04 Jan Looking Ahead to 2021, Long Island Business News, January 4, 2021
Andrew Malekoff, executive director/CEO, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center
A paradox awaits the mental health field in 2021. With the pandemic has come the near universal use of telehealth and its fiscal benefits but also the loss of intimate in-person connection.
From the moment of the transition to telehealth, I knew we would have a captive audience. Human contact with someone trained to listen, if only through a screen, became a premium in a time of uncertainty and fear.
The broken and cancelled appointment rate fell precipitously, and revenues increased. Nationally, for some organizations the missed appointment rate is as high as 50% as the result of a combination of motivation, forgetfulness, employment conflicts, child-care arrangements, after-school activities and transportation, to name just a few.
Despite the benefits of telehealth during the pandemic, what remains is the hunger for the intimacy of in-person human contact. For example, group counseling for addressing many issues and populations is essential. No Hollywood Squares virtual Zoom arrangement can substitute for sitting in a circle within arms-length of others with whom you share common ground and mutual support.
The challenge ahead is to develop a hybrid model that uses technology to maximize accessibility and participation and restore sustained in-person encounters. Although tempting, fiscal consideration cannot be the sole driver of the new model. Consumer need first!
Neil Seiden, president, Asset Enhancement Solutions
During 2020, all Americans faced challenges related to the pandemic. The economic damage has been severe and many businesses were not able to survive. However, we did see the resilience of the private sector. At Asset Enhancement Solutions, we worked with over 800 businesses on PPP loans that allowed them to stay afloat. COVID-19 vaccines will be distributed across the nation in 2021. This is what will fuel optimism in the private sector: some light at the end of the tunnel. With new leadership in Washington, different economic policies will be introduced and new strategies for managing the pandemic will come. In the next few months, there will be challenges that the business sector will have to endure. We should expect to see government-mandated shutdowns and operating restrictions. One or more economic stimulus packages will be passed. For those in the retail, hospitality, travel, food service and catering sectors, this winter will be a dark period. The banking, lending and financial services sector will assist businesses as well. Our regional economy should begin to see a rebound by the fall or the latter part of the year.
Randi Shubin Dresner, CEO, Island Harvest Food Bank
Long Island’s nonprofit sector is at a crossroads. An increasing number of people will seek assistance in 2021, many of whom have never asked for help before, primarily due to the pandemic’s economic calamity and compounded by the region’s high cost of living. The challenge nonprofits of all sizes face is how to keep up with the increase in demand in light of a limited pool of contributions by individuals, foundations, corporations, and government support. Cutting back on service is not the answer. None of my colleagues want to tell the next person in line, “sorry, we have no more food,” or “we are no longer taking new clients.”
Nonprofits have made pivotal changes to adapt to an economy impacted by the pandemic while still providing the services their clients depend upon. Although I’m confident that generous Long Islanders, the business community, and government support will continue to provide much-needed help through 2021, I’m wary that smaller not-for-profits may not survive, forcing more people to seek assistance through an already stressed network of providers.
I also express renewed hope Washington will expand upon government-funded programs to help community-based nonprofits provide essential human services like food and shelter to the most vulnerable among us.
Michael Dowling, CEO, Northwell Health
Next year will unquestionably be a year of transition for many, including healthcare. COVID-19’s foundational and economic impact on virtually every field and profession will last well beyond 2021.
Our overall goal is to return to some sense of normalcy. But we need to be realistic about our expectations. The first part of next year will assuredly be managing the pandemic and any spikes in cases. While we hope to emerge from this uncertainty in early spring a more accurate forecast would be in six months. As always, compliance in wearing masks and social distancing will help slow the spread.
We will also be managing the delivery of the vaccine. Yes, the vaccine’s approval and delivery are historic moments in this pandemic, but it will require patience as it is rolled out and made available to the public.
Healthcare — like many other industries — will switch to recovery mode once we get a handle on COVID-19. We have already started this transition at Northwell Health, where we have continued to pursue new services, delivery models and innovation, even amid the crisis.
As a whole, healthcare could benefit from the many lessons we learned in 2020. There were many, actually:
We can partner with our competitors for the greater good.
We can remove siloes and collaborate cross-sector to accelerate progress.
Humility and human decency influence outcomes.
No one is immune to new illnesses.
Partnerships drive progress.
Healthcare in 2021 will be uncomfortable, especially in the first part of the year. We will need to go upstream to navigate the many challenges ahead. Those include continuously expanding technology via telehealth, AI and other deliver models that improve patient experiences. We also need to pay attention to our most vulnerable to address what is truly ailing them and their health.
Rob Basso, CEO, Associated Human Capital Management
The outsourced HR sector is predicted to see strong growth for the next several years. There are massive changes taking place in the private sector, many of which began before the pandemic. Remote work has exploded and will continue to grow in 2021. Changes are creating both challenges and opportunities in the HR sector. In 2021, companies on Long Island will look to HR and payroll providers and the technology we provide for solutions. In the short term, as we saw during 2020, the payroll sector, including Associated Human Capital Management, played an important role in helping businesses secure PPP loans. We will be supporting clients when new stimulus programs are approved.
It is likely that many workers will not return to offices in the short term and many may never go back into the office at 100 percent capacity, especially in New York City. We know that businesses will be leveraging technology to enhance the productivity of remote workers. This will be done with remote time clock tools, screen time tracking and geofencing technology. With a COVID-19 vaccine and a stimulus package, I expect the regional economy to recover in the late spring.
James Bonner, president, New York & Atlantic Railway
New York & Atlantic Railway anticipates a stable market for moving freight by rail across Long Island in 2021 with some growth potential. We have seen a slight shift in consumption-based products, such as food and cooking oil, and construction commodities, including lumber and aggregates from New York City to Long Island. This increase is due, in part, to the recent population shift eastward, and we expect it to continue over the next twelve months. A strong domestic market for recyclables, which was a needle mover for us in 2019, is a trend that we believe will carry forward into the new year, too.
Our overall view for 2021 and beyond is that we continue to see a heightened interest in rail freight service on Long Island because of its ability to reduce truck traffic on our roads and lessen harmful emissions. We believe rail freight will play an increasingly vital role in helping the local economy rebound in a post-COVID world by providing more efficient means of getting products on and off Long Island. Our highly-skilled, well-trained team and state-of-the-art equipment positions New York & Atlantic Railway to field these new opportunities while ensuring consistent and reliable service.
Nick Tarascio, CEO, Ventura Air Services
The private aviation sector was hit hard by the pandemic in the spring of 2020. However, unlike the commercial airlines, the sector has rebounded faster and is now in a strong position as we enter 2021. Since the summer, we have seen a significant rise in interest in charter aviation from a large group of individuals who have never flown private before. These individuals want to travel safely and they are looking to reduce exposure to COVID-19 that they could encounter on commercial flights or at large airports. With private charter flights, individuals travel with small groups of people they know. I am confident that we will see growth in the private aviation sector in 2021 and beyond. At Ventura, we purchased new aircraft in 2020 and will be expanding our jet fleet even more in 2021. We are also hiring to prepare for growth. From a business perspective, I see the New York and Long Island economy recovering when a large percentage of the population is vaccinated. Economic stimulus packages will also help the aviation, restaurant, hospitality and travel sectors. This is good for the regional and national economy and will allow people to feel comfortable traveling again.
Ed Blumenfeld, president and founder, Blumenfeld Development Group
The year 2021 will see Long Island at the center of a political fulcrum as New York City progressives in Albany seek to tilt the state to the left while centrist Democrats hope to pull the party to the middle to avoid losing Long Island. The bi-county’s business community will be more than wary as it watches how this plays out for it may well impact our economic climate for generations.
