The Westchester County Association (WCA) announced last week that Marissa Brett, vice president of the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation (HVEDC), will join the WCA on July 5 as executive director of Economic Development. Her specific role will be to implement The Blueprint for Westchester, a multi-year initiative to revitalize Westchester’s economy. As part of her duties at the WCA, Brett will craft and execute a strategy to market the county’s available real estate for economic growth, building on her many existing relationships in the real estate and site selection communities.
Brett has more than a dozen years of experience in economic development and commercial real estate marketing. At HVEDC, she developed and implemented all real estate marketing programs and launched a region-wide transaction database of all lease and sales transactions. As a result of her efforts, more than 7,000,000 square feet of commercial space was occupied and almost 6,000 jobs were created. Prior to joining HVEDC in 2005, Brett marketed an extensive commercial real estate portfolio of 1.4 million square feet in White Plains for Albert B. Ashforth, Inc. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the United Way of Westchester and Putnam and also on the Putnam County Industrial Development Agency. For more on the Blueprint for Westchester, see the “Scene & Seen” section below.
Gannett Co. Inc. named Janet Hasson, a veteran circulation executive, as the new president and publisher of the Journal News and its corresponding website, LoHud.com, earlier this month. Hasson was previously senior vice president of audience development and strategy at the Detroit Media Partnership, which publishes the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. She is the first female publisher of the Journal News or any of its preceding Gannett newspapers. Hasson joined the company in 1997 as a circulation and marketing executive at The Cincinnati Enquirer. She is a native of Spokane, Washington.
CMS Bancorp Inc., the parent company of Community Mutual Savings Bank, recently announced that William M. Mooney, Jr., president of the Westchester County Association (WCA), has been elected to the CMS Bancorp’s and the bank’s Board of Directors. The WCA is a membership organization committed to addressing public policy issues on behalf of the region’s corporate and not-for-profit organizations. Mooney has had a long and distinguished career in the banking industry, most recently at Independence Community Bank where he was responsible for all business activities in Westchester and Connecticut.
In addition to his banking experience, Mooney has dedicated his time to philanthropic activities with not-for-profit and educational organizations. He has served as a chairman of the board of numerous organizations including United Way of Westchester and Putnam, St. Thomas Aquinas College, the Westchester County Association, American Heart Association’s Heart Walk, Red Cross Rockland County and Rockland Center for the Arts. Community Mutual Savings Bank has branches in Eastchester, Greenburgh, Mount Kisco, Mount Vernon, and West Harrison. The bank’s corporate offices are located in White Plains.
Marks Paneth & Shron LLP, a New York area accounting firm, recently announced the appointment of Brian Fox, CPA, as its chief financial officer. Fox has extensive experience in leading finance functions in complex client-service settings, having recently served as chief financial officer of Loureiro Engineering Associates, Inc., a Hartford, Connecticut-based environmental engineering and construction firm. MP&S is currently the 30th largest accounting firm in the nation and the 13th largest in the New York area, with headquarters in Manhattan and an office in Tarrytown.
Irvington resident Andrew Merryman has been named chairman of the Board of Directors of Phelps Memorial Hospital Center in Sleepy Hollow. Merryman joined the Phelps Board in March 2007 and has served on various committees, including Executive, Strategic Planning and New Ventures and also as a board member of the Robin’s Nest childcare center at Phelps. A management consultant for more than 35 years, Merryman founded the consulting firm Brecker & Merryman in 1973. In 2000, when the firm was sold to Manpower, Inc., Merryman stayed on as executive vice president and deputy chairman of its consulting subsidiary, The Empower Group. Merryman and his wife have lived in Irvington for nearly 30 years.
New businesses, relocations, and operations
Home-furnishing shoppers in the Sound Shore area gained another option earlier this month when HomeGoods opened another retail store in Port Chester. The store opened in the Port Chester Shopping Center on Boston Post Road, joining other chain outlets such as Modell’s and PetSmart in the shopping plaza. The store, which sells home decorations and furnishings, operates two other Westchester locations at the Crossroads Shopping Center in Greenburgh and the Mall at Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers.
