MWBE1Watch the full news conference.

August 14, 2018 -- Upholding his commitment to listen to the needs of Minority and Women Owned Businesses (MWBE) in Westchester, County Executive George Latimer created a MWBE Task Force. Latimer acknowledged that MWBEs are an engine of economic development in Westchester County, and felt the establishment of a task force would create a platform to listen to the difficulties that face these businesses, in order to best tackle those challenges in the future.

Latimer said: “The bottom line is this – we need to attract businesses and keep businesses here in Westchester County to keep our economy thriving. When our businesses thrive our County thrives, and we want to partner with those businesses, large and small, to meet their employment needs and technology needs.”

Deputy County Executive and Chair of the MWBE Task Force Ken Jenkins said: “It is a privilege for me to chair this effort. We have had a law on the books in the Board of Legislators for many years, and we need to make sure we are doing the outreach that is necessary to help identify opportunities for businesses here in Westchester.”

MWBE Task Force Member Sherry Bruck said: “I’ve been certified with New York State and the County since the early 2000’s, and I was so excited to get the call to participate in this task force. I am really looking forward to the outreach efforts that are going to be enacted to bring more MWBEs on board, and provide them with technical assistance that will help them get across the finish line.”

MWBE Task Force Member Liz Velez said: “We have always proudly worn our MWBE certification. What that provides for us is an opportunity to get in the door. To be able to provide those opportunities to other MWBEs here in Westchester through the task force is going to be incredibly impactful. It’s going to make Westchester County an even better place to live and work.”  

The first MWBE Task force meeting was held August 14, and members discussed how to move forward on increasing opportunities for MWBEs in Westchester County. Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins will serve as Chair, and the MWBE Task Force appointees are as follows:

Paul Williams, Former President, DASNY – Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), is a leader in sustainable construction that ensures the participation of minority, women, service disabled and veteran-owned businesses throughout every stage of the construction process.

Liz Velez, President, Velez Organization – Velez is a leader in the construction industry, for the building and planning of projects like schools, hospitals and interior renovations. One of the largest Minority Business Enterprise firms in New York, Velez offers a wide range of services including construction management, general construction, owner representation, consulting and planning.

Anne Janiak, Founder and CEO, Women’s Enterprise Development Center (WEDC) – WEDC empowers women entrepreneurs to build successful small businesses in Westchester County, by providing comprehensive, high quality business training programs, one-on-one business and loan counseling, networking opportunities, assistance with loan applications for microloans and crowd funding.

Elsa Rubin, Accounting Consultant– Results oriented professional with diverse experience in management, finance, and accounting in Fortune 100 and 500 companies, start-ups, family businesses and small companies. Some of Elsa’s qualifications include knowledge and practical application of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and Statutory Account Principles (SAP) as well as development and maintenance of internal control systems in compliance with the SOX Act.

Deborah Bradley, Founder and President, Women’s Builders Council (WBC) and Founder of Deborah Bradley Construction & Management Services, Inc. - WBC is a leading association representing women in the construction industry on several important fronts: legislative advocacy, new business and professional development, with a special focus on leadership. WBC provides a dynamic forum that advances industry knowledge, addresses the barriers that prevent women from growing, and facilitates solutions for policy makers and industry leaders.

Sherry Bruck, Creative Director, Harquin Creative Group – Harquin Creative Group is an innovative Communications Group of advertising, public relations, interactive and design professionals. Harquin uses tools like graphic design, interactive marketing, strategic planning, public relations, event marketing, direct marketing, research and proven print and broadcast creative for its clients.

Nora Madonick, President, Arch Street Communications (ASC) – ASC has delivered strategic communications and public engagement support to Federal and State agencies since 1992. A certified MWBE, ASC specializes in women-owned small business, supporting strategic communications, public outreach and public relations programs for government agencies, corporations and nonprofit organizations.

