STATEN ISLAND LEADERS IN BUSINESS, CULTURE, AND THE ARTS SHARE FAVORITE ACTION STARS, ULTIMATE WINTER ACTIVITIES AND GETAWAYS, AND GOALS FOR THE NEW YEAR

BY ERIK SCHONING AND ARCHANA AITHAL ROSE PHOTOS BY AMANDA DOMENECH, ALEX BARRETO, AND TOM ZAPCIC

 

Nick Nocerino
Chief Financial Officer, Real Estate Division, The Nicotra Group officespacestatenisland.com

Nick Nocerino works alongside Lois and Richard Nicotra as they focus on a simple goal: to be the best landlords in the world. It’s a title they feel they’ve earned;  The Nicotra Group has been on the scene for more than 40 years, and Nocerino himself has been onboard in the  financial department for over two decades. Now serving as CFO for the Real Estate Division, Nocerino oversees a massive operation, Staten Island’s largest private real estate developer with tenants ranging from hotels and restaurants to wedding venues and corporate parks. It’s a business built on the idea of doing good.

“At The Nicotra Group we often talk about the ‘Power of Nice,’” said Nocerino. “I love being a part of a company that loves our community. I’ve spent my career working for the Nicotras, and they’ve created two foundations –  The Bloomfield Conservancy and  The Nicotra Foundation – to do good.”

This will be a big year for Nocerino and The Nicotra Group.  Their latest project, Corporate Commons Three, is a 330,000-square-foot Class A office building that will feature an organic rooftop farm and a second social enterprise eatery.

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WHAT IS ONE GOAL, PERSONAL OR PROFESSIONAL, YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE IN 2022?
My goal in 2022 is to serve our tenant community with the personal attention to each tenant that is the hallmark of our company. Our mission remains focused on being the best landlords in the world. It’s a compliment we have heard over and over again.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE ACTION MOVIE/ACTION STAR?
My favorite action hero since childhood is Spider-Man. I also love that my son enjoys watching Spider-Man now, so I can see it in a fresh way through his eyes. There’s something about someone getting powers that they didn’t know what to do with, feeling the burden at first, and then taking the opportunity in that moment to work to do good.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WINTER ACTIVITY OR GETAWAY?
My favorite activity is the one my son Nicholas chooses! He is seven, and the winter brings so much activity – from a snowball fi ght to ice skating. Plus, he’s a Cub Scout and as a “Wolf” he’s always working on a badge. Supporting him in that is my favorite thing to do.

 

 

 

 

Sam Angiuli
Chief Operating Officer, The Angiuli Group / angiuligroup.com

As the co-proprietor of the Angiuli Group, a commercial real estate development firm that specializes in projects that promote positive, sustainable impacts on Staten Island, Sam Angiuli’s investment in his community sits in plain sight in Tompkinsville.

The firm, run by Sam and his father Gary Angiuli, is responsible for a wildly popular renovated warehouse development on Minthorne Street. The idea was simple: give local businesses a place to grow while revitalizing a formerly industrial area. Today the development is home to Flagship Brewery (the Angiulis, ardent craft beer lovers, are partners here), modern Italian eatery Flour and Oak, and a coworking space, Enrichmint, among many others. It’s all part of an ambitious plan for long-term livability in Staten Island.

“We’re ingrained in the community because all these people are local business owners as opposed to chains,” Angiuli said. “We’ve had excellent reactions.”

WHAT IS ONE GOAL, PERSONAL OR PROFESSIONAL, THAT YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE IN 2022?
On the professional side, I’d like to break into at least one new industry for our portfolio that we’re not involved in. And on the personal side, I just want to be the best father I can be.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE ACTION MOVIE/ACTION STAR?
I’m a big fan of action movies, so I have to give you a few.We’ve got Daniel Craig as James Bond, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Keanu Reeves as John Wick, and of course Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WINTER GETAWAY OR ACTIVITY?
I’ve always been into snowboarding, but of course recently I enjoy any winter activity that I can do with my children.

 

 

 

 

Ryan Williams
Optician, Williams Eye Works williamseyeworks.com

Ryan Williams spent most of his childhood shadowing his father, Williams Eye Works founder Chris Williams, eventually guiding him to pursue a career in eye care.

