Public Services: Catching Up and Getting Ahead


As the fastest growing neighborhood, and having already grown beyond all original projections, what do we need in terms of services and infrastructure to both serve our current population both of residents and workers, and be ready to serve the new LIC-ers who are coming? In this panel we will explore how the city and state look at planning – including for Schools, Transportation, Open Space, Infrastructure - for such a diverse and fast growing area.


Gary kesner (Moderator)

EVP, Silvercup Studios

Gary Kesner is Executive Vice President of Silvercup Studios, one of New York’s largest, full-service film, television and commercial production facilities. Silvercup’s affiliate, Silvertrucks, provides location lighting services in the metropolitan area.  Mr. Kesner supervises operations, administrative, legal and financial affairs for the companies.  Silvercup is currently home to such television series as Girls, Elementary, Younger and Madam Secretary and served as the production venue for such classic productions as 30 Rock, The Sopranos and Sex & The City. 

gregG bishop

Commissioner, NYC Department of Small Business Services

As Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS), Gregg Bishop is charged with running a dynamic City agency focused on equity of opportunity, that leads to economic self-sufficiency and mobility for New York City's diverse communities.  SBS actively connects New Yorkers to good jobs, creates stronger businesses, and builds a thriving economy in neighborhoods across the five boroughs. 
Born in Grenada and raised in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, Bishop began his career at the agency in 2008, and was responsible for a suite of programs designed to make it easier for businesses to start, operate, and grow, and to recover from emergencies.   He was successively promoted into higher positions as Deputy Commissioner of the Business Development Division and Assistant Commissioner of the Division of Economic and Financial Opportunity at SBS, where he oversaw parts of the M/WBE program including certification and capacity building to support the business needs of City buyers and prime contractors. 
Prior to his career in government, Bishop served as the Senior Manager of Workforce Development at NPower, and the Director of Web Operations at Oxygen Media.  He was the Vice President of Technology Operations at and began his career at VIBE Magazine during the pioneering days of the web.
Bishop received a Master's degree in Integrated Marketing and Management Communication from Florida State University, and a B.S. in Business Administration from Florida A&M University. He is a graduate of Harvard Kennedy School's Senior Executives in State and Local Government program.


Andy Byford

President, MTA New York City Transit

Andy Byford was appointed President of New York City Transit (NYCT) in January 2018. Prior to joining NYCT, Mr. Byford was Chief Executive Officer of the Toronto Transit Commission, where he led the third largest transit agency in North America, Canada’s largest transit agency, carrying over 540 million riders per year. From 2009 to 2011, as Chief Operating Officer of Rail Corporation, Sydney, Mr. Byford delivered service to a million customers a day on Australia’s largest transit network.  From 2003 to 2009, he held the position of Operations and Safety Director with Southern Railway and South Eastern Trains Limited, UK.  

At London Underground from 1989 to 2003, his roles included Group Station Manager, Kings Cross and General Manager – Customer Service for three of the busiest subway lines. Mr. Byford holds a degree in French and German from the University of Leicester. He is from Plymouth in the UK, and is a member of the Institution of Railway Operators.


President & Chief Executive Officer, NYC School Construction Authority

Lorraine Grillo began her career at the SCA over 24 years ago as a Community Relations Specialist. She served as Director of Government and Community Relations, Senior Director of Real Estate Services, Executive Director/Chief of Staff to the President. 

In 2010, Lorraine became the Acting President and CEO. After successfully opening 24 new schools, the most in SCA history, she was appointed President and CEO.  In 2014, Lorraine was one of two re-appointments from the prior administration by Mayor Bill de Blasio and the longest serving SCA President.

Under Lorraine’s leadership, the SCA has successfully completed over 20 billion dollars of construction, producing over 70,000 new school seats and completing thousands of capital improvement projects.  She led the SCA in its effort to find innovative ways to address school overcrowding, including developing strong public/private partnerships with major developers. She met the challenge of replacing PCB containing light fixtures in 760 schools within five years, expeditiously reopened 71 schools damaged by Hurricane Sandy and in 2015, the SCA met the administration’s mandate and opened 35 Universal PreK Centers. Throughout her career, she has been a tireless advocate for the MWLBE community, maintaining the SCA’s reputation for the best MWBE program in NY State. 

Jimmy Van Bramer_CircleHeadshot.png

Jimmy Van Bramer

New York City Council Member

A lifelong resident of Queens, Jimmy Van Bramer was first elected to the New York City Council on November 3, 2009. First reelected in 2013, he was overwhelmingly elected to a third 4-year term on November 7, 2017.
Now serving as Deputy Leader of the City Council, Council Member Van Bramer was reappointed by Speaker Corey Johnson to the Budget Negotiating Team (BNT) which plays an integral role in formulating the City’s budget to fund critical programs, projects and organizations citywide. Council Member Van Bramer was also reappointed to chair the Council’s Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations Committee. As committee Chair, he has oversight over 200 libraries and thousands of cultural organizations, institutions and programs throughout New York City. Council Member Van Bramer has led this committee his entire tenure in City Council.
He has fought for significant capital projects in his district, including the Hunters Point Library, Queensbridge Seawall and park house, and the expanded Hunters Point South Park. He has collaborated with DDC and DOT on street redesign projects for Long Island City and has called for more City say in the MTA decision making process. Council Member Van Bramer represents Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City and parts of Astoria.