As those of you who know me know, I love Long Island. Sure, the wineries and beaches all play a part of my romance, but what I love most about Long Island are the people (well, at least some of them). And in my professional capacity (that of lawyer, not the one of food and wine Epicurean) I am lucky to have met and built relationships with some very remarkable people – people who are so talented that they could work anywhere in the world but decided to use their talents to help add to the culture and fabric of our beloved Island. So, in my spare time, I thought it might be fun to get to know some of these folks better by interviewing them and seeing what makes them tick, and then to make things wild, share highlights of some of those interviews with all of you.
Long Island Vitruvius
This week, I’d like to share this interview I did with Alex Badalamenti , President & CEO of bld architecture . Alex is a rare talent in the architecture world and his work from his 30+ year career can be seen across Long Island, NYC, and the globe. Here are some highlights from our discussion:
- A Long Island Story – Though he grew up on Long Island, Alex started his career in NYC, a mecca for young aspiring architects, where he worked on restoring historical landmarks. Over time he recognized the opportunity Long Island presented for development and returned here to raise his children and build his business. The connections and community that Alex has built here cannot be underestimated, as his fingerprint is on many of the most sophisticated projects.
- An Architectural Think Tank – bld architecture seeks to build relationships with their clients rather than just build projects. Understanding that the best projects are those that can be completed, Alex aims to collaborate and brainstorm on a plan that best captures a client’s vision but is also supported by the municipality wherein the project resides.
- Room for Growth – While others see the complex zoning regulations on Long Island as a problem, Alex sees it as an opportunity. “Redeveloping the downtown community is the key to growth on Long Island,” says Alex. “Patchogue may have a booming parking problem, but that’s a good problem to have.”
- The Key to Growth is Youth – Supporting the new generation of business professionals is crucial to growing businesses on Long Island. From an architecture perspective, Alex discusses the challenges of designing and building affordable housing to keep our young people living and working here.
- The Soul of Architecture – “Buildings have a soul, or a spirit, that carries through,” says Alex of what inspired him to get into architecture. Though historical landmarks didn’t yet interest him during his college years, history is what drives his passion today.
You can watch the interview here, or listen to it here. I look forward to sharing more insights soon.
WINE OF THE WEEK
2016 Palatine Seven Hills Reserve Block XIII Cabernet Sauvignon ($32.99) – This wine comes from an organically farmed vineyard in Yountville, a gorgeous part of Napa. At this price, it is a steal! For a young cab, it is very drinkable today (would decant for at least an hour) but will clearly age nicely. I would recommend picking up three bottles and drinking one immediately (with some hard cheeses and olives) and aging the other two. Warning: I tried this method and enjoyed it so much that the three bottles seemed to disappear, so I bought some more to age.
Summer in the City – At the end of May, I was excited to welcome CMM’s Summer Associates. We have three talented students from Fordham , BU , and Hofstra who will receive unparalleled experience and an inside look at what being a lawyer is all about. They’ll rotate throughout our departments, receive training on the practical skills you can’t learn in school, enjoy field trips to court, and of course we’ve already been treating them to true CMM culture with social activities, special lunches, and more. Happy to have them aboard.
Long Island Innovation Park – As part of HIA-LI ’s focus on the promotion and rebranding of the newly renamed Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge, I recently joined HIA-LI’s fearless leader Terri Alessi-Miceli for a tour of two of the most innovative businesses in the park, Flexible Business Systems and Contract Pharmacal . These businesses play a critical role in Long Island’s tradable economy – learn more amazing stats about that impressive plot of land we used to call the Hauppauge Industrial Park here.
Innovation Task Force – Taking its role as the leading economic engine for Long Island development to heart, HIA-LI has launched a task force to begin implementation of the recommendations of the Opportunity Analysis recently completed by the Suffolk County IDA and Regional Plan Association (check out the stats above). I’m thrilled to work with a who’s who of business leaders on this task force, including Terri Alessi-Miceli, President & CEO of HIA-LI; Carol Allen, President & CEO of People’s Alliance Federal Credit Union; Anthony Manetta of HB Solutions; Rich Humann, President & CEO of H2M Architects + Engineers; Jim Coughlan, Principal of TRITEC Real Estate Co.; Bob Quarté, Managing Partner of AVZ Certified Public Accountants; Jack Kulka of the Kulka Group; and Kevin O’Connor, President & CEO of BNB Bank.
Hedgehog – Congratulations to my friend Dan Galvez and his partners on the sale of his award-winning digital consulting agency, Hedgehog, to Sitecore. I’ve watched their incredible growth over the past 10 years, and from the moment I started working with them, I knew they’d become industry leaders. Thanks also to my fantastic M&A team (pictured) at CMM for all their hard work to bring this deal to the finish line.
CMM Cares – Through our charitable arm, CMM Cares, our team spent last last Tuesday morning volunteering with children at Family Service League. We read books and helped the children create a fun craft, and then distributed over 200 books to the preschool classrooms that we collected through our book drive. A fantastic morning! Get involved with our next CMM Cares event – a team bowling fundraiser – this July! All the details are here.
Grow Local, Go Global – Where in the world is CMM? Last week I moderated a great discussion with a panel of international business experts about doing business across the globe. Thanks to Alan Sasserath of Sasserath & Zoraian, LLP, Gregg Schor of Protegrity Advisors, and our panelists from Belgium and Germany for sharing your strategies and advice with our clients. Read the recap here.