“Community is at the heart of this family-run business,” said Williams. “Being a part of and giving back to Staten Island is the cornerstone on which my father built Williams Eye Works, plus a commitment to providing the highest standard of care in the industry.

These two factors made my choice to join my father’s business an absolute no-brainer. In addition, I learned very early on to think on my feetnwhile remaining true to my values through participation in organizations like the Boy Scouts of America and learning from different mentors.”

As Williams pointed out, this ability to think on his feet has served him well in the ever-shifting field.

“The biggest challenge for small businesses today is probably keeping up with technology,” continued Williams. “But at Williams Eye Works, we strive to stay ahead of the curve, constantly updating exam equipment and taking seminars to provide the highest level of care possible to each and every patient. We enhance your experiences through visual comfort, and we can only do that by constantly learning and getting better.”

WHAT IS ONE GOAL, PERSONAL OR PROFESSIONAL, YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE IN 2022?
A personal goal is to start running more consistently, and a professional goal is to keep our establishment on the path of expanding our ability to serve the community, including becoming a two-doctor practice as my sister, Dr. Valerie Williams, will be joining us shortly.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE ACTION MOVIE/ACTION STAR?
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WINTER ACTIVITY OR GETAWAY?
Snowboarding. I try to be on the slopes as much as possible.

 

 

 

 

Joseph Failla
Principal, Failla Funding / failla.com

As the founder and owner of Failla Funding, a specialized funding servicebased out of Staten Island, Failla understands the power of yes. His firm helps individuals and businesses secure funding and special mortgages usually not available at banks and other mortgage companies.

“Whether it’s buying a  first home, a business location, or investment property, we do it all,” he noted. “We even provide co-op and condominium funding as well as construction and renovation funds for both the acquisition and construction cost. Being a business owner myself, I understand what business owners face and what it takes to move forward in business.”

Driven by a passion to provide equal opportunity for every loan aspirant, Failla has an innate understanding of the state’s laws and  nance structure, amassed through an extensive background in real estate. “My father, who was a business owner, taught me most of what I know about running a business. I also worked many summers with my uncle who managed the Seagram Building on ParkAvenue. I started in real estate, selling brownstones and beautiful properties in Downtown Brooklyn before opening Failla Founding.”

Combining his love for numbers with years of invaluable experience in real estate, Failla eventually partnered with a law firm to open Failla Funding, and the rest, as they say, is history.

WHAT IS ONE GOAL, PERSONAL OR PROFESSIONAL, YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE IN 2022?
My main goal is to help as many people as I can reach their own goals.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE ACTION MOVIE/ACTION STAR?
My all-time favorite action star is Sylvester Stallone, because he never gave up and always pushed ahead even when things got tough.

FAVORITE WINTER ACTIVITY/GETAWAY?
Going upstate to be with nature and look at the beautiful mountains, sunsets, and animals – it’s just great all year long.

 

 

 

 

George Pillajo
Product Specialist, Paul Miller / paulmillerrollsroyce.com

With over a decade of experience as a sales professional with some of the world’s preeminent luxury automotive brands, including Lexus, Bentley, and now Rolls-Royce, George Pillajo believes he was destined for a career in wheels. He said of his serendipitous start, “A friend introduced me to car sales when I was struggling to pay for my first year of college at Rutgers University. I found out I really liked helping people buy something that provided transportation and happiness.”

Success quickly followed; Pillajo earned the number one salesperson award with Nissan, then moved into the luxury sector, working at Lexus followed by Mercedes-Benz before finding his home with Paul Miller. He said: “In 2009, I was invited to join Paul Miller Bentley and Rolls-Royce, a culmination of my goals to sell the nest automobiles ever made.” Today Pillajo’s roster of clients includes celebrities, industry titans, and industry innovators. “The future for luxury car sales is bright,” he continued. “I see the business continuing to flourish; the wealthy will always want the latest and the best in technology represented by exceptional consultants.”

WHAT IS ONE GOAL, PERSONAL OR PROFESSIONAL, YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE IN 2022?
To continue to grow our client list as we did in 2021, regardless of the challenges. We’ll be moving to our new location in Bergen County by the end of spring 2022.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE ACTION MOVIE/ACTION STAR?
I don’t have one. I love watching history and true-life documentaries, so I have more real-life heroes, past and present.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WINTER ACTIVITY OR GETAWAY?
Taking a break from the cold in Turks and Caicos or other Caribbean Islands.