Accelerate Long Island’s Board of Directors announced Brookhaven Town Supervisor Mark Lesko as the first Executive Director of Accelerate Long Island. Lesko will start in mid- September 2012.
Accelerate Long Island is a groundbreaking regional collaboration between the Long Island Association, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Canrock Ventures, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, CA Technologies, Ernst & Young, Farrell Fritz, Hofstra University, North Shore-LIJ Health System, the Rauch Foundation and Stony Brook University to commercialize the region’s research innovations. Long Island’s world class research institutions collectively conduct over $1 billion in research annually and Accelerate Long Island will work to commercialize that research into start-up companies and high-tech jobs to transform Long Island’s economy.
Mark Lesko spearheaded with the development of Accelerate Long Island as Brookhaven Town Supervisor in 2010 and it became a regional effort under the auspices of the Long Island Association. Accelerate Long Island was created as a non-for-profit organization, was named a “transformative project” in 2011 by the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council and received a $500,000 grant to start a seed fund for early stage companies. This seed fund is matched by $750,000 from the Long Island Emerging Technologies Fund, a partnership of venture capitalists seeking to invest in early stage companies on Long Island.
Accelerate Long Island will facilitate an eco-system that connects researchers with entrepreneurs and investors and will focus on developing industry clusters in information technology, life sciences/biotech and clean energy.
“Mark Lesko was the architect of Accelerate Long Island and it is only fitting that he becomes its first Executive Director. He will help the LIA foster an innovation-based economy, creating start-up companies and high-tech jobs. Accelerate Long Island is vital to the region’s long-term economic success and competitiveness and the LIA looks forward to partnering with him,” said Kevin Law, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Long Island Association and Chairman of the Accelerate Long Island Board.
“Brookhaven National Laboratory is thrilled to have Mark Lesko lead Accelerate Long Island and be a partner in the commercialization of our research. The discoveries of the researchers and guest scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory have led to 7 Nobel Prizes over the last 60 years. The Lab is the only multi-program federally funded research and development laboratory in the Northeast. There is currently a national emphasis on commercializing technology at America’s Laboratories so the time is ripe for Accelerate Long Island to take our commercialization efforts to the next level,” said Samuel Aronson, Director of Brookhaven National Laboratory.
“There is great potential on Long Island to create companies from our research and the key is to keep them on Long Island. I believe that as Executive Director of Accelerate Long Island, Mark Lesko can realize the potential of Long Island to become once again a major economic powerhouse,” said Bruce Stillman, President of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
“This is a huge development for Long Island’s economy. Hofstra University looks forward to working with Mark Lesko to make Long Island a regional hub for innovation. Our nationally accredited engineering program, nationally ranked schools of business and law, and the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine will be critical partners in creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Stuart Rabinowitz, President of Hofstra University.
“Accelerate Long Island has been active over the past year in promoting entrepreneurship, and the North Shore-LIJ Health System is confident that Mark Lesko will foster continued success. The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is making great advances in biomedical sciences, and has a proven record of translating clinical research into commercial products for the betterment of human health. Accelerate Long Island can leverage these successes for the economic benefit of the region,” said Michael Dowling, President and CEO of the North Shore-LIJ Health System.
“Mark Lesko was a great supporter of Stony Brook University as Town Supervisor and I look forward to working with him to unlock the economic potential of our tremendous regional research assets. Stony Brook University is committed to working with our Accelerate Long Island partners in developing an innovation-based economy on Long Island,” Samuel Stanley, President of Stony Brook University.
“CA is excited to be part of Accelerate to help grow Long Island’s innovation-economy. Mark Lesko is a proven regional leader with a breath of experience who I am confident will deliver success for Long Island,” said Stephen Savage, Corporate Senior Vice President of CA Technologies.
“Canrock Ventures is proud to support Mark Lesko as he fosters the creation of an entrepreneurial culture on Long Island and turns the region into a nationally recognized center of innovation. Accelerate Long Island will connect researchers with entrepreneurs and investors to create start-up companies and high-tech jobs,” said Mark Fasciano, Managing Director of Canrock Ventures.
“Mark Lesko will lead Accelerate Long Island and reinvigorate the region’s economy. This is a great opportunity for Long Island to develop an innovation-based economy and become a high-tech hub,” said Roger Savell, Ernst & Young’s Long Island Office Managing Partner.
“Farrell Fritz is glad to be a partner in this effort that will pave the way for Long Island’s future economic development. We believe Mark Lesko will be successful in commercializing the region’s research for the economic benefit of all Long Islanders,” said Charles Strain, Managing Partner at Farrell Fritz.
“In 2010 I started discussions with Mark Lesko about how we can collaborate as a region to create an innovation-based economy on Long Island and replicate the efforts of other commercialization organizations throughout the country. We developed a strategy to change the face of Long Island’s economy and I am glad to see that Mark Lesko is going to implement this vision. Our 2012 Innovation Index found that there is movement on Long Island to create this new economy and Accelerate Long Island will be the vehicle to make it happen,” said Nancy Rauch Douzinas, President of the Rauch Foundation.
Mark Lesko was first elected as Brookhaven Town Supervisor in March 2009 and is currently serving in his third term. Brookhaven is the largest Town in Suffolk County and the second largest in New York State with almost 500,000 residents, 2,000 employees, and a $270 million budget. Prior to being elected Supervisor, Lesko served for ten years as a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice, leading all federal investigations and prosecutions on Long Island.
Accelerate Long Island will work collaboratively with other organizations that promote economic development on Long Island and will draw upon the best practices of many successful commercialization models throughout the United States.