President, Long Island Food Council
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 own food related businesses. Michael is also spearheading the council’s creative ideas for growing crops in underutilized public space and engaging local culinary schools to prepare food for Island Harvest food bank.
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 thru various distribution channels. He is a member of the Port Washington Police Athletic League Executive Advisory Board, Retired President of the Port Washington Soccer Club, current member of the Port Washington Community Chest Golf Outing committee, and an Island Harvest’s Taste of Harvest committee member.
Michael is currently a professional Real Estate agent with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, Commercial Division, specializing in locating and negotiating the right locations for his client’s, landlord representation and Real Estate Investments. He is a Member of CIBS (commercial Industrial Brokers Society of Long Island) and a member of LIREG (Long Island Real Estate Group).
Partner, Mazars 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.
Nixon Peabody LLP
Jim Weller is a seasoned trial lawyer and member of NP Trial®, an international team of Nixon Peabody’s most successful and experienced trial attorneys. His primary focus is helping clients avoid and navigate litigation, class actions and other issues related to product liability, fraud and intellectual property. He represents clients—including a number of major food and beverage brands—in state and federal courts throughout the United States and in international arbitration. Most recently, Jim successfully defended several large supermarket chains in class actions involving wage and hour claims and claims involving claims of sexual harassment and retaliation. He also represented a major beverage manufacturer at trial in claims brought by a distributor alleging breach of a distribution agreement.
Nixon Peabody LLP
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.
Allan says that his clients view him as the “quarterback,” ensuring that not only their business law, but also their employment, litigation, intellectual property, regulatory and other legal needs are met. Much of his practice is dedicated to mergers and acquisitions, including buy-side work for public and private companies, and sell-side work for closely held and family-owned businesses. Allan’s M&A transactions have involved a wide range of industries, including consumer products, life sciences, and insurance. Over his career, he has closed well over 100 M&A transactions.
Founder, 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.
Digital Media Consultant, www.DrivenLocal.com
Chris brings his expertise in the digital space, educating his fellow Food Council members on the current digital landscape. He is our resident online marketing expert in the food and restaurant industry and he is also the web designer of this site. Please feel free to reach out to Chris with any questions about all things digital or this website in general.
His restaurant experience dates back to 1963, and as a principal since 1968. He started in commercial real estate in 1969 and was the top retail producer nationwide for Cushman and Wakefield Real Estate during the 1970s. Since founding Great American in 1980, he has been responsible for more restaurants throughout the Greater New York metropolitan area, than any other broker.
Director of Sales & Marketing – Price Paper & Twine Co., Inc.
Price Paper & Twine Company is the premier food-service paper, packaging, catering and janitorial distributor serving the greater Long Island and Metro New York area. Price Paper’s “fanatical” dedication to our customers is the defining difference. We invite you to see for yourself!
Ross V. DiMaggio, CPA
Partner, DiMaggio & Roccamo, CPA’S, LLP
Ross V. DiMaggio is a CPA specializing in the food industry: retail, restaurants and wholesale distribution. He first gained experience servicing the restaurant industry when managing family-owned retail and wholesale distribution businesses located in Manhattan and at the NYC Produce Terminal Market located in Hunts Point. He then went on to open a supermarket on Long Island. He has been a practicing CPA for the past 19 years. With his experience and extensive understanding of the retail environment he has been able to give insights that helped businesses owners manage their finances and make timely, strategic decisions to grow their companies and position themselves for the future.
Mr. DeStefano is an owner in the full service accounting firm of Ferrera, DeStefano & Caporusso, Certified Public Accountants, P.C. This practice has been in existence since 1990 handling all facets of accounting including, but not limited to, tax planning and preparation of tax returns for businesses, individuals and estates, compilation, review and audit of financial statements, forensic accounting, business planning and consulting. The firm also performs business valuations through it’s fully owned affiliate FDC Business Valuation Services, Ltd.
Merrill S. Zorn
Pres/CEO Zorn’s of Bethpage
When your name is on the marquis, there is a certain added pressure to make sure everything is perfect. Add in four generations of family, over 76 years of tradition and secret recipes and you have a very unique business requiring innovative managerial skills.
