Meet Our First Annual Best of Business Awards Winners
Local companies were selected as the favorites in their fields, in a wide range of categories like marketing, public relations, business banking, commercial real estate, and more.
Staff members from winning businesses Marks Paneth, Jill Singer Graphics, H2M architects + engineers, and tredici NORTH; shot at tredici NORTH
Photo by Stefan Radtke
By Paul Adler, Nick Brandi, Amy R. Partridge, and Gina Valentino
The votes are in, and 914INC. readers have spoken! Meet the winners of our first annual Best of Business Awards: local companies selected as the favorites in their fields, spanning a wide range of B2B categories, including marketing, public relations, business banking, commercial real estate, and many others.
From more than 1,300 total votes cast in our online ballot, which ran earlier this year, these are the companies that emerged victorious. Help us celebrate them at our cocktail event on September 12, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Crowne Plaza in White Plains.
(L to R): Dean Bender, Elizabeth Bracken-Thompson, and Geoff Thompson of Thompson & Bender
photo by stefan radtke
Thompson & Bender
If there were such a thing as a territorial monopoly in the PR/ad game, Thompson & Bender would be a virtual lock within the borders of Westchester County. Led by partners Dean Bender, Geoff Thompson, and Elizabeth Bracken-Thompson, T&B, as it is known colloquially, is a full-service agency staffed by highly experienced Westchester-savvy professionals who understand all aspects of the marketing/branding philosophy. In addition to its award-winning advertising and marketing campaigns, T&B offers service divisions in PR and crisis communications, creative and digital services, and special-events planning and promotion. Its elite clientele are too numerous to name, but they include institutions of not only local but national and even international prominence.
Social Media Services
Thompson & Bender
Thompson & Bender is the county’s largest and most well-established PR/advertising firm for a variety of reasons. Those reasons include a cutting-edge, industry-forward approach to social-media strategies that exploit and maximize all the unique advantages of online and digital platforms, including branding, web and mobile development, design and production, and broadcast production, with search-engine-optimized applications that cut through the morass of branding content and messaging.
Marks Paneth staff members.
Photo by Stefan Radtke
With accolades that include being named one of the Top 100 Firms by Accounting Today and making the list of Crain’s New York Business’ New York Area Largest Accounting Firms, it’s no surprise that New York City-based Marks Paneth comes out on top in Westchester, too. The firm provides a full range of audit, accounting, tax, and consulting services. Led by partner-in-charge Christopher A. Cacace, CPA, the 77 staff members in the Purchase location serve midsize and family-owned businesses and corporations in a wide variety of industries, including manufacturing, retail, professional services, and real estate.
After-Work Happy Hour
What are the ingredients for the perfect happy hour? While there is no definitive answer, crispy twirls of fried calamari, creative specialty drinks, black truffle arancini, and a fleet of chilled wines are undoubtedly a great start. At the bustling tredici NORTH in Purchase, the local after-work crowd mingles with regulars over a host of snacks, including pizzette, meatballs, and fries, all for $10 or less, as well as fun mixed drinks, like the blood-orange-infused Doc Holliday or the Poison Apple Martini, with homemade apple cider and spiced dark rum. Add in a well-appointed interior and chic bar, and you have happy-hour nirvana.
(L to R) Jim Marlowe, Joe Guilderson, and Maurice Johnson of Corporate Audio Visual Services/
Photo by Michael Polito
Corporate Audio Visual Services
Whether you’re looking to wow your client base or create a team-building experience guaranteed to inspire your staff, the professionals at Corporate Audio Visual Services in Elmsford have the strategies and solutions to make the lasting impact you’re striving for. Since 1985, the company had led the field in A/V consultation, planning, and collaboration for live-event and tech-support services. The company also offers equipment rental and purchase, system design and installation, preventive maintenance, video production, and webcasting.
Chase Bank, White Plains
A true paragon of banking and financial services, Westchester resident Jamie Dimon’s Chase Bank continues to lead the pack when it comes to business banking in the 21st century. Offering some 90 locations in Westchester alone, Chase has almost infinitely deep pockets, with $2.6 trillion in assets to draw upon on behalf of clients that range from mom-and-pop shops to global corporations and government institutions. Chase is an industry-leading provider of asset management, investment banking, commercial banking, and financial-asset management.
