New York City launches a new Industrial Working Group – Adafruit Co-Chairs


NYC Launches Industrial Working Group to Chart Sector’s Post-Pandemic Future – Adafruit is a co-chair

Kickoff of 25-Member Group Delivers on Key Commitment in Mayor Adams’ Blueprint for NYC’s Economic Recovery

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today launched a new Industrial Working Group, bringing together leaders from across the city’s industrial and manufacturing sectors with academics and policy experts to redefine the sectors’ needs and opportunities as the city recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Convened by Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC), and the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) with co-chairs Limor Fried (founder and CEO of Adafruit Industries) and Eric Ottaway (CEO of Brooklyn Brewery), the launch of the working group delivers on a key commitment from Mayor Adams’ “Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery,” released earlier this year. In close collaboration with the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and New York City Department of City Planning (DCP), along with other city agencies, the group will be active through November and deliver recommendations to the city at the conclusion of its work.

“From the factory floor to the boardroom, the industrial sector was essential to our city’s survival during the pandemic, and it is essential to our recovery as well,” said Mayor Adams. “This group of experts will ensure that the economic opportunities and critical products that this sector long has offered New Yorkers will continue to uplift and support New Yorkers. I look forward to reviewing the recommendations and taking action to continue rebuilding, renewing, and reinventing our economy and our city.”

“The industrial sector, and the thousands of small businesses in particular that comprise it, is critical to our economy. It provides middle-income jobs to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, produces essential goods and services for New Yorkers and beyond, enables and powers other local industries, and serves as an engine for innovation,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “The Adams administration is committed to ensuring that the sector continues to have the holistic set of supports it needs to thrive in the city, and I look forward to implementing many of the recommendations that this diverse group of businesses and advocates will deliver.”

The Industrial Working Group will include representatives of businesses across the manufacturing, transportation, and infrastructure services industries, business support organizations, and organized labor in the industrial sector. The group will also consult leading experts in the environmental justice, community development, and academic communities. BNYDC President and CEO Lindsay Greene and SBS Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation Council Executive Director Neil Padukone will serve as co-leads for the city. The group’s first meeting will take place today.

The group will seek to assess the challenges and opportunities facing the city’s industrial sector to shore up long-term growth and ensure that businesses continue to thrive. They will identify challenges and propose opportunities in three strategic investment areas: infrastructure, business growth, and talent. By reviewing city-owned and -leased real estate, infrastructure, and strategic industrial neighborhoods — particularly Industrial Business Zones — the group will help identify opportunities to invest wisely and efficiently. They will also assess opportunities to both support legacy industrial companies in adapting to a post-pandemic economy and support the growth of businesses in emerging sectors like materials science development or biotechnology.

The industrial sector, which includes manufacturers, transportation and distribution companies, and construction and infrastructure services firms, employs nearly half a million New Yorkers. In addition to generating significant economic activity for the region, the diverse range of businesses based across the five boroughs stepped up at the height of the pandemic and demonstrated the importance of local manufacturing. From emergency manufacturing to alleviating shortages brought on by supply chain issues, the New York industrial sector plays a vital role in supporting the city’s economy and workforce.

The Industrial Working Group consists of the following 23 members and two co-chairs:

