What’s Happening: 1st Quarter 2024

Newsletter sponsored by: TD Bank

Construction, Real Estate and Development Council (CRED)

Economic Development Government Affairs (EDGA)

Green Council

Hospitality and Tourism Alliance

Professional Marketing Council

Technology Initiative

Women’s Leadership Council


Construction, Real Estate and Development Council (CRED)

CRED supports and empowers RBA members who are in real estate, development, and construction through networking, resource sharing, education and advocacy.

CRED has been on a journey of knowledge since its inception. Construction, Real Estate and Development cannot continue to grow and thrive in Rockland County without understanding the mission and work of the Rockland County Solid Waste Authority – aka – Rockland Green.

CRED’s Day of Learning taught the more than 35 participants how Rockland Green endeavors to: Reduce, Recycle and Recover the waste stream created in Rockland County by residents and businesses alike.

A multi-pronged approach has been established to meet the goals of three R’s which includes: Facilities, Education and Special Programs. Whether it’s trash, compost, rain barrels, contractor opportunities, recycled materials for sale or the resources used to involve our young citizens in healthy and sustainable environmental choices early on in their lives; the Commissioners, Executive Director Gerald Damiani and the competent staff are there to serve the citizens of Rockland County.

Please contact us for any ideas on topics of interest:
Chair: Michael Chang- michael.chang@randcommercial.com

Sponsored by

Rand Commercial logo

Economic Development / Government Affairs

First quarter is always a busy time for our Economic Development/Government Affairs subsidiary and this year was no different. Between the Governor’s State of the State address and the Budget report, we had more than enough to provide programming for our meetings. And, this year we were privileged to have Sen. Bill Weber and Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski join us to share their perspectives on these important presentations and what they saw as key issues and potential areas of discord.

Insights from important elected officials helps us to frame our agenda and gives our membership a better understanding of the “sausage-making” process in Albany. With such issues as housing, bail reform, education and Medicaid funding all in the mix this year it was important to get as much input as possible from state officials.

We also got a very positive report from Steve Porath, Executive Director of Rockland’s Industrial Development Agency, on the activities of his organization. Steve shared that the IDA had a very active 2023 and that it was continuing into first quarter ’24.

One of our Corporate Partners, Orange & Rockland Utilities, shared the results of an Economic Impact Report, prepared by industry leader, HR&A Advisors.

Some of the highlights of the report note: O&R has a $159 million fiscal impact in New York, enough tax revenue to pay 2,000 public school teachers or 2,400 social workers; Rockland County receives $59 million in property taxes, with neighboring Orange County getting $30 million; the company has 940 employees living in NY; their employees stay at their jobs over two times longer than industry peers and their retention rate is 92%, compared to just 78% for industry peers.

We thank all of our presenters and those who contributed in our discussion and Q&A sessions.

EDGA is Chaired by Al Samuels, RBA President/CEO

Sponsored by:

Engineers Labor Employer Cooperative Elec 825 logo


Hospitality and Tourism Alliance

The Rockland Business Association Hospitality & Tourism Alliance started the year featuring presentations by Rockland County Tourism Grant Recipients. Representatives from notable organizations, including Penguin Rep Theater, Holocaust Museum & Center for Tolerance and Education, Edward Hopper House, and Friends of Harmony Hall, discussed their respective sites and how the Rockland County Tourism Grant will benefit their organizations. Each recipient provided insights into their contributions to tourism in Rockland County and outlined plans for utilizing the grants to further enhance their offerings.

The February meeting featured Joseph Rand, Mayor of the Village of Nyack, as the keynote speaker. Mayor Rand’s presentation focused on the adoption process and benefits of the room tax in the Village of Nyack. The interactive Q&A session created valuable discussions and networking among participants.

The March presentation spotlighted GARNER Arts Center, with presentations by Robin E. Rosenberg, CEO/President of GARNER Historic District, and Jesse Heffler, Programs & Operations Director for the GARNER Arts Center. Robin provided attendees with an overview of the GARNER Historic District’s rich history, shedding light on the cultural significance of the institution within Rockland County. Jesse unveiled exciting upcoming events and initiatives aimed at attracting tourists and fostering cultural engagement in the region.

This group is Co-Chaired by Keri Cunningham, Director of Communications, Palisades Center and Mark Davidoff, Director, Hospitality and Culinary Arts Center, RCC.

