Workforce Development Institute

Personal perspectives inform ‘Women in Manufacturing’

By GREGORY ZELLER // Some of Long Island’s most influential manufacturing leaders will come together Oct. 6 to discuss the role of women in engineering and technology-related fields – something this particular panel knows all about. As part of Suffolk County Community College’s Women in Manufacturing/STEM Summit, the Women in Manufacturing Panel and Video Screening will shine a light on the ways professional passions and specific workforce needs are fueling new science, technology, engineering and…


Debrief: Keeping busy with Phil Rugile

There’s never a dull moment when you’re Phil Rugile, who pulls double duty as director of the hyperactive LaunchPad Huntington and as “human capital strategist” at eGifter, the Huntington-based digital gifting/corporate prepaid solutions specialist that remains one of Long Island’s great innovation success stories. When Innovate LI last Debriefed the media-savvy entrepreneur, LaunchPad Huntington was barely a year old and still finding its way; two years hence, Rugile has honed the co-working space into a…


Brain drain? Put a cork in it

By GREGORY ZELLER // Don’t whine when you can wine. That was one of the big ideas Wednesday, when a select group of educators, hospitality professionals and economic-development experts – each with a particular interest in addressing Long Island’s infamous “brain drain” – toured several East End winemaking facilities. Arranged by the Long Island regional office of the Workforce Development Institute, the field trip was designed to help insiders understand the workforce needs and career…


For MindYolk and WDI, a true teaching moment

By GREGORY ZELLER // A multidimensional Long Island maker is rewriting the textbook on how to educate tomorrow’s manufacturing workforce – kinda literally, sorta. Paul Lipsky, CEO of Plainview-based MindYolk Animation Studio and founder of digital-creator community Long Island Visual Professionals, is about to hand in the most critical college project of his life: a complete curriculum leading to a bachelor’s of fine arts degree in interactive computer graphics, which he plans to deliver to…


URGENT effort eyes women for larger utility roles

By GREGORY ZELLER // Mixing gender equity, evolving workforce needs and a dash of economic-development sauce, the Workforce Development Institute and several big-name utilities are partnering with Nassau Community College to provide free career training for women. The idea, according to the sponsors of the Utility Readiness for Gaining Employment for Non-Traditionals: Women program, is to prepare women for larger roles in the utilities industries. The partners – including representatives of PSEG Long Island, National…


Downtown development: Jobs are Job No. 1

By ROSALIE DRAGO // The Governor’s Conference on Sustainable Development & Collaborative Governance, held Wednesday in Melville, facilitated an important dialogue around the hot topic of downtown redevelopment. Long Island currently has over a dozen town centers in various stages of redevelopment or revitalization, so discussion on this topic is both relevant and timely. But for downtown development and revitalization to achieve its potency as an economic engine, consideration for jobs – What will they…


A new LI manufacturing era … by Royal decree?

By GREGORY ZELLER // A new era for an old Long Island sector? Some serious people are at least trying it on. Innovative manufacturer Royal Apparel, a 2007 fashion firm spun out of circa-1993 wholesaler Summit Apparel Inc., is hoping to complete an intra-Hauppauge space grab this year, moving into a 25,000-square-foot location with high ceilings ideal for extra warehousing, according to cofounder and CEO Morey Mayeri. The property could also accommodate a 12,000- to…


American Culture, now bottling its own future

By GREGORY ZELLER // From the Close Call file comes the story of American Culture, a Huntington Station hair-care manufacturer that nearly gave Long Island the brush-off. Cofounder Louis Guarneri didn’t want to leave LI. He’s the third of what he hopes will be four (at least) generations in the beauty business, all on Long Island. He met his wife and cofounder, Doreen, when they were 13, and they dated throughout their years at Cold…


East/West: 3D prototyping with a capital 3

By GREGORY ZELLER // East/West Industries felt the need for speed. The longtime Long Island manufacturer, launched in Wantagh in 1968 and based now in Ronkonkoma, has spent the better part of five decades protecting aircrew lives by developing and producing newer and better aircraft seats and life-support systems primarily for military aircraft, and related ground-support equipment. But time caught up with the defense stalwart, which is managed today by President Teresa Ferraro and Vice…


At Impish Lee, everyone’s a softwear designer

By GREGORY ZELLER // Most startups must deal with a few curves. And then there’s Impish Lee, the Sea Cliff-based lingerie maker founded by sisters Noelle and Kali Ventresca. Manufacturing intimate apparel wasn’t part of the discussion when Noelle was studying music business and film scoring at Boston’s Berklee College of Music and Kali was an art student at SUNY New Paltz. But Noelle started designing lingerie as a pastime, and Kali started photographing the…


The Marmalade is almost ready for drive time

By GREGORY ZELLER // A modest grant from the Workforce Development Institute could help a longtime Long Island innovator hit the big time with an ultra-efficient drive system. Named by inventor John Pawloski’s young daughters, the Marmalade Drive is “very efficient and wickedly simple,” according to the inventor, a vice president at family-owned Jewelers Machinists Co. in North Babylon. Already tested successfully in commercial HVAC units and about to be installed for the first time…


The Debrief: Rosalie Drago is a force for innovation

Rosalie Drago’s career path meandered through tourism and economic development then into workforce issues and from the Jersey Shore to Long Island – to LaunchPad Huntington, precisely, where she set up shot as regional director of the Workforce Development Institute in June. From there, the seasoned tourism pro – who earned a master’s degree in public administration from NYU – champions the Albany-based nonprofit’s mission of tracking workforce trends, identifying challenges and fostering innovative solutions….