Scissura takes reins of Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce

September 7, 2012 Helen Klein
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The future is looking rosy at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce where lifelong Brooklynite Carlo A. Scissura has just taken the reins as president and CEO.

Scissura’s tenure at the chamber began officially on September 1, and he promises to take the Chamber and borough businesses and workers forward toward what he describes as “the prize – more jobs in Brooklyn, more economic growth in Brooklyn,” not only in the neighborhoods that have seen economic growth in recent years but also in those areas that have lagged behind.

“I think one of the challenges and one of the exciting opportunities is to look at this borough as one,” Scissura told this newspaper. “We have great local development organizations, great merchants associations, great Business Improvement Districts. We have to bring it all together.”

This, Scissura contended, means, “We have to use the Brooklyn brand to get not just great stories about Brooklyn but new jobs in Brooklyn, new companies in Brooklyn, new manufacturers in Brooklyn,” as well as “taking the manufacturers that are now doing such innovative things and helping them expand not just in Brooklyn but across America and through the world.

“The chamber’s job is to support businesses on the cutting edge and also to look at neighborhoods that are not doing as well and have a real life strategy to help those communities and to help entrepreneurs start up businesses in those communities,” Scissura stressed, adding that one of the chamber’s goals is to “work closely with the city on identifying new locations for business incubators. They should be opening up in areas that need support.” In addition, he said, the chamber would “use its resources” to “help place people in jobs. That’s an important thing we are going to focus on immediately.”

Such an overarching effort is very familiar to the Bensonhurst native and Dyker Heights resident, who comes to his new post from Borough Hall, where he served for five years as Borough President Marty Markowitz’s chief of staff, a post in which he gained what he called “a borough-wide perspective.”

His time in that position is part of what Scissura believes makes heading up the Chamber a perfect fit for him, balanced with his other experience – as a small business owner (he had a law office in Dyker Heights) and as a community activist (with five years on the school board of District 20, where he served as vice president; four years on the district’s Community Education Council, as president; and 10 years as a member of Community Board 11).

Looking forward, Scissura promises to revitalize some popular Chamber programs that had languished, such as Brooklyn Eats, which he says will be “coming back with a vengeance, but very differently. It will really speak to the renaissance of Brooklyn’s food and beverage manufacturing. It will be about Brooklyn, made in Brooklyn, but for the whole world to see.”

Another Chamber effort that will be revitalized, said Scissura, is Brooklyn Designs, which will return as well “with a vengeance but a little different, taking into account that while DUMBO is still at the forefront of the design world in Brooklyn, Red Hook, Williamsburg, Gowanus and Bushwick are all at the forefront of getting wonderful design places. I think we are going to be expanding to really look at the whole borough.”

On a different note, Scissura said that the chamber would soon be announcing the creation of a borough-wide economic development council. That, he said, will be “an opportunity to bring all the players together so we can look at all the needs of the borough.

“Our message is simple,” he concluded. “We want to grow business in Brooklyn, create jobs in Brooklyn. The chamber will be your advocate, your friend and your supporter.”

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