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Welcome to the Manhattan Chamber of CommerceManhattan Chamber of Commerce (MCC) is a vibrant business membership organization comprised of a cross section of 10,000 business members and subscribers ranging from sole proprietors to large corporations and multi-national firms. Connect with entrepreneurs, leaders and executives by becoming an MCC member today and help your business grow. Our mission is to advocate for, connect and educate the business community in Manhattan.
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    "It's tough to start and grow a business. It's even hard to do it in New York City. The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce is an oasis and resource for growing businesses, like none other. Sure it has events. Sure it has networking opportunities. Sure it has advocacy. Sure it has committees. But it also a passion and heart to see small businesses grow and thrive - like few other organizations have. If you're doing business in New York City, or anywhere in the USA, being a part of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce should be one of your priorities. I'm Ramon Ray, a four time entreprenuer and best selling author and the chamber has been a huge part of my persona nd professional success."

    Ramon Ray
    Publisher and Executive Editor, Smart Hustle Magazine

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    You can find the original article by clicking here.

    By David Williams

    For the past 21 years, Nancy Ploeger has been president of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. Since joining the chamber in 1994 as the executive director, Nancy has represented the business community on a wide range of critical issues, most notably those involving health insurance, MWBE certification, government procurement, small businesses globalization, diversity and business resources for services sectors, among other issues. In February, Nancy is leaving her position at the chamber to take over at the wheel at an organization co-founded by the Chamber, International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge.

    Mileage covered: 1.3 miles

    Overcast, unseasonably 59 degrees

    Central Casting’s idea of what makes a great Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive – someone possessed with effortless boosterism, a lack of apparent guile and an ample reservoir of energy and bonhomie – Nancy Ploeger, President of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, and I are meeting to go about her rounds late one recent Friday afternoon.

    We join each other beneath her apartment building awning on East 88th Street, between First and Second.

    “So, where are we headed?” I ask as Nancy and I walk west, pushing her empty shopping cart that, clearly, has a lot of mileage on it.

    “We’re headed to Wankels. It’s about 97 years old, one of the few hardware stores left in the area. We’re going to be buying some dirt because we’re planting bulbs tomorrow in Ruppert Park,” she tells me.

    Like many New Yorkers (myself included) Nancy has caught the adopt-a-NYC-park bug. And she’s starting from the ground up. Literally.

    “All the soil in the park has worn away and all that’s left is concrete. I want to get some potting soil so the bulbs will have a chance to live.”

    Saint Louis born, Nancy has (Central Casting again) all the zest for living in her adopted city that only a true transplant possesses. The recipient of countless community and city accolades, Nancy would be a five star NYC general. If there were such a thing.

    “My first apartment was on East 90th Street. Then I moved to 88th between First and York for a year. Then my current place, since 1973. It’s a great prewar building.”

    At the Second Avenue crosswalk Nancy and I run into Rick, whom Nancy has known for years. Informing me that he was born in her building two-plus generations ago, Nancy is corrected.

    “No, Doctor’s Hospital,” Rick reminds her as he peels off to continue his own Friday rounds.

    “Many of the people have lived in my building a long time,” she continues. “But we have a lot of new people. Families with kids. And we have a BEAUTIFUL (all caps) laundry room, with a TV you can watch while your laundry is being done.”

    I tell Nancy that she lives on a nice looking block. Great, mature trees. And the church…

    “What makes the block is the church (Church of the Holy Trinity). The garden out front is one of my favorite places. You can just go in, sit on a bench and read a book,” she notes. It’s an active church with a homeless program. A few people spend the night there and then are out at 6:00 in the morning.

    “Plus, they have a search and care program for the elderly, and a day care center for kids.”

    But enough of the church’s role in the community. It’s now time to load up on some good mother earth at Wankels for Nancy to do her own important work in Ruppert Park. On our way, we swing by yet another park Nancy has adopted. A small, “pocket” park adjacent to a high-rise. “This park actually belongs to 200 East 87th. The owners were able to add extra height to the building if they added the park. For the first seven years they planted and cared for it but after then the homeless and others kept digging up the plants. And they got tired of spending all the money.

    “So now all they do is pick up the garbage and keep the water fountain working.”

    While she is doing all the heavy motivational lifting, her cause is being aided and abetted by a local church group that wants to do the gardening. They plan to put in bushes and a few trees. Nothing that is easy to dig up and spirit away.

    To continue reading, please click here.

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    You can find the original article by clicking here.

    By Ashley Bevensee

    After viewing a video paying tribute to the Drop Collaborative's first year in review (check out the video at:, Heather Justice, Executive Director of CTE (Career and Technical Education) office of Tennessee's Department of Education, praised the Drop Collaborative and participating students' efforts. In addition to her approval of the program, Sharon Necessary, the Career and Technical Education Consultant in the First Tennessee CORE office, plans to share the video and highlight the Drop Collaborative in next month's CTE directors meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. Sharon Necessary has also requested the Drop Collaborative be used as a best practice model for other CTE teachers state-wide.

    The Drop Collaborative was created to strengthen local community through food, education, and community outreach. By offering a space for students to apply classroom lessons to a practical environment through a SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience), students can learn the art of sustainable farming and mentorship while providing families in need with fresh produce. Since 1982, Unaka High School has been home to one of two meat sciences programs in the country; teaching students the process of meat production. Until March 2015, Unaka High School did not have land available to teach food production from start to harvest or to raise cattle. Through the birth of the Drop Collaborative, Unaka's SAE program evolved. The first year's successes included inspiring dedication and commitment from student farmers, the purchase of our first calf, over 500 pounds of fresh produce donated to the community, and a mentorship day at the farm with younger students.

