County Announces $274 Million Investment Infrastructure

Revolving Door

Briarcliff’s Thompson & Bender has added two professionals to its account team: Jennifer Bannan has joined as advertising and marketing director, and Laura Barrett Plunkett is the new director of public relations and special events.

Jennifer Bannan comes to Thompson & Bender from The Byne Group, an award-winning advertising and marketing agency in Rockland County, where she served as Managing Director. Plunkett was marketing director of Dream Works Classics in Manhattan, where she created and managed brand and communication strategies, online/social media sites, and event marketing programs.

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Webster Bank has promoted Scarsdale resident Richard McDonald to senior vice president, treasury/wholesale bank manager. McDonald joined Webster in 2012 as vice president, funding manager. In his new role, McDonald will oversee Webster’s investment and bank-owned life insurance portfolios and continue to manage the wholesale funding portfolio.

Grand Prix New York–an indoor entertainment and team-building venue in Mount Kisco–has appointed Armonk resident Emily Schmalholz as director of special events. Schmalhoz helped launch Life of the Party Productions, a boutique event planning firm, in 2005, producing hundreds of events throughout the tri-state area. Prior to Life of the Party Productions, she wrote, directed, and produced television specials for VH1, MTV, and CBS.

Westchester Community College opens its new Mount Vernon Extension Center this month and has named an interim president and four new members to the Board of Trustees. Dr. John F. M. Flynn has been selected interim president and will serve until a permanent successor is found to Dr. Joseph Hankin. Dr. Flynn was the college’s vice president and dean of academic affairs from 1983 to 2005.

The College’s new Board of Trustees members include: Robin Bikkal, attorney; Dr. Norman Jacknis, Cisco executive, former Director of Information Technology for the County of Westchester; John Nonna, an attorney, former Westchester County Legislator, and former Mayor of Pleasantville; and Andrew J. Spano, former Westchester County Executive.

Darsie Alexander

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Long-time Pelham resident Laura deBuys has been appointed the new executive director of The Picture House. As the founder of deBuys & Company, a strategy, marketing, and development consultancy for nonprofits and small businesses, deBuys was responsible for designing and executing a social media campaign for the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum that won a $155,000 Partners in Preservation grant.The Katonah Museum of Art has appointed Darsie Alexander executive director, effective March 2014. Alexander currently serves as the Chief Curator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Alexander began her career as a photography curator at the Museum of Modern Art, and then served as senior curator at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

TitleVest, a provider of title insurance and real estate services, announced the expansion of its Lower Hudson Valley operations with the addition of two title insurance and real estate professionals to its White Plains office: Jennifer Noto and Fern Vozza.


Following years of litigation, a development deal is moving forward for the former General Motors site in Sleepy Hollow. Two real estate companies will join forces on the development of the 96-acre Sleepy Hollow waterfront property. Diversified Realty Advisors of Summit, N.J., and SunCal of Irvine, Calif. will construct 1,177 residences, 35,000 square feet of office space, 135,000 square feet of retail space, and a 140-room hotel. Village officials anticipate groundbreaking by early 2015.

The 2014 Miss New York USA and Miss New York Teen USA pageants returned to Westchester County January 18-19 at the Performing Arts Center at SUNY Purchase College.  More than 270 young women from across New York competed for the titles of Miss New York USA and Miss New York Teen USA. The official host hotel for this year’s pageant was the Renaissance Westchester Hotel in White Plains, which recently completed a $13 million renovation.

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The Westchester County Board of Health is seeking nominations for its 2014 Distinguished Public Health Service Award, now through Feb. 7. The award is given annually to a person or community-based organization that exemplifies a commitment to public health and has served the community with distinction during the past year. Learn more at or call (914) 813-5000.


A Business Council of Westchester survey signals confidence in the County’s economic outlook; The Westchester County Association shows confidence in Governor Cuomo’s 2014 “State of the State.”

