National Grid Grant to HIA-LI Will Boost Business Attraction

Business associatinational-gridons must always be looking inward and outward.

On the internal side of the equation, our organization’s leadership needs to heed HIA-LI members, focus on your needs, and be responsive.

HIA-LI’s leadership must always look externally, too. And when it comes to our relationship with those outside of the organization, our number-one goal is to transform outsiders of all kinds into insiders, especially when it comes to the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge (LI-IPH), formerly known as the Hauppauge Industrial Park.

It’s great when a company comes into the LI-IPH from elsewhere in Nassau or Suffolk counties. But few things deliver more benefit to Long Island than to attract an out-of-region company to the Park.

Under chairman Joe Campolo’s guidance, HIA-LI works hard on business attraction. And now, our outreach program has received a substantial shot in the arm.

National Grid, the regional natural gas provider, has provided a matching grant of $24,750 to help HIA-LI attract businesses to the LI-IPH. Combined with HIA-LI’s match, the overall marketing program will be valued at $49,500.

The grant comes from National Grid’s Cooperative Business Recruitment Program, which offers matching funds for marketing initiatives like this one. This campaign will market the LI-IPH to business audiences in New York City, New Jersey, Connecticut, and the Lower Hudson Valley.

We’ll advertise on cable TV, place promotions on news-radio stations, and conduct public relations outreach to metro area business publications. HIA-LI will also send blast emails to 60,000 CEOs and business decision makers in the New York metropolitan area.

HIA-LI will reinforce the message that the LI-IPH ranks second in size as an industrial park only to Silicon Valley in California. We’ll tell business leaders that we generate some $13 billion in annual output – and that we’re ready for expansion.

“Long Island is a great spot to live, work, and play,” said Keith Rooney, National Grid’s Director of Customer and Community Management, in announcing the award. “The Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge is a premier spot for businesses to succeed,”

HIA-LI is grateful to National Grid for this grant, and we’ll put it to very good use. Just like National Grid, we want Long Island to achieve its full economic potential.

New Workforce Training Center Takes a Big Stride Forward

Group shot at LIRPC.
At the July 11, 2019 LIRPC meeting, from left: Richard V. Guardino, Executive Director, Long Island Regional Planning Council; Joe Campolo, Board Chair, HIA-LI, and Managing Partner, Campolo Middleton & McCormick, LLP;  Carol A. Allen, Second Vice Chair, HIA-LI, and President & CEO, People’s Alliance Federal Credit Union; Terri Alessi-Miceli, President & CEO, HIA-LI; Kelly Morris, Deputy Executive Director, Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency; and, John D. Cameron, Jr., P.E., Chair, Long Island Regional Planning Council, and Managing Partner, Cameron Engineering & Associates, LLP.

Let’s overcome two big challenges at the same time:

First, Long Island obviously needs our most promising companies and business sectors to grow and thrive here.

And second, equally obvious, is that our region needs our most talented, young workers to stay here, build their careers here, and raise their families here.

So, what if a single strategic initiative were able to take on both of these challenges at the same time?

What if we could create a new competitive asset that would function along the lines of a skills “matchmaker” at a strategic level? This entity would view Long Island’s talent needs through a supply-and-demand lens. It would align the skills of our regional workforce with the specific capabilities demanded by our most-promising companies.

Everyone would win.

Well, the good news is that such a facility is now taking shape right here at the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge, until recently known as the Hauppauge Industrial Park.

As part of a strategic initiative spearheaded by HIA-LI, the Long Island Regional Planning Council (LIRPC) has just signed a consulting contract advancing development of a new workforce training center – to be located right here.

Under the contract, New York City-based James Lima Planning + Development (JLP+D) will implement some initial steps to facilitate the launch of such a facility.

JLP+D will analyze industry categories and ecosystems, and match them against regional demographic trends. They’ll produce a “skills gap” analysis that will help shape the future center’s curriculum, its organizational and physical structure, and an action timeline.

