Companies Want to See “Talent in Action”

Small business border“You know what bosses like even more than employees who get their work done? Employees who don’t even have to be told what to do, because they’ll create value on their own accord,” says Eric Talbot, Strategic Account Manager at National Business Capital & Services in Bohemia.  That was his advice to young people – particularly Millennials and Generation Zs – who are a growing part of today’s emerging workforce.

“Customer service is not a department – it’s an attitude,” added Gregg Pajak, President and Founder of the WizdomOne Group in Islandia.  “Service is about making things easier and saving people time and money. Experience is about making things memorable and engaging and creating a desire to linger.

“The best experiences,” Pajak adds, “are those you wish would last forever.”

These were just two pieces of sage advice that was part of an HIA-LI Small Business Task Force Open Forum titled, “Is There a Difference Between the Generations?” held on November 7 at Simplay in Hauppauge.  Moderated by Rev. Joseph Garofalo, Outreach Pastor at Island Christian Church, the panel included five distinguished business leaders: Gary Barello, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Organizational Development at Biodex Medical Systems, Inc. in Shirley; Scott Maskin, CEO and Co-Founder at SuNation Solar Systems, Inc. in Ronkonkoma; Teresa Ferraro, President of East/West Industries Inc. in Ronkonkoma; along with Talbot and Pajak.

Panelists were asked to provide their thoughts on a range of topics including meeting deadlines, employee initiative, work-life balance, and performance reviews.

According to Gary Barello, while there are differences in the way generations view the workplace, “employers have to be careful not to generalize.  We have to avoid stereotyping by closing our eyes when a new person joins our team and say, ‘what does this person have to offer?’”

Barello added, “Just like ethnicity and gender, business leaders like us need to avoid labeling – we need to give each person the opportunity to show who they are.”

“Each scenario is case by case,” added Talbot.  “You never know what someone has going on right outside the office.”  However, if someone was consistently submitting projects and reports exactly at deadline with no time to spare, it would “raise some red flags” and question whether the employee could “handle the responsibility of bigger projects with tighter deadlines.”

Pajak added that younger employees need to take initiative and show management how they can build teamwork and impact the bottom line.  “Companies don’t want sculptures of talent,” he said. “They want to see the talent in action.”

These Open Forums are a direct result of feedback from our membership, 80 percent of which are small businesses, a figure which mirrors the overall Long Island business community.  We understand that small businesses have their own set of unique challenges, and discussions over the years centered on how our organization could provide better guidance and support for these companies.  One result was the institution of these Small Business Task Force Open Forums, now in its third year.

A special thanks, as always, to Rita DiStefano, Chair of the Small Business Task Force and Director of HR Consulting at Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl and Associates, Inc. in Jericho and her task force members who work tirelessly to bring progressive, relevant programming to our membership.

Finally, stay tuned for future Small Business Task Force Open Forums, complimentary to HIA-LI members.

Bi-Partisan Public-Private Cooperation Propels Long Island’s Economic Growth

2019 Leg Recep Collage

On October 29th the HIA-LI once again gathered for our Annual Board Legislative Breakfast with the goal of reviewing our current initiatives and asking for continued support from our officials.

“Long Island is not only a national treasure, but we’re also a national model for how business and government should partner.”

When HIA-LI Chair Joe Campolo said this to the gathering his words rang true for me – and I think for just about every business executive and government official in the room.

Yes, there’s always going to be some disagreement between public officials and businesspeople. We won’t always see eye-to-eye.

But in Nassau and Suffolk counties, the relationship has been supported by a spirit of cooperation. Indeed, our own Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge (LI-IPH) could never have become America’s second-largest innovation park – trailing only Silicon Valley itself – without the kind of cooperation we are talking about.

We were privileged to be joined by Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim and Councilman Tom Lohmann; Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter; Suffolk County Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory; Suffolk County Legislators Robert Calarco, Sarah Anker, Bill Lindsay, Susan Berland and Rob Trotta; State Senator John Flanagan; State Assembly Members Michael Fitzpatrick and Steve Stern; and Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri. Their presence helped to reinforce the symbiosis shared by the private and public sectors on Long Island.

All of LI-IPH’s past milestones – the childcare center, extra police protection, the exit off the Northern State Parkway, sewage improvements, and increases in permissible building height – required bi-partisan public sector cooperation.

Joe Campolo – Managing Partner at Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP – praised the Suffolk County IDA for helping scores of our members firms expand – and for underwriting the LI-IPH’s 160-page “Opportunity Analysis” that charts a long-term economic revitalization strategy by fostering the growth of competitive, tradeable industries.

Rita DiStefano, HR Consulting Director with Portnoy Messinger Pearl & Associates – who chairs HIA-LI’s Small Business Task Force – told attendees that she recognizes government’s role in supporting small firms, which constitute four-fifths of our membership. Public sector engagement is critical in such areas as financial assistance for business, and workforce training and development.

And Scott Maskin – the CEO of SUNation and Co-Chair of HIA-LI’s Hauppauge Industrial Power Project with HIA-LI Lifetime Board Member Jack Kulka told attendees about the goal of placing solar installations on park rooftops by the end of 2020, helping to meet the Governor’s NY-SUN target of 100 percent renewables by 2040.

HIA-LI proudly facilitates public-private cooperation at all levels with the help of HIA-LI Board Members carrying out our initiatives. It’s a partnership that’s essential to Long Island’s future.

DELIVERING A GOOD MEAL — AND DELIVERING SOLAR POWER

Paule Pachter Solarcommunity-700x357
Paule Pachter, CEO of Long Island Cares, on the roof of their facility in the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge. (Photo courtesy of The Times of Smithtown.)

Business organizations like HIA-LI largely focus on competitiveness, and promoting the growth of member firms.