The governor and the Legislature’s progressives will find 2021 to be a year of strategic choices.
There is a projected $8 to $12 billion dollar shortfall in the state budget, which means, depending on what help Washington may send us, the state may either spike taxes to historic highs, severely cut services, or both. While the progressives have demanded new and higher taxes, the governor has firmly opposed those increases but his ability to sustain a veto evaporated this past November. In 2021, the question will be whether political ideology destroys the roadmap to post COVID recovery. More to the point, the actions of the progressive left could unleash an exodus of taxpayers, businesses, development, and investment dollars that leaves New York an economic wasteland long after the rest of the nation has reclaimed its future.
Wayne Haughton, executive director, Academy Charter School
Regardless of whether you are teaching pre-K or a Masters course, every educator is facing the unprecedented challenge of how best to impart knowledge to students in an era of COVID and enforced virtual learning. For charter schools committed to assisting underserved communities, the challenge is even greater, requiring far more resources to be made available to the educator and the student.
The Academy Charter School was founded in 1998, with just 175 students. Today the school serves 2,250 students in five schools on two campuses, in Hempstead and Uniondale. In 2020, we quickly discovered the challenges of virtual learning and swiftly upgraded our platforms to create a far more effective virtual “classroom.” We also recognized that children with special needs required far more engagement, while other students needed assistance to ensure they had the hardware required to stay connected to the curriculum. In 2021, as the pandemic evolves, these efforts will be sustained and expanded.
Academy Charter not only addresses the academic requirements of our students but addresses the societal issues that our students and their families face. Even when forced to teach virtually, we have kept our kitchens open so that students who rely on school meal programs would receive vital nutrition, and we also have arranged for grocery and meal delivery to any family in need of that assistance.
Academy Charter is the crucial portal to the future for many young people. In 2021, we will not permit COVID to close that door.
Dr. Kerry Fierstein, CEO, Allied Physician Group & Adjuvant.Health
Pandemic uncertainty and tax issues related to the CARES Act make planning difficult. Regardless, I am very optimistic about the pediatric sector in the New York market in 2021.
Over the past year, we have seen healthcare issues impact all areas of our lives.
A trusted relationship with a pediatrician is critical for parents who benefit from accurate information, timely advice, empathy and perspective as they make important family decisions.
The role of doctors is evolving beyond episodic care. Pediatricians are well-versed in this type of family-centered care that focuses on wellness, prevention, mental health and control of chronic disease. Telehealth, which is now widely accepted, will allow families to receive ongoing care more easily. Pediatricians are vaccine experts and our support is crucial to vaccine acceptance in society.
To ensure quality care, keeping pediatric practices independent will continue to be in focus during 2021. This year we expect to see more independent and group pediatric practices partner with back office administration organizations like Adjuvant.Health. The pandemic has shown that doctors benefit from handing off the administrative burdens and saving their energies for the clinical side of medicine.
Carolyn Mazzenga, Melville office managing partner, Marcum LLP
Global pandemic on the mind notwithstanding, the issues we are confronting on the cusp of 2021 are many of the same issues we were confronting at this time last year. But issues such as technology in our schools, alternative work arrangements, New York State budget deficits, and endangered access to good quality healthcare were issues that, we collectively, were confronting.
What a difference 12 months makes. Coronavirus has inexorably linked the ways we are addressing these issues in our personal lives and our businesses, and this is unlikely to change any time soon. Marcum recently made the painful but necessary decision to re-close our offices as the second COVID spike took hold, and we are once again back to a remote workforce, at least through mid-January. I am certain we are not alone in this, and having been tested and proven under the most extreme conditions, remote workforce will be a lasting legacy of the pandemic into 2021 and well beyond. I foresee it will be a solution for both employee recruitment and retention, as it helps businesses expand their networks of qualified workers who cannot, or choose not, to work exclusively in the office. Each one of those topics became even more relevant and critical as a result of the pandemic, in addition to all of the other issues we are all facing.
In this environment, My forecast and my sincere hope is that we get back to some normalcy in 2021. Though I don’t believe we will be completely back to normal in 2021. One thing I am fairly certain is that the way we do business will forever change as a result of the last nine months of pandemic. I think the use of video virtual meetings, though already fairly commonplace now, will become a standard part of our daily regular business interactions with people. Certainly video conferencing will never completely replace face-to-face, in-person meetings by any means, but it will continue to grow as a platform for how we connect and conduct business. The ability for workers, especially office workers, to work remotely will be more widely acceptable in the future, because of how successfully we adapted in 2020.
This will help businesses expand the network of qualified workers that cannot, or choose to not, to work exclusively in the office.
Unfortunately, certain businesses inevitably will close down, but the resilience and entrepreneurship exhibited by many Long Island companies, especially our manufacturers, during this time in 2020 has been a testament to what Long Island is all about. Though we are not an area of Fortune 500 companies, we are predominantly a middle-market business community, established by determined people who have vision. I think those businesses will come out of this stronger than ever. The companies that have survived the pandemic are the ones that were very proactive in looking at their businesses strategically.
It will continue to be essential to keep a close watch on cash, monitor expenditures, and make sure receivables don’t get out of hand. Stay close to your customers and extend credit very carefully in case the economy takes a turn for the worse. And look at your business processes to see where efficiencies can be improved, costs can be reduced or eliminated, and new opportunities can be capitalized. The manufacturers who pivoted to producing PPE are a model for us all. These are the things that will not only help businesses survive but become more profitable. And isn’t that what Strong Island is all about?
Kyle Strober, executive director, Association for a Better Long Island
Long Island’s 2021 will be about the economic recovery from COVID-19 and depend on the strength and confidence of the development community.
Whether it was 9/11 or Hurricane Sandy, crises often allow our region to come through a traumatizing event even stronger than before. This should be our goal as COVID-19 is disposed of.
Local municipalities, many of whom faced fiscal issues before the pandemic, will look to spur economic development to increase their revenues. They will seek to repurpose or revitalize parcels that are abandoned, vacant or underutilized. Town initiatives, such as those undertaken by Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine that create “floating” zones, will achieve economically and socially welcomed redevelopment of existing commercial properties. These efforts need to become a model for others. Similarly, Smithtown’s efforts to create the LI Innovation Park at Hauppauge could be mirrored by its neighbor, Huntington, by resurrecting the Melville Employment Center Plan.
Counties, towns, and villages will use this pandemic to amend and modernize their application, inspection, permit, and approval procedures in order to reduce public health risks while encouraging economic development. Embracing technology will be critical, with innovations such as electronic submissions, virtual inspections and public hearings.
Just like the New Deal after the Great Depression and ARRA after the Great Recession, our federal government may seek to pass an infrastructure stimulus bill. Projects like the Oakdale Merge, expansion of Suffolk sewers and the electrification of the LIRR further east may finally come to fruition. New York State will continue to drive forward downtown revitalization initiatives in Islip, Westbury, Hicksville and Baldwin as well as push for transformative projects like Heritage Village at the former Hicksville Sears site.
2021 will hopefully be a year of silver linings after a horrific 2020.
Andrew Kaufman, principal, Brookhaven Rail Terminal
The role of rail in 2021 will help create a far greener Long Island as we begin to emerge from COVID.
