opinion

Island innovators mourn loss of LIFT leader Muscarella

By RAY DONNELLY and JULIE ALLEGRETTI // The light switches have been off at the Long Island Forum for Technology for years, but sadly, the brightest light of LIFT is gone out forever as Diane Muscarella passed suddenly on Dec. 27. As a single mother, Diane earned degrees at Nassau Community College and Hofstra University while launching a career in marketing. She was a fixture at LIFT for years, and in her role as director…


After rocky 2020, Island startups set to rock in 2021

By DAVID HAMILTON // What a challenging and tumultuous year! If you’d told the December 2019 me what was going to transpire, I’d have called you crazy – and suggested you’d read one too many sci-fi novels by our favorite Innovate LI editor. There was no way to see this coming: a never-ending pandemic, an unprecedented economic collapse, social upheaval on a national scale, political turmoil unlike anything we’ve ever seen, endless Zoom calls, three…


Long Island can get healthy answering COVID’s call

By MITCH MAIMAN // Times are challenging and there’s much reason for concern during the COVID pandemic – but, as in any challenging time, such difficulties give rise to new opportunities. The Long Island tech community, with its infrastructure underlying medical technology, is presented with the chance to create new business value in a late-COVID world. We should also consider the current crisis to be a wake-up call – this won’t be the last virus…


As cyberthreats grow, best practices are the best bet

By JOSEPH SARACINO // What better time than October, National Cyber Security Awareness Month, for organizations to take steps to assure their networks are secure, to prevent cyber breaches and, for organizations in regulated industries, to avoid the hefty penalties that come with noncompliant systems. All organizations, regardless of their size or industry, should be developing and implementing sound cybersecurity strategies that encompass education, vigilance and best practices. It starts with building awareness through all…


Life lessons from my own big, fat international crisis

By SHRUTI SHARMA // Following my passion for science to the United States has been a life-defining moment for me. Leaving my parents and everything familiar behind – it’s one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. Coming to a new country is exciting. You are experiencing new culture, visiting beautiful places and growing personally and professionally. However, some of these very things can make being “international” difficult at any given time. You…


The crowd goes quiet: For sports, the psyche of silence

By GREGORY ZELLER // You’ve been there, sports fan: bottom of the ninth, sudden-death overtime, one-point lead, two-minute warning, third and long, the odd-man rush, the alley-oop, the champ goes down, the kick is up… And in every sport, behind every great play, around it and inside it and below and above it – the roar of the crowd. Sports are back. In fact, after months of reruns and silence, fans are enjoying an unprecedented…


Safety before business, then lots of business, at BFCU

By WAYNE GROSSÉ // The last six months gave us all the chance to take a step back and look at things differently. Central to all decisions, however, was and continues to be the issue of safety. When it comes to business and the coronavirus pandemic, business leaders are responsible for the health and safety of their employees, their customers and the greater community in which they operate, even if that means putting business plans…


In Big Tech crusade, please remember the little guy

By PETER STEIN // The COVID-19 pandemic has decimated the restaurant industry. While many are still operating for pickup and delivery, they have shorter hours and far fewer employees. The effects of restaurant hardships go far below the surface, threatening small, independent farmers and suppliers who depend on restaurants for their livelihoods. That’s why my business took a hit. Fortunately, in large part because of free and low-cost digital business tools, many in the food…


Coghlan: Opportunity abounds, for the flexible

By HARRY COGHLAN // It is disorientating (to say the least) to think back on our original plans and goals for 2020, and realize how so many of them had to be revised or abandoned. But as Robert Burns (sort of) said, best-laid plans often go awry, and when they do, the organizations that prevail are the ones able and willing to adapt, react and produce. In short, flexible organizations stand the best chance. While…


A smarter approach to pandemic-era research funding

By MITCH MAIMAN // It’s heartening to see both the business and charitable investments going into COVID-19 research. I’m certain that the institutions and individuals making these investments want to see the money create the greatest impact possible. But is it? Those who want their funding to have the most useful result should make sure they are funding an area where there is a unique need. I see money flowing into research in problem areas…


Feedback should lift employees, not beat them down

By ELIZABETH UZZO // Constructive feedback is one of the most positive and productive things a manager can offer employees. Too often, feedback is perceived as intimidating or scary by both employees and managers. We frequently associate “feedback” with being “criticized,” which can make both giving and receiving it uncomfortable. It doesn’t need to be that way. Done correctly – with the right structure, support and attitude – quality feedback can be a gift, and…


In Smithtown, a blueprint for mixed-use progress

By TERRI ALESSI-MICELI // Some live only in the present, heedless of the future. Happily, however, the Town of Smithtown is thinking about the future. Specifically, the town has been devising smart strategies for keeping our young people here on Long Island. Meantime, young Long Islanders are thinking about their futures, too. But unfortunately, the vast majority of them don’t foresee a future here. Unless things change. The Rauch Foundation issued an extensive “Next Generation…


Questioning the risks, rewards of re-opening

By MITCH MAIMAN // As an executive who grapples daily with phased re-openings and other issues of economic survival, testing is a major consideration. There are treatises on this subject alleging to provide answers, but still way more questions. First, let’s assume that a team wants to be socially responsible – that is, nobody wants to come to work sick with COVID-19, whether they’re showing symptoms or not. Let’s further assume that when we want…


No recovery without trade groups, which need support

By TERRI ALESSI-MICELI // We generally think of COVID-19’s devastation in terms of its human toll and its economic toll. Indeed, the pandemic is registering a terrible impact on the health of many Long Islanders. And our region’s healthcare sector is battling valiantly to save lives and minimize the medical effects of this crisis. At the same time, the pandemic is causing massive disruption throughout the Long Island economy. Thousands of regional businesses have closed…


Healthcare pros watching Congress, Trump closely

By ALLISON JUMETT // It has been a challenging, frightening time for everyone, but especially for those of us working in healthcare. Amid all the suffering and anxiety brought about by COVID-19, healthcare workers on the front lines have continued to show up and display strength, faith and courage in taking care of the most vulnerable. During these difficult times, I have never seen such dedication displayed by my co-workers in healthcare facilities across the…