Ron Howard Joins Jacob Burns Board; County Appoints New Tourism Director; Westchester Bank Celebrates Third Anniversary—and Impressive Growth
photo by David-Shankbone
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard has been elected to the Board of Directors at the Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC) in Pleasantville. Howard has been a member of the JBFC since the center first opened and was the recipient of the facility’s first Vision Award in 2005. Along with this wife Cheryl, Howard is also serving as a co-chair of the JBFC’s Tribute to Steven Spielberg, which will be held on the JBFC campus on Saturday, September 17, and will benefit the center’s education and outreach programs.
Marsha Gordon, president and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester (BCW), was appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo to serve on the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council last month. The council will help to improve the relationship between the state government and the business community to help stimulate economic development regionally and statewide. The regional councils represent a shift in the state's approach to economic development, from a top-down development model to a community-based approach that emphasizes each region’s unique assets, harnesses local expertise, and empowers each region to set plans and priorities. Gordon was one of 21 business and community leaders selected to serve on the council.
Leonard Schleifer of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals was named co-chair of the Development Council along with Dennis Murray, president of Marist College. Other Westchester-based business leaders who were appointed to the council included Wiley Harrison of Business of Your Business, James Bernardo of Candela Systems Corporation, Aleida Frederico of TD Bank, Robin Douglas of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Westchester and Rockland, and Paul Ryan of the Westchester/Putnam Central Labor Body.
Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino announced new high-level appointments to his administration last month. Dr. Sherlita Amler, the commissioner of health for Putnam County, will become Westchester’s health commissioner on October 3. In Putnam, she oversaw a department that dealt with the same issues she will focus on in her new job: public health, disease control, monitoring of restaurants and food vendors, and family health. The county has not had a permanent health commissioner since Astorino assumed office. Dr. Cheryl Archbald, a deputy commissioner of health who has been serving as acting commissioner, will resume her previous duties and job title.
Rosa Boone, a White Plains resident who is executive director of the Westchester Coalition for the Hungry and Homeless, will join the county as a deputy commissioner of social services on September 6. Boone has been with the coalition in White Plains since 1993, serving the last 16 years as executive director. The coalition is made up of autonomous food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, services organizations, and individuals working to alleviate hunger and homelessness in the region. She will oversee temporary assistance field operations, and assistance to the county’s social service recipients.
Natasha Caputo, a Mount Kisco resident and former vice president with New York City’s tourism organization, was appointed as the county’s new director of tourism and film, effective immediately. At NYC & Company, New York City's official tourism organization, she developed and spearheaded signature tourism marketing campaigns such as Restaurant Week, Paint the Town, Summer Breaks, and Shop 4 Class. She also led the marketing partnerships with companies such as American Express, American Airlines, The Coca-Cola Company, Target, and Time Warner. In addition, she created and launched business-building seminars that provided business-to-business forums for travel and hospitality-related industries. Her new position will be dedicated to promoting and advancing tourism within the county to attract visitors and promote economic growth.
The African American Chamber of Commerce of Westchester and Rockland Counties announced that White House staffer Michael Blake will serve as the keynote speaker at a dinner to celebrate the chamber’s 15th anniversary on October 20. Blake is currently serving as the associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and as deputy associate director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs for the Obama administration. He previously worked on the Obama presidential campaign in Iowa and Michigan and as director of external affairs for the Michigan House of Representatives. A graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, he successfully co-organized three state house campaigns in the 2006 election cycle..
Accounting and consulting firm O'Connor Davies Munns & Dobbins announced that one of its partners, Robert Daniele, has graduated from the 2011 Leadership Westchester Advancement Series. The six-month course was designed to sharpen leadership skills and provide an in depth understanding of how nonprofits function. Leadership Westchester is considered an MBA-level curriculum of leadership training. Daniele, a resident of Stamford, Connecticut, has over 18 years of experience serving municipal and private sector clients and providing services to government organizations including counties, cities, towns, villages, school districts, and nonprofit organizations.
The Kensington, an enhanced assisted living and memory-care residence opening this summer in downtown White Plains, has announced the appointment of Susie Sarkisian as move-in coordinator and geriatric care manager. Sarkisian worked for two years as a geriatric care manager at Ridgefield Crossings, an assisted living community in Ridgefield, Connecticut. She previously worked for eight years for both privately run and state agencies in the Boston area as a social worker, and she is also a certified life coach working primarily with caregivers. Sarkisian, who resides in Danbury, Connecticut, is a graduate of Davidson College.
