Westchester County Business News, April 18, 2016
Verizon strike continues, Purchase College achieves Westchester Green Business Certification, second Westchester medical marijuana dispensary opens, and more happenings in the world of the county's business news.
CWA President Chris Shelton on the picket line with members of Local 2222.
Photo courtesy of Communication Workers of America
Verizon Strike Continues
If you drove past The Galleria in downtown White Plains last week, you undoubtedly saw the mass of red-shirted Verizon workers on strike; roughly 39,000 Verizon landline and cable workers throughout the East Coast walked off the job last Wednesday. Other Westchester picketing locations include the company’s wireless stores in Port Chester, Hartsdale and Mohegan Lake. This week, their efforts continue. The cause of the strike is failed contract negotiations; the workers—installers, customer service employees, repairmen, and other service workers, who are members of two unions: the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers—have been without a contract for nearly eight months now. Also at issue are potential Verizon plans to outsource call center work to the Philippines and Mexico. Communications Workers of America Local 1103 President Kevin Sheil told The Journal News last week, “The main issue for us is job security. And also, we're looking to preserve future work, to make sure that our children have a future here in this company, because our belief is that if they're able to get away with diminishing the middle-class jobs that are good paying jobs today, what is that going to look like tomorrow?”
Westchester Healthcare Companies Commit to “Jobs Waiting” Program
CEOs from major healthcare employers in Westchester and the region met at County Executive Rob Astorino’s office last week, and pledged to collaborate on ‘Jobs Waiting,’ a regional program to retrain long-term unemployed individuals for jobs in the healthcare sector, a $15 billion industry with thousands of available positions throughout the Hudson Valley. For employers, the Jobs Waiting program provides a pipeline of vetted, prospective employees, who can quickly fill the region’s 3,000 available healthcare positions. “The Jobs Waiting program fills an employment need for an industry desperate for talent,” says Amy Allen, Vice President, Westchester County Association, which serves as project manager of the federally funded Ready to Work grant. “For those out of work for more than six months, this program is a life saver, and an entry into the region’s hottest growth industry, healthcare.” The meeting, hosted by the County Executive, the Westchester County Association, and Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board, gave employers a chance to meet together to come up with a plan to work closely to identify in-demand skills for hard-to-fill jobs. They agreed to collaborate on the development of specialized training programs to meet workforce needs across the industry, and to support individual job seekers who participate in the job training ‘boot camps,’ with job interviews, networking, and career advice. Employers from Montefiore Health System, New York Presbyterian Hospital’s regional system (Hudson Valley and Lawrence Hospital), Phelps Hospital Northwell Health, ENT and Allergy Associates, White Plains Hospital, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, United Hebrew New Rochelle, WMC Health, Cabrini Eldercare, and Domincan Sisters Family Health Services were in attendance.
10 Years of No-Wait ER At NewYork-Presbyterian/Hudson Valley Hospital
Members of the Volunteer Fire Departments-EMS of Mahopac Falls and Verplanck, along with ambulance corps volunteers from Cortlandt, Mohegan Lake, Ossining, Peekskill and Yorktown join Emergency Department physicians and staff, along with John Federspiel, NYP/Hudson Valley President (left), Stacey Petrower, COO (fourth from left), and Justin Costable, Manager of Emergency Services (right).
What initially began as an out-of-the-box idea recently passed the decade mark; last week, NewYork-Presbyterian/Hudson Valley Hospital celebrated the 10th anniversary of its “No-Wait” Emergency Room. The hospital’s 24-hour emergency room, which sees 40,000 patients annually, is one of the busiest emergency departments in Westchester County, and is undergoing a $4.2 million renovation that is expected to be completed in the Spring of 2017. “A decade ago, bypassing the waiting area upon arrival in an ER was a novel idea and proudly, we were the first in the region to do so,” said John C. Federspiel, President, NewYork-Presbyterian/Hudson Valley Hospital. “They said a “No-Wait” ED would never work, but we were and remain committed 10 years later to creating the best emergency care experience for patients and families.” All 150 emergency room staff members, many of whom have been working in the ER since the No Wait approach was first conceptualized, were on hand for this distinct recognition. Karen Westervelt, Senior Vice President and COO, NYP Regional Network, along with other hospital executives, announced that in recognition of the invaluable partnership the hospital has with area EMTs and ambulance corps, new training equipment will be donated to them. This equipment will reflect the training required for EMS response to three community-related incidents including active shooter, opioid overdose requiring NARCAN and traumatic injury events. Uniformed representatives from area EMS corps, including Cortlandt, Ossining, Peekskill, Verplanck, Yorktown and Mahopac Falls, were on hand for the occasion.