The Lima team will also examine ways to unify the energies of government agencies, business organizations, and academic institutions to help ensure that the new center achieves its vital mission.

JLP+D is superbly qualified for such an assignment. Last April, they worked together with HIA-LI, the Regional Plan Association, and the Suffolk IDA to complete a comprehensive, 160-page “opportunity analysis” setting forth a strategy for maximizing our Park’s potential as a regional economic powerhouse.

LIRPC Chairman John Cameron, its Executive Director Richard Guardino, Suffolk IDA Chair Theresa Ward, IDA Deputy Executive Director Kelly Morris, and HIA-LI Chair Joe Campolo all deserve credit for their leadership on this important workforce initiative.

The new training center is destined to deliver benefits to our members and to Long Island as a whole for decades to come. Let’s all do everything we can to make it a success.

Our Task Force Has Begun Building the Park’s New Future

We’ve got the vision – and we’ve got the strategy.

And now, we’ve got a blue-ribbon Task Force in place to implement the strategy.

Our goal? The HIA-LI is spearheading a bold expansion of the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge (LI-IPH), formerly known as the Hauppauge Industrial Park.

While our 55,000-employee workforce already delivers $13 billion in annual output, we’ve now identified powerful opportunities for new growth.

With support from the Suffolk County IDA and the Regional Plan Association, HIA-LI commissioned a full-blown “Opportunity Analysis” by James Lima of James Lima Planning + Development, a nationally respected economic development consulting firm.

It found that the Park stood as Long Island’s top source of new, incoming wealth – thanks to our unsurpassed ratio of “tradable” businesses. These are companies whose exports and services attract new dollars into the region.

Tradable industries constitute only 23 percent of the regional economy, well below the 36 percent national average.

But our Park’s ratio is super-high: 58 percent of our workforce represents jobs in tradable industries.

The 160-page Lima assessment pinpointed five expansion strategies: facilitate business growth, attract and retain key knowledge workers, strengthen workforce development, promote innovation, and bolster connections among businesses, government, and institutions.

Happily, our new LI-IPH Task Force has already begun implementing these strategies.

In addition to myself and Joe Campolo, HIA-LI board chairman and managing partner of Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP, its members include:

I applaud our Task Force members for their commitment to the LI-IPH – and to our region’s future.

Let’s enthusiastically support their efforts to usher in a new era of economic vibrancy for Long Island.

Young Professionals Impart Wisdom

There was a full-house at the June 18 HIA-LI Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (H.Y.P.E.) Executive Breakfast and Scholarship Awards ceremony.

We all know the challenge of young people leaving Long Island to live and work in other regions. In fact, it is stated by the year 2025 seventy-five percent of the workforce will be millennials who, if they continue to exit Long Island, will create an even larger challenge. We also know the urgent need to create jobs and connect our educational partners. It is the very reason that several years ago the HIA-LI created a Young Professionals Committee (now H.Y.P.E.) that every year creates a young professionals panel to speak to our scholarship recipients.

There were some great takeaways this year from the June 18th HIA-LI Young Professionals Scholarship Awards and Executive Breakfast held at the WizdomOne Group of Companies in Islandia.  Here are a few that stand out:

  • Follow your passion because passion equals excellence. Now is not the time to “settle” or second-guess your dreams.
  • If you’re not sure of your career direction, use college to explore your options. Take classes that interest you . . . one of them might just ignite a ‘spark.’
  • There is no substitute for hard work. (You’ve heard the expression, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.  Well, it’s true.)
  • Look at failures as learning opportunities. You can’t learn to succeed unless you’ve learned to fail.  And when you do fail, fail hard, fail fast, and then get up and continue moving forward.
  • Be present in whatever you’re doing. Put down the cell phone.  Turn off the TV.  Focus on people.
  • It’s important to have a support system. It may your parents.  It may be friends.  It may be extended family.  Or it may be co-workers.  But no matter, surround yourself with people who are positive and supportive.
  • Find work-life balance that makes you happy. It may not look like your parents, friends, or colleagues, but that’s ok.  So long as it works for you.
  • Make your bed every morning! Yes, starting the day in an organized way sets a positive tone for the rest of your day.