    Pattie Meyer, President, Edge City Design LLC, and Ashley Bevensee, both based in Philadelphia, Pa. developed the idea and mission of the Drop Collaborative. Through Edge City Design's lengthy relationship with Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, particularly with Nancy Ploeger (Founder of Community Benefit Fund) and Laura Bucko (Founder of Green Committee), Edge City Design gained practical knowledge on creating such a program. East Tennessee State University (ETSU) was the first local school that was contacted. Ron Roach, Ph.D​., Chair, Department of Appalachian Studies, and Kevin O'Donnell, Department of Literature and Language, wanted to help make the idea become reality. They connected us with Emily Bidgood of Appalachian RC&D Council who connected us with Unaka High School. Josh Armentrout, Agriculture Instructor; Melissa Loveless, CTE Principal; Betsy Oliver, Principal; and Mickey Taylor, CTE Director/Supervisor of Unaka High School were immediately interested and quickly developed strategies to implement the Drop Collaborative's vision. We would not have been able to begin work on the Drop Collaborative in such short notice if it were not for the dedication of Unaka High School as well as other players and friends -- Frances Meyer, David Robbins, Esq., Lawrence Pierce, Charlotte Markland, Chris Estlow, Joe Meyer, Margaret Meyer, Taylor Malone, and many others. Last but most certainly not least, the Drop Collaborative would not have been so successful without the motivation of Unaka High School's students who participated -- Logan Cannon, Israel Harrah, Savannah Wood, Jacob Graybeal, Savannah Agan, Sierra Wright, and Chris Erickson.

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    New York SmartCEO recently announced the winners of their 2015 Corporate Culture Awards, and Progressive Computing was among the 40 honorees. The Corporate Culture Awards celebrate companies in Greater New York that have successfully championed a positive, productive and performance-driven culture, and have worked with their employees to develop successful cultural practices. The winners were profiled in the November/December issue of SmartCEO magazine and celebrated at an awards ceremony at BNY Mellon in New York City.

    "We are extremely honored to be one of the recipients of the 2015 SmartCEO Corporate Culture Award,” said Robert Patterson, Director of Sales and Marketing at Progressive Computing. "We work with all of our team members to create a positive and productive environment that translates into optimum results for the company and our customers."

    Chief Visionary Officer, Ugo Chiulli, and the rest of the Progressive Computing team work to promote a message and attitude of togetherness in the workplace. The company has focused on maintaining a culture rooted in teamwork and family. Employees receive fully-paid health benefits, profit sharing, significant time off, and are given the opportunity to work from home as needed. The normal workday for Progressive Computing staff starts at 9am and runs until 6pm without exception, and employees are expected to be on call only once every 10 weeks, which is extremely rare in the IT industry.

     “The leaders of the companies named to the inaugural Corporate Culture Awards have realized that running a company is more than head count and the bottom line. It’s about creating a place where creativity, energy and ideas are cultivated. Through this they are able to not only enhance performance and sustain their companies’ competitive advantages but also enrich the lives of those they employ and inspire them to make a greater impact on the world,” says Jaime Nespor Zawmon, president of SmartCEO Events. “We’re honored to celebrate with the leaders of New York’s top company cultures and recognize them for building true performance-driven cultures.”

    The Corporate Culture Awards ceremony was held on December 3, and welcomed the leaders of New York’s top companies to enjoy a high-energy networking reception with activities including a red carpet, Guitar Hero, a putting green, and a live performance. These events were followed by a video-packed awards ceremony honoring the leaders of New York’s top company cultures.

    2015 Corporate Culture Award Winners

    180 South Advantage, Payroll Services, Brainlink International, The Brothers that just do Gutters , Brushfire, Inc., Crain's New York Business,  David Feldman Worldwide, DiGennaro Communications, The DSM Group, Durante Rentals, EYE Corp Medi,aFieldView Solutions, Inc.,  Fivesky  Gilt, Hackensack University Medical Center,  INDUSTRIAL RHYTHM L.L.C., InfoPeople Corporation;   InVNT; LeadDog Marketing Group, The Leading Niche, Likeable Media, LivePerson, Marketsmith, Inc., MASS Communications, MKG, Myriad Supply,  OTG Management,  Rush Communications,  Sharp Decisions,  The SPOT Experience, St. Christopher's, Inc.,  SUM Innovation,  SunPower by Infinity Solar, Tapad, Teads, TransPerfect, Vase Management LLC, Wilk Auslander,WorkWave.

    About Progressive Computing, Inc.

    With offices in Westchester County, NY and Manhattan, Progressive Computing, Inc. is a leader in computernetwork installation, design and maintenance, offering professional, cost-effective IT services, computerconsulting, technical support and computer repair to organizations since 1993.  The PCI team is focused on providing cost-effective, reliable and right-sized solutions that leverage a blend of both proven and cutting-edge technologies.  Clients regard them as their "on-demand" information technology department, entrusting that their recommendations, services and products will help them save money, become more efficient and grow their businesses.  Progressive Computing can support any IT outsourcing needs in a variety of ways with services that can be tailored and combined with others to deliver a custom solution to meet clients’ exacting needs.

    These include:
    • Managed Services - Management of all IT services for a flat-rate fee. 
    • Cloud Computing - Cloud based solutions that are fully scalable and available for a flat-rate fee.
    • Data Backup & Recovery - Complete backup and recovery services that protects your company data from the disasters or theft.
    • Vendor Management - Management of all technology vendors that streamlines relationships and efficiency.

