2019 Economic + Workforce Development Conference

November 21, 2019  
Museum of Jewish Heritage
36 Battery Pl, New York, NY 10280
9:00AM - 4:00PM
Roadmap to Growth
Event Description
Workforce and economic development each play a major role in the growth of New York. Without one, the other is ineffective, less valuable, or impossible to realize. City & State's Economic + Workforce Development Conference will bring together experts across sectors to address these two arms of growth, analyzing the problems, solutions and opportunities that exist in both areas. This informative event will help chart a path forward for New York to continue enhancing its economy.
James Patchett
James Patchett
President and CEO, New York City Economic Development Corporation
The President and CEO of New York City Economic Development Corporation, James Patchett has spent his career building stronger cities through investments in affordable housing, innovation, and 21st century infrastructure. In his current role overseeing job growth and economic development for the City of New York, James taps into his deep experience in real estate, finance, government, and urban planning. During his tenure, he has overseen some of the city’s most ambitious projects, including launching a citywide ferry system, developing Mayor de Blasio’s 100,000 jobs plan, and optimizing NYCEDC’s 60 million square feet of real estate. Prior to his appointment as NYCEDC President in 2016, James served as chief of staff to Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, where he helped oversee more than 25 city agencies and played a pivotal role in preserving thousands of affordable homes. Before moving to City Hall, James was a vice president in Goldman Sachs’ Urban Investment Group, where he spent seven years providing equity and debt to projects ranging from commercial developments to housing to charter schools. James currently serves on the board of the Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit organization responsible for running and maintaining one of Brooklyn’s most beloved greenspaces. James holds a BA in Economics from Amherst College and an MBA from Stanford University. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and their two young children. Twitter: @JBPatchett
Jessica Ramos
Jessica Ramos
Chairwoman, State Senate Labor Committee
Jessica Ramos has spent her life fighting for working families, advocating for labor, and organizing her local community. Born in Elmhurst to an undocumented seamstress and a printing pressman, Jessica was raised in Astoria, attended Queens public schools, and now lives in Jackson Heights with her two sons. A strong union advocate, Ramos worked with Build Up NYC to fight for construction, building and hotel maintenance workers in New York City. Ramos also worked with SSEU Local 371 and 32BJ SEIU, where she helped building maintenance workers, office cleaners and public schools cleaners win contracts that protected their rights, wages, and benefits. Jessica was a member of Queens Community Board 3 and served as Democratic District Leader in the 39th Assembly District. Jessica sat on the boards of the Jackson Heights Beautification Group and Farmspot, Jackson Heights’ community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. She has received awards for her work with the LGBTQ community and her advocacy on behalf of Women and Minority-Owned Businesses. As the first American-born in her family, Jessica feels a deep sense of responsibility in bridging the gap between immigrant and non-immigrant communities. Jessica credits her love for activism and public service to her parents, Colombian immigrants who fought for and won the right to dual citizenship for Colombian-Americans and founded Siempre Colombia, a not-for-profit organization in Jackson Heights. Jessica does not have a driver’s license—she rides the subway every day.
New York City Council Member Mark Gjonaj
Mark Gjonaj
Chairman, New York City Council Committee on Small Business
Council Member Mark Gjonaj represents the 13th Council District in the Bronx, which include: Allerton, City Island, Country Club, Edgewater Park, Ferry Point, Locust Point, Morris Park, Pelham Bay, Pelham Gardens , Pelham Parkway, Schuylerville, Silver Beach, Spencer Estates, Throggs Neck, van Nest, Waterbury LaSalle, Westchester Square and Zerega. Born and raised in the Bronx, Gjonaj was elected to the City Council in 2017, becoming the first Albanian American elected to office in New York City Council. Gjonaj attributes every success he’s had in life to the values his immigrant parents taught him. He graduated from St. Raymond High School for Boys and received his Bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University. He founded MP Realty Group, a brokerage and property management company, and served as a commissioner of NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission. He got involved in politics six years ago because he wanted to give back to the Bronx and it’s diverse communities-he is passionate about, serving the diverse neighborhoods and communities. Gjonaj took on the Bronx Democratic Party in 2012 to be elected Assemblyman and has represented more than 126,000 of his neighbors since. He is proud of the work his colleagues and he have achieved including expanding funding for public schools to the highest levels ever, getting more resources to the 49th precinct, and sponsoring rent-freeze legislation to keep tenants in their homes and many others. “We cannot allow the city, or anyone else to hurt our neighbors or our neighborhoods. And whether that means fighting for tenants against unscrupulous landlords, demanding that the city reduce out water or sewage rates, or squeezing every penny out of our governments for our local schools, it’s been my privilege to serve and continue to serve in New York City Council. Gjonaj lives in Pelham Parkway section of the Bronx with his wife, Roberta a public school nurse, and two teenage sons.
I. Daneek Miller
Chairman, New York City Council Committee on Civil Service and Labor
A community and labor activist, Councilman I. Daneek Miller has lived in the 27th Council District for the past 35 years, and has dedicated most of his life advocating improving the quality of life for residents of Southeast Queens. During his time as President of Amalgamated Transportation Union (ATU) Local No. 1056, he became a well-recognized champion and advocate for public transportation and working families. His experience as a labor leader is filled with hard-fought victories, benefits and services delivered to working families, including restored bus services, paid family leave, and improved health care. Daneek co-chaired the MTA Labor Coalition which represents 29 unions and more than 60,000 workers. Recognizing how access to quality child care makes a difference to working families, he conceived and negotiated the first ever provision supporting child-care for municipal workers anywhere in the United States. Daneek led his union’s successful effort to secure fair wages, improve working conditions and better benefits for its members and safety reforms for the riding public. A product of our public schools, Daneek’s educational background includes programs at Cornell University’s School of Labor Relations, the City University of New York Transportation Research Institute at City College and the National Labor College.
Paul Vallone - New York City Council
Paul Vallone
Chairman, New York City Council Committee on Economic Development