Many thanks to the stellar panel of young professionals who helped to impart these insightful pieces of advice.  They were moderators Jason Hershkowitz, Account Manager and Executive Recruiter, Choice Long Island, and Gregg Pajak, Founder and Managing Partner, WizdomeOne Group of Companies. Panelists included Josiah Cheatham, Senior Business Development Representative, People’s Alliance Federal Credit Union; Adam Holtzer, Director of Business Development, Generations Beyond; Lauren Kanter-Lawrence, Director of Communications, Campolo Middleton & McCormick, LLP; and, David Whelan, Director of Development, Harvest Power.

Congratulations to the 12 scholarship recipients, all children of HIA-LI members who chose to continue their post-high school education right here on Long Island.

Want to find out more about HIA-LI’s Young Professionals & Entrepreneurs (H.Y.P.E.) Committee?  Call Connor Robertson at 631-543-5355 or email crobertson@hia-li.org.

It Ain’t Just Exhibit Booths!

Top photo: The trade show floor. Bottom photo: The executive luncheon panel.

Every May, HIA-LI’s Annual Trade Show and Conference infuses our year-round programming  with a healthy jolt of momentum.

This year’s event, our 31st, was the most successful ever. The May 30 exposition – held at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood – attracted 375 exhibitors and more than 3,000 attendees. It was a joy to see attendees reinforce valuable business relationships on the trade show floor.

One high point was Executive Breakfast keynoter Carl Banks, the former NFL linebacker who earned two Super Bowl championship rings as a New York Giant.

Carl is president of GIII Sports, an apparel company ranking among the top three sportswear licensees in professional sports. He shared lessons for success he had carried from the football field into the business world.

Later, a stellar Executive Luncheon panel was moderated by Mitch Pally, CEO of the Long Island Builders Institute and a huge HIA-LI booster.

Panelist Bob Coughlan, principal with TRITEC Real Estate, updated attendees on the 50-acre Ronkonkoma Hub. His company is master developer of a project Bob calls “one of the East Coast’s best transit-oriented sites.”

In a presentation by David Wolkoff, a principal at Heartland Business Center, guests were briefed on Heartland Town Square, a walkable, 450-acre “smart growth” community unfolding on Brentwood’s former Pilgrim State grounds.

David Pennetta, executive director of Cushman & Wakefield, discussed such novel development strategies as a recent proposal to permit multi-family development within an aging Melville business park.

Village of Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri drew praise from fellow panelists for his community’s precedent-setting, redevelopment makeover, including TRITEC’s $112 million, multi-use “New Village” community.

Panelist Joe Campolo — the Managing Partner at Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP and our HIA-LI board chair — reinforced the upbeat spirit by focusing on the action plan spelled out in the recent “Opportunity Analysis” completed for the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge, the new name of the Hauppauge Industrial Park.

The analysis was sponsored by Suffolk County IDA and the Regional Plan Association – and a Task Force is poised to turn the plan into a reality.

While every panelist acknowledged the urgent need for Long Island to retain the youngest stratum of our workforce, Joe said that the strategic re-creation of our business park would play an instrumental role in keeping young people here.

The energy of a successful trade show – combined with the anticipation we’re all feeling as the Park launches its expansion plans – made for an exciting day!

The Largest Industrial Park in the Northeast Has a New Name – and a Strategy for Long-Term Growth

HIP press conference 4 24 2019 group shot
From left: Jack Kulka, Lifetime Board Member, HIA-LI; Joe Campolo, Board Chair, HIA-LI; Hon. Ed Wehrheim, Smithtown Supervisor; Hon. Steve Bellone, Suffolk County Executive; Hon. Angie Carpenter, Islip Town Supervisor; Terri Alessi-Miceli, President & CEO, HIA-LI; Kelly Morris, Deputy Executive Director, Suffolk IDA; and, James Lima, President, James Lima Planning + Development.