Purchase College Achieves Westchester Green Business Certification
(Left to right) Scott Fernqvist and Dani Glaser, Co-Directors of the Westchester Green Business Challenge, County Executive Robert P. Astorino, Purchase College President Thomas J. Schwarz, Con Edison's Director of Public Affairs for Westchester Jane Solnick, and Dr. Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of The Business Council of Westchester
Purchase College-SUNY celebrated its official Westchester Green Business Certification last week at the newly renovated Humanities Building, the college’s first Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) accredited building on campus. The certificate was presented to Purchase College President, Thomas J. Schwarz by County Executive Rob Astorino, Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of The Business Council of Westchester and Dani Glaser, Creator and Co-Director of the Westchester Green Business Challenge and Certified program. “Environmental sustainability and conservation are priorities in all aspects of campus life,” said Thomas J. Schwarz, President of Purchase College, who was one of the original signers of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007. He continued, “I’m proud that Purchase, which has been selected by the Princeton Review as one of the “greenest” schools in the country, continues to demonstrate leadership in workplace sustainability.” Among the many green/sustainability curriculum, programs, and projects at Purchase College are: an environmental studies B.A. program; “green" lecture series and presentations; a high-tech compost machine that is used to nurture the soil of the student-run garden; projects that focus on reducing waste in offices and in food services; and an award-winning vegan cafe, Terre Ve. Additionally, all new construction and major renovation projects focus on indoor environmental quality that meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) U.S. Green Building guidelines.
Entergy Provides $57K Grant to Friends of Westchester County Parks
Joanne Fernandez, Government Affairs Manager at Entergy, (right) presents check for $57,500 to Joe Stout, Executive Director of Friends of Westchester County Parks, (left) at Croton Point Park.
Entergy recently presented Friends of Westchester County Parks with a $57,500 grant to add solar power capabilities to the Croton Point Park office, add two rain gardens at the park, and educate the community about solar power and storm water management. “With increased development and impervious surface throughout Westchester County, storm water management has become a concern of every municipality and sewer district,” said Joe Stout, Executive Director of Friends of Westchester County Parks. “Many municipalities have increased requirements of site plans for storm water storage on site. The relatively new practice of creating rain gardens can fulfill this need while providing environmental benefits and aesthetically pleasing landscaping. So, we are so thankful that Entergy is helping us with this initiative.” Croton Point Park is one of Westchester County's largest and most frequented parks, located on the banks of the Hudson River. A substantial portion of the land on which the park is situated today was the site of a landfill, which was operated by the Westchester County government from 1927 to 1986. The landfill has since been capped off and restored to green space. The park has several public attractions including: a miniature aircraft airport, boat launch, tent and RV camping, cabin rental, cross-country skiing, fishing, group picnicking, hiking and walking trails, a museum, nature study, pavilions, a playground, a snack bar, swimming, and a beach. On an annual basis, 110,000 county residents visit Croton Point Park.
