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.

CAN WOMEN LEAD THE WAY?

Women's Panel 2019
Joining me in this photo are, from left: Joanna Austin, Publisher and Executive Vice President, Long Island Press/Schneps Media; Domenique Camacho-Moran, Partner, Farrel Fritz, PC; Rebecca O’Connell, Managing Director and Region Head, Chase Bank; Carolyn Mazzenga, Office Managing Partner, Marcum, LLP; and, Kristen Jarnagin, President and CEO, Discover Long Island.

In 2010, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand recommended that HIA-LI create a regular forum where female business leaders could mentor one another – and explore strategies for success.

In response, we inaugurated our annual “Women Leading the Way” Executive Breakfast. And on November 22 – with some 200 guests present – HIA-LI held our Ninth Annual Executive Breakfast at Hauppauge’s Stonebridge Country Club. Our panel was skillfully moderated by Domenique Camacho-Moran, partner at the Farrell Fritz law firm.

Women already own more than ten million companies nationwide employing more than 13 million people – generating more than $1.9 trillion in sales.

In 2018, 24 Fortune 500 firms had female CEOs. In 2019 that figure had reached 33. So while things are trending in the right direction, there’s still a long way to go.

What guidance did our blue-ribbon panel of female Long Island executives provide?

Rebecca O’Connell, managing director at JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking’s Long Island headquarters in Melville, described her bottom-up approach to leadership.

“I like to define success as building leaders, not gaining followers,” O’Connell said. “And driving forward in a team capacity.”

Long Island Press publisher Joanna Austin urged audience members to act as energizers and motivators.

“Aim to bring in energy and a positive vibe,” she said. “Try to infuse energy into every single task, no matter how mundane.”

Carolyn Mazzenga, office managing partner at the Marcum accounting firm in Melville, told attendees that advancement comes by taking action.  Not by simply “hoping” for recognition and promotions.

“We have a saying,” she said. “Hope is not a strategy.”

The CEO of our region’s tourism promotion agency, Kristen Jarnagin of Discover Long Island, also stressed action over words.

“People love to talk about things,” she told event guests. “So what are we going to do about it? That’s how you execute.”

As I offer HIA-LI’s huge “thank you” to Domenique and our terrific panelists, I’d like to close with some business advice that cuts across both genders.

As I’ve mentioned before, a businessman told me something early in my career. He said that race, age, and gender shouldn’t be a primary driver of hiring and promoting decisions.

He said to look for “strength of character and conviction – and how big your heart is.”

I’d like to wish you and yours best wishes for the holiday season and health and happiness in the new year.

Companies Want to See “Talent in Action”

Small business border“You know what bosses like even more than employees who get their work done? Employees who don’t even have to be told what to do, because they’ll create value on their own accord,” says Eric Talbot, Strategic Account Manager at National Business Capital & Services in Bohemia.  That was his advice to young people – particularly Millennials and Generation Zs – who are a growing part of today’s emerging workforce.

“Customer service is not a department – it’s an attitude,” added Gregg Pajak, President and Founder of the WizdomOne Group in Islandia.  “Service is about making things easier and saving people time and money. Experience is about making things memorable and engaging and creating a desire to linger.

“The best experiences,” Pajak adds, “are those you wish would last forever.”

These were just two pieces of sage advice that was part of an HIA-LI Small Business Task Force Open Forum titled, “Is There a Difference Between the Generations?” held on November 7 at Simplay in Hauppauge.  Moderated by Rev. Joseph Garofalo, Outreach Pastor at Island Christian Church, the panel included five distinguished business leaders: Gary Barello, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Organizational Development at Biodex Medical Systems, Inc. in Shirley; Scott Maskin, CEO and Co-Founder at SuNation Solar Systems, Inc. in Ronkonkoma; Teresa Ferraro, President of East/West Industries Inc. in Ronkonkoma; along with Talbot and Pajak.

Panelists were asked to provide their thoughts on a range of topics including meeting deadlines, employee initiative, work-life balance, and performance reviews.

According to Gary Barello, while there are differences in the way generations view the workplace, “employers have to be careful not to generalize.  We have to avoid stereotyping by closing our eyes when a new person joins our team and say, ‘what does this person have to offer?’”

Barello added, “Just like ethnicity and gender, business leaders like us need to avoid labeling – we need to give each person the opportunity to show who they are.”

“Each scenario is case by case,” added Talbot.  “You never know what someone has going on right outside the office.”  However, if someone was consistently submitting projects and reports exactly at deadline with no time to spare, it would “raise some red flags” and question whether the employee could “handle the responsibility of bigger projects with tighter deadlines.”

