No. 473: Featuring Laura Ingalls, Flash Gordon, well-seasoned scallops and our first Innovators of the Year

He'll save every one of us: Two-time U.S. Olympic swimmer and original Flash Gordon Buster Crabbe (left, opposite Charles Middleton's Ming the Merciless) was born on Feb. 7, 1908.


Never ceases to amaze: Don’t know how you do it, dear reader, but here you are again – another workweek winding down and another hard-earned weekend coming up. Well done!

Day off: Euler? Euler? … Euler?

Numerical order: It’s Friday, Feb. 7 – notable to mathematicians, who of course know the date best as E Day, which celebrates the mathematical constant e (a.k.a. Euler’s number), which needless to say has a value of 2.7182818… (it goes on for quite a while).

The less statistically inclined can take their pick of National Ballet Day, National Fettucine Alfredo Day (yes, please) and National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, which is no joke.

Chew on this: It’s also National Bubble Gum Day, which always pops off the first Friday in February.

Light reading: The Gas Light Co. of Baltimore ignited a gas lamp at the Charm City intersection of Baltimore and Holliday streets on the evening of Feb. 7, 1817 – remembered as the first U.S. public streetlight.

Say “uncle”: Keep your hands off my ‘stache.

Antitrust us on this one: It has many origin stories, but the board game Monopoly – at least, Charles Darrow’s popular version, based on the streets of Atlantic City, NJ – first passed “go” on Feb. 7, 1935.

The game’s packaging also included the debut of mustachioed Monopoly mascot Rich Uncle Pennybags, later known as “Mr. Monopoly.”

We’d never lie: Speaking of entertaining debuts (and memorable facial features), “Pinocchio” turns 80 today – Disney’s second feature-length film premiered on this date in 1940.

Also marking a birthday, of sorts, is the late, great Muhammed Ali – the former Cassius Clay converted to Islam and renounced his birthname on this date in 1964.

Ground control to Capt. Bruce: McCandless, enjoying some “me” time.

Free and clear: Before we get to today’s actual birthdays, a Buck Rogers-esque 21 ray-gun salute to astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert Stewart, who deployed NASA’s Manned Maneuvering Unit jetpack during history’s first untethered space walk, outside the Space Shuttle Challenger on Feb. 7, 1984.

Everyone’s a critic: But few are as good at it as Harry “Sinclair” Lewis, an American novelist, playwright and masterful social critic who, in 1930, became the first U.S writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, and would be 135 years old today.

Also born on Feb. 7 were iconic U.S. industrialist John Deere (1804-1886); legendary English scribe Charles Dickens (1812-1870); “Little House” author Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957); original “Tarzan” and “Flash Gordon” actor Buster Crabbe (1908-1983); trailblazing American geneticist Ruth Sager (1918-1997); and country music cornerstone Garth Brooks (born 1962).

Truth be told: Honest, harsh and hilarious, Rock has piled up Emmy and Grammy awards and twice hosted the Oscars.

Rock steady: And take a bow, Chris Rock – the American comedian, actor, writer, producer, director and “Saturday Night Live” standout turns 55 today.

Wish the famed funnyman, the world-class writers and all the other Feb. 7 innovators well at, where you always thrill the Dickens out of us with your story tips and calendar suggestions.


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.



Laureen Harris: Electrifying LIPA.

In Harris we trustee: Governor Andrew Cuomo has selected a regional rainmaker and proven veteran of tax certiorari law to serve as a Long Island Power Authority trustee.

Laureen Harris, managing partner of Uniondale-based Cronin, Harris & Associates, brings 35 years of professional experience to the Board of Trustees, primarily focused on achieving fair property-tax valuations for clients. And she brings a long résumé of extracurricular service: The first woman president of the Association for a Better Long Island, Harris also heads up Hofstra University’s Institute of Real Estate and is the New York State Bar Association’s downstate chair in tax certiorari and condemnation.

Harris thanked the governor for the appointment, noting it’s “not a responsibility I take lightly,” and said she looks forward “to working closely with my LIPA colleagues to achieve a cleaner, more reliable and affordable electric grid.”