Port Chester-based Seaboard Weatherproofing & Restoration recently completed restoration work on the Park Avenue Armory, a National Historic Landmark located on historic Park Avenue in New York City. Seaboard’s work included the rehabilitation of the Lexington Avenue façade and corner turrets as part of a $68 million restoration project funded by the Armory’s nonprofit conservancy.
Montag Rockets opened a new Johnny Rockets restaurant at The Shoppes at Eastchester on White Plains Road in Scarsdale. The 3,010-square-foot location is the 17th Johnny Rockets restaurant in the hamburger chain to open in the state of New York, and will employ roughly 40 people. The company operates another Johnny Rockets location in Mount Kisco.
The Academy for Entrepreneurial Excellence, an entrepreneurial training program, graduated its 11th class on May 31, 2011. The program, which puts established entrepreneurs through a boot camp of 15 weeks, is the result of a partnership between The Business Council of Westchester and the Professional Development Center at Westchester Community College. The entrepreneurial training program has helped local businesses grow, add employees and increase revenue.
The Captain Lawrence Brewing Company, a Pleasantville-based beer manufacturer, announced that it would relocate from the village to a new facility at 444 Saw Mill River Road in Greenburgh. Owner Scott Vaccaro explained the move in a May 28th article on Patch.com by saying that it was time the company moved to a facility that would support its continued growth for years to come. The new facility will have five times the capacity of the company’s current location and will allow Captain Lawrence to begin packaging beers in 12-ounce bottles. The facility will also contain an experimental brew house that will allow the brewery to develop new beers, and a tasting room that will be four times larger than the one at the Pleasantville location. The move is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Guiding Eyes for the Blind, an internationally accredited guide-dog school based in Yorktown Heights, recently welcomed the return of New York Giants Quarterback Eli Manning at the Spring Tee Off for its 34rd Annual Guiding Eyes Golf Classic. The school hosted a sponsor recognition party at Mulino’s of Westchester in White Plains on May 23. The Golf Classic was held this past Sunday and Monday at the Whippoorwill Club in Armonk and the Mount Kisco Country Club in Mount Kisco. Fourteen of the top U.S. blind golfers competed for the Corcoran Cup as part of the event. The Golf Classic, which was hosted by Diamond Sponsors Gatorade and Entergy Nuclear Northeast, raised roughly $600,000 for the Guiding Eyes school.
The Westchester Children’s Museum recently launched its T.A.G., You’re It! campaign in support of the organization’s bid for a 10-year lease at Rye Playland. Thecampaign encourages Westchester residents to visit the museum’s websiteand submit a pre-written letter urging county legislators to vote for the lease, which will be voted on at a public hearing in White Plains on June 20. Thegoal of the campaign is to educate residents on the benefits that the museumwill provide to regional families and future generations, and to demonstrateongoing community support for WCM at Playland. To learn more about the program, visit www.discoverWCM.org.
Looking for a vet that handles special cases? NYC Veterinary Specialists has announced that it will begin receiving internal medicine referral cases in White Plains within the Veterinary Emergency Group hospital at 193 Tarrytown Road. Keith Sobel, DVM, DACVIM, will see patients by referral from a family’s veterinarian for internal medicine illnesses such as endocrine, autoimmune, respiratory, infectious and hematologic disease. He is also experienced with special procedures including abdominal ultrasound, endoscopy, and bone marrow aspiration. NYC Veterinary Specialists also operates hospitals in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.
John Ritacco, president and CEO of White Plains-based Community Mutual Savings Bank, received an honorary doctorate degree of business administration from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, last month. Ritacco, a resident of Waccabuc, was the guest speaker for the May 19th commencement ceremony held at the Providence Performing Arts Center, and one of six distinguished individuals to receive honorary degrees from the university. He has served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Community Mutual Savings Bank since 2005. Ritacco is also actively involved in numerous Westchester County charitable organizations, having served as a Board member for the March of Dimes, the Westchester Arts Council, and Junior Achievement of the Hudson Valley, where he was the chairman of the Board from 2003 to 2005. He currently serves on the Board of the Westchester County Association.
