If you are struggling to access mental health services on Long Island, you’re not alone. Even those with health insurance face challenges when trying to access care. That’s according to the findings in the latest Mount Sinai South Nassau “Truth in Medicine” poll, released Tuesday.
“We have a crisis on Long Island when it comes to the lack of mental health services,” Dr. Adhi Sharma, president of Mount Sinai South Nassau, said in a statement about the findings. Sponsored by Bethpage Credit Union, the poll was conducted between July 24 and July 28 via landlines and cell phones with 600 Long Islanders.
The findings have a margin of era of plus or minus 3.9%. People seek mental health services for a host of reasons. But since the pandemic, anxiety, depression, social isolation and fear of contracting COVID-19 were the most prevalent, according to the poll. Among those surveyed, 92% have health insurance. Still, of those seeking care, 36% said that getting the help they wanted or needed was “challenging” mostly because of difficulty scheduling capacity or lack of coverage by their health insurers.
Additional challenges include proximity of providers and affordability. And institutions – including government, municipalities and schools – could do more to increase the scope of mental health services in the region, survey respondents said. Of those surveyed, 46% said government does not do enough to help, while 32% said government does.
“The poll results strongly indicate that providers are working at or beyond capacity,” Sharma said. “This calls for an aggressive expansion of mental health screening, prevention and intervention services to meet the present and future demand for them.”
Since the pandemic, about 84% of mental health providers have seen an increase in demand for treatment of anxiety, compared with 74% a year ago, while 72% of providers have seen an increase in demand for treatment of depression, compared with 60% in 2020. School officials have reported spikes in demand for mental health services among students, including elementary and middle-schoolers, according to Mount Sinai South Nassau.
Meanwhile, some psychiatrists and psychologists report high demand for services but difficulty finding adequate staff to meet demand. Some local school leaders have called on government officials to do more to address mental health needs in the schools and local communities. In the event of a mental health emergency, 64% of respondents and 80% of respondents with children said they know where to find services, while 20% disagreed, and 17% were unsure.
Mount Sinai South Nassau has a 36-bed inpatient mental health unit and offers behavioral health services at its Mental Health Counseling Center in Baldwin, as well as its Center for Primary and Behavioral Healthcare in Hempstead. And across Long Island, health systems do offer mental health services, including NYU Langone Hospital Long Island, Stony Brook Medicine, Catholic Health and Northwell Health, which now features several pediatric behavioral health urgent care centers.
Other organizations that provide mental health services or access to support include North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center as well as Family & Children’s Association and Family Service League, among others.
Meanwhile, the recent Truth in Medicine poll found a mixed response as to whether the region’s mental health services are adequate. In the survey, 36% said they are satisfactory, 29% said they are not and 35% were unsure. About 50% who used mental health services said they suffice.
“The stressors of modern life are challenging for most of us and have been made that much harder by the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and the hardship and grief that it has caused,” Dr. Aaron Glatt, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Mount Sinai South Nassau, said in the statement. “There are actions that we can take to live confidently and safely during the pandemic. If you or someone you love is struggling emotionally and that is interfering with daily life, don’t wait to get help,” Glatt said.
A full 89% of respondents and 97% of those who have used mental health services since the start of the pandemic say mental healthcare should be a priority for hospitals, just as cancer and heart health are.
While the rate of children and teenagers receiving therapy for mental health issues related to stress, anxiety, bullying, or substance abuse has increased, it was exacerbated by COVID-19. In the past year, 15% with young children and 20% with a child under 12 sought professional help for a child’s mental health, the poll found.
Recognizing that many children with psychiatric disorders remain unidentified and untreated, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently issued a recommendation calling for anxiety screening of asymptomatic children ages eight to 18 who have not been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and screening of children ages 12 to 18 for major depressive disorder. Of those who accessed mental health care for a child, 25% say it was in person, 21% say they used telemedicine, and 43% used both.
Among those who used telemedicine, most rate it as only fair. Those who did not use telemedicine expressed little interest in doing so in the future. “The key to knowing when to seek out help is to determine how the symptoms are affecting overall functioning,” Dr. Stanley Reddy, chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Mount Sinai South Nassau, said in a statement. “Marked decreases in functioning at work, school, and home should be evaluated by a professional promptly before it becomes an emergency.”
A benefit for the Children’s Center at Nassau County Family Court is set for Thursday, Oct. 27, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Tesoro’s Ristorante in Westbury.
The center serves as a safe place to bring children, from infants to 12 years old, while parents conduct court business, which can often be contentious and even traumatizing for kids.
But the center, which is run by North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, helps kids avoid those kinds of experiences.
“The Children’s Center at Nassau County Family Court provides a valuable service because it allows children to be insulated from the stress involved in the horror of family court litigation,” John Zenir, co-chair of the fundraiser said in a statement.
“Just imagine a six-year-old sitting in a public waiting room outside of a courtroom not knowing what is happening,” Zenir added. “What fear and dread that child must feel! Instead, he or she can go to the Children’s Center and play with toys, read a book and have a snack while being attended to by qualified professionals.”
“The Children’s Center at Nassau County Family Court provides a safe, nurturing environment for children while their parents or other caretakers sort out their legal affairs,” Allison Cacace, co-chair of the event and director of Tobay Day School and owner of Casino One Limousines. “It is extremely important that we raise awareness and funds for this invaluable service that makes a positive impact on children and is also greatly beneficial to those who can’t afford to pay for childcare during court sessions.”
“The mission of the Women’s Bar includes promoting the fair and equal administration of justice,” said Cherice P. Vanderhall Wilson, President of the Nassau County Women’s Bar Association, which is co-hosting the benefit. “The Children’s Center eliminates childcare as a barrier to justice and provides a resource for those who need it while they seek assistance from one the County’s most important courts.”
Nellie Taylor-Walthrust, director of the Guidance Center’s Leeds Place, said that the Children’s Center” not only provides childcare, but it’s also an early learning environment, and each child leaves with a book to take home.”
North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, the preeminent not-for-profit children’s mental health agency on Long Island, is pleased to announce that Michael Schnepper has joined its Board of Directors.
Schnepper, a Partner in Rivkin Radler’s Commercial Litigation, Insurance Coverage and Insurance Fraud Practice Groups, is a longtime supporter of the Guidance Center’s mission to bring hope and healing to children and families facing mental health challenges. For nearly a decade, Schnepper has served as co-chair of one of the most important of the Guidance Center’s annual fundraising events, the Jonathan Krevat Memorial Golf & Tennis Classic.
“We feel extremely fortunate to have Michael joining us,” said Paul Vitale, President of the Guidance Center’s Board of Directors. “He has been a vital force in making the Krevat Cup a huge success year after year, and he approaches the role with enthusiasm, creativity and a wonderful sense of humor. We have no doubts that he will bring that spirit to his work on our Board.”
“It’s a real privilege to become part of the dynamic team at the Guidance Center,” said Schnepper. “The past few years have been an enormous challenge for the kids and families of Long Island, making the need for compassionate, expert mental health services more important than ever before. I look forward to working with the dedicated Board Members who give so much of their time and devotion to this amazing organization.”
Grammy-winning jazz saxophonist Kenny G is the guest performer at the North Shore Child & Family Guidance fundraiser, which will be held Sept. 8 at 6:30 p.m. at Manhasset Bay Yacht Club in Port Washington.
Kenny G has sold 75 million albums across the world. His works including Breathless, the instrumental album released in 1992. His 19th studio album, New Standards, was released in 2021.
The evening will feature cocktails, dining, water views and auction proceeds, with all proceeds benefitting the Guidance Center, the children’s mental health nonprofit organization that has served Long Island for nearly 70 years.
“After having to postpone our in-person event for the past two years due to the pandemic, we are so excited to be welcoming back our devoted supporters for what promises to be a spectacular evening,” Kathy Rivera, executive director of the Guidance Center, said in a statement.
She added that the center “has been committed to providing essential mental health services to the children and families in our community, regardless of their ability to pay. And those services are needed more than ever during these very difficult times, when depression, anxiety and other mental health challenges are at epidemic proportions among our youth.”
The co-chairs for this year’s event are longtime Guidance Center supporters Nancy and Lew Lane and Andrea and Michael Leeds. The mistress of ceremonies will be Stacey Sager of Channel 7 Eyewitness News.
To learn more about becoming a sponsor or an underwriter or purchasing tickets, visit www.northshorechildguidance.org/sunsetsoiree.
North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center raised $150,000 at a recent golf outing to support children’s mental health.
This year marked the 25th anniversary for the event, the Jonathan Krevat Memorial Golf & Tennis Classic, which was held at the Engineers Country Club in Roslyn Heights.
The funds raised supports the centers work in bringing “hope and healing to children and families dealing with mental health or substance use challenges,” according to the organization.
And more than $25,000 in additional funds were raised for the Guidance Center’s Douglas S. Feldman Suicide Prevention Project, which was launched in September 2020.
This year’s honoree was Jeff Krevat, a longtime supporter of the Guidance Center and founder of the Krevat Cup, which is named in honor of his brother.
“The mission of the Guidance Center is more important than ever before, with children and teens suffering from serious mental health challenges,” Krevat, a former board member, said in a statement. “I am grateful to my friends and family for coming out to honor my brother’s legacy and support an organization that makes a real difference for the kids in our community.”
Rachel Priest, a mental health professional who was a Guidance Center client as a teen, was this year’s speaker.
“The life-affirming care I received from the Guidance Center saved my life,” she told the audience.
“I was able to accomplish wonderful things over the years both socially and academically” because of the dedication, skills and compassion of her Guidance Center therapists,” she added. “Knowing that the care I received over 20 years ago is still available and expanding lets me know that the Guidance Center is still changing lives every day.”
Michael Mondiello, Dan Oliver, Michael Schnepper and Troy Slade co-chaired the event. Dan Donnelly served as the event’s emcee and auctioneer.
“I consider it a privilege to be here today to help raise money to support the incredible work that truly makes a difference in the lives of children and their families,” he said.
Published in Long Island Business News, April 18, 2022
North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center will host its annual spring luncheon – this year in-person – on April 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Glen Head Country Club.
After a cancelled 2020 event and a virtual 2021 luncheon amid COVID, this year’s event continues to raise funds to support the organization at a time of “heightened anxiety and depression among children and teens,” according to the organization.
The day includes mahjong, canasta and bridge, as well as boutique shopping for jewelry, clothing, accessories and housewares.
Keynote speaker is Leg. Josh Lafazan who has passed bills that address the opioid epidemic, caring for veterans and advocacy for those with disabilities.
This year’s spring luncheon co-chairs are Jan Ashley, Amy Cantor and Alexis Siegel.
Photo: This year’s spring luncheon co-chairs are Jan Ashley, Amy Cantor and Alexis Siegel.
Helene Fortunoff, one of the country’s most successful jewelry retailers and matriarch of the Fortunoff family, died in Miami Beach Monday from a non-COVID respiratory illness. She was 88.
Fortunoff was best known as a jewelry entrepreneur and shrewd businesswoman who started out with a few showcases in her family’s housewares store on Livonia Avenue in Brooklyn in the 1950s and grew the business into a multi-million-dollar chain anchored by a flagship store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.
Born in 1933 to Samuel and Tillie Finke in Paterson, N.J., she graduated cum laude with a degree in business administration from New York University, where she met her first husband, Alan Fortunoff, with whom she had six children. Her jewelry career began when she entered Alan’s family housewares business, started in 1922 by Max and Clara Fortunoff.
Helene Fortunoff was instrumental in establishing Fortunoff Fine Jewelry and Silverware, the fine jewelry and housewares retail chain that had stores in Westbury, White Plains, Manhattan, Paramus, N.J., Wayne, N.J. and Woodbridge, N.J. She retired in 2005 after the sale of the company, which had been recognized by National Jeweler magazine two years earlier as the 24 largest jewelry retailer in the United States.