Allan Block Insurance
This multifaceted insurance practice has a strong business arm, with offerings including business property insurance, general liability, and employee practices liability, among others. The firm — founded in 1959 and led today by JoAnne Murray — prides itself on maintaining up-to-date technology systems in order to offer clients the most efficient service. The company also has a commitment to local community service and encourages staff members to support worthy causes throughout Westchester.
Representing clients who range from single individuals to major companies, the attorneys at White Plains-based Yankwitt LLP come highly recommended. The firm’s focuses include business litigation, premises liability, hospitality practice, and professional liability. The team of former federal law clerks and prosecutors are devoted to all of their clients, working hard to deliver favorable results. Additionally, the firm is dedicated to giving back to the community through fundraising, raising awareness, and volunteering for local non-
profits and organizations.
WEDC staff members.
Photo courtesy of WEDC
Women’s Enterprise Development Center (WEDC)
With the purpose of building a local community of strong female business owners, Women’s Enterprise Development Center (WEDC) helps empower women by providing workshops, seminars, and business-training programs to further their personal and professional goals. In addition to myriad networking opportunities, WEDC offers business-counseling sessions, advisory services, assistance with loan applications, peer-mentoring programs, and webinars that discuss current business themes.
H2M architects + engineers staff members.
Photo by Stefan Radtke
Commercial Real Estate Architect
H2M architects + engineers
Among Westchester’s impressive list of architectural firms, few have a connection to the county that runs quite as deep as that of H2M architects + engineers. Whether it's updating the old Mount Kisco firehouse or bringing increased fire safety to Harrison High School, many of H2M’s projects are especially close to Westchester’s heart. A 2018 Newsday “Best Place to Work,” the firm boasts an exhaustive array of specialties, ranging from civil and environmental engineering services to sustainable design and wastewater engineering. H2M has long sponsored the ACE Mentor Program of America, Inc., which provides a space for high schoolers to be encouraged and coached to pursue careers in architecture, design, and engineering.
Commercial Real Estate Brokerage
Rakow Commercial Realty Group
The long reach of the Rakow Commercial Realty Group can be felt throughout Westchester County. The White Plains-based company (with offices in Fairfield County) has built a local real estate dynasty predicated on tenant, owner, and buyer representation services for properties ranging from 1,000 to more than 250,000 square feet, supporting as few as four and as many as 400 employees, in the sectors of general office, retail, medical, and industrial occupancies. Rakow Realty’s other areas of specialization include strategic planning, negotiation skills, and comprehensive financial analysis, as well as business, financial, and transaction management.
Corporate Meeting Venue
Dave & Buster’s
Business leaders with a soft spot for fun have been arranging meetings at a somewhat unlikely outpost at an ever-
increasing rate. Dave & Buster’s — with a site in Pelham Manor that boasts food, sports viewing, arcade games, and a heaping helping of entertainment — is much more than just a spot for kids to let loose. The popular chain is actually a top choice for some of Westchester’s best-known corporations, where employees are invited to have a bit of fun during company events. Along with a lengthy menu of bar-food favorites, Dave & Buster’s offers private rooms with A/V equipment for corporate meetings, conferences, staff retreats, holiday parties, and much more.
(L to R) Bill Diamond and Jim Diamond of Diamond Properties.
Photo by Toshi Tasaki
Commercial Property Management
Diamond Properties has multiple claims to fame: a formidable track record of successfully acquiring and vastly improving commercial properties throughout Westchester; high tenant-satisfaction and renewal rates; and a strong commitment to solar power. The firm, which manages high-profile Westchester properties, including the Grand Prix New York entertainment complex in Mount Kisco, has installed solar power on the roofs of seven of its buildings, exceeding 7 megawatts of generating capacity. Two of its projects are even counted among the largest rooftop solar systems in the state.