United Hebrew of New Rochelle awarded its first annual Community Service Awards in Health Care to three major area healthcare facilities; Burke Rehabilitation Hospital of White Plains, White Plains Hospital Center and Sound Shore Medical Center of New Rochelle. The ceremony took place recently at United Hebrew of New Rochelle’s nursing home and rehabilitation pavilion on Pelham Road. The organizations were chosen in recognition of their “dedication to enhancing the lives of people in the local community through…many inspiring initiatives in healthcare.”
Two scientists from Regeneron Pharmaceutical, Inc.of Tarrytown — Dr. Andrew Murphy and Dr. David M. Valenzuela — were honored with this year’s Purchase CollegeScience Entrepreneurship Awards. The nominees were evaluated and selected by a panel of Purchase College faculty based on their scientific excellence, ability to integrate science with business, their vision and innovation, social responsibility, and their positive role model for future generations.
Valenzuela, a molecular biologist, helped develop new state-of-the art genetic engineering approaches to maximize use of the mouse as a model system for studying human genes and diseases. He led a team that created VelociGene, a more efficient way to manipulate the mouse genome.
Murphy was an early contributor to the development of VelociGene technology. He led the team that developed the Veloclmmune mouse, a genetically humanized mouse that can be used to efficiently produce fully human antibodies that can be developed as therapeutic substances for the treatment of human diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, high cholesterol, asthma, atopic dermatitis, and allergic conditions.
Tony Lembeck, CEO of NAI Friedland Realty, a commercial real estate brokerage in Yonkers, was recently awarded a “Greenie” award for outstanding environmental good deeds by the Yonkers Green Policy Task Force. Lembeck accepted the award at the Beczak Environmental Education Center. he award recognized the company’s paper recycling program, which has reduced the firm’s waste by 75 percent.
The Westchester County Office of Economic Development was honored for its “Intellectual Capital” marketing campaign at the New York State Economic Development Council’s (NYSEDC) annual meeting held last month in Cooperstown. The county office won the top prize in its class for each of the three categories in which it was entered, including Best Development Brochure, Best Printed Advertising Material, and Best Website. The annual awards recognize achievements in business marketing among the state’s leading economic development organizations.
The trademarked slogan “Westchester County – New York’s Intellectual Capital” formed the basis of the campaign. The print ads featured items in people’s everyday lives – a picket fence, a coffee cup, and someone’s own hand – adorned with complex mathematical, chemical, and engineering formulas. The marketing campaign was created and implemented by Thompson & Bender, a public relations and advertising agency based in Briarcliff Manor.
As the stock market tumbled earlier this month due to fears of a stalling economic recovery, local business leaders came up with plans to stem the tide locally through a variety of strategies to get the county’s economy back on a positive track.
The Westchester County Association’s Economic Development Task Force held a press conference in White Plains last month to present their multi-million dollar, multi-year plan to revitalize the local economy. The plan, known as the Blueprint for Westchester, will aim to reduce the inventory of unoccupied commercial space by 50 percent, create an advocacy campaign in Albany for a tax cap and other business-friendly measures, and raise $3 million for a marketing campaign touting Westchester’s business strengths. The plans calls for promoting the county’s six cities as suitable urban locations for business due to their proximity to housing and transportation, as well as creating an incubator for emerging businesses and foster a “functional relationship” between business and Westchester’s higher education institutions, and more.
Biotech continued to be at the heart of much of the county’s economic growth activity, as evidenced by a developer’s plans to open a health and science park in Valhalla. As reported in a May 26th article in the Westchester County Business Journal, Greenwich, Connecticut, developer John Fareri presented plans for a 2,000,000-square-foot park on an 80-acre site adjoining the Westchester Medical Center campus. The Children’s Living Science Center, an interactive health museum that would be privately funded and operated by a nonprofit group, would serve as the anchor of the project and serve as an extension of the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, named for the developer’s late daughter who died of rabies 16 years ago at the Westchester Medical Center. The project site is also near the Landmark at Eastview, which is currently the largest research park for biotech companies in the county.
