What’s Happening: 3rd Quarter 2021

Newsletter sponsored by: TD Bank
TD Bank logo


Construction, Real Estate and Development Council (CRED)

Economic Development Government Affairs (EDGA)

Green Council

Hospitality and Tourism Alliance

HR Connexions

Professional Marketing Council

Rockland Emerging Business Owners & Professionals (REBOP)

Technology Initiative

Women’s Leadership Council




Construction, Real Estate and Development Council (CRED)

The Construction, Real Estate, and Development Council’s September meeting featured an update on the commercial real estate market by Paul Adler, Rand Commercial.  This was followed by a round table discussion and networking of the members.

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

The Construction, Real Estate, and Development Council is sponsored by Rand Commercial and co-chaired by Michael Shilale, Architect and Judith Bachman, Esq.

Economic Development / Government Affairs

Hospitality and Tourism Alliance

In July, our Economic Development/Government Affairs and Hospitality & Tourism Alliance subsidiaries hosted a special session with Lucy Redzeposki, Rockland’s Director of Economic Development and Tourism.

Lucy, who also is responsible for the County’s interaction with the film industry, filled us in on a number of projects that were in progress and how her office was moving forward in the various sectors in which they operate. One such project (which since has been implemented) is the establishment of new social media sites for each of their areas of concentration. This has given Rockland significant marketing tools for key revenue generators.

In September, our HTA session featured a presentation by Pat Heaphy, President, LCM247 Digital Media Productions on new media opportunities for marketing in the 21st century. A passionate advocate for the new technologies, Pat spoke about the benefits of messaging across multiple platforms and how it can drive new business opportunity.

Also, RBA President Al Samuels addressed the hiring difficulties being faced by food service businesses, brought about by Covid-related issues, and how they could be mitigated by reaching out to the veteran community. He specifically recommended advertising jobs by using the Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) Codes to identify the available positions.

He noted that vets appreciate the effort to relate to them in ways that recognize their service and would help explain the job in terms that were familiar.  Samuels said this has been used successfully by the Bonura Hospitality Group in job fairs and offered that county veteran service agencies could be helpful in implementing such an outreach.


Green Council

In July, our meeting titled “Excelsior Connect: The Power of New York” featured speakers  Sebastian Libonatti, VP, Business Development and Michael Jamison, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, AVANGRID who presented their plan for this project.

The September Green Council meeting featured Gabe Cowles, VP of Finance and Business Development for Urban Electric Power. Based at the IRG/Pfizer Campus in Pearl River,  Urban Electric Power is revolutionizing traditional alkaline battery market by utilizing abundant materials from existing supply chains mined within ally nations, ensuring safe supply. Gabe provided an overview of how UEP sustained itself during the pandemic, pivoting to making hand sanitizer while continuing to develop their products. He provided back ground on how UEP was able to develop a competitive energy storage technology from more common materials making for a safer, less toxic battery.

Co-chaired by

Jan Degenshein of Degenshein Architects
Anthony Lisanti of Integral Building and Design

We Are Still in Virtual Mode…

After a hiatus for the summer, HR Connexions met in September for an open forum where participants were able to say “hello” to each other while new members were able to meet other members of the group. We had a lively discussion around topics such as the challenges HR is facing with COVID absenteeism, reluctance to return to the office, and vaccine mandates. We uncovered some novel ideas from participants on how to manage this unique time HR finds itself in.

Our next meeting is in November and we will have speakers to recognize and talk about the stress employees are under and how HR can support the workforce, as well as how HR folks can manage their own stress during these trying times with available programs through their employers.

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 Doreen or myself to be added to our invitation list.

Doreen:  db@rocklandbusiness.org

Lena:  lena@4prs.com

Liz:  ohalloranl@coned.com


Liz O’Halloran & Lena Bodin




Professional Marketing Council

The Professional Marketing Council is pleased to announce that two Rockland marketing veterans have taken the baton from Anne Byne and Jenny Mirmelstein. Risa Hoag, President of GMG Public Relations, and Jeff Lewis, morning anchor for WRCR and owner of Penguin Partners Creative, will now co-chair the Council. They kicked off the 2021/2022 season with a roundtable discussion in September where attendees had a chance to introduce themselves and talk about their roles at their respective organizations. The group also discussed possible topics for future meetings.

The October meeting featured a presentation from A4 Advertising Russ DelCore and William Chambers who explained the move away from tracking codes and cookies and how it would impact the future of marketing and what marketers need to do to build audiences instead of relying on tracking codes. Did you know that over 40% of users already block cookies?

