What’s Happening: 1st Quarter 2020

Newsletter sponsored by:
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Construction, Real Estate and Development Council (CRED)

Green Council

Hospitality & Tourism Alliance

HR Connexions

Professional Marketing Council

Technology Initiative

Women’s Leadership Council




Construction, Real Estate and Development Council (CRED)

The Construction Real Estate and Development Council (CRED) continues to support the RBA’s effort to foster development and tax relief in Rockland County. CRED is co-chaired by Michael Shilale, Architect, MSA, and Judith Bachman, Esq., The Bachman Law Firm PLLC.

The council had a series of great meetings in the last quarter.

In October, CRED covered “Opportunity Zones – Seize the Opportunity” with panelists:

  • Mayor Michael Kohut, Haverstraw
  • Jeremy Shulman, Dir. County of Rockland, Office of Economic Development
  • Evan Gussler, Esq., Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
  • Constance “Gerrie” Post,  Ferrandino & Associates, Inc.

In November, CRED had a powerful discussion on Economic Development in Clarkstown, Rockland and the Region with speakers:

  • George Hoehmann, Town of Clarkstown Supervisor
  • Jeremy Schulman, County of Rockland, Director of Economic Development & Tourism
  • Al Samuels, Rockland Business Association

Our January meeting will be a round table discussion of updates in the Construction, Real Estate and Development sectors.

CRED supports and empowers RBA members who are in real estate, development and construction through networking, resource sharing, education and advocacy. Members will be those in real estate, development, construction and allied fields including current and prospective commercial property owners; architects/engineers; project managers/general contractors; sub-contractors (HVAC, electricians, etc.); commercial real estate brokers, lenders; title companies; insurance providers; municipalities/regulatory agencies.



Green Council

The Green Council vision is to educate, promote and advocate to the business community the benefits of adopting Green principles. Green Council is chaired by Michael Shilale, Architect, MSA.

Last fall started with a RBA green council joint meeting with the Construction, Real Estate and Development Council. We introduced the new legislation in Rockland allowing PACE financing.   

The RBA Green Council held its September meeting jointly with the CRED council. We introduced PACE financing for green construction projects in ROCKLAND County. The Green Council has been working since 2015 to bring this important tool to ROCKLAND. The legislation signed this summer, stands for Property Assessed Clean Energy and permits special financing for energy-saving projects. It solves several problems with financing energy-saving projects. The longer terms available, and better rates help these projects have no out of pocket costs. They also allow landlords and tenants to implement projects and properly share the risks and benefits.

The Green Council is grateful to the Legislature and to County Executive Ed Day in signing this Legislation. View the presentation by Sarah Smiley and Robert Fischman from Energize NY.

October 17, 2019, was the Council’s 10th Annual Green Awards. A very successful program, where four amazing companies were honored for their sustainability efforts.

Congratulations to award winners, U.S. Information Systems, Instrumentation Laboratory, Urban Electric Power, and Palisades Center. Sponsors Orange and Rockland Utilities and SUEZ NY

Congratulations to award winners, U.S. Information Systems, Instrumentation Laboratory, Urban Electric Power, and Palisades Center. We are grateful to our Green Awards lunch sponsor Orange and Rockland Utilities and to SUEZ NY – our Subsidiary Group Sponsor.

We have many companies doing great work to save energy, conserve water, reduce waste and improve their transportation impacts. Join us at a future Green Council meeting where we hope to hear from NYSERDA, Rockland County Solid Waste Authority, Community Preservation Corp and a presentation about presentations on why companies are going green!



Hospitality and Tourism Alliance

“HTA visits some of Rockland’s latest Tourism Destinations”

The Hospitality and Tourism Alliance members shared many of the newest initiatives to bring tourism to the next level. The shared-use path (for pedestrians and bicyclists) on the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge is expected to be completed by year’s end 2020.  While still not finalized, the push is to have signage on the path that will provide information about historical places to visit and integrate with way-finder programs that can be accessed on the Internet.

County Director of Tourism, Jeremy Schulman, has made arrangements for potential booking of 5,800 overnight stays for tourists going to Woodbury Commons. Jeremy also updated the group on the Rockland 2020 Tourism Grant program. The RCC Culinary Arts program has applied for a grant to open a “Welcome Center” in its new Nyack location. Visit Nyack gave a presentation on its upcoming Spring Marketing Program. Their efforts will concentrate on the New York metropolitan market which is their target market.

The group discussed the announcement of a possible new Hilton brand hotel to be built on the former Rockland Psych Center site in Orangetown. There was concern from some in the hotel community that the county does not need more hotel rooms.  Others, however, realized that this hotel will specialize in a market that is growing in the county and may be a good addition.

The group has also discussed the challenges of waterfront development and it’s potential to Tourism. The John B. McKean, a recently refurbished retired NYC Fireboat, is need of a home. The McKean would be a tourism attraction for Rockland. However, there are few, if any, marinas that are deep enough to dock it.  The cost to dredge a marina is very expensive and there is no way to pay for it at this time.       



HR Connexions Group

Keeping abreast of what’s happening in the HR world…

HR Connexions is an invitation-only group of HR practitioners from RBA member companies and looks towards the future of HR while bringing programs and speakers who can speak to the impending changes.

New Year… Lot’s Happening …

Lena Bodin, Chair of HR Connexions speaks about the group to membersOur last meeting was in November 2019 and we are looking forward to our February meeting – it will be a networking and getting-to-know-you morning where we chat with fellow HR Connexions members.

