No. 403: On Truman, workforce development and Adelphi diversity – plus, casting a new Spellman

A nose for news: Award-winning broadcaster, author and natural historian Sir David Attenborough, who turns 93 today, has inspired millions with his tenacious desire to explore and enlighten.


Fair to middling: A pleasant Wednesday to you, dear readers, as we reach the midpoint of our latest busy workweek.

Before we dive in, welcome new newsletter subscribers Donna, Sammy, Eric, Pearlene, Luke, Shaun, Hamlet, Catherine, Andre and Marshall. If any of you had the house of Zhao beating the house of Zhi (ending the Battle of Jinyang in the State of Jin on this date in 453 B.C.), collect your 100 bronze Yibi coins at the window. Please have your tickets ready.

Near misses: The anniversary of the final battle between the elite families of Jin makes this May 8, of course – the earliest possible date for Father’s Day in Romania, Mother’s Day in the United States, State Emblem Day in Belarus and World Fair Trade Day.

Today is none of those days.

Still wild about Harry: It is, however, Truman Day, a state holiday in Missouri marking the birthdate of the only U.S. president from the Show Me State (more birthdays below).

Please hold: It’s also National Receptionists Day, an annual homage to the real powerbrokers in every American office.

Where credit is kind of due: Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto “discovered” the Mississippi River on May 8, 1541. (Jerry says it best.)

Eventyr: The first installment of Hans Christen Andersen’s “Fairy Tales” was published in Denmark on this date in 1835.

Please speak up: Innovator David Edward Hughes presented his new invention – a working carbon microphone – to the Royal Society of London on May 8, 1878.

Hughes did not patent his invention, instead offering it as a gift to the world.

Patient patent: George Selden of Rochester took a different route on this date in 1879, when he filed the first U.S. automobile patent. Selden waited16 years, but finally patented what was, essentially, a gasoline-powered automobile.

Other May 8 patents include the first U.S. patent of the photographic process, issued in 1840 to inventor Alexander Wolcott, and the first U.S. patent for rubber tires, issued in 1847 to English inventor Robert Thomson.

Mountain time: Happy anniversary Paramount Pictures, founded on this date in 1912 as the Famous Players Film Co.

That’s enough of that: Today marks the 74th anniversary of V-E Day, when WWII ended in Europe with Germany’s official surrender.

And that: And it was May 8, 1980, when the World Health Organization declared the deadly disease smallpox had been eradicated by vaccine – still considered by many to be humanity’s single-greatest achievement in international public health.

Oscar winner: German-born businessman Oscar Hammerstein I (1846-1919) – who got rich patenting a cigar-rolling machine, built opera houses and spawned a legendary family of lyricists, composers and producers – would be 173 years old today.

Other May 8 birthday boys and girls include Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784), the first published African-American woman; beer-brewing, yeast-culturing Danish botanist Emil Hansen (1842-1909); American aerospace pioneer James “Dutch” Kindelberger (1895-1962); and “Jaws” author Peter Benchley (1940-2006).

That’s “Life”: And take a bow, Sir David Attenborough – the English natural historian and broadcaster, whose distinguished career spans a half-century-plus, turns 93 today.

Wish them all well at, but save the presents for us (story tips and calendar suggestions, all sizes, please and thank you).


About our sponsor: The Long Island Business Development Council has helped build the regional economy for 50 years by bringing together government economic-development officials, developers, financial experts and others for education, debate and networking.



The workforce (re-)awakens: Never shy about upping the economic-development ante, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced another multi-, multi-, multi-million-dollar state effort to train a worthy 21st century workforce.

Cuomo this week pumped new blood into the Workforce Development Initiative – specifically, a $175 million investment in strategic statewide programs designed to meet short-term workforce needs, improve regional talent pipelines, expand apprenticeships, enhance “the flexibility and adaptability of local workforce entities” and otherwise “address the long-term needs of growing industries,” according to the governor’s office.

With an eye on the economic security of women, children and other at-risk socioeconomic groups, the new Consolidated Funding Application – part of a Workforce Development Initiative Cuomo first announced in 2018 – will “ensure the workforce of today is not only prepared for the jobs we have now, but also ready for the jobs of tomorrow,” the governor said.

Hear them roar: None hail from Long Island, but Greater New York is well-represented among the finalists of Women Who Tech: The Women Startup Challenge at Google, an early-stage business competition aiming to overcome funding shortfalls facing women-led technology businesses.

Each of the 10 finalists is an early-stage tech startup addressing innovation gaps in key industries including biotech, education, agriculture and others. They were selected from 800-plus Women Who Tech applications and include several New York City-based contestants, including Good Call NYC, a 24/7 “arrest support hotline” for the lawfully detained; blockchain-based textiles distributor Queen of Raw; and LOOMIA, a manufacturer of lightweight, touch-sensitive “smart fabrics.”

The finalists – which also include women-owned startups from San Francisco, Ohio, Canada and elsewhere – are competing for a $50,000 equity-free cash grant and $280,000 in Google Cloud business-building services. Winners are scheduled to be announced May 29 at Google’s NYC campus.



Come all: With more undergrads trying to get in than ever before, increasingly diverse Adelphi University is embracing multiculturalism with its annual College Awareness Day.

Volt of confidence: A global electronics supplier with vast international resources will expand its Hauppauge HQ with a jolt from the Suffolk County IDA.

Flower power: An $8.2 million third-quarter loss hasn’t stolen the bloom from’s roses, according to CEO Chris McCann, who predicts a quick rebound.



Master piece: Apprenticeships are critical in industries key to the Long Island economy – and workforce-development expert Rosalie Drago knows just where Island influencers can find the right apprentice-program resources.



Innovation inspiration: Forbes’ Young Entrepreneur Council shares a dozen must-dos to encourage employees to think outside the box.

Pitch perfect: From Inc., nine leading venture capitalists share the secrets of the successful pitch.

Rail redux: Newsday hops on board as the Long Island Rail Road introduces its first new passenger cars in almost 20 years.



+ Trusted Health, a California-based career platform for modern nurses, closed a $20 million Series A funding round led by Craft Ventures, with participation from previous investors Felicis Ventures and Founder Collective.

+ Roundtrip, a Pennsylvania-based company connecting healthcare and transportation providers, completed a $5.14 million Series A funding round led by Motley Fool Ventures, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University.

+ Virtuous, an Arizona-based software platform for nonprofits to build personal relationships with donors, closed a $3 million Series A funding round. Math Venture Partners made the investment.

+ Divvy, a Utah-based payment and expense-management platform for businesses, raised $200 million in Series C financing led by NEA, with participation from existing investors Pelion Venture Partners and Insight Venture Partners.

+ Ablacon, a Colorado-based company developing an advanced mapping system to guide atrial fibrillation treatments, closed a $21.5 million Series A financing round led by Ajax Health.

+ UiPath, a New York City-based robotic-process automation company, closed a $568 million Series D funding round led by Coatue, with participation from Dragoneer, Wellington, Sands Capital, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Accel, CapitalG and Sequoia, IVP and Madrona Venture Group.



Breaking news: Why nurses may be best positioned to smash the barriers of healthcare innovation.

Special report: The particular skills retired Green Berets and other special-ops combat veterans bring to their startups.

This just in: Science finally understands why shoelaces come untied – and the answer is weirder than you think.

Top story: Please continue supporting the amazing organizations that support Innovate LI, including the Long Island Business Development Council, which has made regional economic-development headlines for five decades.