STATEN ISLAND LEADERS IN BUSINESS, CULTURE, AND THE ARTS SHARE HOLIDAY TRADITIONS, THEIR GREATEST BUSINESS STRENGTHS, AND ALL-TIME FAVORITE SEASONAL TREATS

BY ERIK SCHONING AND AMANDA MCCOY PHOTOS BY ALEX BARRETO

 

 

 

Scott Maurer
CEO and President of CapitalWORKS Funding Inc. and LeadGEN Media Group / capitalworksfunding.com, leadgenmediagroup.com
Many refer to Scott Maurer, CEO and president of CapitalWORKS Funding Inc. and LeadGEN Media Group, as an online marketing visionary. That’s with good reason. The serial entrepreneur was instrumental in the development and execution of online lead generation. Today CapitalWORKS Funding Inc. exists to help all community businesses meet their financial needs.

Maurer also serves as the CEO/ executive vice president and as a board member of the Council of Jewish Organizations of Staten Island (COJO). In this role Maurer has received numerous proclamations and citations from the City of New York, the State of Israel, and the UJA. He is a proud congressional club member of AIPAC and an active member of the Jewish community of Staten Island.

H&S Spread

Most recently, in collaboration with Staten Island’s community leaders, the Richmond County District Attorney’s office formed the SI Hate Crimes Task Force, where Maurer proudly serves as co-chair to stop the spread of hate.

Day in and day out, Maurer upholds his mission to connect people with opportunities within education, training, and jobs, providing help to all who need it. He has dedicated his career, he noted, to empowering individuals and helping the less fortunate to achieve their life goals.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST BUSINESS STRENGTH?
My professional life is rooted in integrity and loyalty. As an essential foundation, it enables me to utilize foresight when providing expertise to a client or my community.

WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO HOLIDAY DISH OR DRINK?
A Michter’s 10-year-old bourbon with a cigar.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE HOLIDAY ACTIVITY OR SONG?
Watching football with the family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

David Hoffman, D.D.S.
Maxillofacial and Oral Surgeon, Staten Island Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, statenislandoralsurgery.com
Dr. David Ho man is a fixture of the Staten Island medical scene. e maxillofacial and oral surgeon (and part-time sculptor) specializes in treating children with cleft lip and palate deformities. Underpinning his practice is a simple desire to care for and communicate with others. It’s a skill that, according to the doctor himself, he learned waiting tables in his youth. It’s been a lasting lesson: quality care has been the cornerstone of his practice at Staten Island Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
The doctor’s list of achievements and accolades is expansive, including the prestigious Humanitarian Award from the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. In 2018 he received the Healing the Children “Dr. Wes Allen Award” for 25 years of service in Neiva, Columbia. His career is a master class in empathetic medical practice. Did we mention he’s a triathlete, too?

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST BUSINESS STRENGTH?
Talking and relating to patients. Just my ability to have a conversation with patients from all walks of life, backgrounds, and socioeconomic status. I feel like I can talk to most people and find common ground.

WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO HOLIDAY DISH OR DRINK?
Every Christmas Eve I make a Stetson Hat salad. I once had it at a bar at a conference in Arizona. The waiter printed the recipe for me on the cash register. It’s seven ingredients: arugula, Roma tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, freeze-dried corn, smoked salmon, currants, and Asiago cheese.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE HOLIDAY ACTIVITY OR SONG?
I have a pretty big family and a bunch of grandkids. I just enjoy getting everybody together for the holidays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dana Montana
Owner, Grapevine Garden and Florist grapevinegardenandflorist.com
Nearly 30 years have passed since Dana Montana took a chance on opening a small flower shop as a recent college graduate, armed with little experience other than her innate love of flowers. Entrepreneurship came naturally to the young business owner, and today that modest flower shop has expanded into a full-service florist and garden emporium, spanning everything from special occasion oral arrangements to upscale home décor, indoor and outdoor plants, garden accessories, gifts, and more.

“People come in to shop and they tell me they want to just sit and have lunch here,” laughed the owner, who celebrated another addition to her space just this March. “It’s such a pretty place.”

In addition to being oral designers, Montana and her staff also serve as educators, often giving one-on-one lessons on anything from starting a vegetable garden to party ideas. She often receives “thank you” cards after an event, which makes every 15-hour day worth it. “We will sit down with a customer and listen to their ideas, then create an event for them. It could be the smallest party, but when they call us after and say it’s even better than they imagined, that’s the most rewarding thing about what we do.”
And after nearly three decades in business, Montana noted she still gets just as jazzed each time a truck rolls up with fresh products.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST BUSINESS STRENGTH?
My creativity.

WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO HOLIDAY DISH OR DRINK?
An Aperol Spritz.

WHAT IS YOUR ALL TIME FAVORITE HOLIDAY ACTIVITY OR SONG?
Cooking Christmas Eve dinner with the family

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter Macri
Owner, Panini Grill / paninigrillsi.com
Peter Macri knows his way around a restaurant. Owner of Panini Grill in West Brighton, Macri has been working in food service since he was a mere 11 years old. It’s sort of the family business: Macri runs the Italian eatery with his two brothers, serving the same scratch-made staples they grew up eating. Panini Grill has been at its current location for eight years and has recently expanded into the next-door building to double the dining space and establish an even larger presence in the neighborhood. It’s all a sign of strong community support, even through a global pandemic.

“We love the people in the neighborhood,” said Macri. “During the pandemic, with the help of our community our pick-up and delivery business grew and we didn’t skip a beat. That says something.”

is holiday season, patrons can find Macri busy at Panini Grill. And that’s the way he likes it. It’s his favorite time of year.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST BUSINESS STRENGTH?
My greatest business strength is to be open-minded. I’m always learning and I always try to come up with new ideas and be different. I’m very motivated. I’m always thinking outside the box.

WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO HOLIDAY DISH OR DRINK?
My drink is very simple. It’s Grey Goose vodka, club soda, lemon, and lime. I don’t drink anything else. My favorite dish is a freshly made seafood salad.

WHAT IS YOUR ALL TIME FAVORITE HOLIDAY ACTIVITY OR SONG?
Dominick the Donkey is my favorite because it mixes Italian and English.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Herman Herrera
Broker/Owner, Herman & Co Real Esate askherman.com
Herman Herrera takes real estate personally. The broker and owner of Herman & Co cut his teeth in larger firms, where he learned what worked and what didn’t. Today, Herman & Co is an exemplary boutique firm, small and dynamic enough to adapt to clients’ needs without falling into a one-size-fits-all approach.

With offices in both Staten Island and New Jersey, Herrera stays busy listing and selling some of the most valuable properties in the tri-state area. He’s also the star of a YouTube series, Selling Shaolin, a video blog that gives viewers the inside scoop on daily life in the Staten Island real estate market. It offers hungry fans a chance to step into the often nebulous but fascinating industry. Herrera’s philosophy is that anyone can make it in the real estate game. He certainly has.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST BUSINESS STRENGTH?
Like any good salesman, I am a great storyteller. You have to be a good storyteller to succeed in any business.

WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO HOLIDAY DISH OR DRINK?
Prime rib, I’m a meat and potatoes guy.

WHAT IS YOUR ALL-TIME FAVORITE HOLIDAY ACTIVITY OR SONG?
Celebrating with family in New York. There’s no place like New York during the holidays. We’ve tried celebrating in warm cliff mates. It’s not the same. It has to be cold and snowing or it just doesn’t feel like the holidays