I, along with a select group of young professionals from the Melville Chamber of Commerce, was recently invited to attend a lunch meeting with Anthony Manetta, the CEO and executive director of the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency.
Right out of college, Anthony started his own consulting firm, specializing in corporate advisory and public affairs. He built the company for 10 years, earning his MBA at Dowling College along the way. Most recently, he worked in finance for a corporate turn-around firm for a little more than a year. When he started at the Suffolk IDA, he immediately rebranded the agency, and implemented a fresh new three-tiered advertising and marketing strategy. Since he began as CEO and executive director in mid-2012, the IDA has approved 40 projects, placing a lot of focus on small business.
“If I could help a Suffolk County-based company grow from 25 employees to 50, or a company with 100 employees to 200, that’s just as successful as if we could lure 20 employees from out of state,” Manetta told us. “Working with existing companies in Suffolk and helping them grow is critical to our success as a region.”
Keeping it local is a hallmark of the IDA’s strategy. They even launched the Boost program, which is tailored specifically for some of Long Islands flourishing industries: information technology, life and biosciences, green technology and energy.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone previously said the Boost program will “provide the launching pad for smaller innovation companies to grow and develop in Suffolk County.”
Another great program, focused on bridging the gap between company and employer, is the STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Manufacturing) initiative. All companies that have closed projects with the IDA are required to list their job openings on the IDA’s jobs website. Even companies who haven’t worked with the Suffolk IDA are welcome to post their job listings there.
Manetta said the IDA plans to continue aggressively into 2014, developing innovative initiatives and continuing its proactive approach to creating opportunities. Companies interested in working alongside the IDA to increase employees or their footprint, while incurring property, sales and/or mortgage recording tax breaks, should call Anthony at 631-853-4802. Companies that apply for assistance are typically accepted as part of a 30-day approval process.
Organizations such as our local IDAs are critical to our continued growth on Long Island. With a focus on local business, the Suffolk IDA is actively working to assist and help the backbone of our economy, small businesses, to succeed and grow. As a matter of fact, my company has grown exponentially with help from the IDA. Credit also should go to Mike DeLuise and the Melville Chanber of Commerce, for being actively involved in building partnerships with agencies such as this. Thankfully, something is being done to drive our region as a leader in job growth and opportunity.
Tracy Diaz is a relationship manager at Town & Country Dental Studios. Follow her on Twitter @tracybeanz.