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!

# # #

Celebrating Long Island Businesses and Embracing Opportunities

One of HIA-LI’s primary missions, as most of you know, is to advocate for the growth and sustainability of the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge (LI-IHP), formerly the Hauppauge Industrial Park.

With the Park in mind, I’m pleased to share this upbeat progress report.

Some context: The Park’s enormous economic potential

The HIA-LI cooperated with the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency, the Regional Plan Association, Stony Brook University, and the Town of Smithtown to produce a 160-page “Economic Impact Study and Opportunity Analysis” that reported on the Park’s remarkable magnitude and impact and set forth a vision for further growth.

With 1,300 companies employing 55,000 people, LI-IPH is, amazingly, America’s second-largest industrial park. Delivering $4 billion in annual payroll and $14 billion in overall economic output, the Park accounts for one in twenty Long Island jobs.

58 percent of park tenants fall into the essential “tradeable” category: their exports and services bring new net dollars into the region. This figure contrasts with only 23 percent Island-wide and 36 percent nationally. LI-IPH’s wisest strategy is to help nurture and build out these competitive tradeable industries.

HIA-LI is advancing strategies for attracting the necessary facilities, amenities, talent pool, and knowledge base for further firm clustering – and we’re working to elevate the Park’s brand as Long Island’s premier hub for growing businesses.

Sign up for upcoming virtual events

To help shine a spotlight on the businesses at the LI-IPH, HIA-LI is hosting several virtual events. During these difficult times, we’ve waived attendance fees for these events:

  • Tradable Sectors and How They Impact the Long Island Economy
    Monday, September 14. 9:00am – 10:30am. Click here to register
  • Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge Update: Current and Future Growth
    Tuesday, September 22. 9:00am – 10:30am. Click here to register
  • HIA-LI Business Achievement Awards
    Tuesday, September 29. Networking at 11:00am. Event at 12:00pm. Click here to register
  • HIA-LI Annual Trade Show & Conference
    Wednesday, October 7 and Thursday, October 8. Attendees can click on virtual exhibit booths to schedule live appointments, “walk” the floor, and more.  Click here to register 

Workforce housing is coming to the Park  

To attract a competitive workforce, communities must offer housing for young professionals. To help fulfill the vision set forth in the “Opportunity Analysis” cited above, the Town of Smithtown recently and laudably voted to create a “zoning overlay” district within the Park, allowing for multi-use development, including workforce housing. The Town acted in response to advocacy by HIA-LI and other business and civic interests.

Providing health and safety education for the Park’s workforce 

As you may be aware, many production workers employed in the Park come from communities experiencing high rates of COVID-19. In many instances, workers would benefit by obtaining disease prevention information in their places of work. 

To make this happen, HIA-LI is coordinating with the Suffolk County Department of Labor to introduce workplace-based, COVID-focused health education programming. To learn more, contact: Angela.Ramos@suffolkcountyny.gov

We’re working to help create a workforce training center

In conjunction with the Long Island Regional Planning Council and the Suffolk IDA, HIA-LI is pursuing creation of a regional workforce training center to help businesses at the LI-IPH and elsewhere fill skills gaps among their employees. While the center’s location and syllabus are yet to be determined, its establishment stands to help boost the profitability of LI-IPH firms.

HIA-LI won an international marketing award

A 30-second video promoting the LIIPH has won an internationally recognized Telly Award, which honors achievement in the non-broadcast video industry. Watch the video at www.LI-IPH.org

HIA-LI delivers masks for member businesses

HIA-LI recently teamed up with Governor Andrew Cuomo and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone to distribute thousands of reusable masks for use by employees of firms at the LI-IPH and elsewhere across Long Island.  

Become a member

If your company isn’t currently an HIA-LI member, we’d love you to join! We offer vital, real-time information to help your business through this recovery – and to let the business community know you’re open for business. Contact Anthony Forgione at (631) 543-5355 or aforgione@hia-li.org to learn more.

During these unprecedented times, it’s more critical than ever to celebrate Long Island business – and to embrace opportunities to help us connect and do business.

