Morning of a thousand stars

Group dynamic: (From left) Master of Innovation Michael Faltischek, Peter Goldsmith, Judy Hayward, James Hayward and Lawrence Waldman at the 2018 Innovator of the Year Awards.

(Photos by Bob Giglione)

A dazzling array of sensational scientists, energetic entrepreneurs and regional rainmakers gathered April 24 for the 2018 Innovator of the Year Awards.

Innovate Long Island’s third-annual innovation celebration, held at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, honored 2018 Master of Innovation Michael Faltischek, senior partner at Uniondale law firm Ruskin Moscou Faltischek and chairman of the Long Island Angel Network.

The breakfast banquet also recognized more than 40 of the region’s best and brightest researchers, inventors, educators, mentors and business-development professionals, all of whom have played a part in strengthening the Island’s innovation economy.

Show starter: Innovate Long Island President Marlene McDonnell kicks off the 2018 Innovator of the Year Awards.

And of course, the event saluted the memory of our founder and publisher, John Kominicki, the veteran journalist and socioeconomic savant who created Innovate Long Island in April 2015 and passed away in December 2017.

Remembered warmly by many Innovator of the Year Awards speakers and guests, John firmly believed this region’s economic vitality depends on its brilliant researchers and risk-taking entrepreneurs – a notion supported by the high caliber of honorees and attendees showing up Tuesday morning at Crest Hollow, according to Innovate LI President Marlene McDonnell.

“In this room, there are CEOs, executive decision-makers at major universities, top lawyers, leading scientists, brilliant researchers, incredible teachers and so many amazing people who aren’t executives or scientists or professors, but just had a great idea,” McDonnell said. “We are so gratified by the turnout. It really confirms the strength of John’s vision and excites us as we grow Innovate Long Island and carry his legacy forward.”

Man of the hour: 2018 Master of Innovation Michael Faltischek.

McDonnell also recognized the event’s generous sponsors, who “share John’s vision for what Long Island can be and how it can get there.”

“We sincerely appreciate all of the accounting and law firms, the nonprofit groups, the universities and the others who also believe, as we do, that innovation is the key to restoring Long Island’s economic stability,” she added.

Innovate Long Island Editor Gregory Zeller, Long Island Capital Alliance Executive Director Carol Lane

Corporate sponsors of the 2018 Innovator of the Year Awards include Applied DNA Sciences, Cameron Engineering & Associates, Carter DeLuca Farrell & Schmidt, EisnerAmper, Farrell Fritz, Mazars USA, Nixon Peabody, Northwell Health, Ruskin Moscou Faltischek and Sahn Ward Coshignano.

Government and nonprofit sponsors include the Long Island Business Development Council and the Town of Islip Office of Economic Development.

The event’s technology sponsor was Quick-Cast, which provided livestreaming coverage of the 2018 Innovator of the Year Awards.

Ruskin Moscou Faltischek Managing Partner Adam Silvers.

Major university sponsors of the 2018 Innovator of the Year Awards include Farmingdale State College, Five Towns College, Hofstra University, the New York Institute of Technology, SUNY College at Old Westbury and Stony Brook University’s Clean Energy Business Incubator Program and Office of Economic Development.

In addition to Master of Innovation Faltischek – also honored for his work as a trustee of the Sunrise Association and his 40-plus years of corporate law practice on Long Island – this year’s impressive list of Innovator of the Year Award winners includes:

Natasha Roman, Phil Rugile

+ KidOyo – Devon Loffreto, Melora Loffreto, Bo Feng
+ LegalSoft USA – Louis DeVito, Jacob Hochendoner, Adam Hussain
+ Patient Innovations – Ken Greenberg

+ Applied DNA Sciences – James Hayward
+ Kantian Skincare – Jon Klein, Richard Klein
+ NeuroGuard – Chad Bouton, Mohamed Ahmed, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

+ Edgewise Energy – Sammy Chu
+ NextSwitch/Brookhaven Technology Group – Slawa Solovyov
+ Green Framework – Barbara Dutton-Weingarten
+ Havelide Systems – Stephen Boyd
+ Unique Technical Services – Joseph Ambrosio

Ernie Fazio

+ Don’s Finest Living Foods – Don DiLillo
+ FoodCubate – Anna Kotler
+ The Guac Shop – Sergio DeCiantis, Carlos DeCiantis, Matthew Tesoriero, Patrick O’Halloran
+ Five North Chocolate – Benjamin Conard
+ Best Market – Aviv Raitses, Eran Raitses

+ Composite Prototyping Center – Leonard Poveromo
+ LaunchPad Huntington – Phil Rugile
+ LISTnet/The Digital Ballpark – Peter Goldsmith, Paul Trapani
+ Workforce Development Institute – Rosalie Drago
+ Bridgeworks – Graham Beck


Don DiLillo, Drew Presberg

+ MindYolk – Paul Lipsky
+ SmartBox – Michael Eller, Ross Schneidman, Brian Torpey, Christopher Zavala, Northwell Health
+ The Sensory Room – Mitchell Nagler, Adelphi University
+ The Shlocker – Tal Berke, Stephanie Cummings
+ SMARTgame – Joan Bucchino

Innovate Long Island extends deepest gratitude to the crews at Quick-Cast and Design Audio Visual, photographer Bob Giglione, the amazing team at Crest Hollow Country Club and all of the other hardworking professionals who made our annual awards banquet an A-level networking success.

And to our 2018 award-winners, and all the future Innovators of the Year working now toward their breakthrough moment, congratulations and thank you for making Long Island the thriving innovation hub it needs to be.

Sharon Goldsmith, Paul Lipsky, Gregory Zeller


Benjamin Conard, Raymond Farrell


Barbara Dutton-Weingarten, David Hamilton

Joan Bucchino, Julia Bucchino

Anna Kotler



The crew from Edgewise Energy






The LegalSoft USA team, surrounding Zeller

Richard Klein, Jon Klein, Alon Kapen

Allan Cohen, Ken Greenberg, Gregory Zeller






Yacov Shamash

Melora Loffreto, Gregory Zeller

BFFs: Faltischek and Waldman share a moment.





Team Adelphi

Coffee with Cameron Engineering and Associates

Feel free to mingle.



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