Paul Vallone is the New York City Council Member representing District 19 in northeast Queens and currently serves as Chair of the Committee on Economic Development. This district includes the areas of College Point, Whitestone, Malba, Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck, North Flushing, and Auburndale. Prior to his election, Vallone served as the managing partner for Vallone & Vallone, LLP and has been admitted to the New York and New Jersey Bar Associations since 1992. As a Council Member, his primary focus from day one was to put his district back on the map. Working hand in hand with his fellow elected officials, schools, sports groups, non-profits, civic and cultural associations, he has secured millions for his district and improved vital city services and programs. He and his wife, Anna-Marie, live in Flushing and are blessed with three amazing children, Catena, Lea and Charlie (Charles J. Vallone III). The love and support of family and his passion to serve the community are the cornerstones of his life and his community service.
Eric Clement
Eric Clement
Managing Director, Strategic Investments Group, New York City Economic Development Corp.
Eric Clement leads the Strategic Investments Group at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, where he directs day-to-day management of the New York City Industrial Development Agency (NYCIDA), Build NYC Resource Corporation, a New Markets Tax Credit program, and a suite of investment funds to principally invest debt and equity into select venture capital and private equity transactions. These efforts help to advance company-wide and policy initiatives to address issues of income inequality, while promoting both good paying jobs and economic mobility in New York City. Eric has successfully led opportunities across multiple industries and product groups including investment banking, consulting, infrastructure, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, and telecommunications. Eric has spent time working in both London and sub-Saharan Africa, both as a partner at Blue Frontier Group, an emerging markets private equity firm, and SGI Global Holdings, Ltd., an infrastructure development company with a focus in sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to his experience internationally, Eric held various executive and management-level positions for organizations including Accenture, Plc, Citigroup and JPMorgan. Eric received his MBA from the University of Oxford with specializations in finance and strategy and his undergraduate degree from Lehigh University.
Madhuri Kommareddi
Madhuri Kommareddi
Director of Workforce Development, Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo
Madhuri Kommareddi is the Director of Workforce Development in the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Ms. Kommareddi previously worked as Director and Head of Credit Investor Relations & Product Management at BlackRock. Earlier in her career, she worked at the Clinton Foundation as the Director of Job One and the Director of Program Development for the Office of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Ms. Kommareddi served as a Director for International Economic Affairs at the White House National Security Council and National Economic Council, where she led White House work to convene the first G20 Labor and Employment Ministers meeting. She also has worked as Associate Staff Secretary in the White House, policy aide on the Obama for America 2008 presidential campaign and the Obama-Biden Transition Project, and as Policy Coordinator in then-Senator Obama's office. Ms. Kommareddi was an adjunct Lecturer in Yale College for the Fall 2014 semester, and at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University, for the Spring 2018 seminar. She is a graduate of Yale Law School, where she served on the Yale Law Journal, and Northwestern University.
Ryan Silva
Executive Director, New York State Economic Development Council
Ryan Silva was unanimously approved by the NYSEDC Board of Directors to succeed Brian McMahon as Executive Director of the New York State Economic Development Council in August of 2017. Since then, the NYSEDC has experience membership growth of more than 25% and increase in operational revenue of more than 23%. Ryan has ushered in new programs for the organization across the state, work on several research studies on growing economic development industries, and has helped develop a 21st century approach to economic development policy in New York State. Most recently, Ryan served as Director of Government Relations State Relations in the Office of the President for the University at Albany. Ryan has served as Vice President of Regional Economic Development and Deputy Director of the Regional Councils for Empire State Development (ESD) from 2014-2016, overseeing the Regional Economic Development Council process and developing several economic development policies and programs for New York State. Prior to joining, ESD Ryan worked at the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce in Troy, NY for 10 years, serving as Membership Director and Director of Economic Development and Government Affairs. During his tenure, he was responsible for growing membership revenue and launching several new initiatives including the Economic Development Partnership helping businesses startup, expand, and relocate to the City of Troy and Rensselaer County. Ryan has been recognized for his professional achievements throughout his career, being selected as a City and State 40under40 Rising Star in 2018, 2016 Albany Business Review 40under 40 Award Recipient and the 2016 Capital District YMCA Presidents Award. He was also honored with the American Chamber of Commerce Executives Lifetime Achievement Award, receiving the Gold Level in 2010, Silver Level in 2007, and the Bronze Level in 2006 for membership growth and development. Ryan is actively involved in the community including being appointed to the Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Health Benefit Exchange Regional Advisory Committee in 2012. He served on the Capital District YMCA Board of Directors, and was Board Chair from 2014-2016 of the Troy YMCA, and The College of Saint Rose Board of Associates, and the Huether School of Business Advisory Board. Ryan Graduated from the College of Saint Rose in 2003 with a major in Public Communications with a focus on History and Political Science. He currently resides in East Greenbush, NY with his wife, Sandra, and three children.
P. Saikia-Eapen
Porie Saikia-Eapen
Director of Environmental Sustainability, MTA
Porie Saikia-Eapen is a Registered Architect/USA, Chartered Architect/UK, Chartered Construction Manager/UK, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building, and Smart Growth, Sustainable Urbanization and Capacity Building Advocate. Her advocacy for a sustainable built environment is reflected in the various positions she has held in the industry both in the government and the private sector. Currently in her role as the Director, Environmental Sustainability and Compliance at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York, she is responsible for taking forward the vision for a Sustainable MTA across its five agencies, and the development of MTA’s long-term vision for sustainability including Renewable Energy, GHG Monitoring and Energy Efficiency Program, incorporating long-term sustainability goals, anticipating trends in industry, technology, society, and in legislative & regulatory practices.

