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.

HIA-LI’s 2019 Agenda Aims to Boost Long Island’s Competitive Status

Click the image above for a copy of our 40th Anniversary Report.

Coming off our 40th anniversary last year, the HIA-LI is looking to the future and carrying forward our momentum into 2019.

We’re working together to promote the interests of the Long Island business community – and of America’s second-largest industrial park. And we’re fueled by the knowledge that everyone benefits – our companies, our organizations, our employees, and our households – when we successfully strengthen Long Island’s regional competitiveness.

This year, HIA-LI will center much of our attention on three strategic initiatives:

First, we’ll build upon the groundbreaking work of the Hauppauge Industrial Park Task Force – chaired by Joe Campolo, Esq., of Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP – which focuses on elevating the park’s economic impact.

Initiated through the collaboration of our members, along with the Suffolk County IDA, the Regional Plan Association, and Stony Brook University, HIA-LI is now working with James Lima Planning + Development to pinpoint ways to maximize the Park’s growth and competitiveness.

One component of our Task Force work will be to fortify relationships with Long Island’s educational institutions to help better meet the workforce needs of the region. We’ll also be looking at re-branding the Hauppauge Industrial Park to better reflect the pride we have in this critical economic engine.

Our second area of concentration in 2019 is the HIA-LI Solar Initiative – co-chaired by Jack Kulka of Kulka Construction Corp. and Scott Maskin of SUNation Solar Systems – which will leverage our park’s 20 million square feet of unused rooftops. Solarizing this untapped resource will reduce electricity costs, generate jobs and revenues, and help preserve our environment.

And third comes our Small Business Task Force – chaired by Rita DiStefano of Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates – which is working to enhance HIA-LI’s ability to engage with Long Island’s small business community.

Our small and mid-sized business owners have asked us to concentrate on three critical needs: The first is to find, train and retain good talent. The second is to promote business development and generate fresh revenue streams. And the third is to secure financing that facilitates business growth.

While we’re always looking to recruit new board members, this year we’ll be specifically aiming to attract young entrepreneurs to our association, to our park, and to the Long Island region’s leadership ranks.

And it makes sense to mark your calendar now for one of our seminal annual events, the HIA-LI 31st Annual Trade Show, which this year will be held on Thursday, May 30.

In 2019, let’s keep working together to elevate Long Island as one of the country’s great and vibrant economic centers.

40 Years of “Personal Touch”

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Pictured from left: Grant Hendricks, Vice Chairman, Suffolk IDA; Hon. Ed Wehrheim, Supervisor, Town of Smithtown; Terri Alessi-Miceli, President & CEO, HIA-LI; Jack Kulka, President & Founder, The Kulka Group and HIA-LI Lifetime Board Member; Sophia Serlis-McPhillips, Director, Middle Country Public Library; and, Joe Campolo, HIA-LI Board Chair and Managing Partner, Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP

I’ve said it before: One special attribute of HIA-LI is that we bring “a personal touch” to our work.

This pleasing dimension of our operations was evident at last week’s 40th Anniversary Gala at Stonebridge in Hauppauge.

We were able to have some fun, interact socially, honor some great friends, and reflect on HIA-LI’s many accomplishments over four decades.

It’s nice that HIA-LI doesn’t default into clinical-style, by-the-book networking. Instead, we enjoy each other’s company. We engage each other as people, not just business prospects.

It calls to mind my initial encounters with the group about 30 years ago. As an executive with Dale Carnegie Training, I was a rank-and-file member of HIA-LI, hoping to drum up some local business.

But what treatment I received! Marcy Tublisky introduced me to virtually every CEO in the organization.

My first reaction was, “This group is different. Sure, they’re all aiming for business success. But these people bring ‘a personal touch’ to the whole enterprise!”

And it was a personal thrill for me last week when we recognized four honorees:

We applauded an HIA-LI founding father and development icon Jack Kulka — President and Founder of The Kulka Group — who was there on Day One in 1978.

