CMM Managing Partner and HIA-LI Board Chairman Joe Campolo gave these remarks at the HIA-LI Trade Show Luncheon, “Long Island Development: Economic Growth” on May 30, 2019. View the presentation that accompanied his remarks here.
Good afternoon, everyone. I’m very happy to be here today representing both HIA-LI and the Long Island business community.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love Long Island.
Except for the four years I spent in the Marine Corps, my entire life has been spent here on our Island. When I left Long Island to go into the Marine Corps, there was never any doubt that I was going to come back here to build my career and raise my family. I attended Stony Brook University, and I loved Stony Brook. And even though I commuted to the city to attend Fordham Law School, there was never any doubt that I would remain on Long Island to practice law. And when I decided 12 years ago to open a firm in Suffolk County, many people questioned my decision: “Why do you want to go to Suffolk County? It’s farm country. There’s nothing going on out there!” And I said, “There’s an opportunity there – I just know it.”
You see, the reason I love Long Island is because I believe in its greatness, and that belief has never let me down. Yes, we have wonderful school districts, and beaches, and restaurants and wineries – we have the arts in the Staller Center and the Engeman Theater, and world class health care and educational institutions. But as a business lawyer, my true passion lies in the amazing and world class talent we have in the Long Island business community. This passion drove me to join the HIA-LI, and again many folks questioned me: “Why are you joining the HIA-LI? There are bigger business organizations out there that can help you grow.” And I said to them, “I know there are, but there’s something very special about the HIA-LI and that industrial park.” And on all accounts, I was right, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized how special our beloved Industrial Park truly is.
My friend, County Executive Steve Bellone, recently said, “The Hauppauge Industrial Park is the cornerstone of Suffolk County’s economy, plain and simple.” And while I wholeheartedly agree with his statement, I am here today to expand on it, and demonstrate how and why the Industrial Park is not only the Cornerstone of Suffolk County’s economy, but that of the entire State’s economy, and why these amazing businesses that live and thrive in our park are role models for industrial parks across this country.
As steward of this incredible Park, I, along with my cohort Terri Alessi-Miceli and fellow board members, have spent the last several years working tirelessly to spread the word about this incredible economic engine. And we have indeed made an enormous impact. One of my proudest accomplishments as Board Chairman is our success in making the numbers and facts that we learned through the Economic Impact Study we did in conjunction with Stony Brook University so well known – so much so that the Park’s identity as an economic powerhouse is no longer a secret, but rather part of the fabric and story of Long Island. In fact, our elected officials and business leaders all now proudly proclaim that our industrial park is the “second largest in the country next to Silicon Valley,” a fact uncovered in our initial study.
Building on this, our other cohort Kelly Morris and the Suffolk County IDA, funded an opportunity analysis to take a deeper and closer look at the park. Led by James Lima, a national planner who has worked with companies like Google and Facebook to help build their campuses and ecosystems, and by the Regional Plan Association, almost a full year was spent creating an opportunity analysis which would show not only what opportunities currently exist within the park, but what the future opportunities can be for the park. I have to admit that during this process I was nervous; what if they came back and contradicted, or even worse discounted, the economic impact study we had conducted. Such a conclusion would wash out all the hard work we had done thus far. Luckily, when the report was completed and publicly released on April 24th, all of our conclusions and suspicions about the park were not only confirmed but were expanded.
Now that we are armed with this critical information about the Park’s economic power, we should all lift our heads a little higher and feel tremendous pride in the fact that we have all contributed in the creation of a world-class ecosystem where we do in fact have the greatest concentration of the most innovative and productive businesses on the planet, our beloved Long Island.
Our mission now is to accelerate this growth by relentlessly spreading the word about the Park as the region’s premier hub for growing businesses, and to continue building bridges between the public and private sectors to truly make an enormous impact.
So, to all my colleagues involved in this work – James Lima Planning, the Suffolk IDA, the RPA, and especially Terri and the entire HIA-LI staff and Board – hats off to you, for confirming what I had always believed, that Long Island is not just a great place to live, but it is the national model for research, innovation, manufacturing and building infrastructure. Thanks to this work, when our children are deciding where to live and work and build their lives, Long Island, and Suffolk County in particular, is a much more viable option.