Commercial RealEstate Developer
In addition to its prowess in commercial property management, Mount Kisco-based Diamond Properties has enjoyed considerable renown in the development of commercial real estate. The company currently owns some 60 properties, totaling more than 11 million square feet of space in the office, medical, industrial, retail, entertainment, self-storage, residential, and lodging sectors. Since its founding in 1993 by brothers Jim and Bill Diamond, the firm has continued to grow, branching out from Westchester to other areas in New York State, as well as Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, Tennessee, and Missouri.
Coworking Facility/Shared Office Space
Rye, White Plains
Eschewing what founder and CEO John Arenas calls the Mad Men-style “business center” work environment, Serendipity Labs offers coworking space solutions that stretch from Tinseltown and the Windy City to the Big Apple, including recently launched locations in Rye and Downtown White Plains. Boasting clean and spacious design, quiet ambience, and up-to-the-minute office tech, Serendipity Labs offers workplace memberships that include full- and part-time coworking, private offices, workstations, and even team rooms, with available, secure Internet access and phone service.
Leros Point to Point staff members.
Photo by Toshi Tasaki
Leros Point to Point
With the advent of Uber and Lyft, business travelers have more ride options than ever. But traveling glamorously in style never goes out of style. Leros Point to Point is the trusted luxury car service in Westchester, featuring a fleet of the latest high-quality vehicles, including sedans, limousines, minibuses, and vans. With more than 30 years’ experience, Leros has a global network, operating in 700 cities (with its world headquarters in Valhalla), offering clients the ultimate one-stop shop for transportation. The company’s new online booking tool makes it easier than ever to organize your next trip.
Need the letters “MBA” after your last name to secure that new position or job you have your eyes on? Look no further than Pace University. The various MBA programs offered by the Lubin School of Business (NYC, Pleasantville, and online) are a surefire way to increase your marketability and boost business-cred. Bonus: The acclaimed business school has been ranked in the top 7% of U.S. graduate business schools and offers competitive tuition.
Seeking out the perfect candidate is no easy task, a fact that StevenDouglas employees know all too well. For 35 years, the lauded boutique search-and-recruiting firm has made its name matching a host of Fortune 500 companies with the ideal candidates across a wide array of different sectors. With 16 locations, stretching from Westchester to West Palm Beach, StevenDouglas is known for its deep attention to detail when attending to the needs of both its clients and candidates. In recognition of this, Hunt Scanlon named it a Top 50 Search Firm in the U.S. in 2017, meaning whomever a company is looking for, chances are StevenDouglas knows how to find them.
Altium Wealth Management staff members.
photo by Toshi Tasaki
Executive Wealth Management
Altium Wealth Management
Since 2009, Altium Wealth Management has distinguished itself as a wealth-management firm that does more than pay lip service to the idea of a client-centric service model. The company was founded with an idealistic vision of what wealth management could be — and its approach has paid off. By empowering clients while providing guidance, alignment and support, the firm has achieved honors like its 2018 recognition as one of Financial Advisor Magazine’s “Top 50 Fastest-Growing Firms.”
Jill Singer of Jill Singer Graphics.
Photo by Stefan Radtke
Jill Singer Graphics
Rhode Island School of Design-trained graphic designer Jill Singer has nearly 35 years of experience under her belt — having worked with more than 500 clients in the Tristate area, including Westchester organizations like Business Council of Westchester, ArtsWestchester, Nonprofit Westchester, and BRI of Westchester. Singer focuses on both digital and print design, implementing event marketing, campaigns, and brochures to meet her clients’ needs. She is a two-time recipient of an Advertising Club of Westchester Big W Award and a three-time recipient of the Certificate of Special Merit from the Association of Graphic Communications. Her services include branding, newsletter creations, and website design.
Photo courtesy of Hilton Garden Inn, Dobbs Ferry
Hotel for Business Travelers
Hilton Garden Inn
With a central location in Dobbs Ferry, Hilton Garden Inn is an ideal place for weary business travelers to spend the night before or after a busy day of meetings. Execs will find solace in the premium Wi-Fi, business center, complimentary printing service, photo copying, and audio/visual equipment-rental services. For maximum comfort, the hotel offers valet/laundry service, an ample bar, and transportation to the local area (Tarrytown Music Hall, Ridge Hill, and Empire Casino are not far). Want to relax on-site while not knee-deep in paperwork? Take a dip in the hotel’s indoor pool.
