Trade Show Proves We’re Back to Business!

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.

More than 2,000 participants walked the floor at the HIA-LI 34th Annual Business Trade Show and Conference on May 26.

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!

It Ain’t Just Exhibit Booths!

Top photo: The trade show floor. Bottom photo: The executive luncheon panel.

Every May, HIA-LI’s Annual Trade Show and Conference infuses our year-round programming  with a healthy jolt of momentum.

This year’s event, our 31st, was the most successful ever. The May 30 exposition – held at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood – attracted 375 exhibitors and more than 3,000 attendees. It was a joy to see attendees reinforce valuable business relationships on the trade show floor.

One high point was Executive Breakfast keynoter Carl Banks, the former NFL linebacker who earned two Super Bowl championship rings as a New York Giant.

Carl is president of GIII Sports, an apparel company ranking among the top three sportswear licensees in professional sports. He shared lessons for success he had carried from the football field into the business world.

Later, a stellar Executive Luncheon panel was moderated by Mitch Pally, CEO of the Long Island Builders Institute and a huge HIA-LI booster.

Panelist Bob Coughlan, principal with TRITEC Real Estate, updated attendees on the 50-acre Ronkonkoma Hub. His company is master developer of a project Bob calls “one of the East Coast’s best transit-oriented sites.”

In a presentation by David Wolkoff, a principal at Heartland Business Center, guests were briefed on Heartland Town Square, a walkable, 450-acre “smart growth” community unfolding on Brentwood’s former Pilgrim State grounds.

David Pennetta, executive director of Cushman & Wakefield, discussed such novel development strategies as a recent proposal to permit multi-family development within an aging Melville business park.

Village of Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri drew praise from fellow panelists for his community’s precedent-setting, redevelopment makeover, including TRITEC’s $112 million, multi-use “New Village” community.

Panelist Joe Campolo — the Managing Partner at Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP and our HIA-LI board chair — reinforced the upbeat spirit by focusing on the action plan spelled out in the recent “Opportunity Analysis” completed for the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge, the new name of the Hauppauge Industrial Park.

The analysis was sponsored by Suffolk County IDA and the Regional Plan Association – and a Task Force is poised to turn the plan into a reality.

While every panelist acknowledged the urgent need for Long Island to retain the youngest stratum of our workforce, Joe said that the strategic re-creation of our business park would play an instrumental role in keeping young people here.

The energy of a successful trade show – combined with the anticipation we’re all feeling as the Park launches its expansion plans – made for an exciting day!