Celebrate Long Island’s Young Professionals Awards: Meet the Class of 2021

The Huntington Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the 12th Annual “Celebrate Long Island’s Young Professionals” Recognition Event to be hosted on August 5th at Sunken Meadow Pavilion from 6 PM-9 PM. This year, our event will be highlighting both the class of 2020 and 2021. This annual event showcases Long Island’s top young professionals under the age of 30 across multiple career fields. These movers and shakers have triumphed in business, non-profits, and government.

The Chamber’s Young Professionals Committee was formed in 2006 to serve the younger members of the Chamber of Commerce with specific programs and networking events. Programs have included timely issues such as first-time home buying, networking skills, cleaning up your credit, and business planning. The committee’s goal is to encourage young influential people from all lines of work, to come together to share their experiences, utilize each other’s resources, generate business, work with chamber members and build their careers.

With the recent news about Long Island losing young talent to other parts of the country, the Young Professionals Committee will promote the success stories of those younger professionals who have chosen to stay and work on Long Island.  All the honorees are truly committed to their business and civic communities and we are thrilled to recognize their talent! The Chamber believes these young leaders exemplify a ‘winning’ spirit and are dedicated to achieving success and improving the quality of life in local communities. Their work deserves to be recognized and celebrated as these young professionals are the future of Long Island.

Click here to register

Meet the Class of 2021 below!

Matt Baumback | Associate Operations Director at Cinema Arts Centre

Matt has been working for Cinema Arts Centre for over 6 years now. Prior to his employment, he was an active volunteer with the organization and served on their Youth Advisory Board to help build programming that would attract high school and college-age students to the theater. He was attracted to the Cinema because of his passion for the preservation and cultivation of the arts in society, particularly film and music. While the Cinema has been closed to the public over the past year due to the pandemic, their organization has been able to successfully transition to the virtual realm with online screenings and events while making major much-needed renovations to our physical space for when the time comes to re-open the building. It is a thrill to be recognized and he looks forward to further growing my career with the Cinema.

Alyssa Biscardi | Long Island Cares, Agency Relations Assistant Manager

Alyssa is responsible for assisting the Chief Network Officer in all aspects of the Agency Relations Department at Long Island Cares, including documentation and reporting, special agency distributions, staff development, Gus’s Grocery Retail Rescue Program, while ensuring agency compliance with Long Island Cares, Feeding America, HPNAP and USDA regulations regarding food handling and distribution.

She works with the organization and local emergency food distribution centers in order to implement new programs and incentives to increase food distribution to larger member agencies and overseeing our Agency Farmers Markets, Agency Shopping Days and other special events. Alyssa also works with local food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelter programs during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season to distribute turkeys and trimmings to families in need.

In her spare time, Alyssa enjoys collecting and playing retro video games, cat cafes, visiting nature preserves and hiking, eating sushi and ramen, marine biology, and reading graphic novels. Her dream vacation is a trip to Japan, and she would love to visit there one day!

 Kenny Charles

Kenny’s interest in financial services began at a very young age. As the son of a life insurance broker, he often accompanied his father on client meetings, diligently watching first-hand the positive impact his father was able to have on the lives of many individuals. Still, Kenny understood early that while life insurance is an important solution to incorporate into an individual’s portfolio, financial planning is more complex than insurance alone.

Kenny earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the State University of New York College at Cortland, where he also participated in Division III Men’s Basketball, the Student Government Public Relations Committee, the NAACP, and was a mentor in the Economics Department. A life-long Huntington Station resident, Kenny is very active in his community. He is a member of the Town of Huntington Committee Commemorating Huntington’s Black History, and a recipient of the Town of Huntington Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Award.  He is also proud to be a founding member of his non-profit organization, Leaders of the New School, whose mission is to provide mentorship and resources to today’s youth.

Kenny holds a Series 7 and Series 66 registration as well as a Life, Accident, and Health insurance license. Realizing the barriers young Financial Advisors face in terms of experience, Kenny joined Equinox Financial Partners where he’s able to leverage a team of seasoned professionals who have over 200 years of combined industry knowledge and expertise in all aspects of financial planning.

Chaettha ‘Shane’ Charumaneeroj | Technical Support Engineer 2, Canon U.S.A., Inc.

