You are reading

Queens Tech Council holds spring meetup at LaGuardia Community College

(From l. to r.) Cara Eisenpress, Tom Grech, Shahriar Hossain, Kathrival Kumaraja, Octavius Moore, Julie Won and Kenneth Adams (Photo courtesy of Queens Chamber of Commerce)

May 12, 2023 By Bill Parry

Dozens of business, government, education and tech leaders gathered at LaGuardia Community College on May 9 for the Spring 2023 Queens Tech Breakfast, which provided networking opportunities from industry leaders.

The event was hosted by the Queens Chamber of Commerce and the Queens Tech Council.

“Whether you’re a fledgling start-up, or an established industry leader, Queens is the perfect home for tech companies,” Queens Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Grech said. “We have the diversity, energy, and educational institutions like LaGuardia Community College that are producing the talent that companies need to grow and thrive. We are delighted to be here today with our partners in government, education and business to discuss how to create a stronger tech ecosystem in Queens. Fostering this tech ecosystem is vital to our borough’s economic future.”

Queens Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Grech welcomes members of the Queens Tech Council to LaGuardia Community College for its spring breakfast gathering. (Photo courtesy of Queens Chamber of Commerce)

LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams delivered remarks just days after he joined CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez on a tour of Boyce Industries in Long Island City. Since 2018, when an internship program was established between LaGuardia and Boyce, 35 students have served as interns at Boyce, including seven in the current term. Of the 35 interns, 10 have progressed onto full time employment with Boyce and most are still working there providing a blueprint for future endeavors.

“LaGuardia has at least five different business assistance departments making us one of the largest providers of small business and entrepreneurship training in the city. It’s the part of work that reminds me of the second word in our name, the ‘community’ part,” Adams said. “We have an obligation of the highest order to turn around and face Queens and leverage our instructional assets and our physical assets and attributes to really promote economic and workforce development all across the state and we do that under our business department.”

Other speakers, including Councilwoman Julie Won, touched on topics ranging from artificial intelligence to workforce development to affordability. All were bullish on the potential for the tech industry to continue to grow in Queens.

“For me, as a former tech worker, giving our neighbors access to internet and digital services is a necessity, not a luxury. Within my first year in office, every NYCHA resident in the district has access to federal and city programs that give them free high speed internet, cable TV and unlimited call and text,” Won said. “I’ve also provided funding for technology upgrades to our schools, and am actively legislating technology related laws to keep our laws up-to-date in our fast-changing city.”

The Queens Tech Council was launched in February 2021. Council members include representatives from Google, Facebook, Amazon, Pursuit, LIC Partnership, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, Crown Castle, JetBlue Ventures, Cornell Tech and The Business Incubator Association of New York State.

“One of the most significant factors that sets NYC apart from other tech hubs is the collaboration we see on a daily basis between tech companies, elected officials, community and neighborhood leaders, and everyday New Yorkers,” said Octavius Moore, director of partnerships for Tech:NYC. “The Queens Tech Council is a great example of how those partnerships can effectively expand to support the most exciting nodes of New York’s tech sector. With an all-borough approach, we can foster a tech ecosystem that continues to grow and benefits all New Yorkers in the process.”

The council focuses on building an economy that embraces innovation and promotes tech adoption. This includes supporting tech companies from existing giants in established industries to startups working doing cutting edge work.

“Start-ups in the tech design, creative, and design industries find boundless opportunities for growth and collaboration within the vibrant ecosystem of Long Island City, New York,” said Assuanta Howard, interim assistant dean of Business Services/Workforce Development and executive director of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program at LaGuardia. “By leveraging the invaluable resources available at NYDesigns, our on-campus business incubator space and by fostering partnerships with the Queens Chamber and Queens Tech Council, entrepreneurs can incubate their ideas, unleash their creativity, and flourish in this thriving hub of innovation.”

Last fall the Council launched its first two Queens Tech Incubators in the Rockaways and Jamaica, with plans to open further incubators throughout Queens.

“Being involved in the Queens Tech Incubator is one the best things to happen for me and for the growth of my company,” said Kathirvel Kumararaja, president and founder of DevJee Inc. “I appreciate the time and work that the Queens Chamber of Commerce and the Queens Tech Council put into events like this tech breakfast and panel because it gives people working in the technology world space to network, learn, and gain access to resources they may not have been aware of on their own.”