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    Name Organization Name Website
    Lauren Raimondi All Aces Promotional Staffing Inc
    Benjamin Tyler An Evolving Lifestyle
    Jared Epstein Aurora Capital Associates
    Nilgun Foley Connector LLC
    Evan Salz Copio Payroll Inc.
    Eileen Goldblatt Eileen Goldblatt
    Matthew Knolwland eMazzanti Technologies
    Daniel Rosenfeld Empire Tax Professionals, Inc.
    Henry Lapidos Export Trade of America, Inc.
    Donna Germain Germain Therapy Group
    Jeff Williams Guitar Center
    Federico Montomoli It Productions Group, Inc.
    Damian Kennedy Kennedy Cromwell
    Sham Malhotra king freeze mechanical corp.
    Mark DeGarmo Mark DeGarmo Dance
    Danielle Buchell Millenium Medical Billing
    Michael Cala MJC Accounting Services
    Rick Reiman MJM Global Insurance
    Carlos Pujol P3 Global Management Inc.
    Susan Poulakis Poulakis Design
    Jenet Levy Real estate agent at Halstead Property
    Sebastian A Weiss, Esq. SEBASTIAN A. WEISS, ESQ., L.L.M., P.C.
    Miles Ramboyong SGU Consulting
    Jacques Blinbaum SpotPog
    Ryan Sasson Strategic Financial Solutions
    LaTanya Martin The Back Office Guru
    Lyonnel Hernandez THE HOUSE OF LH, LLC
    Rachel Batish Zuznow USA Inc.

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    The second annual Microsoft Small Business video contest is here!

    Microsoft is launching their second annual Small Business video contest, and we need your help. Last year we launched our first small business video contest with a simple request for small businesses to share their business stories via a 2-minute video. We reached 21 million people and had over 175 entries.

    Our 2016 contest, starting January 25, is a great opportunity for business influencers to help small businesses in the US.

    We will recognize the best, most inspirational and original video that showcases a small business story. The grand prize winner will win $20,000, new Surface Pro 4s, and subscriptions to Office 365 for their business (up to 10 devices/seats) in addition to a publicity package.

    In addition, this year we will award a prize to four business associations. When a business connected to your organization enters the contest, they can write in your organization name for a chance to win a Surface Pro 4 and one-year subscription to Office 365.

    The 2015 grand prize winner was Citizen Frederick, a men’s retail clothing store. Other winners included an innovative technology product for pets, a women’s clothing boutique, an embroidery franchise and a frame shop. Among the dozens of entries we received there were many inspirational stories from non-profits, retail, and online businesses.

    "It was great fun and more importantly, our small business was seen by a few more people…It is great for a large company like Microsoft to support the little guys and both Luke and I appreciate your help!” Custom-Wood-Urns

    You can find more information and enter the contest by clicking here.

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    An Evening at the Theater
    For the Sports Lover
    Great Getaways

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    We want you to tackle some of the biggest issues facing our communities. Take the challenge and showcase your genius — the bolder and more ambitious your idea the better.

    In addition to a cash prize, winners will be connected to experts relevant to their idea and may have the opportunity to have their idea featured on MSNBC.

    92Y and Impact Hub are partnering to unearth the next generation of social entrepreneurs. Do you have an idea that could impact communities, environments and cultures in an innovative way? We’re looking to accelerate the growth of early-stage companies with the potential to have a major positive impact on our world.

    In addition to a cash prize, winners will be connected to experts relevant to their idea and may have the opportunity to have their idea featured on MSNBC.

    In order to take part in the challenge, please click here.

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    MCC Press Release

    Manhattan Chamber of Commerce selects Jessica Walker as its next President

    Media Enquiries: or 212-541-6050

    New York, NY, February 2, 2016. The Board of Directors of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce has selected Jessica Walker to serve as its next President effective February 22, 2016.

    Ms. Walker comes to the MCC from the Partnership for New York City where she currently serves as the Vice President of Government Affairs. She will be taking the role from Nancy Ploeger who stepped down after 21 years as President of the MCC.

    “Jessica is the perfect person to pick up on the great work that Nancy has done for the MCC. She brings a wealth of experience in government affairs and business advocacy, which will enable her to hit the ground running,” stated Ken Biberaj, Chairman of the Board of the MCC.  “We had an overwhelming response to our search with a wealth of capable candidates applying, but Jessica stood out to the committee as someone who could immediately step up to the job. She is a well-regarded public policy expert and someone who understands the challenges that face the entire business community in New York City. We look forward to the vision, advocacy and strategic planning she will bring to the MCC.”
    “When I talked with Ken about leaving MCC, I suggested that Jessica would be a great candidate and I couldn’t be more excited that she is going to take over the leadership of our active and dynamic chamber,” notes outgoing president, Ploeger.

    “I am thrilled to join the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and eager to lead such a dynamic organization. It is an honor to follow in Nancy’s footsteps and build upon her many accomplishments. I look forward to working with Chamber staff, members, the local community and New York’s appointed and elected officials to ensure that Manhattan remains a great place to start and grow a business,” stated Jessica Walker, MCC President-designee.

    The MCC currently has 15,000 members and subscribers and is a key voice in the city for the small and mid-size businesses in Manhattan.  Advocating for positive legislation at all levels of government is a major focus of the Chamber.  “Jessica’s experience and strength in government relations will help MCC continue to stand up for our community,” quotes Ronald Paltrowitz, Vice Chairman, General Counsel, and registered lobbyist for the Chamber.

    Ms. Walker’s Professional Career:

    Partnership for New York City - Vice President, Government Affairs (June 2012 - Present) Director, Legislative Affairs (June 2010 - June 2012)

    New York Citizens’ Committee on Aging - Vice President, Board of Directors (October 2006 - December 2010)

    New York Academy of Medicine - Policy Associate & Rudin Scholar in Urban Health (October 2007 - January 2009)

    United Neighborhood Houses of New York - Senior Policy Analyst (August 2005 - October 2007) Policy Analyst (June 2002 - August 2005)
    Multicultural Marketing Resources Public Relations Account Executive (June 2001-June 2001)

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    As of January 1, 2016, Con Edison’s Energy Efficiency programs have entered a new operating cycle called the Energy Efficiency Transition Implementation Plan (ETIP) which focuses on updated strategies and initiatives for achieving energy reduction. The former EEPS programs; Residential Program, Multifamily Energy Efficiency Program (MFEEP), Small Business Direct Install Program (SBDI) and the Commercial and Industrial Program (C&I) will continue to operate under updated rules and guidelines.


