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Photo by Corazon Aguirre

A new class of Queens’ most influential men was honored at the annual Kings of Queens event in Howard Beach on Nov. 13.

Russo’s on the Bay played host to the award ceremony and networking night which recognized men for their contributions to their industries and work within their respective communities.

The night began with a VIP cocktail hour during which honorees and their guests were invited to nosh on appetizers, mingle and network before the main event. SCNG President and CEO Victoria Schneps provided opening remarks and reflected on the varied accomplishments of the men in the room.

“We are, tonight, celebrating each one of you, and the goal here is to meet each other,” said Schneps. “You guys broke our record, we have 500 people paying tribute to you tonight!”

She then instructed each of the men to attach a star-shaped pin to the lapels of their jackets, which initiated them into the “Star Network” and invited each of the honorees to introduce himself by name and profession.

Among the honorees was Anthony LoCastro, General Manager Ground Operations for JetBlue at John F. Kennedy Airport. He has been with the company for the past 18 years and was attracted to its people-centric values.

“The company’s one of culture and I was big on giving back to the people and being a people person and that’s what this company’s based on.

He highlighted JetBlue’s work in the Hurricane Maria relief efforts in Puerto Rico, wherein the company sent over one million pounds of supplies to the island and also donated $100,000 toward relief efforts.

“It’s a great honor to be someone that adds something to the community and in giving back. Getting honored for that is a great thing,” said LoCastro.

Honoree Bill Hutchingson, a financial advisor at Flushing Bank, said that the honor was important for him because it “helps the people in the community.” The Queens native transitioned from working as a floor broker on the New York Stock Exchange to banking. He said that the most rewarding part of his job is helping customers with their money and financial goals.

“When you see somebody come in and say ‘thank you for protecting my money, Bill, I appreciate it’ or ‘thank you very much for thinking of my family and my kids and my grandkids…’ so they’re going to be much better off,” he shared.

The networking transitioned to a dinner and party, during which honorees received awards recognizing their philanthropy, top restaurants and family legacy, among others. Over the course of the night, $2,600 was raised through the raffle and proceeds will be split evenly between Autism Speaks and the Dad’s Away Foundation.

Here are the lists of the 2018 Kings of Queens honorees and sponsors:

EMCEE AND COMMUNICATIONS AWARD

Shannan Ferry
NY1 News

HALL OF FAME

John Ciafone
Law Office of John J. Ciafone

Vito Giannola
Senior Executive Vice President/Chief Banking Officer
SB One Bank

FAMILY LEGACY AWARD

The Giannola Family

PHILANTHROPIST OF THE YEAR

Frank Almonte
Owner
Almonte Food Dynasty,
Key Food Supermarket

GUARDIAN ANGEL

Anthony Gurino
Founder
The Dads Away Foundation

RESTAURATEUR OF THE YEAR

Michael Molinari
Trattoria 35

DYNAMIC DUO

Mark Hankin
Founding Partner
Hankin & Mazel, PLLC

Geoffrey Mazel
Founding Partner
Hankin & Mazel, PLLC

2018 HONOREES

Anthony Antoniou

Project Manager
VRH Construction Corp.

Vincenzo Armano
President
Societa Di Polizzi Generosa

Robert Bishop
Partner
Pitta Law

James Bonner
President
New York & Atlantic Railway

John Bues
Forchelli Deegan Terrana

Fred Catanese
Airway LLC

Yang Chen
Executive Director
Asian American Bar Association of New York

Wayne Clarke
Creative Director & Co-Founder
My Time Inc.

George Eliopoulos
Principal
Velios Capital

Elijah Felix
People’s United Bank

Robert M. Ferrito
State President
Grand Lodge of New York ~ Order Sons of Italy in America

Dr. Vladimir Gasca
Director of Psychiatry, NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Loycent Gordon
Owner
Neir’s Tavern & Grills

Mark Gregorio
Managing Partner President
TEI Group

Kyle Griffith
Managing Partner
The NYBB Group

John J. Helly
General Manager
Flushing Cemetery

Bill Hutchingson
AVP – Financial Advisor
Flushing Bank

Peter Kaplan
Assurance Partner
New York Metro Private Company Services (PCS)
PricewaterhouseCoopers

Dr. Back Kim
Cardiovascular Specialist
Heart Vein NYC

Chris LaVecchia
Private Chef
Midnite’s Peak Productions

Anthony LoCastro
JetBlue
General Manager Ground Operations-JFK

Dr. Timothy G. Lynch
Interim President
Queensborough Community College

Rev. Dr. Les Mullings
CEO/Founder
Challenge Charter Schools

William L. Murphy, J.D.
Professor, Division of Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, and Homeland Security
St. John’s University, College of Professional Studies

John O’Kane
NYS Associate
O’Kane Realty

Andrew-Paul Ragusa
Associate Broker
Keller Williams Realty

Martin Ridgers
Owner
MKR Specialty Insurance Brokerage

Anthony Ringston
President
RIIS Financial

Joe Schramm
President & CEO
Schramm Marketing Group | Fantástico

John Sotirakis
Coritsidis Sotirakis & Saketos, PLLC

Albert Teekasingh
Owner
Tropical Revival

Vito Turso
Deputy Commissioner for Public Affairs
New York City Department of Sanitation

Anthony Vero, PE
Deputy General Manager
LaGuardia Airport

Edwin Wong
President
Forest Hills Asian Association

PHOTOBOOTH SPONSOR: Airway LLC

COCKTAIL SPONSOR: Globe Air Cargo

SPONSORS: Flushing Bank, SB One Bank, Investors Bank, People’s United Bank, Trattoria 35, Schramm Marketing Group, John J. Ciafone, Esq., Challenge Charter School, PwC, Pitta Law LLP, TEI Group, New York & Atlantic Railway, Asian American Bar Association of New York, Forchelli, Deegan and Terrana, Societa di Polizzi Generosa, Flushing Cemetery, Queensborough Community College, and Broadway Stages.

Photos by Corazon Aguirre and Matthew Kropp

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