Public Officials Talk Business Growth

From left: HIA-LI Board Chairman Joe Campolo; State Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick, Smithtown Town Supervisor Ed Wehrheim; Suffolk Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory; HIA-LI President & CEO Terri Alessi-Miceli; Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter; and, Congressman Lee Zeldin.

Public policy has a major impact upon whether our businesses become profitable and whether our organizations succeed. That’s why HIA-LI regularly brings our members face-to-face with elected officials to discuss issues of concern to the Long Island business sector.

In this spirit, the HIA-LI convened our Annual Meeting and Legislative Breakfast on Friday, January 18 at the Hamlet Golf & Country Club in Commack.

Moderated by Board Chair Joe Campolo – Managing Partner at Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP – the discussion focused on business climate issues, housing, taxes, and other topics.

Panelists included Congressman Lee Zeldin, Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick, Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter, Smithtown Town Supervisor Ed Wehrheim, and Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory.

Congressman Zeldin and Legislator Gregory cited higher education’s role in sustaining economic growth. “Unemployment is at an all-time low,” the Congressman said, “but a skills gap still exists.” He said Long Island needs a “technical training route” for non-college-bound students.

Presiding Officer Gregory praised Suffolk County Community College for “helping companies fill the skills gap.” He advocated for greater emphasis on STEM learning (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) to help ensure the competitiveness of our regional workforce.

Supervisor Carpenter praised the Town’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA), noting its high level of accountability because the Town Board also functions as the IDA Board. She pinpointed Castella Imports of Brentwood as a big IDA success story in the Town.

Assemblyman Fitzpatrick said that high taxes – elevated by public sector pensions – have triggered out-migration from Long Island. “If government were smaller,” he said, “and pension costs were lower, we’d have a lower tax burden.”

As an economic development strategy in the Town of Smithtown, Supervisor Wehrheim reported that the Town is now situating workforce housing within business districts. Last summer, site plans were approved for such developments in Smithtown and Commack totaling 154 new units.

In today’s intensely competitive marketplace, the public and private sectors must collaborate and cooperate. Our Annual Legislative Breakfasts help bolster this essential, symbiotic relationship.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this breakfast event a success!

Working Closely with our Government Partners

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From left: Hon. Phil Boyle, State Senator; Terri Alessi-Miceli, President & C.E.O., HIA-LI; Hon. Lee Zeldin, Congressman; Hon. Michael Fitzpatrick, State Assemblyman; Jack Kulka, Lifetime Board Member, HIA-LI; and, Joe Campolo, Board Chair, HIA-LI.

HIA-LI has always prided itself on having outstanding relationships with government officials. Many of our elected and appointed leaders have supported the HIA-LI throughout the years and at critical times have been just a phone call away.  That is something we, and our members, very much appreciate.

It has resulted in numerous projects and improvements such as:

  • A new highway exit off the Northern State Parkway.
  • Securing a COPE patrol vehicle dedicated to the Hauppauge Industrial Park through the Suffolk County Police Department.
  • Establishing the first childcare center in an industrial park on Long Island.
  • Obtaining a $600,000 transportation grant from former Congressman Steve Israel to look at egress and digress in the Park.
  • Establishment of an overlay district that allows for increased building height.
  • Expansion of the Park’s sewerage project.

All of this and more has happened because of our strong relationship with government officials.

On October 19, 2018, we took another important step in our advocacy and partnership with local and regional public officials by hosting a Board Legislative Breakfast where more than two dozen elected leaders and their representatives attended.  HIA-LI understands the importance of communicating our members’ concerns to governmental leaders and the benefits of working with them in a collaborative manner to find solutions.

At the October 19 breakfast, Joe Campolo, Board Chair and Managing Partner of Campolo, Middleton and McCormick LLP, reviewed the proactive work being done in the Hauppauge Industrial Park and the “Opportunity Analysis” that this is being conducted to help identify ways that the Park’s economic power can be channeled to maximize its contribution to Long Island’s long-term growth and competitiveness.

Scott Maskin, HIA-LI Board Member and Co-Founder of SUNation Solar spoke about the progressive work being done with our Solar Initiative.  There are 20 million square feet of unused rooftops that can be utilized as a solar asset, helping to lower energy costs for businesses while increasing the quality of our environment.

Rita DiStefano, HIA-LI Board Member and HR Consultant for Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl spoke about the urgency to continue helping small businesses via our Small Business Task Force. Since more than 80 percent of HIA-LI member companies are considered small to midsize businesses, this is another critical step for us. We realize that small business doesn’t have the bandwidth that larger companies have and the open forums this task force has created can help them lead and grow their organizations.

HIA-LI continues to be a catalyst for change, and I feel blessed to be leading an organization that has not only has its heart and footprint in the Hauppauge Industrial Park but across this bi-county region.