It’s hard enough figuring out how to grow our businesses and organizations over the next, say, six months . . . or year . . . or even two years.

So, how do we chart a course for growth over the next decade? Or two decades?

Well, we now have clear and specific answers.

First, based on feedback from park occupants, our government partners and our future workforce, we are changing the name of the Hauppauge Industrial Park.

Its new name is the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge with the tagline: “Where Business Meets Innovation.”

As the largest business park in the Northeast, we’re already the unrivaled cornerstone of the Suffolk County economy. This Park is home to 55,000 employees – and our $13 billion of annual output accounts for eight percent of Long Island’s Gross Domestic Product.

Our proven capacity for innovation will be the key to decades of new growth, so innovation is now our middle name.

And what is our blueprint for decades of expansion?

Last year, we assembled the talents of Stony Brook University, the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency, and the Regional Plan Association to compile a comprehensive inventory of the park’s assets.

The Suffolk IDA then brought in James Lima Planning + Development to match up our assets against the anticipated demands of tomorrow’s regional and national economy.

The result: a 167-page report that Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone called a “comprehensive roadmap” that spells out “the building blocks needed to strengthen, expand and attract key industry clusters that will push our innovative economy to the next level.”

The analysis found that we held a big advantage over the rest of Long Island through our powerful contingent of “tradeable” business. “Tradeable” commerce involves goods and services exportable to other locations — and not consumed solely by local markets.

This is a hard-core metric of regional economic development value because it measures an asset’s capacity to serve, in essence, as a “dollar magnet” – and to attract outside wealth into the area.

The Island-wide ratio of “tradeable” business runs only 23 percent, contrasted with a national rate of 36 percent.

But the figure for Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge stands at an impressive 58 percent, over 20 percent higher than the national average.

That’s a platform worth building upon, and one that is destined to elevate the Park’s status as a regional business driver.

The report pinpointed five essential, high-level economic development strategies for the Park to grow and influence the entire Long Island economy:

First, facilitate business growth. Second, strengthen training and workforce development. Third, attract and retain knowledge workers. Fourth, promote innovation and technology transfer. And fifth, fortify connections among business, government and institutions.

“This reimagining of the Park,” says Suffolk IDA chair Theresa Ward, “gets everyone involved in economic development in this region excited because the potential is so real and obtainable.”

With this insightful, five-part game plan in hand, Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge is today equipped to fulfill a growth scenario that will redouble its contributions to our regional economy.

Ambitious? Yes.

And do we have the assets – and the will – to pull it off?

Absolutely!

LI MacArthur Airport and Tourism: Economic Generators for Long Island

It was a full-house at the March 22 event at Long Island MacArthur Airport, “Taking Business and Tourism to New Heights.”

It’s hard to beat tourism as a business booster.

Economic development professionals will always tell you that one of the best ways for any community to attract incoming dollars is through tourism.

Similar to the benefit enjoyed when customers outside your area purchase your exported products, a dollar spent by a visiting tourist represents the introduction of new, net wealth into your locality.

It’s a pure win, because it’s fresh, outside money coming in.

And the good news is that Long Island business and government leaders know and appreciate this fact. Moreover, they take concrete action to promote and support tourism as a means of enriching the Nassau and Suffolk economies.

To further sharpen our business community’s understanding of the symbiosis uniting tourism and business, HIA-LI hosted more than 200 members of the regional business community at a breakfast panel at Long Island MacArthur Airport on Friday, March 22. The event was called “Taking Business and Tourism to New Heights.”

The panel highlighted Long Island MacArthur Airport, which is owned and operated by  the Town of Islip, and Discover Long Island, the agency formally designated to promote Long Island as a destination for tourism, meetings, conventions, and sporting events.

