No matter the industry or the business sector – and no matter whether you’re a for-profit or not-for-profit enterprise – there’s nothing like real-world, face-to-face networking to help reinforce existing relationships and develop new relationships.
And that leads to new business!
We were all reminded of these basic truths on May 26 at our 34th Annual Business Trade Show and Conference at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood. More than 2,000 business executives joined us to interact with more than 150 exhibitors representing just about every industry sector on Long Island: technology, energy and environment, manufacturing, finance, hospitality, healthcare, media and advertising, education, government, workforce development, and more.
The event began with a sold-out, all-star breakfast panel moderated by Marc Herbst of the Long Island Contractors’ Association. Panelists included Scott Burman of Engel Burman, Joe Campolo of Campolo Middleton & McCormick, Jim Coughlan of TRITEC, and Richard Zapolski of Cameron Engineering.
The panel zeroed in on one of the most exciting and ambitious projects taking shape on Long Island today: Midway Crossing in Ronkonkoma.
The $2.8-billion, public/private project would create a transportation-oriented hub comprised of 1.4 million square feet of office space geared toward bio-tech, research, healthcare and STEM education. It would also include a convention center with a 108,000-square-foot exhibit hall, a 30,000-square-foot ballroom, and 20,000 square feet of meeting rooms.
Plans for Midway Crossing also encompass a 300-room hotel, 250,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and a new, 300,000-square-foot terminal at Islip MacArthur Airport that would connect to the Ronkonkoma LIRR station.
Panelists agreed that Midway Crossing stands to be a transformational project for the Long Island economy, generating thousands of jobs and helping to better integrate Long Island’s transportation infrastructure on a big-picture basis – and for the long term.
Making Midway Crossing a reality is going to require energetic advocacy on the part of the Long Island business community, and HIA-LI – a long-time supporter of Islip’s Long Island MacArthur Airport – plans to play an active part.
Other projects discussed include growth at the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge, the Ronkonkoma Hub, downtown Bay Shore, and downtown Long Beach – all vital projects that give young professionals options to live, work, and play on Long Island.
Why is this important? Because studies show that 67 percent of young adults ages 18 to 35 and looking to leave Long Island within the next five years. And by 2025 – just three short years from now – 75 percent of our workforce will need to be young professionals. These projects are critical to stop the brain drain that’s on the horizon.
Also, for the first time, our Trade Show featured a dedicated Manufacturing Pavilion focused on specific issues and challenges facing manufacturers.
And how do we know it was a success? We asked exhibitors, sponsors, and attendees to complete surveys that would allow us to quantify their level of satisfaction with the event. And, on a scale of one to ten, respondents gave the Trade Show a robust ranking of 8.5.
Thank you to everyone who helped contribute to the success of our 34th Annual Business Trade Show and Conference. Let’s keep the momentum going!