How We Started
The Long Island Business Development Council was launched out of the Long Island Association in 1969 as a stand-alone organization dedicated to attracting new businesses, helping grow the existing economy and focusing attention on the East End, where tourism was beginning to wither in a deep recession.
Among the founders were LIA President Ford Bartlett and Executive Director Fred Merill, Long Island Business News Publisher Paul Townsend and Nick Monte, the owner of Gurney’s Inn in Montauk. Joining them were some of the region’s top government officials of the time, including Hempstead Town economic development chief Roy Cacciatore and the two county commissioners for Commerce and Industry, Gil Hanse of Suffolk and Tom Green of Nassau. Major industrial, banking and real estate organizations also signed up to help.
The group’s first meeting – a three-day retreat at Gurney’s – was held in September 1970.
Over the last four decades, the group has grown to include business professionals representing every aspect of “the deal,” including town and county Industrial Development Agency staffers, commercial and residential real estate brokers, bankers, developers, accountants, construction experts and many others.
The LIBDC’s schedule of events has also expanded and now includes a broad range of dinner and luncheon meetings featuring experts on economic development, financing, smart growth and more. The three-day Montauk event continues, mixing seminars and industry focus sessions with networking, golf and awards.