Published on February 26, 2021 | | Written by Giavanni Alves
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — On Thursday morning, the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce honored seven esteemed local business professionals at the annual Louis R. Miller Business Leadership Awards.
The recipients are selected in recognition of their outstanding leadership, business savvy, and significant contributions to the community.
This year’s event was unlike any of the past 26 – it was held virtually. More than 120 people logged into Remo, a video conference platform, to attend the award ceremony.
Remo impressively simulated one particular part of the event, which is traditionally in-person. During the networking hour, attendees were able to join virtual tables to video chat with each other in small groups. People were able to table-hop as they would in-person to catch up with friends, family, and colleagues as well as meet new people.
The style of the presentations was also different this year. Typically presenters roast the honorees with playful jokes while a live audience laughs along with them. However, this year, presenters had to pre-record their remarks with no audience to feed off of.
The presenters included: Al Lambert (Al Lambert Associates Inc.); Jon Salmon (Salmon Real Estate); Tom Scarangello (Scaran); Ken Tirado (Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn); Frank Wilkinson (Rab’s Country Lanes).
The awards are named in honor of Lou Miller, a local business leader, community activist, and West Brighton resident who died in 1994 at the age of 93. Miller was integral to the formation of the Business Education Development Council, which was created in 1993 as a liaison between the business community and the College of Staten Island.
The awards are presented in four categories: “Emerging,” “Established,” “Master,” and “Not-For-Profit.”
This year’s recipients were:
Dean L. Balsamini (Regional Director, The Small Business Development Center at CSI)
Dr. Karen DiBona and Dr. Mark Scamardella (Dental Partners, DiBona & Scamardella Dental Studio)
Susan Fenley (Executive Director, Sundog Theatre Inc.)
Thomas J. Hall, Esq. (Partner, The Law Firm of Hall & Hall LLP)
Shawn J. Stradford Sr. (President/CEO, Stradford Home for Funerals and Cremations, Inc.)
Lakruwana Wijesinghe (Owner, Lakruwana Restaurant)
During the program Staten Island Chamber of Commerce’s President and CEO, Linda Baran, led a moment of silence in honor of former Lou Miller award recipients who have died in the past year. These include Dominick Brancato, Lucille Chazanoff, Elizabeth Dubovsky, Rev. Dr. Daniel Mercaldo, and Dr. Ronald Sheppard.
This event was presented by the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce and the Staten Island Advance with tech support from Tekie Geek. This year’s sponsors included: Bucks Business Network, ConEdison, Empire State Bank, Hall & Hall LLP, National Grid, Northfield Bank, Scaran, and United Activities Unlimited.