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!

Small Business Task Force Tackles Character

SBTF Pic
Rita DiStefano moderates the panel at HIA-LI’s November 1 Small Business Task Force Open Forum.

There were some important take-aways from last week’s Small Business Task Force Open Forum, “Hitting the Mark: Character, Competence, and Chemistry that Create Effective Culture.”

  • First, these forums are critical to educating small and mid-sized business owners – who account for 80 percent of HIA-LI members – with best practices from other companies and organizations who have gone through the growing pains that they are likely going through.
  • Second, before anything else, character is critical. You want to surround yourself with employees who have the values, work ethic, and dedication needed for success.
  • Third, when interviewing potential employees, ask questions that help bring out character. Questions such as: Where have you volunteered?  What is your life mantra?

My sincere thanks to Task Force Chair Rita DiStefano, Director of Human Resource Consulting for Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates, for another successful and well-attended forum, which was held at Simplay Entertainment.  Rita, along with Task Force members Sue Gubing, Joe Garofalo, Allan Lippolis, Elana Zolfo, and AnnMarie Scheidt put together a sterling lineup of panelists:

Because small businesses don’t often have the bandwidth and staff found at larger organizations, HIA-LI’s Small Business Task Force was created to boost engagement with Long Island’s small business community.  It does that by listening to their needs and addressing issues with concrete, proven solutions.

Since its inception the Task Force has identified three major areas that small businesses find challenging:

  1. Personnel: Finding, training, and retaining talented employees.
  2. Business Development: Creating new and innovative revenue streams.
  3. Financing: Gaining access to capital in order to have adequate funds to grow.

To address these concerns, the Small Business Task Force began holding Open Forums with the goal of providing continuous support and information for members. Previous topics have covered how to attract and retain the millennial workforce, how to create a positive and attractive work culture, how to be a leader, and more.  The Task Force will continue to support businesses, address their concerns, and find solutions.

Welcome to my Blog!

bizgrowshere2Hello, and welcome to the inaugural post of my new blog!

This blog is aimed at serving as a resource for the Long Island business community. It’s a place for dialog – and a place to explore new ways to promote economic growth and business expansion.

I want it to be a dynamic platform for sharing ideas, information, and strategies for business success and for economic development across Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Along with our Island-wide interests, we’ll also be focusing attention on the Hauppauge Industrial Park, America’s second-largest business park and a vibrant economic engine for Long Island and the nation.

As many of you know, HIA-LI proudly stands as one of the most recognized voices for Long Island business. For four decades we’ve been a powerful advocate for regional development. We boost economic expansion by providing lively forums for business leaders to network, tackle problems, and gain guidance on critical issues facing their enterprises.

One of HIA-LI’s guiding principles is to remember that we are all in this together. This is a group effort, right down the line.

And considering the many challenges regional business executives face today, we’ll need to put all of our heads together to overcome them.

How do we retain younger residents – keep government responsive to business concerns — promote sustainability — train our workforce – maintain our digital edge –– and address other challenges?

Through dialog and discussion, and by tapping everyone’s best ideas, we’ll be in the best-possible position to come up with answers – and to secure a healthy, long-term future for Long Island – and for the Hauppauge Industrial Park, too.

This blog is devoted to dialog, interaction, debate, and discussion. This is a two-way vehicle, and we’ll be looking to you for your comments and feedback – for your input and ideas.

Paraphrasing a John Lennon lyric, “There’s no problems, only solutions.”

So let’s come together — and leverage this blog as a tool for identifying effective solutions to our business challenges!