2020 Virtual Rebuilding New York Summit

September 29, 2020  
1:00PM - 4:00PM
Repairing, Improving and Upgrading New York
Event Description

When COVID 19 hit New York, construction was shut down completely.  As it began to reopen, first upstate and later in the City, what precautions and safety practices were implemented to help New York? What new plans were put into effect based on lessons learned? What was the effect of COVID 19 on affordable housing units and planned housing sites? Hear from experts as we explore how to rebuild New York.

Greg Russ
Chair & CEO, New York City Housing Authority
Gregory Russ was appointed Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the New York City Housing Authority by Mayor Bill de Blasio, effective August 12, 2019. Greg is a seasoned housing professional with decades of management experience; he has helped to rebuild and strengthen public housing authorities across the country, including in Detroit, Philadelphia, and Chicago. In a career that spans decades, Greg most recently served as Executive Director and CEO of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority and as the Executive Director of the Cambridge Housing Authority, where he spearheaded sweeping plans to deliver extensive apartment renovations across the entire housing portfolio. He also served as Deputy Executive Director of the Philadelphia Housing Authority, helping to oversee the management, maintenance operations, and security services for the 70,000 residents. From 1997 to 2002, he served in several roles with the Chicago Housing Authority. Greg also served as Principal Associate for Abt Associates, a consulting firm assisting public, private, and non-profit housing agencies with strategic planning. In 1995, Greg worked as Special Assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, working under the Clinton Administration. He later served as Director of Troubled Agency Recovery. Greg holds a bachelor's degree in English from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and is a board member of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA). He is also a former president of the Public Housing Authority Directors Association.
Robert E. Cornegy Jr.
Chair, New York City Council Housing and Buildings Committee
Leena Panchwagh
Leena Panchwagh
Chief Information Officer, New York City Department of Buildings
Leena Panchwagh serves as the Chief Information Officer of New York City, Department of Buildings. In this role, Leena oversees the department’s technology strategy including various functions within information technology, governance and compliance. The department’s technology strategy includes a “Building One City” plan that seeks to fundamentally reform the department and expedite the technological development needed to promote the safe construction and maintenance of a built environment that includes over 1.1 million buildings and 45,000 active construction sites. Digital transformation, driven as a strategic initiative, is the cornerstone of the modernization plan and requires both the integration of digital technology across all department units and the participation of all our stakeholders, both within and outside the department. Leena’s primary mission includes coordination and partnership with the Department’s senior leadership to ensure successful implementation of the “Building One City” plan and improve how residents interact with the department by creating more responsive and accessible digital services. Prior to joining Buildings, Leena served as the Chief Information Officer at NYC Department of Consumer Affairs and an Executive Director at Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.
Vicki Been
Deputy Mayor, NYC Housing & Economic Development
Deputy Mayor Vicki Been leads the administration’s efforts to grow and diversify New York City's economy, invest in emerging industries across the five boroughs, build a new generation of affordable housing, and help New Yorkers secure good-paying jobs. The Deputy Mayor oversees and coordinates the operations of over 20 agencies, offices and affiliated entities. Been has extensive experience fighting to make New York a more affordable and equitable city. As HPD Commissioner from 2014 to 2017, Been helped craft Housing New York, the Mayor’s plan to tackle the affordability crisis and create and preserve 300,000 affordable homes by 2026. She formerly served as the Director of NYU's Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, the Boxer Family Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, and an Affiliated Professor of Public Policy of the NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Been graduated from Colorado State University and received her J.D. from New York University School of Law.
Alfred C. Cerullo, III
President/CEO, Grand Central Partnership (GCP)
Fred Cerullo is President/CEO of the Grand Central Partnership (GCP) and a Commissioner on the New York City Planning Commission. Over the course of his career, Cerullo has been an elected and an appointed official, as well as a board member of many non-profit organizations. Cerullo began his career as Counsel to the Minority Leader of the New York City Council. He became one of the youngest ever New York City Councilmembers, winning his first of four consecutive elections to the New York City Council representing the South Shore and portions of the Mid-Island communities of Staten Island, while also holding the position of City Council Minority Leader. Cerullo became one of the youngest ever New York City Commissioners when he was tapped to run the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs and later became the City Commissioner of Finance, after running both agencies simultaneously for six months. Cerullo served on the Mayoral Transition teams of Rudolph W. Giuliani and Michael R. Bloomberg as well as serving on the Mayor’s Committee on Appointments. Until his appointment to City Planning, Cerullo was a Member of the New York City Campaign Finance Board for more than four years, having the distinction of being the first Board Member to have participated in the landmark campaign finance program. Presently, Fred serves on the Boards of Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, the Staten Island Foundation, the American Museum of Natural History Planetarium Authority, the St. George Theatre Restoration, Inc. and St. John’s University School of Law Alumni Association. He is also a Board Member of the NYC BID Association and is an active member of numerous organizations citywide. In addition to serving on various community-based and charitable organizations citywide, Fred is proud of the small part he plays in supporting numerous organizations including Staten Island Friends of Hospice Care for which he has served as emcee along with Staten Island Advance Editor Brian Laline, with whom he also hosts the annual “Live from the Red Carpet” at the St. George Theatre. Fred also served as Vice President of the Staten Island September 11th Fund which was created to assist the families of Staten Island victims of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 as well as serving on the committee of the Project Hospitality Staten Island Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund. Over the years, Fred has been the recipient of numerous community awards including those from Project Hospitality, Visiting Nurse Association, Boy Scouts of America, Sea View Hospital and Home, and The American Red Cross (Staten Island Chapter), was selected as one of the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation’s Most Influential People in the organizations history. Most recently he was honored by City & State Magazine as 10th in their “Top 50 Most Powerful Staten Islanders.” In addition to community-based awards, Fred has received awards from the New York City Department of Small Business Services -- the Neighborhood Achievement Award; the first prestigious Norman Buchbinder Neighborhood Beautification Award and the Leadership Award for his ongoing assistance and contribution to the BID movement citywide. Cerullo, who resides in the St. George neighborhood of Staten Island, was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Great Kills, Staten Island, and is a graduate of the New York City public school system. He received bachelors’ degrees in English and American Studies from St. John’s University. A member of the bar in New York, New Jersey, California, and Washington D.C., he earned his law degree from St. John’s University School of Law. He has received numerous awards over the years, including the St. John’s University Pietas Medal and the Alumni Outstanding Achievement Medal. He also received the President’s Medal from both St. John’s University and the City University of New York College of Staten Island. Fred Cerullo is a member of SAG/AFTRA appearing in daytime dramas, films, movies made-for-television and cable, and has had starring roles in numerous stage productions.