County Executive Robert P. Astorino and Chairman of the Board of Legislators Michael Kaplowitz announced an agreement on $274 million in vital public infrastructure investments, an increase of $86 million over last year’s investment.  Hundreds of jobs will be created to improve buildings, roads, bridges, the airport, transportation, and the sewer and water districts, as well to fund a variety of technology upgrades and renovations to county parks.

According to a study by The Business Council of Westchester, confidence among the County’s business owners is on the rise. In December, the council’s research partner, DataKey Consulting, queried businesses on their staffing, revenues, profits, investments, and other metrics. The quarterly business confidence index rose to 66 out of 100 in the last three months of 2013, up from 58.8 in the third quarter and up from 65.8 from 4Q 2012.

The Westchester County Association endorses much of the agenda set forth by Governor Cuomo in his fourth annual “State of the State” address, including efforts to provide business and property tax relief and economic development incentives. The governor’s plan to provide rebates to homeowners via cost reductions is a “good thing,” according to WCA President William M. Mooney, Jr., but he cautions that without unfunded mandate relief, “the governor’s property tax proposal can only go so far.” The group also says the Governor’s proposal to lower the corporate tax rate from 7.1 percent to 6.5 percent, combined with an accelerated push to eliminate a surcharge on utility bills, will stimulate investment and job creation. “We believe the Governor is headed in the right direction and hope that Westchester County can soon enjoy the fruits of his plan,” said Mooney.


Property: 96 Purchase St, Rye
Brokered by: Pamela Strauss, Retail Strategies LLC, (914) 921-6100
Description: New office space located in prestigious downtown Rye. New HVAC, plumbing, and electric. The upscale building features glass
front with stone and brick, as well as two staircases (front and back of building). Available March 2014.

Availability: 3,000 sq ft, rental rate negotiable
Selling Points: Creative/loft space directly on Purchase Street adjacent to the Rye Train Station parking lot.
Downside: Minimally divisible 1,500 sq ft


THURSDAY, 1/23/14
WCA Breakfast with the County Executive and All-Star Reporter’s Roundtable

8 to 10 am. Westchester Marriott Hotel, 670 White Plains Rd, Tarrytown. Tickets are $75.00 for WCA members and $90.00 for non-members. Rob Astorino, beginning his second term as Westchester County Executive and mulling a possible run for New York State Governor, addresses the county’s top business leaders at the Westchester County Association’s 17th Annual County Executive Breakfast. Advance reservations online are required for this event at

 TUESDAY, 2/3/14
“I Love Networking” Event

6 to 8 pm. $15pp PWW Members $20pp/Non-Members. 42 The Restaurant, One Renaissance Sq, at the Ritz Carlton White Plains. Professional Women of Westchester hosts this event, to benefit the American Heart Association. Men are also invited to attend. Red hair extensions provided by Michelle Lisa Salon. Includes appetizers. Cash Bar. Register online to attend at

FRIDAY, 2/7/14
Food Bank of Westchester Annual Valentine’s Day Wine Tasting Dinner

6 to 9 pm at Tappan Hill Mansion in Tarrytown. Marking 25 years of fighting hunger in Westchester County, the Food Bank of Westchester salutes its board presidents at this annual Valentine’s Day Wine Tasting Dinner. The evening will feature a five-course meal with wine pairings, generously donated by Pernod Ricard, USA. The evening will also include a wine raffle and live auction. All proceeds generated at the event will benefit the Food Bank for Westchester. Tickets are $300 and may be purchased at or by calling (914) 418-5204.

Upcoming events should be submitted no later than Sunday, January 26th, to be considered for the February 4th edition. Please submit business-related events only; no fundraisers or consumer events.

Our Wine & Food Festival returns June 4-9!

Our Wunderkinds event takes place on May 23!

Our Best of Business Ballot is open through May 15!

Our Healthcare Heroes Awards event takes place on May 9!

Our Westchester Home Builders Awards take place on April 4!

Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Forum is March 14!

Unveiled: A Boutique Bridal Brunch is February 25!

Our Best of Westchester Elimination Ballot is open through March 6!

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