Brookhaven Rail Terminal is anticipating a noticeable increase in the demand for rail as an alternative to the conga line of heavy trucks that brings goods and supplies onto the Island as the economy begins to recover from the shock of the pandemic. Interestingly, rail freight did not experience a significant drop during the region’s initial shutdown during the spring of 2020, as the home repair industry saw sheltering homeowners turn to their own residences with unprecedented inspiration. BRT’s intermodal rail yard became stocked with plywood, sheetrock, asphalt roofing and more, significantly reducing the wait time for material to get to market. Post-COVID, one anticipates a significant increase in additional products that reflect a return to “normal.”
Strategically, the new administration in Washington is expected to turn its attention to the nation’s rail infrastructure. A key element of that system is the proposed Cross-Harbor Rail Tunnel (also known as the Cross Harbor Rail Freight Tunnel) that would tunnel under Upper New York Bay and connect New Jersey with Brooklyn. It would have an exponential impact on our ability to reduce truck emissions throughout the region and harness the power of rail to strengthen our economy and our environment.
Lawrence Kadish, president and founder, Museum of American Armor
For those of us entrusted with telling America’s story of courage and valor in the defense of freedom, 2021 will become even more important as we seek to recapture the year lost to social isolation, quarantine, and the inability of many museums to open their doors. There is a shared appreciation that even the modest amount of time assigned to teach history in the classroom has been further reduced.
While technology can fill part of the gap, it is our museums with powerful displays and exhibits that ensure the history lesson becomes an indelible part of a young student’s learning experience.
The year 2021 will also see the nation and the world observe the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks on our country, one that shocked America, saw Long Island conduct countless funerals, but also saw a nation rallied in a way unseen since World War II. We need to use the upcoming milestone anniversary during 2021 as a means to better appreciate the strategic threat democracies continue to face from terrorist nations and civilization destroyers now armed with nuclear weapons. That shared awareness is the collective debt we continue to owe our veterans.
Kevin Chandler, v.p. and general manager, Suez Long Island
While COVID will continue to impact every aspect of our society in 2021, the critical assignment of protecting our environment through the efficient operation of Nassau County’s wastewater treatment system remains – in every sense of the word – essential. During 2020, SUEZ and Nassau County placed on line a state-of-the art biological process that is part of a $19.6 million project to the Bay Park plant that will remove nitrogen in wastewater that is discharged into Reynolds Channel, north of Long Beach. In 2021, a second phase of the project will be completed, further reducing nitrogen, that, in turn, will help our fragile ecosystems regenerate and will aid in bringing back fishing and shellfishing. In addition, it will strengthen south shore marshlands, which further helps protect our shorelines during severe storms. COVID has served to remind everyone that public health requires constant vigilance. That includes embracing County Executive Curran’s mandate to operate `cleaner, smarter, and better,’ wastewater treatment facilities.
Andrew Kubrick, partner-in-charge, Marks Paneth Long Island office
As the curtain closes on 2020, a year marked by the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, we begin a new year and another audit and tax season. Modern technology has made the idea of working remotely a reality, and the future of the accounting profession has changed forever. Microsoft Teams and Zoom calls were foreign to most of us until this year. Now, you can work from home and share and exchange information as if you are in the office. But beyond that, three advances in modern technology—artificial intelligence, data analytics and cloud-based accounting software—will have an even more profound effect on the accounting profession and how public accountants conduct their business. Artificial intelligence will help to reduce financial fraud and decrease human error. Data analytics will continue to be used in audit planning to identify risk areas. Cloud-based accounting software has allowed outside accountants to access a client’s information more easily and work on tax returns remotely. Among many other things, this pandemic has taught the accounting profession that technology will lead the way in properly servicing your clients and your staff.
Elissa Kyle, placemaking director, Vision Long Island
2020 was, well, transformative to say the least. While many businesses are struggling as we head into winter, there are signs that there may be light at the end of this long tunnel. January and February are going to be challenging for downtown businesses with COVID cases increasing and cold weather making many of the outdoor solutions unfeasible. However businesses are better prepared for the spring and won’t have to deal with the steep learning curve that many faced this year. Restaurants will be ready to transition to outdoor dining as soon as the weather starts to warm up even a little- those outdoor heaters will come in handy in March and April. Local governments are more prepared to streamline permitting processes to get this in motion. Hopefully the roll out of the vaccine will help numbers drop more quickly when the weather warms and not go back up again in the fall. Multifamily residential projects are still moving forward in many downtowns providing more feet on the street for businesses. Continued creativity will help our Main Street businesses connect with customers and increasing distribution of a vaccine will help improve the comfort and confidence of customers supporting our businesses.
Linda Lugo, chairperson of the Board of Managers, OneKey MLS
Our local housing market has proven to be resilient, as realtors have found new and creative ways of doing business safely and successfully throughout the year while working through the various phases of the pandemic and I expect that same ingenuity to be a positive factor throughout 2021. Real estate transactions have, and will continue to happen.
As the law of supply and demand has been at play for most of 2020, home prices across the OneKey MLS area have reported significant year-over-year increases in the second half of this year. The influx of buyers moving to the suburbs from the city, coupled with the pent-up demand of buyers that was already in place, has created a very strong sellers’ market on Long Island. We expect sellers to continue to have the upper hand in 2021, but more reasonably than what the market experienced this year.
With the good news of the vaccine, more inventory should come on the market by the second half of 2021, as would-be sellers feel more comfortable with listing their home. This will result in a more balanced market and modest price gains. Other good news for buyers is that experts predict mortgage rates will remain low, somewhere around 3%, for at least the first half of 2021.
Luis Vazquez, president, Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
The Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has been around for over 30 years, advocating and supporting small businesses on Long Island and throughout the metropolitan area. This past year it has been a challenge for all small businesses, especially Hispanic and minority-owned small businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic has left our community with little, and in some cases no options. Many have closed their businesses for good, and others are barely making it to stay open, fearing more lockdowns in the future. However, this pandemic has opened new ways of supporting our small businesses.
Technology has helped us in communicating with our small businesses, keeping them informed on local, state, and national government programs and regulations to be able to conduct business in a safe and responsible manner. We feel technology is a catalyst for advancing business practices and adapting to new norms, those who are educated in best technology practices for their business will continue running their business in an innovative manner.
Our chamber has had to work with national, state, and local authorities to advocate for our member’s businesses, and keep our members updated on programs, regulations, and best technology practices to keep small Hispanic and minority businesses informed. We look forward to continuing to educate our community and commend the SBA, local chambers and organizations, Long Island Main Street Alliance, Vision Long Island, and local governments for their great efforts and continued support.
Elizabeth Custodio, community development officer, People’s United Bank
Everyone knows that Long Island businesses have had quite a turbulent ride this year. For those that have survived and even thrived in this environment the focus today is on the future. While we still don’t know the full impact of COVID-19, the long-term repercussions are still unfolding. Nevertheless, insightful leaders are planning for 2021 using lessons learned and developing new strategies for success.
The time to begin to plan is now. In order to develop a comprehensive plan, gather input from your employees and customers and reflect on the challenges of 2020 to devise plans for next year.
Setting up a digital platform will be essential for any business to survive. How well you connect to customers about your products and services is essential. Simplifying how customers discover and access your business will be crucial especially with the popularity of online sales.
The key to success this year has been how a business adapts. Change is inevitable so a flexible plan should be about protecting its people and assets from unforeseen events such as the effects of the pandemic. Following current market trends is a must, especially when thinking about increasing your defenses against inevitable changes in 2021.
Strategic planning may seem overwhelming at first, but with 2021 at hand, now is the time to begin. Know that you are not alone. Reach out to all your chambers, business organizations and financial institutions whose leaders are currently developing plans that offer the resources you will need for success.