You’re all winners: But only Long Island’s boldest and brightest get to be Innovators of the Year, earning a place of honor at Innovate Long Island’s annual celebration of regional research, invention and socioeconomic investment.

To that end, we proudly introduce the first six winners of our 2020 Innovator of the Year Awards, each a leader in his field:

  • Technology: Gerard Hiner, chief business officer, Webair
  • Clean Gen: Jordan Mayerson and Nikolas Schreiber, co-founders, Hoplite Power
  • Clean Gen: Mehdi Namazi, CEO, Qunnect
  • Clean Gen: Alexander Orlov, founder, SuperClean Glass
  • Entrepreneurism: Irwin Pearl and Tom Williams, co-founders, Sleep BioLogics
  • No Boundaries: Marc Alessi, executive director, Business Incubator Association of New York

Stay tuned to your thrice-weekly newsletters as we share more men and women of innovative distinction – including the dramatic reveal of our annual Master of Innovation – and more details on the 2020 Innovator of the Year Awards, coming March 24 to the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury. Sponsorship opportunities and registration information, you ask? A mere click away.



The STEM show: Workforce-development forces from Long Island and beyond are producing a new video series promoting regional STEM careers.

Butter them up: The 2020 Bay Scallop Bowl is in the books, with sizzling Mount Sinai High School winning a trip to the National Ocean Sciences Bowl finals.

Chain gang: If you love reading this unique and engaging newsletter as much as we love writing it, keep the line moving – share it with a friend, and sign them up for free.



New York Tech logs into the billion-dollar world of eSports, innovative LI architects draw up anti-illness building designs.



Innovate LI’s inbox overrunneth with inspirational innovations from all North American corners. This week’s brightest out-of-towners:

From California: San Francisco-based data aggregator Agathos partners with Florida-based Tampa General Hospital on a “transparency platform” rating clinician performance.

From Massachusetts: Woburn-based health-and-wellness nonprofit Top Secret Spartans reports dramatic results in the fight against childhood obesity.

From Texas: Austin-based workplace workstation expert CTL beefs up its leading line of extra-rugged Chromebooks.



Christopher Porzio

+ Christopher Porzio has been promoted to partner at Jericho-based Nixon Peabody. He previously was of counsel to the firm.

+ Maura McLoughlin has joined Uniondale-based Farrell Fritz as managing attorney for the firm’s Commercial and Estate Litigation departments. She previously served as managing attorney at New York-based Cahill Gordon & Reindel.

+ The Long Island Business Development Council has announced two appointments to its Advisory Board: Nicholas Terzulli, an associate in the Real Estate Practice Group at Uniondale-based Farrell Fritz, and Chad Levy, vice president/commercial banker for Long Island/Queens Middle Market Banking at Chase Bank in Melville.

+ Brenna Strype has joined Uniondale-based Forchelli Deegan Terrana as an associate in the Construction and Litigation Practice Group. She previously served as an assistant district attorney in the Queens County District Attorney’s Office.

+ Daren Debel has joined Cold Spring Harbor-based Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty as sales manager of its Astoria/Long Island City office. Previously, he was a top agent for Manhattan-based Citi Habitats.

+ Bryan McMillen has assumed sales management of the Locust Valley office for Cold Spring Harbor-based Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty. He previously served as sales manager for the firm’s Sea Cliff and Glen Head offices.

+ Bohemia-based Cerini & Associates has announced the promotion of Mahnaz Cavalluzzi and Albert Borghese from supervisors to managers, and Adam Brigandi from staff accountant to senior accountant.

+ Kevin Paul has been promoted to deputy discipline director of architecture at Melville- based H2M architects + engineers. He previously served as studio director.



Innovator’s dilemma: Christensen, full disrupter.

Real time: A new tracking app shows which apps are eating up your data.

No time: A top time-management coach shares tips for quicker, calmer mornings.

 Timeless: Remembering the man who invented “disruptive innovation.”

 All-timer: Please continue to support the amazing organizations that support Innovate LI, including the 50-year-old Long Island Business Development Council, one of the greats of regional networking and socioeconomic progress. Check them out.