Senior Leadership Team Biographies

Chris Levy

Chris Levy, President and Chief Executive Officer

Chris Levy serves as President and CEO at Pursuit. In his role, Chris is responsible for all operations of the company, shaping policies, culture, and growth. He leverages his experience and leadership to drive relationships, technology solutions, and creative strategies to increase access to capital for businesses within Pursuit’s footprint.

After interning with Pursuit, Chris joined the team full time in 2012 as an underwriter. Shortly thereafter, he was promoted to oversee the credit department and ultimately served as Chief Credit Officer. Chris’s deep knowledge of SBA underwriting, credit, policy management and team management have allowed him to continue to expand his role at Pursuit throughout his tenure. Chris oversaw Pursuit’s administration of the Paycheck Protection Program, which resulted in over 11,000 loan approvals for $780 million. Chris’s leadership has resulted in thousands of small businesses obtain financing to start and grow their operations.

Chris was a member of the Albany Business Review’s 40 Under 40 class in 2022 and received the Coleman Report 2019 SBA Emerging Lender of the Year award. He serves on the Albany Country Club Board, enjoys playing golf and his family vacations in the Outer Banks each summer. Chris holds a B.S. in Finance from the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business and received his Juris Doctor degree from Albany Law School. He is admitted to practice law in New York and New Jersey.

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Richard Amsterdam, Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer

Rich Amsterdam serves as executive vice president and the chief credit officer at Pursuit. Rich is responsible for the credit department, the loan approval process, and the timeliness and quality of the loan approval function, as well as the coordination and presentation of loans to loan committees. He also provides SBA SOP support for interpretation and eligibility determinations, identifying and crafting creative solutions to potential impediments. Additionally, Rich serves on the Senior Staff Loan Committee and the Staff Asset Review Committee.

Rich joined Pursuit in May 2006 as a commercial loan officer, responsible for providing SBA 504 loans throughout New York and New Jersey as well as conventional and SBA 7(a) loans throughout New York. Rich’s deep understanding of SBA underwriting, credit, policy, and eligibility has allowed him to continue to expand his role at Pursuit. Rich served as a team leader, regional manager and as senior loan officer before being appointed chief credit officer. Rich has also served as the approval officer for pandemic-related loan programs such as the NYC LMI Storefront Program and PPP.

Rich has more than 20 years of banking and finance experience having most recently worked for M&T Bank, Fleet Bank, and Citibank. Rich obtained a Master of Science degree with distinction in Banking from Mercy College in New York, NY, and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Banking and Finance from Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY.

In addition to his role with Pursuit, Rich served as an executive board member and assistant treasurer of the Long Island Business Development Council, the president of the Suffolk County Small Business Advisory Council, was an active member of the Risk Management Association and Commercial Industrial Brokers Society, and was named one of Long Island Business News Top 40 Under 40 in 2015. He is often sought after for speaking engagements by financial institutions, associations, trade groups, and elected officials for his in-depth expertise on SBA lending.

Owen Burns

Owen Burns, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Owen Burns serves as executive vice president and CFO for Pursuit. His primary function is oversight of the Accounting Department, which is involved in all financial matters of the company, including the inflow and outflow of funds. He is responsible for financial reporting and all of Pursuit compliance relative to income tax and corporate insurance matters. Mr. Burns is also responsible for the oversight of human resource functions, including the implementation and administration of all employee benefit options, such as health insurance and 401(k) plans. Most other human resource administration is managed in this department, as well.

Mr. Burns has served in various departments within Pursuit, including time as a Staff Accountant, WTC Fund Program Manager and Credit Analyst. In December 2007, he was elected assistant vice president. In March 2009, he was named Acting Controller, and shortly after to vice president and controller. In December 2011, he was elected senior vice president and chief financial officer. In January 2021, Owen was promoted to his current position, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Mr. Burns joined Pursuit in February 2000, as an intern, while pursuing an undergraduate degree in Accounting from Siena College. He began his full-time employment with Pursuit as accountant in June 2001, while continuing to pursue his degree from Siena. He graduated from Siena College in May 2005 with a BBA in Accounting.

Owen enjoys spending time with his family, wife Andrea, son Braiden and daughter Kailyn, playing and watching most sports, and enjoying time at the family camp during summers.


Steven Cohen, Executive Vice President, President of Pursuit Community Finance

Steven Cohen is president of Pursuit Community Finance. Prior to joining Pursuit in 2015, Steven was executive vice president and deputy commissioner at Empire State Development, where he led the Department of Small Business Services and Community Economic Development. Under his leadership, the agency launched new access to capital and business advisory programs totaling over $200 million, leveraging $1 billion in private investment.

