While many worry about the threat of unemployment amid the Great Recession, Long Island’s advocate-in-chief has become one of the rare few to voluntarily put in his walking papers.
Matthew Crosson announced Wednesday that he plans to step down within the next year as president of the Long Island Association (LIA), the more than 5,200-member business and civic organization, which he has led since 1993.
“After 16 years, I am still passionate about making Long Island a better place, and that passion will never fade,” Crosson said in a statement. “Before I end my career, however, I would like to take up some new and different challenges, and that is why I have made the decision.”
Crosson, an attorney by trade, did not say specifically what he will do next, but did say that he would stay on to help the board through the transitional period. A former Manhattan assistant district attorney who specialized in prosecuting white collar crimes, he was chief executive officer of the New York statewide court system prior to heading the LIA.
A search committee headed by Kirk Kordeleski, president and CEO of Bethpage Federal Credit Union, was formed the same day as the announcement.
“I’m already hearing people throwing out names but I think it’s very premature,” says Katherine Heaviside, president of Epoch 5 Marketing, an LIA board member and the spokeswoman for the board. With 60 members on the board, there is no shortage of business, education and nonprofit executives jockeying for the position.
Heaviside added that she is not surprised by Crosson’s move. “It’s a tremendously demanding position and over the years certainly he’s been courted by other large businesses to head them.”
LIA members had nothing but praise for Crosson and LIA’s progress with him at the helm.
“Matt’s vision, professionalism, and dedication will be greatly missed,” said Brian Cullen, chairman of the LIA’s board of directors and co-president of King Kullen Grocery Co. “His legacy in economic development, education, housing, technology development, and other areas will be lasting.”
Crosson led the association in the creation of the Long Island Works Coalition, which helps connect the business and education communities, and Project Long Island, which helped the region’s tech industry rebound after the aerospace industry left town. He is also president of the LIA Health Alliance, a regional health insurance purchasing plan for small businesses. Last year, the LIA succeeded in its push for a state law that requires 10 percent of new developments of five or more units be deemed affordable housing
“He was extremely supportive of the research I did and understood the importance of developing a factual basis for policy decisions,” says Pearl Kamer, chief economist for the LIA. “He not only sought to improve the climate for the business community, which one would expect from the president of a Chamber of Commerce, but he was also interested in improving living and working conditions for all Long Islanders.”