Today, Zorn’s of Bethpage is one of the most widely known catering and takeout restaurants on Long Island, recognized for their home cooked food, made from scratch on the premises and commitment to customer service.
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Beth Granger is the CEO of Beth Granger Consulting, a social sales, social media strategy, web strategy, and branding consultancy. Her clients say she helps accelerate the social media learning curve. She is also a partner in a soon-to-be-launched social sales coaching business called Social Sales GPS.
President & CEO, 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. Approximately 94 cents of every dollar contributed to Island Harvest goes to programs that support more than 316,000 Long Islanders. Island Harvest is a lead agency in the region’s emergency-response preparedness for food and product distribution, and is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief organization. More information can be found at www.islandharvest.org.
Davi Tserpelis, M.S.
SVP Business Banking at Astoria Bank, CEO Advisor. Entrepreneur
Advisor to CEOs and their Financial staff, commercial lending & banking for family owned companies & entrepreneurs in the middle market space located in NY Metro area. facilitating business growth, cash flow stability, efficient banking, risk mitigation, & strategy. Goal is coaching and educating clients on financial tools to maximize working capital including conventional financing, International trade finance, foreign exchange, treasury, & cash management solutions.
Co-Owner, Park Place Restaurant & Bar
Matt is a licensed real estate professional at Oxford & Simpson Realty where he assists corporations and business owners with their office space and facility requirements. He specializes in uncovering off market opportunities and structuring cost effective transactions. Matt is also a Co-Owner at Park Place Restaurant & Bar located in Floral Park NY, where he oversees all marketing and brand development decisions. Park Place Restaurant & Bar has quickly emerged as one of Long Island’s top restaurants. Open seven days a week, Park Place appeals to everyone- couples out for a date night, families celebrating any occasion or friends meeting up for a drink after work. The modern decor, innovative cuisine and welcoming staff has many in the community singing its praises. www.ParkPlaceFP.com
Migdalia Otero, Vice President of Operations & Food Procurement, Island Harvest
Joined Island Harvest in 2003 as Operations Manager. She was promoted to Director of Operations in 2006, and promoted again to her current position in 2008. A certified Food Resourcer, she supervises Island Harvest’s bulk food donation procurement program, purchasing program and produce program; development and implementation of all company logistics and transportation plans, facilities management of all three locations and the daily warehouse operation (including daily management of vehicular fleet and staff drivers).
Senior Vice President, Foa & Son
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.
With twenty five years of experience in all facets of the Insurance and Risk Management arena, Brad looks forward to solving any problem a client may encounter. Brad’s current expertise includes risk management in the sectors of real estate, food and beverage, professional firms, manufacturing, retail & not-for-profit organizations.
Bradley is the current President and has served on the Board of Directors for the not-for-profit agency, Step Up for Better Living, (SUBL) since 2002. SUBL works directly with residents of affordable housing to provide “housing stability” and prevention of a return to NYC’s homeless shelter system. SUBL services include referrals for Rent Assistance, Physical & Mental Health issues, and Community Education Workshops.
Brad holds a B.A. in Economics from Brandeis University, a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School, and is admitted to the New York State Bar. He currently lives in Rye Brook, NY with his wife and two children.
Tami Racaniello, It’s Time to Get Fit
Tami Racaniello is certified in Fitness, Nutrition, Yoga, Pilates, Wellness Coaching, Reiki, and as a Raw Foods/Vegan Chef. She is a speaker; creator of easy, healthy allergy-friendly recipes for clients; contributing author to 3 books; article writer on food, recipes, and health; a featured wellness expert on various websites; and a strong advocate for truth and integrity in food labeling. Her presentation, “What the Food Industry Doesn’t Tell You”, is extremely popular, especially for parent groups at schools, and in libraries.
As the Owner and President of, “It’s Time to Get Fit”, Tami works with individuals and companies, helping clients find their healthy calm within life’s chaos, so they can increase productivity and energy levels, and release stress and unwanted weight.
Tami’s clients appreciate the practical, easy to follow guidance she provides, and the calm and balance that it creates in their life.