Shane is a 29-year-old Mechanical Engineer, working for Canon U.S.A., Inc. as a technical support engineer.  Although originally he is only responsible for supporting desktop laser printers, Shane volunteered to be a backup engineer for Production Scanner, Large Format Printer and took on the additional role of supporting the DreamLabo 5000 Production Photo Printer.  Day-to-day activities include troubleshooting machine issues, interfacing with onsite service technicians, new product testing, large fleet implementation, and traveling for the installation and troubleshooting of production machines.  Hobbies include photography, cycling (all kinds), playing paintball, and 3D Printing.  Because of his 3D printing/Modeling background, Shane was awarded the Spirit Award at Canon U.S.A., Inc. for 2021.  When several machine-based issues came up, Shane used his personal 3d printer to come up with the solutions.  Some notable solutions include a “shim” to improve the paper handling of the imageCLASS LBP712Cdn for a particular customer, a spacer to be installed in the Document Feeder of imageCLASS machines to prevent skewing and tearing of original documents, and even assisting other business groups in Canon with creating a modification for a production video camera to accept special connectors.

 

Christopher Dalton | Deputy Director, New York State Assembly, Minority Leader’s Long Island Regional Office

A genuine leader passionate about making a difference, Christopher Dalton puts his community first, empowers others to be their best, and believes it is important for each of us to leave our community better than how we found it. In 2017, Chris graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in Business Management and a minor in Business Law. While at “the U,” he served for three years as Business Manager of The Miami Hurricane newspaper, spearheading a 50% increase in revenue, publication sales, and client-base. After graduating, he took his talents from South Beach to Long Island, accepting a position within the state government. Chris currently serves as the Deputy Director for the New York State Assembly Regional Office. In this role, he works with 12 Assembly Members across Long Island to make an impact in our local communities and fight for all Long Islanders. He is a programming power-house – every year he coordinates over 200 events: ranging from community health seminars and summer beach fairs to school presentations, senior celebrations, and tax grievance seminars. He crafts talking points, legislative priorities, and Assembly Member press events. Chris is a powerful force in the workplace and uses his positive attitude and tireless energy to encourage others to work hard, achieve their goals, and succeed. He is also the President and co-owner of an independent marketing company – C&M Marketing Essentials – and is a certified Water Safety Instructor. Chris not only works hard – he plays hard. When he is not working with state leaders, clients in his marketing business, or teaching swim lessons, he loves to surf off of Long Beach and scuba dive.

Brandon DeFeo, Founder Rudy’s Tees

Hello my name is Brandon DeFeo and I am a Northport native, and Farmingdale State College 2020 graduate. I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Business Management and a minor in Art & Graphic Design. Prior to founding Rudy’s Tees, I was the manager at Cafe` Portofino in Northport Village, where I had the opportunity to meet many members of the community. I always try to offer great energy and passion with every task I am given, and I love working with members of our community. I founded Rudy’s Tees to help spread Long Island’s history through our Real Vintage Collection, and to continue to work within our great community of small businesses. When I’m not working you can find me photographing nature, drinking coffee, and playing guitar.

Victoria DiCarlo | Director of Musical Theater The Actor’s Garage

At The Actor’s Garage, we are all about building a child’s dreams and self-esteem. It is a great place for both professional and non-professional actors. We have classes that help build up confidence, get over shyness, feel better socially, work on public speaking, as well as classes for the professional actor who is auditioning. We also have a musical theater program that performs full productions! During this last year, we have found ways to both continue to teach our children acting and musical theater as well as find creative ways to continue making art and performing. It is always an honor to watch children learn and grow. To see them persevere in this last crazy year has been incredible. We are so lucky we are still able to safely provide a place for children from all over Long Island/NYC to learn and express themselves and give our community a sense of hope and a way to come together during the pandemic.

Don DiLillo

Don (Donny Greens) DiLillo is an urban farmer from Huntington. He specializes in growing microgreens, some of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Don started his business in 2016 with the goal of improving the health and sustainability of his local community here on Long Island. His microgreens business is thriving and he realized he can only grow so much with his own two hands! So now in addition to running his local microgreens business, Don now educates and assists other microgreens farmers to start and improve their business via free YouTube videos, and paid consultations and products under the Donny Greens brand.

