Author: Alecia Eberhardt-Smith

Hudson Valley app developer Dan Gurney

Spotlight On: Dan Gurney

Dan Gurney is a software developer, product designer, and startup founder living in New Paltz.

Tell us about a few things you’ve done.
Currently I’m the co-founder of a new app development firm called Hudson Valley Apps. Before that, I founded Concert Window, a live music broadcasting platform with 170K users.

See some of Dan’s work →

What are you excited about right now?
I’m really excited about starting this new app development firm, Hudson Valley Apps. We’ve been hearing from a lot of folks who want to create or update apps and aren’t sure how to go about it. My co founder Chris Garrett is a veteran iOS developer, ever since the first iPhone came out. We’ve also been doing a lot of fun cross-platform stuff with React Native as well as native Android.

How did you come to live in the Hudson Valley? What do you love about it?
I’m originally from Rhinebeck, so I am very familiar with the area. After living in NYC for 6 years, I was looking for a more sustainable lifestyle with more nature and a lower baseline stress level! I moved up to New Paltz with my girlfriend about 8 months ago and we’ve been really enjoying it so far.

Who are some other Hudson Valley creatives whose work you admire?
There are some really talented folks all over the Hudson Valley and especially in New Paltz—check out Jordan Koschei, Milo Axelrod, and Tyler Walker. I love how supportive and tight knit the Hudson Valley scene is.


Join Dan and sign up for the Hudson Valley’s online creative community: HV Talentbase.

Hudson Valley filmmaker Francesco Cordaro

Spotlight On: Francesco Cordaro

Francesco Cordaro is an award-winning independent filmmaker who writes, shoots, and edits his own work with his company, Fusion Box Films, in Kingston.

Tell us about a few things you’ve done.
As a director, I’ve created films for The Paul Taylor Dance Company, and Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford (featured as a segment on NBC’s The Today Show). As a cinematographer, I’ve worked with stars like Ice-T, Bone Thugs and Harmony, and Natalie Merchant. As an editor, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Hulu and Live Nation for their series On Stage, creating a documentary portrait on Major Lazer and VR. I also edited a documentary for Lady Antebellum on the making of their 2017 album Heart Break. I produced the award-winning documentary Aerodrome, about the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, winner of Best Short Documentary at the Newport Beach Film Festival.

See some of Francesco’s work →

What are you excited about right now?
I am currently developing a feature length sci-fi film with my business partner, Andrea Cordaro. The film is set to take place right here in the Hudson Valley. I am also developing an international photography series, as well as creating short films.

How did you come to live in the Hudson Valley? What do you love about it?
I grew up in New Paltz, running around outside making movies with my friends for Ms. Cone’s high school filmmaking class.

I love the Hudson Valley. There’s nowhere else in the world I’d rather live and create. It’s the most untouched happening place I have ever been. Its serene landscapes and positive vibes make it a great place to focus in on your work. People here are very supportive of the arts and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

Who are some other Hudson Valley creatives whose work you admire?
I have been very fortunate to find myself surrounded by unbelievable talents with whom I get to collaborate regularly. New Paltz resident and native Tim Hurley, who is Fusion Box Film’s film art director and graphic designer, always blows me away. He’s somehow able to express an emotion or a mood through text that is always exactly what we need. He is also a musician and fine artist. And I love listening to his new punk rock Christmas album every year.

It’s a unique thing when you grow up with someone and then get to tell stories with them. When you get to collaborate with your sibling, you understand how the other’s mind works, and you gravitate toward similar subjects. Growing up, Andrea had gone off and gotten swept up by acting in the theater, while I was discovering my passion for film. It was later that we realized that this was something we were going to do together. She’s a very talented actress, writer, and producer. To be able to work with someone you trust to refine your work in invaluable. It is always fascinating for me to see her play new roles with other companies, and watch her journey.


Join Francesco and sign up for the Hudson Valley’s online creative community: HV Talentbase.

Hudson Valley illustrator and designer Josh McKible

Spotlight On: Josh McKible

Josh McKible is a graphic and motion designer with an emphasis on illustration, living in Beacon. He does business as “MCKIBILLO,” a portmanteau of his last name and “illo,” a slang term for illustration he picked up doing art direction for a bunch of different magazines.

What are you excited about right now?
I only started offering motion graphics design or “mograph” about a year ago, and I’m psyched to be able to offer clients the chance to see their stuff dance. So I’m always trying to level up my skills and learn as much as I can. Very excited about that.

See one of Josh’s motion graphics →

How did you come to live in the Hudson Valley? What do you love about it?
I’m originally from here! Born and bred in Newburgh, but I left as soon as I could. I’ve lived a bunch of different places, including a prolonged stint in Japan. Frankly, I continue to be a bit surprised to find myself back in this neck of the woods, but I’m back now and I’m loving it. I love being able to hike the woods, basically just down my block, the change of seasons, the Hudson River, and the local landscape in general.