Steven also previously served as senior vice president for Seedco Financial Services where he worked in executive management and economic development, as well as loan portfolio management. He also founded and ran a music production company in San Francisco.

Steven has a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and a master’s in public administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School.

Jim Conroy

Jim Conroy, Executive Vice President, President of Pursuit CDC

James (Jim) J. Conroy, III serves as executive vice president and president of Pursuit CDC. In his role, Jim is responsible for driving the growth of the organization’s  SBA 504  loan program throughout New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The SBA 504 loan program provides small businesses with financing for major fixed assets and debt refinance at below-market interest rates. 

Jim joined the Pursuit team in 1997 and previously served as senior vice president and regional president for Upstate New York and Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the Pursuit team, Jim was an economic developer in Albany County. During this time, he was responsible for business retention activities, led numerous redevelopment programs and assisted in the re-constitution of the Albany County Al Tech Loan Fund.

Jim received his B.A. from Siena College and his MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Jim has been involved in several charities and non-profit organizations including the Rensselaer County Chamber of Commerce, Catholic Charities Community Caregivers, St. Anne Institute Foundation, Wildwood Foundation, LaSalle School for Boys, Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital District, and Mater Christi Church. Jim resides in Albany, NY with his wife, Karen.

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Kelly Cummings, Senior Vice President, Senior Credit Officer

Kelly Cummings serves as senior vice president and senior credit officer at Pursuit. As Senior Vice President, Kelly oversees and operates the credit department for the company. This includes hiring, training, and overseeing all analysts, and answering SBA SOP and eligibility-related questions. In addition to this, Kelly also helps verify how loans are underwritten in compliance with internal credit policy and applicable program standards, ensuring loans are underwritten and submitted to the loan committee and the SBA in a timely fashion.

Kelly joined Pursuit in 2013 as an intern while pursuing her undergraduate degree from Siena College. She began working full-time as an underwriter upon graduating in 2013. Kelly quickly became adept in Pursuit’s programs and products. She got involved in the Sandy II loan program and eventually took over managing the whole program. During COVID, Kelly oversaw the NYC LMI Small Business Restart Fund and helped lead the NYC COVID-19 Small Business Continuity Fund.

Kelly’s deep understanding of SBA underwriting, credit, and policy has allowed her to evolve from an underwriter to her current position managing the credit department. In her free time, Kelly enjoys spending time with her family, especially exploring the outdoors while hiking and camping. Kelly holds a B.S. in Actuarial Science from Siena College.

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Andrea Dabney, Senior Vice President

Andrea Dabney serves as senior vice president and head of SBA 7(a) lending at Pursuit. In her role, Andrea is responsible for managing the department that reviews and processes SBA 7(a) and SBA Community Advantage applications internally at Pursuit and externally for clients. Andrea utilizes her extensive experience to develop process and technology solutions for the SBA 7(a) lending team.

After interning with Pursuit in 2009, Andrea joined the team full-time in 2012 as an underwriter. Andrea’s expansive knowledge of SBA underwriting and credit standards has led her to hold various roles at Pursuit before being promoted to her current role. 

In her free time, Andrea enjoys various outdoor activities including hiking and paddle boarding and is passionate about her volunteer work at a local animal shelter. Andrea holds a B.S. in Finance from Siena College and an MBA with a concentration in Finance from Union College.

Toniann Datello

Toniann Datello, Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources

Toniann Datello serves as senior vice president and director of human resources at Pursuit. As the director of human resources, Toniann fosters and promotes a positive work environment, creates and implements policies and procedures, ensures compliance with federal, state, and local labor laws, and oversees benefits administration and coordination. Toniann is also responsible for all stages of the employee life cycle and provides consultation, guidance, and support to managers.

Before joining Pursuit, Toniann worked at a local not-for-profit, starting as the Human Resources Manager and then becoming the Director of Human Resources. In 2015, Toniann joined the human resources department at Pursuit. Toniann’s deep understanding of human resources and organizational management has allowed her to expand her role to senior vice president at Pursuit. 

Toniann attended Baruch College, New York, NY, where she obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration in human resource management. Toniann resides in the Capital Region with her husband and two children. In Toniann’s free time, she enjoys scuba diving with her son and watching her daughter dance. She also enjoys cooking, running, yoga, reading, and family vacations.