Laura Doukas | MANAGER, MRL REALTY CORP. | CO-FOUNDER / PRODUCER, DOUKAS PICTURES

Laura Doukas is Manager of MRL Realty Corporation, a commercial real estate investment and management firm based on Long Island. In this capacity, Laura oversees the profitability, deliverables, timelines, and budgets of the firm and works directly with clients to ensure all of their needs are addressed and met. In addition, Laura develops expansion strategies and evaluates opportunities for the acquisition of new assets nationally. Laura is also 1/2 of the writer-producer-sister team behind Doukas Pictures. Doukas Pictures, an independent film production company is currently developing a family drama alongside James V. Hart (Hook, August Rush, Tuck Everlasting) entitled The Ryan Express. The film traces the life of an autistic sixth-grader who builds a time machine in hopes of traveling back to fix his biggest mistake. Though made of little more than cardboard, scraps, and things you’d find around the house, it is real to him. The film shoots in spring 2022.  In addition, Laura serves on the Board of Directors for the Long Island Center for Business and Professional Women, an organization dedicated to the rise of women in the business, industry, and professions. Through her work as Chair for four fundraisers, Laura has raised over $150,000 for the organization. A graduate of Locust Valley High School and Stony Brook University, Laura currently resides in Muttontown, NY.

Nicole Gargano

Nicole was born and raised on Long Island and is blessed to be establishing her own brand and doing what she loves here on Long Island. Her goal is to help other small businesses continue their growth on Long Island. She studied graphic design as well as web design in college and worked for a marketing company. When the pandemic hit in 2020, she used my marketing and web design experience to create an Instagram account dedicated to promoting her favorite local businesses in Huntington. Many of these businesses reached out to her in appreciation of her volunteer work and asked if she would take them on as clients. This is how G6 Designz began.

G6 Designz is a website design and social media marketing company geared towards helping small businesses grow. Their other services include photography and graphic design. Social media is the most powerful tool to market your brand. With the click of a button, you can reach thousands of people within seconds. Your website and social media are the faces of your company. They have the tools to help you grow your online presence which will, in turn, grow your business.

Crystal Harvey | Senior Accountant, Cerini & Associates, LLP

Crystal Harvey is currently a Senior Accountant in the external audit department at Cerini & Associates, LLP where she works closely with over 20 nonprofit organizations, as well as some start-up enterprises, providing information and advice on operating efficiencies and areas for improvement. She writes newsletter articles to educate the nonprofit sector and participates at the Long Island Imagine Awards, an annual gala that shines a spotlight on many innovative and creative nonprofit organizations that are making a difference in their communities and provides financial prizes to winners of various award categories. In Crystal’s spare time, she enjoys camping and spending time with her family.

+ Dan Hepworth |  The Massapequa Tutor,  Co-Founder and CEO

Dan is from Massapequa Park, NY and currently finishing up his senior year at Duke University, where he is majoring in computer science, minoring in finance, and graduating a full year early. He is the co-founder and CEO of The Massapequa Tutor, a peer tutoring company helping K-12 families across the nation connect with talented and affordable high-school and college-aged tutors. He is also the co-founder of StudentSide, a college marketing & analytics platform helping high schoolers speak one-on-one with current college students and helping colleges become better in touch with students, their most important stakeholders. He is also a founding investor in Mystery Meals, a food recommendation platform that helps people explore amazing new dishes that they’re guaranteed to love.

Alexa Hirt |  Director of Operations, FLG Lacrosse 

Alexa just graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst this past May with a Bachelor’s of Science in Sports Management and a Bachelor’s of Science in Legal Studies. She currently works as the Director of Operations for FLG Lacrosse where she is fortunate enough to plan events for youth and high school lacrosse players which leave them with lasting memories and appreciation for their sport. She is also in the process of determining where I will be headed to law school this fall, and starting my next chapter!

 

  Amaru Jones | Leaders of the New School

Amaru Jones is a 7th-grade history teacher at Springfield Gardens Success Academy and also the president of Leaders of The New School. He is a graduate of Suny Cortland and received his bachelor’s in Political Science. He is a person that loves his community more than anything. He believes that If you want something to change in your community you have to be the difference and in order for a person to do that education is the key to changing your community. It allows you to understand what you truly want out of life and what you want your legacy to be in this world.

It is okay to step outside your comfort zone and truly be yourself when achieving your goals. Whatever you want in this world you should go after it and not think about the “What if’s” that are associated with it. Just always keep striving and prospering to be what you want to be in this world and live life with no regrets!

Jessica Keller

Jessica Keller is an enthusiastic young professional employed at PSEG Long Island. She has taken on the role of a Project Controls Analyst. Her responsibilities involve forecasting and reporting analytical data to help support projects. Prior to her job at PSEG LI Jessica completed her undergraduate degree at Cazenovia College. She graduated with a degree in Professional Studies, Majoring in Management and Minoring in Entrepreneurship. At college, she was the pitcher and played center field on the softball team and was the president of the business club. She then continued her education receiving her Master’s in Business Administration at Le Moyne College. She would like to thank her family, professors, and bosses at past and present jobs for helping reach her goals.