Pajak added that younger employees need to take initiative and show management how they can build teamwork and impact the bottom line.  “Companies don’t want sculptures of talent,” he said. “They want to see the talent in action.”

These Open Forums are a direct result of feedback from our membership, 80 percent of which are small businesses, a figure which mirrors the overall Long Island business community.  We understand that small businesses have their own set of unique challenges, and discussions over the years centered on how our organization could provide better guidance and support for these companies.  One result was the institution of these Small Business Task Force Open Forums, now in its third year.

A special thanks, as always, to Rita DiStefano, Chair of the Small Business Task Force and Director of HR Consulting at Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl and Associates, Inc. in Jericho and her task force members who work tirelessly to bring progressive, relevant programming to our membership.

Finally, stay tuned for future Small Business Task Force Open Forums, complimentary to HIA-LI members.

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!

Tune Into HIA-LI “Live” This Thursday

Alessi@TSN
Terri Alessi-Miceli, President and CEO of HIA-LI, on the set of the Streamcast Network with Cliff Sobel in a Facebook Live program produced earlier this year.

Here’s a way you can get involved in HIA-LI without leaving the comfort of your desk.

This Thursday, October 17, 2019 at 11:00am, HIA-LI – in collaboration with The Streamcast Network – will be hosting an interactive livestream panel on Facebook and on our website’s home page.

Joining me on the panel will be Joe Campolo, Chair, HIA-LI and Managing Partner, Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP; Kelly Morris, Deputy Executive Director, Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency; Hon. Ed Wehrheim, Supervisor, Town of Smithtown (tentative); and Yuxiang Luo, Director, James Lima Planning + Development (JLP+D), who will be joining us remotely from New York City.  JLP+D is the firm that developed the “opportunity analysis” that is now serving as a blueprint for growth of the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge.

This initiative is part of an overall effort to reach out to the Long Island business community and beyond.  Just two weeks ago we launched an initiative – funded in part with a grant from the National Grid Cooperative Business Recruitment Program – to promote the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge to the Greater New York City metropolitan area.  We are currently running TV commercials, radio spots, and sending blast emails to CEOs and decision makers in New York City, New Jersey, Connecticut, and the Lower Hudson Valley.

We are grateful to Cliff Sobel, Founder and Executive Producer of The Streamcast Network – with studios in East Northport – for partnering with us and providing this unique opportunity.  You can learn more about them at http://streamcastnetwork.com.

So, please tune-in at 11:00am this Thursday, October 17 by going to:

And please bring your questions and comments.  Viewers on Facebook will be able to participate interactively by asking questions and providing comments directly to panelists by typing into Facebook’s “Write a Comment” section.

Let’s Pause and Applaud True Standouts!

HIA, Business Achievement Awards, B) Luncheon (2) (800x800)-COLLAGEAs business executives, we spend almost all of our work time trying to do our jobs well.

So it’s nice to pause for a moment to applaud those Long Island companies and organizations that are true standouts when it comes to performance and leadership.

That’s what we did on September 19 at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury when HIA-LI held a gala luncheon to honor recipients of our 25th Annual Business Achievement Awards (BAA).

Some 500 guests were greeted by New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, each of whom praised the honorees and also applauded HIA-LI on our commitment to fulfilling the vision set forth in our “Opportunity Analysis” issued last April.

Covering four categories, BAA 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.

The “Large Business” recipient was SUNation Solar Systems, Long Island’s largest solar company, based in the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge. Other “Large Business” finalists included: American Diagnostic Corporation; Custom Computer Specialists; JLL; and Northwell Health.

The “Small Business” honoree was East/West Industries, an aerospace engineering company in Ronkonkoma. Other “Small Business” entrants were Accu Data Workforce Solutions; Contemporary Computer Services; National Business Capital & Services; and Prestige Employee Administrators.

Selected as “Rookie of the Year” was Pure Mammography in Lake Grove. Category finalists included Naka Technologies, LLC; Senior Health Plan Specialists; and SynchroPET.

The “Not-for-Profit” honoree was Dominican Village, an assisted and independent living community in Amityville. Finalists included ACLD; CN Counseling & Guidance Services; EPIC Long Island; Independent Group Home Living, Inc.; and Splashes of Hope.

HIA-LI also presented a special “Industry Leadership Award” to Northwell Health, the state’s largest healthcare provider and the region’s largest private employer.

The luncheon gave us all a chance to publicly commend these outstanding firms. And, over the years, honorees have told us how they leverage their awards and finalist status to boost their marketing and their overall competitiveness.

So, my message to you? Nominate your organization in 2020! That way we can all applaud you next September!

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.