Who are some other Hudson Valley creatives whose work you admire?
Oh, that’s a dangerous question… there are so many talented creatives working here now, I don’t want to get in trouble by leaving anyone out. Just go out and HIRE LOCALLY! Rant done.


Join Josh and sign up for the Hudson Valley’s online creative community: HV Talentbase.

Hudson Valley designer Milo Axelrod

Spotlight On: Milo Axelrod

Milo Axelrod is a graphic designer specializing in human-centered design and passionate about web and interface design, living in New Paltz.

What are you excited about right now?
I’m nearly finished with a full redesign the Sojourner Truth Library’s website. STL is the campus library at SUNY New Paltz, a school that I graduated from not too long ago. As an alumni, I personally struggled with using the previous incarnation of the website, so getting the chance to come back and fix the damn thing has been very satisfying.

I’ve also just finished writing a new talk about how designers think (or don’t think) about dimensions in web design, and how actively considering the web as a 3D space can help our designs make more sense and become a more intuitive experience for users. I’m hoping to present it at least a couple times this year!

How did you come to live in the Hudson Valley? What do you love about it?
I grew up in Rochester and moved to the Hudson Valley when I transferred to SUNY New Paltz. I had an excellent time getting a BFA in Graphic Design. The university didn’t offer on-campus housing to transfer students at the time, so I enjoyed a series of mediocre apartments in town and was exposed to a great combo of campus life and village life. I found that the town of New Paltz has an excellent balance of small-town community kept fresh by the constant flow of new faces and ideas from the university, and I begrudgingly fell in love with it.

Shauna Keating, my classmate and good friend, tricked me into getting involved in the Hudson Valley Tech Meetup. I started volunteering fairly often, made a lot of friends, and met a lot of excellent people. After I graduated, I had an abstract desire to move to Seattle until Shauna asked me to get an apartment with her. I sat down and considered the benefits of moving to a vaguely exciting place far away vs. hanging out in a town that I already loved with a great professional network I’d already become a part of. I quickly stood up again, got my laptop, and started looking for 2 bedroom apartments on Craigslist.

When I tell people that a big reason I live in the Hudson Valley is for the tech community, they always seem surprised. I can’t blame them, for I, too, once believed that the Hudson Valley was just a place to drive through. With all the amazing community organizations like the Hudson Valley Tech Meetup and projects like Hudson Valley Talentbase, I am quite sure that sooner or later, they will stop being so surprised.

Who are some other Hudson Valley creatives whose work you admire?
I’ve already mentioned her twice, but Shauna Keating is a magnificent human and designer. She always goes above and beyond in her leadership and is an incredibly supportive person in my life.

I’m also a huge fan of the Hudson River’s work; it’s done a phenomenal job with the landscaping. While the project has been a very long time in the making, I’ve read that it’s still a work in progress. I’m very impressed with the river’s dedication and patience, and I really hope to continue to see it doing great work for the region and the community.


Join Milo and sign up for the Hudson Valley’s online creative community: HV Talentbase.

Hudson Valley app developer Chris Garrett

Spotlight On: Christopher Garrett

Christopher Garrett is a game developer and contract software developer living in Pleasant Valley.

What are you excited about right now?
I’m working on an iOS game called Moji Match. It is a turn-based game similar to Scrabble or Words With Friends, except that it uses emojis instead of words. I’m excited because my beta testers love the game and have gotten hooked on it.

More about Moji Match:
Moji Match is an emoji game made in the Hudson Valley. Lots of ? in it but you’ll ❤️ it.

See the project →

How did you end up in the Hudson Valley, and what do you love about it?
I came here in 2007 when my wife got a job at Vassar College as a chemistry professor. Since then I have grown to love so much about this area. I love the outdoors, so we have taken advantage of the great opportunities for hiking, cycling and camping nearby. There are great restaurants, and enriching cultural activities. But I think the best thing is the sense of community and general desire to improve the world around us.

Who are other Hudson Valley creatives whose work you admire?
Chris Muscarella of the Field Company recently moved to the area. My Field Company skillet is one of a handful of objects in my house that is a joy to use on a daily basis.

And Dennis Crowley. I love his willingness to try crazy things to make the world a better place. Kingston Stockade games are now one of my favorite summer activities.


Join Christopher and sign up for the Hudson Valley’s online creative community: HV Talentbase.

Hudson Valley designer Shauna Keating

Spotlight On: Shauna Keating

Shauna Keating is a designer and front-end developer living in New Paltz.

What does your daily life look like?
I work at a studio called Moonfarmer where I work as a designer & front-end developer. Every day, I get to work with my team at our studio in uptown Kingston to design and build websites, applications, and art.