    Residential Program

    • The eligibility criteria for the Residential Program remains the same; offerings are to customers in residential buildings with 1 to 4 units 
    • The program has added new measures and appliances to the Appliance Rebate Program 


    • Customer eligibility has been expanded to include all residential buildings with more than 5 units (no longer capped at 75 units) 
    • The program will continue to give incentives for gas and electric direct-install and prescriptive measures. Additionally, the program will offer incentives for custom measures 
    • The program will no longer be offering free Common Area energy surveys to all building customers. 
    • Qualifying low-income customers will be offered additional benefits to participate, in the form of no- cost measures for building common areas. 


    • Eligibility has been updated to include service class 2, 9 and 51 customers who pay into the SBC with an average peak demand of up to 300kW (no longer capped at an average peak demand of 100kW) 
    • The program will continue to offer prescriptive electric measures in lighting and refrigeration; with an all LED offering for various lighting applications 


    • Program eligibility has been redefined to exclude Mulitfamily buildings and lighting projects for commercial buildings with an average peak demand of ≤ 300kW. 
    • The program will continue to offer incentives for both gas and electric prescriptive measures as well as custom measures 


    Multifamily buildings with greater than 75 units were formerly eligible under the C&I program. SBDI projects with an average peak demand in the 100-300kW range were formerly eligible under the C&I program. As of January 1st 2016, these former C&I projects that were not officially sold to a customer (per a signed  agreement with a customer to proceed with a work scope), will be re-directed to qualify for incentives only in the Multifamily and SBDI Programs respectively, per the new eligibility rules.

    Market Partners who have sold projects (i.e. have a signed work agreement with customers under the C&I Program as of Decemeber 31, 2015) will have a grace period to submit paperwork evident of that sold commitment. Such paperwork should be submitted to the C&I program on or before February 15, 2016 for
    participation in the former C&I EEPS. Projects that do not meet this criteria (jobs signed on or after January 1, 2016), must be transitioned to MFEEP or SBDI to qualify for incentives. Market Partners are encouraged to do the following to begin the transition process:

    For Multifamily projects, reach out to the current implementation contractor for MFEEP (The          Association for Energy Affordability), to initiate “Participating Contractor” status in this program,        and to work under the 2016 MFEEP guidelines.
           Program Contact: Jeff Laino, Program Manager
           Phone: 718-292-6733

    For SBDI projects, reach out to the current implementation contractor for SBDI (Willdan Energy          Solutions) by February 15, 2016 to learn of opportunities to coordinate on projects that are now          incentivized in SBDI.
           Program Contact: Rachel Seraspe, Program Manager
           Phone: 646-604-4498

    C&I Program Contact: Arthur W. Pearson, CEM, Manager, Business Development C&I                          Incentive
           Phone: 646 312 8910 x119

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    "Just wanted to send a word of thanks for all that you have done for the Block Advisors brand. From participating in our ribbon cutting to making such great events available for me to attend, it really have been a great year so far. Thank you."

    Mark Cobb
    H&R Block Advisors

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    Improved cash flow and future outlook boost latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index; survey also captures attitudes about mobile banking, EMV-chip card technology
    New York, N.Y., Feb. 19, 2016 – Small business owners expressed a level of optimism not seen in a year in the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, conducted January 11-15, as the Index’s overall score rose to 67, a 13-point gain from November’s survey. 
    The quarterly survey, which measures the optimism of small business owners, had previously declined for three consecutive quarters, falling to an overall score of 54 in November. The January increase was the largest quarter-over-quarter increase since January 2015, when the Index also rose 13 points. 
    The bounce in optimism benefitted largely from small business owners feeling better about their cash flow, with 60 percent saying their cash flow was very or somewhat good over the past 12 months – a level not seen since the fourth quarter of 2007. Looking ahead, 66 percent of business owners expect their cash flow to be very or somewhat good in the next 12 months, compared to 63 percent in November. Most other Index measures had small increases or were unchanged in the first-quarter survey.
    “The latest Index scores show that small business owners are more upbeat about their current and future business conditions,” said Joe Kirk, Wells Fargo Region President.   “This suggests small business owners are entering 2016 with greater confidence, and cash flow sentiment is driving that optimism.”

    Small business payment trends
    The Index also gauged small business owners’ attitudes about EMV chip-enabled debit and credit cards. Beginning Oct. 1, 2015, merchants needed to convert to new EMV-enabled card processing systems or accept liability for any fraudulent point-of-sale card transactions. To meet the October 1 deadline, merchants were encouraged to update their card processing systems to accept chip-enabled cards. Almost half (48 percent) of business owners surveyed in January said that their card processing system is currently chip-enabled, up from 31 percent in August 2015. 
    Of the business owners who have not updated their card processing system to accept chip-enabled cards, 22 percent plan to do so in the next six months, and 14 percent say within the next 12 months. One in five business owners (20 percent) say they never plan to upgrade.