Please join us!

By Creating Jobs, Suffolk IDA Gets the Job Done

Suffolk-IDA-logo-2Everyone knows the importance of teamwork when it comes to getting things done. In this spirit, I’d like to devote this blog to recognizing one of HIA-LI’s most valued partners, the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency (IDA).  

Across the state, IDAs support business growth, relocation, and expansion by lowering the cost of capital investment. They offer tax incentives – and provide access to various business resources and technical assistance opportunities.

And we’re fortunate to have one of the state’s highest-performing IDA’s right here in Suffolk County.

According to Newsday’s report on an analysis by the State Comptroller, tax incentives provided through Long Island’s industrial development agencies – for four years running – had helped to create more jobs as of 2018 than IDAs in any of the state’s nine other regions.

And here on the Island, the largest number of new jobs – 12,881 – were created by 137 projects supported by the Suffolk County IDA.

HIA-LI regularly works cooperatively with the Suffolk IDA to help fortify the regional economy and trigger employment growth. For example, we collaborated with the Suffolk IDA in April 2019 on a 160-page Opportunity Analysis that helped us identify ways to better link the future success of the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge (LI-IPH) to Long Island’s long-term economic revitalization.

In the Opportunity Analysis, James Lima Planning + Development and the Regional Plan Association concluded that the Park’s future success would be maximized by nurturing the growth and agglomeration of competitive, tradeable industries.

Among other projects, we’ve also joined forces with the Suffolk County IDA and the Long Island Regional Planning Council to advocate for creation of a new, regional workforce development center, possibly situated within the LI-IPH. The center would match its training curricula to the specific workforce needs of our region’s fastest-growing businesses.

The public sector and the private sector need to work cooperatively to help maintain the strength of our local economy. Along these lines, HIA-LI is proud of the successful, long-term partnership we’ve enjoyed with the Suffolk County IDA.

Under the leadership of Chairperson Natalie Wright and Executive Director Anthony Catapano, the Suffolk IDA has been a steadfast partner in promoting job growth and business growth on Long Island. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the unwavering efforts of the Suffolk IDA’s Deputy Executive Director Kelly Morris and former Associate Director John McNally who, with their hard work and dedication, helped to make it all happen.

I hope you’ll stand with me in applauding the Suffolk IDA on its many accomplishments. We look forward to working with them on future joint initiatives.

Mixed Use is the Best Use

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.

This blog post is an “Action Alert” to members and friends of HIA-LI. There is something very simple that you can do to help secure the long-term future of the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge.

Between now and June 11, the Town of Smithtown is seeking comments on a proposal to create “overlay zoning” that would permit mixed-use development in a portion of the Park. Approval of this plan is essential to the success of our Park. But it has encountered resistance from some local residents.

So we’re calling upon businesses and citizens to send an email to members of the Smithtown Town Council favoring the change. While messages from Town residents and businesses are best, anyone can comment.

You must send your email by June 11 to be made a part of the public record. Council members’ email addresses appear below.

You can mention all or some of these points:

  • The change would provide young professionals with the opportunity to enjoy the Park for living, working, and recreation.
  • A study by Suffolk County IDA and the Regional Plan Association found an urgent need on Long Island for housing for young professionals. It’s key to attracting and retaining a talented and competitive workforce.
  • A survey of the Park’s business owners found that a number-one concern is attracting and retaining a skilled workforce.
  • A survey showed that 68 percent of our area’s young people are contemplating leaving this area within the next five years. They’d leave behind an aging population incapable of filling local jobs.
  • Rental units are sorely needed on Long Island. The Nassau-Suffolk rental housing market represents just 21 percent of households, compared to nearby suburban regions such as Westchester (35 percent) and Northern New Jersey (37 percent).
  • In the Town of Smithtown, the situation is further exacerbated – only 6.7 percent of households are renter-occupied.
  • The Park’s success is vital to the community’s future. The Park delivers $19.6 million in assessed value to the Town, and provides more than $44 million to the Hauppauge School District. New tax revenue would fully offset any added demands for local services.
  • Some claim the development would burden local schools. That’s inaccurate: it would generate no more than 90 students over a decade. Yet the district lost 110 students within this past year alone.
  • That’s because the apartments would mostly be studio and one-bedroom units geared to singles or couples without children.
  • Added traffic would be sustainable, with only a moderate increase on weekends
  • We urge you to approve an overlay district to allow creation of mixed-use development within the Innovation Park

To help us keep track of support for this zone change, it would be very helpful if you would send a copy of any emails to me at talessi@hia-li.org.

