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From the President

PRESIDENTS’ MESSAGE

Peter Foley

While I am honored to be your president, the greater honor is to be a fellow member of this incredible organization. I want to thank Sal Ferro for his leadership as President and mentorship to me as we progressed up the ladder. I also want to thank and acknowledge my other fellow Officers who I have served with: Artie Cipoletti, Alec Ornstein, Mike Kelly, Brian Ferruggiari, Grant Havesy and Sal along with the current slate of Officers Jim Coughlan, Steve Krieger, Vince Calvosa, our Associate V. P. Alan Kennemer and of course our Operations Director Lois Fricke and our extraordinary CEO Mitch Pally. I have worked with all of these folks professionally and within the context of this organization and they are hardworking, hard-driving, extremeley bright and by the way, compassionate wonderful people. A word of thanks to our members who serve and lend their wisdom to various Boards and Commissions; they include: Brian Ferruggiari, Town of Islip Planning Board, Mike Kelly, Suffolk County Planning Commission and Mitch Pally who serves as the Suffolk Representative to the MTA Board. Thanks as well to our Associate members who by in large populate our committees and help keep the organization vibrant.

LIBI has been a very bright light in what can often be a challenging and frustrating process. If you think that the development and construction process is difficult on market rate projects, (and I know it is) think of how fun it gets when rolling out projects that have the term “affordable” in front of them. But the perceptions and concerns are changing thanks in large part to the great work of LIBI.

In preparing for 2019, I have sought counsel from and had the good fortune of getting feedback not only with our membership and LIBI staff about their priorities but folks active on Long Island and many of our elected officials as well. The common theme of course is economic development, job creation and retention as well as strengthening the ties between transit and housing and through it all, growing LIBI. We may not always agree about how best to achieve these priorities but nearly all of us agree that for Long Island to survive and flourish the economy needs to continue to grow in a way that minimizes the depletion of our resources both economically and environmentally.

So what are our areas of focus this year?

First, we will work as we have with our County Executive’s, Town Supervisors and Village Mayors to bolster their initiatives towards the continued and sustainable growth of our downtowns, our transits hub’s, areas where we are finding that communities are now more receptive to new development. LIBI’s reach is expanding and these new developments will mean more work and new members! As an added bonus, the Amazon deal in Queens is certainly welcome news and will have far reaching positive impacts for Long Islanders including more jobs and stability in the region. It will also create challenges. Many of the newly employed will not necessarily want to live in New York City. For those, Long Island will be the go-to place. This along with the natural growth that is taking place will create new challenges for our communities as we work to house all of these newcomers. There is already a movement to develop our transit hub’s and LIBI will be at the forefront working with the public and private sector as that new growth is rolled out. This will include working with Mitch, our builders and developers and our design

and engineering members as well as our Community Outreach members. We will focus on areas such as downtown Hicksville, the Nassau HUB, Ronkonkoma, Mastic, Baldwin, Elmont, Central Islip, Westbury and others to further our objectives. We want to continue the progress that has been made and we have a strong interest in seeing this type of continued growth. It will also attract new builders and associate members. It’s great for Long Island and great for LIBI.

Second, under PAC Chairman Ferro’s leadership and Mitch Pally’s guidance, we have seen LIBI play an increasingly important role in ensuring that our economic development agenda items are considered and acted on. Unlike our giant neighbor to the west, Long Island is made up of many municipalities. New York City with all its size is still one City with one Mayor. Long Island has two cities, over 116 villages and hamlets and 13 towns. LIBI has a presence in just about all of those places. For many years, the development path led to the east as suburbia stretched into the remaining lands. As that process has evolved, a new wave has formed that leads us back west again with revitalization of older downtowns, transit oriented development strengthening the economy of Long Island and making it a better place to live. As that happens, LIBI will be on the forefront playing an even greater roll. Our support for those who support smart growth and our overall agenda will be paramount. For that reason I have pledged to work with Sal and the PAC Board to increase our PAC raise to $250,000 this year. It sounds like an ambitious target but it is critical to our continued and increased relevance as we move forward. If Membership is the engine of LIBI, PAC is the fuel.

Third, as we look to expand our presence on Long Island, we will also continue to look towards increasing our presence on the East End of Long Island. Who better than master home builder Vinnie Calvosa to lead the charge as he takes on the mantle as Chair of the Membership Committee. This year we re-double our effort in that region as well.

Fourth, one of our big agenda times this year is for lack of a better word “waste”. We are working with Suffolk County Dept of Health to review capacity of our sewage treatment plants. Right now our contention is that many of our STP’s are over-designed and that there is considerable amount of excess capacity. Addressing this will resolve a number of challenges that we face. This includes: 1) under capacity systems that are not operating efficiently and in some cases failing because of lack of usage; 2) the tremendous need for capacity. Using STP’s more efficiently will allow the excess capacity that many of our STP’s have to be utilized by others many of whom may be tied into leaking septic systems. This is about smart growth and efficient use of our resources. Another example of LIBI turning waste into surplus!

Fifth, let’s take a deeper dive into digital upgrades and awareness. More and more we rely on our handhelds for information, uber, facebook, google, etc. While a lot has been done in LIBI’s digital world we want to make sure that we are optimizing this very valuable tool. So we should look at this two ways:

  1. Work with our municipalities on streamlining processing through digital technology. If we are on the cusp of giving a verbal command to enable our cars to drive us across the country, it should be possible to work with our friends in the permitting process to maximize the efficiencies offered by software that can collapse the time needed to accomplish that task.
  2. Work with our own web designers and optimizers to take advantage of the latest technology that will help spread the word about this great organization. Membership is our lifeblood and working to upgrade our digital presence will ensure that LIBI is seen by as broad an audience as possible.

Lastly and very importantly, we will continue to build and nourish our charitable arm Long Island Home Builders Care. Home Builders Care is another essential feature of the Long Island home building industry that shows that we care about people within our local community. All of the initiatives we embark on this year will help grow LIBI and in turn keep Home Builders Care robust and growing as well. Home Builders Care helps to shows the heart and soul of LIBI members. As LIBI continue to grow as an organization, so too will our charitable arm.

To wrap up, we have good news: we will be expanding our LIBI office space doubling our conference room and copy room size and getting new storage area. Bad news: we are going to be living in a construction site. I think most of us are familiar with that process. Get used to a little more extraneous noise and plaster dust on our shoulders!

Thanks to a great economy, We are in great financial shape though it is my opinion that we need LIBI more when times are bad than good, fact is that we have to be prepared for challenges and I am happy to report that our reserves will be over $500,000 this year, higher than they have been in over ten years. And we will continue to see them grow.

Finally, special thanks again to our ubiquitous, uniquely qualified and masterful CEO Mitch Pally and the one running the show Lois Fricke and Jen, Kevin, Ann and Taylor. You are all amazing. Thank you.

 

 

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