We recognized the Miller Business Center of Centereach, represented by Middle Country Public Library Director Sophia Serlis-McPhillips. Few know that HIA-LI had been poised to launch our own business library years ago when we realized that the nearby Miller Business Center was an ideal partner to fulfill our needs.

Attendees also praised the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency – represented by Vice Chair Grant Hendricks – which aggressively promotes the growth of our business park.

Supervisor Edward Wehrheim spoke for the Town of Smithtown, our final honoree. He’s already begun building upon the legacy of former Supervisor Pat Vecchio in facilitating the enrichment of our complex.

And I was truly surprised and humbled to be given an award by the HIA-LI board. It is my honor to serve as president and C.E.O., and I share this honor with the outstanding staff at HIA-LI who work hard every day in order to make my job look easy.

We also recounted some of HIA-LI’s achievements over four decades, including our growth from 350 to nearly 1,000 member companies.

HIA-LI remains an effective agent of regional economic growth, while maintaining the “personal touch” that facilitates relationship building among members. And HIA-LI keeps advocating for the Hauppauge Industrial Park, whose 1,350 businesses and 55,000 employees make it America’s most job-rich industrial park east of the Mississippi River.

We’ve leveraged dozens of assets for the Park and its member firms, such as a Northern State Parkway exit ramp, a dedicated COPE car in cooperation with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the country’s first-ever industrial park-based childcare centers, dozens of sewage, lighting, and road improvements, and a truly lengthy list of other deliverables.

Click here to check out our 40th Anniversary Report for a more complete list of accomplishments, current initiatives, and along with the history of HIA-LI.

So, bravo to you, HIA-LI! And congratulations on 40 proud years of successful business advocacy – all carried out in a way that maintains a warmly appreciated “personal touch.”

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Honoring Those Who Helped Us Reach 40

All right, time to put yourself in my shoes for a minute – and picture how exciting it is to witness HIA-LI’s dedicated staffers and volunteers finalizing preparations for Thursday’s 40th Anniversary Gala at the Stonebridge Country Club in Hauppauge.

We’re all busy getting ready for a delightful night of dinner, dancing, and nostalgia at this wonderful venue.

HIA-LI will celebrate four decades of commitment to enhancing Long Island’s economic climate and expanding growth opportunities for our members.

But the high point will come when we join to recognize four honorees for their leadership and dedication to Long Island.

We’ll be honoring:

Jack Kulka, an HIA-LI Lifetime Board Member and President and Founder of The Kulka Group. In 1978 when the Hauppauge Industrial Park experienced a three-day power outage, Jack Kulka was one of our original founders – along with several other business owners – who helped form the Hauppauge Industrial Association to advocate for the Park’s interests and for the Long Island business community. Jack was one of the first to envision Hauppauge as a major business crossroads for our region.

The Kulka Group is a highly regarded developer of waterfront residences, community complexes, retail and industrial centers, hotels, and corporate offices.

The Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency, which has an extraordinary record of success helping local companies expand or renovate, build or add new facilities, or relocate to Suffolk County. In the past three years alone, the IDA has helped to create or retain 5,600 jobs – and leveraged some $454 million in private investment.

Currently the Suffolk IDA is partnering with HIA-LI to build the future of the Hauppauge Industrial Park, the largest in the Northeast with over 55,000 employees and 1,300 companies.

The Miller Business Center, a regional resource for businesses, entrepreneurs and not-for-profits. Located within Middle Country Public Library in Centereach, the center provides HIA-LI members with valuable business resources and personalized research support.

The Town of Smithtown, home base for the vast majority of the Hauppauge Industrial Park. Under former Supervisor Pat Vecchio and now Supervisor Edward Wehrheim, the Town has continued to be enormously supportive of HIA-LI by helping us navigate zoning challenges and leverage a myriad of infrastructure improvements.

OK, so now that you’ve worn my shoes for a minute, it’s time to change into your dancing shoes – for some fun at Thursday’s Gala!

Festivities begin at 6 pm – and I look forward to seeing you there!