2005-04-29 / Community

Business Card Forum Provides A Chance to Network

By Miriam Rosenberg Contributing Editor

By Miriam Rosenberg
Contributing Editor

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Joanie Omeste and RDRC Executive Director Curtis Archer watch as the Chamber’s president John LePore and RDRC’s president Linda Plummer open the program.Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Joanie Omeste and RDRC Executive Director Curtis Archer watch as the Chamber’s president John LePore and RDRC’s president Linda Plummer open the program.

  • Rockaway entrepreneurs were able to network with each other and with representatives of four of the biggest employers in New York City at a recent business card exchange forum hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation (RDRC).
  • Peninsula Hospital’s Mediation Room was packed earlier this month as business owners came together to find out how they could do business with KeySpan, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the New York City School Construction Authority.

    Steve Gonzalez (Business Development Coordinator for the New York City School Construction Authority) chats with City Councilman Joseph Addabbo, Jr. after Addabbo addressed those who attended the card exchange. Also pictured is Chamber of Commerce President John LePore.Steve Gonzalez (Business Development Coordinator for the New York City School Construction Authority) chats with City Councilman Joseph Addabbo, Jr. after Addabbo addressed those who attended the card exchange. Also pictured is Chamber of Commerce President John LePore. The event was the first collaboration between the Chamber and RDRC. Curtis Archer, the executive director of RDRC, explained the impetus for the forum.

    Business entrepreneur Jackie Cashen of Belle Harbor, a representative for Big Dog Imprints, exchanges business cards following the conclusion of the official program.Business entrepreneur Jackie Cashen of Belle Harbor, a representative for Big Dog Imprints, exchanges business cards following the conclusion of the official program. The School Construction Authority came to RDRC and the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce to ask how they “can take advantage of doing business with the area’s women, minority owned and other local businesses,” Archer told those at the forum.

    Steve Gonzalez, the business development coordinator for the New York City School Construction Authority said his agency expressed interest in “reaching out to the Rockaways in terms of programs we have…to give small entrepreneurs an opportunity to bid for work with the authority.”

    Jean Artcola Burris, a 30-year resident of Rockaway and a Mary Kay Cosmetics independent beauty consultant, exchanges cards with another audience member after the program ends.Jean Artcola Burris, a 30-year resident of Rockaway and a Mary Kay Cosmetics independent beauty consultant, exchanges cards with another audience member after the program ends. Representing the aviation industry, the second largest employer in Queens, was Delores Hoffman (the program manager for the Queens Air Services Development Office at the Port Authority of NY/NJ).

    “We look to bring together aviation services with businesses at JFK and LaGuardia Airports,” Hoffman said. Michael Lipetri, of KeySpan, said his company has many different business categories able to do business with the company such as office equipment and electrical and mechanical equipment.

    The company also has a Supplier Diversity Program for minority and women-owned businesses.

    Zenaida ChapeĀ“ is the assistant director of outreach for the MTA’s Office of Civil Rights.

    “Once a company is certified with us, [a] newsletter is sent out to certified firms to let them know what is coming down the pipeline,” ChapeĀ“ said.

    Jackie Cashen, of Belle Harbor, a representative for Big Dog Imprints, told The Wave such forums – with the expansion going on all over the Peninsula – is what Rockaway needs.

    “It very helpful,” said Cashen. “It is a great opportunity for small business to [connect].”

    Apostle Donald Ventura, of the Lighthouse Corporation here in Far Rockaway, said the forum was a good way “to build relationships to do business.”

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