The 2021 Queens Power 100: 51-100
The 2021 Queens Power 100: 51-100
51. Dermot Smyth
Queens Political Action Coordinator, United Federation of Teachers
The United Federation of Teachers has been an effective advocate for the nearly 200,000 teachers and other school professionals it represents during the coronavirus pandemic. Now, it’s flexing its political muscle by backing New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer in his run for mayor and endorsing dozens of candidates for City Council, district attorney, borough president and city comptroller. Dermot Smyth, who has served as the political action coordinator in Queens for over a decade, is a key member of the teachers union’s political team.
52. Francisco Moya
New York City Council Member
City Council Member Francisco Moya has worked to rebuild his district, which includes some of the neighborhoods that were hit hardest by the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. He has also advocated for the long awaited Willets Point redevelopment, a project which includes the proposed development of a new school and affordable housing. Before joining the council, the soccer fanatic and lifelong Corona resident served in the Assembly and was the first Ecuadorian American elected to public office in the U.S.
53. Daniel Zausner
Chief Operating Officer, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
The U.S. Open is making a comeback this summer after being held without fan attendance last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic – and the man running it all behind the scenes will once again be Daniel Zausner. As the chief operating officer at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, a role he’s had since 2001, Zausner is in charge of all things operational – from the food and merchandise to the security and broadcast operations and more.
54. Kara Hughes
Senior Vice President, Corporate and Legislation, Kasirer
As a top executive at one of the city’s most powerful lobbying firms, Queens resident Kara Hughes oversees the strategic planning and management goals of Kasirer’s corporate clients. She also manages legislative strategy across the firm. Hughes started her career in Washington, D.C. as an aide on Capitol Hill. Before joining Kasirer, she was New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s acting director of city legislative affairs, a role in which she liaised between the City Council and the mayor to shape public policy and promote the mayor’s legislative priorities.
55. Anne Marie Anzalone & John Albert
Partners, Bolton-St. Johns
Anne Marie Anzalone and John Albert both work their magic at the public affairs and government relations firm Bolton-St. Johns. Anzalone uses her extensive government experience, where she began in constituent services for the late Assembly Member Denis Butler and ended as chief of staff to former Rep. Joe Crowley, to advise on a wide range of political issues. Meanwhile Albert, a Queens native whose portfolio includes everything from nonprofits, to business corporations and cultural organizations, works with coalitions to advocate for policy change.
56. Martha Ayon, Nick Haby, Bright Limm & Virginia Ramos Rios
Board Members, New Reformers
The New Reformers was launched with the goal of “rising up against machine politics” in Queens. The upstart group gained momentum in 2020 when they backed Democratic district leader candidates, 14 of whom won. Its leaders pursue transparency and small “d” democracy by live tweeting meetings, making noise about previously perfunctory votes and providing audio streams to the public. It is currently led by four board members: Martha Ayon, the president of Azul Public Solutions; Astoria activist Nick Haby; Virginia Ramos Rios, the campaign manager for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s breakthrough 2018 campaign; and Bright Limm, a Jamaica resident, lawyer and activist who also co-chairs the Queens chapter of the Working Families Party and Queens chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.
57. Peter Vallone Sr.
Partner, Constantinople & Vallone Consulting
Peter Vallone Sr. uses his nearly 50 years of experience in politics to advise clients as a partner at his public and government relations and business firm. Vallone joined the City Council representing Astoria in 1974 and went on to become the first – and longest-serving – council speaker. While speaker, the city’s Board of Estimate was abolished, giving the council control of the budget, land use and zoning. He also ran for governor and mayor.
58. Travis Terry
Last November, Travis Terry was promoted to the position of president at Capalino, one of New York City’s top lobbying firms with strong ties to powerful public officials. The Queens resident advises and lobbies for a wide array of high-profile clients, ranging from Macy’s and UPS to the Coro New York Leadership Center and the High Line. The firm also works with Queens-based entities such as FWRA LLC and Queens Community House.
59. Bruce Flanz
President and CEO, Medisys Health Network
It’s been just one year since Medisys’ Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and Flushing Hospital Medical Center were overrun by New York City’s first surge of COVID-19 cases, and President and CEO Bruce Flanz has been continually preparing for what comes next. He has shifted his focus to helping COVID-19 “long haulers” by opening a post-COVID care center at Jamaica Hospital. Flanz was also named chair of the Healthcare Association of New York in March.