Fortunoff was the first recipient of the National Jewelers Award for retailing excellence and received the same honor from the Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) Hall of Fame in 1993. She was elected president of WJA and chaired the organization for more than 15 years. Fortunoff was also a recipient of the American Gem Society’s 2001 Triple Zero Award.
Fortunoff served as the chair of the Board of Governors of the Gemological Institute of America and in Jan. 2006, she received a Gem Award for lifetime achievement from the Jewelry Information Center, presented by Lauren Bacall, a longtime spokesperson for the brand.
Besides her numerous business achievements, Fortunoff was active in community and religious causes. A past trustee of the North Shore Family and Child Guidance Association, she was honored as their 1996 Woman of Achievement. Fortunoff was a past chair of the Board of Trustees of Hofstra University and a charter member of the UJA Women of Distinction and a Lion of Judah of that organization. She supported The Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University, The Lustgarten Foundation, and Mount Sinai Medical Center Foundation.
Fortunoff is survived by her husband Robert Grossman, who she married in 2006. She is also survived by five children, Esther, Andrea, Rhonda, Ruth, and David. Her son Louis passed away in 2012. She is also survived by nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Services will be held on Long Island on Wednesday. Donations in her memory can be made to the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University, The North Shore Child and Family Guidance Center or The Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.
The good women and men who started the Guidance Center had the foresight, intellect and diligence that led to the creation of a force that would provide quality mental health care for hundreds of thousands of children, teens and family members for nearly seven decades.
I owe the founders a debt of gratitude for offering me such an enriching spot to hang my hat for almost all my adult life. Confucius was right when he said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Although the 45 years have come and gone swiftly, I’ve developed a capacity akin to time-lapse photography that has enabled me to observe change through a series of evolving images.
The waiting room of Guidance Center headquarters in Roslyn Heights provides a snapshot of who seeks help. And who seeks help at any given time is in part a function of how mental illness and mental health are viewed by the public.
As I contemplate my 45 years, I discover that the waiting room has become a much more richly heterogeneous place with respect to race, ethnicity, religion and language. Increasingly, families who were once averse to seeking outside help for emotional issues occupy that space like never before.
What led to the change? A combination of factors including sustained public education efforts aimed at reducing stigma and ambitious advocacy initiatives directed at reducing disparities and increasing access to care. Both education and advocacy combined to ensure that diseases of the brain be treated on par with diseases of the body.
Along with the demographic changes in who seeks help, there came the need for diversifying the workforce and providing consistent professional education to enhance the cultural literacy of frontline mental health practitioners. This is especially germane today when the social and political winds inside our nation reveal more profound divisions than in all my time at the Guidance Center.
Intersecting with my reel of waiting room images is a reel of traumatic events that I never would have predicted when I started in 1977, all of which impacted the children who sat in our waiting rooms. Just a few examples: the Challenger explosion (1986), LIRR massacre (1993), Columbine High School shooting (1999), 9/11 attacks (2001), Madoff financial disaster (2008), superstorm Sandy (2012), Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting (2012), Parkland High School shooting (2018) and today’s COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout the reel is also a steady succession of racial injustices, deaths of unarmed people of color at the hands of law enforcement officers. The final frame I see is the January 6 domestic terrorist insurrection in Washington.
In today’s waiting room sit people of all colors and backgrounds with personal stories of trauma and grief, and far too many young ones who feel as though they cannot live one day longer. They live in a world in which their mental health struggles are compounded by a toxic surround that we as adults either fuel, ignore or deny but cannot escape.
These children have profound troubles and live in a profoundly troubled world. Yet there is hope in places like ours, where people of all backgrounds and skin colors share the dream that their children might live a peaceful and prosperous life in a better world.
My message to anyone who wishes to follow in my footsteps is to never lose sight of the situational surround. Context counts. We can all do better to understand our children from the inside-out and the outside-in. And, if you’re fortunate enough to find your authentic voice, don’t let anyone take it away from you. Healing involves quality care and a strong voice underpinned by a social consciousness, social conscience and an enduring quest for social justice.
Andrew Malekoff, the long-time CEO of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, headquartered in Roslyn Heights has announced his retirement. A search is underway for the center’s next leader.
Malekoff joined the center as an intern in 1977, and served as its executive director and CEO for 15 years. He will retire from the organization in July.
He led the center’s substance use treatment and prevention program, which earned the agency an Outpatient Chemical Dependency for Youth License to treat adolescents.
A long-time advocate for parity, Malekoff testified in Albany calling for timely and affordable access to mental health and substance use care. His dedication led to a partnership with Long Island University on a research study called Project Access, which revealed massive inequities and roadblocks inherent in accessing mental health care. The study serves as a tool in advocating for essential systemic change.
An expert in group therapy, Malekoff wrote “ Group Work with Adolescents: Principles and Practice,” which has been published internationally.
In partnership with Nassau B.O.C.E.S., Malekoff developed the Guidance Center’s Intensive Support Program (ISP), a school-based mental health program serving children from ages 5 to 21 years of age from all 56 Nassau districts. The program, now in its 25th year, provides students who are experiencing serious emotional problems an alternative to institutional or more restrictive settings.
In leading the organization, Malekoff spearheaded center’s efforts in childhood mental health research in partnership with major research institutions including the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University, NYU Child Study Center and Northwell Health.
“Under Andy’s tenure, the Guidance Center has been there for families on Long Island during many crises, including the 9/11 attacks, Hurricane Sandy and the pandemic,” Paul Vitale, Board President, said in a statement. “His leadership has been steady, strong and innovative.”
“Over his many years at the Guidance Center, Andy has provided compassionate, expert care to children and families experiencing issues such as depression, anxiety, bullying and other serious challenges,” Nancy Lane, the former board president who worked with Malekoff for three decades, said in a statement.
“His advocacy work and dedication to ending the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness is unmatched,” she added. “While I have no doubts that the agency will continue to thrive, Andy will be sorely missed.”
The Guidance Center is working with the recruitment firm The Strategy Group to fill Malekoff’s role. The organization is in search of a leader who can guide the Guidance Center to its next level of development. The ideal candidate will be someone who can build and maintain strong relationships with funders and other community leaders and who has excellent management experience. The candidate should have expertise in mental health and substance use treatment and supervision.
Interested candidates can learn more about the here.
Andrew Malekoff, executive director/CEO, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center A paradox awaits the mental health field in 2021. With the pandemic has come the near universal use of telehealth and its fiscal benefits but also the loss of intimate in-person connection.
From the moment of the transition to telehealth, I knew we would have a captive audience. Human contact with someone trained to listen, if only through a screen, became a premium in a time of uncertainty and fear.
The broken and cancelled appointment rate fell precipitously, and revenues increased. Nationally, for some organizations the missed appointment rate is as high as 50% as the result of a combination of motivation, forgetfulness, employment conflicts, child-care arrangements, after-school activities and transportation, to name just a few.
Despite the benefits of telehealth during the pandemic, what remains is the hunger for the intimacy of in-person human contact. For example, group counseling for addressing many issues and populations is essential. No Hollywood Squares virtual Zoom arrangement can substitute for sitting in a circle within arms-length of others with whom you share common ground and mutual support.
The challenge ahead is to develop a hybrid model that uses technology to maximize accessibility and participation and restore sustained in-person encounters. Although tempting, fiscal consideration cannot be the sole driver of the new model. Consumer need first!
Neil Seiden, president, Asset Enhancement Solutions During 2020, all Americans faced challenges related to the pandemic. The economic damage has been severe and many businesses were not able to survive. However, we did see the resilience of the private sector. At Asset Enhancement Solutions, we worked with over 800 businesses on PPP loans that allowed them to stay afloat. COVID-19 vaccines will be distributed across the nation in 2021. This is what will fuel optimism in the private sector: some light at the end of the tunnel. With new leadership in Washington, different economic policies will be introduced and new strategies for managing the pandemic will come. In the next few months, there will be challenges that the business sector will have to endure. We should expect to see government-mandated shutdowns and operating restrictions. One or more economic stimulus packages will be passed. For those in the retail, hospitality, travel, food service and catering sectors, this winter will be a dark period. The banking, lending and financial services sector will assist businesses as well. Our regional economy should begin to see a rebound by the fall or the latter part of the year.
Randi Shubin Dresner, CEO, Island Harvest Food Bank Long Island’s nonprofit sector is at a crossroads. An increasing number of people will seek assistance in 2021, many of whom have never asked for help before, primarily due to the pandemic’s economic calamity and compounded by the region’s high cost of living. The challenge nonprofits of all sizes face is how to keep up with the increase in demand in light of a limited pool of contributions by individuals, foundations, corporations, and government support. Cutting back on service is not the answer. None of my colleagues want to tell the next person in line, “sorry, we have no more food,” or “we are no longer taking new clients.”
Nonprofits have made pivotal changes to adapt to an economy impacted by the pandemic while still providing the services their clients depend upon. Although I’m confident that generous Long Islanders, the business community, and government support will continue to provide much-needed help through 2021, I’m wary that smaller not-for-profits may not survive, forcing more people to seek assistance through an already stressed network of providers.
I also express renewed hope Washington will expand upon government-funded programs to help community-based nonprofits provide essential human services like food and shelter to the most vulnerable among us.
Michael Dowling, CEO, Northwell Health Next year will unquestionably be a year of transition for many, including healthcare. COVID-19’s foundational and economic impact on virtually every field and profession will last well beyond 2021.
Our overall goal is to return to some sense of normalcy. But we need to be realistic about our expectations. The first part of next year will assuredly be managing the pandemic and any spikes in cases. While we hope to emerge from this uncertainty in early spring a more accurate forecast would be in six months. As always, compliance in wearing masks and social distancing will help slow the spread.
We will also be managing the delivery of the vaccine. Yes, the vaccine’s approval and delivery are historic moments in this pandemic, but it will require patience as it is rolled out and made available to the public.
Healthcare — like many other industries — will switch to recovery mode once we get a handle on COVID-19. We have already started this transition at Northwell Health, where we have continued to pursue new services, delivery models and innovation, even amid the crisis.
As a whole, healthcare could benefit from the many lessons we learned in 2020. There were many, actually: We can partner with our competitors for the greater good. We can remove siloes and collaborate cross-sector to accelerate progress. Humility and human decency influence outcomes. No one is immune to new illnesses. Partnerships drive progress.
Healthcare in 2021 will be uncomfortable, especially in the first part of the year. We will need to go upstream to navigate the many challenges ahead. Those include continuously expanding technology via telehealth, AI and other deliver models that improve patient experiences. We also need to pay attention to our most vulnerable to address what is truly ailing them and their health.
Rob Basso, CEO, Associated Human Capital Management The outsourced HR sector is predicted to see strong growth for the next several years. There are massive changes taking place in the private sector, many of which began before the pandemic. Remote work has exploded and will continue to grow in 2021. Changes are creating both challenges and opportunities in the HR sector. In 2021, companies on Long Island will look to HR and payroll providers and the technology we provide for solutions. In the short term, as we saw during 2020, the payroll sector, including Associated Human Capital Management, played an important role in helping businesses secure PPP loans. We will be supporting clients when new stimulus programs are approved.
It is likely that many workers will not return to offices in the short term and many may never go back into the office at 100 percent capacity, especially in New York City. We know that businesses will be leveraging technology to enhance the productivity of remote workers. This will be done with remote time clock tools, screen time tracking and geofencing technology. With a COVID-19 vaccine and a stimulus package, I expect the regional economy to recover in the late spring.