Alan I. Goldberg, CardWorks Merchant Services
Alan brings to the LIFC, over 35 years of technology experience in the Supermarket and Hospitality industries. He worked with Supermarkets and Food Wholesalers as an Executive Account Manager for NCR Corporation and as a Director for a major POS Business Partner. He has interfaced with Software Application providers and Mobile device solutions for the Restaurant, Hospitality and Retail vocations. His experience also includes national Sales Channel Development as a Vice President for a NYC-based Merchant Services Company.
Alan currently enjoys his position at Cardworks Merchant Services, headquartered in Woodbury NY. He works with business owners to provide the right technology solutions, world class local customer support and competitive Merchant Services Rates.
Joan is pursuing her passion to propel clients and organizations to new heights of success as President and CEO of Powerful Possibilities Coaching, LLC and EMP2.
Joan earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing and public relations from Boston University. Her degree is supplemented with certifications in leadership and organizational development, organizational and executive coaching and digital marketing from New York University. Joan has also served leadership roles in the Women’s Foodservice Forum, Foodservice Sales Conferences, and sits on two Women’s Advisory Boards.
As deeply passionate as she is for helping clients find success, she is as genuinely committed to mentoring and supporting women, and helping that in need. She is a volunteer coach for the “Women for Change Coaching Community”, volunteers her time and services to support the LI Safe House, as well as co-creating the “Cakes for Kids” program for Love and Quiches Gourmet, which provides birthday cakes monthly for kids who would otherwise go without!
RBest Produce Inc. has been sowing the seeds of success for supermarket and food service clients for over 35 years. Spanning over 70,000 sq. ft. the RBest warehouse is located in Port Washington NY, and constructed with the latest environmentally-friendly technologies. The PrimusGFS certified facility has been designed to supply product direct from growers and ensure quick and efficient delivery to the customer’s door.
Our mission at RBest is to continue to provide premier produce in the Northeast by offering the highest-quality produce at competitive prices, unwavering reliability, and superior customer service. While we have an emphasis on daily deliveries to the Tristate area, RBest distributes to Philadelphia, Boston and all locations in between. Through our sister company EL Sol Brands our deliveries reach Miami and Chicago.
Waterheaters.com is the story of three generations in the plumbing industry. By 1983, Kolin Plumbing Corp. was on Inc Magazine’s 500 fastest growing private companies in America and again on the 500 list in 1984. With great foresight, in 1994 Harvey was able to obtain the top level domain name waterheaters.com.
Scott took over the helm in 1999 and created Waterheaters.com, and, as they say; the rest is history. Waterheaters.com has expanded its operating scope to include restaurants, retail, and industrial accounts such as nursing homes and hotels that utilize large indirect water heater systems. Waterheaters.com has its headquarters in Babylon, New York and continues to service both the residential and commercial industry, specializing in restaurant and commercial sales.
Jonathan Bodner’s practice includes representing local, regional and national manufacturers, distributors and retailers in the food and beverage industries in a wide variety of transactions, litigation and bankruptcy matters throughout Long Island, the boroughs of New York City and New Jersey. Jonathan’s practice includes representing produce suppliers throughout the United States in pursuing claims and related relief under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.
VP, TD Bank
Keith Lawlor is a Vice President, Senior Commercial Relationship Manager for TD Bank’s Long Island Market. Keith has nearly 15 years of banking experience all of which has been with TD Bank. He is primarily responsible for new business development and the cross-selling of all bank products, including international products, treasury management and wealth management. Keith’s focus includes providing working capital facilities, equipment financing, acquisition financing and mortgage financing to middle market companies located in the Metro NY area.
Jennifer Rose Goldman
Essential Rose Life
Jennifer Goldman is a twice-certified 200-hour yoga teacher in the Hatha and Vinyasa traditions, as well as a 300-hour Certified Aromatherapist. She has extensive background in the healing arts, including yoga, meditation, energy healing, and the study of medicinal plants and oils. Jennifer infuses into Essential Rose Life her personal journey of healing, as well as her passion for healthy living. She is dedicated to sharing her story and empowering others to experience authentic self-love.