Speakers included Kristen Jarnagin, President and CEO of Discover Long Island; Town of Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter; Airport Commissioner Shelley LaRose-Arken.

Ms. Jarnagin helped to crystallize the theme of the event with the following economic development proverb:

“If you build a place where people want to visit, you will build a place where people want to live,” she said. “And if you build a place where people want to live, you will build a place where people want to work. And if you build a place where people want to work, you will build a place where business will want to be. And if businesses want to be there, you will build a place where people will want to visit.”

Thanks to Discover Long Island data, attendees learned that travelers spent an eye-opening $5.9 billion on Long Island in 2017.

And on the fiscal side, tourism in Long Island generated $722 million in state and local taxes in 2017. And sales, property, and hotel bed taxes contributed to nearly $400 million in local taxes.

By fortifying Long Island’s tax base, the tourism industry enhances the region’s ability to attract and retain private companies.

As most readers know, MacArthur Airport is an indispensable hub of our area’s tourism sector. The airport sees more than 5,000 people fly in and out every day.

And under the leadership of Supervisor Carpenter, herself a former businesswoman, the 1,300-acre airport has systematically maintained strong ties to our area’s business community.

Airport Commissioner LaRose-Arken told attendees that MacArthur ranked as America’s fastest-growing, medium- to large-sized airport, as measured by domestic seats.

She also noted that both Southwest and American Airlines had recently responded to growing demand by introducing larger aircraft, and that Frontier Airlines had expanded its list of destinations reachable from the airport.

“We try to operate our airport like a business,” said the Commissioner. “And over the last four years, the airport has run a surplus.”

Underscoring our business community’s commitment to tourism, several private-sector players recently helped underwrite a Discover Long Island survey designed to help inform future strategies for the industry’s growth.

HIA-LI, National Grid, and the Manufacturing Consortium of Long Island – which also goes by the name of Ignite Long Island – joined forces with Long Island University and Long Island MacArthur Airport to sponsor the project.

As reported by Newsday, the Discover Long Island analysis found that when travelers are told about “the Island’s beaches and parks, museums, restaurants, and other attractions, the likelihood they will visit rose to 65 percent compared with 47 percent when they knew little about the region.”

To further bolster region-wide tourism, Discover Long Island in 2017 initiated its first-ever co-marketing partnership with New York City’s tourism agency, NYC & Co. The joint program positions Long Island as “a great addition to New York City trips” and as the city’s “beachfront backyard.”

During a question-and-answer session, Ms. Jarnagin urged event attendees to always remember to speak positively about Long island.

“Please think about the way you’re speaking about your home and where you live,” she said. “Because when you put something online, people see it all over the world. If everyone hears something negative, why would anyone want to come here?”

Supervisor Carpenter also urged business leaders to make their presence felt at public hearings and speak up in support of development initiatives “because the naysayers are always going to be there.”

We need to work collaboratively with institutions and government entities.  For example, HIA-LI had provided assistance to MacArthur Airport in assessing travel patterns and passenger needs when the air facility had been scoping out growth strategies.

We simply can’t underestimate the value of this airport and tourism in strengthening the economic foundation of Nassau and Suffolk counties.  The deeper the commitment we make to tourism, the more tourism delivers to our business community.

Partnership Between HIA-LI and Town of Smithtown Delivers Long-Term Benefits to the Hauppauge Industrial Park

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HIA-LI President & CEO Terri Alessi-Miceli is interviewed with Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim for an upcoming episode of Smithtown Spotlight.

Especially at the local level, you can’t underestimate the importance of the relationship between business and government.

We see it all the time at HIA-LI, where our ability to meet the day-to-day needs of our members – and to achieve our long-term goals – depends upon the quality of our interactions with local municipalities.

The large majority of the Hauppauge Industrial Park (HIP) is situated within the Town of Smithtown, with the balance in the Town of Islip. Happily, we enjoy vigorous support from the elected leaders of both towns.

