31. Charles Vigliotti
Long Island Compost President and CEO
You have to see it to believe it. A mountain of fresh dirt, compost actually, crawling with giant machines that look like ants on an anthill. In the middle of Yaphank is the massive compound that houses the yard-waste transfer station belonging to Long Island Compost. With his two brothers, Vigliotti founded the company three decades ago and has transformed it into an environmental juggernaut. The premise is so simple it’s astounding. Take all of our landscaping waste and convert it into soil not only suitable for residential consumers, but used everywhere from rooftop designs to beautification projects. Brilliant. Oh, and not sending LI’s organic waste to municipal facilities saves the taxpayer money as well. Forgive the Gordon Gekko reference for the second year in a row, but the dapper Vigliotti has redefined the famous saying and shown us all that Green Is Good.
32. Stuart Wilkins
BWD Group LLC Partner
If you knew nothing of BWD Insurance but read their client list you would assume they were based in either Manhattan or London. Condé Nast, The New York Times, the NBA and NHL are among the impressive roster of clients who depend upon BWD’s expertise. At the helm of the company is the sociable and philanthropic Wilkins, who has more friends in high places than most of the people on this list. Box seats for the big game? Reservation at Rao’s? Invitation to play Pebble Beach? Wilkins probably has a connection to everything on your bucket list and then some.
33. Tracey Edwards
Verizon Communications Vice President of Operations
Many of the power-listers have been climbing the corporate ladder for years, but how many can say they’ve climbed a telephone pole, too? Edwards began her career with Verizon in 1979 as a summer hire operator and has advanced through the ranks to now oversee more than 5,000 employees. Edwards is ultimately responsible for the Fios all-fiber network build out as well as the connectivity and maintenance of more than 2.5 million consumer and business access lines for Verizon’s local and long distance networks on Long Island, Westchester and Upstate New York. She comes from a family of community volunteers and is active in many civic and political organizations. In addition, Edwards is both a role model and spokesperson for the African-American community and currently serves as the Long Island regional director of the NAACP.
34. Gary Richard
PC Richard & Son, Inc. CEO/Owner
The Richard Family has conquered LI, and after testing the waters in Connecticut, are sailing across the Sound to move into our northern neighbor’s retail marketplace by opening a handful of PC Richard & Son stores in the next few months. The 100-year-old company, with CEO Gary Richard at the helm, is one of the most rapidly expanding electronics retailers in the metro area, with 61-plus stores throughout the region. “We just don’t make a sale, we make a customer,” is Richard’s mantra and his way to stay ahead in this fiercely competitive market. “Honesty, integrity and reliability” are still the buzz words of the company, and they’ve brought that sentiment into their green initiatives by promoting recycling, energy-saving appliances and conservation.
35. Gary Melius
Oheka Castle Owner
Celebrities such as Kevin Jonas and (perhaps) Derek Jeter are coming to realize what Long Islanders already know: The Oheka Castle is the most glamorous place to get married on the Island. But wedding vows aren’t the only important exchanges the castle walls bear witness to; this is where the power brokers gather. Whether it’s Independence Party luncheons or the infamous invitation-only poker room, the legacy of Oheka has been faithfully preserved by its current occupant, Gary Melius. Self effacing, unsuspecting and fiercely loyal, Melius has the ability to maintain his “regular guy” status while rubbing elbows with the power set. Otto Kahn would be proud.
36. Scott Spector
Spector Group Principal
So what does the future of suburbia look like? Chances are the answer to this is in Spector’s mind and on his drafting board. The Spector Group has emerged as the go-to firm for designing the future of LI. While you may not be familiar with the name, you have undoubtedly seen their designs. From residential and corporate projects to high-profile works such as Nassau County’s Museum Row or the D’Amato U.S. Courthouse, Spector’s invisible hand has played a key role. While Spector’s gregarious nature and healthy work load may seem more Peter Keating, some of his more uncompromising structures reveal his inner Howard Roark.
37. Hubert Keen, Ph.D.
Farmingdale State College President
It’s all about The Green for this guy. Keen has his doctorate in ecology. He leads a school with deep roots in the agricultural industry. And these days, in order to keep the green flowing to Long Island, Keen has been collaborating with political and business leaders as they plant the seeds of a Smart Energy Corridor, which would include making the college a research and development incubator for green technology, as well as training workers to keep up with this emerging industry. It also recently announced the creation of a Green Building Institute that will train workers in the art of energy-efficient building for LI’s largest home improvement companies. Part of that goal is for these initiative to grow to neighboring businesses on Route 110 and beyond, harvesting a new generation of industry and jobs to make LI’s economy sustainable into the next generation. It’s enough for even non-FSC alum to shout, “Go Rams!”
38. Anthony Scotto
Scotto Brothers President and CEO
You would never know there was a downturn in the wedding industry by looking at Anthony Scotto’s portfolio of business acquisitions. A self-made entrepreneur, he opened his first restaurant in Port Washington in 1967 and has grown his empire to include the Chateau Briand and Fox Hollow catering venues, as well as several high-end restaurants throughout the region. That’s a lot of tomatoes. In all, the Scotto establishments cater and service more than 60,000 people weekly and produce more events and weddings than any other caterer on LI. Scotto added the Inn at Fox Hollow, a beautiful, 145-room hotel in Woodbury and a hotel in NJ to his portfolio and hasn’t looked back since. He knows that exceptional food and great service are the benchmarks to continued success.
39. Joye Brown
By all reports (including ours), the climate in the newsroom at Newsday is a little less than comfortable these days. The paper’s current ownership has almost no experience in journalism, and as such, there are questionable editorial policies, dubious business strategies and general unrest. This makes Joye Brown all the more essential. The voice of Newsday, Browne started at the paper in 1983, and worked there as a reporter, an editor, a newsroom administrator and an editorial writer. Since 2006, she has been a columnist at the paper—following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Murray Kempton, Ed Lowe and Jimmy Breslin—and her words have become essential reading for LI. And while many of her contemporaries have been silenced or marginalized, the resonance of Brown’s voice has grown more amplified, as both Newsday and LI undergo dramatic upheavals. They say the pen is mightier than the sword. Today, in Brown’s case, the pen is mightier even than the paper.
40. Frank Boulton
Long Island Ducks Principal Owner
We all know how difficult it is to build a stadium on Long Island. If you think that’s difficult, try selling it out for every game even though you don’t have a professional team. Not content being a minor league baseball magnate, Boulton went a step further and created an entertainment destination at a YMCA to bring culture to the downtown of his beloved Bay Shore. Even though Long Island boasts the Jones Beach Amphitheater and the Nassau Coliseum as sports and entertainment centers, Boulton gives personality and local flavor to the family and cultural scene. These are uniquely LI gifts that it takes a force of nature to build and a force of good nature to maintain.