Right Click Solutions staff members.
Photo courtesy of Right Click Solutions
Right Click Solutions
IT has gone from an important element of office administration to one of the pillars of a smoothly functioning business. Based in Mount Kisco, Right Click Solutions is a company that knows exactly what is at stake when an organization finds itself in desperate need of tech help. Offering a full range of IT and telecommunications services, stretching from email migration to system maintenance, Right Click Solutions provides custom services for nearly any budget and can even back up and collaborate with a company’s existing in-house IT staff.
George Arco of Arco Cleaning.
Photo courtesy of Arco Cleaning
Arco Cleaning Maintenance Company
A clean workplace is an effective one, and for many Westchester companies, Arco Cleaning Maintenance Company is the top pick for ensuring a mess-free office. Since 1946, Arco has been providing commercial services that include contract- or regular-basis (daily, weekly, or monthly) cleaning programs, as well as larger projects, like porter services, move-in/move-out major cleaning, professional window work, and floor-maintenance services. The company serves clients in a wide range of spaces, from professional offices to medical buildings, retail facilities, industrial locations, and schools, among others.
Office furniture from Waldner’s at Acadia Realty Trust in Rye.
photo BY ERIC LAIGNEL
Waldner’s Business Environments
Founded in 1939, Waldner’s Business Environments is a third-generation women-owned, full-service office-furniture dealership. The company has developed longstanding partnerships with a loyal client base, owing largely to outstanding customer service from experienced staff who collaborate with each client to reduce capital and operating expenditures while maximizing workspace effectiveness. Waldner’s boasts a vast array of services in addition to workplace-design support, including project management, A/V tech, reconfiguration and move management, financing, asset management, e-solutions, and tech support.
Peter Herrero of Sam’s of Gedney Way
Photo by Michael Polito
Place to Entertain a Client
Sam’s of Gedney Way
Sometimes it’s nearly impossible to pick the perfect restaurant for that well-heeled client or prospective employee. When searching for a spot that boasts top-notch fare with a polished interior and attentive staff, look no further than Sam’s of Gedney Way. Tucked away near Gillie Park in White Plains, this smart American bistro is known for its pecan-crusted chicken and grilled NY Black Angus steak. With desserts like a warm apple rose tart and salted caramel “Ring Dings,” as well as exceptional cocktails and an extensive wine list, this is a standout spot to impress virtually any business associate.
Shari Pulver and Bob Rosenthal of JP Promotional Products
Photo by Michael Polito
JP Promotional Products
This is the go-to promotional-products firm for many companies in Westchester and throughout the U.S. Creativity, quick turnaround, competitive pricing, and 40-plus years of combined industry experience are what set JP Promotional Products apart. The firm also prides itself on being able to provide both regular-rush and 24-hour rush services for a variety of key products. If you need to up your company’s profile with branding merch that ranges from hats, tees, backpacks, and coasters to thermoses, mousepads, and lanyards, this woman-owned, family-run business has what you’re looking for.
John Crabtree of Crabtree’s Kittle House.
Photo by Toshi Tasaki
Restaurant for a Power Meal
Crabtree’s Kittle House Restaurant & Inn
Nestled in idyllic Chappaqua, John Crabtree’s eponymous restaurant/inn can fuel a business power meal like no other, with not only a four-star, award-winning menu but also an imponderable 70,000-plus-bottle wine cellar. The symbiotic relationship between the regal carriage-house motif dating back some 230 years and the progressive-epicurean farm-to-table philosophy make Crabtree’s Kittle House a culinary gem among Westchester’s constellation of fine-dining options. Whether it’s an intimate business lunch among colleagues and clients or a grand corporate event guaranteed to be the talk of the town, Crabtree’s Kittle House is a prime place to make lasting impressions.
Knight Security Systems
Companies can skimp on plenty of things, but security should not be one of them. The health and safety of a business’s employees should be top priority for any CEO, and with cutting-edge video surveillance, burglar-and-theft detection, and fire monitoring, Knight Security Systems is an ideal ally in the fight for a safe workplace. In a bid to stay at the forefront of safety, Knight also offers environmental monitoring, remote business services, intercom systems, and even managed video monitoring by a company representative — all so business owners can rest a little easier when they’re away from the office.
