Gretchen Robinson began her career as a lawyer in the Queens District Attorney’s Office, where she worked for many years before moving on to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, where she conducted administrative trials in the Administrative Prosecution Unit.
She joined State Government in 2015, when she became the Compliance & Internal Controls Officer for RIOC. In 2018, Ms. Robinson served as Senior Counsel to the Empire State Development Corporation’s Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development where she advised the Division on policy matters and proposed legislation that would affect the MWBE Program. She also advised other agencies and public benefit corporations around the state on MWBE matters; and defended the Division in administrative appeals.
Ms. Robinson grew up in Washington, District of Columbia. She received her Juris Doctor degree from the American University Washington College of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in French and Anthropology from the University of Virginia. She has over a decade of trial and oral advocacy experience and is admitted to practice in New York State.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I did not come up with the idea for RIOC – Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation is a public benefit corporation and political subdivision of the State of New York. By its enabling legislation, “The RIOC Act”, RIOC’s mandate is to develop, operate and maintain the infrastructure of Roosevelt Island.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day in the Legal Department involves an array of legal questions that are presented by all departments and units of the corporation in an effort to serve the Roosevelt Island community and advance the goals of the corporation’s mission. With that, the Legal Department essentially fields questions involving labor and employment, contracts, licensing transactions, legal research, and matters of procurement, to competently advise RIOC’s Board of Directors, RIOC’s Executive Management Team, (including the CEO), on various issues that come up in day-to-day operations. The Legal Department is committed to creative and collaborative problem solving to get the job done.
How do you bring ideas to life?
As stated above, the Legal Department is committed to creative and collaborative problem solving, while also ensuring that such decisions are within the confines and in compliance with all laws, rules, and regulations. Since the law often does not have a a bright line answer and the problems that are presented are unique in nature, collaboration is key in coming to resolutions to those issues. It is about “how do we get to yes.” In thinking through an issue, I believe that there are many ways to get to end result and that requires collaboration, brainstorming, and teamwork. As General Counsel, I encourage my team to give their opinions and to “weigh in” on the task at hand. This ability of everyone to speak freely creates an environment of trust and unity that inevitably allows for the best ideas to be implemented for the purpose of solving the problem at hand.
What’s one trend that excites you?
What excites me about my job is the ability to actually see the results of our work. Being a part of an organization that engages in capital projects, it is a rare opportunity as a lawyer to see the concrete results of your work and legal advice. There are various infrastructure projects that are true, concrete examples that remind me that I and my team had a part in the development of those projects.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am results driven and in order to stay organized I create “to do lists” every day. I used to put down everything in the universe of things that I have to get done or delegate to my team but I have over the years realized that each day I need to put the top three priorities down on a list to further focus and meet all deadlines while providing a good work product.
What advice would you give your younger self?
You do not have to be the most vocal person in the room to get a point across or to be deemed competent; observing more and speaking less will teach you a lot about how to read your audience; and your input matters and can make a difference.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Don’t be afraid to tell someone that you do not know the answer but always finish with the understanding that you will think about it and come back with an answer. You do not have to know everything and chances are that if you do not know the answer there is someone that will, hence the important point of collaboration.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
In terms of growing my career, I have been methodical with every position I have held to help me become a better, more competent attorney. Being an attorney is a profession that I always wanted to do.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Early in my career, I thought that I had to follow the footprint of all of my friends by working as a summer associate during law school, clerking for a prestigious judge after law school, and working in a private firm in order to make a lot of money. I quickly realized that it’s not always about the money but rather what is rewarding as a career experience. Being in public service has allowed me to have – in some instances – great impact on other people’s lives and you truly feel that you are helping people and situations as opposed to chasing money.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I recently spent was over the holiday season – I donated money to a charity that helps with food insecurity for children. I also donated money to feed a family over the Thanksgiving holiday. I have realized over the years that family and relationships are the most important thing in this world that affects happiness and as I am blessed to have a good job, I would like to help others where and when I can.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The 48 Laws of Power – it is a very insightful book on how to influence people and get them to buy into your ideas and/or agendas.
What is your favorite quote?
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
- Be driven and organized
- You don’t have to be the loudest to make an impact
- Don’t be afraid of admitting when you don’t know
- Find work that fulfills you
Exclusive Interview with The NET ZERO ENERGY Buildings Expert Anastasia Makarska: Shaping a Greener Future
Welcome to an exclusive interview with Anastasia Makarska, a renowned figure in the world of commercial real estate development. Anastasia’s resolute commitment to sustainability and her unique background in physics and engineering have revolutionized the real estate landscape, transforming spaces into sustainable and coveted marvels.
In this interview, we delve into the concept of Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) and the challenges associated with building codes for NZEB. Join us as we explore the visionary force behind Anastasia’s remarkable projects and her dedication to shaping a greener future.
Anastasia, thank you for joining us today. Let’s start by discussing the concept of Net Zero Energy Buildings. Could you explain to our audience what exactly is meant by a Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB)?
Anastasia: Certainly. A Net Zero Energy Building, or NZEB, is an approach to construction that focuses on creating energy-efficient buildings that are connected to the power grid while also generating renewable energy to offset their energy consumption. The aim is to achieve a balance where the amount of renewable energy produced either on-site or nearby matches or exceeds the building’s annual energy needs, resulting in virtually no net energy consumption.
That’s fascinating. It’s clear that NZEBs hold tremendous potential in terms of sustainability. How are developers and building owners embracing this concept, and what are some innovative features we can find in NZEBs?
Anastasia: Developers and building owners are increasingly interested in constructing zero energy buildings, driven by corporate objectives and regulatory requirements. The building and design community is actively embracing this challenge and leading the way with innovative and forward-thinking projects.
NZEBs incorporate a wide range of energy-efficient strategies, from simple to highly intricate. These include maximizing the utilization of passive solar heat gain and shading, integrating high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, appliances, windows, and doors, enhancing insulation, natural ventilation, air sealing, and incorporating advanced renewable energy solutions like solar photovoltaics and geothermal energy systems.
The goal is to create buildings that regulate temperature fluctuations, minimize energy consumption, and reduce environmental impact.
It’s impressive how NZEBs combine various technologies and strategies to achieve sustainability. Now, let’s delve into building codes. What role do building codes play in the construction of NZEBs, and what codes and standards exist for this purpose?
Anastasia: Building codes play a crucial role in guiding the construction of net zero energy buildings. Currently, there are codes and standards in place to assist designers, architects, builders, and contractors in creating more energy-efficient and sustainable structures compared to previous years.
In the United States, professionals in the building industry can refer to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), which has been adopted in approximately 44 states and territories. Across North America, ASHRAE 90.1 provides significant guidance, and the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) serves as another valuable resource. In Canada, there are the National Energy Code of Canada (NECC) and the National Energy Code for Buildings (NECB).
That’s helpful to know. Given the increasing need for more rigorous energy and building codes, what are some of the challenges faced in developing codes specifically tailored for NZEBs?
Anastasia: The development of codes specifically tailored for NZEBs faces several challenges. As industry professionals and officials work on designing new codes to facilitate the transition to net zero energy, there is still no consensus on the structure of the code, its comprehensive scope, and ensuring that buildings achieve net zero energy status throughout their lifecycle.
To ensure buildings perform as intended, it is essential to establish post-construction reporting, analysis, and a framework for oversight and enforcement.
Current codes and standards often rely on energy proxies without a requirement for actual quantification of energy usage. There are also gaps in the inclusion of certain types of energy usage in calculations.
To achieve the goal of net zero energy buildings, methodologies need to evolve, modeling capabilities should be enhanced, and real-world outcomes must be measured.
Overcoming those challenges will be crucial for the success of NZEBs. Could you tell us about the advantages that net zero energy buildings offer to building owners, occupants, and the environment?
Anastasia: Absolutely. Net zero energy buildings provide several advantages. Buildings account for a significant portion of fossil fuel energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. By increasing the number of net zero energy buildings, we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and effectively lower carbon emissions.
Some key advantages of NZEBs include protection for building owners against future energy price hikes, enhanced occupant comfort, health, well-being, and productivity, reduction in energy consumption and associated costs, improved reliability of energy supply, increased resale value due to high demand for net zero buildings, contribution towards achieving zero energy targets, and minimized environmental impact. These advantages create value for building owners, occupants, and the planet.
Those advantages make a compelling case for embracing net zero energy buildings. As a visionary force in real estate development, how do you see the future of NZEBs and their potential impact on communities and the environment?
Anastasia: I believe the future of net zero energy buildings is incredibly promising. As awareness of the need for sustainability grows, NZEBs will become the norm rather than the exception. They have the potential to reshape communities and serve as catalysts for positive change.
Net zero energy buildings can create vibrant, sustainable communities that prioritize the well-being of both residents and businesses. By reducing energy consumption, minimizing environmental impact, and offering enhanced comfort and productivity, NZEBs have a transformative effect on the communities they serve. They not only contribute to the preservation of our planet but also provide value for investors, businesses, and communities alike.
Thank you for sharing your insights, Anastasia. Before we conclude, could you tell our audience about any upcoming projects or initiatives that you’re particularly excited about in the realm of net zero energy buildings?
Anastasia: Certainly. I’m thrilled to be working on a groundbreaking project that aims to create a net zero energy residential community. This community will embody the principles of sustainable living and showcase the potential of NZEBs on a larger scale. It will integrate cutting-edge technologies, energy-efficient systems, and sustainable materials to provide residents with an exceptional living experience while minimizing the community’s environmental footprint. I believe this project will serve as a blueprint for future developments and inspire others to embrace the vision of net zero energy living.