This is important initiative, so please take action today. Thank you!

Please send messages to:
Hon. Ed Wehrheim, Smithtown Supervisor, supervisor@smithtownny.gov
Hon. Tom McCarthy, Smithtown Deputy Supervisor, tmccarthy@smithtownny.gov
Hon. Lynne Nowick, Smithtown Councilperson, lnowick@smithtownny.gov
Hon. Lisa Inzerillo, Smithtown Councilperson, linzerillo@smithtownny.gov
Hon. Tom Lohmann, Snithtown Councilperson, twlohmann@smithtownny.gov

Our Solar Task Force Achieves a Clean Energy Milestone

LI Cares Solar Press Conference 1-31-20
Pictured, from left: Scott Maskin, CEO, SUNation Solar Systems; Hon. Thomas Lohman, Councilman, Town of Smithtown; Lisa Broughton, Energy Director, County of Suffolk; Hon. John Flanagan, State Senator and Senate Minority Leader; Joe Campolo, Managing Partner, Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP and Chairman, HIA-LI Board of Directors; Robert Boerner, Manager, Renewable Programs, PSEG-Long Island; Terri Alessi-Miceli, President and CEO, HIA-LI; Thomas Falcone, CEO, Long Island Power Authority; and, Paule Pachter, CEO, Long Island Cares.

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to lead a company or an organization, you know that your success heavily depends upon the initiative demonstrated by the people around you.

That’s surely the case here within HIA-LI, where we’re fortunate to have forward-looking individuals like Scott Maskin, CEO of SUNation Solar Systems, and Jack Kulka, President of Kulka, LLC, on our team.

Scott and Jack stepped forward a few years ago to launch the HIA-LI Solar Task Force. And with the help of Task Force members Edgewise EnergyEntersolarHarvest PowerEmpower SolarTop Cat ConsultingH2M Engineering, and Greenstreet Power Partners, they set the ambitious goal of transforming the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge (LI-IPH) into a business park that will be 100-percent powered by clean and renewable energy by 2040.

And on January 31 – with the encouragement of HIA-LI Board of Directors chairman Joe Campolo – the Task Force achieved a big milestone when they announced completion of a solar installation atop the 35,000 square-foot roof of Long Island Cares, one of our region’s premiere charitable institutions.

Joining us at the press event were Smithtown Councilman Thomas Lohman; County of Suffolk Energy Director Lisa Broughton; State Senator John Flanagan; PSEG-Long Island Renewable Programs Manager Robert Boerner; and, Long Island Power Authority CEO Thomas Falcone.

Based on PSEG Long Island data, we’ll reap major environmental benefits thanks to the 350,000 kilowatt hours produced annually by Long Island Cares’ 852 solar panels.

By replacing fossil fuel energy with clean and renewable power, we’ll reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 84 metric tons per year. That’s equivalent to Long Islanders’ driving 191,975 fewer miles per year – and it generates the same benefits as planting 560 trees per year.

But chief executive Paule Pachter and his team at Long Island Cares didn’t stop there. By structuring their project as a “Community Solar” enterprise, the electricity is being offloaded to the homes of 50 food-insecure families at a discounted rate that is 25 percent less than regular utility bills.

Scott Maskin and Jack Kulka keep reminding us that there are 1,300 companies and a potential 20 million square feet of flat rooftop space available for solar at LI-IPH.

So let’s follow the lead of Long Island Cares – and keep turning our business park into Long Island’s great solar power oasis!

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.

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!

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.