A STATEN ISLAND ENTREPRENEUR BRINGS A BIG PICTURE PERSPECTIVE TO HIS BUSINESS AND COMMUNITY WORK
BY ERIK SCHONING
For Scott Maurer, CEO and President of Capital WORKS Funding, the concept of work-life balance has always come naturally. That’s because Maurer sees all of it his business ventures, his volunteer work, and his family life as interconnected, part of a network informed by his Jewish faith. If it all sounds a bit philosophical, that’s because Maurer prefers it that way. He’s interested in the meaning of things.
Maurer’s long track record of serial entrepreneurship runs back to when he was ten years old and picked up a paper route after his father died. He clerked for six years, flirting with the idea of law school before realizing that his great strength was marketing and developing ideas. Maurer and his business partner, Samuel Nitka, have brought that spirit into every venture of their almost 50-year friendship.
“We seek opportunities, and we try to expand upon them,” Maurer said. “I will look at a pen and try to see how we can market that and then turn that into a business. It’s my entrepreneurial mindset. It started when I was ten years old, thinking I was a man wanting to help my family, and continues today, when I’m helping other people in terms of volunteer work and, of course, the financial and the profitable work to help my family.”
In 2012, Maurer’s life was forever altered when his mother was involved in a car accident on Staten Island and tragically passed away. That experience was, in Maurer’s words, a kind of epiphany, a realization that life boiled down to helping people and leaving the world better than you found it. It was an opportunity for Maurer to reconnect with his Jewish faith and find a higher purpose in his life.
“My unique and amazing mom taught me to practice to the best of my ability to be a good person,” he said. “The cornerstone of any religion is to always do good, be honest, be truthful, say what you do and do what you say, right? That’s the cornerstone of any religion. So the way I run my companies is everyone needs to be treated properly so that they do better work. Everyone is important.”
Today Maurer and his partner Nitka run several ventures, including CapitalWORKS Funding, a lending company that prioritizes customer service and attention to detail. The company launched at the beginning of the pandemic, when Maurer and Nitka identified a greater community need for financial support. It’s very much Maurer’s way to not worry about comparing himself to his competitors. “Is CapitalWORKS in my opinion better than the rest?” he explained. “I don’t know if we’re better than the rest. I know we work hard. I know our team gives our clients great value. We didn’t invent anything. It’s the customer service behind it.”
Maurer has always had diverse business interests, and outside of CapitalWORKS Nitka helms Eastern Produce Concern, a nod to Maurer’s grandfather’s produce business. The company imports Persian cucumbers grown in the Dominican Republic. But no matter the project, Maurer has an old school way of running his businesses: it’s his paperboy mentality, the idea of embracing the hustle, the need to get the ball rolling when you know you have a good idea.
Outside of the office, Maurer is constantly busy with a full slate of volunteer and community work. He is a board member of the Council of Jewish Organizations of Staten Island (COJO), a role for which he has received numerous proclamations and citations from the city of New York. He is also co-chair of the SI Hate Crimes Task Force, formed in collaboration with the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office and Staten Island community leaders. In all his volunteer and social justice ventures, Maurer tries to stand up for those in need.
“COJO feeds over 75,000 a month from our food pantry,” Maurer said. “The task force stands up not only for Jewish people’s rights, but anyone’s rights: creed, sex, color of skin, religion, to protect them from the evils of what’s out there. If you’re different, people seem to want to pick on you. I work very hard on trying to do good and educate people against hate, because hate against one is really hate against all.”
Maurer has played many roles over his life: online marketing visionary, serial entrepreneur, father, friend, and community leader. As he put it, it’s not unusual for him to play basketball on Sunday, distribute food on Wednesday, smoke cigars on Friday afternoon, and work throughout. But in each of these roles, Maurer brings the same sense of focus and purpose. It’s how he’s built his longstanding success in business. And, more importantly, it’s how he’s helped others. “Family, family, family,” Maurer said. “Work family, home family, community family. I guess that’s a constant thing. It’s what I consider a successful way of living.”
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