Carlo A. Scissura
President & CEO, New York Building Congress
Carlo A. Scissura is President & CEO of the New York Building Congress, a position he has held since January 2017. The New York Building Congress is a broad-based membership association committed to promoting the growth and success of the construction industry in New York City and its environs. The organization – which includes members from across the building community – provides a unique forum to advance an industry-wide agenda focusing on economic and infrastructure investment, job creation, and professional exchange. Prior to joining the Building Congress, Carlo was President & CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. Under Carlo’s leadership, the Chamber became one of New York’s largest business advocacy and economic development organizations, and its membership grew by more than 200 percent to over 2,200 members. It also launched a number of highly innovative and successful programs and initiatives, including Explore Brooklyn, Brooklyn-Made and Chamber on the Go, and received substantial new funding from government agencies and private foundations to support its work. During this historic period of growth, the Chamber’s efforts were widely recognized as creating national models for business development, outreach and technical assistance, and regional branding.
Jarrett Murphy
Executive Editor, City Limits
Jarrett Murphy is the executive editor of City Limits, an award-winning news agency that's covered New York City policy and politics since 1976. Before joining CIty Limits in 2007, he worked for the Hartford Advocate, CBS News and the Village Voice. He's also an adjunct professor at the Craig Newmark CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the lead singer and bassist for a rock band, and a youth baseball coach. He lives in the Bronx with his wife and two sons.
Rafael E. Cestero
President & CEO, The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC)
Rafael E. Cestero is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), and a member of its board of directors. He joined CPC in 2012 as the company was going through a challenging restructuring and recapitalization process. Cestero worked with the company’s Board of Directors and Executive Management to implement a strategy that effectively resolved CPC’s portfolio, and returned its focus to the core mission investing in housing that create a positive impact on the physical, social and economic infrastructure of communities. Today CPC is a leading nonprofit affordable housing and community revitalization finance company, and the largest Community Development Financial Institution in the nation that focuses solely on investing in multifamily housing. CPC provides a full suite of capital products throughout its construction lending, Agency lending, and equity investing platforms. Since its founding in 1974, the company has leveraged more than $11 billion in private and public investment to finance more than 200,000 units of multifamily housing. From February 2009 to April 2011, Cestero served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the largest municipal affordable housing development and housing code enforcement agency in the country. As HPD commissioner, he simultaneously served as chairman of the board for the New York City Housing Development Corporation, the nation’s largest municipal Housing Finance Agency. During his tenure, Cestero helped implement and oversee Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan, a multi-billion dollar initiative to finance the creation and preservation of 165,000 units of affordable housing. Before taking the helm at HPD, Cestero was the agency’s Deputy Commissioner of Development. Cestero has also held leadership positions at L+M Development Partners as Managing Director, at Enterprise Community Partners as Senior Vice President and Chief Program Officer, and at the Enterprise Foundation as Director of New York Programs. A native of Rochester, New York, Cestero received a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy Analysis from Cornell University, and earned a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Jordan Stein
Head of Public Policy , Rhino
Jordan Stein serves as Head of Public Policy at Rhino, leading engagement with government officials, industry trade associations, and advocacy groups in service of business growth. Offered in over one million homes across America, Rhino replaces cash security deposits with low-cost insurance, dramatically lowering upfront move-in costs for renters and offering a business-friendly efficiency for property owners and operators. $45 Billion is locked up in cash security deposits across America, and Rhino is on a mission to unlock it. Stein began his career serving Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York City. During Stein’s tenure, he was responsible for leading efforts with dozens of administration officials to conceive and develop mayoral press conferences and major citywide events. Later, Stein played an integral role in supporting the Mayor in his transition back to corporate and philanthropic leadership of Bloomberg LP. In this capacity, Stein led the Mayor on domestic and international trips to advance business and advocacy efforts. During the 2016 election cycle, Stein directed partnership between Bloomberg News’ Washington Bureau and New York-based Bloomberg Television. Later in his career, Stein advised startups, non-profit organizations, universities, and corporations. Stein graduated from Emory University with highest honors in political science and sociology and currently serves on the Emory College Alumni Board. A Long Island native, Stein currently resides in Manhattan.
Meera Joshi
General Manager & Principal, Sam Schwartz
Meera Joshi, General Manager and Principal of Sam Schwartz, is a global transportation leader with wide-ranging experience navigating technological and regulatory change. Previously she led the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), where she spearheaded novel regulations, resolving challenges brought on by the rapid growth of rideshare services while simultaneously enhancing passengers’ safe access. Under her tenure, NYC mandated the reporting of granular trip data from large app operators like Uber and Lyft. Much of this information is now publicly available and an invaluable asset for transportation planners. She also developed the regulatory framework that protects the wages of the city’s 80,000+ app drivers, a global first which now serves as a model for other jurisdictions. Markedly improving transportation for wheelchairs users, she led the nation’s largest accessibility initiative, providing passengers with new on demand accessible reliable travel options. Before being appointed Commissioner, she served as TLC’s Deputy Commissioner for Legal Affairs and as an executive manager at NYC’s Civilian Complaint Review Board and Department of Investigation with oversight over the New York City Police and Corrections departments. Meera was a visiting scholar at NYU’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and is currently a member of Remix’s Advisory Board.