At the conclusion of the event, attendees took a tour of NYDesigns’ 5,000-square-foot. fabrication lab, located on the campus of LaGuardia Community College. NYDesigns was founded in 2006 as an incubator dedicated to the success of design and hardwear tech startups.

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Community flocks to Jackson Heights for ‘dragtastic’ Queens Pride

New York City’s second-largest Pride celebration, and the first major Pride event taking place this month, kicked off Sunday, June 4, in Jackson Heights, Queens. The theme: Dragtastic.

“With ‘Dragtastic’ as our theme this year, we are saying to the world that we love drag and all it represents,” former New York City Councilmember and LGBT Caucus Chair Daniel Dromm said in a written statement.

NYPD marks opening of new wellness center at High School for Law Enforcement and Public Safety in Queens

The NYPD OPTIONS program, students, staff and alumni of the High School for Law Enforcement and Public Safety held a ribbon-cutting to mark the opening of the school’s new OPTIONS wellness center. The wellness center will help to enhance the personal and professional development of youths through the activities available at this safe and creative space.

Among those on hand to speak about the meaning and impact of this wellness center were High School for Law Enforcement and Public Safety (HSLEAPS) Principal Laura Van Deren, Office of Speaker Adrienne Adams Deputy Chief of Staff and HSLEAPS alumni Tyrell Hankerson, Queens South High Schools Deputy Superintendent Namita Dwarka, New York City Police Foundation Executive Director Greg Roberts, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Community Affairs Mark Stewart and Police Officer and HSLEAPS alumni Terome Parham.

Ridgewood community group discusses local concerns, welcomes Civil Court candidate Sandra Pérez

The Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association kicked off the start of the month with a full meeting inside the basement of the Ridgewood Presbyterian Church, on 59-14 70th Ave., in Ridgewood, on Thursday, June 1. 

More than 50 guests, including the civic association’s board, occupied the intimate space and voiced a number of community concerns, including poor parking situations, rat infestations, improper garbage disposal, and bad landlords. 

Queens nurse relocates medical office to Forest Hills, hopes to inspire others to open their own practice

Stephanie M. Khan Family Practice in Forest Hills celebrated the opening of its new office at 110-78 Queens Blvd. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week.

Originally from Howard Beach, Stephanie Khan first started working in Forest Hills as a nurse practitioner during the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. During this time, Khan quickly became a popular presence in the community, offering home care services and vaccines to older adults in the area. 

Flushing native Jon Favreau receives honorary doctorate at Queens College 99th commencement ceremony

Flushing native and actor-director Jon Favreau received an honorary doctorate of fine arts at the Queens College 99th commencement ceremony on Thursday, June 1. 

Favreau attended Queens College from 1984 to 1987. His work in films such as “Elf,” “Zathura,” “Iron Man,” “Cowboys and Aliens,” “Chef,” “The Jungle Book” and “The Lion King” is known around the world. He is a key industry influencer through the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

Queens lawmaker introduces bill in Congress to make Diwali a federal holiday

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng on May 26 announced the introduction of her bill in Congress to declare Diwali a federal holiday. 

Under Meng’s legislation, the Diwali Day Act, the Festival of Lights would become the 12th federally recognized holiday in the United States. Establishing a federal holiday for Diwali, and the day off it would provide, would allow families and friends to celebrate together, and demonstrate that the government values the diverse cultural makeup of the nation.

Long Island firm selected to build construction support facility at JFK Airport to lessen impact on neighbors in southeast Queens

Southeast Queens residents will be chanting “Lets Go Mets” as construction ramps up on the $19 billion JFK transformation project and it will have nothing to do with baseball. The Port Authority on June 1 announced that a Long Island company, the Melville-based Modern Efficient Transport and Supply LLC (METS), has been selected to build and operate an on-airport construction support facility to reduce the impact on neighboring communities over the next several years.

“Not only are we transforming JFK International into the kind of world-class global gateway that our region deserves, but we are doing it in a way that will create the least disruption to communities near the airport,” Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole said. “Innovative strategies like the construction support facility at JFK Airport will eliminate thousands of truck trips from local streets every year, honoring our commitment to build a great airport that will benefit the community and the region.”