Action By HIA-LI Members Helps Secure Long Island’s Future

Amid the doldrums of the COVID-19 pandemic, HIA-LI members have good reason to pat themselves on the back this year.

Why? Because our organization’s members played a central role in advocating for a public policy victory that will serve, according to Newsday, as a “building block for our region’s future.”

That victory occurred in August, when the Smithtown Town Board voted unanimously to greenlight a “zoning overlay” allowing mixed-used development at the 1,650-acre Long Island Innovation Park in Hauppauge (LI-IPH), formerly known as Hauppauge Industrial Park. The idea for a “zoning overlay” had arisen from a 160-page strategic analysis issued in April 2019. The analysis, commissioned by HIA-LI in cooperation with the Suffolk IDA and others, had enumerated ways to strengthen the Park’s future.

The Town’s decision came in the aftermath of an organized campaign – undertaken by HIA-LI members and many others – to help educate Board members regarding the merits of the change.

Thanks to new development opportunities made possible through the revised zoning rules­­­, one of Long Island’s most respected real estate developers, TRITEC of East Setauket, stepped forward in November and proposed to build a $125-million, mixed-use building with 335 apartments in the Park. The venue would be a development parcel at 49 Wireless Boulevard that TRITEC owns through a subsidiary. The “zoning overlay” opens the door for similar mixed-use projects at twelve other Park sites.

Long Island municipalities like the Town of Smithtown are recognizing the need to take bold steps to promote regional economic development and to help stem the hemorrhaging of young workers from Nassau and Suffolk. 

The Town – under the leadership of Supervisor Ed Wehrheim – understands that mixed-use development like this represents a “building block” for creating a better tomorrow for our area. Such measures boost our economic competitiveness by supporting workforce attraction and retention. In July 2019, a Rauch Foundation survey conducted for Newsday found that 67 percent of Long Islanders aged 18 to 34 years planned to leave the region within five years.

Can you imagine? Such an exodus would seriously disable the Long Island economy and make it highly difficult for Park employers to hire and keep a skilled workforce.

In a November 29 editorial, Newsday called the new Smithtown policy “a prime example of what’s possible” when Long Island municipalities act creatively to re-envision our region’s future.

So, bravo to the members of HIA-LI for helping to create a new model for fortifying Long Island’s long-term competitiveness.  And a special thanks to our LI-IPH Task Force, headed by HIA-LI Board Chair Joe Campolo, Managing Partner at Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP.

Read the complete Newsday editorial here.

HONORING THE BEST IN BUSINESS

Every fall, HIA-LI takes a moment to recognize our region’s truly outstanding businesses.

We’ve done it for 26 years by honoring “the best in the business” on Long Island through our “Business Achievement Awards” program – and HIA-LI presented our most-recent set of awards again on September 29.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to conduct our awards event virtually – but the pandemic also required awardees and finalists to work harder at many levels this year. They’ve had to dig in, be creative, and do more to inspire their workforce. Being at the top of your game in a year like 2020 requires something special!

The honors, awarded competitively, cover four categories. 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.

Let’s look at the recipients:

The “Large Business” awardee was Hauppauge-based American Diagnostic Corporation, one of America’s largest, privately held manufacturers of diagnostic medical equipment. Other category finalists included: Citrin Cooperman of Melville; Custom Computer Specialists in Hauppauge; Mazars USA, LLP of Woodbury; and The Tiffen Company of Hauppauge. The three Hauppauge-based firms are located in the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge (LI-IPH).

The “Small Business” honoree was Central Business Systems, a Melville provider of document imaging and other IT-related services. Other “Small Business” finalists included Valley Stream-based LMN Printing Company, Inc.; Summit Safety & Efficiency Solutions in Miller Place; Techworks Consulting Inc. in Ronkonkoma; and Terwilliger & Bartone Properties of Farmingdale.

Selected as “Rookie of the Year” – for firms in business for less than five years – was Hauppauge-based Connections4Hire, an LI-IPH company that provides business development and marketing-related services. Category finalists included 4G Professionals in Nesconset; and BLUZAP UV Disinfection Company of Northport.   

The “Not-for-Profit” honoree was the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind located in Smithtown. Category finalists included Blessings in a Backpack of Yaphank; Family and Children’s Association in Mineola; Islandia-based Pal-O-Mine Equestrian; and Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk of Middle Island.

HIA-LI also presented a special “Industry Leadership Award” to Northwell Health, the state’s largest private employer. We recognized the U.S. Small Business Administration with an “Industry Partnership Award” for providing over a half-billion dollars in emergency financial relief to American businesses during the pandemic. We also honored Amneal Pharmaceuticals, one of America’s leading generic pharmacological companies and “Major Sponsor” of the overall HIA-LI Business Achievement Award program.

Leadership and business excellence shine through during tough times like this. These winners deserve credit for setting such great examples in the midst of a national pandemic.

Please join me – and Joe Campolo, Board Chair of HIA-LI – in congratulating them!

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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.