  • Limor Fried, founder and CEO, Adafruit Industries (co-chair)
  • Eric Ottaway, CEO, Brooklyn Brewery (co-chair)
  • Mohamed Adam, president, May’s Ship Repair
  • Leah Archibald, executive director, Evergreen
  • Bryan Blythe, business manager, John Kristiansen New York
  • Robert Carucci, head of operations, Uncommon Goods
  • Charles Boyce, president, Boyce Technologies
  • David Caslow, CEO, Acme Smoked Fish
  • Brian T. Coleman, CEO, Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center
  • Naomi Cooper, president, Cooper Recycling
  • Kendall Dabaghi, CEO, Kingdom Supercultures
  • Gabrielle Ferrarra, COO, Ferrara Manufacturing
  • Adam Friedman, chief strategy officer, Pratt Institute
  • Lisa Futterman, regional director, New York City, Workforce Development Institute
  • Tommy Gesualdi, president, Teamsters Local 282
  • Sunil Gupta, vice president, Division of Continuing Education and Workforce Development, LaGuardia Community College
  • David Lee, creative director and founder, KD New York
  • Ramona Mejia, president and CEO, Sell-Mar Enterprise
  • Tom Outerbridge, general manager, Sims Environmental
  • Hal Rosenbluth, president and CEO, Kauffman Astoria Studios
  • Gerarda Shields, dean, New York City College of Technology
  • Michael Stamatis, president and CEO, Red Hook Terminals
  • Scott Thornhill, director of public policy, Alphapointe
  • Bill Wilkins, director, Local Development Corporation of East New York
  • James Williams, COO, Nanotronics

“The industrial sector is responsible for employing half a million New Yorkers, providing much-needed goods and technology, supporting our economy, and driving innovation across industries,” said Lindsay Greene, president and CEO, BNYDC; and city co-lead, Industrial Working Group. “Given its importance, I am excited to work with the city and other business leaders on finding new ways to support our existing companies, build out the workforce pipeline, and make it easier for new entrepreneurs to get their start here. By working together, we can help the city foster a collaborative and supportive environment that strengthens the industrial sector for decades to come.”

“Though it sometimes operates from behind the scenes, a thriving industrial sector is essential to the daily experiences of every New Yorker — from our city’s job market to the basic functioning of our housing and infrastructure, from the resiliency of our supply chains to our future as a hub of innovation and climate-tech production,” said Neil Padukone, executive director, Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation Council, SBS; and city co-lead, Industrial Working Group. “It’s a tremendous opportunity to elevate the work of these businesses that keep New York running and help deliver a more accessible, resilient, and sustainable city.”

“When my parents first came to this country, supplying local garment manufacturers helped their small business grow. The 500,000 New Yorkers working in the industrial sector today helped keep New York City going during COVID-19, continue to keep the city running, and will make our economy more resilient,” said SBS Commissioner Kevin D. Kim. “Through this Industrial Working Group, we aim to help deliver on Mayor Adams’ blueprint for economic revitalization by elevating the work these businesses do for our city.”

“The convening of the Industrial Working Group is an important step to assessing the needs of the manufacturing sector, which is a critical piece of New York City’s diverse economy,” said NYCEDC President and CEO Andrew Kimball. “I am optimistic that the recommendations provided will strengthen the job prospects for countless New Yorkers and support New York City’s equitable economic recovery.”

“By assembling this group, we are not only supporting our industrial sector but also ensuring a broad-based and inclusive economic recovery,” said DCP Director Dan Garodnick. “We are determined to ensure the adaptability and success of industrial businesses while spurring growth in emerging sectors like biotechnology and renewable energy.”

“Adafruit has been a women-owned electronics manufacturer in New York City for over 15 years,” said Limor Fried, founder and CEO, Adafruit Industries. “We grew the company from an apartment as the One World Trade Center was being built, and we’re now over 100 people and have a factory in SoHo. I look forward to sharing what our diverse team has created, learned, and will help build a New York City with Advanced Manufacturing and high-tech jobs.”

“Brooklyn Brewery has been manufacturing in New York City for over 30 years. Come what may, the city is etched into our recipes and built into our identity,” said Eric Ottaway, CEO, Brooklyn Brewery; and co-chair, Industrial Working Group. “It’s an honor to co-chair this Industrial Working Group to help shape the future of this sector that not only brings great jobs, vital products, important innovation, and vibrant culture to New Yorkers and the world, but is a key part of ensuring the resiliency of this great city. I look forward to working with these key stakeholders from industry and city agencies to help craft an industrial policy that will allow manufacturers to grow and thrive.”

PDF of press release.

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