Cat Kim | Associate Director, Cinema Arts Centre

Cat Kim is Associate Director at the Cinema Arts Centre. A Korean American born in Seoul, she grew up in Jericho, before studying film and computer science at NYU. At the Cinema Arts Centre she programs not just entertaining movies, but prioritizes inclusive, collaborative programming, and foreign-language films that center people of color. In her spare time she likes to hike, explore galleries, try new foods, and write.

Matthew McGowan

Matthew McGowan is currently employed with The Topps Company in the Customer Service Department. He graduated from Adelphi University in 2019 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Management and a double-minor in Marketing and Communications. He has utilized his education in various ways thus far in my career as he has worked in Promotions and Gameday Operations with the Brooklyn Cyclones, Ticket Services with the New York Mets and now Customer Service with Topps. Growing up, you could not keep a baseball out of his hands. It was very apparent at a young age that sports were his passion and the fact that he gets to work in this industry and see how everything functions from the inside is truly incredible. He is confident that he will continue to grow in my career as an individual who can contribute to the success of an organization in a variety of ways.

He loves volunteering and taking time from my schedule to help others. He has done extensive volunteering with great charities and organizations all over Long Island and contributed to the immense success of several local events, including the Huntington Fall Festival, the Massapequa Turkey Trot, the Victor Green Foundation Celebrity Golf Tournament, and more. Volunteerism is very important to him, and even when he’s not working events within the community, he strives to make better decisions in every aspect of his life and always remembers to help others whenever he gets the chance.

 

Noelle Ozimek | Research Assistant, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Noelle is a reproductive biologist interested in studying issues affecting human fertility as well as gathering evidence-based information on policies and practices affecting women and LGBTQ+ individuals in order to advocate for equality.  She is currently working on two Covid studies, the first of which she began from my bedroom in Centerport, NY. This study is focused on exploring the impact of Covid on women’s health. There is currently a knowledge gap in this area, as very few papers have been published which address the effect that the pandemic has had specifically on women. She hopes her research will help bring attention to the health concerns women may face as a result of the pandemic. Recently, she joined a second research group at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/ Harvard Medical School which studies the “long haul” effects of Covid-19. They are attempting to understand the relationship between the virus and certain molecules which are essential for normal cellular function in order to uncover potential treatment options.

 

Paul Scancarelli | Local motivational speaker and host of The Peoples Podcast 

Paul is a Long Island native and the founder of “The Long Island Buddy Club, “Paul Vibes” Motivational Speaking, and “The People’s Podcast.” Featured in numerous publications for his work, Paul has held talks at a variety of venues including colleges, high schools, libraries, and substance abuse facilities. During his talks, Paul shares his story of overcoming a learning disability, and creating the Buddy Club, while offering audiences the tools and mindsets to help them overcome what life may throws at them. Paul is not only educating those he comes into contact with, but giving people the guidance they need to become more than their challenges.

William H. Spitz | H2M architects + engineers, Staff Civil Engineer

Billy is a civil engineer with experience in site/civil engineering for various clients, including school districts, municipalities, and real estate developers. As a member of H2M’s Civil engineering team he has been able to work on several infrastructure projects beneficial to the Long Island community. Billy graduated from SUNY Polytechnic Institute in 2019 and has been working with H2M since then. He is passionate about his work and the opportunity he has to develop sustainable and community-oriented projects.

As a proud member of the Long Island community, Billy has had the pleasure of working with several local organizations, including a local theater group, and a high school student mentorship program for students interested in pursuing engineering. Through both organizations, he has been able to mentor and help grow the youth of Long Island, in both technical and creative ways.

Outside of his career, Billy is an avid sailor, racing on several of Long Island’s bays throughout the summer. He plays piano and guitar in his spare time and you can find him singing in a caroling group every holiday season.“

Michaela Viard | Signature Premier Properties, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson 

Michaela Viard has been in the business since birth! She is a third-generation Realtor who strives to make a customized strategic plan that focuses on an individual’s own real estate needs! She has been a lifelong Northport resident whose passion for the community goes further than just helping place families in great homes. She volunteers at local charities and organizations that really keep her in touch with the local community. She is ready and willing to help buyers and sellers ALL around Long Island!