What’s Happening – 1st Quarter 2019

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 CRED council continues to support the RBA’s effort to foster development and tax relief in Rockland County.  CRED is co-chaired by Michael Shilale, Michael Shilale Architects, and Judith Bachman, Esq., The Bachman Law Firm PLLC.

The council meets regularly on a monthly basis and has had a number of great meetings in 2018.

  • In September, we had a presentation by Hughes Energy regarding the siting of a $100 million Green Energy facility with 50-75 jobs.
  • In October, CRED presented a panel of Powerhouse CRED Family Businesses with Joseph Lagana of USIS, Joseph Rand of Rand Realty businesses and Larry Beckerle of Beckerle Lumber. The event was hosted at the headquarters of USIS in their one of a kind in-house training facility.
  • In November, CRED heard a presentation by Paul Adler of Rand Commercial regarding the sale of the Nyack College property.
  • We finished the year with a roundtable discussion with the members of CRED.
North Rockland Supervisors present on Economic Development in their Towns at January's CRED and Green Council Joint Meeting

North Rockland Supervisors present on Economic Development in their Towns at January’s CRED and Green Council Joint Meeting

Our January meeting was on economic development opportunities in North Rockland presented by local elected officials, Supervisor Howard Phillips of Haverstraw and Supervisor Jim Monaghan of Stony Point.

CRED regularly draws about 25-30 attendees and holds its events at varying locations including the JCC in West Nyack.

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 after 10 years

10 Years ago, the Rockland Business Association was at the forefront of promoting an environmentally friendly business setting when it formed the RBA Green Council. Over the past 10 years the Council is proud of delivering dozens of educational programs, sustainable building tours, a Green toolkit and an always anticipated annual Green Awards Program.

Sunshine Solar presentation on community solar with P-Tech students and RBA. Green Council

Sunshine Solar presentation on community solar with P-Tech students and RBA. Green Council

Our mission in 2008 was to educate, promote and advocate to the business community the benefits of adopting Green principles. Our plan was to act as a sort of Chief Sustainability Officer for our members, every Fortune 500 company has one.  We hoped to assist members in implementing and realizing bottom line benefits of going Green.

Since then, we have recognized and empowered members to Reduce Energy Use, Conserve Water, Minimize Waste and Improve Transportation. Best of all, many of the sustainable strategies our members used, save money.  Over the years the Green Council has recognized more than 2 dozen businesses for their excellence in being “Green.”

Last year Suez NY Water, our subsidiary group sponsor, funded an anniversary video highlighting our successes over the years and spotlighted several previous Green award winners.

Watch the Green Council Highlight Video

SUEZ wins award for its water conservation programs. Michael Shilale, Chelsea Wulff, Chris Graziano, Bill Madden and Sponsor Linda LoRe, St. Thomas Aquinas College

SUEZ wins award for its water conservation programs. Michael Shilale, Chelsea Wulff, Chris Graziano, Bill Madden and Sponsor Linda LoRe, St. Thomas Aquinas College

As founding chair of the Green Council I would like to say thank you to all the “Green” businesses in Rockland County for all you are doing.I also want to encourage the hundreds of other RBA businesses to improve their environmental and economic wellbeing. If they follow in the footsteps of our Green Award winners, they will find that they too can become higher performing organizations – helping our environment, protecting our resources and improving their bottom line. — Michael Shilale, AIA, LEED, CPHC, Chair


Hospitality and Tourism Alliance

While overall, the hospitality Industry in Rockland is on a growth path, some have not seen the upturn as there is a decline of bookings from major businesses for business related travel. Hotels remain dependent on business travel during weekdays and social activities over the weekend. In many ways, the county remains a stopover location. However, Rockland is strong in attracting meetings and conferences due to its central location.

One of the future catalysts for tourism will be the Shared Use Path currently under construction on the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. A presentation by the New NY Bridge Project showed that there will be five individual and unique Viewing Stations along the path which will enhance the visitors experience. A parking area will be created at the Exit 10 interchange which will connect the bridge to the Village of South Nyack. While there are potential opportunities for major tourism with the path, the presentation did not provide particulars on what will be done to help promote Rockland Tourism.

Other presentations included the 2018 Rockland Supercross and the new commuter bus system run by Transdev to improve service over the Hudson. The lack of a strong transportation infrastructure remains a challenge in attracting visitors.

One shining star for tourism is the growth of filming in the County. One facility in Rockland alone has made over one million for its site rentals. The NYS Office of Filming has reported that Rockland has been a very good partner and will continue to highly recommend productions to come here. Many of the municipalities have gotten involved to make us a very user-friendly county.

While there has been talk of building one or two new hotels in the county, the action for new hotels has been at a torrent pace to our north, in Orange County. With the addition of Legoland and other major attractions under way, Orange has more than a dozen hotels slated to be built in the near future.

The committee continues to work closely with the County Director of Economic Development and Tourism which has become an important collaboration for the Industry.