White Plains Hospital Debuts New Labor & Delivery Suites
Continuing its ongoing campus-wide transformation, White Plains Hospital recently announced the opening of six new, sleek, state-of-the-art, private Labor and Delivery suites to allow mothers to labor, deliver their babies, and recover in the same room. Housed on the sixth floor of the Hospital’s new patient tower, the spacious rooms combine cutting-edge technology with added comfort and amenities for mothers and their significant others or birthing partners during the process. The Hospital now offers six private Labor and Delivery Suites, up from four, each measuring 400 square feet. Each room is large enough to accommodate three different functional areas: an area for the patient’s labor; a dedicated family space including a sofa that converts into a sleeper, and a flat screen television; and a third clinical “zone” around the birthing bed with a baby warmer. The room includes a large private bathroom with full shower. The Labor and Delivery Suites include many upgrades to improve the patient experience. All suites are equipped with new fetal monitors with telemetry, so patients are free to get out of bed to sit with visitors while data is remotely sent to the nursing station. Each also has its own Panda™ Baby Warmer— the latest generation of baby warmers— and baby scale. All suites are designed for the Internet age, with charging stations, USB ports, and Wi-Fi access. The new suites are located directly adjacent to the Hospital’s Charles A. Mastronardi Level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), to immediately care for any babies born pre-term or who may have other complications. (Level III is the most advanced level available for a community hospital.) The design by Perkins Eastman architects reflects the style of the Hospital’s recently opened new lobby and new Center for Cancer Care, which opened in February. “Our patients not only receive the best clinical care, but the best birthing experience possible,” noted Leigh Anne McMahon, R.N., Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer at White Plains Hospital. She emphasized that the Hospital supports high-risk obstetrics and fetal monitoring at its onsite Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU); so at-risk babies are not separated from their mothers and transferred to another facility.
Second Westchester Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opens
As of April 1, Westchester now has two medical marijuana dispensaries operating to serve physician-approved and registered patients who qualify to receive medical marijuana. Etain LLC (Etain) opened its Yonkers facility at 55 Main Street, with Mayor Mike Spano, and other local elected officials, at an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Yonkers dispensary on March 30. Hillary Peckham, Etain’s Chief Operating Officer, provided an overview of Etain’s operations, their products, and the medical marijuana program in NY State. Mayor Spano noted, “In Yonkers, we recognize the need for patients who suffer from debilitating illnesses to live with less pain and with dignity. We welcome Etain to our community to provide a medically-proven service that often times is the only form of relief for critically ill patients.” Etain joins Vireo Health of New York, whose White Plains dispensary has been operating since January, as the second provider of medical marijuana in the county.
Banner 1st Quarter for Friedland Realty Advisors
Friedland Realty Advisors, a full-service commercial real estate firm based in Harrison, recently announced one of its most successful quarters in the company’s 40-plus-year history. Friedland Realty’s brokers closed deals throughout Westchester and the Bronx in the 2016 first quarter totaling more than $34.5 million, 203,305 square feet of space and 11.18 acres of land. The news follows an announcement at the end of last year of Robert Martin Company’s ownership stake in the company. There were several key transactions completed during the first quarter: In late March, Friedland Realty’s Senior Vice President Robin Herko and Vice President David Scotto brokered the sale of 450-460 Tarrytown Road in White Plains, N.Y. comprising of two buildings on 1.92 acres. The combination of the desired retail location, directly across the street from the Crossroads Shopping Center, and a lack of inventory in the burgeoning area, allowed Herko and Scotto to secure well over the asking price for the long-time owner of the property, whom Friedland Realty represented in the transaction. In February, the team of Herko and Scotto also brokered the lease of 2,500 square feet of retail space at 3621 Westchester Avenue in the Bronx. In January, Friedland Realty’s Andrew Grossman represented both the buyer and seller of 111-131 Old Route 6 in Carmel, NY Westrock Indoor Sports purchased the 48,000-square-foot industrial space from Putnam County National Bank to open a multi-purpose, all-ages indoor sports facility. “The success that our company has seen in the first quarter of 2016 is a testament to the talent of our brokers and a key indicator of the value that we bring to our clients,” said Sarah Jones-Maturo, president of Friedland Realty Advisors.
Hospice & Palliative Care of Westchester Rebrands
Hospice & Palliative Care of Westchester, an organization which has provided quality end-of-life care to Westchester County for 24 years, recently announced a rebrand, which includes a refreshed name and new tagline: Hospice of Westchester – Making The Most of Each Day. The new brand identity, says Mary K. Spengler, MS, chief executive officer of Hospice of Westchester, further supports the organization’s mission to strive to provide extraordinary and dignified comfort, care and compassion to individuals and families facing a serious or life-limiting illness. “Our name now reinforces what we provide, quality hospice care, and who we loyally serve, patients and families in Westchester County,” she says. This news comes on the heels of the relocation of the organization’s White Plains’ headquarters last fall. Hospice of Westchester’s new centralized location at 1025 Westchester Avenue, Suite 200, allows the agency to continue to enhance its programs to better meet the needs of the community.