R5 Business Council of Westchester Welcomes New Board Chairman and Directors

WHITE PLAINS ­— The following business leaders have been elected to the Board of Directors of The Business Council of Westchester.

Christopher O’Callaghan
Chairman of the Board

Chris O’Callaghan serves as a senior director of Cushman & Wakefield in the Rye Brook office. He has been one of the most active commercial office brokers in Westchester and Fairfield counties for the past 21 years and has negotiated several significant real estate transactions in the region, including the sale of the former Texaco corporate headquarters in Purchase to Morgan Stanley and the leasing of 135,000 square feet at 900 King Street in Rye Brook to Cadbury Beverages America. He is a graduate of St. Lawrence University, has served on the Boards of NAOIP (The National Association of Industrial and Office Parks), The Food Bank for Westchester and the Westchester Chapter of the Red Cross. Additionally, he has served as president of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of Westchester and is also a member of REFA (The Real Estate Finance Association).

Michael Weinstein
Executive Board

Michael Weinstein is chairman of INOV8 Beverage Company LLC, a beverage development company, which he co-founded in 2005 after six years as CEO of the Snapple Beverage Group and two as Cadbury Schweppes’s President of Global Innovation and Business Development. He is currently managing the national roll-out of a new healthy energy beverage called “Hydrive.”

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Thomas R. Lalla, Jr.

Thomas Lalla Jr. is the general counsel of Pernod Ricard USA, a position that he has held for the past 17 years. He also holds the position of Vice President – Administration and Legal Affairs and acts as the general counsel of Pernod Ricard Americas.

Jacqueline Sanders

Jacqueline Sanders is the general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester. Prior to her arrival in Westchester, she was hotel manager at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park in Manhattan for four years.

Business Council Partners On Green Jobs’ Training
WHITE PLAINS — Recognizing that the local economy is not producing enough jobs to keep up with those being lost, Westchester County recently announced new strategies it is taking in partnership with The Business Council of Westchester and the New York State Labor Department to try to reduce unemployment.
At a press conference at the One-Stop Employment Center in White Plains last month, Westchester County Executive Andy Spano, reacting to the latest jobless figures announced by the New York State Department of Labor, said that the county has been pro-active in coming up with new ways to weather the tough economy.
One example, said Spano, is a new “Green Jobs” training program in which the county’s One-Stop Employment Center is re-training unemployed workers to become “Energy Analysts” for a new, off-shoot businesses started by Robison Oil. The company wanted to hire 12 new energy analysts, but found few qualified candidates for the job since it is essentially a new job field. The One-Stop stepped in to find candidates and train them while using grant money to help pay part of their salaries during their initial on-the job training phase.
Dan Singer of Robison praised the program, saying it helped his local business expand and create more jobs.
Although jobless numbers in Westchester are below national numbers, which are at about 7.2 percent, the number of unemployed continues to rise. The Labor Department announced that the December jobless rate had increased to 5.7 percent up from 3.7 percent last year at this time. In November the jobless rate in Westchester was 5.2 percent, up from 4.8 percent the month before.
“We are in a tough economy,’’ said Spano. “The face of unemployment is changing. We are seeing more white-collar workers at the One-Stop and there are fewer jobs to be had. Programs like the new “Green Jobs” training program help stimulate the local economy and create jobs.’
The “Green Jobs” training program is just one example of strategies being developed by the county’s Economic Response Committee. The committee, which had its first meeting last month, has already outlined a course of action to bring down jobless numbers.
Marsha Gordon, president and chief executive officer of The Business Council of Westchester, is chair of the Economic Response Committee. Gordon said the committee has brought together experts from the business community, the state Labor Department, the Urban League, Westchester Community College, the Westchester Industrial Development Agency, the Office of Economic Development and others to find the best way to attack the problem.
“One of our primary missions is to let the public know—particularly the business community – that the One-Stop Employment Center has many resources to offer them,’’ Gordon related. “Another is to try to attract federal economic stimulus dollars here to Westchester by identifying eligible projects and making sure we have a network in place when those monies become available.’’
Spano added that one under-used service supplied by the Labor Department through the One-Stop is a Rapid Response Team, which can help employers who are about to lay off employees. The team is available to come into companies and work to find new jobs for employees who are about to lose their jobs and help them with unemployment benefits and other information.
“I don’t think that many businesses are aware of this program, which would be very helpful to them and their employees,’’ said Spano.
While the One-Stop has been successful in training and placing the unemployed that challenge becomes greater as jobs dry up in a slow economy so more innovative strategies are needed.
During 2008, the One-Stop served 19,113 people compared to 13,637 the year before, an increase of 40 percent. While the One-Stop was successful in finding jobs for 7,959 customers in 2007, their success rate dropped 50 percent the following year with only 3,162 of the 19,113 finding jobs in 2008. This was primarily due to a wave of layoffs in the latter part of 2008.
The One-Stop Employment Center is part of the Westchester-Putnam Workforce Investment System that receives funding from the New York State Labor Department to conduct training and employment programs.