James Lentini, president, Molloy College
It became clear during the pandemic that most undergraduate students yearn for the in-person experience on college campuses, though everyone has adapted well to alternative teaching and learning models as a necessity. While aiming to get back to normal, colleges will still need to emphasize the health and safety of their communities, something that Molloy has always focused on, but has become even more of a priority as a result of the virus. While the beginning of the spring semester may look similar to the fall semester in terms of classes being a combination of in-person, hybrid and online, we are hopeful that the vaccines will enable all of us to return to the full on-campus experience later in the year and into the fall.
Richard Murphy, president and CEO, Mount Sinai South Nassau
With the emergency authorization of a vaccine, we now have a compelling weapon to prevent further spread of the pandemic and help put an end to the loss of life it has caused. But this will depend entirely upon the public’s willingness to get vaccinated.
The FDA approved emergency use of the vaccine because it proved to be safe and effective during rigorous clinical trials. A COVID-19 vaccination will help keep you from getting seriously ill while reducing risk for others.
Unfortunately, a number of public surveys, including Mount Sinai South Nassau’s Truth in Medicine poll, has shown that as much as 50 percent of the population is either unwilling or uncertain about whether to get vaccinated. We need at least 70 percent of the population to get vaccinated in 2021 in order for us to even consider a return to normal. Only if we work together – including getting vaccinated and maintaining social distancing and hygiene guidelines – can we beat the virus. This is one of the greatest challenges our nation has faced since WWII. Like Long Islanders who came before us, we can unite and defeat this invisible enemy if we listen to our public health leaders and get the vaccine.
Donald Boomgaarden, president, St. Joseph’s College
Higher education is a rather vast canvas – it includes large public and private colleges, mid-sized comprehensive universities, and small liberal arts colleges. Although we remain true to our liberal arts origins, St. Joseph’s falls more into the ‘comprehensive university’ category due to our strong focus on professional areas (business, nursing, healthcare administration, education) and size (over 5,000 students on two campuses). I believe 2021 will be a challenging year for many in our industry, particularly those who depend on student residence hall and dining service fees to balance their annual budgets. Luckily, St. Joseph’s is primarily a non-residential college, and also one which had – even previous to the pandemic – strong programs in all online and remote modalities. For this reason we have done well so far, and should do well in the coming year. Despite the tragic impact of the pandemic on all of us, the fact is that young people still need an education. Furthermore, students and families are seeing that professionals with college degrees have been the least impacted by the economic uncertainties created by the pandemic. For that reason, despite the current crisis, the longer term outlook for our industry may be stronger than ever.
Maurie McInnis, president, Stony Brook University
The significant impact COVID-19 will have had on higher education in 2021 and beyond cannot be understated. Universities that persevere through this time will thrive within a mix of residential, traditional, remote and hybrid models of learning.
The past year has shown us in concrete and practical terms how technology can be used to promote accessibility and help us rethink our traditional model of education. At the same time, it has become abundantly clear that there are elements of the academic mission that need in-person instruction.
I think this is an opportunity for all of us—as universities that serve rapidly evolving student populations with different needs—to think about which experiences must be in person and work toward strengthening them. It is clear that if higher education is going to meet the changing needs of students in 2021 and beyond, while driving the social and economic mobility of our community, our academics need to do it all—they need to be accessible, rigorous and just as intellectually engaging as they always have been.
I am confident that we can use our experience during this pandemic to spark positive change for future generations of students, faculty and community members.
David Bernard, music director, Massapequa Philharmonic Orchestra and the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony in NYC
While New York State’s ban on live concerts with live audiences may very well be lifted after the vaccine rolls out in 2021, it will take time for performing arts organizations to return to their regular seasons. Audiences will need to experience a period of normalcy before making the commitment to purchase tickets and attend a live event. Also, Long Island concert venues and auditoriums, which are mostly run through public schools and universities, will need to unwind their COVID contingency plans that excluded groups not affiliated with university, which also takes time.
The challenge confronting Long Island’s orchestras, bands, choruses and theater companies is how to survive for most of 2021 being deprived of the ticket revenue, donor opportunities and community engagement that typical seasons bring. For many groups, the choice is to either lay dormant until full normalcy returns, or to pivot to an online/digital/video/livestream existence, which is difficult to inspire support given the huge inventory of video content on YouTube.
The answer is for Long Island’s performing arts organizations to innovate and find ways to deliver meaningful cultural experiences to their constituencies beyond video or digital content through live music, and to develop a staged plan to re-emerge as restrictions are lifted. The Massapequa Philharmonic has established a partnership with the Nassau County Museum of Art as the museum’s orchestra in residence, where we provide incidental music while distanced in various locations in and round the museum. No audience members are permitted in the same location as the musicians, but visitors to the museum experience these live performances while viewing exhibits as the music floats throughout the property. In partnership with the museum, we developed a longer-term plan to gradually expand access to these performances safely as restrictions are lifted, culminating in a full season of indoor and outdoor performances across the grounds at the end of the pandemic.
Sue Ruzenski, acting CEO, Helen Keller Services
The turn of events due to the pandemic has in many ways strengthened us and as the mother of invention would have it, fostered “outside the box” thinking. Throughout 2020 we have continued to offer face-to-face services in New York and virtual services nationwide through virtual platforms and adaptive technology. We remain engaged as collaborative partners with state and local service providers through our National Community of Practice and through webinars, webcasts and other focused interagency efforts.
From March 2020 through September 30, Helen Keller National Center offered 2,565 on-line courses to professionals at no cost. The development of on-line professional learning courses and webinars will continue this year.
Despite the challenges faced by the deaf-blind community, we have witnessed time and again the tenacity and talents of individuals as they work to achieve their goals for employment and independence in their community of choice. The skill and versatility of the staff, the flexibility and resilience of consumers and the wealth of information and know-how that HKNC can offer has successfully transformed our vocational rehabilitation program. Remote learning has created new synergies among our staff and given us greater flexibility and utilization of resources to create innovative and effective services. That’s our silver lining amidst the disruption of 2020.
Steven Del Lima, owner and executive chef, Hooks & Chops
As we all know, 2020 was one of the hardest years for the service industry. I think the same is to be said for the beginning of 2021, as consumers are willing to use restaurant services, but are still and will be reluctant to dine inside. I truly believe that COVID is the wild card here and has a lot to do with the success of this industry. I do believe mid 2021 will be the beginning of the “turn around” though. People will feel safer to dine out with the arrival of the Vaccine and I feel that we will start to make a comeback in the beginning of the spring.
Stuart Rabinowitz, president, Hofstra University
The past year has proven higher education institutions like Hofstra can adapt amid extraordinary uncertainty. We are proud that we were able to maintain the in-person experience for many of our students, while ensuring their health and safety. COVID-19 forced colleges and universities to be nimbler than ever before and that flexibility will be critical for higher education as the nation, thanks to the development and distribution of vaccines, emerges from the pandemic in 2021.
While the classroom and the faculty-student relationship remain the heart of learning, especially for undergraduates, the short-term pivot to virtual instruction necessitated by the pandemic will lead to long-term structural changes that will ultimately improve the student experience, both on-campus and online.
We expect to see growth in graduate education, along with continued expansion of the trends that were shaping the industry prior to the pandemic: students gravitating towards majors like engineering, the sciences, technology and healthcare – sectors with strong job opportunities regardless of the current economic challenges. At Hofstra, we also continue to emphasize and expand experiential learning, entrepreneurship training, internships and industry partnerships across all majors, leveraging technology to provide these opportunities online and in person. The combination of using technology for convenience and experiential learning and expanded in-person opportunities in all academic disciplines will ultimately make higher education stronger and better for students.