Dwight McLeod, Chief Executive Officer, Capstone Strategy Group - is a provider of business management and technology consulting services, resource staffing and product offerings, through partnerships with leading providers to state and local government organizations, and small businesses. Capstone is a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and Pre-Qualified by the New York City School Construction Authority.

Bill Mooney, President, Westchester County Association (WCA) - As the preeminent business membership organization in Westchester County, WCA’s mission is to drive economic vitality and development in Westchester and the region, stimulate new business creation, provide a strong and clear voice for the interests of businesses of all sizes on the regional, state, national and international levels, and be an information resource center for our members.

Marsha Gordon, President and CEO, Business Council of Westchester (BCOW) - The County’s largest business membership organization, the BCOW is committed to helping businesses market, learn, advocate and grow. BCOW is actively involved in reviewing federal, state and County legislation and regulations in order to assess the potential impact on the business community, and to influence the outcomes through advocacy when the business community’s interests may be affected. It also acts as an information resource for the business community and government leaders at all levels.

Ross Pepe, President, Construction Industry Council (CIC) – CIC’s primary mission is to improve conditions and provide a ready resource of information for our members. We negotiate labor agreements with local trades, lobby local, state and federal governments to secure capital funding and beneficial laws, disperse information about public and private bid lettings and awards, educate industry members on latest requirements of laws, rules and regulations effecting daily operations and provide many networking opportunities for members.

Ximena Francella, Co-Chair, Hispanic Democrats of Westchester – Hispanic Democrats of Westchester is a political organization for Hispanic Westchester County democrats living and working in Westchester County. Francella was also a member of Westchester County Executive George Latimer’s Transition Team.

Kim Jacobs, Executive Director, Community Capital New York – Community Capital New York is an alternative lender for small businesses that have difficulty obtaining traditional loans. The group has invested millions in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam Counties, with loans leading to more than 3,000 jobs and nearly 100 start-up businesses.

Susana Lara, Co-Owner, Sir Speedy Printing – Sir Speedy Printing has locations across the globe, and specializes in printing and marketing services such as creating a brand, designing a website, developing integrated marketing campaigns, finding customers and building loyalty.

Iliana Carmona, Corporate Director of Contracts, Westchester Medical Center - Westchester Medical Center is the Hudson Valley region's advanced medical care and referral hospital, serving more than 3.5 million people. With a total workforce of 7,000 healthcare professionals including 1200 physicians, Westchester Medical Center is one of the region’s largest sources of employment and economic impact. 

Cheryl McKissack Daniels, President and Chief Executive, McKissack & McKissack - McKissack & McKissack is a national architectural, engineering and construction services firm that has earned a reputation for delivering results on time-sensitive, complex, high-profile projects for both government and private sector clients. With over 170 employees, the firm can provide a full range of technical capabilities to manage our clients’ projects.

Wiley Harrison, President, Business of Your Business - Business of Your Business, LLC has provided bookkeeping, accounting, payroll and tax responsibilities to Westchester County since 1992. Outsourcing to Business of Your Business has provided Westchester with all the benefits of having an in-house accounting staff at a fraction of the cost, without the challenges of hiring, training and maintaining a staff.

Dr. Belinda Miles, President, Westchester Community College (WCC) –Westchester Community College is the County’s largest educational institution. The school provides high quality and affordable education to meet the community’s needs. WCC is committed to student success, academic excellence, workforce development, economic development and lifelong learning.

Bonnie Yam, Principal, Pension Maxima – Pension Maxima is an independent Registered Investment Advisor with the SEC. Their goal is to assist employers in setting up a Winning Retirement Plan to retain and attract key employees to help each and every employee to reach their retirement goal.

Chirag Shah, Founder Lifestyle Westchester, Co-Owner LifeNY – Lifestyle Westchester is a fast-growing social media resource that introduces residents and future residents to the people, places and things to do in Westchester. LifeNY is a Residential Real Estate company owned and operated by two Westchester Residents. Their focus is delivering joy, smiles, and happiness to their clients. They believe that life is to be lived and the best place to live it is in Westchester.