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!