James Bonner, president, New York & Atlantic Railway New York & Atlantic Railway anticipates a stable market for moving freight by rail across Long Island in 2021 with some growth potential. We have seen a slight shift in consumption-based products, such as food and cooking oil, and construction commodities, including lumber and aggregates from New York City to Long Island. This increase is due, in part, to the recent population shift eastward, and we expect it to continue over the next twelve months. A strong domestic market for recyclables, which was a needle mover for us in 2019, is a trend that we believe will carry forward into the new year, too.
Our overall view for 2021 and beyond is that we continue to see a heightened interest in rail freight service on Long Island because of its ability to reduce truck traffic on our roads and lessen harmful emissions. We believe rail freight will play an increasingly vital role in helping the local economy rebound in a post-COVID world by providing more efficient means of getting products on and off Long Island. Our highly-skilled, well-trained team and state-of-the-art equipment positions New York & Atlantic Railway to field these new opportunities while ensuring consistent and reliable service.
Nick Tarascio, CEO, Ventura Air Services The private aviation sector was hit hard by the pandemic in the spring of 2020. However, unlike the commercial airlines, the sector has rebounded faster and is now in a strong position as we enter 2021. Since the summer, we have seen a significant rise in interest in charter aviation from a large group of individuals who have never flown private before. These individuals want to travel safely and they are looking to reduce exposure to COVID-19 that they could encounter on commercial flights or at large airports. With private charter flights, individuals travel with small groups of people they know. I am confident that we will see growth in the private aviation sector in 2021 and beyond. At Ventura, we purchased new aircraft in 2020 and will be expanding our jet fleet even more in 2021. We are also hiring to prepare for growth. From a business perspective, I see the New York and Long Island economy recovering when a large percentage of the population is vaccinated. Economic stimulus packages will also help the aviation, restaurant, hospitality and travel sectors. This is good for the regional and national economy and will allow people to feel comfortable traveling again.
Ed Blumenfeld, president and founder, Blumenfeld Development Group The year 2021 will see Long Island at the center of a political fulcrum as New York City progressives in Albany seek to tilt the state to the left while centrist Democrats hope to pull the party to the middle to avoid losing Long Island. The bi-county’s business community will be more than wary as it watches how this plays out for it may well impact our economic climate for generations.
The governor and the Legislature’s progressives will find 2021 to be a year of strategic choices. There is a projected $8 to $12 billion dollar shortfall in the state budget, which means, depending on what help Washington may send us, the state may either spike taxes to historic highs, severely cut services, or both. While the progressives have demanded new and higher taxes, the governor has firmly opposed those increases but his ability to sustain a veto evaporated this past November. In 2021, the question will be whether political ideology destroys the roadmap to post COVID recovery. More to the point, the actions of the progressive left could unleash an exodus of taxpayers, businesses, development, and investment dollars that leaves New York an economic wasteland long after the rest of the nation has reclaimed its future.
Wayne Haughton, executive director, Academy Charter School Regardless of whether you are teaching pre-K or a Masters course, every educator is facing the unprecedented challenge of how best to impart knowledge to students in an era of COVID and enforced virtual learning. For charter schools committed to assisting underserved communities, the challenge is even greater, requiring far more resources to be made available to the educator and the student. The Academy Charter School was founded in 1998, with just 175 students. Today the school serves 2,250 students in five schools on two campuses, in Hempstead and Uniondale. In 2020, we quickly discovered the challenges of virtual learning and swiftly upgraded our platforms to create a far more effective virtual “classroom.” We also recognized that children with special needs required far more engagement, while other students needed assistance to ensure they had the hardware required to stay connected to the curriculum. In 2021, as the pandemic evolves, these efforts will be sustained and expanded.
Academy Charter not only addresses the academic requirements of our students but addresses the societal issues that our students and their families face. Even when forced to teach virtually, we have kept our kitchens open so that students who rely on school meal programs would receive vital nutrition, and we also have arranged for grocery and meal delivery to any family in need of that assistance.
Academy Charter is the crucial portal to the future for many young people. In 2021, we will not permit COVID to close that door.
Dr. Kerry Fierstein, CEO, Allied Physician Group & Adjuvant.Health Pandemic uncertainty and tax issues related to the CARES Act make planning difficult. Regardless, I am very optimistic about the pediatric sector in the New York market in 2021.
Over the past year, we have seen healthcare issues impact all areas of our lives.
A trusted relationship with a pediatrician is critical for parents who benefit from accurate information, timely advice, empathy and perspective as they make important family decisions.
The role of doctors is evolving beyond episodic care. Pediatricians are well-versed in this type of family-centered care that focuses on wellness, prevention, mental health and control of chronic disease. Telehealth, which is now widely accepted, will allow families to receive ongoing care more easily. Pediatricians are vaccine experts and our support is crucial to vaccine acceptance in society.
To ensure quality care, keeping pediatric practices independent will continue to be in focus during 2021. This year we expect to see more independent and group pediatric practices partner with back office administration organizations like Adjuvant.Health. The pandemic has shown that doctors benefit from handing off the administrative burdens and saving their energies for the clinical side of medicine.
Carolyn Mazzenga, Melville office managing partner, Marcum LLP Global pandemic on the mind notwithstanding, the issues we are confronting on the cusp of 2021 are many of the same issues we were confronting at this time last year. But issues such as technology in our schools, alternative work arrangements, New York State budget deficits, and endangered access to good quality healthcare were issues that, we collectively, were confronting.
What a difference 12 months makes. Coronavirus has inexorably linked the ways we are addressing these issues in our personal lives and our businesses, and this is unlikely to change any time soon. Marcum recently made the painful but necessary decision to re-close our offices as the second COVID spike took hold, and we are once again back to a remote workforce, at least through mid-January. I am certain we are not alone in this, and having been tested and proven under the most extreme conditions, remote workforce will be a lasting legacy of the pandemic into 2021 and well beyond. I foresee it will be a solution for both employee recruitment and retention, as it helps businesses expand their networks of qualified workers who cannot, or choose not, to work exclusively in the office. Each one of those topics became even more relevant and critical as a result of the pandemic, in addition to all of the other issues we are all facing.
In this environment, My forecast and my sincere hope is that we get back to some normalcy in 2021. Though I don’t believe we will be completely back to normal in 2021. One thing I am fairly certain is that the way we do business will forever change as a result of the last nine months of pandemic. I think the use of video virtual meetings, though already fairly commonplace now, will become a standard part of our daily regular business interactions with people. Certainly video conferencing will never completely replace face-to-face, in-person meetings by any means, but it will continue to grow as a platform for how we connect and conduct business. The ability for workers, especially office workers, to work remotely will be more widely acceptable in the future, because of how successfully we adapted in 2020.
This will help businesses expand the network of qualified workers that cannot, or choose to not, to work exclusively in the office.
Unfortunately, certain businesses inevitably will close down, but the resilience and entrepreneurship exhibited by many Long Island companies, especially our manufacturers, during this time in 2020 has been a testament to what Long Island is all about. Though we are not an area of Fortune 500 companies, we are predominantly a middle-market business community, established by determined people who have vision. I think those businesses will come out of this stronger than ever. The companies that have survived the pandemic are the ones that were very proactive in looking at their businesses strategically.
It will continue to be essential to keep a close watch on cash, monitor expenditures, and make sure receivables don’t get out of hand. Stay close to your customers and extend credit very carefully in case the economy takes a turn for the worse. And look at your business processes to see where efficiencies can be improved, costs can be reduced or eliminated, and new opportunities can be capitalized. The manufacturers who pivoted to producing PPE are a model for us all. These are the things that will not only help businesses survive but become more profitable. And isn’t that what Strong Island is all about?
Kyle Strober, executive director, Association for a Better Long Island Long Island’s 2021 will be about the economic recovery from COVID-19 and depend on the strength and confidence of the development community.
Whether it was 9/11 or Hurricane Sandy, crises often allow our region to come through a traumatizing event even stronger than before. This should be our goal as COVID-19 is disposed of.
Local municipalities, many of whom faced fiscal issues before the pandemic, will look to spur economic development to increase their revenues. They will seek to repurpose or revitalize parcels that are abandoned, vacant or underutilized. Town initiatives, such as those undertaken by Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine that create “floating” zones, will achieve economically and socially welcomed redevelopment of existing commercial properties. These efforts need to become a model for others. Similarly, Smithtown’s efforts to create the LI Innovation Park at Hauppauge could be mirrored by its neighbor, Huntington, by resurrecting the Melville Employment Center Plan.
Counties, towns, and villages will use this pandemic to amend and modernize their application, inspection, permit, and approval procedures in order to reduce public health risks while encouraging economic development. Embracing technology will be critical, with innovations such as electronic submissions, virtual inspections and public hearings.
Just like the New Deal after the Great Depression and ARRA after the Great Recession, our federal government may seek to pass an infrastructure stimulus bill. Projects like the Oakdale Merge, expansion of Suffolk sewers and the electrification of the LIRR further east may finally come to fruition. New York State will continue to drive forward downtown revitalization initiatives in Islip, Westbury, Hicksville and Baldwin as well as push for transformative projects like Heritage Village at the former Hicksville Sears site.
2021 will hopefully be a year of silver linings after a horrific 2020.
Andrew Kaufman, principal, Brookhaven Rail Terminal The role of rail in 2021 will help create a far greener Long Island as we begin to emerge from COVID. Brookhaven Rail Terminal is anticipating a noticeable increase in the demand for rail as an alternative to the conga line of heavy trucks that brings goods and supplies onto the Island as the economy begins to recover from the shock of the pandemic. Interestingly, rail freight did not experience a significant drop during the region’s initial shutdown during the spring of 2020, as the home repair industry saw sheltering homeowners turn to their own residences with unprecedented inspiration. BRT’s intermodal rail yard became stocked with plywood, sheetrock, asphalt roofing and more, significantly reducing the wait time for material to get to market. Post-COVID, one anticipates a significant increase in additional products that reflect a return to “normal.”
Strategically, the new administration in Washington is expected to turn its attention to the nation’s rail infrastructure. A key element of that system is the proposed Cross-Harbor Rail Tunnel (also known as the Cross Harbor Rail Freight Tunnel) that would tunnel under Upper New York Bay and connect New Jersey with Brooklyn. It would have an exponential impact on our ability to reduce truck emissions throughout the region and harness the power of rail to strengthen our economy and our environment.
Lawrence Kadish, president and founder, Museum of American Armor For those of us entrusted with telling America’s story of courage and valor in the defense of freedom, 2021 will become even more important as we seek to recapture the year lost to social isolation, quarantine, and the inability of many museums to open their doors. There is a shared appreciation that even the modest amount of time assigned to teach history in the classroom has been further reduced.
While technology can fill part of the gap, it is our museums with powerful displays and exhibits that ensure the history lesson becomes an indelible part of a young student’s learning experience.
The year 2021 will also see the nation and the world observe the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks on our country, one that shocked America, saw Long Island conduct countless funerals, but also saw a nation rallied in a way unseen since World War II. We need to use the upcoming milestone anniversary during 2021 as a means to better appreciate the strategic threat democracies continue to face from terrorist nations and civilization destroyers now armed with nuclear weapons. That shared awareness is the collective debt we continue to owe our veterans.
Kevin Chandler, v.p. and general manager, Suez Long Island While COVID will continue to impact every aspect of our society in 2021, the critical assignment of protecting our environment through the efficient operation of Nassau County’s wastewater treatment system remains – in every sense of the word – essential. During 2020, SUEZ and Nassau County placed on line a state-of-the art biological process that is part of a $19.6 million project to the Bay Park plant that will remove nitrogen in wastewater that is discharged into Reynolds Channel, north of Long Beach. In 2021, a second phase of the project will be completed, further reducing nitrogen, that, in turn, will help our fragile ecosystems regenerate and will aid in bringing back fishing and shellfishing. In addition, it will strengthen south shore marshlands, which further helps protect our shorelines during severe storms. COVID has served to remind everyone that public health requires constant vigilance. That includes embracing County Executive Curran’s mandate to operate `cleaner, smarter, and better,’ wastewater treatment facilities.