60. Clint Plummer
CEO, Rise Light & Power
Clint Plummer took over as CEO of the company that runs the city’s largest power generating facility, Ravenswood Generating Station, more than a year ago. His background in renewable energy is exactly what the parent company, LS Power, wants as it shifts its focus towards clean energy. The subsidiary even underwent a change of name from Ravenswood Generating to Rise Light & Power. With a new name and a new aim, Rise Light & Power plans to bring wind and solar energy produced upstate to New York City.
61. Robert Holden
New York City Council Member
Rumors flew recently that City Council Member Robert Holden might run for mayor, but instead he’s staying local and seeking reelection for his current seat in City Council District 30. A Democrat with close ties to the Republican Party, Holden has been a loud opponent to bail and various police reforms, an outspoken critic of homeless shelters and a foe to former schools Chancellor Richard Carranza – and all the while he’s been a notably proactive and responsive lawmaker.
62. Jukay Hsu
Founder and CEO, Pursuit
U.S. Army veteran Jukay Hsu is the founder and CEO of Pursuit, formerly the Coalition for Queens, a “social impact” organization that trains adults for jobs in the tech world. He was recently appointed to the board of directors of the New York City Partnership Fund, where he is filling a seat vacated by Rev. Floyd Flake, a former member of Congress from Queens.
63. Scott Levenson
Founder and President, The Advance Group
Scott Levenson founded his political consulting firm in 1990 after a decade working in community and labor organizing. He has worked on campaigns for former Mayor David Dinkins, presidential candidate Jesse Jackson, and he ran Mark Green’s successful bid to be the city’s first public advocate. Most recently, Levenson’s firm worked with Queens Borough President Donovan Richards in the race to fill Melinda Katz’s seat after she became district attorney. The Advance group continues to work with Donovan in his bid for reelection.
64. Christine Mangino
President, Queensborough Community College
Christine Mangino was appointed as the sixth president of Queensborough Community College last year after a nearly two-year search to replace Diane Call. Mangino previously served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Hostos Community College, another CUNY institution. She is herself a graduate of a community college – before earning degrees at Hofstra and St John’s, she graduated from Nassau Community College on Long Island.
65. Eric Ulrich
New York City Council Member
New York City Council Member Eric Ulrich has the distinction of being the only Republican to hold elected office in Queens, although he’ll soon have to leave office due to term limits. Since his election in 2009, he has represented the neighborhoods in District 32, including Republican stronghold Breezy Point and Ozone Park where he was raised. In high school, he thought about becoming a priest but decided to pursue civic and political life instead.
66. John Choe
Executive Director, Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce
In his position as executive director of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, John Choe has long advocated for the needs of the businesses in his community. He filed a lawsuit against the New York City Council over their approval of the Flushing waterfront development project last year and voicing opposition to the LaGuardia AirTrain proposal. Choe will remain a prominent voice for Flushing whether or not he wins his bid to represent District 20 on the City Council.
67. Clyde Vanel
Assembly Member Clyde Vanel has represented St. Albans, Hollis, Queens Village, Bellerose and Cambria Heights – where he grew up – since his first election in 2016. As chair of the Assembly’s Subcommittee on Internet and New Technology, Vanel explores the role of cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence and robots in the workforce – and how to regulate them. Before his election, he worked for Southeast Queens state Sen. James Sanders Jr. as his chief of staff.
68. Stewart Steeves
CEO, LaGuardia Gateway Partners
Stewart Steeves is leading the transformation of LaGuardia Airport's Terminal B as the CEO of LaGuardia Gateway Partners. The development consortium, which includes Skanska and Steeves’ longtime employer Vantage Airport Group, was tasked with revamping what Joe Biden once said was like something in a “third world country.” With Steeves’ help, the airport is undergoing a massive redevelopment that includes the $4 billion Terminal B. His accomplishments so far also include opening a new arrivals and departures hall, leading a project that is now 85% complete, and a ban on plastic straws.
69. Rhonda Binda
Deputy Queens Borough President
Rhonda Binda is Queens Borough President Donovan Richard’s highest ranking aide – and the only deputy borough president in the office since Michael Hurwitz withdrew shortly after his appointment. If Donovan ever were to leave office early, Binda would temporarily step into his role – just like Sharon Lee replaced Melinda Katz when Katz became district attorney. Binda’s impressive resume includes leading the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District, chairing South Asian American Voice, and working in the Obama and Clinton administrations.
