Michael is the president of the Long Island Food Council and leading the council’s efforts to connect companies in the Food & Beverage industry, create more local jobs and educate individuals interested in starting their food and beverage related businesses.
Michael is currently an Associate Broker with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty and DGNY Commercial, a new company specializing in tenant representation, landlord representation, and real estate Investments. Michael is currently spearheading this new commercial company, DGNY Commercial. He is a member of CIBS (Commercial Industrial Brokers Society of Long Island) and a member of LIREG (Long Island Real Estate Group).
Michael brings a wealth of business experience and community service to this position. He has over 30 years of sales experience selling multiple product lines through various distribution channels. Michael is a current member of the ESD (Empire State Development), Tradeable Sectors Work Group, MTRC (Manufacturing and Technology Resource Consortium) Advisory Board Member, Island Harvest, Taste of Harvest, committee member, Board Member Port Washington BID (Business Imporvement District), and Business Advisory Council Member Island Harvest. He is also retired as president of the Port Washington Soccer Club and Port Washington Police Athletic League Executive Advisory Board. Michael is a graduate of Skidmore College.
David N. AltmanPartner of Brown Altman & DiLeo, LLP
David is a founding partner of Brown & Altman, LLP and has extensive experience in real estate law, commercial litigation, and environmental law. He represents real estate developers and lenders, national and local retailers, and is involved in all phases of site development. David works with major national corporations, including Fortune 500 businesses, as well as local businesses in various aspects of the retail, commercial, and industrial sectors. As a land-use attorney, he practices before municipalities throughout Long Island and New York City. Additionally, David serves as transactional counsel to several commercial and residential lenders.
Lou BiscottiPartner of Marcum, LLP
Louis J. Biscotti has been a leader in the field of accounting for more than 40 years, focusing his practice on improving company growth and profitability. Lou’s clients represent a variety of industries, but he is particularly well known for his work in the manufacturing and distribution sector, especially the food industry. He has helped many of these firms to grow from small emerging companies into organizations worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Allan CohenManaging Partner of Nixon Peabody, Long Island
Allan Cohen is the Managing Partner of Nixon Peabody’s Long Island office. He represents a variety of companies, ranging from large public entities engaging in mergers and acquisitions, to mid-sized closely held and family-owned business, to technology-based startups organizing new business ventures and raising capital. His work in the food industry has included several large and established shelf-stable and frozen brands, manufactured and distributed in the Long Island area.
Thomas DelucaVice President/General Manager Arizona Beverages
Tom is a 40-year veteran of the beverage industry with a wide range of experience,
For the past 18 years as a senior member of the Arizona executive team.
His background consists of sales, marketing, distribution, and operations.
With firsthand knowledge of product & package development including responsibility for new product rollout out throughout designed markets including the pricing and
merchandising strategy. Tom has been responsible for opening new company-owned distribution facilities around the country. This consists of setting up an office, warehousing, staffing, and training along with stocking the facility with
product securing delivery vehicles. For the past 35 years has been a member of the CIFI.
Randi Shubin DresnerPresident & SEO of Island Harvest Food Bank
Randi Shubin Dresner is President & CEO of Island Harvest Food Bank. Island Harvest Food Bank is a leading hunger-relief organization that provides food and other resources to people in need. Always treating those it helps with dignity and respect, Island Harvests’ goal is to end hunger and reduce food waste on Long Island through efficient food collection and distribution; enhanced hunger-awareness and nutrition-education programs; job training; and direct services targeted at children, senior citizens, veterans and others at risk.
Craig FineManaging Partner-Long Island, Mazars USA
Craig is a member of the Executive Board and the Office Managing Partner for the Long Island Practice and has over 20 years of experience in the Manufacturing and Distribution industry with concentrations in Food and Beverage and Pharmaceuticals. He delivers business advisory and financial management services to owner-operated businesses in the manufacturing, distribution, and service industries. Craig’s expertise includes accounting, auditing, tax, internal control matters, and mergers and acquisitions. He also advises clients regarding profitability and cash flow improvement and tax minimization strategies and credits. Craig has a B.S. from the State University of New York at Albany.
Rick Mignella EVP & Managing Director, North America Equinom Inc.
Rick Mignella is a senior executive and business leader with more than 30 years of experience in the food and ingredient industries. Rick merges culinary expertise with high impact business skills to help global companies reach their objectives and expand revenue. Rick currently serves as EVP & Managing Director, North America for Equinom Inc, a biotech, seed breeding start-up headquartered in Israel. Equinom applies Bioinformatic based precision breeding methods to create non-GMO, non-gene edited, Health-centric seeds for ingredients & food products. Equinom’s mission is to become the global go-to partner for optimized sources of plant – based nutrition.
Robert SalvaticoPresident & Chief Operating Officer of Jaral Properties, Inc.
