Chapter History

This may not be complete – if you were involved in the early days of the Westchester Section, please feel free to contribute your insights.

The early history of the Chapter – the Chapter began as the Westchester Section of the Metropolitan Chapter dating back to about 1980 or so, perhaps even earlier. Jim Foley, then Safety Director at the NY Power Authority was the Section Chairperson of Westchester and Liaison to Metropolitan Chapter. He and other members recognized a need to support members in the upstate counties who could not participate due to the commute to the Metropolitan meetings. Jim hosted many of the meetings ensuring quality speakers, timely and informative topics. Under his leadership the section grew expanding the membership of the Metropolitan Chapter. Leadership was then assumed by Charlie Gretzner, Dean at Mercy College in Yorktown. Meetings were hosted at Mercy College and later at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains, where Bob Russell was our host. In September 1997, Scott Harkins became Section Chair and was our leader until September of 2002.

When Bob Russell moved to a position in Orange County our meetings moved to NY Medical College where Gary Hohenstein and Bill Collesano were our hosts. Subsequent meeting venues included BAE Systems in Yonkers – where Matt McDonald the first President of the Hudson River Valley Chapter was working at the time. We now rotate our meeting sites with Westchester Community College being our primary site with auxillary sites at the Rockland County Fire Training facility, Orange County Regional Medical Center, and members’ company locations.

Starting in 2006 or perhaps a little earlier, Section Leadership, particularly, Matt McDonald, worked with the Metro Chapter Leaders and ASSE National to complete all the requirements to become a full fledged chapter. We received great support from the Metro Chapter Leadership in this endeavor and on December 14, 2006 the initial Executive Board of the Hudson River Valley Chapter was presented the chapter’s Charter.

The initial concept was, and still is, a forum for safety practitioners living or working in the suburbs north of NYC. Meeting were mostly morning meetings allowing members to stop by on their way to work versus commuting to the city and spending the better part of a day.