Long Island business executives feel optimistic about the region’s economic future, as we explored at HIA-LI’s 26th Annual Economic Summit on February 12 at the Hyatt Regency in Hauppauge. HIA-LI sees this event as critical to helping our members interpret what’s going on here on Long Island.
Based on the annual survey conducted by AVZ & Company, one of Long Island’s largest accounting firms, confidence in the regional economy – which reached a survey record high of 7.2 in 2018 – stood at a healthy 6.8 by the end of 2019. Yet forty-six percent of respondents added employees last year, and 43 percent had “no problem” finding skilled workers.
With AVZ managing partner Bob Quarte keeping the discussion lively and interesting in his role as moderator, a five-member panel sustained the attention of over 250 guests as they delved into issues shaping our region’s economic future.
Jim Coughlan, principal of TRITEC Real Estate, praised IDAs for their powerful contributions to the success of large business development projects. But if State lawmakers begin requiring IDA-supported projects to pay “prevailing wages,” he cautioned, IDAs would lose much of their ability to promote growth.
Rich Humann, president and CEO of H2M Architects + Engineers, praised HIA-LI’s work in building bridges between the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge (LI-IPH) and regional universities.
Looking big picture, Kevin O’Connor, president and CEO of BNB Bank, said there’s been an evolution in deal structures over the past fifteen years that should lessen the incidence of “crash and burn” economic cycles.
Janine Logan, Senior Director for Communications and Population Health with the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council, seemed unsurprised that the AVZ survey had ranked healthcare as the regional industry with the greatest growth potential.
Why? Well, nearly one-fifth of our population is age 65 or older, she said, and the top, predisposing factor for chronic disease is age.
Dr. John Nader, president of Farmingdale State College, told attendees that many people burdened with college debt had never received diplomas. Instead of two- or four-year degrees, he said that many jobs now call only for “micro-credentials” and certifications. That’s something for us to keep in mind as we develop a proposed LI-IPH workforce development center.
This year’s Economic Summit was stimulating and upbeat and once again served as a very important discussion on the pulse and future trends on Long Island.