I am pretty active in the local tech & design community. I serve as an organizer for the Hudson Valley Tech Meetup & Catskills Conf, am the Director of Programming with AIGA Upstate NY, and am an active participant with HV Women in Business. The longer I’ve been here, the more I hear about amazing little communities forming around all kinds of topics.

What are you excited about right now?
I spent the end of 2017 building a big newsletter announcement of everything we have accomplished last year, and I think what I am most proud of is the work we have done to actively engage and celebrate the place in which we work.

Radio Kingston has been my primary project for the last few months. It’s a really amazing project that not only is challenging and engaging for me as a designer, but actively pursues making the community I spend so much of my time in stronger. Over the course of the project, I’ve done wireframes and initial user experience (UX) design, front end development for it’s launch, illustrations of the city of Kingston that we use in the header of the website, and UX for additional features as we continue to work on it.

See the project →

Earlier this year, we worked with the folks at Hudson Valley Weather to design and develop a new Android app for them. I did a full UX audit of their existing iOS app and created a new design that utilizes the native elements in the Android operating system. After that our developers used my prototype to create a React Native app that you can download from the Google Play store.

See the project →

Plus, Moonfarmer as a brand is actually pretty new. Since we announced/launched it back in 2017, I’ve been doing a lot of design work for different places our identity gets applied, and it’s some of my most fun and interesting work. Having our own website to make additions to has also been a great opportunity to obtain new skills. I started learning React so I could build some of the case studies we put up on our site to show our work. I’m really looking forward to the ones I am working on now going live!

See Shauna’s Moonfarmer business cards →

How did you end up in the Hudson Valley, and what do you love about it?
I grew up about an hour south of here in Bergen County, NJ. I started living in the Hudson Valley as a student of SUNY New Paltz, enrolled in the BFA program for graphic design. When I graduated, I decided to stay and start off my career here. Even though it’s a difference of about 55 miles from where I grew up, it’s very culturally different here, in a way that’s really good for me.

The Hudson Valley is different because of how much people value community, creativity, and human connection. For someone working in my field, it makes a really excellent environment to work in. The people I’ve met here are not people that go to work and hate their jobs, but people who are doing the things they love and care about. There is a culture of collaboration and respect I haven’t seen anywhere else.

The typical trajectory for someone who grew up where I did is you move home after college, get a job in New York, and commute over an hour each way on the train every day. There isn’t a lot of room for side projects or community involvement with that lifestyle. Living here, I do have a pretty packed schedule, but I am spending more time meeting people and making stuff rather than commuting.

(The view of the mountains is pretty good, too.)

Who are other Hudson Valley creatives whose work you admire?
Through running tech and design events I get to meet so many excellent and talented individuals! To name a few:

Becca Kennedy, who runs a UX Consultancy in the Capital Region called Kenneson. Becca has a PhD in Human Factors, and brings a really great perspective from a psychology to doing UX research.

Sarah Vogwill, who I met through having AIGA events in Kingston. Turns out her studio is only a block away from Moonfarmer. She’s a designer running a small studio, called Studio 7, doing branding and web design.

Brandon Walsh is a developer I’ve worked with for the majority of my career, and is current member of the Moonfarmer team. He is a full-stack developer, specializing in Rails, React, and WordPress development.

Caylena Cahill, who does some really great work in the realm of photo-centric marketing, running her business called CC Photo and Media. She also runs a podcast called Put a Fork in it, which is worth a listen!

Nicole Langlois, who co founded a co-working space up the street from my apartment in New Paltz, called One EPIC Place. Her business does a lot to engage creative people in New Paltz and all around the Hudson Valley.


Join Shauna and sign up for the Hudson Valley’s online creative community: HV Talentbase.

Hudson Valley composer Tyler Walker

Spotlight On: Tyler Walker

Tyler Walker is a composer and app developer living in Highland. This is the first in a series of regular interviews with Hudson Valley Talentbase contributors.

What are you excited about right now?
I’m currently working on mastering my album Ridiculously Techno Christmas.

More about Ridiculously Techno Christmas:
Santa spiked the Kool-Aid! Deck the Halls with Lasers and Glowsticks, it’s Ridiculously Techno Christmas.

I started this project in 2012 with a 5 song EP. I added a song a year since then, and it finally feels like a record. This year I’m working on mastering it myself (my first time attempting this) and getting it up on the the streaming services. The version currently on Soundcloud is only sorta kinda mastered, with each track done at different times.

See the project →

How did you end up in the Hudson Valley, and what do you love about it?
My wife and I met as Vassar students, and we always wanted to return to the area. The Hudson Valley can be shockingly beautiful, yet it’s also peaceful and unassuming. Almost every stranger I meet treats me like a friend.

Who are other Hudson Valley creatives whose work you admire?
My friend Chris Garrett has made an excellent iOS game called Moji Match!


Join Tyler and sign up for the Hudson Valley’s online creative community: HV Talentbase.

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