    About the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index
    Since August 2003, the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index has surveyed small business owners on current and future perceptions of their business financial situation. The Index consists of two dimensions: 1) Owners’ ratings of the current situation of their businesses and, 2) Owners’ ratings of how they expect their businesses to perform over the next 12 months. Results are based on telephone interviews with 600 small business owners, with annual revenues up to $20 million, in all 50 United States conducted January 11-15, 2016. The overall Small Business Index is computed using a formula that scores and sums the answers to 12 questions — six about the present situation and six about the future. An Index score of zero indicates that small business owners, as a group, are neutral – neither optimistic nor pessimistic – about their companies’ situations.   The overall Index can range from -400 (the most negative score possible) to +400 (the most positive score possible), but in practice spans a much more limited range. The margin of sampling error is +/- four percentage points. The highest Index reading was +114 in the fourth quarter of 2006, and the lowest reading was -28 in the third quarter of 2010.

    About Wells Fargo
    Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.8 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through 8,700 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet ( and mobile banking, and has offices in 36 countries to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 265,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 30 on Fortune’s 2015 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at Wells Fargo Blogs and Wells Fargo Stories

    About Gallup
    For more than 70 years, Gallup has been a recognized leader in the measurement and analysis of people’s attitudes, opinions and behavior.  While best known for the Gallup Poll, founded in 1935, Gallup’s current activities consist largely of providing marketing and management research, advisory services and education to the world’s largest corporations and institutions.

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    Initiative will create center for innovation; to be operational early 2016

    You can find the original article by visiting PR Newswire

    NEW YORK, Oct. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Verizon today announced an initiative designed to connect with New York City's tech community, in which it will open a coworking space at its landmark building at 140 West Street in lower Manhattan, across from One World Trade Center.

    The space will provide flexible workspace options for startups and entrepreneurs seeking access to a networked community of diverse talent and expertise. Verizon is working with Grind, an experienced operator of premium membership-based coworking communities, to curate the experience.

    As part of the initiative, Verizon will convert 10,000+ square feet of an underutilized floor at its iconic, former headquarters building. The space will connect the coworking community to Verizon's advanced Internet services and provide a platform for modern work in the legacy, Art Deco structure. The company expects to be operational in early 2016.

    "With a rapidly growing tech sector in New York City, and a desire by those firms for high-speed connectivity, reliability and stability, our building will be getting new life as a center of innovation and collaboration," said John Vazquez, Verizon's senior vice president for Global Real Estate.

    The space is being designed by Gensler, a leading architecture and design firm. The objective of the new space is to provide an environment that inspires knowledge sharing and collaboration among members of the coworking community and to enable them to problem solve and co-create with some of the best and brightest in their industries.

    "Grind is excited to form this collaborative partnership with Verizon to create a coworking location that will align with Grind's mission to shape the future of work," said Grind co-founder Benjamin Dyett. "Grind's friction-free business model, premium aesthetic, and culture of innovation combined with Verizon's technology and real estate expertise will deliver a powerful workplace experience to users of the space."

    With a focus on capturing a target audience of start-ups and entrepreneurs, mentorship will be provided through Verizon Ventures, the venture capital arm of the company.

    Verizon has a history of entrepreneur empowerment through The Powerful Answers Award program, which has issued $16 million in awards to date with $6 million more to be awarded later this year. 

    The company looks forward to working with a talented and diverse external community of entrepreneurs, technology developers, community leaders and academics. "We expect this location – and possibly others across the country – will be a dynamic work environment where start-up and creative entrepreneurs can form vibrant interdisciplinary communities geared toward collaboration and innovation," said Vazquez.

    Members will have access to Verizon's high speed broadband and other platform technologies to boost their development opportunities. The space will include open workspace, team rooms, conference rooms, and meeting spaces, to accommodate around 120 people per day.

    Verizon will use the West Street location as a test bed to potentially launch coworking operations with Grind in Verizon locations throughout New York City and other entrepreneurial communities across the country.  Each coworking site will be customized to fit the needs of the particular community it serves.

    About Grind

    Grind is a premium operator of members-only collaborative workspaces designed for 'people who would rather work in a community than at a company'. It is a professional platform designed to fuel the leap from traditional corporate environments to 'the future of work' by offering not only flexible, beautiful spaces, but also communities of like-minded, hard working entrepreneurs who can share advice and expertise to enhance opportunities. Learn more about the Grind and Verizon partnership at

    Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York, employs a diverse workforce of 178,500 and generated more than $127 billion in 2014 revenues. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, with 109.5 million retail connections nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers worldwide. For more information, visit

    VERIZON'S ONLINE NEWS CENTER: Verizon news releases, executive speeches and biographies, media contacts and other information are available at Verizon's online News Center at The news releases are available through an RSS feed. To subscribe, visit

    SOURCE Verizon

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    Dear Friends of the CUNY Building Performance Lab,
    We are excited to announce the re-launch of the NYC Benchmarking Help Center, a partnership of the NYC Mayor's Office of Sustainability (MOS) and the CUNY Institute for Urban Systems Building Performance Lab (CUNY BPL).
    As the first of its kind in the nation, the Benchmarking Help Center originally ran from 2011-2013 through a partnership with CUNY BPL, MOS, the NYC Dept. of Buildings, NYSERDA, and the Institute for Market Transformation. The Help Center supported property owners in complying with Local Law 84 of 2009 (LL84), a legislative mandate requiring all buildings larger than 50,000 square feet to annually submit energy and water benchmarking reports. In its first two years the Help Center received over 2,000 calls and helped New York City achieve an impressive 75% first-year compliance rate.  

    The re-launched Help Center is a free, one-stop shop for LL84 information and assistance, with dedicated full-time staff supported by CUNY interns, located at the Building Energy Exchange (BEEx) in downtown Manhattan.  If building owners have questions about deadlines, whether or not a property is covered, how to gather energy and water data, or how to use the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager® tool, the Help Center is available to assist.