Brynwood Golf & Country Club in Armonk recently announced the appointment of Joseph Marchisotta as executive chef. Marchisotta has 14 years of culinary experience as an executive chef for private country clubs, catering companies, major hotels, and restaurants in the New York metropolitan area. Prior to joining Brynwood, he was executive chef for Messina Market in Long Island, where he was responsible for overseeing all culinary operations. He has also held positions as executive chef at Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove, Helmsley Park Lane Hotel in Manhattan, and Centolire restaurant in Manhattan, and he was chef de cuisine for the Westchester Country Club in Harrison. Marchisotta is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and trained at some of Manhattan’s finest restaurants, including Union Square Café, La Côte Basque, Aureole and Daniel.
Provident Bank announced that Matthew Chodrow has joined the bank as business manager and assistant vice president with responsibility for managing the overall sales and customer services operations at the Nyack branch. Chodrow, who brings 11 years of banking experience to his new position, was most recently branch manager for Citizens Bank in Airmont. He has also held positions with Whitney National Bank in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Roslyn Savings Bank in Garden City, New York. A resident of Congers, he attended the State University of New York at Farmingdale. Provident Bank, which is headquartered in Montebello, New York, operates 35 branches that serve the Hudson Valley region, including three branches in Westchester.
Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains announced that Jennifer Lewis has joined the staff as the hospital’s new chief development officer. Lewis will be responsible for all of fundraising and development activities for both the hospital and the Burke Research Institute, and she will also oversee the hospital’s marketing, advertising, and public relations staff and initiatives. Most recently, Lewis served as the executive director of the Fairfield/Westchester Chapter of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America and also worked as the director of donor development at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. A graduate of the State University of New York at Purchase and a trustee of Good Counsel Academy High School, she is a co-founder of the Mount Kisco Public Library Foundation and has served as the president of the Mount Kisco Library Board of Trustees.
Tracy Kay, who is executive director of the Westchester Children’s Museum, has been selected to serve as a peer reviewer for the American Association of Museums. Selection for this national program is reserved for qualified museum professionals who have significant museum experience and a proven understanding of the field.
Charles Goldberger, a partner at the White Plains law firm of McCullough, Goldberger & Staudt, LLP, has been named as a board member of Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (LSHV). The nonprofit law group provides free civil legal service to low income and newly unemployed residents in Westchester and surrounding counties.
New businesses, relocations, and operations
Hotel officials at the Tarrytown House Estate announced a unique promotion that will allow patrons to take advantage of the soaring temperatures this summer. The “Beat the Heat” package will allow patrons staying two or more nights at the best available hotel rate to receive a discount based on the forecasted high temperature in Central Park. If the forecasted temperature reaches 90 degrees, for example, customers taking advantage of the package will be credited with $90 on their bill. The hotel, which is located on an estate property off East Sunnyside Lane near the border of Irvington and Tarrytown, also features a fitness club, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and tennis courts.
Somnia Anesthesia of New Rochelle has entered into a new partnership with the Anesthesia Quality Institute (AQI) for the purpose of improving the quality of anesthesia care. The National Anesthesia Clinical Outcomes Registry, started in 2008 by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, aggregates anesthesia-related clinical data from participating practices and hospitals nationwide to improve patient care. Somnia will contribute clinical outcomes data to the project, which will help the AQI identify best practices in anesthesia and improve the overall quality of patient care. In return, Somnia and other participating practices and hospitals will receive periodic reports benchmarking their data against the registry’s national aggregate data and eventually against a peer group of similar anesthesia practices.
As previously reported in this space, the DoubleTree by Hilton-Tarrytown, as part of its year-long 50th anniversary celebration,
is inviting couples who have held their wedding receptions at the hotel since it opened in 1961 to attend a special event on Friday, September 16 . at the hotel, located on Route 9 in Tarrytown. Couples wishing to receive an invitation should contact the hotel by sending an e-mail message to Michelle Citino, at email@example.com indicating their names, address, phone number, and the date their wedding reception was held at the hotel. Participants will be asked to bring a copy of their wedding invitation, or a newspaper announcement to verify the date. The reception will be held only for the couples.
The Westchester Bank is celebrating its third anniversary in business by reporting some impressive financial gains. For the quarter ending June 30, the bank’s deposits exceeded $196 million, up 29 percent from last June, while assets totaled more than $240 million, a gain of 30 percent from a year ago. Total loans outstanding currently exceed $140 million, which is 59 percent above last June. The bank currently has over 2,600 customers and recently completed a private placement stock offering that raised nearly $27 million in new capital. In addition to its headquarters on Central Park Avenue in Yonkers, the bank also has a branch in downtown White Plains on Mamaroneck Avenue. Since opening in November 2009, the White Plains branch has attracted more than $71 million in new deposits.
Iona College in New Rochelle was named as one of the best colleges to work for in the United States, according to a new survey released by the Chronicle of Higher Education. The distinction was based on a survey of more than 44,000 employees at 310 colleges and universities. In all, only 111 of the 310 institutions achieved recognition as “Great College to Work For” for specific best practices and policies. Iona was highlighted in four categories of the Chronicle’s 2011 survey: leadership, respect and appreciation, teaching environment, and tenure clarity and process. Results were reported for small, medium, and large institutions, with Iona included among medium campuses that have between 3,000 to 9,999 students.
