What’s Happening: 3rd Quarter 2019

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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.

CRED wrapped up a terrific spring season a with wonderful line up of guest speakers and roundtable discussions.

During our April and May meetings, we had a spirited discussion among our council members regarding the state of various local development projects.  Some of the projects covered were the Palisades Center expansion, Suez re-location, Nyack College, and Nanuet TOD.

And in June, Greg Stanton from IRG shared insights on the present and future plans for the IRG campus.

As always, during each of our meetings, Paul Adler, of Commercial Rand (our sponsor), offers great insights on all of our CRED topics.  We thank him and Rand for their continued support.



Green Council

The RBA Green Council is proud of the impact we made in helping Rockland County allow PACE financing for green construction projects in our commercial sector. In 2015 the Green Council invited Mark Thielking from Energize NY to present their PACE program to Rockland. At the time, Rockland County’s bond rating was too low to allow this program to work here. Fast forward to last year, Mark Thielking returned to our Council with an updated program and a County that is in much better financial condition.

PACE stands for Property Assessed Clean Energy and permits special financing for energy saving projects. It solves several problems with financing energy saving projects. The availability of longer terms 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 and this September the Green Council will introduce this program to Rockland Businesses.

This fall will be our 10th Annual Green Awards Program. We have many companies doing great work to save energy, conserve water, reduce waste and improve their transportation impacts. Look for our Nomination packets to be released shortly.

SUEZ, our subsidiary group sponsor, has launched a robust Water Conservation Plan and is planning an event with Orange and Rockland Utilities to communicate to businesses the benefits and incentives available. We expect that many large and small businesses will take advantage of these money saving ways to reduce energy use and conserve water.


RBA Green Council Award Winners over past 10 years.

The video retrospective of our work and our successes over the last decade was well received and is still viewable on the RBA website.

Since 2008, the Green Council has helped educate, promote and advocate to the business community the benefits of adopting Green principles.

The RBA Green Council is proud of a decade of delivering educational programs, sustainable building tours, a green toolkit and an always anticipated annual Green Awards Program.

Get your applications in early for our 10th Annual Green Awards.



Hospitality and Tourism Alliance

The HTA, as is tradition, held its meetings at a different member’s venue each month.

In April we met at Palisades Credit Union Park where the Rockland Boulders made a presentation highlighting their exciting 2019 Season. In addition to their regular league schedule, several International Teams are coming to the ball park this year. The Boulders will be hosting the 2019 All Star Game. The game will be a 2-league contest between Can-Am and Frontier Leagues. It will be a multi-day event and there will be a separate night for a Home Run Derby and many more activities to make this a real HAPPENING in Rockland.

In May the group met at the new RCC Culinary Arts Center in Nyack.

Bagels and toppings from RCC Culinary Arts Center

This unique program takes place in a beautifully renovated building, offering training to students which can lead to great job opportunities. Located in the center of Nyack, it will be a great attraction to the Nyack Business district when its retail store and Café open.

In June the HTA moved its meeting to the outdoors. On a beautiful June day we met at the Tallman Beach and Pool Club in Tallman State Park in Sparkill.

HTA meeting at Tallman Beach & Pool Club


A transformative and unique private/public project, Billy Procida, whose company financed the revitalization of this state-owned facility, gave a history of the project and highlighted its programs and activities. In addition, he offered a special invitation to the hotel representatives present to a reduced rate for their guests to use the pool on weekdays. At the meeting the newly appointed Director of Economic Development and Tourism, Jeremy Schulman was introduced to the Industry. While only recently on the job, Jeremy talked about his approach and vision for tourism and fielded questions from the group. A representative of Rockland Marinas was present. He talked about the lack of Marinas in the County and his frustration in the lack of effort to see more developed.

The Hospitality and Tourism Alliance meets monthly.



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.

Another Amazing Presentation by Mike Hekle, Jackson Lewis…

Mike Hekle has come out every year to provide the group the traditional June Legal Update since 2013! Thank you again Mike for providing the group with another insightful session. We hope to see you and Tom Petriccione again next year…

HR Connexions audience during presentation

We learned about the changes in the law and some updates that HR will need to gear up for, such as providing additional information on the EEO-1 reports and the potential impact of legalizing marijuana in New York.

This was also the biggest turnout we’ve had for the RBA HR Connexions which means the group is growing and you are learning about the group and joining. Thank you all for helping the group grow and gain momentum.

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.This is an invitation only group.If you would like to attend our meetings, please contact Lena Bodin at lena@4prs.com or Doreen Briglia at db@rocklandbusiness.org to be added to our invitation list.

Email Doreen  or  Mail Lena

Liz O’Halloran & Lena Bodin



Professional Marketing Council

Digital/Social Marketing Defined: The How, What and Why. #rbalearns

More than 70 people gathered at our Rockland Business Association’s Professional Marketing Council event in May. It was also livestreamed, an exciting first for RBA!

