I’ve got more than 25 years worth of public service experience and currently serve as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Family and Children’s Association, based in Mineola, NY. Since it began as an orphanage 135 years ago, Family and Children’s Association (FCA) has been committed to caring for Long Island’s vulnerable children, youth and families while helping them prepare for successful futures. We offer community-based programs for struggling families, at-risk adolescents, vulnerable seniors, and adults challenged by substance abuse. Today, FCA is one of Long Island’s largest health and human organizations with an annual budget of $21 million, 350 staff, 200 volunteers and 30+ programs.
From 2009-2014, I was privileged to serve as Executive Director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD). With offices in Mineola, Holbrook and Riverhead, LICADD provides substance abuse screenings, brief interventions and referrals to addiction treatment, as well as professionally-facilitated family interventions, relapse prevention programs and anger management services to adults and adolescents. Under my leadership, LICADD pioneered the launch of “Too Good for Drugs, an evidence-based K-12 substance abuse prevention program in several Long Island schools, initiated a new mentoring program for children of incarcerated parents and expanded LICADD’s Employee Assistance Program, which now covers 60,000 public and private employees in the tri-state area. During my tenure, LICADD’s revenues tripled and the number of families served per month increased nine-fold.
Prior to joining the LICADD team, I worked for the Long Island Association for AIDS Care for 19 years, where I started out doing case management and finished my tenure as Vice President for Public Affairs, responsible for government relations, resource development, strategic marketing, and communications. In 1997, I co-founded BiasHELP of Long Island, an organization dedicated to assisting victims of hate crimes and their families. As BiasHELP’s Chief Operating Officer, I secured federal, state and local grants and launched a wide array of crime victim assistance services and school-based violence prevention programs.
I chaired the Suffolk County Heroin/Opiate Epidemic Advisory Panel, I’m on the Executive Committee of the Nassau County Heroin Prevention Task Force and serve as co-chair of Suffolk County’s Sober Home Oversight Board. I have served as Chair of the Nassau County Youth Board, appointed by the Nassau County Executive and serve on Suffolk County’s Welfare to Work Commission. I remain the longest serving member of the NYS AIDS Advisory Council, first appointed by the NYS Senate Majority Leader in 1994 and reappointed four times since then. In 2016, I was appointed by NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo to serve on New York’s Heroin and Opioids Task Force and I currently chair the Huntington Town Opiate Task Force. I served on Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s Transition Team and co-chair Nassau’s Nonprofit Task Force. In August, 2018, I was appointed by Governor Cuomo to serve on a task force to draft legislation to create New York’s Adult-Used Regulated Marijuana Program.
I have served as a consultant and grant reviewer for the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and am a frequent presenter at local, statewide and national health and human service conferences.
I have authored more than 250 news and op-ed articles that have appeared in a wide variety of publications and am consistently used as an expert source for substance abuse, addiction, HIV/AIDS and human/civil rights information by local and national radio, television, print and online outlets.
I have been fortunate to receive numerous awards for my community service, business acumen and leadership and was named one of the “50 most influential Long Islanders” each year between 2010 and 2019 by the Long Island Press. I was honored by the Simple Hope Foundation for my efforts to prevent drunk driving and I have received the Distinguished Professional Award from Caron Treatment Centers. In December 2013, I was named “Man of the Year” by The Times of Smithtown and since 2016, have received awards from the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, STRONG Youth, Mainstream House and the Long Island Recovery Association (LIRA). In 2017, I received the Outstanding Nonprofit Association Executive Award from the New York Society of Association Executives.
I hold a Bachelors degree in psychology from Dowling College, a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) with a specialization in health administration from Long Island University and a doctorate from Stony Brook University’s School of Social Welfare. My doctoral dissertation focused on the how people change health-related behaviors and I have lectured at Stony Brook University and Long Island University. I am also a Certified Employee Assistance Professional (CEAP), a U.S. Department of Transportation-qualified Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) and a graduate of the Energeia Partnership, a regional leadership academy run by Molloy College.
I’m an avid runner, having completed my first 5K in October, 2010. Since then, I have competed in dozens of road races and completed the Long Island Marathon four times (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015), the 2013, 2015 , 2017 and 2019 New York City Marathon, the Suffolk County Marathon (2015), the Steamtown Marathon (2014, 2018) and the Philadelphia Marathon (2016). Since 2013, I have also completed 29 triathlons including the olympic-distance New York City Triathlon three times and five Ironman 70.3 mile races (Atlantic City, 2016 & 2017; Maryland, 2017, 2018 &2019).