I grew up in Castleton, NY and started working with my father in his landscaping business at age 11. We mowed lawns, cleared land, and cleaned barns. It was at this time I was introduced to the upstate NY work ethic and the impact a small business can have in a community. I am a 1998 graduate of Maple Hill High School in Schodack, where I was captain of the basketball team. I graduated from Hudson Valley Community College and went on to Keuka College earning a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy.
I worked for several years on the in-patient brain injury unit at Sunnyview Hospital in Schenectady, NY. I met my wife (Kristy) while working at Sunnyview- she was studying to be a registered nurse. Shortly after we married, and moved to Billings, Montana. It was at this time I earned a commission in the US Army Reserves. While we loved Montana, it was not home, and we decided to move back home to upstate NY after 2 years. Kristy was expecting our first child and I had received orders to deploy to Iraq. I left for Iraq following the birth of our son and served as a medical officer in Diyala Province. I came home as a new dad and began to realize the struggle of the soldier-civilian transition.
While working as the rehabilitation director at Albany County Nursing Home managing a staff of 20+ clinicians and aides, I graduated from the Civil Affairs Officer Qualification Course conducted at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School Ft. Bragg, NC. I led a civil affairs team on a humanitarian mission to Malawi, Africa. Thousands of people were helped through a colossal medical outreach mission spanning weeks. My team met with local key leaders to develop a strategic and logistically sound plan for patient flow, public health education, and to train the Malawi Defense Forces in Civil Affairs Operations. While I was home between rotations in Malawi, our daughter was born. I soon deployed again, this time to Khost Province, Afghanistan. I led a five-man Civil Affairs team attached to an Airborne Infantry Company. We patrolled with the infantry platoons and our Afghan partners to reduce insurgent activity, while supporting local government officials. I was honorably discharged in 2014.
Shortly after returning home I earned my MBA in healthcare management from Union Graduate College in Schenectady, NY. This educational advancement was the impetus in starting my own occupational therapy practice, and to begin teaching at Maria College in the Occupational Therapy Assistant Department, and the Healthcare Management Department. I enjoy operating a community-based practice where I evaluate, consult, and treat people in their homes. Over the last 2 years I have scaled back on my business and remain an adjunct instructor.
My family and friends make up a vast and durable support system that continues to guide me. I am truly blessed to have them in my life. Local leaders like former Congressman and retired Army Colonel Chris Gibson have helped me answer the call of leadership. Our communities need a strong and sustainable direction. In many cases our current path has been leading us in circles. We cannot tax ourselves into prosperity, and we cannot be discouraged with each other to the point that we abandon our shared civic duties. I will continue to bring this attitude to Albany. I will represent you with dignity and thoughtful perseverance. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, but this is upstate NY- and we’re no strangers to hard work. Join with me. Let’s stand up together and elevate upstate NY!