Welcome and Introduction 


Keynote Speaker Vicki Been, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development with Introduction By Carlo A. Scissura, President & CEO, New York Building Congress


Introduction By Alfred Cerullo, III, President & CEO, Grand Central Partnership 


Collaborative Leadership in Design & Construction During the Age of COVID-19

The pandemic has given New York time to reflect on previous practices in all industries including effectively addressing New York’s building needs. Our industry experts will provide information related to the planning for what NYC’s next administration should focus on including new health and safety challenges, security, management of assets for capital and public-private projects currently slated, affordable/housing policies, etc. They will also discuss tools for building innovative urban solutions to improve New York through the use of MWBEs and other public projects.
Jarrett Murphy, Executive Editor, City Limits (moderator)
Greg Russ, Chair & CEO, New York City Housing Authority
New York City Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., Chair, Housing and Buildings Committee
Rafael E. Cestero, President  & CEO, The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC)

Innovations: Transforming How We Think about Construction and Development

Technology and innovation have become increasingly important throughout COVID 19 in all industries.  How can new technologies, practices and other new developments be harnessed to improve efficiency, health & safety, sustainability, and outcomes for the evolution of NY? What underserved areas of construction and development are most primed for technological disruption?  What is the role MWBEs play in this transformation process?
Steve Anderson, Managing Director, www.InfrastructureUSA.org & www.APLtv.com (moderator)
Jordan Stein, Head of Public Policy, Rhino
Meera Joshi, General Manager and Principal, Sam Schwartz
Gordon Tung, Vice President, Construction Management, NYC School Construction Authority
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