In the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy, it was clear to residents and business owners in Nassau and Suffolk Counties — the largest suburban region in New York State and arguably the most important one politically — the recovery and rebuilding process would be long and complex.
That’s why in the Spring of 2013, Governor Andrew Cuomo tapped Mark J. Grossman — a seasoned, respected, community and government official — to provide leadership at the newly established Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery.
Making His Mark at Labor
Mark had been working for five years at the New York State Department of Labor as the Commissioner’s Long Island Representative. His proactive style, keen knowledge of the community, and extensive professional and political network helped to redefine the position as Commissioner’s Representative in ways that now serve as a model for the state. He had joined the agency during a very challenging time — in the spring of 2008 just when the real estate and Wall Street bubbles burst, and the private sector was shedding jobs by the thousands.
The capacity of the workforce training and placement system was being tested daily as the unemployment ranks swelled. Mark met that challenge head-on by developing strategic collaborative partnerships in the public and private sectors and working closely with training providers and re-employment counselors. In short course, he became a leader in the region’s workforce development and organized labor communities.
Mark also served as the Labor Department’s key regional liaison with industry trade associations, social and human service agencies, the K-12 and higher education communities, regional planning and development organizations, local municipal governments, as well as state agencies and state legislators.
Mark also served as Deputy Executive Director of the Governor’s Long Island Regional Economic Development Council where he forged important partnerships that ultimately shepherded critical funding that allowed the creation of the Long Island STEM Hub. He did that by bringing key stakeholders to the table, many who, in the past, had worked competitively rather than collaboratively. He helped develop and shape a regional strategic plan that has brought hundreds of millions of new economic development dollars to the Long Island Region.
Irene, Then Sandy
Mark’s extensive “Rolodex” of Long Island leaders and his strong management skills proved invaluable to the relatively new administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo. Plus, Mark was no stranger to the Governor nor to the workings of the State Capitol; he been a top regional aide to former Governor Mario Cuomo some two decades earlier.
So, when Hurricane Irene struck on August 28, 2011, Mark was quickly redeployed in its wake to work with local governments and public utilities to help coordinate and facilitate the restoration of electric service as quickly as possible.
Jump-cut 14 months later. Super Storm Sandy batters the east coast cutting power to 90 percent of Long Island and significantly damaging more than 10 percent of the region’s housing stock. It was, as they say in the Navy, a time for, “All hands on deck.” And once again, Mark was redeployed.
However, this storm was different. The devastation was widespread and in many areas the destruction was horrific. It was clear that this redeployment was not going to be short-term.
Helping the Region to Recover
In April 2013, Mark Grossman officially joined the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR) as the Long Island Field Director for “New York Rising,” the federally funded state program that provides the resources for homeowners and small businesses to repair and rebuild.
Mark played a key role in the weeks after Sandy establishing and overseeing more than a dozen intake and case management centers. He worked closely with local governments to ensure that they were able to access the resources they needed. Mark also served as a liaison with private industry groups, trade associations, volunteer recovery groups, and other NGOs to ensure coordination and increase efficiency in the delivery of services.
Mark is now working with large public institutions such as schools, hospitals, and municipal governments, to ensure that they can gain access to every available funding stream in order to minimize budget gaps resulting from unreimbursed Sandy repair and storm mitigation expenses.
A PR/GR Leader
Mark is one of the most respected, skilled, and experienced intergovernmental, public advocacy, and media relations professionals in the Long Island region.
Among his public sector work, he was a top aide to former Governor Mario M. Cuomo and a deputy to Brookhaven Town Supervisor Brian X. Foley. In the private sector, he founded and managed Grossman Strategies, a highly successful and award-winning public relations firm that was named Long Island Association’s 2003 Small Business of Year.
A member of the adjunct faculty at Suffolk County Community College where he serves as an Assistant Professor, Mark teaches in their Communications Department. He is also a member of the adjunct faculty at New York Institute of Technology and Hofstra University.
Mark holds a Masters Degree with Distinction from New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, NY where he majored in Communication Arts. He was a graduate fellow who attended NYIT on full scholarship. Mark also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Film Making from School of Visual Arts in New York City.
Paying it Forward
You hear the term, “paying it forward” quite a lot, now-a-days. The concept, however, is quite old and is embodied in the Hebrew commandment of “tikkun olam.” That spirit of giving back to the community has always been an important part of Mark’s personal and professional life.
Mark has a long-time affiliation with Literacy Suffolk (formerly Literacy Volunteers of America), where he served as board president and now is on their advisory council. He is chairman of the board of the Long Island Works Coalition, a member of the Manufacturing Technology Advisory Board at Suffolk Community College as well as a member of the Eastern Suffolk BOCES Career and Technical Education Task Force.
As principal of Grossman Strategies, Mark often took on pro bono work to assist not-for-profits. One such project was the campaign to fund and construct a new home for United Way of Long Island called “The New Center for Hope.” Grossman Strategies’ efforts are memorialized on the Founder’s Wall at the Deer Park, NY facility.
Mark also served two terms as a member of the South Country Central School District board of education where he was twice elected by large margins. And he is a long-time member of the Mastic Beach Hebrew Center where he serves as a trustee as well as a substitute teacher at their Religious School.
Rebuilding the State Democratic Party from the Bottom Up
While Bill Clinton swept into office in 1992, Democrats across the country were struggling. Newt Gingrich’s Contract for America was quickly gaining popularity and key Democratic House seats were being targeted by the GOP as the 1994 mid-term elections approached. In New York, Mario Cuomo was predicted a shoe-in against George Pataki, a relatively unknown state legislator. But Election Day was a political tsunami that not only changed the face of Congress, but the politics of many state houses, including New York.
The New York State Democratic Committee was in shambles, a shell of its once mighty self. Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver, left standing as the titular head of the Party, backed Judith Hope as the new State Chair, a former East Hampton Town Supervisor who knew how to turn Republican voters into Democrats.
Hope immediately turned to fellow Long Islander, Mark Grossman, to help develop and execute a myriad of grassroots communications campaigns aimed at re-growing the Party from the bottom up. It included the creation of a traveling campaign school that trained candidates and political staff . . . strategic fundraising for key races . . . support for local county and town committees to help nurture a political “farm team” . . . an extra focus on rural communities that had long felt ignored . . . and a steady drumbeat of news and information about the opposition sent via newsletter, blast fax, and later by email.
By this point, Mark had become an integral part of the State Committee apparatus . . . part of what was Judith called her “A Team,” a small group of operatives who were dedicated to rebuilding the State Party.
The result: Democrats started to win races in cities, towns, and villages where they never won before. Statewide, the first big break came in 1998 when Brooklyn Congressman Chuck Schumer took-on the popular Al D’Amato and scored a decisive win. Two years later, Mark served as Communications Director for what is considered New York’s most historic and largest State Party nominating convention ever — the one in 1990 at the Knickerbocker Arena in Albany where First Lady Hillary Clinton was unanimously nominated to run for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Daniel Patrick Moynihan. It was an effort that took months to plan, and came off without a hitch.
Next Best Thing to Being a Batboy
Mark was born and raised in the Bronx, where he says his first job at age 16 was his best job: selling hot dogs at Yankee Stadium during the 1973 season. However, Mark’s “field of dreams” was short-lived as the Yankees moved to Shea Stadium in Queens for the next two seasons while the original Yankee Stadium was gutted and refurbished.
Mark resides in Bellport, NY and has two (beautiful!) teenage daughters, one in middle school and the other a senior in high school.
For more detailed information on Mark’s professional experience, skills, and affiliations, please go to the Resume/CV page.