Three take-aways:

Take a close look at each of these elements:

  • Tools needed to active sophisticated targeting strategies
  • Deliver ad experiences that are relevant to your intended audience
  • Remain nimble in the face of changing media consumption habits and market changes

If you would like to receive a copy of the PowerPoint presentation, please contact Doreen at the RBA.

Anyone interested in attending future meetings should complete this Google form to shed light on potential November topics and future discussions.. https://forms.gle/9PLHPXjp9DGrLdEJ6


Rockland Emerging Business Owners & Professionals

We want to cultivate ambition and passion and create a comfortable, educational environment to help guide younger business professionals get acquainted with reality, and onto the proper path to success.

Chaired by David Palma, Payed Processing, Jason Horowitz, Triforce Commercial Real Estate LLC, and Michael Khekoian, Computuners

REBOP has held monthly Zoom calls to network and connect with our peers.  

To learn more about REBOP visit the REBOP Facebook page facebook.com/reboprba



Technology Initiative

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

Protecting an organization from cyber threats is not easy.  In July, Harry Srolovitz did a presentation on Cybersecurity.  

Cybercriminals know that organizations are working overtime to secure endpoints and end users against threats, and they are working just as hard to beat them to the punch — and to find new gaps to exploit. 

Today’s IT professionals must guard not only against known threats like ransomware, but also unpleasant new relatives like malicious crypto mining, and targeted attacks on specific industries like financial services, manufacturing, and education.

No organization or employee is immune from a potential cyberattack. Both large and small organizations all agree that employees pose a weak link in their IT security. As attacks continue to escalate, organizations must make employees an integral part of their detection and prevention strategy. They need to understand how they can be manipulated to gain access to their IT network.

75% of IT professionals fear their organization will become a victim of a cybersecurity attack. With an increase in phishing attacks, data breaches and ransomware, how secure is your business ?

Disaster planning must encompass disasters of all types and sizes: fires, floods, fraud, ransomware, cyber-attacks, power or IT system failure, human error, acts of terror, and other unthinkable scenarios.

While the type of disaster varies, the impact is typical: data and operational downtime that is truly disastrous.  The devastating effect of downtime caused by disaster include irreparable damage to data, reputation, customer relationships, income, and business vitality.

The best offense is a good defense; you must protect your business by understanding your vulnerabilities, safeguarding against the risks, and preparing for the worst possible business disruption with a plan for business continuity and disaster recovery that will shield your data, protect your business, and keep your systems available and reliable no matter what happens.

September’s meeting was titled “Bring  your IT Challenges to BOCES PTECH students”.   

Rockland BOCES Hudson Valley Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) focused on engaging students in hands-on, project-based learning to be successful in careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

RBA Business partners also work collaboratively with teachers to design industry challenges in which students solve real-world challenges facing the industry partner.

RBA members are  encouraged to get involved to enable Hudson Valley P-TECH to prepare students for the workplace of today and tomorrow. The Business Partnership Program connects students with professionals in their pathway by providing students with work site visits, job shadowing, field experiences and more. Monthly Mentor Lounge events focus on topics to develop professional skills. 


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

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

Designed for female business owners and professional women. WLC provides networking, inspiration and resources. Zoom presentations are scheduled to provide information and stimulate discussions about topics that especially now, impact women in business. WLC looks forward to in person meetings again soon, keeping in mind the safety and wellness of all participants. Stay tuned for further guidance on our meeting formats.

Leadership of the WLC took advantage of the beautiful summer weather and hiatus in meeting schedule to gather outdoors and plan dynamic events for the fall season. Our calendar is packed with innovative women business owners and professionals in the Rockland community sharing their expertise, guidance, and journeys with all who attend our monthly forums. 

In September, WLC hosted an innovative panel of financial experts who thoughtfully presented “Sustainable Investment Strategies: Align Your Values and Finances to Achieve Maximum Growth for Living, Retiring, and Estate Planning.” Our dynamic presenters included Cynthia Branca, a Certified Financial Planner and Investment Advisor Representative from Financial Network; Donna Walton, Vice President and Wealth Strategist with TD Bank; and Julie Wendholt, Vice President and Financial Advisor with Pell Wealth Partners, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services. The group was skillfully moderated by Shari Berk, CPA, of S.E. Berk CPA, PC. The forum utilized a question and answer format to create a balance of prepared remarks as well as audience queries on such vital topics as informed planning for present financial security, achievement of retirement goals, and legacy planning for families. Data was also shared for those whose priorities include socially responsible investing to maximize return on investment.


Marian Rokeach, mrokeach@fountainview.org

Robin Rosenberg, robin@garnervillearts.com

Stephanie Madison, madisons@mharockland.org