As we conclude this insightful interview with Anastasia Makarska, it is evident that she is a visionary force transforming the real estate industry through sustainable development. Anastasia’s dedication to creating sustainable and desirable spaces, her commitment to excellence, and her unwavering belief in the power of net zero energy buildings have positioned her as a leading authority in commercial real estate.
Through her innovative projects and expertise, Anastasia is shaping the world we live in, one groundbreaking project at a time. Her visionary approach, fueled by her unique background in physics and engineering, has redefined the boundaries of commercial real estate development and paved the way for a greener and more sustainable future.
Witness the remarkable journey of Anastasia Makarska as she continues to revolutionize the real estate landscape and leave an indelible mark on the communities she transforms into sustainable and coveted marvels.
If you would like to get in touch with Anastasia Makarska you can contact here
From a Small AC Repair Company to a Household Name in Austin TX
The Success Story of Grande Air Solutions
What makes a successful company?
Well, while there is no one secret alone that can make you a success in the business world, the story of determined employees and aspiring entrepreneurs shed light on what makes a business thrive. Grande Air Solutions was established in 2011 by young, honest entrepreneurs Isael Garcia and Petra Lugo. They are both described as honest entrepreneurs ready to take on any challenge, which is what drove them to make this company a success. You’ll be able to find Isael and Petra engaging regularly with their customers and employees. As both will tell you, honesty is the first and foremost important feature to have in a company. Customers look for honesty in an AC repair Austin team when they’re looking to spend their money on a service. Whether the customer needs a new HVAC system or AC repair, they want to make sure that they’re getting their money’s worth.
Reliable and Affordability Make a Difference
Another key aspect that can take an HVAC company from a small-sized business to a household name is reliability. It can be a distressing situation when the AC breaks down in the middle of a hot summer day. The homeowner does not want to wait for hours on end waiting for the technician to arrive at their home. An HVAC company like Grande Air Solutions that is known for reliability will always be there for their customers, especially if it’s an HVAC emergency. Along with reliability, affordable prices are other factors that can make any company a success if it’s done right. This is where Grande Air Solutions shines as well. They offer their services along with affordable prices for all customers.
Building a Solid Reputation
How do you stand out from the rest of the competition?
It can be difficult to achieve a level of uniqueness among your competitors. However, this is where this company has also succeeded when it comes to Austin heating and air services. Building a solid reputation for years has propelled Grande Air Solutions from a small AC repair company to the well-known, trusted name it is today within the Austin area. The company has been able to deliver high-quality service to its customers, which has resulted in returning customers. This is also known as customer loyalty. The business has many five-star reviews, which potential customers look for in an HVAC company. Isael and Petra envisioned a company that carries the type of professionalism and friendly service that has exceeded the expectations of many of the company’s customers. In a nutshell, the entire team of employees are the ones who have helped build a respectable reputation for Grande Air Solutions.
Trusted and Trained Technicians
A company is only as good as its members. Another reason why this HVAC company has excelled in every aspect of the business is the team. The company’s technicians are well-trained and experienced in the HVAC field. When the technician arrives to fix or install the HVAC system, the customer knows exactly what they’ll be getting. The homeowner will always get quality service because it’s the results that speak volumes. Grande Air Solutions hires technicians who are experienced in the field and properly trained. Having the proper credentials also essential for any successful HVAC company to have, such as certifications and proper licensing.
Connecting With the Community
Starting from a small, humble HVAC company, Grande Air Solutions has been able to grow significantly thanks to the help of people. As a family-owned business, the company also knows the importance of closeness in the community. The company has been able to give back as much as they’ve received from their local communities. In fact, the company strives to give much more. By collaborating with local charitable organizations, they are able to offer the basic necessities of life, much-needed monetary donations, help for nonprofit organizations, and other support. Being a household name among the people holds a responsibility to provide a role model as a reliable HVAC company in all aspects, including helping the community.
Expanding Service Areas
Although it may be difficult to expand services in the beginning as a smaller business, one of the reasons the company has been able to grow is because of its determination to expand. Now, Grande Air Solutions is proud to offer Austin heating and air services throughout more of the areas. The company has been able to offer services in Buda, Cedar Park, Georgetown, Kyle, and more, just to mention a few. All of these cities are located in Texas. Investing time and money in their employees is one reason why the company has become a household name in Austin. As the team grows, more service areas are sure to open in the future.
Offering a Wide Range of HVAC Services
Knowing about the HVAC basics is important. However, this company has been able to expand and grow because its technicians are always learning something new in the field. As technology advances, the area of HVAC also continues to improve. This can include learning about smart thermostats, the new A2L refrigerants, and the new UV light purifiers. Whatever the case may be, the company has continued its success by offering new and improved HVAC services. The wide range of alternatives gives customers the power to choose what they want for their home.
