee within that Board. Beth shares her extensive background of operations/project management in the medical and technologic field with knowledge of real estate blending them to meet her client’s needs. In her spare time, you can find her hiking, biking, and walking many of the beautiful trails Columbia County has to offer!
Michael A. Torchia Jr
Michael A. Torchia Jr., has been with the firm since 1987, and a shareholder since 1997. Michael was instrumental in establishing the Firm’s Business Valuation Division of Business Valuation Services, and is currently the Firm’s Director of Business Valuation Services. In addition, he has vast experience in a variety of industries and his practice includes services in the following areas: preparation of corporate and personal income tax returns, estate planning, business succession planning, accounting and consulting for Towns and Villages.
Michael received his Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Marist College in 1987. He holds the Certified Valuation Analysts (CVA) designation, which is instrumental in the Business Valuation Services. In addition Michael holds FINRA Series 7 and FINRA Series 66 licenses along with a New York State Insurance License all of which allows him to provide Financial Planning services and investments services to the Firm’s clients.
Michael holds FINRA Series 7 and FINRA Series 66 licenses along with a New York State Insurance License all of which allows him to provide Financial Planning services and investments services to the Firm’s clients. In addition, Michael is very active in the firm’s membership with the BDO Alliance USA which allows him to extend enhanced services in all areas of service on both a national and international level. He also assists with the firm’s continuing education programs as a presenter and a professional consultant, in the tax area of the firm’s practice.
In addition to his professional career, Michael is involved in a number of local community organizations. He currently serves as Treasurer of a number of local Non profit organizations within the community and has held multiple officer positions in other community agencies.
Michael resides in Greenport, New York with his wife Doris and their twin sons, Zachary and Joshua. In his spare time, Michael enjoys outdoor activities with his family including attending college football games, camping, skiing, hiking, and golf.
Michael maintains memberships in the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the New York Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the National Association of Certified Valuations Analysts (NACVA)
Judy Tice, is a 35-year employee of Ed Herrington Inc. and has been their Accounting Manager for the last 20 years. She is a graduate of Siena College with a major in accounting, a lifelong resident of Columbia County, and a member of the Village of Philmont Planning Board. Judy lives in Philmont with her husband Jake. They have two grown children, Jackie, a Hudson City School District employee and John who is also employed at Herrington’s, and two grandchildren, Ella and Bentley. They all reside in Columbia County.
Born and raised in Columbia County Jock attended Hudson High School, Columbia Greene Community College and The University of Saint Rose for Graphic Design. A member of the Dutch Reformed Church of Claverack. He spent the first part of his professional career as a manager/director in the automotive industry. He then took the name of his father’s building company, Claverack Builders Inc. and started his own company. That company evolved into the design build corporation it is today. Jock has served on the Claverack planning board and several committees for the town and county. He is the proud father of his 3 daughters Rose, Scarlett and Fiona, with his wife Meredith.
Mark D. Taylor
Mark is the managing associate and a commercial appraiser with Concra Appraisal Assoc. in Hudson. His tenure with the company spans the last eight years. Mark is in the process of obtaining his NYS Certification as a General Appraiser. Mark attributes much of his professional achievements to his parents, stories of his grandfather’s legacy, and the mentorship and guidance of Anthony R. Concra. Mark was born and raised in the Town of Greenport, graduating in the top five in his class from Hudson High in 2008. Mark went on to graduate with an A.S. in Individual Studies from Columbia-Greene Community College. Mark holds a special place for the college as his grandfather, the late Ellsworth B. Weaver former Chairman of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, was integral in its founding. After graduation, Mark attended Siena College and graduated cum laude with a B.S. in Management and a minor in Information Systems. During his time at Siena, Mark served as the Vice President of the 21st Century Leader’s Society. In addition to his professional career, Mark has been an active Class A firefighter with the Greenport Fire District for 12 years. He has held the positions of Lieutenant, Captain, 2nd Asst. Chief, and currently serves as the 1st Asst. Chief of the District. Mark was honored as Firefighter of the Year three times. Additionally, Mark also sits on the board of directors for the Columbia County Volunteer Firefighters Association.