Enormous Creative staff members.
Photo courtesy of Enormous Creative
Looking for an eye-catching, easy-to-navigate, and fully loaded website that will fit your business’s budget and needs? Enormous Creative has you covered. The Enormous Creative team is behind many killer local-business websites for high-profile clients, which include Captain Lawrence Brewing Company, DeCicco & Sons, Oasis Day Spa, Fin & Brew, and Stagg Group, among others. In addition to its highly regarded web-development capabilities, the agency focuses on promoting their clients’ success through imaginative approaches to marketing, advertising, public relations, and graphic design.
Westchester is home to several mega-corporations and plenty of thriving large companies, but it’s the small businesses (those with fewer than 50 employees) that really make up the lifeblood of the county’s economy. That’s why we’ve chosen a few especially meritorious companies to highlight this year, with our first-ever Best of Business Editors’ Picks awards. These five organizations — all handpicked by 914INC. editors — stand out for their continued excellence and innovation.
PHOTO courtesy of lgi forensic engineering
LGI Forensic Engineering, P.C.
As a leader in forensic engineering services on the East Coast, LGI Forensic Engineering prides itself on providing exceptional service to its clients. And it has the results to prove it: The firm has incrementally increased sales every year since 1999, under the leadership of founder Steven Pietropaolo, PE. In 2014, LGI relocated to its current expanded office and state-of-the-art forensic-testing lab space, where it performs all aspects of failure analysis in engineering disciplines, including architectural, scientific, civil, electrical, mechanical, and structural.
The founding members of Impact100 Westchester.
photo by janine marlowe
Excellence in Nonprofit
What’s the local impact of collective giving? More than $1.5 million in awards to Westchester nonprofits since 2014 — that’s the dollar amount generated by the roughly 350 members of Impact100, a women’s-collective-giving organization engaging Westchester women in philanthropy. Each member contributes $1,100 annually to award grants to nonprofits serving unmet needs in Westchester; the women participate collectively in the grant-making process and engage in hands-on volunteer opportunities. This year’s grant recipients included Gilda’s Club Westchester, Make the Road New York, and WJCS.
Kereena Blake confers with mentor Ira Dansky of Score Westchester.
Photo courtesy of SCore westchester
Small Business Advocate
Think solid business advice has to cost a fortune? Not so, thanks to SCORE Westchester. The organization’s team of more than 40 volunteers — seasoned execs who have launched and run successful businesses of their own — offer free, in-person coaching for small-business owners (both startups and established companies) and organize 100 free workshops a year, which teach new concepts, skills, and strategies. Last year, SCORE Westchester coached 707 unique clients and is on track this year to coach more than 900, leaving a lasting positive impact on Westchester’s small-biz community.
Hal Prince Music and Entertainment
Photo by Ulysses Photography
Family-Owned Small Business
Hal Prince Music and Entertainment
It’s not a top-notch Westchester party unless Hal Prince is involved. The family-owned business has been the reigning king of county entertainment for decades. From Mount Kisco and New York City offices, the company offers a stellar roster of DJs, MCs, bands, and specialty entertainment options, including celebrity look-alikes, roaming performers, photo booths, and casino tables and dealers. In addition, Hal Prince takes care of party-production needs, like music programming, lighting design, furniture and props, and party supplies, among others. Its service offerings and attention to detail have helped the firm nab numerous awards, including 2019 honors from The Knot and Wedding Wire.
Photo courtesy of The Flatz Properties
Minority-Owned Small Business
The Flatz Properties
Monica Flaherty is a woman on a mission: Her business aims to enhance the city of Peekskill through “purposeful property development.” The African American entrepreneur has purchased six historic buildings so far in Peekskill — including the Pugsley Building on Main Street and two buildings on “Doctor’s Row” — rehabilitating them for rental apartments and other commercial mixed-use tenants. Flaherty seeks to bring a wide array of retailers to her properties in order to continue to boost commerce in Peekskill. Her projects have also helped to increase available affordable housing, provide both jobs and employees to the local community, and generate a reasonable profit for investors.