Robert is President and Chief Operating Officer of Jaral Properties, Inc. and Jaral
Management Corp., Mineola, Long Island based companies formed to manage family owned Hotel properties and investments. His current responsibilities include oversight and management of the Riverhead, Long Island based Hotel Indigo East End and Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites. He formerly managed the family owned Wingate Inn, Garden City from opening in 2000 through sale in September 2007.
Within the Hotel industry, Robert serves or has served as Chairman of the IHG Owner’s committee for Hotel Indigo, and as member of the IHG Owner’s committee on Operations for all Hotel Brands.
Kristen ReyesVP Marketing, Hotel Indigo East End
Kristen is Vice President of marketing and events for the Hotel Indigo East End. Kristen has embraced a philosophy of “keeping it local”. She has successfully cultivated a weekly live entertainment program, which features the music of local artists at Hotel Indigo’s restaurant, Bistro 72. Bistro 72, a farm to table restaurant located in the hotel has under her direction, embraced a philosophy of seasonally showcasing locally grown ingredients and regional beer, wines and spirits. Kristen formerly served as General Manager and Director of Sales at the Riverhead based Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites from opening in 2005 through September 2012. Outside of her professional responsibilities, Kristen serves on the Board of Directors for The Long Island Food Council, Discover Long Island and The East End Tourism Alliance. She is an active member of many other community-based organizations.
Merrill S. ZornPresident/CEO of Zorn’s of Bethpage
Merrill is the President/CEO of Zorn’s of Bethpage, and the fourth generation to treasure the traditions and secret recipes of her 82-year-old family-owned business. Zorn’s of Bethpage is recognized on Long Island for its authentic made from scratch food and commitment to customer service. A loyal customer said…” You don’t own Zorn’s it belongs to Long Island, it belongs to us” – and I was delighted, it’s heartwarming to know what we mean to our community she remarked. Merrill’s promise to her community and staff is to move into the future, in their new home, while holding on to the values of the past. Her innovative managerial skills, excellent business insight and knowledge, will keep the business going strong! Although working in the business since she was 6 years old, after graduating college with a BS in Business Management, and minors in Biology and Psychology, Merrill rejoined the family business. For 39 years, she has loved working in all aspects of day-to-day operations; from the kitchen, to catering, to the register, to the counter, and on to office management. This has provided her with the solid foundation needed for her role today as President and CEO. Exemplifying the spirit of kindness, Merrill is proud to be a part of a business that gives generously. She is dedicated to charities and local organizations, and is an active member on multiple boards and business associations. Her varied interests include skydiving, ballroom dancing, and classic cars among many others! Merrill always says, “I’m the luckiest person in the world… I love what I do, my co-workers are my family and our customers are amazing. I am blessed to have a grandfather who was so innovative, he was way before his time. Our name stands for family tradition and quality…I am so fortunate to be a part of that”.
Founding Advisory Members
Bradley HamburgerSenior Vice President of FOA & Sons
Bradley Hamburger brings vast capabilities to his clients. Formerly a practicing attorney representing buyers, sellers, and banks in complicated real estate transactions, Brad knows the risks and legal implications unique to real estate and construction, and how to create the appropriate insurance solutions to protect client interests. While giving trusted advice is part of his daily practice, Brad believes that he must go much further and utilize his experience and extended network of business associates to help clients achieve greater growth and profitability while protecting their assets.
David W. Ostrow, CPAPartner of Mazars USA
David is a Partner at Mazars USA, supplying auditing, accounting and tax services to a diversified roster of clients.
David has more than 35 years of experience, spanning business in supermarkets, professional services, construction, manufacturing, technology, real estate, retail, wholesale and distribution, not-for-profit entities and high net-worth individuals and families.
Prior to joining Mazars in 2014, David was a Partner at Rosen Seymour Shapss Martin & Company LLP, and a Partner at Miller Ellin & Company. He has served on the Large & Medium Sized Firms Practice Management and Cooperation with Bankers Committee for the New York State Society of CPA’s.
Doug WhitcombPresident of Whitsons Culinary Group
Douglas Whitcomb is Chief Product Officer and, as a company founder, has been actively involved in the company’s operations since its inception. Currently, he oversees the company’s Purchasing, Nutrition and Menu Development. An entrepreneur in the truest sense, Doug continues to research and implement ways in which to harness the culinary team’s creative talent, focus on new product development and develop innovative menus that help our customers lead healthier lives.
Ellen VolpeAmerican Business Associates, Founder
Ellen is the founder of American Business Associates (ABA), the longest-running professionally managed business-to-business networking organization in the NY Metropolitan area. She is dedicated to working with entrepreneurs, business owners, and sales executives to help them create successful, profitable businesses and close more sales. She is celebrating her 33rd year in business. Ellen was recently inducted into the Long Island Business Hall of Fame.