County Executive, Suffolk IDA, LIA & Pharmaceutical Leaders Highlight State of Economy & Future of Industry
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency (IDA), the Long Island Association (LIA) and Suffolk County Legislator William Lindsay III met with more than 30 executives, business leaders and stakeholders from the pharmaceutical industry on April 6, 2016 to discuss the current state of the local economy as well as the County’s economic development plan and its impact on the biotechnology sector. Thirteen pharmaceutical companies who are located in the region and employ thousands of Long Islanders were in attendance.
“Sharing our economic development plan and vision for an innovation economy and soliciting feedback from the biotech industry is essential to continue to move our region forward,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “Long Island has a life science cluster that is already ranked in the top 10 in the country, but the sector still has a lot more potential to grow. Our goal is to continue to implement programs and initiatives which will support the growth pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals within Suffolk County and our region.”
“The Suffolk IDA has seen tremendous growth in the pharmaceutical/nutraceutical sector over the last several years,” said Anthony Catapano, Executive Director of the Suffolk County IDA. “We have worked with a number of the companies that were in attendance and were pleased to help convene the meeting. These companies are creating the kind of high-skill, high-paying jobs that will fuel Long Island’s economy into the future, so it is important to know what they need in order to continue their growth. We look forward to continuing the conversation and supporting this important sector in any way we can.”
“The biggest obstacle to growing a company is having access to young professionals and a mass transit system,” Legislator William Lindsay III. “This has been my main area of focus since I got into the Legislature and I am confident that combining innovation from the biotech industry and the pool of young educated talent we have here in Suffolk County that the economy will expand rapidly.”
Kevin S. Law, President & CEO of the Long Island Association stated, “Long Island’s economic future is tied to the success of our growing industry in biotechnology and life sciences, and thus we commend County Executive Bellone for his efforts to support these companies and the newly established LI Bio Committee of the LIA.”
County Executive Bellone discussed the concept of the Long Island Innovation Zone. The “I-Zone” plans to connect existing and planned transit-oriented downtowns – such as New Village in Patchogue, the Meadows at Yaphank and the Ronkonkoma Hub – to the region’s world-class research institutions in order to create an attractive destination for employers and millennials who have been leaving Long Island in record numbers.
The executives and business leaders then provided feedback on a variety of issues currently affecting the region, including the challenges of attracting qualified employees, affordable housing for employees, lack of mass transportation along the north-to-south corridor, and the need to further utilize the region’s institutions of higher learning.
The forum also provided the opportunity for county officials from the Department of Labor, Department of Economic Development and Planning and Department of Health Services to provide information to the attendees on the various services the departments provide and the resources available to assist in attracting more employees and businesses to the region.
Members of the LIA were also in attendance. The LIA recently announced the creation of “LI Bio,” a new committee that will serve as a platform to help expand biotechnology, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, cosmeceutical and life science companies and work on projects that benefit the industry’s growth in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
County officials and business executives agreed to hold a follow up discussion on the various initiatives that were addressed with additional input from colleges and universities on Long Island.
For more information on the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industry roundtable event or for the County’s Long Island Innovation Zone plan in Suffolk County, log on to www.suffolkcountyny.gov, www.facebook.com/stevebellone and www.suffolkida.org.