Andrew Kubrick, partner-in-charge, Marks Paneth Long Island office As the curtain closes on 2020, a year marked by the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, we begin a new year and another audit and tax season. Modern technology has made the idea of working remotely a reality, and the future of the accounting profession has changed forever. Microsoft Teams and Zoom calls were foreign to most of us until this year. Now, you can work from home and share and exchange information as if you are in the office. But beyond that, three advances in modern technology—artificial intelligence, data analytics and cloud-based accounting software—will have an even more profound effect on the accounting profession and how public accountants conduct their business. Artificial intelligence will help to reduce financial fraud and decrease human error. Data analytics will continue to be used in audit planning to identify risk areas. Cloud-based accounting software has allowed outside accountants to access a client’s information more easily and work on tax returns remotely. Among many other things, this pandemic has taught the accounting profession that technology will lead the way in properly servicing your clients and your staff.
Elissa Kyle, placemaking director, Vision Long Island 2020 was, well, transformative to say the least. While many businesses are struggling as we head into winter, there are signs that there may be light at the end of this long tunnel. January and February are going to be challenging for downtown businesses with COVID cases increasing and cold weather making many of the outdoor solutions unfeasible. However businesses are better prepared for the spring and won’t have to deal with the steep learning curve that many faced this year. Restaurants will be ready to transition to outdoor dining as soon as the weather starts to warm up even a little- those outdoor heaters will come in handy in March and April. Local governments are more prepared to streamline permitting processes to get this in motion. Hopefully the roll out of the vaccine will help numbers drop more quickly when the weather warms and not go back up again in the fall. Multifamily residential projects are still moving forward in many downtowns providing more feet on the street for businesses. Continued creativity will help our Main Street businesses connect with customers and increasing distribution of a vaccine will help improve the comfort and confidence of customers supporting our businesses.
Linda Lugo, chairperson of the Board of Managers, OneKey MLS Our local housing market has proven to be resilient, as realtors have found new and creative ways of doing business safely and successfully throughout the year while working through the various phases of the pandemic and I expect that same ingenuity to be a positive factor throughout 2021. Real estate transactions have, and will continue to happen.
As the law of supply and demand has been at play for most of 2020, home prices across the OneKey MLS area have reported significant year-over-year increases in the second half of this year. The influx of buyers moving to the suburbs from the city, coupled with the pent-up demand of buyers that was already in place, has created a very strong sellers’ market on Long Island. We expect sellers to continue to have the upper hand in 2021, but more reasonably than what the market experienced this year.
With the good news of the vaccine, more inventory should come on the market by the second half of 2021, as would-be sellers feel more comfortable with listing their home. This will result in a more balanced market and modest price gains. Other good news for buyers is that experts predict mortgage rates will remain low, somewhere around 3%, for at least the first half of 2021.
Luis Vazquez, president, Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce The Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has been around for over 30 years, advocating and supporting small businesses on Long Island and throughout the metropolitan area. This past year it has been a challenge for all small businesses, especially Hispanic and minority-owned small businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic has left our community with little, and in some cases no options. Many have closed their businesses for good, and others are barely making it to stay open, fearing more lockdowns in the future. However, this pandemic has opened new ways of supporting our small businesses.
Technology has helped us in communicating with our small businesses, keeping them informed on local, state, and national government programs and regulations to be able to conduct business in a safe and responsible manner. We feel technology is a catalyst for advancing business practices and adapting to new norms, those who are educated in best technology practices for their business will continue running their business in an innovative manner.
Our chamber has had to work with national, state, and local authorities to advocate for our member’s businesses, and keep our members updated on programs, regulations, and best technology practices to keep small Hispanic and minority businesses informed. We look forward to continuing to educate our community and commend the SBA, local chambers and organizations, Long Island Main Street Alliance, Vision Long Island, and local governments for their great efforts and continued support.
Elizabeth Custodio, community development officer, People’s United Bank Everyone knows that Long Island businesses have had quite a turbulent ride this year. For those that have survived and even thrived in this environment the focus today is on the future. While we still don’t know the full impact of COVID-19, the long-term repercussions are still unfolding. Nevertheless, insightful leaders are planning for 2021 using lessons learned and developing new strategies for success.
The time to begin to plan is now. In order to develop a comprehensive plan, gather input from your employees and customers and reflect on the challenges of 2020 to devise plans for next year.
Setting up a digital platform will be essential for any business to survive. How well you connect to customers about your products and services is essential. Simplifying how customers discover and access your business will be crucial especially with the popularity of online sales.
The key to success this year has been how a business adapts. Change is inevitable so a flexible plan should be about protecting its people and assets from unforeseen events such as the effects of the pandemic. Following current market trends is a must, especially when thinking about increasing your defenses against inevitable changes in 2021.
Strategic planning may seem overwhelming at first, but with 2021 at hand, now is the time to begin. Know that you are not alone. Reach out to all your chambers, business organizations and financial institutions whose leaders are currently developing plans that offer the resources you will need for success.
James Lentini, president, Molloy College It became clear during the pandemic that most undergraduate students yearn for the in-person experience on college campuses, though everyone has adapted well to alternative teaching and learning models as a necessity. While aiming to get back to normal, colleges will still need to emphasize the health and safety of their communities, something that Molloy has always focused on, but has become even more of a priority as a result of the virus. While the beginning of the spring semester may look similar to the fall semester in terms of classes being a combination of in-person, hybrid and online, we are hopeful that the vaccines will enable all of us to return to the full on-campus experience later in the year and into the fall.
Richard Murphy, president and CEO, Mount Sinai South Nassau With the emergency authorization of a vaccine, we now have a compelling weapon to prevent further spread of the pandemic and help put an end to the loss of life it has caused. But this will depend entirely upon the public’s willingness to get vaccinated.
The FDA approved emergency use of the vaccine because it proved to be safe and effective during rigorous clinical trials. A COVID-19 vaccination will help keep you from getting seriously ill while reducing risk for others.
Unfortunately, a number of public surveys, including Mount Sinai South Nassau’s Truth in Medicine poll, has shown that as much as 50 percent of the population is either unwilling or uncertain about whether to get vaccinated. We need at least 70 percent of the population to get vaccinated in 2021 in order for us to even consider a return to normal. Only if we work together – including getting vaccinated and maintaining social distancing and hygiene guidelines – can we beat the virus. This is one of the greatest challenges our nation has faced since WWII. Like Long Islanders who came before us, we can unite and defeat this invisible enemy if we listen to our public health leaders and get the vaccine.
Donald Boomgaarden, president, St. Joseph’s College Higher education is a rather vast canvas – it includes large public and private colleges, mid-sized comprehensive universities, and small liberal arts colleges. Although we remain true to our liberal arts origins, St. Joseph’s falls more into the ‘comprehensive university’ category due to our strong focus on professional areas (business, nursing, healthcare administration, education) and size (over 5,000 students on two campuses). I believe 2021 will be a challenging year for many in our industry, particularly those who depend on student residence hall and dining service fees to balance their annual budgets. Luckily, St. Joseph’s is primarily a non-residential college, and also one which had – even previous to the pandemic – strong programs in all online and remote modalities. For this reason we have done well so far, and should do well in the coming year. Despite the tragic impact of the pandemic on all of us, the fact is that young people still need an education. Furthermore, students and families are seeing that professionals with college degrees have been the least impacted by the economic uncertainties created by the pandemic. For that reason, despite the current crisis, the longer term outlook for our industry may be stronger than ever.
Maurie McInnis, president, Stony Brook University The significant impact COVID-19 will have had on higher education in 2021 and beyond cannot be understated. Universities that persevere through this time will thrive within a mix of residential, traditional, remote and hybrid models of learning.
The past year has shown us in concrete and practical terms how technology can be used to promote accessibility and help us rethink our traditional model of education. At the same time, it has become abundantly clear that there are elements of the academic mission that need in-person instruction. I think this is an opportunity for all of us—as universities that serve rapidly evolving student populations with different needs—to think about which experiences must be in person and work toward strengthening them. It is clear that if higher education is going to meet the changing needs of students in 2021 and beyond, while driving the social and economic mobility of our community, our academics need to do it all—they need to be accessible, rigorous and just as intellectually engaging as they always have been.
I am confident that we can use our experience during this pandemic to spark positive change for future generations of students, faculty and community members.
David Bernard, music director, Massapequa Philharmonic Orchestra and the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony in NYC While New York State’s ban on live concerts with live audiences may very well be lifted after the vaccine rolls out in 2021, it will take time for performing arts organizations to return to their regular seasons. Audiences will need to experience a period of normalcy before making the commitment to purchase tickets and attend a live event. Also, Long Island concert venues and auditoriums, which are mostly run through public schools and universities, will need to unwind their COVID contingency plans that excluded groups not affiliated with university, which also takes time.
The challenge confronting Long Island’s orchestras, bands, choruses and theater companies is how to survive for most of 2021 being deprived of the ticket revenue, donor opportunities and community engagement that typical seasons bring. For many groups, the choice is to either lay dormant until full normalcy returns, or to pivot to an online/digital/video/livestream existence, which is difficult to inspire support given the huge inventory of video content on YouTube.
The answer is for Long Island’s performing arts organizations to innovate and find ways to deliver meaningful cultural experiences to their constituencies beyond video or digital content through live music, and to develop a staged plan to re-emerge as restrictions are lifted. The Massapequa Philharmonic has established a partnership with the Nassau County Museum of Art as the museum’s orchestra in residence, where we provide incidental music while distanced in various locations in and round the museum. No audience members are permitted in the same location as the musicians, but visitors to the museum experience these live performances while viewing exhibits as the music floats throughout the property. In partnership with the museum, we developed a longer-term plan to gradually expand access to these performances safely as restrictions are lifted, culminating in a full season of indoor and outdoor performances across the grounds at the end of the pandemic.
Sue Ruzenski, acting CEO, Helen Keller Services The turn of events due to the pandemic has in many ways strengthened us and as the mother of invention would have it, fostered “outside the box” thinking. Throughout 2020 we have continued to offer face-to-face services in New York and virtual services nationwide through virtual platforms and adaptive technology. We remain engaged as collaborative partners with state and local service providers through our National Community of Practice and through webinars, webcasts and other focused interagency efforts.
From March 2020 through September 30, Helen Keller National Center offered 2,565 on-line courses to professionals at no cost. The development of on-line professional learning courses and webinars will continue this year.
Despite the challenges faced by the deaf-blind community, we have witnessed time and again the tenacity and talents of individuals as they work to achieve their goals for employment and independence in their community of choice. The skill and versatility of the staff, the flexibility and resilience of consumers and the wealth of information and know-how that HKNC can offer has successfully transformed our vocational rehabilitation program. Remote learning has created new synergies among our staff and given us greater flexibility and utilization of resources to create innovative and effective services. That’s our silver lining amidst the disruption of 2020.
Steven Del Lima, owner and executive chef, Hooks & Chops As we all know, 2020 was one of the hardest years for the service industry. I think the same is to be said for the beginning of 2021, as consumers are willing to use restaurant services, but are still and will be reluctant to dine inside. I truly believe that COVID is the wild card here and has a lot to do with the success of this industry. I do believe mid 2021 will be the beginning of the “turn around” though. People will feel safer to dine out with the arrival of the Vaccine and I feel that we will start to make a comeback in the beginning of the spring.