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Brianne Galli, Senior Vice President, Marketing Director

Brianne Galli brings more than 10 years of digital marketing and content creation experience to her role as senior vice president, marketing director. Brianne oversees Pursuit’s marketing team and leads the company’s marketing, branding, and communications strategies, focusing on digital lead pipeline development, content marketing, brand building, and more.

Starting with Pursuit in 2017, Brianne oversaw the day-to-day production of Pursuit’s content creation including business resource articles, client success stories, webinars, and videos, as well as content distribution through email marketing, social media, and public relations.

In leading Pursuit’s content strategy, Brianne has increased year-over-year traffic to Pursuit’s website and enhanced the company’s visibility in online searches, including earning #1 rankings for keywords related to Pursuit’s loan products. Brianne also worked closely on the company’s rebrand taking part in developing the brand’s messaging and visual identity and launching the Pursuit website.

Prior to joining the Pursuit team, Brianne served as senior associate for public policy at the NYS Associate of Healthcare Providers (HCP) and as marketing and communications coordinator at the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). She holds a B.S. in Mass Communications and B.A. in Music Industry both from SUNY College at Oneonta. When Brianne’s not working on Pursuit’s marketing, you’ll find her running distance races, cheering on the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres, and spending time with her family and pets.

Jim Goldrick

James J. Goldrick, Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer

James J. Goldrick serves as executive vice president and chief lending officer at Pursuit. In his role, James is responsible for overseeing the metropolitan New York market including New York City, Long Island, Northern New Jersey and New York’s Hudson Valley. He previously served as senior vice president and regional vice president for New York City and Long Island.

James has more than 20 years of banking and finance experience having previously worked for Prudential Securities, Chase Manhattan Bank and M&T Bank. James obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from St. John’s University in Jamaica, NY. He received formal credit training at Chase Manhattan Bank.

In addition to his role with Pursuit, James serves as an executive board member of the Long Island Business Development Council and a director of the Long Island Chapter of the Risk Management Association. He is
an active member of the Commercial Industrial Brokers Society, the Richard J. O’Brien Foundation and St. Anthony’s Father’s Guild. James obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from St. John’s University in Jamaica, NY. He resides in Syosset, NY with his wife, Carol, and three children: James, Thomas and Victoria.

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Tom McHale, Executive Vice President

Tom McHale serves as executive vice president at Pursuit. Tom is responsible for overseeing the loan processing and closing functions to ensure loans are approved and closed efficiently. His extensive experience and leadership help shape company policies and procedures.

Tom joined the Pursuit team in 1997 and held various roles before being named regional president for the Hudson Valley and New Jersey in 2010. Throughout his tenure at Pursuit, Tom has led numerous technology, partnership and organizational growth initiatives—including those that contributed to a 40 percent increase in lending activity in his region.

A longtime resident of the Capital Region, McHale is involved in various local organizations including as a board member and volunteer for Junior Achievement of Northeastern New York and the Clifton Park Soccer Club. Tom holds a B.A. in Economics and an MBA from SUNY Albany.

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Justin Nadeau, Senior Vice President, Portfolio Management

Justin Nadeau serves as senior vice president and portfolio manager at Pursuit. In his role, Justin is responsible for ensuring all loans follow both internal and external policies. He leverages his experience and leadership to oversee most internal and external audits and manages the loan review department, modification department, and special assets department.

Justin joined the Pursuit team as an intern in 2009 and shortly thereafter, began his full-time employment with Pursuit as a credit analyst in 2010. Justin’s deep understanding of devising and implementing strategies and processes, constructing and managing the Pursuit portfolio, and making decisions based on industry trends has allowed him to expand his role throughout his time at Pursuit.

An active resident of the Capital Region, Justin is involved in various local organizations. He is a chairman of the Troy Industrial Development Authority (IDA), Troy Local Development Corporation (LDC), and Troy Capital Resource Corporation (CRC). Justin holds a B.A. in Business Administration from The College of Saint Rose.

Leesa Naimo-Fredette

Leesa Naimo-Fredette, Senior Vice President, General Counsel

As senior vice president and general council, Leesa oversees and operates the legal department and all legal matters for the company. This includes ensuring that all loan closings for Pursuit met the required regulations. Prior to becoming a member of the Pursuit team in 2011, Leesa worked in a private practice and specialized in small business development and growth.

Leesa is a graduate of Russell Sage College and obtained her Doctor of Law degree from Albany Law School. She is admitted to practice in the State of New York, the Northern District of New York, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the State of Florida. Leesa also holds an MBA from Union College.

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