About Pattern



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Jonathan Drapkin is President and CEO of Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress. At Pattern he has developed a portfolio of projects and assistance to the region in community and economic development.

Under Jonathan’s leadership Pattern has been recognized on numerous occasions including Orange County Association of Realtors Excellence in Innovation Award (2008), President’s Award for analysis and leadership on the MTA Payroll Tax from the Orange County Chamber of Commerce (2009), President’s Award for Service to the Rockland Business Association for analysis of the County’s finances (2013) and  Hudson River Housing’s Community Builder Award (2014).

As executive director of the Gerry Foundation in Sullivan County from 2000 to 2006, Drapkin guided the creation of Bethel Woods performing arts center at the site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival. Prior to that, he was county manager of Sullivan County. Jonathan has been awarded the Sullivan County Partnership’s Distinguished Service Award (2006), the Walter Rhulen Award as Businessman of the Year (2001), the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce’s Distinguished Service Award (2000), and the American Society for Public Administration’s Award for Outstanding Administrator for the New York Metropolitan Chapter (1996).

Jonathan spent his earlier years in New York City where he worked in the administration of Mayor Ed Koch and as Director of the New York City Council’s Office of Oversight and Investigation.

Jonathan has served as a member of two Governors’ Commissions focusing on the restructuring of local government and currently serves on the executive committee of the Mid Hudson Regional Economic Development Council. Drapkin has also taught government efficiency and effectiveness in Baruch College’s Masters Degree in Public Administration for 7 years.

Jonathan graduated from Washington University, after completing a year abroad at Durham University in Northern England; he then earned a Master’s degree in economics from Long Island University, and a law degree from Benjamin Cardozo School of Law.

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Joe Czajka (CHI-Ka) is Senior Vice President for Research, Development & Community Planning at Pattern and is also Executive Director of the Center for Housing Solutions and Urban Initiatives. Joe is recognized throughout the Hudson Valley for his  expertise on housing policy and trends and has been asked to serve on numerous community development and housing commissions, boards and task forces. Joe is well versed in demographics and their impact on population change. Joe has more than 25 years of experience in the field of community and economic development and neighborhood revitalization.

At Pattern, he oversees the annual housing report for the Hudson Valley and in recent years has authored reports such as the Putnam County Housing Corporation’s Housing Needs Assessment and Strategic Plan as well as the Town of Crawford Community Development Plan. In 2014, Joe was honored with the Community Builder Award from the nonprofit Hudson River Housing.

Prior to joining Pattern, Joe served as Director of Special Projects for the Regional Economic Community Action Program from 2009 to 2011. Joe had a nine-year tenure with Sullivan County and during his final year as the Director of Grants Administration procured over $4 million in housing and community and economic development grant funds. In addition to his five years at Pattern, Joe served as executive director of the anti-poverty agency RECAP (Regional Economic Community Action Program) based in Middletown.



Stuart Shinske was named Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress’ senior vice president for strategic planning and engagement in January 2017. Previously, he spent decades in media management, most recently as executive editor/director of content and audience development for the Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal for 10 years. He worked for Gannett Co., Inc. for 27 years.  Stu oversaw all news operations at the newspaper, its websites and other digital products, and he created several books and magazines. His oversight of dozens of investigative-reporting efforts, on topics from government embezzlement to Lyme disease, resulted in new laws, criminal convictions, revamped public policy and national recognition.

He led the Journal through in-depth digital transformations, becoming an expert in digital marketing, audience analysis and strategies, publishing platforms, project management, innovation, managing change, problem-solving, event planning, revenue generation and staff development. His work was honored with a President’s Ring, Gannett’s highest honor for editors.

In four of the last six years, the Journal was named the best news operation in New York State in its circulation category by the New York Associated Press, which honored the Journal with its highest honor, the Newspaper of Distinction award for digital and print journalism.

Over the last nine years, Shinske has become a recognizable voice as a panelist on WAMC Northeast Public Radio’s “The Media Project” and “The Roundtable.” His weekly column, “Your Sunday Letter From The Editor,” was a Journal staple for years and was honored as among the state’s best by the Associated Press. He also has been a frequent public speaker for nonprofit groups, community organizations, students, etc. He has moderated several forums at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, including programs broadcast internationally on C-SPAN, and has assisted local colleges in revamping their media curricula. He also has judged several journalism-excellence contests across the nation.

Shinske is a member of the New York Associated Press Board of Directors and the Friends of the Poughkeepsie Library District. Previously, he was executive editor of the Norwich (Conn.) Bulletin and managing editor of the Courier-Post of Cherry Hill, N.J., and the Poughkeepsie Journal. He also has worked for USA Today and The New York Times Company. He is a graduate of Hofstra University.

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Robin DeGroat is Vice President of Operations and Executive Assistant to Jonathan. She has served in that role since 2007 managing business relations and special projects and oversees all aspects of the organization including membership, sponsorship, event planning, support management, presentation of research and financial administration. Prior to joining Pattern, Robin served as an executive assistant at Bethel Woods Center for the Performing Arts and IBEW Local 1968. Her undergraduate work was done at State University of New York at Buffalo.

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Born and raised in Nyack in Rockland County, Elijah Reichlin-Melnick joined Pattern in April, 2016 as a Senior Research Planner. He holds a Masters in City & Regional Planning (with a concentration in Housing & Real Estate) from the Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy at Rutgers University and a Bachelors in History and Government from Cornell University. Prior to joining Pattern he taught elementary school for two years in New Haven, CT, as part of the Teach for America program, then spent seven years working in government and politics in the Hudson Valley, where he served in the Rockland County district offices of Congressman Eliot Engel and Congresswoman Nita Lowey from 2009-2013, handling constituent services, community relations, and coordinating grants. From 2014-2016 he worked as a Special Assistant to Orangetown Town Supervisor Andy Stewart, assisting with all aspects of running the day to day operations of the town. 


Emily Rebecca Hamilton is the deputy director of the Center for Housing Solutions and Urban Initiatives, brings 15 years of affordable-housing and community-development experience. Most recently, she worked for New York State Homes and Community Renewal as an underwriter of multi-family affordable-housing projects. She facilitated the financing of 14 projects that will create and preserve 1,400 affordable-housing units statewide.

Prior, Emily worked for PathStone Corp. in Rochester as a housing developer focused on on-farm farm worker housing and manufactured-home cooperatives. Earlier, Emily focused on marketing homes to first-time homebuyers in Brooklyn, tenant relations and assisting those at risk of entering shelters. While on the staff of Assemblyman Vito Lopez, she learned about regulations regarding public housing, Section 8, Mitchell Lama, Section 202 and low-income housing tax credits.
Emily, fluent in Spanish, has been a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay and Guatemala. She holds a master’s degree in regional planning degree from Cornell University and a bachelor’s in wildlife ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Emily also has a LEED Green Associate credential.


Eric Pierson has joined Pattern For Progress as a junior research planner.

Prior to joining Pattern, Eric worked for a year and a half as an assistant planner for the Monmouth County Division of Planning in New Jersey. With the county, he assisted in the administration of the farmland-preservation program and served as staff for the Monmouth County Agriculture Development Board, conducting site visits and preparing reports regarding the New Jersey Right to Farm Act.

Eric earned a bachelor’s degree in natural-resource management from the University of Delaware in 2012 and a master’s degree in city & regional planning from the Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy at Rutgers University in 2015. Eric will be working closely with Senior Research Planner Elijah Reichlin-Melnick on a range of projects.

In Memoriam
Edda Eller
October 6, 2010