Justin D. Latorre
Owner, La Flor Spices
Born and raised in the streets of New York City; today, 50 years later, La Flor Spices is still a family affair with three generations active in the business. The 90,000-square foot production facility, currently located in Hauppauge, Long Island, a fully automated packaging system with a wide product line of spices and condiments. La Flor Spices has achieved nationwide distribution and reached consumers in four continents. La Flor Spices caters traditional flavors to an array of the finest spices and seasonings from around the world. The brand has grown from an ethnic spice company to be redefined as ‘the local New York Spice Brand & Co-Packager’. The Latorre Family are just getting started and will continue to spice up people’s lives one jar at time.
A visionary and strategic entrepreneur, Justin redefined the family business by bridging core values of quality and service with an ambitious attitude. In his capacity as systems manager, Justin has played an influential role in stimulating change throughout all facets of the company. Starting with the implementation of new information technologies for management efficiency, to redefining the company’s overall mission. Passionate about wholesome ingredients, sustainability practices, co-packaging and disruptive innovation, Justin has been instrumental in evolving a company-wide culture focused on food safety, healthier ingredients and community involvement. More in more Justin is surrounding himself with future oriented thinkers in search for the next great idea that can help disrupt a stale industry. It is only a matter of time before he finds the next emerging trend or potential problem that will ignite the enthusiasm of those around him. His curiosity, generosity, kindness and entrepreneurship will allow him to propel his career for the next decade.
Keep it spicy with La Flor!
wink design group is a woman owned and operated full service design firm founded by Francine Germano Moshe and Suzann Portell Scally. From brand creation to packaging and label design, marketing materials to print ads we offer a complete range of services to meet your companies needs. Our studio has over 30 years of combined experience in the field, from global consumer goods and flagship brand consultancies to the local start up business. wink design group has never met a problem we can’t solve. We are not big and cumbersome, but small, nimble and approachable. Your company will work directly with the founding partners, crafting design solutions, that are fresh, inspired and innovative.
Why is branding important? At wink we understand in a competitive market you only have a few seconds to convey your brand’s story. If your messaging is not on point you’ve lost a sale, potentially forever. We study the market, research your competition and create a distinct angle to get your product noticed. It’s more than just beautiful packaging that sells a good. The messaging has to inform the consumer and immediately convey your product’s goodness. That’s why at wink, we consider ourselves visual storytellers. Our goal is to help tell your story and grow your brand, with unique and adaptive designs.
President, Financial Planner
Barry Shapiro is the President of Bshapiro Financial, an independent firm that provides a highly personalized financial planning experience for professionals, entrepreneurs and business owners. The firm’s services include comprehensive written financial plans; investment management; business owner planning; succession planning; and estate planning. The firm also specializes in helping executives in transition.
As part of his charitable giving, Barry has been a longtime supporter of Island Harvest.
This communication is strictly intended for individuals in California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio and Virginia. No offers may be made or accepted from any resident outside these states due to various state and registration requirements regarding investment products and services. Securities and Advisory Services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, www.FINRA.org/www.SIPC.org, a Registered Investment Adviser. 366 North Broadway, Suite 401. Jericho, NY 11753 (516) 342-6566
Creator and President of JAVAMELTS, INC.
Launching only 7 months ago, Carolyn has networked and has surrounded herself with some of the top companies and instrumental people in the Food Industry. She is passionate, extremely energetic and very much a go-getter. Her networking abilities and business connections through people she has met since her launch has really set her apart from most start-up companies. Her Entrepreneurial spirit and drive is very much apparent when you come into contact with her. Carolyn’s background as a legal assistant for influential people early on prior to and after college enabled her to have no reservations when dealing with people high up in corporate America. As she raised her three children she never sat idle. In addition to being a class parent for many years, religion teacher for 7 years, coordinator for sport teams and school events, she always worked part-time either as a mortgage processor, retail sales or worked as a sales rep. for a promotional company. For the past 13 years she works as a sales and marketing executive and manager for a family commercial flagpole company. Since sales and management has been primarily her strength and background it was a natural transition for her once JAVAMELTS came into the mix. She has already gotten the attention and has the backing from the sixth largest distributor in the US. Carolyn is definitely someone who’s passion, perseverance and drive will take the JAVAMELTS Brand very far.