Stuart Rabinowitz, president, Hofstra University The past year has proven higher education institutions like Hofstra can adapt amid extraordinary uncertainty. We are proud that we were able to maintain the in-person experience for many of our students, while ensuring their health and safety. COVID-19 forced colleges and universities to be nimbler than ever before and that flexibility will be critical for higher education as the nation, thanks to the development and distribution of vaccines, emerges from the pandemic in 2021.
While the classroom and the faculty-student relationship remain the heart of learning, especially for undergraduates, the short-term pivot to virtual instruction necessitated by the pandemic will lead to long-term structural changes that will ultimately improve the student experience, both on-campus and online.
We expect to see growth in graduate education, along with continued expansion of the trends that were shaping the industry prior to the pandemic: students gravitating towards majors like engineering, the sciences, technology and healthcare – sectors with strong job opportunities regardless of the current economic challenges. At Hofstra, we also continue to emphasize and expand experiential learning, entrepreneurship training, internships and industry partnerships across all majors, leveraging technology to provide these opportunities online and in person. The combination of using technology for convenience and experiential learning and expanded in-person opportunities in all academic disciplines will ultimately make higher education stronger and better for students.
Jaci Clement, CEO and executive director, Fair Media Council This next year will be a defining one for news in many ways: You’ll see the use of much more technology to tell stories, and you can expect to find news outlets’ narrowing scope of coverage – choosing their sweet spots to put out fewer stories but providing more depth and perspective. That’s something news consumers have been wanting, especially after the last few years, which have been about news organizations’ providing lots of continuous content, but not a lot of information. What this also means is the public will need to incorporate more news outlets into their daily routines, in order to get a wide spectrum of news. They’ll need to look for news that hits on four levels: local, regional, national and international, in addition to specialty sources for news, such as business and health.
Hillary Link, associate, Harris Beach I expect to see the continuing effects of COVID-19 on the food and beverage industry going into 2021 in the form of shortages of raw materials and delays in manufacturing, creating longer lead times for brands. I additionally expect that food and beverage brands may place an greater emphasis on claims in order to help drive sales.
While I am not overly optimistic that 2021 will bring drastic federal decision-making with respect to CBD policy and legislation, I expect to see states continue to lead the charge. CBD brands should be prepared to take swift action in response to rapidly changing state legislation.
On the regulatory side, as CBD brands continue to be exposed for including levels of CBD in their products which grossly fall short of the label claim and in some cases do not include CBD in the product at all, I expect that the FDA may focus increasingly on Good Manufacturing Practices in its 2021 enforcement actions against dietary supplement brands, and also expect to see an increase in new class action lawsuits related to false labeling. Therefore, going into 2021 it is critical that dietary supplement brands implement proper product testing procedures to ensure quality.
Dr. Kevin Reiter, associate medical director, Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care The urgent care industry, like many other industries, has gone through significant change in 2020. As we continue to serve on the front line of this pandemic I think the outlook is very positive for those who can continually pivot to serve the ever changing needs of the patient. As an entry point to healthcare, urgent care centers must continue to educate, guide, test appropriately and direct our patients to the safest and latest therapies available for COVID-19. As the therapeutic options change, from vaccination availability to monoclonal antibody infusions to more proven inpatient therapeutics, we must stay current and be able to risk stratify the patient and their severity of illness towards the optimal treatment. Unfortunately there were many solo independent primary care practices that could not stay afloat in 2020. This will inevitably create gaps in care that urgent care is positioned to help meet.
Providing accessible care in a safe and effective manor for both COVID as well as non-COVID related illness in the face of uncertainty will continue to define the urgent care industry in 2021.
John Nader, president, Farmingdale State College The COVID emergency has altered the altered the college selection process. It seems many students are applying to colleges later, and are delaying their decisions. Some of this is driven by uncertainty about the extent to which remote course delivery will continue. Some students and families may even delay college until they see a vaccine used widely and effectively.
Beyond the next few months, colleges will re-examine their use of space. Campuses are finding that a number of employees can work remotely. Colleges will make better use of technology to support flexible and innovative teaching even after a vaccine is available. The costs of COVID, along with demographic changes, pose challenges for public institutions which may see less state support and mid-tier private colleges that will face pressures to contain tuition.
Students are increasingly career and cost conscious. My hope is that colleges and universities will work to reverse the far too common idea that higher education is not really a good value. Students and parents need to be discerning, but this region is filled with colleges yielding tremendous returns to their graduates. We need to do a better job of telling our stories.
Evan Krinick, managing partner, Rivkin Radler The legal marketplace in 2021 will continue to be focused on flexibility, innovation and technology. The pandemic will continue to dictate a largely remote work environment, and will demand increased investment in mobile technologies. Physical office space needs will lessen, but law firms will not be quick to abandon their professional homes. Instead, they will look to make their environments more efficient. A new administration in Washington, DC, will push to change the regulatory landscape, and litigation in the increasing conservative federal courts challenging authority of the regulators should be expected. More attention will be paid to state and local governments, especially in Albany, where the Democratic Party has ascended to new heights of influence. Among many issues, cannabis and sports betting will be the subject of legalization efforts. Cyber and data security will continue to be major concerns, and the aging of the baby boomer generation will increase the focus on estate planning and elder law issues. The pandemic will continue to drive labor, real estate and business issues to the forefront as the economy tries to avoid a tailspin. Diversity and inclusion initiatives will grow in importance both from the perspective of clients and from the work force.
Kristen Jarnagin, president and CEO, Discover Long Island Tourism has been the hardest hit industry on Long Island with devastating economic impacts, closures and job losses related to COVID-19. While there is hope on the horizon that 2021 will be a year of recovery, all indications point to that recovery being slow and cautionary where travel is concerned. With the right tools and resources, Long Island is poised to capitalize on the pent-up demand of leisure travel, but the return of businesses and international visitors will take years to reach the 2019 peak when we enjoyed a record breaking $6.3 billion in tourism spending. Success in 2021 will depend on innovation and communication to encourage our local residents and regional visitors to support Long Island’s tourism-related businesses and struggling downtowns. Full recovery will require investment in targeted marketing campaigns to remind national and international visitors of Long Island’s attractions and appeal. There is going to be tremendous global competition to lure back these lucrative visitors, who generated more than $760 million in local and state tax revenues in 2019, and Long Island has tremendous opportunities to recapture those resources with new and private funding initiatives such as the Tourism Recovery Improvement District legislation supported by the local tourism industry. Recovery is possible and imminent, but the rate and speed of that recovery will depend on the support and investment of this critical regional industry.
Mark Meinberg, Long Island partner-in-charge, Eisner Amper Our thoughts are with the people most directly affected by COVID-19 – those who were afflicted with the virus, and those whose livelihoods have been damaged. That said, and with a vaccine on the near horizon: I’m very optimistic for 2021. First and foremost, we’ve been able to transition and work safely – both for our people and our clients – in the time of COVID-19. In fact, some of what we perceived as restrictions are now actually favorable adjustments such as the enhanced ability to get people together for a meeting. Team meetings, prospect meetings, all can be held seamlessly and instantly in a virtual format; this has created tremendous efficiency. Scales of economy have been re-calibrated to fit the ‘new normal.’ Significant cost savings that have come out of the COVID-19 changes are now being either retained by the firms or re-invested back into further and emerging technologies. Most critically, there have been many changes due to government-subsidized loan programs as well as anticipated tax changes. These create client planning opportunities – our clients want and need to know how they will continue to operate in and out of the COVID-19 environment.
Dr. Daniel Griffin, infectious disease chief, ProHEALTH After a really challenging year, 2021 looks to be much better year for physicians and those involved in healthcare. Massive vaccination programs will be moving forward in the first two quarters of 2021 followed by significant progress in returning our economy and our deliver care to a more predictable state. There should be a robust increase in the demand for medical care as many have postponed physician visits during the pandemic. Healthcare providers have also rapidly shifted their delivery of care to allow for more efficient and flexible access including embracing telehealth and more efficient scheduling to avoid patient waits. Many of the lessons and necessary changes that were forced on physicians and their organizations have transformed our industry and practices in ways that will remain a part of the practice of medicine for years to come.
Pat Guidice, business manager, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1049 The global pandemic of 2020 has crystalized the importance of the most significant issues facing the 4,200 hardworking members of Local 1049 – the need for affordable and comprehensive healthcare, and the ability to provide for and care for their families with continued, safe employment and long-term retirement security.
Our members, who are employees of National Grid and PSEG, are a part of the fabric of the Long Island community. Some are young family men, providing for their families while battling increased healthcare costs, while others are planning for their retirement who deserve to retire with dignity. These dedicated men and women are called on during times of crisis, emergencies and storms to serve Long Island residents and businesses, and handle the urgent needs of their neighbors. Tropical Storm Isaias this summer resulted in more than 1,400 of our members logging more than 320,000 long and arduous hours in the field to restore service, and illustrates the need to increase staffing of trained, local utility workers moving forward.
As we move into 2021, it has never been more important to have a strong voice in legislative and regulatory decisions that will be made by federal, state and local jurisdictions in order to protect not only the interests of our members but the consumers and communities we serve. With a change in administration coming shortly, the labor community will be keeping a close eye on the future and fate of Obamacare — and its many costly provisions — in the courts, in Congress and in the White House.
Jeffrey Reynolds, president and CEO, Family & Children’s Association The pandemic further exposed and exacerbated Long Island’s tale of two cities where historically disadvantaged families and communities are suffering the highest COVID death rates, and tens of thousands of our neighbors are grappling with staggering levels of homelessness, hunger, violence, substance use and mental health disorders, and chronic poverty. There’s no vaccine to ameliorate those conditions, but our region does have a strong core of committed people and nonprofit organizations providing affordable housing, food, job training, counseling, health care and the countless other essential services. Long Island’s nonprofits have risen to the challenge and though most organizations are struggling a bit, 2021 will likely be the year where our value becomes even clearer to government, philanthropy, corporations and communities. If renewed investments in time and money follow, we’ll end 2021 healthier and stronger as a sector and as a region.
Lisa Newcomb, executive director, Empire State Association of Assisted Living The COVID pandemic has clearly upended the assisted living business and the COVID-vulnerable seniors that we serve. As opposed to nursing homes, assisted living communities are deeply rooted in a social model of senior living and the pandemic has forced residents to lock down for ten long months and counting, significantly disrupting the active lifestyle that they are accustomed to. With the vaccine near, we are hopeful that residents can return to that lifestyle.
So often during this pandemic we heard the term “Long Term Care” being used by government and the media. Assisted living and nursing homes are not the same. However, a big issue for us at the start of the pandemic was when the NYS Department of Health was lumping the two models together and setting assisted living policy based on nursing home outcomes. ESAAL advocated fervently, and with significant success, that assisted living decisions be made based on our own data. Moving into 2021, we will continue the education process about the differences between the two models.
COVID’s financial impact on the assisted living/adult care industry has meant huge, unplanned financial losses due to the required weekly testing of all staff at $100 each, PPE and infection control supplies, and wage increases. Looking ahead, we know that the vaccines will be phased in to target our resident population and staff first. This is key to protect our most vulnerable seniors who live in congregate settings. It will also serve as a catalyst to return to some normalcy in operations, including resuming new admissions, which many communities chose to pause during the pandemic resulting in increased industrywide vacancies and lost revenue.
David Sterling, CEO, SterlingRisk The winter months ahead will be a difficult time for Long Islanders as we wait for the COVID-19 vaccine to be deployed. Local health systems along with the hospitality sector will be particularly hard hit. However, come May and June, with restrictions finally lifted, it is likely we will see the kind of pent-up demand for services that comes along once or twice in a century — similar to when millions of GIs returned from World War II and triggered the boom years that followed.