Jaci Clement, CEO and executive director, Fair Media Council
This next year will be a defining one for news in many ways: You’ll see the use of much more technology to tell stories, and you can expect to find news outlets’ narrowing scope of coverage – choosing their sweet spots to put out fewer stories but providing more depth and perspective. That’s something news consumers have been wanting, especially after the last few years, which have been about news organizations’ providing lots of continuous content, but not a lot of information. What this also means is the public will need to incorporate more news outlets into their daily routines, in order to get a wide spectrum of news. They’ll need to look for news that hits on four levels: local, regional, national and international, in addition to specialty sources for news, such as business and health.
Hillary Link, associate, Harris Beach
I expect to see the continuing effects of COVID-19 on the food and beverage industry going into 2021 in the form of shortages of raw materials and delays in manufacturing, creating longer lead times for brands. I additionally expect that food and beverage brands may place an greater emphasis on claims in order to help drive sales.
While I am not overly optimistic that 2021 will bring drastic federal decision-making with respect to CBD policy and legislation, I expect to see states continue to lead the charge. CBD brands should be prepared to take swift action in response to rapidly changing state legislation.
On the regulatory side, as CBD brands continue to be exposed for including levels of CBD in their products which grossly fall short of the label claim and in some cases do not include CBD in the product at all, I expect that the FDA may focus increasingly on Good Manufacturing Practices in its 2021 enforcement actions against dietary supplement brands, and also expect to see an increase in new class action lawsuits related to false labeling. Therefore, going into 2021 it is critical that dietary supplement brands implement proper product testing procedures to ensure quality.
Dr. Kevin Reiter, associate medical director, Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care
The urgent care industry, like many other industries, has gone through significant change in 2020. As we continue to serve on the front line of this pandemic I think the outlook is very positive for those who can continually pivot to serve the ever changing needs of the patient. As an entry point to healthcare, urgent care centers must continue to educate, guide, test appropriately and direct our patients to the safest and latest therapies available for COVID-19. As the therapeutic options change, from vaccination availability to monoclonal antibody infusions to more proven inpatient therapeutics, we must stay current and be able to risk stratify the patient and their severity of illness towards the optimal treatment. Unfortunately there were many solo independent primary care practices that could not stay afloat in 2020. This will inevitably create gaps in care that urgent care is positioned to help meet.
Providing accessible care in a safe and effective manor for both COVID as well as non-COVID related illness in the face of uncertainty will continue to define the urgent care industry in 2021.
John Nader, president, Farmingdale State College
The COVID emergency has altered the altered the college selection process. It seems many students are applying to colleges later, and are delaying their decisions. Some of this is driven by uncertainty about the extent to which remote course delivery will continue. Some students and families may even delay college until they see a vaccine used widely and effectively.
Beyond the next few months, colleges will re-examine their use of space. Campuses are finding that a number of employees can work remotely. Colleges will make better use of technology to support flexible and innovative teaching even after a vaccine is available. The costs of COVID, along with demographic changes, pose challenges for public institutions which may see less state support and mid-tier private colleges that will face pressures to contain tuition.
Students are increasingly career and cost conscious. My hope is that colleges and universities will work to reverse the far too common idea that higher education is not really a good value. Students and parents need to be discerning, but this region is filled with colleges yielding tremendous returns to their graduates. We need to do a better job of telling our stories.
Evan Krinick, managing partner, Rivkin Radler
The legal marketplace in 2021 will continue to be focused on flexibility, innovation and technology. The pandemic will continue to dictate a largely remote work environment, and will demand increased investment in mobile technologies. Physical office space needs will lessen, but law firms will not be quick to abandon their professional homes. Instead, they will look to make their environments more efficient. A new administration in Washington, DC, will push to change the regulatory landscape, and litigation in the increasing conservative federal courts challenging authority of the regulators should be expected. More attention will be paid to state and local governments, especially in Albany, where the Democratic Party has ascended to new heights of influence. Among many issues, cannabis and sports betting will be the subject of legalization efforts. Cyber and data security will continue to be major concerns, and the aging of the baby boomer generation will increase the focus on estate planning and elder law issues. The pandemic will continue to drive labor, real estate and business issues to the forefront as the economy tries to avoid a tailspin. Diversity and inclusion initiatives will grow in importance both from the perspective of clients and from the work force.
Kristen Jarnagin, president and CEO, Discover Long Island
Tourism has been the hardest hit industry on Long Island with devastating economic impacts, closures and job losses related to COVID-19. While there is hope on the horizon that 2021 will be a year of recovery, all indications point to that recovery being slow and cautionary where travel is concerned. With the right tools and resources, Long Island is poised to capitalize on the pent-up demand of leisure travel, but the return of businesses and international visitors will take years to reach the 2019 peak when we enjoyed a record breaking $6.3 billion in tourism spending. Success in 2021 will depend on innovation and communication to encourage our local residents and regional visitors to support Long Island’s tourism-related businesses and struggling downtowns. Full recovery will require investment in targeted marketing campaigns to remind national and international visitors of Long Island’s attractions and appeal. There is going to be tremendous global competition to lure back these lucrative visitors, who generated more than $760 million in local and state tax revenues in 2019, and Long Island has tremendous opportunities to recapture those resources with new and private funding initiatives such as the Tourism Recovery Improvement District legislation supported by the local tourism industry. Recovery is possible and imminent, but the rate and speed of that recovery will depend on the support and investment of this critical regional industry.
Mark Meinberg, Long Island partner-in-charge, Eisner Amper
Our thoughts are with the people most directly affected by COVID-19 – those who were afflicted with the virus, and those whose livelihoods have been damaged. That said, and with a vaccine on the near horizon: I’m very optimistic for 2021. First and foremost, we’ve been able to transition and work safely – both for our people and our clients – in the time of COVID-19. In fact, some of what we perceived as restrictions are now actually favorable adjustments such as the enhanced ability to get people together for a meeting. Team meetings, prospect meetings, all can be held seamlessly and instantly in a virtual format; this has created tremendous efficiency. Scales of economy have been re-calibrated to fit the ‘new normal.’ Significant cost savings that have come out of the COVID-19 changes are now being either retained by the firms or re-invested back into further and emerging technologies. Most critically, there have been many changes due to government-subsidized loan programs as well as anticipated tax changes. These create client planning opportunities – our clients want and need to know how they will continue to operate in and out of the COVID-19 environment.
Dr. Daniel Griffin, infectious disease chief, ProHEALTH
After a really challenging year, 2021 looks to be much better year for physicians and those involved in healthcare. Massive vaccination programs will be moving forward in the first two quarters of 2021 followed by significant progress in returning our economy and our deliver care to a more predictable state. There should be a robust increase in the demand for medical care as many have postponed physician visits during the pandemic. Healthcare providers have also rapidly shifted their delivery of care to allow for more efficient and flexible access including embracing telehealth and more efficient scheduling to avoid patient waits. Many of the lessons and necessary changes that were forced on physicians and their organizations have transformed our industry and practices in ways that will remain a part of the practice of medicine for years to come.
Pat Guidice, business manager, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1049
The global pandemic of 2020 has crystalized the importance of the most significant issues facing the 4,200 hardworking members of Local 1049 – the need for affordable and comprehensive healthcare, and the ability to provide for and care for their families with continued, safe employment and long-term retirement security.