Nominate a Rising Star
WHITE PLAINS — Since 2004, The Business Council of Westchester has held its annual Rising Stars event to honor business leaders throughout Westchester County. Modeled after the national business recognition program “Forty under Forty,” Rising Stars pays tribute to individuals in Westchester who are making their mark in their chosen profession at a young age. This innovative program is specifically designed to acknowledge individuals under the age of 40 who surpass expectations, raise the bar and set new standards for success. Forty young men and women who exemplify leadership, foresight and a vision for the future of Westchester County will be selected as Rising Stars Class of 2009.
Anyone over 21years of age who works in Westchester and remains under the age of 40 through Dec. 31, 2009 is eligible for consideration as a “RisingStar” award winner.
Winners will be selected based on the following criteria: Professional and/or Entrepreneurial Accomplishments: The individual has made a significant contribution in their field or has achieved a position of authority and leadership. Demonstrated leadership qualities: The individual has made a significant impact and achieved success within his or her field of business. Professional and/or Business Affiliations: There is evidence of improvement of business skill set through education, professional development or other means.
Nominations are being accepted starting in late February. Visit www.westchesterny.org for more information, or contact Pat Nicolais at pnicolais@ westchesterny.org or (914) 948-2110.

CLOUT! Offers Opportunity
For Mid-Size Businesses
WHITE PLAINS — CLOUT!, The Business Council of Westchester’s Executive Collaborative, is a group of owners of mid-size businesses who are willing to share, learn and collaborate to grow their businesses. CLOUT! provides the resources and expertise to enable mid-size companies to reach or surpass their business goals and transform from successful businesses to ones of significance… financially, in their industry, and in the community.
The program consists of eight CLOUT! Circles per year; each Circle has a professional facilitator and includes facilitated collaboration, expert education and one-on-one sections. Quarterly Business Labs are longer sessions structured to create significant breakthroughs for business growth and financial success. Annual CLOUT! Summits at annual events where successful, nationally known business people join CLOUT! for a business development and enjoyment.
“The members are a group of true professionals who discuss the real ‘meat and potato’ issues relevant to all businesses today,” attests CLOUT! member Thomas M. Sternberg, CIC, chairman of SKCG Group, Inc. “It’s been an eye opening year; not only being part of the member-to-member discussions, but also to hear from outside experts who have something unique to offer all of us. I’ve met some excellent resources, and made not just a few good friends in the process.”
A second CLOUT! Circle is forming now. Call (914) 948-2110 for details.

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Mark Your Calendar Now
For Mega Mixer Business Expo
TARRYTOWN— On March 12, exhibit at the 7th annual Mega Mixer—Westchester’s largest business tradeshow—and introduce your business to upwards of 1,000 potential customers. More than 200 exhibitors–ranging from small and mid-size businesses to not-for-profits and corporations in a vast range of industries–participate each year. Three “extras” allow exhibitors to really stand out from the crowd: In the Green Aisle, eco-friendly companies steal the spotlight in a special exhibition space; Food and beverage companies participate as Mega Samplers and draw a crowd all day long; Subject-matter experts educate attendees at short seminars throughout the day in the Speaker’s Spot. High-visibility sponsorships are also available.
The Mega Mixer takes place from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Tarrytown. The cost is $425 for members and $525 for future members. For details and reservations visit westchesterny.org, or contact Ebony White at ewhite@westchesterny.org or (914) 948-2110.

Starting or Growing
A Small Business?
WHITE PLAINS — New York State Small Business Development Center, a business assistance organization in New York, is located in the offices of The Business Council of Westchester. Start-
up and small businesses are eligible for free one-on-one counseling to discuss starting a business or improving the performance of an existing business. For more information and/or to set up a confidential appointment, call Louis Scarmardella at The Business Council of Westchester: (914) 948-2110.

Our Westchester Home Design Awards event is June 26!

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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