They are Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim and Town of Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter. Both deserve great credit for their support for the Park.

I recently was privileged to join one of these two officials, Supervisor Wehrheim, as a guest on Smithtown Spotlight, on Channel 18 in Smithtown, which is scheduled to air in April 2019.

During the interview, he repeatedly underscored the value of the Town of Smithtown’s partnership relationship with the HIA-LI and the Park.

“From ‘day one,’ we realized how important the Hauppauge Industrial Park is to the sustainability of Smithtown itself,” the Supervisor – elected in November 2017 – said. “There’s a great opportunity for us to partner, and we went full steam ahead to make sure that this happened in this administration.”

Living up to his commitment, for example, Supervisor Wehrheim has been a regular presence at HIP Task Force meetings and activities, where we are devising ways to maximize growth and competitiveness. Institutional participants include Stony Brook University, the Suffolk County IDA, and the Regional Plan Association.

In the past, the Town had done much road reconstruction work associated with the County’s sewer expansion in the Park. I was very pleased to learn that the Supervisor budgeted for several much-needed infrastructure projects including widening Adams Avenue, improving New Highway, upgrading traffic signals, adding new sidewalks, and removing outdated-looking wooden poles. And going forward, future capital improvements, he said, would be budgeted in on an annual basis.

“Even though it is infrastructure work,” he said, “these are all things that will aesthetically make the park very pleasing to business people when they come in to look at it.”

In 2018, Smithtown gave the green light to 740,000 square feet of commercial development in the Park.

Zoning changes have boosted building height limits from 35 feet to 62 feet high along Motor Parkway, with the future prospect of higher structures more deeply into the park.

“New height requirements are going to bring more high-tech businesses to the Park,” he said.

The Supervisor and I also discussed our HIP re-branding initiative which includes a possible name change for Park.  We also talked about potential zoning changes to allow residential development within the HIP.

Supervisor Wehrheim offered some concrete evidence of the Park’s fiscal value for the Town:

“We just received a Triple-A bond rating from Moody’s, the highest level that can be attained,” he said.

Moody’s cited HIP’s value in evaluating the Town’s creditworthiness, as well as Smithtown’s “partner” relationship with the Park.

With some 55,000 employees, HIP represents some $19.6 million in total tax assessed value and generates about $14 billion in annual sales.

“I see great, great things happening in the future, for the Park and for Smithtown as a whole,” said Supervisor Wehrheim. “And working with Terri has been a pleasure. It’s a great relationship to specifically accomplish great things.

“As a partnership, we’ve really stirred up some real interest and I think it’s going to continue,” he said. “At least I’m going to put all my efforts into making that happen.”

Prevailing Wage Bill Would Deliver Devastating Blow to LI Economy

prevaling wage blog imageA bill has passed the New York State Assembly and is now sitting in the State Senate (A1261/S1947) that would require all Industrial Development Agency (IDA) funded projects to pay “prevailing wage.”  The bill is co-sponsored by State Senators James Gaughran and Monica Martinez.

While we appreciate the good intentions of the bill’s supporters, it must not pass. The bill’s adoption would deliver a devastating blow to future economic growth in Suffolk County. In addition to inhibiting the creation of new manufacturing enterprises, this radical change in IDA guidelines would also suppress the introduction of new housing into our region, including affordable housing.

Over the course of 41 years, HIA-LI has grown to represent tens of thousands of Long Island business professionals. We serve as a widely recognized advocate for regional development. It is our core mission.

A centerpoint of our constituency is the Hauppauge Industrial Park, which ranks second in size only to Silicon Valley among America’s industrial parks. This 1,400-acre Park houses more than 1,350 businesses employing some 55,000 people. These workers collectively represent a post-tax payroll accounting for more than $2 billion in local spending. Many of our projects have benefited from IDA support.

More broadly, the Suffolk IDA plays an essential role in Long Island’s economy. It has been a vital economic development resource with an excellent record of success helping local companies expand or renovate, build or add new facilities, or relocate to Suffolk County.

