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Kevin O'Connor - Honoree (Chief Executive Officer at Dime Community Bank)

Kevin O'Connor - Honoree

Chief Executive Officer at Dime Community Bank

Kevin O'Connor was named the Chief Executive Officer of Dime Community Bank in 2020. 60 branches, 800 employees and $12 billion in assets make Dime Bank one of the region’s largest community bank. Prior to leading Dime, Mr. O’Connor served as the Chief Executive Officer of Bridgehampton National Bank, where he led the Long Island community institution through a period of dramatic growth and financial stability for over 13 years. Other roles in financial services included senior positions at North Fork Bank and KPMG.

Throughout his career, Mr. O’Connor’s leadership strategy has been marked by a focus on organic growth, strategic acquisition and community-based customer service and culture. Local businesses from Manhattan to Montauk have benefited from Mr. O’Connor’s lifelong commitment to the New York communities his banks have served. Mr. O’Connor has been named one of Long Island's top CEOs by Long Island Business News and during his tenure as CEO, BNB Bank was consistently rated by Newsday as one of the top places to work on Long Island.

Mr. O’Connor sits on the boards of Pursuit, the New York State Bankers Association, the Hauppauge Industrial Association, and the Long Island Association. Kevin is also on the board of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and is part of their affiliate entity, Brooklyn Alliance Capital. Mr. O’Connor is a current member of the Board of Trustees of Suffolk County Community College and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants.

A Long Island native, Mr. O’Connor holds accounting degrees from Suffolk Community College and Adelphi University. Kevin is a lifelong supporter of the Suffolk County Boy Scouts, and the Long Island chapters of the American Red Cross and American Heart Association. Most recently, Mr. O’Connor led the creation of the Dime Community Bank Foundation, designed to expand the reach of Dime Bank’s local charitable efforts. Mr. O’Connor has three sons and makes his home in Great River, New York.

Serge Abergel - Honoree (Chief Operating Officer at Hydro-Quebec Energy Services)

Serge Abergel - Honoree

Chief Operating Officer at Hydro-Quebec Energy Services

Serge Abergel took office as Chief Operating Officer of Hydro-Québec Energy
Services in December 2021. This subsidiary is responsible for hydropower export
initiatives to the New York and New England markets.

Since joining Hydro-Québec in 2014, Mr. Abergel has held various positions in
media and stakeholder relations and government affairs. He has also led
information campaigns on the company’s export initiatives and is a frequent
public speaker on Hydro-Québec’s clean energy generating fleet and
transmission system. Prior to his most recent appointment, he served as
Director – Communications.
Mr. Abergel has considerable previous experience working as a public affairs
officer in the Canadian Armed Forces and the federal correctional system.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in operations management from HEC Montréal

Rachelle Antoine - Honoree (Manager, External Affairs & Community Outreach at The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey)

Rachelle Antoine - Honoree

Manager, External Affairs & Community Outreach at The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey

Rachelle Antoine is the Manager of External Affairs and Community Outreach for the John F. Kennedy International Redevelopment Program. She is responsible for communications, community engagement, and diversity outreach initiatives related to JFK Airport's historic $18B redevelopment program. In addition, she manages the Project Community Outreach Office opened to the public, serving as the central resource for job and contracting opportunities, training, and business development opportunities for residents. One of her key areas of focus is working with the Office of Diversity & Inclusion in the development, management, and oversight of the 30% Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) goals of projects associated with the JFK Redevelopment Program.

Previously, she was the Budget Director for New York State Assemblyman Clyde Vanel, where she led the budgeting process for annual, quarterly, and monthly budget development of the community office and worked as a community liaison working heavily with constituents to address individual concerns by coordinating with government agencies on the city and state levels.

Rachelle is a Corporate Social Worker, Educator, Musician, and Entrepreneur. Her Macro Social Work background entails developing a broad, multidimensional approach to problem-solving that fosters the community's most creative, innovative, and integrative solutions possible. She is a board member of Community Board 13, where she sits on the Economic and Transportation Committees.

She is also a Chief Operating Officer for Arise Project for Humanity, an organization working to empower youth worldwide through mentoring.

Rachelle holds a Master of Science in Macro Social Work from Columbia University. She also received her bachelor’s degree in Social Work from York College, City University of New York, and served as the President of the Student Government Association.

Rachelle was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Cite Soleil. She is the third in a family of four children. At age 10, Rachelle immigrated with her family to Queens, New York.

She is a lover of Jazz, Folk, and Gospel Music. She is co-owner of AMC Music Academy, a group of youth ages 9 to 21, where she teaches brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments.

Loycent Gordon - Honoree (Owner and Proprietor at Neir's Tavern)

Loycent Gordon - Honoree

Owner and Proprietor at Neir's Tavern

Born in Jamaica, Loycent Gordon moved to America as a young boy. He had a strong
desire to give back to the country that welcomed him and had given him so much. After the
events of 9/11, Loycent joined the FDNY, became a firefighter and eventually was promoted to

In 2009, when one of the oldest bars in America was set to close its doors forever,
Loy felt another strong calling to give back. Despite having no experience, he jumped in and
saved historic Neir’s Tavern – and did it again in 2020, this time with assistance from the
community who rallied round him, attracting the help of the Mayor, Queens Chamber of
Commerce, and elected officials.

