Manetta merges with Harris Beach advisory

By GREGORY ZELLER //

Long Island public affairs veteran Anthony Manetta has hitched his wagon to legal powerhouse Harris Beach.

The former executive director of the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency has merged his Melville consulting company, Standard Advisors Group, with HB Solutions LLC, a non-legal consulting affiliate of Rochester-based Harris Beach. The law firm, which represents 10 of the Fortune 25 companies, was founded in 1856 and maintains offices across Upstate New York and in Melville, New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut.

As economic development and public affairs consultant, Manetta will continue to operate his Melville practice under the HB Solutions flag. His primary mission will be to lead downstate development of the Harris Beach spinoff, which provides strategic consulting for public and private organizations across numerous industries.

“It’s really exciting,” Manetta told Innovate LI. “This is a great opportunity to be part of a larger platform and have a support team in place that will enable even greater services to my clients, and to HB Solutions’ clients.

“HB Solutions is primarily rooted out of their upstate offices, so as the law firm has been growing downstate in Nassau and Suffolk counties, having this type of consulting service to help with those clients and bring in new ones makes a lot of sense,” he added. “There’s a world of opportunity down here.”

In particular, the new HB Solutions consultant noted rich Long Island-based opportunities in real estate redevelopment, as well as in helping startup companies in the region’s flourishing biotech and high-tech sectors “understand the corporate-development opportunities out there.”

Manetta’s familiarity with the rigors of Long Island’s business climate will go a long way toward helping HB Solutions’ clients meet “key business objectives,” according to Keith Brown, a partner in Harris Beach’s Melville office.

“Anthony is a highly respected and well-known consultant among Long Island’s business community,” Brown said in a statement.  “We have known Anthony for many years and it is a pleasure to have him on board.”

Harris Beach established HB Solutions to help the law firm’s clients address their strategic, operational and organizational needs, with particular attention paid to the Affordable Care Act, energy, human resources and other key corporate issues. It’s familiar turf for Manetta, who launched Standard Advisors Group – which focuses primarily on real estate matters and public-private partnerships – after stepping down from the Suffolk IDA in 2014.

In two years as the Industrial Development Agency’s CEO and executive director, he was credited with creating innovative, incentives-based programs that revitalized the IDA and led directly to the creation of thousands of new regional jobs and millions of dollars in new economic activity.

A longtime champion of the manufacturing, pharmaceutical and technology sectors, Manetta – who earned an MBA in corporate finance from Dowling College in 2008 – has served as an aide to former U.S. Rep. Rick Lazio and former Suffolk County Legislator Andrew Crecca. He’s also an entrepreneur, launching Islandia-based public affairs and corporate advisory consulting firm Roosevelt Strategies Group in 2001.

During his 10-year run as Roosevelt CEO, the founder emphasized strategic planning, communications, corporate development and crisis management – parallels that have infused his career ever since and will serve him well in his new role with HB Solutions, Manetta noted.

“This is really about economic development and public affairs,” he said. “And part of that public affairs component has a definite communications aspect, including crisis management and keeping various stakeholders out there informed.”

In January, Manetta ended a year-long run as an outside consultant to the Suffolk County Economic Development Corp., a move he said was not related to the subsequent HB Solutions merger, which was only in the discussion stage at the time.

“Things really just pivoted and I wanted to focus on other projects,” Manetta noted. “It wasn’t like I had to make a decision.

“This is a great opportunity for me and my clients. HB Solutions has a strong foundation upon which to build my consulting business.”