In the Town of Smithtown alone, the Suffolk IDA has been instrumental in the delivery of 34 projects – 13 ground-up developments among them. Most of these IDA projects have been situated in the Hauppauge Industrial Park. Townwide, they are helping to create 4,624 jobs and leverage more than $322 million in private capital.

A new prevailing wage provision is expected to shoot average IDA projects skyward by as much as 40 percent. Such a surge will instantly transform this new requirement into nothing short of a deal-killer for vast numbers of new developments. Contrary to the feelings of some lawmakers this bill will not increase the salary of construction jobs but will decrease the availability of jobs. This would not only stymie the creation of tens of thousands of permanent jobs and construction jobs but would also suppress creation of the kind of workforce housing that allows Long Island to allure and retain skilled personnel including millennials.

Over recent years, New York State witnessed the way that a new prevailing wage requirement had choked off the pipeline of IDA projects in Ulster County and the City of Yonkers. That same harmful scenario would surely play out here, too.

Our analysis is clear: imposing these onerous new costs on future IDA projects would severely diminish Long Island’s competitive status – and badly dampen our hopes for the future.

We urge our State lawmakers to reject this unsustainable new burden on our region’s economy.

With Confidence Levels at a Record High, Let’s Boost Long Island’s National Profile

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Bob Quarte, partner with AVZ & Co. and HIA-LI Board Member and former Chair, moderates the February 13 HIA-LI Economic Summit.

Long Island’s business community is facing the future with confidence at record levels.

We know that the significant work HIA-LI is doing with the Economic Impact Study and Opportunity Analysis will spur growth and development. Because of this, HIA-LI’s Long Island Economic Confidence rating is also high.

Now we need to project this confidence outward to other markets. Our advantages should be positioning Long Island as an economic development magnet.

That was the big takeaway from HIA-LI’s 25th Annual Long Island Economic Summit held February 13 at the Windwatch in Hauppauge. Panelists included six top-tier representatives of Long Island’s business community.

As always, the annual conclave’s centerpiece was the release of the AVZ Economic Survey and Opinion Poll. Results were presented by a HIA-LI Board Member and a former Chair, Bob Quarte, a partner with AVZ & Co.

Bob said confidence in the national economy had hit a record high of 7.5, while Long Island’s economic confidence rating had attained a 7.2 level.

“This 7.2 rating is the highest we’ve ever seen,” Bob reported, on the occasion of the AVZ survey’s silver anniversary. “It matches our 1999 and 2000 levels.”

Some 77 percent of respondents had increased company revenues in 2018. Ninety-five percent had increased prices for products or services, and 43 percent had expanded their staffing.

Chris Valsamos, President and CEO of Castella Imports, urged Long Island to promote itself more forcefully:

“Long Island must advertise itself as family-friendly,” he said. “We have excellent schools, recreation, and employment opportunities.”

“Our region should stop playing defense and start playing offense,” said Kevin O’Connor, BNB Bank’s President and CEO, striking similar chords. “We offer so many pluses, including our institutions of higher learning and proximity to New York City.”

“Locally, confidence is high,” said Michael Fener, executive director of Northwell Health. Echoing Kevin O’Connor, Michael highlighted our nearness to The Big Apple as “a benefit for Long Island.”

“This region has world-class institutions,” said Rich Humann, President + CEO of H2M architects + engineers. But, he added that there is a serious “talent gap in the engineering industry.” Rich urged the expansion of STEM education.

“Stony Brook graduates are getting jobs,” Dr. Anne-Marie Scheidt, Economic Development Director at Stony Brook University, told attendees. “Many get multiple offers before graduation, especially in STEM fields.”

Sometimes I think we’re so close to Long Island that we forget what a great place it is to do business. So let’s take our panelists’ advice — and tell the world!

Click here for a copy of the 2019 AVZ Economic Survey and Opinion Poll.