January 29, 2019

Columbia Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) today announced that its Board of Directors elected David Fingar, Chief Engineer of Mid-Hudson Cable, as Board Chair.  Former Chair Tony Jones retired from the Board of Directors on January 28, 2019.

“I would like to thank my fellow board members for their confidence in electing me to chair the Columbia Economic Development Corporation,” stated Chair Dave Fingar.  “CEDC has grown to be a valuable asset to many businesses in the county. I look forward to continuing our programs and building on them. I would like to see CEDC work with the City, Towns, and residents in developing and promoting properties to prospective businesses that wish to locate here.”

David Fingar has served as Chief Engineer for Mid-Hudson Cable for the past 30 years.  Mr. Fingar is a former councilman for the Town of Livingston.  He was elected to the Board of Directors in August 2014.

“Over the past 5 years, Dave’s deep commitment to the organization has been an invaluable asset to our board and the organization,” stated former Chair Tony Jones.  “I am extremely pleased that David has been chosen to lead our board.”

CEDC also announced the election of James Calvin of New York Association of Convenience Stores as Vice Chair and John Lee of Saturn Industries as Treasurer.  Hudson Supervisor Sarah Sterling was reelected Secretary.  In addition, Richard Cummings III of Mulhern Gas, Derek Grout of Harvest Spirits and Seth Rapport of Valley Mortgage were elected new members of the Board of Directors.

James Calvin joins David Fingar as the newly elected Vice Chair.  Jim is the President of the New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS), a 400-member statewide trade association.  Jim was elected to the Board of Directors in July 2016.

John Lee succeeds Richard Bianchi of Shallo, Galluscio & Bianchi CPAs PC, as Treasurer.  Mr. Bianchi has stepped down as Treasurer, but will remain a member of the Board.  John Lee is President and Managing Director of Saturn Industries, Inc. He is Chair of the Town of Claverack’s Economic Development Advisory Committee and a member of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Workforce & Education Task Force.  John Lee was elected to the CEDC Board of Directors in December 2016.

Sarah Sterling is a Real Estate Broker for HOUSE Hudson Valley and a member of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, representing the City of Hudson, First Ward.  Sarah also serves as a member of the Columbia County Industrial Development Agency Board and the Columbia County Resource Corporation Board.  Sarah Sterling was elected to the Board of Directors in December 2015.

New to the Board

Richard Cummings III is Vice President of Mulhern Gas Co., Inc., a position he has held since 1990.  Richard Cummings is the fourth generation of a 100 year old family business based in Hudson, NY.  Prior to that, Cummings was a financial consultant with Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. for four years.  Committed to community service, Cummings has served on several boards and committees including the Stuyvesant Town Board and Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Columbia County Agricultural Society.  He was a member of the Stuyvesant Fire Company, having served as president for 7 years.  Cummings is the current legislative committee chairman and former president of the New York Propane Gas Association.  He is a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernianis and the Adirondack Forty-Sixers.  Cummings holds a B.A. in Economics, Cum Laude from St. Lawrence University.

Derek Grout is the Owner and Distiller of Harvest Spirits in Valatie, NY. Derek’s career began as a freelance graphic artist and web designer, where his artwork was published nationally for Leo Burnett Advertising.  In 2003, he returned to Columbia County to serve as marketing manager for Golden Harvest Farms.  In 2007, Grout established Harvest Spirits, which produces award-winning vodka, applejack and brandy.  Today, the distillery attracts visitors from far and wide and has been featured in national media. Derek Grout is a graduate of Cornell University.

Seth Rapport is President and Owner of Valley Mortgage Company, Inc., a mortgage brokerage firm located in Hudson, NY. Prior to this he was an associate with Rapport, Meyers, Whitbeck, Shaw & Rodenhausen where his work focused in real estate, banking, environmental law, litigation and appellate work.  Rapport’s membership affiliations include the New York State Bar Association, New York Association of Mortgage Brokers, National Association of Mortgage Brokers, Columbia-Greene County Board of Realtors and the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce.   He is an emeritus board member of the Hudson Opera House, the REACH Center, the Hudson Area Association Library, The Fund for Columbia County and Hudson Development Corporation.  Seth Rapport holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from Yale University and a Juris Doctor Degree from the City University Law School at Queens College.

“We’re fortunate to have directors with such strong business backgrounds who are eager to share their knowledge, experience and their voices on CEDC’s board,” said CEDC President F. Michael Tucker. “They’ve been involved in business and non-profits from the grassroots-level on up so I’m excited about the leadership they bring to advancing CEDC programs and initiatives.”


Columbia Economic Development Corporation (CEDC), the leading economic development organization in Columbia County, is committed to strengthening the county’s tax base through economic development and job creation while maintaining the quality of life so desired by the people who live and work here.  For more information about CEDC programs and services, visit www.columbiaedc.com or call 518.828.4718.