On January 22, 2021, CMM Managing Partner and HIA-LI‘s Immediate Past Board Chairman Joe Campolo moderated the 43rd HIA-LI Annual Meeting and Legislative Breakfast, attended by over 150 members of the business community. Joe reported on Long Island’s relentless push for recovery and hope in 2021. He then led a discussion with elected officials about the issues most affecting the business community. Panelists included U.S. Congressman Lee Zeldin, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, New York State Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick, and New York State Senator Mario Mattera, with additional remarks by NYS Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. Read Joe’s full remarks below.

Good morning everyone. I’m Joe Campolo and I’d like to welcome everyone to our Annual Meeting and Legislative Program.

For the past three years, I have had the privilege of serving the HIA-LI and the Long Island business community as the Chair of the Board and it has been the honor of a lifetime. As my term as Chair now ends, and as we embark on a new and hopefully more prosperous year, I’m proud to continue to serve on the HIA-LI Board and as chair of the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge task force. This task force is comprised of stakeholders and decision-makers from both the public and private sectors who will work together to help ensure the park is being utilized in the most productive way to help boost Long Island and the entire region’s economy. Unlike many other task forces, this one will be rolling its sleeves up and getting things done.

2020 tested all of us, to say the least – and things didn’t magically go “back to normal” when the calendar turned to 2021. Fortunately, Long Island has proven that we are a community of leaders. The way the business community adapted to the realities of the pandemic, took a deep breath, and kept moving forward – rather than be paralyzed by fear – is a testament to the strength of the human spirit. The dedication of our colleagues and neighbors is an example to our country and to the world. And while the national news would have us believe that humanity has turned on its head, we Long Islanders are more united than ever. We may have our disagreements, but in the end, we all have stuck together and helped each other through what will likely be the toughest year of our lives, and gave new meaning to the hashtag #LongIslandStrong.

Through it all, we have also seen that Long Island is a national model for how business and government should partner and that bipartisan cooperation with our elected officials is how we on Long Island operate and get things done. Terri [Alessi-Miceli] and I spent a good part of this past year interacting with many elected officials and agencies to advocate for the business community and never once did politics get in the way – there was only a true desire from all to want to help make our economy as robust as possible while keeping our families safe. Again, notwithstanding what the national news would have you believe, here on Long Island there were no Republicans and Democrats, only people helping other people, and families helping other families. In today’s world, this is a huge accomplishment and something we as Long Islanders should all be aware of and proud of.

So while our recovery continues to be a long and daunting road, our belief in our country and our democracy must remain strong, and we must continue to oppose injustice at every turn but also oppose hypocrisy with the same passions. Our resolve must remain fierce and our efforts must be relentless to move our economy and our initiatives forward. To help guide those efforts, we at HIA-LI are lucky to have my good friend Rich Humann, President and CEO of H2M Architects and Engineers, as our next Board Chair. Rich is a smart and well-respected leader, and, most importantly for this position, has been a tireless advocate for the Long Island and regional economy. His deep knowledge of Long Island and its infrastructure will be invaluable as we rebuild our way past COVID. And so, in our own version of a peaceful transfer of power, I’d like to introduce my friend and HIA-LI Board Chair Rich Humann.