This propelled Neir’s Tavern and Loycent into the national spotlight in an inspiring story now
known as the night Neir’s Tavern was saved.

When he first took ownership of Neir’s, Loy compensated for his lack of experience with his
inherent ability to cultivate a committed community. Neir’s is now considered the first restaurant
in America to have a street co-named in its honor, as well as being placed in the United States
Congressional Record. This has consistently garnered national media attention, though the
tagline of Neir’s remains the same: “The most famous bar you’ve never heard of!”

Beyond working tirelessly to ensure Neir’s Tavern reaches its 200th Anniversary, Loycent’s
mission is to share the “Customers to Community” principles with independent restaurant
professionals. These principles are the result of combining more than a decade of
community-building experience and restaurant ownership.

He believes that every restaurant
owner can be more supported and empowered by building their own committed local community
around their business, without always resorting to unsustainable discounts and “loyalty”
programs. In a truly symbiotic relationship, this community enables the restaurant to become
more resilient through healthier margins that restaurants historically suffer with, which in turn
benefits the most committed and supportive guests with a priceless community hub for
generations to come.

“We don’t need more customers, we need more community.” - Loycent

Peter Kapsalis - Honoree (CEO, Managing Director of Cine Magic LIC Studios)

Peter Kapsalis - Honoree

CEO, Managing Director of Cine Magic LIC Studios
Dr. Stacie NC Grant - Honoree (Community Advisory Council Facilitator at JFK Redevelopment Program)

Dr. Stacie NC Grant - Honoree

Community Advisory Council Facilitator at JFK Redevelopment Program

Dr. Stacie NC Grant often quotes this message from Gandhi “The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.” This is how she has built a global platform of service. Dr. Grant has spent countless hours quietly volunteering her time and service in the community through her civic engagement and youth mentorship.

From working closely with local elected officials to support community outreach, to volunteering her time speaking with students in her local schools, to serving on PTA Boards, Dr. Grant gets the greatest joy from serving others. She has received numerous awards from the White House, NYS Senate, NYS Assembly, NYC City Council, Office of the Governor of NY, national and local organizations including her most recent recognition as a Woman of Distinction by the Continental Societies, Inc.

Her body of work is punctuated by receiving the 2016 Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Service from our 44th President Barack Obama, an appointment in 2017 as a Fellow of the Most Excellent Order of International Experts (FOIE) and a recipient of the 2019 I CHANGE NATIONS (ICN) World Civility Ambassador Award. In 2021 Dr. Grant was named as one of The Power 50 MWBE Businesses in New York State & New York City, VIP Global Magazine Top 50 Women in Business and The Network Journal’s 25 Most Influential Black Women in Business

Dr. Edwin Simpser - Honoree (President and Chief Executive Officer at St. Mary's Healthcare System for Children)

Dr. Edwin Simpser - Honoree

President and Chief Executive Officer at St. Mary's Healthcare System for Children

Dr. Simpser joined St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children as Chief Medical Officer in 1999 and is presently its President and Chief Executive Officer. Over the past 20 years, he has tirelessly devoted himself to advancing the organization’s mission of caring for children with special needs and their families.

A practicing pediatrician and pediatric gastroenterologist, Dr. Simpser received his medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, and completed his residency in pediatrics at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Simpser was both a Research Fellow and Clinical Fellow in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at North Shore University Hospital and Cornell University Medical College. He has taught students, residents, and fellows throughout New York City including Cornell University Medical College, New York University School of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and New York College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYCOM). He currently is on the faculty of the Hofstra NS-LIJ School of Medicine.

Dr. Simpser has been a long-time advocate for children with complex medical conditions among national, state, and local government agencies and professional healthcare organizations. He is Co-Founder and President of the Pediatric Complex Care Association, a national organization of children’s healthcare facilities dedicated to serving children with medically complex conditions. He is also an active member of several prestigious medical associations focused on issues of pediatrics, pediatric nutrition and medical care for children with special health care needs. Additionally, Dr. Simpser is involved in a number of New York State committees that focus on children’s health issues as part of the state’s Medicaid Redesign Team.

While overseeing the day-to-day operations of St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children, Dr. Simpser continues to provide direct medical care to children as an attending physician at the Department of Pediatrics at North Shore University Hospital, New York Hospital, and the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center.

Since assuming the role of President and Chief Executive Officer at St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children, Dr. Simpser has shaped the organization’s strategic direction so that St. Mary’s can continue to meet the needs of New York’s steadily increasing population of medically fragile children. In recent years, he played a pivotal leadership role in the construction of a new Children’s Pavilion at our children’s hospital, as well as in the development of many pioneering programs for children with special needs, including St. Mary’s Center for Pediatric Feeding Disorders and St. Mary’s Home Care, a special needs Certified Home Health Agency for children and young adults.