Continuing the Success Without Letup
It can be discouraging and even disheartening when the challenge of a business gets you down. However, the key is to keep on going. Just like this company has shown continuous effort to succeed, it is vital for a business to keep on going without letup. Any business is likely to face ups and downs as they continue to expand. The important thing to keep in mind is that you are doing everything for the customer. Grande Air Solutions is an excellent example of a company that has put its customers first. It is their top priority to deliver quality AC repair, installations, and other HVAC services. Rest assured that the future looks bright for the company as it holds a special place for the residents of Austin, Texas, and nearby communities.
An Inside Look at One & Only Electrical Service Inc. with CEO Moshe Sabag
With thousands of electrical problems solved and many years of experience, they’ve become a reliable and experienced choice for those in need of electrical solutions. In this interview, we’ll be speaking with Moshe Sabag, the CEO of One & Only Electrical Service Inc. We’ll explore the ins and outs of the electrical industry, the company’s commitment to quality service, and their approach to customer satisfaction. So, let’s dive into the world of electrical services with Moshe Sabag.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role in One & Only Electrical Service Inc.?
Moshe Sabag: My name is Moshe Sabag and I am the CEO of One & Only Electrical Service Inc. I have been in the electrical business for over a decade and have gained extensive experience and knowledge in the field. As the CEO, my role is to oversee the company’s operations and ensure that we provide top-notch service to our clients.
What inspired you to start One & Only Electrical Service Inc.?
Moshe Sabag: My passion for the electrical industry inspired me to start One & Only Electrical Service Inc. I saw a need for a reliable and affordable electrical contractor company in the Tri-Valley area and wanted to provide that service to the community.
What sets One & Only Electrical Service Inc. apart from other electrical contractors in the area?
Moshe Sabag: One & Only Electrical Service Inc. stands out from other electrical contractors in the area because of our commitment to providing exceptional service to our clients. We take pride in being the best local electrician for our clients. We are licensed and insured, and our electricians are highly trained and experienced. We also offer a wide range of services, including EV charging station installation, smart switches ( Lutron, Brilliant, Leviton, Noon) installation, and all house rewire.
Can you tell us more about the EV charging station installation service you offer?
Moshe Sabag: We specialize in EV charging station installation and can install a charging station for any electric vehicle, including Tesla (car charger tesla ) and BMW. We also offer a range of electrical services, including recessed light installation,led light, electrical panel upgrades, and wiring repairs. We will assess your home or business and recommend the best charging station for your needs. Our electricians will install the charging station safely and efficiently, ensuring that it is up to code and functioning properly.
What is your approach to customer service?
Moshe Sabag: At One & Only Electrical Service Inc., we prioritize customer satisfaction above all else. We offer same-day service and are available 24/7 for emergencies. Our friendly and dedicated customer service representatives are always ready to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
Can you share a success story from One & Only Electrical Service Inc.?
Moshe Sabag: We recently installed an EV charging station for a client who had just purchased a Tesla. They were thrilled with our service and professionalism, and have since recommended us to several of their friends and colleagues. It’s always rewarding to know that we’ve provided a valuable service to our clients and exceeded their expectations.
What kind of training and certifications do your electricians have?
Moshe Sabag: Our electricians are highly trained and experienced, and we make sure they are up-to-date with the latest technology and techniques in the industry. They are all licensed and insured, and have undergone extensive training and certification programs to ensure they are able to provide the highest quality service to our clients.
As a Bay Area electrician, what are some of the unique challenges you face when providing electrical services to your clients?
Moshe Sabag: “Being a Bay Area electrician, we face a range of challenges when providing electrical services to our clients. One of the biggest challenges is keeping up with the latest technological advancements in the field, as the Bay Area is known for its innovative and tech-driven culture.
What do you see as the future of the electrical industry?
Moshe Sabag: The electrical industry is constantly evolving, with new technology and advancements in renewable energy. As the demand for renewable energy sources increases, we will likely see a shift towards more sustainable and environmentally-friendly solutions. We also expect to see continued growth in the EV charging station industry, as more people switch to electric vehicles.
What are some of the biggest challenges facing the electrical industry today?
Moshe Sabag: One of the biggest challenges facing the electrical industry today is the shortage of skilled labor. As the demand for electrical services continues to grow, there is a need for more qualified electricians to meet that demand. Another challenge is keeping up with the latest technology and advancements in the industry, which requires ongoing education and training.
What advice would you give to someone looking for a reliable electrician?
Moshe Sabag: When looking for a reliable electrician, it’s important to do your research and choose a licensed and insured electrical company. Look for reviews and testimonials from previous clients, and ask for references. It’s also important to choose a company that offers a wide range of services, so that they can address all of your electrical needs.
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