While Fareri owns 20 of the proposed acres, he will need approval to lease the remaining 60 acres from the county. The County Board of Legislators is expected to consider legislation that will authorize County Executive Robert Astorino to negotiate a long-term lease for the property. Any lease agreement would also be subject to Board approval.
The falling price of real estate across the country represented another reason for concern in the past few weeks, and Westchester wasn’t immune to these fears — unless you happened to live in the right community. As noted in a June 3rd article on Patch.com, the Scarsdale and Edgemont real estate markets in central Westchester continued to buck a national trend.
While other areas of the county have seen real estate prices drop dramatically, home sales soared in the Scarsdale area during May. There were 14 homes sold in Scarsdale last month, an increase of two homes from May of last year, and average sales price for houses soared to $2,146,690—the highest average price for May in the past five years. In Edgemont, a neighboring community, eight home sales were finalized last month, doubling the figure from the same period last year—even while the average sales price of $1,121,813 was down from 2010.
Meanwhile, the county’s Hudson River towns continued to look for outside help to aid the local economy, promoting their quaint villages as ideal tourism destinations. The Hastings On Hudson Chamber of Commerce along with the Rivertowns Tourism Board and the Westchester County Office of Tourism teamed up with numerous corporate sponsors to host a “Discover the Rivertowns” promotion during the first weekend of June. The weekend invited visitors to take advantage of two guided walks along the Old Croton Aqueduct, including stops at area historical attractions, as well as numerous events including farmer’s markets, concerts and street fairs. The weekend promotion was heavily marketed on WFUV radio, one of the co-sponsors.
The tourism promotion followed a tentative agreement between Greenburgh officials and local hotels on a two-percent occupancy tax. Under the agreement, as reported in a May 19th article on Patch.com, town officials would use one-quarter of the proceeds from the tax to promote tourism in the area, including putting up signs and listing local hotels on the town’s website. The town had sought a three-percent occupancy tax that was previously introduced in the state legislature, but hotel officials balked at the idea, saying it would have a negative impact on business and force visitors to seek lodging in neighboring areas. The 3-percent tax is already in effect in Rye, White Plains, Peekskill, and New Rochelle – and local village officials have yet to indicate whether they will support the revised proposal.
Mack-Cali Realty Corporation
The one-story structure is an office/flex building with 80,000 square feet available for a variety of office, retail. and light industrial uses.
The building is part of the 140-acre South Westchester Executive Park, located only four miles from the New York City line. Tenants can take advantage of an on-site gas station, a bank with ATM, full service restaurant, a health club, a childcare center and a U.S. Post Office. The building is only minutes away from the Greystone Metro-North station with 35-minute service to Grand Central Station. The park offers direct access to the Saw Mill River Parkway at the Executive Boulevard exit, and connects with Route 9A, Interstates 87 and 287, and the Sprain Brook and Cross County parkways.