    The NYC Benchmarking Help Center can be reached at:
    PHONE: 212-566-LL84 (212-566-5584)
    The Help Center also supports the  NYC Energy and Water Retrofit Accelerator, which assists property owners with conducting energy audits and retro-commissioning to comply with Local Law 87, and implementing energy and water upgrades in their buildings.  Together, these two programs are direct building-owner engagement efforts of the City's One City: Built to Last plan, which aims at reducing New York City's buildings-based greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 30 percent by 2025 through initiatives that address GHG emissions from the city's building stock - the largest source of citywide emissions.  One City: Built To Last is in turn one facet of the City's larger overall One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City plan for 2050, which envisions how New York City will achieve goals in growth, sustainability, resiliency, and equity.
    The Impact of Benchmarking:

    Benchmarking energy and water usage is a key element of the City's Greener, Greater Buildings Program (GGBP), and is valuable for improving a building's operations by providing a clear picture of overall energy and water usage. Furthermore, the aggregated public data allows owners and managers to compare their usage to other buildings, while year-over-year comparisons of the data can help identify and prioritize energy saving opportunities and track progress.
    Benchmarking and Beyond:
    The Help Center's expanded capacity will focus on improving the quality of LL84 report submissions, assisting property owners who have had difficulty complying in previous years, and smoothing the way for properties that may need to conduct benchmarking in the future or want to utilize benchmarking to undertake energy efficiency measures.

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    Brandie Engelberger American Heart Association
    Behnood Gholami AreteX Systems
    Michael Landewe Avanan
    Barbara Stein Barbara Stein Consulting
    Daniel Kennedy Berdon LLP
    Dan Lambert Board Vitals
    Justin Homkow Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales, LLC
    Amy Carter CPA LLC
    Tammy Kwan Cognitive Toybox, Inc.
    Jacob Smith Common Sensibly
    J. Alejandro Estrella Consul Group LLC
    Maria Hagiwara Cradle Media LLC
    Monica Hammond Davenport Theatrical Enterprises
    Paul Reinitz Elodina
    Lowrance Fisher Fisher Law Group, P.C.
    Gary Marcus Geometric Intelligence
    Teddy Goldstein German Accelerator
    Margaret Lim Hanmi Bank
    Andrew Rowat Haystack
    Joy Passey JOY Prosperity Coaching, Inc.
    Roxanne Spruance Kingsley
    Rachel Law Kip
    Mitchell Draizin Longview Capital Advisors
    Antionio Pellegrin LSQ
    Barbara Macina Macina & Pietrzak, LLC
    Bruce Segall Marketing Sense
    Lee Mandell Mattlin Mandell
    Julie Dorsey Mental Canvas
    Keith Fiore Miner
    Tom Buckley New York Life Insurance, Co
    Nikolay Bey NNB World, Inc.
    Dina Elardo Notary Public Central, Inc. www.NotaryPublicCentral.Com
    Olakunle Oni Olakunle Emmanuel Oni
    Ishveen Anand Open Sponsorship
    Diego Paoletti PDM construction Group Inc.
    Jared Squires Peel the Apple New York Sightseeing Tours
    Sandra Correia Pelcor USA, LLC
    David Bomke Personal
    Frank Yao Physiclo
    Marie-Eve Poirier PSL Group
    Yiannis Broustas Rabt
    Jake Soffer Rollio
    Bruce Koch Schmidt LLC
    Alex Shulman Shulman & Hill Workers Compensation Firm
    Jun Okada Six Flags Theme Park (Great Adventure)
    Nicole Heyman Soilair Selection
    Jon Graber Speedpro Imaging
    Brian McNeill Stringr
    Jade Huang StyleSage
    Asdrubal Hernandez Suaquia Group
    David Renard The Loadown
    Tracey Allard The Resolution Project
    Joaquin Rocca The Scaffold
    Emma Schwartz TheyCay
    Jimmy Cuneyt Gurkan TOA Consulting
    Brian Raynor Tri State Office Interiors
    Jennifer Rose UNO Pizzeria & Grill
    Fergie Kuzucuoglu Victoria Classics
    Melissa Halfon Vidcode
    Katherine Foronjy Vitamin Enriched Casting

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    Michael Ackerman Combustion Systems & Instruments Inc.
    Nagwa Awad Dawan Global
    Evan Horowitz Evan Horowitz Advising
    Sofia Rafael FamGroup
    Alan Freedman Freedman & Son's  
    Steve Barclay Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office
    Jason Yuen JPMorgan Chase
    Shirley Rossman Life Planning Group
    Benjamin Mihalik Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
    Jennifer Pautz New York University
    Anne Bonfiglio Partnership for Student Advancement
    Manny Guzman Pestrol, Inc.
    Ralph Siciliano   Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP
    Tamara Nall The Leading Niche
    Tim Rowe UPS Marketing
    Joseph Kirk Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

