Business Leaders Like Astorino’s SOTC Address
Last night’s State of the County address, given by County Executive Robert P. Astorino, quickly received praise from the Business Council of Westchester (BCW), which cited Astorino’s focus on attracting businesses to Westchester, controlling government spending and, for the sixth consecutive year, not increasing the county tax levy.
“So many businesses in our area have been forced to tighten their belts in recent years and make tough spending choices,” said Dr. Marsha Gordon, BCW president and CEO, who attended the speech. “We’re pleased with County Executive Astorino’s business-like approach and we are firmly behind his efforts to keep taxes at bay and control spending while simultaneously seeking to attract new businesses to our county and growing its tax base. The BCW shares these goals and will continue to work in partnership with the Astorino Administration to achieve success. It’s the right approach and demonstrates why Westchester is a smart place to do business.”
Westchester’s Office Leasing At Highest Level In Two Years
A new report from Stamford-based real estate services firm JLL reported that in the first quarter of this 2015, Westchester County witnessed the largest amount of leasing activity the market has seen in nearly two years. In another encouraging sign for a market that has posted limited activity for the past few quarters, tenants currently in the market for office space have combined requirements totaling approximately 700,000 square feet. Westchester County recorded 488,474 square feet in transactions in the first quarter of the year, marking a whopping 70.6 percent increase in deal velocity compared with the 286,104 square feet leased the previous quarter. Despite the increase in leasing activity, the county witnessed 51,400 square feet in negative absorption this quarter due to space put back on the market at 555 Taxter Road in Elmsford and 1 North Broadway in White Plains. The largest transactions completed in the first quarter of the year include Hudson Health Plan signing for 57,315 square feet at 303 South Broadway in Tarrytown, PURE Insurance Co. leasing 43,948 square feet at 44 South Broadway in White Plains and FedEx taking 36,500 square feet at 669 South Third Avenue in Mount Vernon.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals CEO Leonard Schleifer (above, center) was selected by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to visit Cuba on a business trip.
Two Westchester Biz Leaders Accompany Cuomo in Cuba
When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo left New York for his much-touted trade mission to Cuba earlier this week, two Westchester business leaders joined him: Walt M. Macnee, vice chairman of MasterCard in Purchase, and Leonard Schleifer, MD-PhD, CEO of Tarrytown-based Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. The mission of the trip was meeting with Cuban officials to find ways to start new economic partnerships as the US and Cuba begin the process of normalizing relations. Of choosing Macnee and Schleifer and other heavy hitters from New York’s business scene, Cuomo said: “The representatives in New York’s delegation will help ensure Empire State companies are at the front of the line as the door opens to a market that has been closed to US enterprise for over half a century,”
New Crop of Companies Inducted Into Biz Council Hall of Fame
More than 600 people turned out to Glen Island Harbour Club in New Rochelle on April 21 for The Business Council’s Business Hall of Fame Awards, which included a Broadway-themed celebration complete with a Playbill-styled red carpet, a Liza Minnelli look-alike, and performances by singers from the Westchester Broadway Theater.
“These winners represent all that is great in Westchester’s business community, its economy, and its future,” said Marsha Gordon, president and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester, of the six new businesses inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The winners in their respective categories were: Corporate Citizenship: New York Medical College in Valhalla; Entrepreneurial Success: Mindspark in Yonkers; Small Business Success: York International Agency, LLC in Harrison; Women in Business Success: Rella Fogliano, president of MacQuesten Development in Pelham; Family Owned Business: American Christmas in Mount Vernon; Chairman’s Recognition Award: Beecher Flooks Funeral Home in Pleasantville.
PepsiCo Reports Q1 Results
How is Purchase-based beverage giant PepsiCo doing right now? Pretty well, according to its just-reported Q1 results. According to Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi: “We are pleased with our performance for the first quarter of 2015. Our focus on innovation, brand building, and marketplace execution, funded in part by our productivity initiatives, continues to drive strong, fundamental business performance. In the quarter, we generated 4.4 percent organic revenue growth and we once again expanded both gross and operating margins.” Here, some of the highlights for PepsiCo:
Organic revenue grew 4.4 percent
Core gross margin expanded 150 basis points
Core EPS increased 1 percent to $0.83
Net revenue declined 3 percent reflecting the impact of adverse foreign exchange translation
Gross margin expanded 100 basis points
EPS increased 3 percent to $0.81
For 2015, on track to deliver approximately $1 billion productivity savings and $8.5 to $9 billion cash return to shareholders
Westchester Entrepreneurs Have Chance for “Face Time” at HealthTech Conference
One of the biggest hurdles for high-tech entrepreneurs is getting face time with prospective customers, particularly senior hospital executives who can fast-track purchasing decisions. The Westchester County Association’s upcoming HealthTech conference (May 18-19 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Tarrytown) is aiming to provide just that for local entrepreneurs. The conference is running a unique pitch event called “Face Time for Entrepreneurs;” participants will have a chance to pitch their big ideas to a panel of healthcare CEOs, CIOs, and IT chiefs. The deadline to apply to participate in the pitch event is April 24th and can be done online here.
More details and the full conference agenda are available at healthtechwca.com