In regards to insurance, we continue to experience one of the most challenging cycles of the past 50 years. Businesses were seeing increased premiums even before COVID appeared. Higher awards for verdicts and other shifts in society have driven prices up, all of which could be significantly compounded should even a portion of COVID-related claims be allowed to stand.
At SterlingRisk, our hope is that premiums will stabilize in the second half of 2021 along with an improved economy. Until then, we continue to provide value by offering exceptional risk management guidance and advising clients on the best coverage options for their specific needs.
Jothy Narendran, co-managing partner, Jaspan Schlesinger We at Jaspan Schlesinger will continue to help our clients confront the challenges of COVID-19 that will undoubtedly persist in the coming year and in the aftermath of the pandemic. Businesses small and large will be maneuvering through a new series of stimulus and assistance programs — hopefully in early 2021. Whether these packages will closely mirror the first set of financial aid programs, such as the Paycheck Protection Program and CARES Act, or whether they will come with new regulations and requirements, businesses will need to react quickly to ensure their eligibility.
With a new administration coming into the White House, employers also need to keep a close eye on potential changes in healthcare requirements and other labor laws, including those pertaining to equality in the workplace.
Public and private schools will continue to be challenged to provide the greatest degree of in-school learning and activities such as team athletics, while maintaining a safe and healthy environment for students and faculty and fulfilling their mandated educational requirements.
With many court systems transitioning to remote sessions, alternative dispute resolution, mediation and private judging should continue to grow as an attractive, private and safe means to resolving commercial disputes, marriage dissolution and trust and estate matters.
Jaspan Schlesinger created a COVID-19 Resource Center to provide individuals, businesses, local governments, libraries and school districts with information on the topics that matter most to them during this crisis. We will continue to make this an available resource as legislation and guidance evolve in the coming year.
Katherine Heaviside, president, Epoch 5 One of the lessons learned from 2020 is that crisis planning is a small investment which can pay major dividends in protecting your reputation and your livelihood.
When first hit by a crisis, the public will often see you as a victim; but if you don’t move quickly and decisively to do the right thing — and effectively communicate those steps with your important stakeholders — you can easily become the villain. Even during a pandemic, we continue to calls from companies, schools, and associations to prepare a plan for them to move through the next crisis and emerge intact.
Moving into 2021, most businesses remain in a re-building mode, seeking to gain back market share, attract new customers and discover new avenues for their products and services. The move has already been underway for public relations to play a more active role, beyond generating press and publicity, in supporting companies’ sales efforts and enhance the fundraising efforts of not-for-profits. That movement will only get stronger as organizations work with tighter budgets as the result of the pandemic, and recognize the return on investment of fully integrating public relations into their comprehensive marketing goals.
Howard Stein, partner-in-charge, Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman Although the outlook for the Long Island legal industry is challenging, it is rife with opportunity. In this new business environment, firms need to embrace new technologies and evolving ways to market their services and maintain the “personal touch.” That has always been so important to a successful law practice. Interacting regularly with clients, whether through Zoom or Skype or other technologies, is crucial.
In this COVID-19 climate, new areas of the law are emerging. Firms that expand with the new legal issues of the day will see a growth in their business. To hope that traditional ways of doing business, as well as practices that have slowed, will someday come back is not a good strategy for the path to success.
We also see this time as an opportunity to enhance our talent pool for new attorneys. We are seeing an increase in young attorneys who are choosing the successful mid-sized suburban law firm over the “big law” experience.
While there continues to be obstacles in our everyday working experiences, we are optimistic that there is continued room for change, growth and success.
Phil Andrews, president, Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce The outlook of our chamber of commerce in 2021 is very promising. The Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce has seen an increase in the number of corporations supporting diversity during this downturn in the market.
Many African American business owners in the chamber have been experiencing hardship during this time, but the uptick in support from various sectors of society will help our industry rise above the challenges we currently see in the marketplace. As the New York District Office of the United States SBA 2019 Small Business Champion, our past work has prepared us to support businesses in a variety of capacities such as accessing resources including SCORE, SBA, Small Business Development Centers and EAP Centers.
Our chamber follows the national mandate of our national affiliate US Black Chamber, Inc.’s focus on access to capital, contracting, chamber development, entrepreneurial training and advocacy. As a business organization we recognize that businesses often have cycles of ups and downs in the economy, and as a business organization comprised of small, medium and large-sized businesses we must continually adapt to change. Our industry is composed of champions, and we fully embrace the entrepreneurial challenges that we face today.
Kevin Law, president and CEO, Long Island Association As the entire country looks forward to putting 2020 in the rear-view mirror, it is likely that the beginning of 2021 will still be a difficult time. We will continue to grapple with the public health implications and economic fallout from Covid-19. A bad start to 2021 may be unavoidable at this point, however, we do see light at the end of the tunnel.
We are optimistic that the second half of the year should be stronger as vaccines are more widely distributed to and accepted by the general population by the summer that should help unleash the pent-up demand from which we are all suffering.
This past year, the Long Island Association has helped guide our region through the devastating impact of Covid-19 and assist with our economic recovery. We were and will remain relentless in advocating for more federal assistance for small businesses.
As Washington contemplates additional measures to respond to Covid-19, it is imperative that a relief package includes funding for small businesses; state and local governments and transit systems like the MTA and LIRR; a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program; extended Unemployment Insurance; and the continuation of aid programs that expire at the end of this year.
Additionally, as Albany becomes more progressive and seeks to close its projected multi-billion deficit, we must oppose any new taxes or fees on businesses or income surcharges that would disproportionately impact Long Island while also ensuring that businesses and the real estate community are not unduly burdened by unnecessarily restrictive laws and regulations on its operations.
The LIA will also continue to support efforts to make Long Island the offshore wind capital of our country, move forward with transformational projects at the Nassau and Ronkonkoma Hubs, as well as in our downtowns, and construct more affordable housing to retain our young professionals. Together, we can rebuild our economy better than ever. After the 1918 flu pandemic, we had the Roaring Twenties. Let’s have another Roaring Twenties!
Bob Caulfield, president and CEO, Jefferson’s Ferry Life Plan Community While the battle against COVID-19 continues, the senior services industry has accomplished much in adding stringent new protocols to the extensive measures already in place to safeguard the health of residents and staff. At Jefferson’s Ferry, we discovered a silver lining during 2020; a resounding affirmation and appreciation of the value of a committed, caring community.
As we move forward, COVID-19 will continue to influence our lifestyle but the demand for senior living accommodations that provide for an active lifestyle will continue to be robust. Jefferson’s Ferry is expanding its campus to include 60 additional independent living apartments and specialized memory care, as well as other services and amenities. Additional senior communities of all types continue to be built on Long Island, giving older adults many choices to suit their individual needs. On the flip side, we’ve seen the toll social isolation has taken on those alone at home forced to rely on a patchwork of services during pandemic conditions.
Last year confirmed the value of senior living communities’ safe socialization opportunities, easy access to meals and other staples delivered by a network of trusted, tested, and familiar people. We are well prepared to continue to serve our residents in 2021.
Chris Komisarjevsky, retired CEO, Burson-Marsteller The year 2021 will see opportunities and also challenges.
Among the opportunities is the issue of diversity and inclusion. No single issue affecting the public and private sector will be as vocal and transforming as D&I. Just witness the effort by NASDAQ to mandate D&I programs and threaten to delist companies that don’t comply. The opportunity is two-fold: participate in building meaningful D&I programs and then speak passionately to their importance.
Another opportunity is environment/social/governance, or ESG. The call for private and public companies to implement meaningful ESG programs will escalate, stakeholders will get more vocal and CEO leadership will be tested. After all, effective governance starts with the CEO. The opportunity is to help the C-suite to implement internal and external communications to solidify support.
As for challenges, crisis preparedness may be the biggest test for the business community. Private and public sector organizations will face questions and concerns from employees and the media as COVID vaccine plans move into high gear. The challenge is to anticipate the issues and plan effective internal and external communications well beforehand.
And the Zoom culture will continue to impact the business community. As remote working and digital offices extend well into the year, organizations face critical culture challenges, especially as they work to ensure common goals, excite the creative spirit and foster shared learning.
Martin Scheinman, founder Scheinman Arbitration and Mediation Services; Arden Claims Service Even in the height of pandemic, the need for mediation and arbitration continued, and like other firms, our team quickly retooled to serve the market. We pivoted to online virtual hearings to resolve and decide labor/management, employment, business, consumer and commercial disputes. And through technology, our team performed the full aspect of alternative dispute resolution services, including through fact-finding and investigation.
Moving forward, virtual hearings will continue to be an integral part of our practice. Out of the anguish of Covid-19, we have become more nimble and responsive to the parties we serve. In 2021, based upon client requests, we will add divorce mediation as a core service.
Arden Claims Service, our claims administration business, approaches 2021 with growth agenda. With the court system either re-opening for in-person matters, or incorporating more virtual hearings, cases that stalled during the pandemic will be decided and released for administration. In turn, ACS is ready to insure professional, accountable and reliable implementation of court directives so deserving claimants receive monies to which they are entitled. We will be increasing our capacity by adding team members, full and part-time, and remain dedicated to increasing the diversity of our workforce and continuing to hire from our community.
Greg Kalikow, vice president, Kalikow Group In 2021, COVID-19 will continue to have a deep impact on the residential real estate market and the pace at which the American people take the vaccine will play a big role. Whether it’s New York City, or burgeoning areas in markets such as the southeast, the residential market is primed for a rebound.
While the medical community expects “herd immunity” from COVID-19 at the end of 2021, it is not the benchmark for recovery in the residential real estate market. As Americans hopefully get vaccinated, they will begin to re-explore looking at apartments in various markets.
Major metropolitan cities with traditionally higher rents like New York City and Long Island will take longer to fully rebound in comparison to smaller and growing markets, such as Raleigh-Durham, Charleston, and Huntsville. The supply of residential properties in major cities is currently much higher than the smaller markets and the competition for renters will be even tougher, which will slow the rebound as well.
I am hopeful that we will steadily increase toward a sense of normalcy as 2021 moves along and make 2022 the year where we can both physically and emotionally put this once in a generation pandemic behind us for good.
David Heymann, managing partner, Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone Assuming that the Republicans keep a majority of the Senate and we do not have any further pandemic shutdowns, I don’t expect the sweeping changes to the tax code that some have predicted. New York, on the hand, may be different which may negatively impact business in New York. I am optimistic that the increase in transactions that we are seeing in these last couple of months of 2020 will continue into 2021 as those investors who were sitting on the sidelines waiting for the election results will be desirous of placing their “dry powder” in accretive assets.
I foresee robust activity in mergers and acquisitions, with stronger companies looking to acquire competitors and suppliers who have not fared as well during 2020. I also expect to see the sale and purchase of real estate secured debt to be a frothy area as there will likely be a plethora of distressed debt opportunities.
I also expect that corporate restructuring and estate planning will continue to be busy areas as companies and individuals seek to get their “houses” in order in the event of substantial tax code changes that will likely occur if Democrats gain control of the Senate in 2022.
Dr. Joseph Greco, chief of hospital operations, NYU Langone Hospital Long Island While Covid brought unprecedented challenges, it also ushered in a new era of healthcare delivery—telemedicine. We expect telemedicine to grow by leaps and bounds in 2021 as it continues to become a”normalized” patient experience, offering convenient medical screenings and assessments remotely. For telemedicine to continue to proliferate, we will need insurers fully on board, recognizing this service as a valuable alternative to many in-person office visits.
In the meantime, COVID-19 vaccines will continue to dominate the healthcare landscape in 2021 as we progress from vaccinating frontline workers and vulnerable populations, to the entire population.