70. Jeff Wilpon & Richard Browne
Partners, Sterling Project Development
Jeff Wilpon and Richard Browne are part of the driving force behind the recently approved Willets Point redevelopment plan that has been in the works for decades. Their real estate company, Sterling Project Development, partnered with Related Companies on a proposal for the site that was approved by the Queens Borough Board in May. Both men have a background in local baseball: Wilpon is the former chief operating officer of the New York Mets, which his father, Fred Wilpon, owned until recently, and Browne helped spearhead the development and construction of Citi Field.
71. Richard Siu
Chief Investment Officer, F&T Group
Richard Siu is the chief investment officer of F&T Group, one of the developers that make up the consortium FWRA LLC that’s behind the Flushing waterfront redevelopment. The controversial proposal, which was approved by the New York City Council late last year, will develop the rezoned parcel of land into a mix of residential, commercial and hotel properties. Whether or not the $2 billion project will help or push out residents in the neighborhood is a matter of fierce debate.
72. Mitchell Taylor
Co-Founder and CEO, Urban Upbound
Bishop Mitchell Taylor, who has lived in or near the New York City Housing Authority’s Queensbridge Houses for most of his life, founded Urban Upbound in 2004 to break the cycle of poverty in his neighborhood and others like it. Earlier this year, with the help of other local organizations, the community organizer and pastor launched an “Intergenerational Wealth Program” and received grant money to help small businesses in Queens recover from the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
73. Daniel Rosenthal
Assembly Member Daniel Rosenthal was the youngest sitting member of the Assembly until late last year, when he “passed the baby bottle” to Assembly Member Khaleel Anderson. There were rumors that Rosenthal, who was elected to represent District 27 in 2017, would try to succeed his previous boss, former City Council Member Rory Lancman. Instead, he has been making a name for himself as a prominent champion of the Orthodox Jewish communities and an early supporter of mayoral frontrunner Andrew Yang.
74. Berenecea Johnson Eanes
President, York College
Berenecea Johnson Eanes became president of York College in 2020 after leading the institution in an interim capacity for nearly a year. Eanes launched the One York Emergency Fund to help students during the coronavirus pandemic. She also went on a “listening tour” to further her goal of creating “One York.” In April, she was elected to serve on the NCAA Division III Presidents Council for the CUNY Athletic Conference and announced that the college would house the borough’s first-ever professional soccer franchise, Queensboro FC.
75. John "Sean" Crowley
Partner, Davidoff Hutcher & Citron
John “Sean” Crowley has been a partner at Davidoff Hutcher & Citron for nearly 15 years, focusing on government affairs and lobbying in New York City and state. Before joining DHC, he was a managing partner at Crowley, Crowley & Kaufman. Prior to taking on his current legal and lobbying work, he gained experience campaigning for then-Rep. Thomas J. Manton and as an investigator for the New York City Council. He is also the brother of former Rep. Joe Crowley.
76. Joann Ariola
Chair, Queens County Republican Party
Chairperson Joann Ariola is credited with healing and uniting a broken and divided Queens County Republican Party. Previously plagued with infighting so bad they couldn’t float a Republican candidate for the 2019 district attorney race, Ariola pulled them together so she could put up a strong fight against Donovan Richards for the Queens borough president office, winning nearly 30% of the votes. Ariola is now eyeing outgoing Republican City Council Member Eric Ulrich’s seat representing District 32.
77. Scott Crowley
Senior Vice President, Fontas Advisors
Scott Crowley, who is currently in his second year as senior vice president at Fontas Advisors, is known for his ties to Queens. Fontas Advisors has recently been behind some of the highly discussed polling for this year’s mayoral race. Crowley specializes in legislative advocacy and public sector funding and advises a variety of clients in the corporate, technology and nonprofit sectors with business before the city and the state.
78. Kevin Alexander
President and CEO, Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation
As the president and CEO of the Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation for nearly a decade, Kevin Alexander has been devoted to tackling social and economic issues in the Rockaways. The organization received a workforce development award from the state in March and has been a local partner on such projects as the LaGuardia Airport overhaul. RDRC bills itself as the first peninsula-wide development group in the Rockaways.
79. Alan Suna
Chair, Silvercup Studios
Alan Suna founded Silvercup Studios with his brother, Stuart, and their father in 1983. After he and his brother sold the studio to Hackman Capital Partners and Square Capital last year at a reported price of $500 million, Suna stayed on as the company’s chairperson. Silvercup has produced many hit shows, including “Sex and the City,” “30 Rock” and “The Sopranos,” and continues to be the home of popular productions such as “Succession” and “Madame Secretary.”