Registration & Networking Breakfast


Introduction By: Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul


Keynote Speaker James Patchett, President and CEO, New York City Economic Development Corporation


Special Presentation by Christopher R. Widelo, Associate State Director, AARP New York


Workforce Development: A Two-Pronged Approach

Although they sit on opposite sides of the table, employers and employees each need to overcome similar challenges when navigating the recruiting process. Both groups want to efficiently sift through thousands of possibilities to identify the most promising opportunities, whether those be candidates or job openings. Our panelists will discuss best practices, what organizations are looking for in prospective employees, opportunities for hiring in New York, how to adapt your career path, ways to recruit for opportunities that differ from the job description, MWBE’s, and more.
Lisa Futterman, Regional Director, New York City, Workforce Development Institute, WDI (moderator)
State Senator Jessica Ramos Chairwoman, Labor Committee
Madhuri Kommareddi, Director of Workforce Development, Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo
New York City Councilman I. Daneek Miller, Chairman, Committee on Civil Service and Labor
Douglas Cotter, President, Grant Associates
Dr. Donna Keren, EVP of Research and Insights , NYC & Company 

The Power of the BID Model

From keeping neighborhoods clean, safe, and vibrant to marketing and business development, Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) have played an integral role in enhancing the competitiveness of New York City’s commercial districts. BIDs are self-imposed, locally-governed assessment districts that fund a variety of services that go above and beyond those provided by local government. What other, less publicized ways do BIDs server their communities? How can neighborhood stakeholders and city agencies leverage the BID model to advance New York City's ability to innovate and deliver services in an ever-changing environment?
Jonathan Bowles, Executive Director, Center for an Urban Future (moderator)
Michael Blaise Backer, Deputy Commissioner, Neighborhood Development Division, NYC Department of Small Business Services
Councilman Mark Gjonaj, Chairman, Committee on Small Businesses
Councilman Paul Vallone, Chairman, Committee on Economic Development
Jennifer Tausig, Director, Mosholu Preservation Corporation, Community and Economic Development, Montefiore Health System, Executive Director, Jerome Gun Hill BID and Co-Chair, NYC BID Association



What to Know About Opportunity Zones

Formed out of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, opportunity zones provide tax benefits to those that invest in communities designated as economically depressed. In New York City alone, over 300 census tracts have been selected as opportunity zones. What regulations need to be followed for an investment to qualify for the tax benefits? How can you maximize your return on investment through opportunity zones? What steps need to be taken to ensure the investments benefit the economically depressed communities?
Eddie Small, Reporter, The Real Deal (moderator)
LaToya Benjamin, Director of Economic Development for New York State Senator James Sanders Jr.
Eric Clement, Managing Director, Strategic Investments Group, New York City Economic Development Corporation 
Ryan M. Silva, Executive Director, New York State Economic Development Council (NYSEDC)

Career Enhancement in NY

New York City has access to numerous professional membership and development associations, workshops and educational advancement programs. Our panelists will provide a rundown of the specific options and how to take full advantage of the many opportunities they offer, from improving your career prospects, to learning, developing and making a positive impact on society.
Jeff Coltin, Reporter, City & State (moderator)
Porie Saikia-Eapen, Director of Environmental Sustainability, MTA, Senior Advisor to New York Building Congress, member of the American Institute of Architects, Royal Institute of British Architects and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building/UK and its Americas Ambassador
Richard Robbins, Founder and CEO, Upper West Strategies
Toya Williford, Executive Director, Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City

Sessions Conclude

Silver Sponsors
Bronze Sponsors