BY THOMAS GRECH
QUEENS CHAMBER CEO AND PRESIDENT
We had a very busy September at the Queens Chamber and the calendar continues to grow as we enter the fall. In sum, the Chamber hosted two Business Card Exchanges, eleven Small Business Seminars, three workforce development events, plus our Annual Queens Chamber Foundation Golf Outing.
It is important for our members to be kept apprised of our upcoming events, and, as such, I continually urge members to check our website at queenschamber.org and reach out to our capable staff.
In addition to our regular programming for October, I want to make note of two upcoming, signature events: the Queens Chamber 2018 Business Person of the Year Awards Dinner and the 2018 Annual Building Awards & Gala.
Business Person of the Year Awards – Wednesday, October 10
The Queens Chamber of Commerce is thrilled to announce our 2018 Business Person of the Year Awards! This year, we have four honorees who exemplify business acumen, street smarts, hard work, success and doing well by doing good.
The Hall of Fame Honoree is John Catsimatidis, owner and president, chairman and CEO of Red Apple Group, as well as three very special and deserving honorees who make Queens what it is today: Christopher Horch, associate partner at JB&B; Sister Tesa Fitzgerald, founder and executive director at Hour Children; and Nick Tziazas, president at Lyons Mortgage Services, Inc. These four leaders are among those that have made and will continue to make Queens the preeminent place to live, work and play.
Annual Building Awards and Gala – Thursday, December 6
For over 90 years, this marvelous tradition honors the architects, builders, engineers, lenders, interior designers and owners of buildings and building projects in Queens County. This year’s keynote speaker is Lorraine Grillo, commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction (DDC), and president of the School Construction Authority (SCA).
We are still accepting Building Award nominations. All submissions must be received at the Chamber office no later than Friday, October 12. If you would like to submit a nomination, please call us at (718) 898-8500.
The Queens Chamber of Commerce is honored to have a seat at the table and represent our membership on the following projects:
• LaGuardia Air Train Development. AirTrain LGA seeks to establish a reliable, convenient means of travel, with less-than 30-minute trips between the airport and New York Penn Station or Grand Central Terminal. It will also provide rail access from all of Long Island via the LIRR, as well as the MTA’s 7 subway line.
• Sunnyside Yard Steering Committee. Sunnyside Yard is one of the busiest rail yards in the country and a key train storage yard and maintenance hub for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. In the next 20 years, Queens is expected to add more than 80,000 new residents. That growth will put additional strain on schools, parks, mass transit, and housing that current residents rely upon. Sunnyside Yard presents an opportunity to address these challenges head on in a way that integrates new development into the established fabric of surrounding communities.
• Western Queens Tech Council. Borough President Melinda Katz has unveiled a long-term plan to help grow the technology industry along the East River waterfront, including in Long Island City and parts of Astoria. The “Western Queens Strategy Plan” features a series of steps aimed at bolstering the area’s local tech ecosystem through initiatives like job training, building tech hubs, and funneling investors to the area.
• Willets Point Redevelopment. The Willets Point Development Plan is a historic redevelopment effort that will transform an area previous generations have sought to change and improve. The plan will clean up the environment and help improve the quality of nearby waterways. It will link this district, in one of the most vibrant parts of Queens, to basic infrastructure and establish a major new mixed-income neighborhood and commercial destination that will create jobs and recapture billions in spending now lost to the suburbs.
• JFK Redevelopment Advisory Council. Based on the recommendations of the Governor’s Airport Advisory Panel, the vision plan lays out a comprehensive, airport-wide framework to create a unified, world-class airport. In order to accommodate the dramatic expected growth at the airport in the coming decades and keep New York’s economy moving forward, the plan addresses three key areas: transforming JFK into a unified, interconnected, world-class airport; improving road access to the airport; and expanding rail mass transit to meet projected passenger growth.