That’s why it’s good to remind ourselves how much energy we also devote to community-minded goals and causes.

One example is our relationship with Long Island Cares and its Harry Chapin Regional Food Bank. Since 1980, this organization — situated in the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge (LI-IPH) — has been assembling resources to benefit our area’s hungry by providing emergency food, outreach support, and programs promoting self-sufficiency.

Here are two ways HIA-LI joins forces with Long Island Cares:

First, every summer for the past several years, HIA-LI and Long Island Cares have united to conduct the largest small business food drive on Long Island. The organization  has sensitized us to the fact that — amazingly — some 89,000 local children face food insecurity on a daily or weekly basis.

In addition to bringing food to drop-off sites, HIA-LI members can also buy food online for direct delivery to the food bank warehouse.

Second, guided by the HIA-LI Solar Task Force, solar panels are now being installed on the 35,000 square-foot roof of Long Island Cares’ headquarters.

Moreover, all of the renewable energy that roof generates will be sent offsite to provide electricity to approximately 50 households experiencing hardship and food insecurity.

“By taking the entire energy output of this installation and sending it offsite to provide discounted power to homes occupied by our lower-income neighbors,” Paule Pachter, CEO of Long Island Cares, tells us, “these households will have new-found income to address some of their immediate needs.”

The HIA-LI Solar Task Force deserves our thanks for initiating all this. Led by co-chairs Scott Maskin, CEO of SUNation Solar Systems, and Jack Kulka, President of Kulka, LLC, they’re aiming to help LI-IPH achieve 100-percent-reliance on renewable energy by 2040.

Task force participants also include Edgewise Energy, Entersolar, Harvest Power, Empower Solar, Top Cat Consulting, H2M Engineering, and Greenstreet Power Partners.

Congratulations to everyone involved in this visionary project!

Tune Into HIA-LI “Live” This Thursday

Alessi@TSN
Terri Alessi-Miceli, President and CEO of HIA-LI, on the set of the Streamcast Network with Cliff Sobel in a Facebook Live program produced earlier this year.

Here’s a way you can get involved in HIA-LI without leaving the comfort of your desk.

This Thursday, October 17, 2019 at 11:00am, HIA-LI – in collaboration with The Streamcast Network – will be hosting an interactive livestream panel on Facebook and on our website’s home page.

Joining me on the panel will be Joe Campolo, Chair, HIA-LI and Managing Partner, Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP; Kelly Morris, Deputy Executive Director, Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency; Hon. Ed Wehrheim, Supervisor, Town of Smithtown (tentative); and Yuxiang Luo, Director, James Lima Planning + Development (JLP+D), who will be joining us remotely from New York City.  JLP+D is the firm that developed the “opportunity analysis” that is now serving as a blueprint for growth of the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge.

This initiative is part of an overall effort to reach out to the Long Island business community and beyond.  Just two weeks ago we launched an initiative – funded in part with a grant from the National Grid Cooperative Business Recruitment Program – to promote the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge to the Greater New York City metropolitan area.  We are currently running TV commercials, radio spots, and sending blast emails to CEOs and decision makers in New York City, New Jersey, Connecticut, and the Lower Hudson Valley.

We are grateful to Cliff Sobel, Founder and Executive Producer of The Streamcast Network – with studios in East Northport – for partnering with us and providing this unique opportunity.  You can learn more about them at http://streamcastnetwork.com.

So, please tune-in at 11:00am this Thursday, October 17 by going to:

And please bring your questions and comments.  Viewers on Facebook will be able to participate interactively by asking questions and providing comments directly to panelists by typing into Facebook’s “Write a Comment” section.

Let’s Pause and Applaud True Standouts!

HIA, Business Achievement Awards, B) Luncheon (2) (800x800)-COLLAGEAs business executives, we spend almost all of our work time trying to do our jobs well.

So it’s nice to pause for a moment to applaud those Long Island companies and organizations that are true standouts when it comes to performance and leadership.

That’s what we did on September 19 at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury when HIA-LI held a gala luncheon to honor recipients of our 25th Annual Business Achievement Awards (BAA).

Some 500 guests were greeted by New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, each of whom praised the honorees and also applauded HIA-LI on our commitment to fulfilling the vision set forth in our “Opportunity Analysis” issued last April.

Covering four categories, BAA nominees were evaluated based on the quality of their employee relations, regional business engagement, profitability, and vision for their future. Other considerations included recent accomplishments, innovative processes, market growth, industry leadership, and their ability to overcome adversity.

The “Large Business” recipient was SUNation Solar Systems, Long Island’s largest solar company, based in the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge. Other “Large Business” finalists included: American Diagnostic Corporation; Custom Computer Specialists; JLL; and Northwell Health.

The “Small Business” honoree was East/West Industries, an aerospace engineering company in Ronkonkoma. Other “Small Business” entrants were Accu Data Workforce Solutions; Contemporary Computer Services; National Business Capital & Services; and Prestige Employee Administrators.

Selected as “Rookie of the Year” was Pure Mammography in Lake Grove. Category finalists included Naka Technologies, LLC; Senior Health Plan Specialists; and SynchroPET.

The “Not-for-Profit” honoree was Dominican Village, an assisted and independent living community in Amityville. Finalists included ACLD; CN Counseling & Guidance Services; EPIC Long Island; Independent Group Home Living, Inc.; and Splashes of Hope.

HIA-LI also presented a special “Industry Leadership Award” to Northwell Health, the state’s largest healthcare provider and the region’s largest private employer.

The luncheon gave us all a chance to publicly commend these outstanding firms. And, over the years, honorees have told us how they leverage their awards and finalist status to boost their marketing and their overall competitiveness.

So, my message to you? Nominate your organization in 2020! That way we can all applaud you next September!

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!