Mayor Bloomberg two weeks ago named eight members to the new Chinatown/Lower East Side Empire Zone Administrative Board. The board was established last year to stimulate private investment, development and job creation through financial incentives and tax credits.
The Department of Small Business Services will oversee the board, and Carl Hum, head of the Mayor’s Office of Industrial and Manufacturing Businesses, will serve as chairperson. City Councilmembers Alan Gerson and Rosie Mendez will serve as advisers to the board along with Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.
In addition to Hum, a former financial analyst with the City Council and organizer of 16 industrial business zones in the city, the new appointees include:
• May Y. Chen, manager of Local 23-25 UNITE HERE, representing immigrant garment workers. She previously worked with the I.L.G.W.U. Immigration Project and for the Local 23-25 education department. She also now serves on the Garment Industry Development Corp., Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance and New York Immigration Coalition.
• Michael A. Fields, first vice president of Valley National Bank, responsible for financing affordable housing, small businesses and economic development. He has been active professionally in regional planning and urban policy.
• Richard Kerekes, director of the Explore Chinatown marketing campaign at NYC & Co., the city’s official tourism marketing organization. He was vice president of sales and marketing for Gray Line Tours before he launched his own consulting business.
• Leon Y. Lee, president of the Professional Business College and board member of Long Island Business Institute. Professional Business College is a two-year accredited college in Chinatown that trains new immigrants in office and business skills and English as a second language.
• Stu Loeser, a Lower East Side resident who was appointed Bloomberg’s press secretary in January 2006. He was spokesperson for the mayor’s 2005 election campaign and previously worked as senior aide to U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and served President Clinton’s administration in various capacities for five years.
• Eric Ng, president of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, New York Chinese School and Chinatown Daycare Center. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1970 and worked at Chemical Bank and Haskin & Sells accounting firm. He is a former partner in Genie Fortune Cookie, Inc., and founded a wholesale coffee and egg business.
• Robert Ragone, executive director of the Lower East Side Business Improvement District. He was special projects coordinator of the infrastructure/human services division of the City Council. For the Council, he managed public hearings, legislative strategy and press conferences on economic and small business development, waterfront development, Lower Manhattan redevelopment and environmental and transportation issues.