Rave reviews for the five outstanding marketing executives from Rockland and Westchester Counties. Moderated by Robin Colner, President of DigiStar Media, the panelists included; Tony Fasciano, Marketing Director at Volunteer NY; Brett Bekritsky, Marketing and Communications Director for Dominican College; Felix Tapia, Director of Marketing for Robison Energy; and AJ Montalto, Digital Media Manager for PKF O’Connor Davies, LLP.

Digital Social Marketing Defined Panel

Digital Social Marketing Defined Panel


Each panelist drew on their vast career history and shared their marketing successes in content development, social media management, lead generation and general strategic planning. The audience asked questions and walked away inspired with new ideas and tactics to increase their marketing successes.

The PMC is off for the summer getting a tan, come join us in September for our monthly meeting!



Technology Initiative

Discussing the technology trends that offer the greatest potential impact in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.

Our discussions and meetings with our members of small and medium-sized organizations has helped us identify the most common and time-consuming IT challenges facing these organizations. Clearly, there are numerous IT challenges facing today’s small and medium-sized businesses, but we’ve boiled them down to the top 5 as follows:

  1. New security threats
    The government shutdown helped contribute to a great cyber threat to the U.S. government, critical infrastructure and other public and private organizations. With the shutdown, many of the security professionals watching for threats at a national level were not on duty, creating a bigger hole for attackers.2019 has brought the first of many AI-driven attacks on U.S. companies, critical infrastructure and government agencies.
  2. Data protection
    Forward-thinking organizations are now implementing privacy by design in their products, but making sure those efforts meet General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standards is an ongoing concern. Google, for example, just saw a record fine by French regulators over how the company collects data.U.S. businesses will need to consider a GDPR-type policy to protect citizens even before any regulations are enacted. Ultimately, there must be international guidelines to ensure customer privacy and protection on a global scale to allow for easier compliance.They’re still making essentially all of the mistakes everyone else made in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Oh, and your voice-activated home device is spying on you and the company that makes it will give your data to the wrong person by accident with little oversight or accountability. This also suggests that better data privacy legislation — at least in the U.S. — is a potentially hot topic for 2019, particularly in light of the events of recent elections. Nobody loved implementing GDPR in Europe, but its protections for ordinary people are decent.
  3. Multi-cloud security
    Traditionally, multi-cloud leads the enterprise to manage many different, often incompatible and inconsistent security systems.We think that selecting cross-cloud, cloud-agnostic security platforms is now fundamental in ensuring consistency, and most importantly completeness of securing enterprise-wide assets regardless of where these assets are living.
  4. Innovation and digital transformation
    According to Gartner data, about two-thirds of business leaders think their companies need to speed up their digital transformation or face losing ground to competitors.Most companies will continue on the same path until they’re forced to do otherwise.Tying IT spend to strategic business capabilities and answering the question ‘How will this make us more competitive?’ is essential,” Olives says. “Value stream-based funding models as opposed to project-based funding are becoming more and more effective at tying board-level objectives to budgetary influences. The cost structures and process efficiencies of legacy vs. a nimble digital capability are much different — nimble is less expensive and much more efficient.”
  5. Rebuilding trust
    2019 is another bad year for IT publicity, based on a number of well publicized hacks of large companies and questionable sharing of customers’ online habits.Issues such as privacy, security and device addiction must be addressed immediately by big and small players in the industry. We need to show that we care about the people we claim to be serving and act in their best interest. People trusted us and we should be very respectful in honoring that.

The RBA Tech Committee has joined to be part of (BI Monthly meetings) and become mentors of Hudson Valley P-TECH and it’s the successful STEM program.

Today, these trailblazers remind us that hard work, creative thinking, perseverance and a love of learning lead to success, both academically and personally.

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, September 12th and will be a Q&A session with members focusing on their IT Challenges.



Women’s Leadership Council

Enhance your business and career!

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

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

In April, we learned the best ways to boost your Calmfidence® from Patricia Stark. Achieving calm confidence lets you present your best self and garner the success you deserve.

Women's Leadership Council, April 2019

In May, AnnMarie DiSiena, EdD, shared best practices for building collaborative teams that deliver top performance.

In June, we had a fantastic turnout for our Annual Power of Women Wine Pairing Dinner featuring a delicious multi-course tasting menu with wine pairings. The evening opened with live entertainment by the Cobham Coalition, featuring 4x Grammy winner Wayne Cobham.Our speaker, Lisa Brooks-Greaux, shared her advice on gaining and maintaining our power as women in business. Dr. Brooks-Greaux talks to guests about the power of women

Thanks to all who participated in this terrific evening.


Doreen, WLC Co-Chair Marian Rokeach, RBA Chair Debra Boening and guests

Doreen, WLC Co-Chair Marian Rokeach, RBA Chair Debra Boening and guests

Join us again in September when we launch another series of timely business topics on the last Thursday of each month.