Queens Chamber of Commerce honors business people of the year

THE COURIER/Photo by Alan Ngai

The Queens Chamber of Commerce honored their Business People of the Year with awards presented during a gala event Thursday night at Terrace on the Park.

Executive Director Thomas Grech remarked on the constant evolution of the Chamber, including initiatives such as the newly formed real estate committee.

“Please know that every action we take is designed to help our members and clients,” Grech said.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Councilman I. Daneek Miller were on hand to present the awards and praise the respective accomplishments of the honorees. Sponsors for the event included Rockaway confectionary Madelaine Chocolate, CBS Radio and the USTA National Tennis Center.

National Grid New York President Kenneth Daly was inducted into the Business Person of the Year Hall of Fame on the third anniversary of his work helping to restore utilities to south Queens residents and businesses affected by the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy. The company awarded $22,000 in grants to residential customers after the storm according to Daly, enabling them to reconnect to the gas and electric grid.

“After 100 years in the community, our role is to help rebuild Queens,” Daly said.

Fran Biderman-Gross was named Brand Marketer of the Year for her work as the CEO of Advantages, a multi-million dollar printing and digital brand awareness agency. She began the enterprise as a family business in 1992 in her own home and now has an office in Kew Gardens and employees working in Seattle, San Diego, Sweden and Israel.

“I am humbled to be among such distinguished honorees,” Biderman-Gross said, adding that she had a strong support system in her family, friends and professional team.

Queens Center Mall Senior Property Manager Jeffrey Owen received the Sustainability of the Year award for overseeing efforts to increase sustainability in the shopping center. The mall has replaced over 2,000 light bulb for more eco-friendly models and installed solar panels to provide some of its energy, and he said increasing green initiatives was the center’s way of giving back to the community.

“We owe our success to the power of the borough,” Owen said.

Hope Knight was honored with the Economic Impact Award for her work as president and CEO of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation. Knight works with the organization to plan, coordinate and advance responsible real estate development in Jamaica and said that a big part of her job was to help the area realize its economic potential.

“Working in economic development takes a lot of patience and fortitude,” Knight said.

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