Sponsored by:

Palisades Center logo


Green Council

The Green Council kicked off the year with a presentation about Nyack’s 2030 Climate Action Plan. With extensive input from across the community and Village of Nyack staff, Nyack developed a detailed, user-friendly roadmap for climate action in 2023, with a set of goals and milestones for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change by 2030. The emissions reductions goals are based on greenhouse gas inventories for government operations and the community. The presenters were: Marcy Denker, a landscape designer with a Masters in Landscape Architecture from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Steven Cea, a Nyack resident since 1992.  Since retirement, he has focused on climate and sustainability issues as a member of the Nyack Tree Committee and Co-Chair of Nyack’s Climate Smart Committee.

Green Council Chair
Tony Lisanti, CEM, CPHC
Integral Building and Design
Sponsored by:

Professional Marketing Council

The Marketing Council welcomed Elaine Appleton Grant as the speaker for the February meeting “How to Launch Your Own Podcast.” Elaine is the CEO of Podcast Allies and the producer and host of Sound Judgement, a podcast that goes behind the scenes of podcasts to share how they make their audio storytelling magic. Elaine explained how to get ROS (Return on Story) when creating your own podcast. She provided a five-step workflow for conceiving, producing, publishing and promoting an effective podcast.  She explained that the average well-made podcast increases the favorability rating of the sponsored brand by 61%.  She addressed what makes a good podcast and how to determine who should create one and why. She also filled us in on some of the better podcasts to follow as well as how to pitch yourself as a good guest for a podcast and strategies for using podcasting as a marketing tool.

We ask anyone interested in attending future meetings to complete this Google form and make any suggestions you may have for future events.

The Professional Marketing Council is co-chaired by:
Risa Hoag, GMG Public Relations and Jeff Lewis, WRCR Radio.
Sponsorship is available for this subsidiary group. Call Al Samuels 845-735-3573

Technology Initiative

February 2024: P-Tech Showcase

In February, we celebrated the innovative efforts of Rockland BOCES Hudson Valley Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH). This four to six-year program empowers students with hands-on, project-based learning in STEM fields, preparing them for careers in technology and beyond.

Hudson Valley P-TECH offers a diverse range of pathways, including Business Administration, Computer Information Systems, Cyber Security, and more. Designed for students of all academic backgrounds, P-TECH prioritizes inclusion and support for historically underserved populations, ensuring that all students have access to the opportunities of tomorrow.

Thanks to the RBA Technology Initiative and local business partnerships, Hudson Valley P-TECH students gain real-world experience through mentorship, industry challenges, and professional skill development. By bridging the gap between education and industry, P-TECH equips students with the tools they need to succeed in the workforce.

March 2024: Leveraging Technology to Protect and Grow Your Business

As technology continues to evolve, businesses must adapt to stay ahead. In March, Protected Harbor CEO Richard Luna shared insights on leveraging technology, including AI, to enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and improve cybersecurity.

In a rapidly changing landscape, understanding the intricacies of technology is crucial for business owners and professionals alike. By staying informed and prepared, businesses can harness the power of AI to drive growth and innovation while safeguarding against potential threats.

Richard Luna’s expertise and guidance offer valuable strategies for navigating the complexities of technology, empowering businesses to thrive in an increasingly digital world.

Stay tuned for more insights and updates in the next edition of our newsletter as we continue to explore the intersection of AI and society.

The Technology Initiative is co-chaired by:

Brian Campbell, Rockland Pros and Justin Schwartz, Atlantic, Tomorrow’s Office

Sponsored by:


Women’s Leadership Council

Fuel your business aspirations with the help of Women’s Leadership Council

The Women’s Leadership Council kicked off 2024 with an engaging and fruitful forum entitled “Networking in the New Year.” Participants shared their professional visions for 2024, including goals, anticipated obstacles, desired resources, and strategic plans. It was a wonderful one-hour experience in which WLC members, both old and new, deepened their relationships and highlighted the outstanding work of their organizations.

The March forum featured Sara Tucker, a well-known leader and visionary in the banking and finance industry. Sara captivated the audience with her dynamic presentation “Leadership Styles: Focus on Gender Differences.” The forum addressed such interesting and important points as the components of effective leadership, gender differences in leadership styles, professional cultures, and the evolving dynamics in the business world in recent years. There was a robust discussion at the conclusion of the hour with every participant leaving with new knowledge and tips for the future.

Please note that the WLC is now hosted bi-monthly and begins at 10am. Keep an eye out for our upcoming forum in May and join us for another exciting program.

The Women’s Leadership Council is Co-Chaired by

Stephanie Madison, President/CEO, Mental Health Association of Rockland  madisons@mharockland.org

Julie Sadowski, Executive Director, Rockland Community Foundation  julie@rocklandgives.org

Sponsorship is available for this subsidiary group. Call Al Samuels 845-735-3573