In November, our topic was Performance Management and Managing Employee Expectations and Engagement. We discussed changing the way performance reviews have been done to better engage the employees and develop the skills they need to do better in their job. There was a lot of discussion amongst the attendees which is always a good thing – just what the group is meant for – for HR professionals to be able to have open dialogues on their thoughts about the topic at hand.

We’ve added more names to our mailing list and that’s exciting – to see the group continue to grow and more and more companies become familiar with the group and what we do.

If you are responsible for the HR function at your company or have an HR staff member – this group is for you! We have been around since 2013 and would love to see the group continue to grow. Since this is an invitation-only group, please reach out to Lena Bodin or Doreen Briglia to be added to our invitation list.

Email Doreen  or  Email Lena

Liz O’Halloran & Lena Bodin



Professional Marketing Council

Diving deeper into Rockland County’s Media Outlets

Last November, the Professional Marketing Council brought in Bill Madden, Director of External Affairs and Chelsea Wulff, Senior Conservation Program Specialist from Suez NY to talk about the state of media in Rockland County. With over 30 people in attendance, we discussed the opportunities for advertising and public relations in the County, how to go about creating campaigns that reach a target demographic and navigating the ever-changing world of news outlets.

Professional Marketing Committee November Meeting: Bill Madden, Chelsea Wulff and Risa Hoag

Bill Madden, Chelsea Wulff and Risa Hoag


Professional Marketing Committee November Meeting

Professional Marketing Committee November Meeting

If you are in the marketing or communications field, or you’re in charge of marketing for your company or organization, we’d love to have you at our next meeting.



Technology Initiative

Educational and interactive discussions addressing the ever-changing business needs – for those with a technology background, and those without.

The RBA Technology Initiative Council is very excited about our partnership with the Hudson Valley P-TECH, a BOCES program designed to prepare students for the workplace of today and tomorrow.

The Business Partnership Program connects students with professionals in their “pathway” (Information Technology, Cybersecurity, Green Building and Engineering) by providing students with work site visits, field experiences and more.

The Hudson Valley P-TECH program aligns with New York State’s Workforce Development Initiative (WDI) that supports strategic regional efforts that meet businesses’ short-term workforce needs, long-term industry needs, improve regional talent pipelines, enhance the flexibility and adaptability of local workforce entities, and expand workplace learning opportunities.

The focus of WDI will be on regionally significant industries in emerging fields with growing demands for jobs, including those in clean energy, life sciences, computer science, and advanced technologies. Funds will also support efforts to improve the economic security of women, young workers, and other populations that face significant barriers to career advancement.

RBA business partners also work collaboratively with teachers to design Industry Challenges in which students solve real-world problems faced by businesses in Rockland County and throughout New York State.  The Technology Initiative Council is currently working with the Administrators of the Hudson Valley P-TECH to select specific problems identified and proposed by RBA Members in order to provide solutions to RBA Members.

We encourage RBA Members to get involved with the Technology Initiative Council and the Hudson Valley P-TECH.


The RBA Technology Initiative Council presents educational and interactive discussions addressing the ever-changing business needs in the technology and computer industries.

The Hudson Valley P-TECH is working to develop the high-skilled, well-educated workforce our region needs to support long-term economic growth.



Women’s Leadership Council

Enhance your business and career!

Networking, inspiration, and resources designed for female business owners and professional women.

Enhance your business and career!

Fuel your business aspirations with the help of the Women’s Leadership Council. Designed for female business owners and professional women, WLC provides networking, inspiration, and resources. Join us each month for information and discussion about topics that impact women in business.

In October, we heard from expert motivational speaker Michele Phillips of Key Performance and the author of Happiness is a Habit – Simple Daily Rituals that Increase Energy, Improve Well-Being and Add Joy to Every Day. In this engaging workshop on the Impostor Syndrome, Michele coached our group on overcoming self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy in our careers in order to enhance self-confidence and allow us to appreciate our professional successes.

Michele Phillips of Key Performance

Michele Phillips of Key Performance

In December, we hosted our 2nd annual networking workshop at Hudson’s Mill Tavern in the GARNER Historic District where we shared key networking skills and put them into practice. Thanks to our event sponsor, People’s United Bank, and our host sponsor, Hudson’s Mill, approximately 45 RBA members enjoyed delicious food, beverages and networking at one of the newest farm-to-table restaurants in Rockland County.


New WLC Sponsor Sheldon Horowitz, Safe Harbour Group with Roger Scheiber, RBA

New WLC Sponsor Sheldon Horowitz, Safe Harbour Group with Roger Scheiber, RBA

As we embark on 2020, we have exciting news!  We are pleased to announce that Safe Harbour Group Ltd. has become the annual sponsor of the Women’s Leadership Council!  We are grateful for the support and sponsorship.  Many thanks to Sheldon Horowitz, President of Safe Harbour Group!

And now, we would also like to invite all of our fellow RBA members to join us for our January 30th workshop, Making Stress Your Friend, to discover how to make stress work for you, not against you.  Our facilitator Dr. Kathleen Cuneo, Ph.D., will lead us through this interactive workshop and share tips and techniques for using stress to our advantage.

Meeting dates: Typically the fourth Thursday of each month from 8:30 to 10 am. Some special events held on unique days and times.

Next meeting: January 30, 8:30 to 10 am, Crestview Conference Center at Salvation Army, 440 West Nyack Road, West Nyack.  Topic: Making Stress Your Friend