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    Karen Hayden   Aflac
    Neal D'Alessio   American Colonial Corp.
    Thomas Koeppel   Auntie Anne's Pretzels
    Sarah Berman   Avenue of the Americas Association
    Bob Harlow   Bob Harlow Research and Consulting
    Matthew Lovendusky   Brown & Brown of NY
    Erin Carr   Columbia Care LLC
    Julian Cordero   Cordero Law LLC
    Brian Antolin   CoTo Travel LLC
    Kim Pang   Crohn's & Colitis Foundation
    Michael Cerasoli   Eagle Global Advisors
    Tony Miceli   Electrosonic, Inc.
    Shant Yeremian    Equiteq
    Steven Cohen   Excelsior Growth Fund
    Harry Prichett   Harry Prichett Coaching
    Sachiko Tsutsui   Hitachi IT Global Holding Corporation
    Ryan Adams   HZQ Consulting
    Michael Cinalli   ITHelp911
    Christiane Kirchgaessner   Kaffee & Klatsch NY
    Kendra leman   KMK Commercial Lines Insurance
    David Laufer    Laufer Public Affairs Strategies
    Alex Komyagin     MongoDB
    Luigi Ceneri   One Source Financing, LLC
    Nicholas Foster   Playbill
    Daniel Rosenfeld   Richmond County Ambulance Services
    Shane Canning   Sandmark Realty
    Laurence Scot   Skody Scot & Co., CPAs
    Vinnie Hung   Sun & Associate Architects
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    Rebecca Borrero   The Paul Hotel
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    Christophe Le Gorju Business Outreach Network
    William Nowottny Century First Credit Solutions
    Ernest Conrad Conrad Engineers
    Daisy Gallagher DeWitt UES Rehabilitation & Nursing Center
    Aubrey Hays DSI SVA
    Frank Valente Frank J Valente, DC, PC
    Roger Bacon HudsonPlatte
    Pedro Gomez Legacy Restoration Metal Stone Wood, LLC
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    Gerard Reinhardt Reinhardt IP
    Ron Bergamini The Action Environmental Group
    Sven Oehme The European-American Business Organization
    Daniele Baierlein The Madison Square Garden Company
    Kristin McDonough The New York Public Library - SIBL\sibl
    Janice Sands The Pen and Brush Inc
    Jack Schursky United ARTs Press
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    Philip Herman All Generations Entertainment
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    Peter Acken AMINYC
    Kuldeepak Acharya Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP
    Karen Meyers Astoria Bank
    Mindy Dunnigan AXA Advisors
    Terrence Martell Baruch College, Weissman Center
    A Palmer Beekman Estate
    Licelle Cobrador Bhatta Law & Associates
    Bill Ghitis BIAN International LLC
    Ilana Yaari Blueprint Technologies
    Jessica Polizzi Bob Altavilla Interiors
    Kyah Paterson Bridgehampton National Bank
    Carlos Jusino-Berrios Carlos M. Jusino-Berrios M.D.
    Jean-Philippe Krahmer Colliers International
    Wendi Caplan-Carroll Constant Contact
    Florence Sommer Corcoran-Florence Sommer
    Aaron Thompson DIFT, LLC
    Rob Byrnes East Midtown Association
    Frank Schursky Forrest Hill Financial Group
    George Amato Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel
    Scott Evenbeck Guttman Community College
    Lynette Deiss H&R Block
    Joseph Goldberg Hodgson Russ LLP
    Brian Chanlatte iCorps Technologies 
    R.J. Folik Interconnected Technologies, LLC
    Melissa Kilpatrick Ivy League Early Learning Academy
    Hirofumi Sakaeda JaNet
    Jen Slaw Jen Slaw Speaks
    Jia Kang Jia Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs
    Lauren Banyar Reich LBR PR
    Lesia Ruglass Lesia M. Ruglass, Ph.D.
    Monica Blum Lincoln Square BID
    James Refino ManhattanTechSupport
    Ravi Aurora MasterCard
    Lindsey Rodriguez Merchant Cash and Capital, LLC
    Laura Capra Metropolitan Commercial Bank
    Adib Kassis Middle East Airlines
    Bruce Whitacre National Corporate Theatre Fund
    Newelle McDonald Newelle-Ness
    George Lence Nicholas & Lence Communications
    Lauren Logan Orion Development Associates
    Thomas Fehn People's United Bank
    Osee Belvilus Primerica Financial Services
    Robbi Muir Robbi Muir Design
    Robert Russo Robert P. Russo, C.P.A. PC
    Raimundo Archibold Schwartz Heslin Group
    Scott Wigley Scott Wigley Business Coachmg
    Kamu KILINC SKALA International Holding Inc.
    Ahvi Spindell Spindell Media Relations, LLC
    Pamela Coppola Statewide Fire Corp
    Josephine Longo TD Bank
    June Klein Technology & Marketing Ventures Inc
    Jason Drews The New York DUI Experts
    David Perecman The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C.
    Renee Lundholm The Swedish-American Chamber
    David Fitts Time Warner Cable Business Class
    Dr. Ankur Prakash Well Balanced Chiropractic, P.C.

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    Benjamin Agara Agara Rug Cleaning NYC
    James Sheppard Allstate Insurance Co.
    Carla Sterling American Cancer Society
    Andrew White Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.
    Mark Bevilacque Bevilacque Group
    Lisa Phillips Christie Property Group
    Alex Leykind CoAdvantage
    Yelena Belaks CohnReznick LLP
    Sophia Marshall Convene
    Jackson King COP-USA
    Alejandra Escobar Econo Lodge Times Square
    Brian Poole Encore Chiropractic
    Caroline Petersen Gallery Design Studio
    Gerard Gaffney GJ Gaffney LLC
    Alex Ortolani Indeed, Inc.
    Paul Villanueva Intelligent IT Designs
    James Hsui James Hsui, PLLC
    Jamil Fialkoff Jamie Fialkoff
    Daniel Rose Lock And Tech USA
    Sara Lasner Lyft, Inc.
    Stacie Green Margaret O'Leary
    Kanika Jawa MBAF
    Kenneth Peshkin MetLife
    Ken Biberaj Morgan Barrington Associates
    Horace Barker Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
    Eric Siu Mystery Room NYC
    Yaniv Masjedi Nextiva
    Lauren Logan Orion Development Associates
    Georgiana Dancu Pablo Baldini USA
    Andre Newsome Paychex Inc.
    Nicholas Foster Playbill
    Joell Tan Profit Planners Management Inc
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    Daniel Rose R & J Capital Group LLC
    Romy Rost Romy Rost Coaching
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    Iris Salazar Taicoa Corp dba Micato Safaris
    Tia Harrid TLC With Tia
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    Tony Guarascio
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    SpotPog, which connects drivers with a parking space with drivers looking for one, has teamed up with every borough's Chamber of Commerce to convince people to use the app.

