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LIA Press Release: Long Island Association Holds Annual Evening of Honors


June 25, 2024
Contact: Stacey Sikes, Vice President of Government Affairs and Communications

Long Island Association Holds Annual Evening of Honors
Event recognized business leaders who support Long Island’s economic development and make a positive impact in the community

Click to View Pictures from the Event
Visit the LIA’s YouTube Channel to View the Honoree Videos
Photo and Video Credit: Craig Cooper Productions
Farmingdale, NY - On June 12, 2024, the Long Island Association (LIA) held its third annual Evening of Honors event, where approximately 400 members of the business community celebrated the achievements of innovative companies and their employees who have boosted Long Island’s economy and supported our region’s communities through philanthropic efforts. The event was held at the Heritage Club at Bethpage.

“The Long Island Association is proud to recognize companies and individuals who have made a transformative impact on our region’s economy and contribute to Long Island’s unparalleled quality of life,” said Matt Cohen, LIA President & CEO, “They are all truly deserving of these honors, as they continue to lead the way to ensure Nassau and Suffolk Counties flourish now and in the future.”

“The Long Island Association can advocate and foster a positive business climate because of the support of our members, as well as the honorees and sponsors of the 2024 Evening of Honors,” said Larry Waldman, Chair of the LIA Board of Directors, “With collaboration between the private and public sectors, the LIA can achieve its mission to spur growth and remain economically competitive.”

The Honorees included: Medal of Honor Award: Catholic Health
  • The Medal of Honor is the LIA’s most prestigious award. Catholic Health is the region’s second-largest private employer, with approximately 16,000 employees, six acute care hospitals, three nursing homes, a home health service, hospice, and a network of physician practices. Under the sponsorship of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Catholic Health serves hundreds of thousands of Long Islanders each year, providing care that extends from the beginning of life to helping people live their final years in comfort, grace, and dignity. Its facilities have been nationallyrecognized for excellence, including St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center, which has been rated among the top 10 hospitals in the region by U.S. News & World Report.
Dr. Patrick O’Shaughnessy, President & CEO of Catholic Health, said, “Catholic Health shares the LIA’s strong commitment to Long Island. Our mission is to provide exceptional health care services to communities across Nassau, Suffolk and even parts of Queens. We do this not just at our six hospitals, but at our expanding network of Ambulatory Care sites, always delivering outstanding care and treatment with a healthy dose of compassion.”

The Harry Chapin Humanitarian Award for Community Service: Optimum
  • Jen Chapin, Harry and Sandra Chapin’s daughter, joined the LIA in recognizing Optimum for their widespread community support and treated the audience to a musical performance. Optimum is one of the largest broadband communications and video services providers in the United States, headquartered on Long Island. Their commitment to our region’s communities includes support of First Long Island Robotics and the Optimum Innovator Awards and their long-standing relationship with the Boys and Girls Club of America. Recently, Optimum Business teamed up with the LIA Foundation (the LIA’s charitable arm), Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce, and Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to launch the L.O.C.A.L. Small Business Grants program that awarded $250,000 in direct financial support to 50 small businesses in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

“Optimum is honored to receive the Harry Chapin Humanitarian Award for Community Service from the LIA for our work in empowering and making a positive impact in communities across Long Island,” said Andrew Rainone, Senior Vice President, National Sales at Optimum, “This award is a testament to Optimum’s commitment to deepening its community presence throughout Long Island, and connecting our customers to what matters most, which includes supporting, understanding, and celebrating what makes each of our local communities unique. We thank the LIA for their support and collaboration, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the organization.”

Key to the Island: Dr. Timothy Sams, President of the State University of New York at Old Westbury
  • The Key to the Island recognizes someone who may not have been born on Long Island but has now become an adopted son or daughter of the region. Dr. Timothy Sams was raised by his paternal grandparents on the South Side of Syracuse and attended Union College in Schenectady, New York, SUNY Albany, and Temple University in Philadelphia for his PhD in African American Studies. Immediately prior to Old Westbury, Dr. Sams served as Vice President of Student Affairs for Prairie View A&M University in Texas. Dr. Sams was appointed President of SUNY Old Westbury in January 2021, and his notable accomplishments include leading the institution to university status, expanding opportunities for students through a partnership with Brookhaven National Laboratory, and contributing to Long Island’s efforts to train the next generation of employees and make sure they stay in our region.

Dr. Timothy Sams, President of the State University of New York at Old Westbury, said, “It is an honor to be recognized with the Key to the Island and I thank the LIA Board of Directors and all of its members. While my time here has been just three years, I've come to recognize the strength of our business and civic communities and am pleased to build here on the more than 50-year foundation that's been created by SUNY Old Westbury as a leader on issues involving education, service and justice for our region."

Lifetime Achievement Award: Gene Bernstein
  • Gene Bernstein served on the LIA Board of Directors for many years in his capacity as Chairman of Northville Industries Corp. and also was a Co-Chair of the LIA Energy and Environment Committee. Gene’s career started as a Professor at the University of Arizona and University of Notre Dame, but he came back to Long Island to join Northville Industries as a 3rd generation family member. Together with his brother Jay, Gene helped lead Northville’s highly successful wholesale, storage, pipeline transportation, and refined products trading businesses. Gene has actively participated on numerous philanthropic and civic boards, chairing many, including the Alfred University Board of Trustees, Advisory Board of The Energeia Program at Molloy University, and the First Tee of Metropolitan New York. Gene and his family started “The Northville Long Island Classic Champions Tour” golf tournament in 1987, which has raised more than $1 million for Cohen’s Children’s Hospital.

Gene Bernstein said, “While there is a funny saying that ’No good deed goes unpunished,’ I am thrilled and honored to be recognized by the LIA with this Lifetime Achievement Award for my ’good deeds,’ and plan on more to come.”

The sponsors of the 2024 Evening of Honors included:
  • Official Event Sponsor: Bethpage Federal Credit Union
  • Medal Of Honor Sponsor: Catholic Health
  • Banquet Sponsor: Optimum Business
  • Awards Ceremony Sponsors:
    • Northville Industries
    • PSEG Long Island
  • Dessert Sponsors:
    • Hofstra University
    • KPMG
    • Newsday
About the Long Island Association
The Long Island Association (LIA) is the region’s leading non-profit and non-partisan business organization since 1926 and amplifies the voice of the business community. As Long Island’s chamber of commerce, the LIA works to ensure the region’s economic vitality. Long Island’s future is our business.

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