80. Erica Ford
Founder, LIFE Camp
With gun violence on the rise in New York City and across the nation, Erica Ford and her Queens-based organization, LIFE Camp, are working harder than ever. An internationally recognized peacemaker with a mantra “peace is a lifestyle,” Ford has sought to combat gun violence for more than 30 years. She’s now using her platform to call on President Joe Biden to provide more resources for the fight.
81. Margaret Honey
President and CEO, New York Hall of Science
Margaret Honey kept the New York Hall of Science, a science museum in Queens, relevant despite being closed to the public because of the coronavirus pandemic by providing online programming and being the home of the Queens Drive-In for the borough’s movie buffs who want to watch flicks from their cars. Honey has been the museum’s president and CEO since 2008 and has long promoted STEM learning for young students. She plans to reopen NYSCI in July.
82. Carl Goodman
Executive Director, Museum of the Moving Image
Carl Goodman reopened the Museum of the Moving Image after a year of closure because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The museum’s executive director, however, kept things going during that time through online programming and by teaming up with the New York Hall of Science and Rooftop Films to give movie buffs the Queens Drive-In. He also allowed the space to be used for food distribution and as an early-voting site in the city’s elections. Goodman has run the museum for the past decade but has worked there since the late ’80s.
83. Kevin Livingston
President, 100 Suits for 100 Men
Kevin Livingston is credited with cooling racial tensions between Jamaica’s Korean and Black communities, preventing a potential boycott of Korean businesses in the neighborhood. That detente led to a unified front against the increase in attacks against Asian Americans this year. His nonprofit, 100 Suits for 100 Men, also helps formerly incarcerated people looking for jobs by providing professional clothing and haircuts. During the coronavirus pandemic, the organization’s mission expanded to include delivering groceries and meals to seniors, and distributing personal protective equipment.
84. Patrick Dolan Jr.
President, Steamfitters Local 638
Patrick Dolan has spent a decade leading Enterprise Association Steamfitters Local 638, a Long Island City-based labor union representing pipe fitting workers in New York City and on Long Island. Dolan, who got his start with the union in 1987 as an apprentice, has worked his way up the leadership ranks, serving as a shop steward, a member of the finance and executive boards, and as business agent before getting elected president in 2011. He also sits on the executive board of the New York City Central Labor Council.
85. Brian Simon
Founder and Managing Partner, Hollis Public Affairs
Brian Simon launched his own government affairs firm, Hollis Public Affairs, at the start of this year after five years as the director of government relations at the prominent law and lobbying firm Davidoff Hutcher & Citron and more than a decade working in government. Simon had previously worked for John Kerry’s presidential campaign and, in varying capacities, for Rep. Gregory Meeks, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and the Port Authority of New Jersey and New York.
86. Edwin Christian
Business Manager, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 14-14B
Edwin Christian is the longtime leader of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 14-14B, a Flushing-based labor union representing operating engineers in the construction industry. A veteran of the union for more than three decades, Christian has also served as business agent and treasurer. He’s a member of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s New York City Workforce Development Board and sits on the New York City Central Labor Council’s executive board.
87. Richard David
Queens Director of Corporate Affairs, Con Edison
Richard David came on at Con Edison as the utility provider’s liaison with corporations in Queens this year. He lived in southeast Queens after arriving in the United States as an undocumented dreamer more than 25 years ago. David spent a decade working at different agencies throughout the city. He’s also the male Democratic district leader in Assembly District 31 and competed in the Assembly District 31 Democratic primary last year.
88. Clifford Welden
President, Queens County Bar Association
As the president of the Queens County Bar Association, Clifford Welden uses his pulpit to support and advocate for the borough’s lawyers. Recently, Welden has been advocating for the health and safety of his more than 1,700 members as attorneys return to the courthouse for in-person trials and legal proceedings despite the ongoing risk presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Welden has also been a civil litigator for Geico for more than 30 years.
89. Sateesh Nori
Attorney-in-Charge, The Legal Aid Society, Queens Neighborhood Office
As the attorney-in-charge at the Legal Aid Society’s Queens Neighborhood Office, Sateesh Nori has been at the forefront of the fight against evictions for tenants suffering from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nori pushed for the New York City Housing Court to go virtual during the pandemic and allow for tenants to file lawsuits virtually. He linked the courts up with JustFix.nyc, a nonprofit tenants rights app, to create a digital housing hardship declaration form.
90. Alex Camarda
Director, State Government Affairs, Charter Communications
Alex Camarda runs the state government affairs division of Charter Communications, the telecommunications company that owns Spectrum, one of the biggest internet and cable providers in the city, and delivers local and political news on NY1. Before joining Charter, Camarda, a Queens resident, worked in various government and private-sector roles and also was a knowledgeable policy expert and advocate for good government groups like Citizens Union and Reinvent Albany.
91. Bianey Garcia
Trans Immigrant Project Lead, Make the Road New York
After being profiled as a sex worker by the NYPD while walking down a Jackson Heights street with her boyfriend in 2008, transgender activist Bianey Garcia set out to campaign against the state’s “Walking While Trans” law – and this year it was finally repealed. Originally from Mexico, Garcia used to be an undocumented sex worker; she now holds a T-Visa, a nonimmigrant visa for victims of human trafficking. Garcia leads the Trans Immigrant Project at Make the Road New York and continues to advocate for sex workers.
92. Charles Boyce
President, Boyce Technologies
Charles Boyce is the founder and president of Boyce Technologies, the Long Island City-based company behind urban technology solutions such as the MTA’s Help Points that are scattered throughout the subway system. His company was also on the front lines of battling the COVID-19 pandemic. When ventilators were short, the company designed new FDA-approved machines in just four weeks. Boyce’s team is also innovating in mask production by designing a machine that can make more and differently-sized masks at a quicker pace.
93. K. Bain
Co-Founder and Executive Director, Community Capacity Development
K. Bain is at the forefront of battling gun violence in the borough as co-founder and executive director of Community Capacity Development, a nonprofit organization that embraces the “cure violence” model. Before launching Community Capacity Development, he successfully helped to reduce gun violence in the Queensbridge Community through his other organization, 696 Build Queensbridge. Bain is the former legislative and budgetary affairs director for Brooklyn’s City Council District 45.
94. Judith Zangwill
Executive Director, Sunnyside Community Services
Executive Director Judith Zangwill has worked at Sunnyside Community Services for nearly 35 years. The community-based organization serves more than 16,000 people in Queens, from young children to senior citizens, with its food pantries, senior services, prekindergarten programs, summer camps and more. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of families have been receiving food from their pantry each week, and more than 700 families received $1,000 in cash assistance from the nonprofit.
95. Lance & Todd Feurtado
Executive Director; President, King of Kings Foundation
Former drug kingpins and ex-gang leaders Lance and Todd Feurtado decided to turn their lives around in 2005 and fight back against gang culture by launching the King of Kings Foundation. The Feurtado brothers now work to keep community youth away from drugs, gangs and violence through workshops, presentations and summits. The two brothers were recognized this year for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
96. Christopher Hanway
Executive Director, Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement
Since 2013, Christopher Hanway has been at the helm of the Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement, a nonprofit social services organization serving Western Queens, previously serving as director of development and communications. Under his leadership, the organization has advocated for more funding for the New York City Housing Authority, pushed for more communication with residents during the Amazon HQ2 talks, and set up a temporary COVID-19 vaccination site.
97. Aleeia Abraham
Founder, BlaQue Resource Network
Aleeia Abraham in 2019 founded the BlaQue Resource Network, a Facebook group for Black residents in Queens to come together to network and share resources. Within a year, the group had grown to include some 9,000 members, and now nearly 15,000 people have joined. Abraham has used the platform to organize rallies, food distributions and more. She was also recognized by the state Senate in a resolution introduced and passed by state Sen. Leroy Comrie in 2020.
98. Jonathan Forgash
Co-Founder, Queens Together
Queens Together is the brainchild of former chef Jonathan Forgash and Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District Director Jaime-Faye Bean. What started as an effort to distribute food at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to front line essential workers from local independent restaurants eventually turned into a broader food distribution effort. Now it is a full-fledged nonprofit that functions like a trade association, with members paying yearly fees to access a variety of services.
99. Shamsi Ali
Director, Jamaica Muslim Center
As a Muslim scholar and the director of the Jamaica Muslim Center, Shamsi Ali is known for his promotion of interfaith dialogue. In April, he stood with a group of multi-denominational clergy to condemn the recent increase in anti-Asian violence and hate crimes. Ali immigrated from Indonesia in the nineties and was chosen by the city to represent the Muslim community during an interfaith visit with then-President George W. Bush to Ground Zero.
100. Daniel Leone
President and CEO, Queens Public Television
Daniel Leone is a veteran at Queens Public Television, having been on board for more than a quarter century. QPTV provides the borough with public access programming and community television through its four channels, as well as training and educational opportunities for local residents. It was nominated for multiple New York Emmy’s in 2020, and it won six Hometown Media Awards from the Alliance for Community Media Foundation.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Stewart Steeves is leading the transformation of LaGuardia Airport. His work focuses on the airport's Terminal B.