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!