HR Connexions Group

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

2018 has been a year of tremendous change for Human Resources and cutbacks at companies continue to impact HR staff. HR Connexions, an “invitation only” group of HR practitioners from RBA member companies, looks towards the future of HR and brings programs and speakers that address the impending changes.

As we move into 2019, the changes continue. NYS has new minimum wage requirements for hourly employees as well as salary thresholds for salaried employees. The HR Connexions group helps keep our member HR departments in the know and gives them relevant information that affects their day to day HR activities, as well as, their long-term strategic HR initiatives.

At our meeting in November we talked about the challenges facing HR and how we have each overcome our individual challenges. We shared our experiences and nuggets of “HR Knowledge” and talked about concerns and issues that might face the HR Practitioner in 2019. We also came up with topics that we want to see presented at our 2019 meetings. We would like to give a “shout out” to Maria Marcolini from the Pearl River Hilton for hosting this event!

Our next meeting, on February 13th, we will discuss one of the biggest challenges for HR – Employee Engagement – being able to keep your employees loyal through programs geared to enriching their experience with your organization. Our very own Suzanne Copeland of Copeland Collaborative will talk about “Engaging Today’s Workforce” and covering the Multigenerational Workforce – The Mobile Workforce while keeping the workplace Inclusive and Safe.

We encourage member companies to get their HR department personnel involved with the RBA HR Connexions group. Have them reach out to Doreen Briglia at the RBA to have their name added to the HR Connexions mailing list. db@rocklandbusiness.org

Liz O’Halloran & Lena Bodin
HR Connexions Co-Chairs


Professional Marketing Council

Towards the end of 2018, the Professional Marketing Council gathered with Rockland Business Journal creator, Tina Traster, to discuss the foundation behind content writing and the growing popularity of content creation in the marketing profession.

Professional Marketing Council

“Where once we relied on reporters to write the story about our business or product, we now write our own stories and, in some cases, publish them ourselves too,” noted Jenny Mirmelstein, Council Co-Chair.

“Tina brought insight into how to craft a story around a marketing message and the variety of ways in which a message can get across. We also brainstormed ideas amongst the group, offering expertise and help with what to promote and how.”


Technology Initiative

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



There’s a lot of work to do and not enough skilled people to do it.

That was the message U.S. Chamber President and CEO delivered  “There’s no question that the American workforce is the finest in the world,” said Tom Donohue. “But, if we are going to keep that advantage, if we are going to keep the promise of opportunity to future generations of Americans, we have some work to do.”

That work includes dealing with two factors that threaten continued American economic competitiveness, Donohue exclaimed.

  • “The first is a skills gap – too many people lack the skills or credentials they need to compete for 21st-century jobs,” he said.
  • “The second is a people gap – too many businesses can’t find the workers they need, when and where they need them.”

Businesses must be part of the solution. “No single entity has a greater stake in the strength of our talent pool than the business community,” said Donohue. “We have the ideas, the innovations, and the incentive to drive change and create solutions.”

To close the skills gap, one step is improving education.

RBA Technology Initiative believes strongly that rigorous accountability in schools, more choice for families, and greater collaboration between stakeholders can continue to improve K-12 education.

The goal is to ensure that every student graduates from high school prepared for the next step – whether that’s college or career.

Businesses play such an important role in working with local educational institutions to ensure that curriculums teach in-demand skills and certifications.

The RBA Tech Initiative has partnered with and promotes the Rockland BOCES early college high school program, Hudson Valley P-TECH, to help the RBA business community with increasing the number of available workers to close the skills gap. This collaboration enables industry partners to mentor STEM students from grade 9 until they earn their associate’s degree on professional skills and entry-level job training requirements needed to be successful in our local business community.


The Women’s Leadership Council / Technology Initiative joint presentation in October “Can We Stop Robots From Taking Our Jobs?

[one-half-first]The panel addresses the audience of the Women's Leadership Council / Technology Initiative joint presentation in October "Can We Stop Robots From Taking Our Jobs?[/one-half-first]
[one-half]The Women's Leadership Council / Technology Initiative joint presentation in October "Can We Stop Robots From Taking Our Jobs?[/one-half]


Women’s Leadership Council

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 November, we hosted a networking workshop where we shared key networking skills and put them into practice. Thanks to our event sponsor, GARNER Historic District, and our food and venue sponsor, Hudson’s Mill, we enjoyed delicious food and beverages and got a sneak preview of the newest farm to table restaurant at GARNER.

[one-half-first]Networking at Hudson Mill's during RBA's Women's Leadership Council[/one-half-first]
[one-half]Networking near the bar at Hudson Mill's during RBA's Women's Leadership Council[/one-half]In January, we learned to amp up our negotiation skills with a panel of expert negotiators who shared their secrets. Stories were shared about both successful and unsuccessful negotiations.

In February, you won’t want to miss our panel discussion on financial strategies for professional women. You’ll hear about smart approaches to money management you can use both at work and at home.

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

Co-Chairs: