FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Putnam, Mercy College Partner in Leadership Alliance, County Leaders and College Faculty Gather for Announcement


MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive
(845) 808-1001

August 23, 2013

Putnam, Mercy College Partner in Leadership Alliance
County Leaders and College Faculty Gather for Announcement 

Leaders from Putnam County and Mercy College School of Business gathered last Thursday at the Putnam County Golf Course in Mahopac to announce their collaboration in offering undergraduate and graduate courses within Putnam County.

In welcoming the elite faculty and staff from Mercy’s Dobbs Ferry campus, County Executive MaryEllen Odell noted Putnam is a county of first responders and the two classes now being offered would enhance emergency preparedness among first responders and stakeholders within the business community. She reminded those gathered to welcome Mercy College that bringing higher learning to Putnam also fulfilled a campaign promise she made to her constituents.   

“This is a first for Putnam County,” Odell said. “Through our collaboration with Mercy, we can now offer an undergraduate Certificate Program in Corporate and Homeland Security and a 12-month graduate program where participants can earn a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership with a focus on Emergency Management and Security. In reaching out to the private sector and inviting them to participate, we are transforming not only the educational process but our approach to handling emergencies.” 

Mercy College School of Business Dean Dr. Ed Weis presented an overview of Mercy’s innovative approach to education and explained why, after a career in the business world, he chose to return to the field of education.

After graduating college at age 17, Weis said he went on to earn a master’s degree in Accounting, a law degree and his Ph.D. in Finance by age 24. While completing these degrees, Weis said he worked as a teaching assistant. Discouraged by the approach to teaching business he had encountered, Weis left teaching for successful careers at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch. He said when he chose to return to the teaching profession, he meant to change how business was taught.

“The teaching process had to change,” said Dr. Weiss. “I saw from my own experience as a student learning from Ph.D.s who had no experience in the business world that a new framework for educating had to be put into place. As a teacher, I wanted to become a facilitator in a team building process of education.”

Weis’ framework included bringing into the classroom as teachers some of the most successful business world leaders. 

Weiss said he was truly excited about the end result of The Leadership Alliance program.

“This program’s end result is to have a working plan ready to be executed. This approach is a first,” he said.

The working plan Weis referred to is the Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan (MJHMP). The MJHMP will identify risks while developing mitigation, preparedness and response plans.

Bruce Walker brought almost 20 years of emergency management experience in private industry with him when he became Putnam’s deputy county executive in November of 2011. Working to form ties between the public and private sector was not in his field of expertise. 

“That changed once I took office and the County Executive gave us our charge of creating these kinds of partnerships,” he said.

It didn’t take Walker long to build those kinds of strong working relationships and when Super Storm Sandy struck, response from the whole was, in his words, “truly excellent.” Still, there were lessons that were learned. In meetings held post-Sandy, problems were identified and documented. Among the suggestions made in these follow-up discussions were the ideas of training stakeholders from the private sector together with those from the municipalities and having in place a working plan that would be “cutting edge in the industry.”

Several faculty members involved in teaching the courses were present as were representatives from stakeholder businesses. Among the Mercy staff in attendance were Dr. Matthew Miraglia, director of Mercy’s Corporate and Homeland Security program, Victoria Roberts Drogin, Esq., executive director of the School of Business, Professor Christopher Salute, associate dean of the School of Business, Assistant Professor Benjamin Manyindo and Dr. Gazmen Xhudo.

Stakeholder businesses in attendance included Putnam Hospital Center, the Paladin Center, Central Hudson Gas & Electric and New York State Gas & Electric as were representatives from Putnam’s Bureau of Emergency Services.

Courses will begin on Wednesday, October 2, 2013 and will be held at the Putnam County Emergency Services Training and Operations Center in Carmel.

For registration information, call 877-MERCY-GO or e-mail: