Most people would be surprised to learn that the Long Island Power Authority is the third-largest nonprofit, publicly owned electric utility in the United States. As its CEO, Thomas Falcone oversees a system that provides service to about 1.1 million customers in Nassau and Suffolk counties, manages the utility’s debt (approximately $8 billion) and deals with a number of sites that are consistently tied to controversy, such as the Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant and the Northport Power Station.
The 2019 Long Island Power 100; 36 - 65
The 2019 Long Island Power 100; 36 - 65
With a host of powerful people and organizations on his client list – among them Hillary Clinton, Laura Curran, the town of Babylon and Catholic Health Services – Thomas Garry is one of Long Island’s top power brokers and political advisers. The co-leader of Harris Beach’s health care industry team was recently named to the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission, which advises decision-makers in the New York State Unified Court System on issues of race.
Bruce Stillman has played an important role in making Long Island’s research corridor a destination for scientists. Stillman – who moved to the U.S. in the 1970s from his native Australia in search of opportunities in science – penned an op-ed for Scientific American on why America is a “magnet for immigrant scientists,” pointing to Long Island as an example of what American communities have to offer. The laboratory is home to eight Nobel Prize winners.
Resi Cooper is one of Long Island’s top Democratic political operatives, and a sought-after adviser to power players from Albany to Washington, D.C. She serves on the board of the LGBT Network, is vice chairwoman of the Nassau County Democratic Committee and consults on high-profile projects like the Nassau Hub development in Uniondale. Cooper gained notoriety for her role in the launch of Accelerate Long Island and her ties to Hillary Clinton.
After two decades serving as president of SUNY Old Westbury, Calvin O. Butts III recently announced his retirement, effective in January. During his tenure, Butts grew enrollment by 60%, improved student retention and graduation rates, and invested heavily in the campus. With his retirement in sight, Long Island’s political celebrities are lining up to sing his praises and tout his accomplishments in the region. Butts is the reverend at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Manhattan.
Brothers Robert and James Coughlan are the driving force behind some of the region’s most anticipated housing developments, including new buildings in Lindenhurst, East Setauket and Patchogue. Since founding Tritec in 1986, not only have they figured out the secret to getting mixed-use development projects approved locally, they have also successfully navigated their way to millions in state and local incentives, proving that business skill and political connections are among their strongest assets.
A regular on Long Island power lists, Howard Lorber chairs one of the nation’s oldest and largest real estate brokerage firms, with 7,000 agents nationwide and a strong presence in New York City and on Long Island. Lorber maintains a home in Southampton and President Donald Trump attended a fundraiser there last year. Lorber is chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and serves as a trustee for his alma mater, Long Island University.
Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas has emerged as a leader in Long Island’s effort to end the opioid crisis through innovative partnerships that prioritize drug abuse treatment and education. In his first term as Suffolk County district attorney, Timothy Sini has already made a name for himself by cracking down on MS-13, breaking up sex trafficking rings and renewing a commitment to the highest ethical standards in an office previously tainted by corruption.
After 21 years with the FBI, Geraldine Hart became Suffolk County’s first female police commissioner last year, and since then she has prioritized efforts to crack down on MS-13 and reduce violent crime. Patrick Ryder was named police commissioner of Nassau County last year after spending 34 years in law enforcement. He has become a top adviser to Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and is helping implement the county’s ongoing response to the opioid epidemic.
Angie Carpenter’s history of public service extends far beyond her duties as Islip supervisor. For the past several decades, she’s been involved with a variety of local organizations, from the Boy Scouts to Catholic Health Services. A former president of the West Islip Chamber of Commerce, Carpenter is currently helping revitalize Central Islip’s downtown area and working to build a Brentwood community center that will provide recreational and educational activities for local youth.
Ed Romaine started out as a history teacher in the Hauppauge School District before transitioning to a job with Brookhaven in 1980. He has been there, in different capacities, ever since. As town supervisor, he has worked to protect Carmans River, strengthen the housing codes and promote smart government initiatives. Brookhaven is the most populous of Suffolk County’s towns, and home to major research institutions like Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Recognized for his recent success in leading the hospital into an affiliation with NYU Langone, John Collins has been called a “renowned health care strategist and financing expert.” During his tenure, Winthrop Hospital doubled in size, becoming the first hospital on Long Island to qualify for a financial incentive to use electronic records technology. Last year, Collins was elected chairman of the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council, which represents all nonprofit and public hospitals on Long Island.
A disciple of former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, Joseph Cairo served 19 years on the Hempstead Town Board before becoming chairman of the Nassau County Republican Committee in May 2018, just months before the state party lost its legislative majority. Now he’s trying to win it back. “We have to work harder to deliver our message to Republicans moving to the county and try to reach out to others,” he told The Island Now last year.
Jon Ledecky has been feeling the Long Island love this year as his team returned to the Nassau Coliseum after a three-year stint in Brooklyn. The New York Islanders also made the playoffs, energizing their loyal Long Island fans. Ledecky flexed his political muscle last year when he secured support for the team’s new 18,000-seat arena – as well as a 250-room hotel and nearby retail center – at Belmont Park.
Richard Nicolello, a longtime attorney and former counsel to the Board of Education of New Hyde Park, is an integral part of Nassau County’s power structure. He is helping secure bipartisan agreement on projects like the Nassau Hub while maintaining a measure of combativeness with regard to County Executive Laura Curran’s handling of the property reassessment process. Nicolello is chairman of the Legislature’s Rules Committee and vice chairman of its Budget Review Committee.
Since 1978, Edward Blumenfeld has built BDG’s reputation as a developer of underutilized real estate designed to meet community needs. With an eye toward social and economic issues, the firm created The Arches (Tanger Outlets in Deer Park), retail centers in Westbury and Commack and office spaces throughout Long Island. Blumenfeld is a past president and current member of the Association for a Better Long Island, where he advocates for responsible government and sustainable development.
As executive director of the Long Island Contractors’ Association, Marc Herbst serves as the voice for more than 150 member firms and construction projects in Nassau and Suffolk counties. He’s a major advocate for investments in public works projects like sewers, local roads and the Long Island Rail Road, and has been unafraid to lend support to less popular endeavours like the long-debated Nassau Hub and wish list items like a cross-sound bridge or tunnel.
DuWayne Gregory is a U.S. Army veteran with a history of going to bat for minority communities and veterans. A fan of the New York Giants and the TV series “Law and Order” (according to his Twitter profile), Gregory is a longtime supporter of community development in Suffolk County. He recently announced a $50,000 grant to revitalize Copiague and just opened his new district office in Wyandanch Plaza – part of the Wyandanch Rising revitalization initiative.
“We strive to be the bank of choice on Long Island for businesses” – that’s how Kevin O’Connor recently described BNB Bank, a top community financial institution in New York state. With 44 branches on Long Island and throughout the greater New York metropolitan area, the bank is growing steadily both in finances and reputation among Long Island business owners looking to keep their funds local. O’Connor previously spent 20 years at North Fork Bank.
David Kilmnick has grown the LGBT Network from a single community center in Bay Shore to multiple buildings serving all of Long Island, becoming central to the movement around gender diversity and sexual identity. Kilmnick, who is also a professor at several colleges, is a go-to spokesman on bullying, hate crimes and discrimination. He recently announced the organization’s latest expansion to a 15,000-square-foot building in Hauppauge, which will be the country’s largest suburban LGBT community center.
Since becoming president and CEO of the United Way of Long Island, Theresa Regnante has transformed the nonprofit into one of the region’s most effective organizations serving Long Island’s less fortunate. One of its signature programs, YouthBuild, recently received a $1.1 million federal grant to provide job training for at-risk youth. They’ve also become increasingly involved in sustainable building as a way to provide families and individuals with healthy and safe home environments.
The Community Development Corporation of Long Island is the region’s go-to nonprofit for affordable housing, aiming to help families achieve long-term financial stability. In the two years Gwen O’Shea has led the organization, she has had significant success – most recently announcing a partnership with Conifer Realty to develop a mixed-use affordable housing complex in downtown Riverhead. The project has received support from National Grid, Empire State Development and Suffolk County.
As president of Long Island University, Kimberly Cline has improved the university’s financial outlook, according to upgraded ratings in both Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s. In addition to focusing on the university’s fiscal health, Cline is expanding its programs through a newly planned veterinary medical school – the first in the New York metro area – and a partnership with BSE Global to renovate and revive the historic Paramount Theatre on the Long Island University Brooklyn campus.
Christine Riordan, the 10th president of Adelphi University – and the first woman ever to hold the position – has been busy building bridges throughout the Long Island community. With help from Rep. Kathleen Rice, the school just announced a $1.2 million federal grant to help train future science teachers to serve in high-need areas. Hempstead also recently approved $28 million in bonds for the school, which has plans to expand.
Robert Zimmerman’s interest in politics isn’t new, but he may take it to the next level after floating his name as a possible challenger to Rep. Thomas Suozzi. The longtime Democratic National Committee member has had a long career as one of Long Island’s top branding and crisis management experts, with clients like Verizon, Canon and Lockheed Martin. President Barack Obama, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and President Bill Clinton have sought his counsel as well.
Chintu Patel is a local entrepreneur and an expert in the pharmaceutical industry, a field that is increasingly important for Long Island. He and his brother, Chirag Patel, founded Amneal in 2002 and grew it into a leading U.S. generic pharmaceutical company with a large local footprint. With Amneal touted as a top stock to watch in 2019, the company and its co-founder are just beginning to expand their influence.
Howard Fensterman has represented a range of powerful clients, including Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. He’s also known for his philanthropy and activism as a trustee of the Long Island chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, where he has assisted with fundraising efforts and helped raise awareness. This work earned him a spot as a fictional character (FBI agent, to be exact) in two of author Nelson DeMille’s novels.
If you are looking for Dave Kapell, find the nearest railroad tracks. The former mayor of Greenport has become synonymous with Long Island’s transit-oriented developments, first serving as a point person for the third track project and now leading groups of Long Islanders on East Side Access tours with the MTA. If the tracks fail you, check the shore – he’s also juggling consulting gigs with the Cross Sound Ferry and an offshore wind project.
Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon is using data analytics to monitor crime patterns, and he has made school safety a priority. Last year, he partnered with authorities in El Salvador to share information and resources that will help combat MS-13, Newsday reports. Toulon, who oversees 270 deputy sheriffs, 900 correction officers and 120 civilian employees, is the first African-American in Suffolk County to be elected to a non-judicial countywide office.
Adrienne Esposito has been one of Long Island’s most tenacious environmental advocates for years, but with the new Democratic majority in Albany, she’s been churning out wins left and right. She started 2019 lobbying hard for a new food scrap recycling program, water filtration systems and a ban on plastic bags – all of which were included in the state budget. She’s since turned toward Southampton to fight groundwater contamination.