The college also made headlines by breaking ground on a new, 860-square-foot, state-of-the-art trading floor for its Hagan School of Business. The floor will be the centerpiece of a new Center of Financial Market Studies, which will help prepare students for careers in corporate finance and financial services. The construction cost of one million dollars was contributed entirely by two Iona alumni: 1967 graduate Robert LaPenta, president and CEO of L-1 Identity Solutions, and 1959 graduate Patrick Lynch, formerly a senior vice president and chief financial officer at Texaco, Inc.
Guiding Eyes for the Blind recently honored Entergy Nuclear Northeast for its continued support of the nonprofit school's mission and volunteers. A plaque dedicated to Entergy now hangs in the volunteer suite of the Guiding Eyes Training Center and headquarters in Yorktown Heights.
Elder-law attorney Anthony Enea, a managing partner at Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP in White Plains, has been named a “Super Lawyer” for 2011 by Super Lawyers magazine. Attorneys are recognized in more than 70 practice areas, and no more than 5 percent of lawyers are selected annually in each state. Enea is an avid public speaker, lecturing frequently at functions for the Westchester County and New York State Bar Associations. He is currently the chair-elect of the Elder Law Section of the New York State Bar Association, effective May 2012, for a term of one year.
Port Chester-based Seaboard Weatherproofing & Restoration recently completed restorations on the Public Theater, a Manhattan landmark that had previously been the first building in the original New York Public Library system. Seaboard craftsmen employed several different methods for restoring the brick and brownstone façade. The final stage of the two-year project consisted of comprehensive weatherproofing that will help protect the building’s façade for years to come.
As the county grappled with more mixed news regarding the state of the region’s economy, urban renewal was a major theme in business headlines over the past month – with Westchester’s two largest cities once again taking center stage.
On the bad-news side, job growth in Westchester County seemed to take a hit in June based on the latest numbers. As reported in a July 29 article in the Westchester County Business Journal and Westfair Online, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the county jumped to 6.8 percent in June — an increase of 0.4 percent from May. The figure was still slightly better than it was one year ago, when Westchester had an unemployment rate of 7 percent in June 2010. Net gains in private sector jobs were offset by net losses in public and government sector jobs.
The good news is that the county’s commercial real estate market seems to be bouncing back, as real estate analysts pointed to a sudden surge in the demand for office space. According to a second quarter report by real estate agency Cushman & Wakefield cited in a July 23 Journal News article, downtown White Plains is once again the latest office hot spot. While overall leasing activity in the county dropped by 13.6 percent from the first quarter of 2011, the report notes that the activity was still almost 33 percent greater than one year ago. The report also noted significant increases in commercial rent for the White Plains area and slight but positive commercial rent increase in New Rochelle.
The county government also reported good news on the borrowing front. While leaders in Washington continued to fret over a possible downgrade in the nation’s credit rating, Fitch Ratings reaffirmed the county government’s “Triple-A” bond rating. The agency cited the county’s fiscal discipline and modest debt levels as key contributing factors to securing the highest possible rating on the county’s $808 million outstanding unlimited general obligation bonds. Top ratings from credit agencies are important to ensure the most competitive interest rates on bond sales.
Meanwhile, the county’s two largest cities continued to make headlines with a flurry of development activity that will convert run-down sites of urban blight into new centers of commerce. In White Plains, a dilapidated section of Main Street is turning the corner, as a ceremonial groundbreaking was held at the future site of a retail and hotel complex known as Metropolitan Plaza. As reported in the Journal News, the $20 million development is expected to create 100 permanent retail and hotel jobs, as well as 100 construction jobs. A former A&P supermarket at the site will be demolished after years of remaining vacant, and new storefronts such as Chipotle Mexican Grill and Planet Fitness will take its place. Those businesses will join new tenants that have already opened as part of the development such as Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza and Pearl Yogurt. The developers — pending local government approval — are also planning to build a 130-room hotel as part of the project.
In Yonkers, construction finally got underway at Trevor Park along the city’s formerly blighted waterfront for a series of improvements that will include the development of a new 450-seat public amphitheater. The county government provided the $7.5 million for the amphitheater and will spend another $1 million to make a pedestrian connection linking the Yonkers waterfront, the amphitheater, and a Metro-North station as part of the county's RiverWalk along the Hudson River. Construction of the amphitheater, which will afford patrons dramatic views of the Palisades across the Hudson, is expected to be complete in June 2012.
