Working with Government from a Regional Perspective

Annual Meeting and Legislative Reception 1-17-20
From left: Joe Campolo, Managing Partner, Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP and Chairman, HIA-LI Board of Directors; Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim; Islip Town IDA Executive Director Bill Mannix; Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick; State Senator John Flanagan; County Executive Steve Bellone; and, Congressman Lee Zeldin.

To maintain Long Island’s economic competitiveness for the long run, the public sector needs to maintain a rich dialogue with the private sector.

That’s why HIA-LI takes pride in hosting forums where business and government come together to exchange ideas and to highlight the region’s centers of economic development opportunity.

A classic example was the 42nd HIA-LI Annual Meeting and Legislative Breakfast held January 17 at the Radisson Hotel in Hauppauge.

Attended by more than 350 representatives of Long Island’s business community, our high-octane panel of public officials included Congressman Lee Zeldin, State Senator John Flanagan, Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Smithtown Town Supervisor Ed Wehrheim, and Bill Mannix, Executive Director of the Islip Town IDA.

Moderator Joe Campolo, Managing Partner of Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP and Chairman of HIA-LI’s Board of Directors, emphasized the large percentage of businesses at the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge engaged in value-added “tradeable” sectors exporting goods and services out of the region.

The Park’s “tradeability” ratio ranks “20 percent above the national average” for similar business clusters.

Congressman Zeldin praised Brookhaven National Lab for securing a $2-billion federal award to build an Electron Ion Collider, a project will “inject billions of dollars and an extensive number of jobs into Long Island’s economy.”

Senator Flanagan said his focus in Albany this year would be to “maximize education funding, capital investments such as roads and bridges, and increase funding for the LIRR via the MTA.”

State government must do more to relieve fiscal burdens on localities, said Assemblyman Fitzpatrick, by curtailing its “cost-shifting” practices.

County Executive Bellone highlighted the Nicolls Road Corridor’s role as a platform for the revitalization of Patchogue, the forthcoming Ronkonkoma Hub, new growth at Long Island MacArthur Airport, and the ever-expanding Stony Brook University.

The Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge is on a multi-track growth trajectory, said Supervisor Wehrheim, because state, county, and town governments have “put politics aside” and built consensus on success strategies for the Park.

Sewer expansion is key to Suffolk County’s economic growth, said Bill Mannix, citing a recent $10-million state grant to the Town of Islip to extend sewer lines into downtown communities.

As HIA-LI members spend each day focused on growing our own individual enterprises, we also understand the importance of viewing our work within a regional perspective. As evidenced by our Legislative Breakfast, Long Island is fortunate to be represented by elected officials who also understand the value of long-term regional growth.

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.

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!