On the non-Covid front: We’ve made significant advancements in total joint replacements, and patients are now able to go home the same day as surgery. This is a game-changer as patients benefit from improved mobility in their home setting and less post-operative complications. Anyone that’s put off a joint replacement should view 2021 as the year to do it.
Devin Kulka, CEO, Kulka Group In 2021 we will see a big push in the multi-family and industrial sectors, with hungry lenders looking to do business and developers and investors seeking value in suburban markets like Long Island. This past year has not been friendly to big-city real estate, with the commercial and residential markets taking an economic punch to the jaw and vacancies rising to all-time highs. Other factors like the new NYS rent stabilization laws have further eroded value in holdings and a turnaround will not be swift. Meanwhile, on Long Island, we have seen a shift from NIMBY (not in my backyard) to YIMBY (yes in my backyard) with transit-oriented districts becoming more growth-friendly. Projects that have been years in the making are finally getting the green light, which is good for local communities and their economies.
Gary Lewi, managing director, Rubenstein Strategic insight, digital positioning, message relevance, and protecting the integrity of the clients’ brand will be among the challenges facing the public relations community in the year to come. Even before the economic train wreck of COVID, the massive contraction in the media market severely altered the landscape that reporters and PR colleagues share. Professional communicators need to appreciate that COVID has permanently realigned media even further, where far fewer journalists working remotely are being asked to, essentially, “drink from a fire hose” of information in order to publish or get on the air. While content creation has been one of the legacy pillars of our industry, the myriad of social platforms now striving for dominance has only made it more so but is vulnerable to abuse. How PR professionals leverage these tools while preserving their own integrity and that of their clients’ will ultimately define their professional legacy. When the pandemic recedes, it will leave permanent scars on the communications sector, requiring recognition by the PR industry that it will need to place far more sophisticated strategies before its clients to ensure value and relevance.
Robert Creighton, managing partner, Farrell Fritz As we navigate the close of a challenging year, our business outlook for 2021 is shifting positive. As we move closer to a COVID vaccine and restoring some level of normalcy to our world, our lives—both personal and business—will likely be transformed forever. Businesses have adapted policies and strategies that will likely remain in place for 2021 and beyond, including creating new efficiencies and integrating new technologies.
Family-owned and closely-held businesses continue to evaluate their options for the future. A significant amount of business exits have occurred this year, and we expect to see this accelerate in 2021. Healthcare organizations have had to focus on being our frontline defense against COVID; we expect to see continued growth of partnerships and affiliations to strengthen their businesses.
Many businesses have transformed their operations to support virtual working, learning and sharing; we feel this operational flexibility will help drive future growth, attract human capital and retain key employees.
Continuing to move our businesses forward, while helping to drive overall economic growth and expansion on Long Island is essential. As we all chart the course into this “new normal” together, there will certainly be challenges along the way, but standing together as a Long Island business community will help us all survive and thrive in 2021 and beyond.
Deirdre O’Connell, CEO, Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty The real estate market is heading into 2021 in very good shape with a significant number of listings under contract, a continuation of historically low mortgage rates, and large numbers of millennials actively looking to buy. Our challenge is to satisfy customers in a marketplace with low inventory. Prices have appreciated considerably, but if sellers get too aspirational in their asking prices, that will be a barrier to the market.
With Covid still in the picture, the virtual showings that have dominated the marketplace during 2020 will continue, and become firmly established as an important selling tool moving forward. Virtual showings have proved particularly useful for out of area buyers—offers have been presented and homes gone into contract on the strength of a virtual tour alone, with the perspective homeowner not seeing the actual house until right before closing. While this is in some ways a game changer for how real estate is bought and sold, it underscores the importance of a trusted realtor who can provide a more complete picture of the home and its environs, present competitive offers, and negotiate the terms of the contract to help the buyer move forward with confidence.
Gerard Luckman, partner, Forchelli Deegan Terrana The need for the legal system to deal with the financial distress to the business sector caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will rise in 2021.
Relief provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act, coupled with federal and state executive orders affecting evictions and foreclosures, have delayed but not fully abated businesses’ need to face economic realities.
While many businesses will survive, others will need to reorganize, whether through bankruptcy, liquidation or sale to preserve value. Surviving companies will reimagine how they operate as they learned to manage during the pandemic.
Business owners are considering the amount of space needed as staff work remotely. Restructuring professionals assist these businesses in renegotiating leases and negotiating lease terminations. We also expect that small business owners wanting to restructure and retain their businesses will file for bankruptcy under Subchapter V of Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. The CARES Act temporarily increased the debt limits to qualify as a small business debtor under Subchapter V from $2.75 million to $7.5 million. Business owners need to be mindful that, unless extended, the temporary increase will expire in March of 2021.
John R. Buran, president and CEO, Flushing Financial Corporation Small- and medium-sized businesses, crucial to Long Island’s economy and local employment, have been one of the hardest-hit sectors. Local business owners will continue to need the support of their community banker in 2021 as they position themselves for recovery from the economic challenges posed by the COVID pandemic. Flushing Bank and our recently acquired Empire National Bank were two such community banks that rose to the support of local businesses on Long Island during the pandemic.
When businesses suddenly found themselves struggling because of the economic downturn resulting from the pandemic, community bankers like us were there to lend a helping hand. We partnered with them through the process to successfully secure access to government financing and grant programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program.
As we enter 2021, there is optimism that these challenges will ease as the year progresses and the vaccine is further deployed. Throughout the coming year, Long Island businesses will continue to need access to flexible programs to address their unique challenges and opportunities, including investment to not merely survive—but to grow.
Founded in 1929, Flushing Bank knows the power of community banking throughout periods of economic downturns and booms. As a community bank with branches throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Flushing Bank is uniquely positioned to develop customized financial options to help these businesses manage through this challenging period.
Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky, senior vice president for health sciences and dean of the Renaissance School of Medicine, Stony Brook University Healthcare is the lifeblood of our society. While serving as senior vice president for Health Sciences at Stony Brook University I am not fully objective, but let me ask: What do you have, if you are not healthy? Academic medical centers (AMC) nationwide like Stony Brook Medicine have several missions: pushing innovative biomedical research forward, training the next generation of healthcare providers and providing outstanding patient care. Perhaps the only silver lining to the dark cloud of COVID-19 is the realization that we must be better prepared for all healthcare disasters. To paraphrase hockey great Wayne Gretzky, we must skate to where the (healthcare) puck is going to be. We must be creative when preparing for the next dangerous infection and train those who will tackle such healthcare challenges over the next decade. We must devise new approaches to the foes of infection, inflammation, malnutrition, trauma, behavioral health, and social determinants such as systemic racism, that create hurdles to a healthy life.
Once healthcare is successful in putting COVID-19 in our rearview mirror, we must not forget the lessons learned so painfully in 2020/2021. Should AMCs and the biotech industry not invest in creating a vaccine against all coronaviruses? Stony Brook and other AMCs must increase training of outstanding students and healthcare professionals and future-minded biomedical scientists. If its society’s goal to live in a world well-prepared to address all future healthcare needs, including those brought about by global warming, novel infectious agents, and the scourge of cancer, then our healthcare industry will continue to thrive, so society can thrive.
Eva LaMere, president, Austin Williams Within the marketing and advertising industry we will need to continue to focus on and monitor data and insights more and more frequently. As our economy and consumer behavior continues to twist and turn we need to be flexible to predict and react to the continued changing landscape. The ability to be nimble and pivot, along with more frequent analyzing of consumer behavior data will be critical to ensure successful marketing programs.
Corporate giving is making life a little easier for some of the Long Islanders struggling to make ends meet in the time of COVID-19.
And amid the pandemic, whose earlier shutdown triggered economic fallout across the region and around the country, the need is great.
Just ask Randi Shubin Dresner, the president and CEO of Island Harvest Food Bank, which helps feed the food insecure on Long Island.
“Normally we help 300,000 families a year, but from the end of March to June, we helped 300,000 families,” she said.
This year, Island Harvest increased its food purchases by 500 percent, she said.
Thankfully, some corporate donors and individuals are stepping up.
Take the Mineola-based law firm Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein and Breitstone. The firm was gearing up pre-COVID to celebrate its 50th anniversary and wanted to meaningfully mark the occasion.
“Our plans, like so many others, were derailed by the pandemic,” said David Heymann, the firm’s managing partner.
“Accepting the fact that our big day could not happen in 2020, we determined to find some meaningful action we could take to ‘do good’ in recognition of 50 years of legal service and advice to the community,” he said. “We came to the conclusion that with all the stress and suffering, a virtual bash was not appropriate, and our funds could be put to better use, benefitting our less fortunate neighbors. We are extremely proud to have partnered with Island Harvest and the good works that they do.”
The firm’s initiative comes at a time when donors have stepped up their philanthropic giving amid the pandemic. Twenty-five percent of the philanthropic individuals surveyed in a 2020 poll expected to increase their donations, while 54 percent said they would maintain their giving levels, according to Fidelity Charitable, an independent public charity that helps donors support nonprofit organizations. But nearly half of those surveyed expected they would decrease or stop volunteering because of the pandemic. Conducted by the independent research firm Artemis Strategy Group, the survey heard from 1,842 adults earlier this year in the United States.
Dresner said that when Lew Meltzer, the Meltzer, Lippe chairman, toured the Island Harvest facility, he hoped his donation would challenge other law firms to donate as well.
Meanwhile, North Shore Child and Family Guidance Center in Roslyn Heights is also benefitting from generous philanthropy. Its board member Andrew Marcell, the CEO at Aon Reinsurance Solutions, spearheaded a private, socially distanced golf event, and his company raised over $56,000 for the nonprofit.
“This money provides crucial funding for our mental health services for kids and families throughout Nassau County, especially important during the pandemic, when the need is so great,” Andrew Malekoff, North Shore Child and Family Guidance Center’s executive director and CEO, said.
And Family & Children’s Association, one of the largest and oldest health and human service agencies on Long Island, is a beneficiary of Hassett Subaru’s Share the Love Campaign, giving the organization a boost in delivering services.
Still, COVID-19 has cut into the organization’s ability to fundraise.
“I know that there are Long Island charities that are getting a record number of donations, but here at FCA, we haven’t had exactly the same experience,” said Jeffrey Reynolds, FCA’s chief executive.
“Our loyal donors have been supportive, but without events, with everyone complaining about email overload and our staff heavily focused on serving people in need – especially in our programs for homeless teens and services for people with mental health issues – we will likely end the year having to make some program cuts,” Reynolds said.
But that won’t diminish the need for services.
“Government contracts are being cut by 20 percent,” Reynolds said. “We are spending lots of money on PPE and cleaning supplies and our clients are asking for more and more help. That’s a perfect storm and we are making sure to re-double our holiday appeal efforts so that we can maintain programs, avoid waiting lists for services and keep staff in place for the new year. It’s daunting for sure, but I have a lot of confidence that Long Islanders will come through as they always do.”
Already at Island Harvest, organizations are stepping up in time for the holidays.
Bethpage Federal Credit Union, for instance, is launching its contactless Turkey Drive on Nov. 20 at its headquarters so that Long Islanders facing food insecurity can enjoy Thanksgiving.
“When COVID first hit earlier in the year, Bethpage Federal Credit Union immediately dedicated a significant amount of its financial resources to support COVID-specific relief efforts in addition to our normal community giving plans,” said Linda Armyn, Bethpage Federal’s senior vice president of corporate affairs.
The credit union provided “a substantial amount of funding to support healthcare workers, emergency daycare programs, COVID research, hunger relief and seniors, as well as families who became financially stressed through loss of income,” she said.
Wells Fargo funded meals for 1,500 families over six weeks in Hempstead, Dresner said.
