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Chamber of Commerce Honors Community Leaders

Seeking a unified Great Neck with everyone working together

A Great Neck where everyone works together! That is what Great Neck Chamber of Commerce President Hooshang Nematzadeh called for at the Chamber’s annual awards dinner last Wednesday evening, April 25. In the beautiful waterfront setting at Melville Hall at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, the chamber presented four awards to members of the local community who consistently support the Chamber of Commerce and work together for the benefit of the entire Great Neck community.

Mr. Nematzadeh said that the honorees “have demonstrated that they are leaders in their fields and continue to contribute to the overall economic growth and development of Great Neck.”

Mr. Nematzadeh opened the evening with a thank you to those who work so hard to promote a better, stronger Great Neck. And he called for everyone to continue to work together, in partnership, as one community.

Frank Lalezarian, honored with the Jesse Markel award, founded his real estate development business in 1981, having just emigrated from Iran. Today the company develops multi-family high-rise apartment buildings, retail buildings and Class A office buildings throughout the metropolitan area. Throughout the years Mr. Lalezarian has given his time and financial assistance to many worthy institutions. He has been a supporter of The Friends of IDF and The Great Neck Arts Center. He is a donor and board member of the Iranian American Jewish Federation, the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System, Long Island Hebrew Academy and The Maccabee Foundation. He is a donor and board member of the Iranian American Jewish Federation, the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System, Long Island Hebrew Academy and The Maccabee Foundation.

Mr. Nematzadeh said that his friend and mentor Frank Lalezarian is “a great developer and a unique person … his developments in Great Neck have added so much to the landscape.”

Accepting his award, Mr. Lalezarian said that the honor is not for one person but for “all in this great Great Neck community.” He spoke of how much Great Neck has to offer and that everyone should always welcome new people … and he added that the new members of the community should also be welcoming to those in their new home.

Steven Kocoris, awarded the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce Business Person of the Year Award, is a group director and senior vice president at Signature Bank where he focuses on serving the financial needs for businesses, individuals and private clients in the metropolitan New York area. A longtime member of the Great Neck Chamber of Commerce, he has served on the chamber’s We Care Committee since 2000, helping raise funds for special causes in the Great Neck community. He has been on the chamber board since 2003 and chamber treasurer since 2007. He has also served as treasurer of Kiwanis and co-chaired fundraisers for local scholarships.

Joel Halpern received one of two Robert E. Freedman Retailer awards. Joel Halpern, owner of Jesse Halpern Skate and Tennis Shop, now runs the shop his father opened in December 1940. Personal service, expert fitting, and quality workmanship are the keys to the success of this family-owned business. Over the years the Halperns have supported various charitable organizations by donating skates for underprivileged children.

The Robert E. Freedman Retailer Award was also presented to Frank, Chris and Frank, Jr. Marzano. Chris Marzano and Frank Marzano, Jr. of Don Joe Auto Body Shop run this family-owned and operated business which their father opened in 1950. The Marzano family has always taken pride in their work and the appearance of their business and they are currently undergoing a major renovation to improve their operation and improve their service to the Great Neck community.

Rounding out the evening, Richard Stancati was presented with a special “surprise” award. Mr. Stancati, along with his wife Lolly, are long-time Great Neck residents who first owned the popular restaurant, The Kitchen, before moving on to run the restaurant/catering facility at the U.S.M.M.A. Mr. Stancati was originally president and then chairman of the board of the Great Neck Village Business Association. When that organization merged with the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Stancati became an active member of the Chamber.

Thanking the large crowd for being a part of the evening, Mr. Nematzadeh was most appreciative in acknowledging the wonderful mix of cultures attending and coming together to support Great Neck and the Chamber of Commerce.