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.
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.
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.
Andy Stewart, PhD, is the Senior Vice President for Research and Analysis, bringing his experience in local government, the nonprofit sector and academic research to Pattern.
At Pattern, he works with cities and towns on such issues as of local government efficiency, capital planning, and economic development, while conducting regional scale research on these and related matters.
Before coming to Pattern, Andy served three terms as town supervisor in Orangetown, NY, working intensively to cut costs, build green infrastructure, improve public access and promote economic development. He oversaw the sale and commercial redevelopment of 60 acres of former NYS hospital land owned by the town. Prior to his election, Andy spent eleven years organizing community improvement, environmental education and litter prevention campaigns as Executive Director of Keep Rockland Beautiful, Inc. His doctoral work in geography at Rutgers University focused broadly on the political and economic aspects of environmental management, with fieldwork in Central America on community participation in protected area management.
Hema brings an extensive background in journalism and communications to Pattern, where she works with other members of the staff on research and regional projects. Hema also handles Pattern’s media relations and other communication efforts.
Prior to joining Pattern, Hema spent more than two decades in journalism and communications. She began her career in India as a correspondent for The Associated Press where she covered politics, the liberalization of the Indian economy and the India-Pakistan conflict. She later moved to New York to become a staff writer for The Journal News in Westchester and Rockland. In her last position at the Times Herald-Record in Orange County, she covered business, health care and education in the Hudson Valley. She has also worked as a public relations manager at Focus Media in Goshen.
Hema’s articles have been published in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, USA Today and several other media outlets. Her dispatches from South Asia have been discussed on the floor of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. She has received awards from the New York News Publishers Association and the New York State Associated Press Association, and was among a group of journalists selected to partner with United Nations agencies to write about development in the Philippines and Bhutan.
Eric Pierson joined Pattern For Progress as a junior research planner in March, 2017.
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 works on a range of planning and economic development projects at Pattern.
Evan Menist joined Pattern For Progress as a Junior Research Planner in July, 2017.
Evan is originally from Fair Lawn, NJ and came to the Hudson Valley in 2009 to attend Marist College. During his sophomore year, he moved to the Hudson Valley full time. Evan graduated in 2013 with his B.A. in Political Science, and then again in 2016 with a Master of Public Administration.
Prior to joining Pattern For Progress, Evan spent four years working at Marist College first as a Desktop Administrator and subsequently as the Client Technologies Specialist in the Information Technology Department. In those capacities, Evan managed a team of technicians, organized and facilitated college events, and improved business functions by eliminating workflow inefficiencies and duplicated efforts.
At Pattern For Progress, Evan works closely with other members of the staff on the Regional Fellows Program as well as various consulting projects, and assists in upgrading and leveraging the technological infrastructure of the organization.
Kate received a Master of Urban Planning degree from Hunter College in 2019, with a focus on environmental and community sustainability. As a graduate student, she interned with the Department of Planning and Development for the City of Newburgh and with Scenic Hudson. In 2018, in a collaboration between CUNY and the Kőszeg Institute of Advanced Studies, she received a scholarship and was part of a small team that traveled to Hungary and created a report highlighting opportunities for developing a circular economy in the Pannonian Region. Additionally, Kate was awarded a fellowship to work with the New York City Community Board that represents the Hudson Yards area of Manhattan on a project to inventory and map district health services, and develop policy recommendations based on her findings. For her graduate studio project, Kate collaborated with other students on a 100-year vision for the Village of Hastings-On-Hudson’s waterfront. Kate also holds a Master’s Degree in Science Education from NYU Steinhardt, and she previously taught high school biology in Bronx, NY. Kate moved to the Hudson Valley in 2015.
Edda Eller, October 6, 2010