Business Breakfast Dialogue — 7:30 am to 9:15 am at Antun’s of Westchester Catering & Events, 35 Valley Ave, Elmsford. Demonstrate your expertise as you discuss topical business issues with fellow Business Council of Westchester members at this monthly business development event. Share and listen to build the referral relationships necessary to grow your business. This event is open only to BCW members. $27; monthly sponsorships available. Pre-registration is required. To register, visit the Business Council website at www.westchesterny.org
Top Chefs of Northern Westchester — 6 pm to 8 pm at the Mount Kisco Country Club, 10 Taylor Rd, Mount Kisco. Enjoy an epicurean evening as chefs from the region’s top dining establishments showcase their signature dishes. The event will benefit the United Way’s Teach Me to Fish…Work Skills for Life Initiative, a program that helps people become financially stable. $75 in advance; $100 at the door. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the United Way of Westchester and Putnam website at www.uwwp.org
Social Media Seminar — 7:30 am to 12:30 pm at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 66 Hale Ave, White Plains. Presented by digital marketing firm Drive Action Digital, this seminar will cover the most popular social destinations and help you understand the best practices, proper etiquette and tips for maximizing your efforts within each network. $100. Advance registration is required. For more information and to register, visit www.driveactiondigital.com/events/social-media-seminar/
Workshop: Sales Strategies — 1 pm to 3 pm at 120 Bloomingdale Rd, White Plains. Presented by SCORE Westchester, this workshop will cover the importance of establishing a unique sales edge, building a customer profile, performing market research, and more. Free. For more information, call (914) 948-3907 or visit www.scorewestchester.com
Lunch & Learn: Best Practices in Innovative Online Marketing for Growing Businesses — 11:30 am to 2 pm at Sam’s of Gedney Way, 52 Gedney Way, White Plains. Join the Westchester County Association for lunch and a panel discussion that will explore ways to exponentially leverage online marketing to grow your business and provide ‘take home’ insight in how you can use local marketing, mobile advertising, and social media to help accomplish your business goals. $40 for members; $50 for future members. For more information and to register, visit the WCA website at www.westchester.org
Westchester Magazine’s Wine and Food Weekend — Noon on Saturday, June 18 to 4 pm on Sunday, June 19 at the Ritz-Carlton, Westchester, Three Renaissance Sq, White Plains. Join Westchester Magazine as it presents the finest food and wine from 50 different area restaurants along with live cooking demonstrations from the area’s top chefs. The event will also feature wine and spirit tastings, book signings, seminars and a Winemakers’ Dinner catered by top chefs. Tickets start at $25. For more information, visit the Westchester Magazine website at westchestermagazine.com
Business After Business Networking Event — 5 pm to 7 pm at The Mansion at Colonial Terrace, 119 Oregon Rd, Cortlandt Manor. Discover new connections, meet new business prospects, and solidify your referral relationships at these casual, after-hours networking events hosted by the Business Council of Westchester. $20 for members; $40 for future members. Reservations required. To register, visit the Business Council website at www.westchesterny.org
Workshop: A Winning Business Plan — 1 pm to 3 pm at 120 Bloomingdale Rd, White Plains. Presented by SCORE Westchester, this workshop will how to write a winning business plan to give you goals and directions, measure performance, and share with potential investors. Free. For more information, call (914) 948-3907 or visit www.scorewestchester.com
Workshop: Marketing, Advertising, & Public Relations — 1 pm to 3 pm at 120 Bloomingdale Rd, White Plains. Presented by SCORE Westchester, this interactive workshop will focus on communications using the words that consumer think about when they are ready to purchase a product or service. All media will be discussed: how to have an effective business card, how to develop a unique selling proposition, how to develop a website that works, and how to use direct mail for great effect. Free. For more information, call (914) 948-3907 or visit www.scorewestchester.com
Young Professionals Networking Series — 5:30 pm to 8 pm at the Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College, 735 Anderson Hill Rd, Purchase. Join the Westchester County Association for a one-of-a-kind networking event at the Neuberger Museum. Co-hosted by the Westchester Chapter of New York State Society of CPAs, the Westchester County Bar Association, and the Westchester Women’s Bar Association. $35 for members; $45 for future members. For more information and to register, visit the WCA website at www.westchester.org
Connecting Westchester — 5:30 pm to 8 pm at the Mansion at Renaissance Westchester Hotel, 80 West Red Oak Lane, West Harrison. Join the Westchester County Association for its annual summer networking event and purchase a raffle ticket to win two tickets to the WCA’s fall dinner. $60 for members; $75 for future members. For more information and to register, visit the WCA website at www.westchester.org
914INC. Accomplished Women Entrepreneur (AWE) Awards — 914INC., the business lifestyle publication launched by Westchester Magazine, is seeking to showcase the greatest success stories among women entrepreneurs throughout the Westchester business community. Female entrepreneurs selected by the magazine’s editors will be featured in its October cover story, and will be honored at an awards ceremony. To be eligible for consideration, the candidate must be the founder of the business, the business must physically reside in Westchester County and the success and general excellence of the business must be demonstrable. Self-nominations will be accepted. For more information, or to apply for consideration, visit the AWE Awards online entry form at https://westchestermagazine.com/914INC/Accomplished-Women-Entrepreneurs-Awards/