Across town, officials also broke out the shovels to break ground on a $40 million expansion of Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway. The project is expected to create more than 200 new construction jobs and 100 permanent jobs at the raceway, which is the city’s largest employer with 1,200 employees. The 66,000 square-foot expansion will allow Empire City to reconfigure its current gaming layout, relocating 350 of its 5,310 slot machines while introducing 400 new electronic table gaming seats and new food and beverage facilities for its customers. A larger new casino entrance will include an architecturally inventive, high-tech carport. Construction on the expansion is expected to wrap up by early 2012.
357 Main Street
Michael P. Rao
New York Commercial Realty Group
Availability: This building features 10,625 square feet of Class A office space on the second floor. The space can be subdivided into smaller spaces starting at 5,312 square feet. Leasing rates are $28.50 per square foot per year.
Selling points: This centrally located building features a turn-key plug and play space that can be used for a variety of purposes, including offices and medical and lab facilities. The building also offers elevator access and three parking spaces for every 1,000 square feet rented (in both indoor and outdoor areas). The location is within walking distance to all major amenities, including restaurants and stores on Armonk’s Main Street. The site is also minutes away from Interstate 684 and Route 22, which connects to the Bronx River and Taconic State Parkways.
Business Council BBQ Bash — 5 pm to 7 pm at Glen Island Park, New Rochelle. Join the Business Council of Westchester on August 9 for the Business Council BBQ Bash at Glen Island. The event will feature hors d'oeuvres, a full buffet dinner of Caribbean-inspired food, complimentary drinks at the Tiki Bar, live entertainment, and lots of business networking. For more information, call Maria Smith at (914) 948-2110 or visit the BCW website at www.westchesterny.org
Workshop: Franchises…Are They Right for You? — 1 pm to 3 pm at 120 Bloomingdale Road, White Plains. Presented by SCORE Westchester, this workshop will explore the franchise business model. Free. For more information, call (914) 948-3907 or visit www.scorewestchester.com
Lee Pompei Memorial Car Show — 11 am to 3 pm at the Mahopac Volunteer Fire Station, Route 6, Mahopac. Car enthusiasts will have an opportunity to enjoy this classic car show, which will include trophies, raffles, prizes, and five special awards. Proceeds will benefit Hospice Care in Westchester and Putnam, which provides end-of-life care to individuals who wish to remain in their homes. The show is named in honor of Lee Pompei, a car enthusiast and former owner of the Wire Shop in Mahopac who was a hospice patient. Free, but contributions encouraged. For more information, contact Sandy Pompei at (845) 628-4213 or Mike Purdy at (914) 497-6270. Pre-registration is required.
Workshop: Business Law and Taxes — 1 pm to 3 pm at 120 Bloomingdale Road, White Plains. Presented by SCORE Westchester, this workshop will provide advice on dealing with business law and tax requirements. Free. For more information, call (914) 948-3907 or visit www.scorewestchester.com
Social Networking for Entrepreneurs — 12 pm to 2:30 pm at PLATES, 121 Myrtle Bouelvard, Larchmont. Ellen DiPasquale, Regional Development Director of Constant Contact, will speak about the current trends and tools in social media. You'll learn best practices in social media and what it takes to implement them quickly. Lunch and program, $25. For more information or to register for the event, visit the RSVP page at http://www.constantcontact.com/local/newyorklongisland/events.jsp?template=day&trumbaEmbed=view%3Devent%26eventid%3D95324714
Workshop: Sales Strategies — 1 pm to 3 pm at 120 Bloomingdale Road, White Plains. Presented by SCORE Westchester, this workshop will explore the importance of developing a unique competitive edge as the basis of an effective sales strategy. Free. For more information, call (914) 948-3907 or visit www.scorewestchester.com
BCW’s Entergy Day of Golf — 9:30 am to 6:30 pm at Westchester Hills Golf Club, 401 Ridgeway, White Plains. Join the Business Council of Westchester for a day on the golf course sponsored by Entergy. Cost is $375 per person. For more information, visit the BCW website at www.westchesterny.org
Healthcare Reform Symposium — 8 am to 6:30 pm at the Westchester Marriott, 670 White Plains Road, Tarrytown. Join the Westchester County Association for a full-day series of panel discussions and a networking cocktail reception covering what you may not be hearing in the national healthcare debate. Cost is $325 per person. For more information, visit the WCA website at www.westchester.org
914INC. Accomplished Women Entrepreneur (AWE) Awards — 914INC., the business lifestyle publication launched by Westchester Magazine, is seeking to showcase the greatest success stories among women entrepreneurs throughout the Westchester business community. Female entrepreneurs selected by the magazine’s editors will be featured in its October cover story, and will be honored at an awards ceremony. To be eligible for consideration, the candidate must be the founder of the business, the business must physically reside in Westchester County, and the success and general excellence of the business must be demonstrable. Self-nominations will be accepted. For more information, or to apply for consideration, visit the AWE Awards online entry form at http://www.westchestermagazine.com/914INC/Accomplished-Women-Entrepreneurs-Awards/