Stop and Shop, too, has been “an incredible resource” year-round for Island Harvest. About 10 years ago, Island Harvest brought an idea to cut down waste by donating instead of throwing away meats that neared its sell-by date. The meat is now frozen and distributed to agencies and partners that safely handle frozen food.
Dresner is also active in the Long Island Food Council, where a member company, La Flor, donates spice packets during the holidays. “If you’re struggling to put food out for the family, the last thing you’re going to buy is spice,” Dresner said.
The $50,000 donation from Melter Lippe will provide nutritional education material for thousands of turkeys, so when people bring the poultry home, they understand how to cook it properly according to food safety guidelines.
The money will also go towards marketing efforts to let “others know about the important work we are doing through food donations and monetary support,” Dresner said.
Their generosity may well prompt others to help more Long Islanders persevere through the pandemic.
Rumor has it that Shakespeare wrote King Lear during the plague. So, how’s working at home during our modern day plague going for you?
Social media and other sources are replete with articles about how you can use your time during the pandemic to be more productive. Not only are you supposed to be working remotely at full capacity – or even harder, because, after all, it’s a time of crisis for your company– but you’re told it’s a great time to learn a new hobby, declutter your closet, get in shape and, while you’re at it, write that play or novel that’s been brewing in the back of your mind.
While you and your family are experiencing one of the most stressful, uncertain and challenging times in our country’s history, you are being encouraged to tackle your to-do list and use all of those “extra” hours to accomplish more than ever.
The truth is, we are all in survival mode. Not since 9-11 have we felt a similar shock to our systems and existential threat to our welfare. And, with no definitive end to this period of isolation and upheaval in sight, you are bound to be way more than a little off your game.
The roles we use to define our worth—our ability to earn a living, to protect our families, to provide an education for our children—are under threat. A large part of our identities are based on interactions with our colleagues, friends and family. But the need for social distancing has thrown those foundational elements of our lives into chaos.
While the chances of you or a loved one dying from COVID-19 may be relatively small in stark terms of percentages, it’s not at all unreasonable to be so frightened that focusing on even simple tasks is difficult.
Bottom line: Now is not the time to put pressure on yourself to be a superstar. Give yourself—and your employees, bosses, kids and everyone else—a break. If you’re working from home, expect to be less productive than usual. We’re all living through a period when our bodies and minds are on high alert. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed. In fact, it would be unnatural to feel otherwise.
If you’ve got kids at home, the challenges are multiplied. You’re now expected to be teacher, playmate and parent. If you work on the front lines, or in a grocery store or any other public-facing job, you’re putting your health at risk. And your financial portfolio has likely tanked.
For everyone’s sake, adjust your expectations. Expect your kids to be more clingy and anxious than usual. Expect them—and yourself— to be more tired or easily triggered to anger. Let your loved ones express their feelings, and talk to someone about your own. Tell your kids it’s normal to be frightened, but reassure them that the best scientists in the world are working on solutions, and that we will get through this.
Instead of training for the marathon, focus on the basics for you and your family: Eat healthy foods, mostly. Take some walks (dogs are loving this). Get up from your desk and stretch. Play ball with the kids. Allow yourself to get some extra sleep. Keep clearly defined work hours. Limit your news consumption to a “need to know” basis.
Don’t isolate. Use technology to stay in touch with peers, friends and family. Texts aren’t enough. Use Zoom or FaceTime so you feel truly connected. And when speaking with your co-workers, ask them how they’re doing.
We’re in uncharted territory, and there’s no right way to cope. This is a time when doing the best you can is a perfectly acceptable goal.
Bio: Jenna Kern-Rugile is Director of Communications at North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, a children’s mental health agency that serves all of Nassau County. The Guidance Center is seeing new and existing clients via video and phone while its buildings are closed. For more information, visit www.northshorechildguidance.org. To schedule an appointment, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (516) 626-1971.
One of COVID-19’s worst complications for nonprofits is the decimated events calendar. Galas and luncheons – nonprofits’ biggest fundraising vehicles – simply don’t exist in the age of social distancing.
Take North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center in Roslyn Heights. The organization looks to three events each year to bring people together, and collectively raise about $700,000.
There’s a lot that may ride on timing going forward.
“Our gala in October is our biggest fundraiser, but in addition to safety, would this be the right time to have that kind of celebration?” said Andrew Malekoff, executive director of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center in Roslyn Heights.
For organizations like North Shore Child & Family Guidance that means regrouping in order to reach donors and to continue to provide services to communities, many of which are in crisis, and may need them now more than ever.
“It’s a tricky balance because we’re all headed into a lot of uncertainty,” said Jeff Reynolds, president and CEO of Family & Children’s Association in Mineola.
At the same time, there’s a “spike in client demand and needs in the community” and with loss of tax revenue caused by the “New York Pause,” there are “signs that the county is heading into a rough time,” he said.
Now, resiliency matters.
FCA, which has been around for 135 years, has weathered plenty of storms – among them, two world wars, a depression, devastating hurricanes, 9/11 and several recessions. In all that time “we never closed – we’re still responding and answering the call today,” Reynolds said.
And a dose of ingenuity helps.
Persevering through COVID-19 and its shock to the economy requires a host of strategies. Communications skills, solid relationships and a tight team all come into play, experts say. And the powers of video conferencing and social media may forever change the fundraising and awareness-raising landscape.
Perhaps most powerful are the one-to-one relationships.
Reynolds likes to reach out to donors and say “How’re you doing? Here’s what we’re doing, just so you’re up to date.”
In these conversations, speak honestly and openly, and state what your needs are, whether it’s a $25 donor or a $25,000 donor, Reynolds said.
The conversations should be extended to the organization’s full board, budget committees, steering committees and other key stakeholders. These dialogs are essential, especially for organizations awaiting funding at the county, state or federal level.
Since COVID-19, board and committee members all had to be accessed to inform “what we were looking at – real concerns about the viability of going forward and being able to meet payroll because of reduced cash flow,” Malekoff said.
“For not-for-profits struggling at the moment, the board is their asset,” said Kerry Gillick Goldberg, a public relations and non-profit expert. She recently launched Baby Essentials of Long Island, with Docs for Tots as a fiscal sponsor, to help families in need. “The executive director has to be in constant contact with the board. It’s the board’s responsibility to assist at that moment.”
That assistance can be financial, but also in-kind services in the form of expertise, goods and even introductions, experts say.
Take a close look within your own organization, which may also be in need of repair. Some are coping with the stresses around employees and board members who contracted the virus. Others are rebounding in a new work-from-home environment where there may be additional pressures. Many have staff cuts, layoffs and furloughs even if there are more people now need their services. Still others are expending energy differently thanks to technology.
Organizations in need of funds should look immediately to available resources. These include programs through the CARES Act, including the Paycheck Protection Program, employee retention credit and other opportunities.North Shore Child & Family Guidance, for example, now relies on telehealth to provide services and meet growing demand, at a time when there are fewer appointment cancellations; the bright spot here is a boost to billing. And while there are challenges to make sure everyone can access the technology, an important component was reaching out “to all of the families we work with” to let them know “we are not abandoning them” and that there’s “another way to be in touch with them and continue the work that we do,” Malekoff said.
The tools you have
Make use of the tools you have, experts say. Seeing program cuts, along with supply shortages, as well as knowing people had lost jobs, Gillick Goldberg took to social media to address the need for diapers, baby food and more to help those who could no longer provide for their young families. That got the attention of local media, helping to prompt donations, including diapers, wipes and formula from Long Island Cares, she said.
But while Gillick Goldberg’s circle of media connections can help get donations, “everybody has the ability” to locate the assistance needed, she said. “I’m not embarrassed to ask for help and say please.”
That determination came in handy when Gillick Goldberg was trying to score hard-to-find size-5 diapers.
Finally, “I got lucky when this new store, Warehouse Liquidation Center, in Plainview, heard what I was doing, and took pity and donated boxes of diapers,” she said.
Looking to the expertise of a larger organization can help. For instance, Island Harvest Food Bank is partnering with 288 community-based non-profit organizations, 32 school districts, the Suffolk County Executive’s Office, the Nassau County Department of Health, and Nassau and Suffolk County veterans organizations. The organization said it is working with local, state, and federal government officials, community-based organizations and others to offer guidance and provide food across Long Island.
A new era
How nonprofits raise funds and build community may be changed at least temporarily.
Some are considering virtual galas, where donors view a streaming performance of a musical performance or comedian. Others include a fundraising challenge, or even a virtual mahjong fundraiser.
“I don’t know that this will catch on the way people think it might,” Reynolds said.
Still, a virtual event might not ever replace a golf outing. But produced thoughtfully, complete with thoughtful videos, a virtual event might fill in the gap for a scholarship event. Reynolds said it might be compelling to tell donors “I’m not asking you to come to a breakfast where you spend $100 on eggs. Instead, take that $100 to help a kid get an iPad and go to Nassau Community College.”
In a landscape that has long been dotted with charitable events, “maybe it’s time for a reset button,” he said.
By Adina Genn. Adina covers law and government for Long Island Business News. She can be reached via email at email@example.com at (631) 913-4241.
It wasn’t necessary for the slaughter of innocents at Sandy Hook to validate that there is evil in the world. But what it did affirm is that if the massacre of six- and seven-year-old children is not off limits, then nothing is.
Now there is Parkland.
In the last 40 years, the United States has mourned scores of mass murders. A number of the locales where these shootings took place were schools – Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and now Parkland – that have become iconic markers of epidemic violence.
And mass shootings are not only happening in the U.S. In 1996, 16 kindergarten children and their teacher were murdered by a lone gunman in Dunblane, Scotland. Still, those are unusual occurrences in other countries, whereas we have had more than a dozen school shootings since the beginning of this year alone.
After “thoughts and prayers” are paraded around by politicians from all sides, what happens next? Many gun rights advocates, refusing to allow for the fact that our forefathers were talking about the right to bear arms such as muskets and had no conception of guns that could shoot down dozens in an instant, stand in the position that it’s not about guns but rather mental illness.
As the Executive Director of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, which serves children and their families facing issues such as depression, anxiety and substance abuse, I have seen the many faces of mental illness and addictions for more than 40 years. It is incredibly rare for those who are labelled as mentally ill to be violent. In fact, they are far more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators.
Nevertheless, we do need to have a discussion about mental illness at times like these. That discussion, however, needs to be about how insurance companies and the elected officials who count on their donations are failing miserably at having adequate numbers of providers on their lists who take insurance. Over and over again, we hear that, before they found North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, which never turns anyone away for inability to pay, they made numerous calls to the mental health providers on their insurer’s list and found that they no longer take insurance or are booked for months.
We also need to talk about how violence against our youth is rampant, not just in mass shootings. The faces of violence against youths are many and the impact vast. In 2013, a statistical report by the research group Child Trends visualized a hypothetical U.S. high school class of 100 graduates. Among those graduates, it estimated:
71 have experienced physical assault
28 have been victimized sexually (including 10 reporting that they have been the victims of dating violence in the past year and 10 reporting they have been raped)
32 have experienced some form of child maltreatment
27 were in a physical fight
16 carried a weapon in the past year
39 have been bullied, physically or emotionally — 16 in the past year
29 felt “sad and hopeless” continually for at least two weeks during the past year
14 thought seriously about attempting suicide, and
6 made a suicide attempt.
If you read between the lines and the years of mass shootings in America, if only from Columbine to Parkland, there were many more horrific events in between that have all but faded from consciousness. As journalist Gary Smith suggested, “the clock is already ticking in the land of amnesia.”
How long before Parkland, too, is gone?
Malekoff is executive director of the nonprofit children’s mental health agency North Shore Child and Family Guidance Center in Roslyn Heights, NY.