Our members, who are employees of National Grid and PSEG, are a part of the fabric of the Long Island community. Some are young family men, providing for their families while battling increased healthcare costs, while others are planning for their retirement who deserve to retire with dignity. These dedicated men and women are called on during times of crisis, emergencies and storms to serve Long Island residents and businesses, and handle the urgent needs of their neighbors. Tropical Storm Isaias this summer resulted in more than 1,400 of our members logging more than 320,000 long and arduous hours in the field to restore service, and illustrates the need to increase staffing of trained, local utility workers moving forward.
As we move into 2021, it has never been more important to have a strong voice in legislative and regulatory decisions that will be made by federal, state and local jurisdictions in order to protect not only the interests of our members but the consumers and communities we serve. With a change in administration coming shortly, the labor community will be keeping a close eye on the future and fate of Obamacare — and its many costly provisions — in the courts, in Congress and in the White House.
Jeffrey Reynolds, president and CEO, Family & Children’s Association
The pandemic further exposed and exacerbated Long Island’s tale of two cities where historically disadvantaged families and communities are suffering the highest COVID death rates, and tens of thousands of our neighbors are grappling with staggering levels of homelessness, hunger, violence, substance use and mental health disorders, and chronic poverty. There’s no vaccine to ameliorate those conditions, but our region does have a strong core of committed people and nonprofit organizations providing affordable housing, food, job training, counseling, health care and the countless other essential services. Long Island’s nonprofits have risen to the challenge and though most organizations are struggling a bit, 2021 will likely be the year where our value becomes even clearer to government, philanthropy, corporations and communities. If renewed investments in time and money follow, we’ll end 2021 healthier and stronger as a sector and as a region.
Lisa Newcomb, executive director, Empire State Association of Assisted Living
The COVID pandemic has clearly upended the assisted living business and the COVID-vulnerable seniors that we serve. As opposed to nursing homes, assisted living communities are deeply rooted in a social model of senior living and the pandemic has forced residents to lock down for ten long months and counting, significantly disrupting the active lifestyle that they are accustomed to. With the vaccine near, we are hopeful that residents can return to that lifestyle.
So often during this pandemic we heard the term “Long Term Care” being used by government and the media. Assisted living and nursing homes are not the same. However, a big issue for us at the start of the pandemic was when the NYS Department of Health was lumping the two models together and setting assisted living policy based on nursing home outcomes. ESAAL advocated fervently, and with significant success, that assisted living decisions be made based on our own data. Moving into 2021, we will continue the education process about the differences between the two models.
COVID’s financial impact on the assisted living/adult care industry has meant huge, unplanned financial losses due to the required weekly testing of all staff at $100 each, PPE and infection control supplies, and wage increases. Looking ahead, we know that the vaccines will be phased in to target our resident population and staff first. This is key to protect our most vulnerable seniors who live in congregate settings. It will also serve as a catalyst to return to some normalcy in operations, including resuming new admissions, which many communities chose to pause during the pandemic resulting in increased industrywide vacancies and lost revenue.
David Sterling, CEO, SterlingRisk
The winter months ahead will be a difficult time for Long Islanders as we wait for the COVID-19 vaccine to be deployed. Local health systems along with the hospitality sector will be particularly hard hit. However, come May and June, with restrictions finally lifted, it is likely we will see the kind of pent-up demand for services that comes along once or twice in a century — similar to when millions of GIs returned from World War II and triggered the boom years that followed.
In regards to insurance, we continue to experience one of the most challenging cycles of the past 50 years. Businesses were seeing increased premiums even before COVID appeared. Higher awards for verdicts and other shifts in society have driven prices up, all of which could be significantly compounded should even a portion of COVID-related claims be allowed to stand.
At SterlingRisk, our hope is that premiums will stabilize in the second half of 2021 along with an improved economy. Until then, we continue to provide value by offering exceptional risk management guidance and advising clients on the best coverage options for their specific needs.
Jothy Narendran, co-managing partner, Jaspan Schlesinger
We at Jaspan Schlesinger will continue to help our clients confront the challenges of COVID-19 that will undoubtedly persist in the coming year and in the aftermath of the pandemic. Businesses small and large will be maneuvering through a new series of stimulus and assistance programs — hopefully in early 2021. Whether these packages will closely mirror the first set of financial aid programs, such as the Paycheck Protection Program and CARES Act, or whether they will come with new regulations and requirements, businesses will need to react quickly to ensure their eligibility.
With a new administration coming into the White House, employers also need to keep a close eye on potential changes in healthcare requirements and other labor laws, including those pertaining to equality in the workplace.
Public and private schools will continue to be challenged to provide the greatest degree of in-school learning and activities such as team athletics, while maintaining a safe and healthy environment for students and faculty and fulfilling their mandated educational requirements.
With many court systems transitioning to remote sessions, alternative dispute resolution, mediation and private judging should continue to grow as an attractive, private and safe means to resolving commercial disputes, marriage dissolution and trust and estate matters.
Jaspan Schlesinger created a COVID-19 Resource Center to provide individuals, businesses, local governments, libraries and school districts with information on the topics that matter most to them during this crisis. We will continue to make this an available resource as legislation and guidance evolve in the coming year.
Katherine Heaviside, president, Epoch 5
One of the lessons learned from 2020 is that crisis planning is a small investment which can pay major dividends in protecting your reputation and your livelihood.
When first hit by a crisis, the public will often see you as a victim; but if you don’t move quickly and decisively to do the right thing — and effectively communicate those steps with your important stakeholders — you can easily become the villain. Even during a pandemic, we continue to calls from companies, schools, and associations to prepare a plan for them to move through the next crisis and emerge intact.
Moving into 2021, most businesses remain in a re-building mode, seeking to gain back market share, attract new customers and discover new avenues for their products and services. The move has already been underway for public relations to play a more active role, beyond generating press and publicity, in supporting companies’ sales efforts and enhance the fundraising efforts of not-for-profits. That movement will only get stronger as organizations work with tighter budgets as the result of the pandemic, and recognize the return on investment of fully integrating public relations into their comprehensive marketing goals.
Howard Stein, partner-in-charge, Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman
Although the outlook for the Long Island legal industry is challenging, it is rife with opportunity.
In this new business environment, firms need to embrace new technologies and evolving ways to market their services and maintain the “personal touch.” That has always been so important to a successful law practice. Interacting regularly with clients, whether through Zoom or Skype or other technologies, is crucial.
In this COVID-19 climate, new areas of the law are emerging. Firms that expand with the new legal issues of the day will see a growth in their business. To hope that traditional ways of doing business, as well as practices that have slowed, will someday come back is not a good strategy for the path to success.
We also see this time as an opportunity to enhance our talent pool for new attorneys. We are seeing an increase in young attorneys who are choosing the successful mid-sized suburban law firm over the “big law” experience.
While there continues to be obstacles in our everyday working experiences, we are optimistic that there is continued room for change, growth and success.
Phil Andrews, president, Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce
The outlook of our chamber of commerce in 2021 is very promising. The Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce has seen an increase in the number of corporations supporting diversity during this downturn in the market.
Many African American business owners in the chamber have been experiencing hardship during this time, but the uptick in support from various sectors of society will help our industry rise above the challenges we currently see in the marketplace. As the New York District Office of the United States SBA 2019 Small Business Champion, our past work has prepared us to support businesses in a variety of capacities such as accessing resources including SCORE, SBA, Small Business Development Centers and EAP Centers.
Our chamber follows the national mandate of our national affiliate US Black Chamber, Inc.’s focus on access to capital, contracting, chamber development, entrepreneurial training and advocacy. As a business organization we recognize that businesses often have cycles of ups and downs in the economy, and as a business organization comprised of small, medium and large-sized businesses we must continually adapt to change. Our industry is composed of champions, and we fully embrace the entrepreneurial challenges that we face today.