    You can find the original article by visiting Crain's New York Business

    By Matthew Flamm

    SpotPog, a free app for swapping public parking spots, launched in New York with some fanfare last June and then seemed to disappear. Its founder is now preparing a new initiative for the app, this time with a specific user in mind.

    Instead of trying to sign up just about anyone with a car who needs a parking space, Manhattan-based SpotPog founder Jacques Blinbaum is targeting people whose livelihoods depend on finding a spot during the day: the city’s thousands of commercial drivers. Blinbaum, with the support of the chamber of commerce in each of the five boroughs, is seeking out electricians, plumbers, cable guys, contractors and the supervisors of commercial van fleets to build a critical mass for the app. A pilot program is set to begin in the coming weeks as drivers come on board.

    "There really is a need in New York for this kind of crowd-sourced parking app," Blinbaum said. "The biggest value is for commercial users. For them, driving around in circles is about missing out on a job."

    SpotPog's first year was a good learning experience for Blinbaum, who is CEO of the Brazilian electronic payments firm F2b, which he founded in 1998. He realized that the app, which shows nearby users available parking spots on a map, has worked best within small, closed communities: SpotPog has been very successful among students at Queens College and health-care workers around hospitals.

    Blinbaum added that he hopes the circles of intense users will eventually overlap and create a community that crosses the city. With F2b as a development partner, he also sees the app one day expanding in the U.S. and internationally.

    Users are given a credit when they first sign up for the app. They then earn a credit by handing their space over to the first user who contacts him or her. The credit system is designed to incentivize drivers to post the spaces they're about to leave, since they'll need that credit for a space the next time they're searching for one.

    Blinbaum says he's looking to build a user base and is not concerned right now with making money from SpotPog. The app also allows homeowners to rent out their driveways for parking, and SpotPog takes a cut of that transaction.

    The company found a receptive ear at each chamber of commerce since parking is such a universal headache, not to mention a source of traffic congestion and air pollution in every borough. About 30% of traffic in the city is believed to come from people searching for a space.

    Blinbaum acknowledges that he will need to educate users in order for the app to succeed.

    "People have to understand there's a tipping point here," he said. "Short of the tipping point, they may get frustrated and not come back. They have to understand they have to build a solution, and they all have to work together to do it."

    Correction: SpotPog allows homeowners to rent out their driveways for parking, and the firm takes a cut of that transaction. That fact was misstated in an earlier version of this article published online April 14, 2016.

    Source:Crain's New York Business

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  • 04/19/16--13:42: Build it Back

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    New York - U.S. Small Business Administration New York District Director Beth Goldberg announced SBA's 2016 district and national Small Business Week award winners and the agency’s plans to honor this year’s 12 small business owners and advocates for their contributions to small business.

    The awards ceremony is part of SBA’s celebration of National Small Business Week (May 1 – May 7). “Every year since 1963 SBA takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from across the nation through National Small Business Week,” said Goldberg. “This year our district office has four National Award winners who will be recognized by SBA’s Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet during a ceremony in Washington D.C. on May 2. The following day we will honor our New York winners.”

    The New York District Office National Small Business Week Awards Ceremony will be held May 3, 2016 from 10:00 am to Noon; Registration begins at 9 am at 26 Federal Plaza, Conference Center 6th Floor, and Room A/B. Complimentary Continental Breakfast. Open to the Public. Email to RSVP.

    "The nominations for this year’s competition prove, once again, the level of professionalism and success is a trademark of our New York District small business community," said Goldberg. "Not only should the winners be congratulated but every business nominated and considered should be recognized for their accomplishments. Selecting this year's winners was no easy task."

    2016 SBA NY Small Business Week Award Winners:

    The 2016 SBA New York District Office Small Business Person of the Year
    John Durante, Durante Rentals LLC., located in Bronx, NY.

    SBA New York District Office Women Small Business Champion of the Year
    Heidi Kahn, Kahn Architecture - New York, NY.

    SBA New York District Office Exporter of the Year
    Mohammed A. Osman, Karima Shipping Enterprise, Inc. - Bronx, NY.

    SBA New York District Office Home-based Business Champion of the Year
    Antonella Zangheri, Krumville Bake Shop, Inc. - Brooklyn, NY.

    SBA New York District Office Small Business Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year
    Avi Leshes, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce - Brooklyn, NY.

    SBA New York District Office Minority Small Business Champion of the Year
    James Wilson Wood, Independent Media Sales & Services, Inc. D/B/Minority Commerce Weekly - Shoreham, NY

    SBA New York District Office Small Business Financial Service Champion of the Year
    Nancy Carin, Business Outreach Center Network, Inc. /BOC Capital Corp. Brooklyn, NY.

    SBA New York District Office Women Business Center Excellence Award and Region II
    Andrea Ormeno, Queens Economic Development Corporation/Women’s Business Center - Kew Gardens, NY

    SBA New York District Office National 2016 Small Business Investment Company (SBIC)
    Walter H. Barandiaran, Daniel Raynor, Steve Berman of Argentum Capital Partners - New York, NY

    SBA New York District Office National 2016 Phoenix Award for Outstanding Small Business Disaster Recovery
    Stephen Piazza, Maryann Piazza of Majestic Vending and Services, Inc. - Staten Island, NY

    SBA New York District Office National 2016 Dwight D. Eisenhower Award
    Jill Clough-Johnson of Brookhaven Science Associates, LLC/Brookhaven National Laboratory - Upton, NY

    SBA New York District Office National 2016 Subcontractor of the Year
    F. Xavier Fleming of Sound Roof Systems Ltd. - Williston Park, NY