About 300 of the borough’s top business leaders and local pols gathered at Gargiulo’s restaurant in Coney Island on Oct. 24 for the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s annual membership meeting and trade show.
The Chamber’s newly crowned president and chief executive officer, Hector Batista, told the crowd that the Chamber deserves to be celebrated for keeping the borough’s economy strong.
“Thanks to the energy and commitment in this room, coupled with the leadership of those who came before me, and the unwavering support of our visionary Brooklyn elected officials, the Brooklyn Chamber has become a highly-effective economic development engine for the borough,” Batista said.
The event marked Batista’s official welcoming to the job by elected officials and members of the borough’s business community. Batista is the first Hispanic to hold the position in the Chamber’s 100-year history, and he said he is proud to hold the post in the borough where he was born and raised.
“I grew up in Brooklyn, went to school here, raised my children here, and I continue to believe there is no place else in the world quite like the great borough of Brooklyn,” Batista said. “There’s no Chamber of Commerce — not in New York City, not in New York State — quite like the Brooklyn Chamber.”
In this new position, Batista will lead all three arms of the Brooklyn Chamber — including its eponymous 501c(3) corporation; as well as its economic development arm, the Brooklyn Alliance; and its associated community-development lender, Brooklyn Alliance Capital Inc.
He said he will work closely with the boards of directors of all three organizations, with Brooklyn’s small businesses, elected officials and other neighborhood and community leaders.
Batista succeeds Andrew Hoan, who left last May to lead the Portland Business Alliance.
The event also featured a two-hour trade show, where business leaders and reps from local colleges, universities, and media companies — including our very own Schneps Community News Group — offered information on their borough-wide offerings.