Kevin Law, president and CEO, Long Island Association
As the entire country looks forward to putting 2020 in the rear-view mirror, it is likely that the beginning of 2021 will still be a difficult time. We will continue to grapple with the public health implications and economic fallout from Covid-19. A bad start to 2021 may be unavoidable at this point, however, we do see light at the end of the tunnel.
We are optimistic that the second half of the year should be stronger as vaccines are more widely distributed to and accepted by the general population by the summer that should help unleash the pent-up demand from which we are all suffering.
This past year, the Long Island Association has helped guide our region through the devastating impact of Covid-19 and assist with our economic recovery. We were and will remain relentless in advocating for more federal assistance for small businesses.
As Washington contemplates additional measures to respond to Covid-19, it is imperative that a relief package includes funding for small businesses; state and local governments and transit systems like the MTA and LIRR; a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program; extended Unemployment Insurance; and the continuation of aid programs that expire at the end of this year.
Additionally, as Albany becomes more progressive and seeks to close its projected multi-billion deficit, we must oppose any new taxes or fees on businesses or income surcharges that would disproportionately impact Long Island while also ensuring that businesses and the real estate community are not unduly burdened by unnecessarily restrictive laws and regulations on its operations.
The LIA will also continue to support efforts to make Long Island the offshore wind capital of our country, move forward with transformational projects at the Nassau and Ronkonkoma Hubs, as well as in our downtowns, and construct more affordable housing to retain our young professionals. Together, we can rebuild our economy better than ever. After the 1918 flu pandemic, we had the Roaring Twenties. Let’s have another Roaring Twenties!
Bob Caulfield, president and CEO, Jefferson’s Ferry Life Plan Community
While the battle against COVID-19 continues, the senior services industry has accomplished much in adding stringent new protocols to the extensive measures already in place to safeguard the health of residents and staff. At Jefferson’s Ferry, we discovered a silver lining during 2020; a resounding affirmation and appreciation of the value of a committed, caring community.
As we move forward, COVID-19 will continue to influence our lifestyle but the demand for senior living accommodations that provide for an active lifestyle will continue to be robust. Jefferson’s Ferry is expanding its campus to include 60 additional independent living apartments and specialized memory care, as well as other services and amenities. Additional senior communities of all types continue to be built on Long Island, giving older adults many choices to suit their individual needs. On the flip side, we’ve seen the toll social isolation has taken on those alone at home forced to rely on a patchwork of services during pandemic conditions.
Last year confirmed the value of senior living communities’ safe socialization opportunities, easy access to meals and other staples delivered by a network of trusted, tested, and familiar people. We are well prepared to continue to serve our residents in 2021.
Chris Komisarjevsky, retired CEO, Burson-Marsteller
The year 2021 will see opportunities and also challenges.
Among the opportunities is the issue of diversity and inclusion. No single issue affecting the public and private sector will be as vocal and transforming as D&I. Just witness the effort by NASDAQ to mandate D&I programs and threaten to delist companies that don’t comply. The opportunity is two-fold: participate in building meaningful D&I programs and then speak passionately to their importance.
Another opportunity is environment/social/governance, or ESG. The call for private and public companies to implement meaningful ESG programs will escalate, stakeholders will get more vocal and CEO leadership will be tested. After all, effective governance starts with the CEO. The opportunity is to help the C-suite to implement internal and external communications to solidify support.
As for challenges, crisis preparedness may be the biggest test for the business community. Private and public sector organizations will face questions and concerns from employees and the media as COVID vaccine plans move into high gear. The challenge is to anticipate the issues and plan effective internal and external communications well beforehand.
And the Zoom culture will continue to impact the business community. As remote working and digital offices extend well into the year, organizations face critical culture challenges, especially as they work to ensure common goals, excite the creative spirit and foster shared learning.
Martin Scheinman, founder Scheinman Arbitration and Mediation Services; Arden Claims Service
Even in the height of pandemic, the need for mediation and arbitration continued, and like other firms, our team quickly retooled to serve the market. We pivoted to online virtual hearings to resolve and decide labor/management, employment, business, consumer and commercial disputes. And through technology, our team performed the full aspect of alternative dispute resolution services, including through fact-finding and investigation.
Moving forward, virtual hearings will continue to be an integral part of our practice. Out of the anguish of Covid-19, we have become more nimble and responsive to the parties we serve. In 2021, based upon client requests, we will add divorce mediation as a core service.
Arden Claims Service, our claims administration business, approaches 2021 with growth agenda. With the court system either re-opening for in-person matters, or incorporating more virtual hearings, cases that stalled during the pandemic will be decided and released for administration. In turn, ACS is ready to insure professional, accountable and reliable implementation of court directives so deserving claimants receive monies to which they are entitled. We will be increasing our capacity by adding team members, full and part-time, and remain dedicated to increasing the diversity of our workforce and continuing to hire from our community.
Greg Kalikow, vice president, Kalikow Group
In 2021, COVID-19 will continue to have a deep impact on the residential real estate market and the pace at which the American people take the vaccine will play a big role. Whether it’s New York City, or burgeoning areas in markets such as the southeast, the residential market is primed for a rebound.
While the medical community expects “herd immunity” from COVID-19 at the end of 2021, it is not the benchmark for recovery in the residential real estate market. As Americans hopefully get vaccinated, they will begin to re-explore looking at apartments in various markets.
Major metropolitan cities with traditionally higher rents like New York City and Long Island will take longer to fully rebound in comparison to smaller and growing markets, such as Raleigh-Durham, Charleston, and Huntsville. The supply of residential properties in major cities is currently much higher than the smaller markets and the competition for renters will be even tougher, which will slow the rebound as well.
I am hopeful that we will steadily increase toward a sense of normalcy as 2021 moves along and make 2022 the year where we can both physically and emotionally put this once in a generation pandemic behind us for good.
David Heymann, managing partner, Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone
Assuming that the Republicans keep a majority of the Senate and we do not have any further pandemic shutdowns, I don’t expect the sweeping changes to the tax code that some have predicted. New York, on the hand, may be different which may negatively impact business in New York. I am optimistic that the increase in transactions that we are seeing in these last couple of months of 2020 will continue into 2021 as those investors who were sitting on the sidelines waiting for the election results will be desirous of placing their “dry powder” in accretive assets.
I foresee robust activity in mergers and acquisitions, with stronger companies looking to acquire competitors and suppliers who have not fared as well during 2020. I also expect to see the sale and purchase of real estate secured debt to be a frothy area as there will likely be a plethora of distressed debt opportunities.
I also expect that corporate restructuring and estate planning will continue to be busy areas as companies and individuals seek to get their “houses” in order in the event of substantial tax code changes that will likely occur if Democrats gain control of the Senate in 2022.
Dr. Joseph Greco, chief of hospital operations, NYU Langone Hospital Long Island
While Covid brought unprecedented challenges, it also ushered in a new era of healthcare delivery—telemedicine. We expect telemedicine to grow by leaps and bounds in 2021 as it continues to become a”normalized” patient experience, offering convenient medical screenings and assessments remotely. For telemedicine to continue to proliferate, we will need insurers fully on board, recognizing this service as a valuable alternative to many in-person office visits.
In the meantime, COVID-19 vaccines will continue to dominate the healthcare landscape in 2021 as we progress from vaccinating frontline workers and vulnerable populations, to the entire population.
On the non-Covid front: We’ve made significant advancements in total joint replacements, and patients are now able to go home the same day as surgery. This is a game-changer as patients benefit from improved mobility in their home setting and less post-operative complications. Anyone that’s put off a joint replacement should view 2021 as the year to do it.
Devin Kulka, CEO, Kulka Group
In 2021 we will see a big push in the multi-family and industrial sectors, with hungry lenders looking to do business and developers and investors seeking value in suburban markets like Long Island. This past year has not been friendly to big-city real estate, with the commercial and residential markets taking an economic punch to the jaw and vacancies rising to all-time highs. Other factors like the new NYS rent stabilization laws have further eroded value in holdings and a turnaround will not be swift. Meanwhile, on Long Island, we have seen a shift from NIMBY (not in my backyard) to YIMBY (yes in my backyard) with transit-oriented districts becoming more growth-friendly. Projects that have been years in the making are finally getting the green light, which is good for local communities and their economies.
Gary Lewi, managing director, Rubenstein
Strategic insight, digital positioning, message relevance, and protecting the integrity of the clients’ brand will be among the challenges facing the public relations community in the year to come. Even before the economic train wreck of COVID, the massive contraction in the media market severely altered the landscape that reporters and PR colleagues share. Professional communicators need to appreciate that COVID has permanently realigned media even further, where far fewer journalists working remotely are being asked to, essentially, “drink from a fire hose” of information in order to publish or get on the air. While content creation has been one of the legacy pillars of our industry, the myriad of social platforms now striving for dominance has only made it more so but is vulnerable to abuse. How PR professionals leverage these tools while preserving their own integrity and that of their clients’ will ultimately define their professional legacy. When the pandemic recedes, it will leave permanent scars on the communications sector, requiring recognition by the PR industry that it will need to place far more sophisticated strategies before its clients to ensure value and relevance.
Robert Creighton, managing partner, Farrell Fritz
As we navigate the close of a challenging year, our business outlook for 2021 is shifting positive. As we move closer to a COVID vaccine and restoring some level of normalcy to our world, our lives—both personal and business—will likely be transformed forever. Businesses have adapted policies and strategies that will likely remain in place for 2021 and beyond, including creating new efficiencies and integrating new technologies.
Family-owned and closely-held businesses continue to evaluate their options for the future. A significant amount of business exits have occurred this year, and we expect to see this accelerate in 2021. Healthcare organizations have had to focus on being our frontline defense against COVID; we expect to see continued growth of partnerships and affiliations to strengthen their businesses.
Many businesses have transformed their operations to support virtual working, learning and sharing; we feel this operational flexibility will help drive future growth, attract human capital and retain key employees.
Continuing to move our businesses forward, while helping to drive overall economic growth and expansion on Long Island is essential. As we all chart the course into this “new normal” together, there will certainly be challenges along the way, but standing together as a Long Island business community will help us all survive and thrive in 2021 and beyond.
Deirdre O’Connell, CEO, Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty
The real estate market is heading into 2021 in very good shape with a significant number of listings under contract, a continuation of historically low mortgage rates, and large numbers of millennials actively looking to buy. Our challenge is to satisfy customers in a marketplace with low inventory.
Prices have appreciated considerably, but if sellers get too aspirational in their asking prices, that will be a barrier to the market.
With Covid still in the picture, the virtual showings that have dominated the marketplace during 2020 will continue, and become firmly established as an important selling tool moving forward. Virtual showings have proved particularly useful for out of area buyers—offers have been presented and homes gone into contract on the strength of a virtual tour alone, with the perspective homeowner not seeing the actual house until right before closing. While this is in some ways a game changer for how real estate is bought and sold, it underscores the importance of a trusted realtor who can provide a more complete picture of the home and its environs, present competitive offers, and negotiate the terms of the contract to help the buyer move forward with confidence.
Gerard Luckman, partner, Forchelli Deegan Terrana
The need for the legal system to deal with the financial distress to the business sector caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will rise in 2021.
Relief provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act, coupled with federal and state executive orders affecting evictions and foreclosures, have delayed but not fully abated businesses’ need to face economic realities.
While many businesses will survive, others will need to reorganize, whether through bankruptcy, liquidation or sale to preserve value. Surviving companies will reimagine how they operate as they learned to manage during the pandemic.
Business owners are considering the amount of space needed as staff work remotely. Restructuring professionals assist these businesses in renegotiating leases and negotiating lease terminations.
We also expect that small business owners wanting to restructure and retain their businesses will file for bankruptcy under Subchapter V of Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. The CARES Act temporarily increased the debt limits to qualify as a small business debtor under Subchapter V from $2.75 million to $7.5 million. Business owners need to be mindful that, unless extended, the temporary increase will expire in March of 2021.
John R. Buran, president and CEO, Flushing Financial Corporation
Small- and medium-sized businesses, crucial to Long Island’s economy and local employment, have been one of the hardest-hit sectors. Local business owners will continue to need the support of their community banker in 2021 as they position themselves for recovery from the economic challenges posed by the COVID pandemic. Flushing Bank and our recently acquired Empire National Bank were two such community banks that rose to the support of local businesses on Long Island during the pandemic.
When businesses suddenly found themselves struggling because of the economic downturn resulting from the pandemic, community bankers like us were there to lend a helping hand. We partnered with them through the process to successfully secure access to government financing and grant programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program.
As we enter 2021, there is optimism that these challenges will ease as the year progresses and the vaccine is further deployed. Throughout the coming year, Long Island businesses will continue to need access to flexible programs to address their unique challenges and opportunities, including investment to not merely survive—but to grow.
Founded in 1929, Flushing Bank knows the power of community banking throughout periods of economic downturns and booms. As a community bank with branches throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Flushing Bank is uniquely positioned to develop customized financial options to help these businesses manage through this challenging period.
Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky, senior vice president for health sciences and dean of the Renaissance School of Medicine, Stony Brook University
Healthcare is the lifeblood of our society. While serving as senior vice president for Health Sciences at Stony Brook University I am not fully objective, but let me ask: What do you have, if you are not healthy? Academic medical centers (AMC) nationwide like Stony Brook Medicine have several missions: pushing innovative biomedical research forward, training the next generation of healthcare providers and providing outstanding patient care. Perhaps the only silver lining to the dark cloud of COVID-19 is the realization that we must be better prepared for all healthcare disasters. To paraphrase hockey great Wayne Gretzky, we must skate to where the (healthcare) puck is going to be. We must be creative when preparing for the next dangerous infection and train those who will tackle such healthcare challenges over the next decade. We must devise new approaches to the foes of infection, inflammation, malnutrition, trauma, behavioral health, and social determinants such as systemic racism, that create hurdles to a healthy life.
Once healthcare is successful in putting COVID-19 in our rearview mirror, we must not forget the lessons learned so painfully in 2020/2021. Should AMCs and the biotech industry not invest in creating a vaccine against all coronaviruses? Stony Brook and other AMCs must increase training of outstanding students and healthcare professionals and future-minded biomedical scientists. If its society’s goal to live in a world well-prepared to address all future healthcare needs, including those brought about by global warming, novel infectious agents, and the scourge of cancer, then our healthcare industry will continue to thrive, so society can thrive.
Eva LaMere, president, Austin Williams
Within the marketing and advertising industry we will need to continue to focus on and monitor data and insights more and more frequently. As our economy and consumer behavior continues to twist and turn we need to be flexible to predict and react to the continued changing landscape. The ability to be nimble and pivot, along with more frequent analyzing of consumer behavior data will be critical to ensure successful marketing programs.