Meet the Queens Library Foundation
Board of Directors
Vincent Arcuri Jr., President
Following a 40-year career in the construction industry, Vincent Arcuri Jr. retired after helping with clean-up and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center. He is currently President of the Queens Library Foundation Board and has served as Vice President for more than a decade. He has has almost 40 years of service as a Member of Community Board 5.
Arcuri is a member of the Queens County Traffic Safety Council, the Queens Borough President's Aviation Advisory Council, the Advisory Board of the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society, the Kosciuszko Bridge Stakeholders Advisory Council and the Boards of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District and the Boy Scouts of America, Queens Council.
He graduated from Richmond Hill High School and earned an Associate of Applied Sciences degree in structural technology from NYC Technical College.
Wanda Chin, Vice-President
Wanda Chin is a lifelong resident of Queens with a passion for providing opportunities and access to underserved communities. She is the eldest child of working class immigrant parents and the first to attend college in her family; while growing up in Bayside, the public library afforded her access to materials that were unavailable at home due to financial and language barriers. Wanda and her husband and two children have been residents of Jackson Heights since 1986 and continue to be frequent visitors to and cheerleaders of the Queens Library.
Wanda currently serves as the Chief Credit Officer of The Community Preservation Corporation, a not-for-profit lender to owners and developers of affordable housing in New York. Prior to joining CPC in July 2014, she was the Chief Credit Officer of the Low Income Investment Fund, a not-for-profit lender to developers of housing and community facilities that serve low income communities throughout the United States. She transitioned to the not-for-profit sector in October 2012, after spending over three decades at JPMorgan Chase Bank, where she last served as a Senior Credit Executive with the bank's Commercial Banking Real Estate Banking business. Her experience has covered loan originations, underwriting, and portfolio and risk management in real estate and middle market business lending. She began her working career at the heritage Chemical Bank as a loan and grants officer in the Urban Affairs group, working with low income neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn.
Wanda holds a B.A. from Barnard College and a Masters in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is a Board Member of The Historic House Trust of New York City and New York Women Executives in Real Estate (and co-chair of its Scholarship Committee). She is a volunteer docent at the Museum of Chinese in America.
Jose Rivero, Secretary
Jose Rivero serves as the President of the Thomas & Jeanne Elmezzi Foundation. Through his marriage to Mr. Elmezzi's niece, Jose and Tom Elmezzi remained close family members for over forty years.
Prior to leading the Foundation, Jose served as the Vice President of Synergy Global Solutions and the Vice President for Barrister Information Systems, having studied Engineering at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Jose's connection to the Elmezzi Foundation's principles is deeply rooted in his own life story. Having moved to Harlem, NY from Santa Clara, Cuba, when he was four years old and to Queens while in high school, Jose lived the American dream in New York City, with determination, hard work and education supporting his path to success.
Jose currently resides in Buffalo, New York, with his wife, Maria and their two dogs and enjoys spending time with his sons and his five grandchildren.
Edward Sadowsky, Esq., Treasurer
Sadowsky served in the New York City Council for 24 years and as Chair of the Finance Committee for eight of those years. His work in the Council received high praise. The New York Times stated: He "proved his capacity for leadership and keen understanding of government" and was an "outspoken monitor of the city budget." The Daily News wrote: He is "dedicated and effective" and " his knowledge of how city government works is impressive"
Following his retirement from the Council, he served on the Board of Education for four years and was a Trustee of the Citizens Budget Commission and a member of its Executive Committee. He is currently a Trustee of the Queens Public Library system. He received a bachelor's degree from New York University and a law degree from Columbia University.
Dennis Walcott, President and CEO of Queens Library
Dennis Walcott is the President and CEO of Queens Library. He joined Queens Library March 2016. Walcott is a life-long resident of Queens and has spent his entire career in public service and education. He is currently serving as the state-appointed monitor of the East Ramapo School District, advising the NYS Education Department on reforms and improvements to ensure more effective and equitable service for the district’s students. In 2014, he was named Honorary Distinguished Fellow at the University of the West Indies and has been an adjunct professor at Fordham University's graduate program, The Fordham Center for Nonprofit Leaders. From 2011 through 2013, Walcott served as Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, where he led transformational change across the nation’s largest school system, which serves more than 1.1 million students in 1,800 schools across the five boroughs.
Prior to his appointment as Chancellor, Mr. Walcott served as Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development during the Bloomberg Administration, overseeing and coordinating the operations of the Department of Education, the New York City Housing Authority, the Department of Youth and Community Development and the Mayor’s Office of Adult Education. He served on the board of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, was the Board Chair of NYC's Fund for Public Education, and previously served as Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Commission for Construction Opportunity. Mr. Walcott served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Urban League for more than 12 years, where he expanded educational and youth service programs, including Jeter’s Leaders, Bridge to Brotherhood, Healthy Start, Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership, and the 140th Street Building Block Program. He began his career as a kindergarten teacher.
Mr. Walcott graduated from New York City public schools, including P.S. 36, I.S. 192, and Francis Lewis High School, all in Queens. He graduated from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut with a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in education in 1973 and 1974, respectively. In 1980, he received his master’s in social work from Fordham University. He has served on numerous boards including Carver Bank Corporation, Primary Care Development Corporation, and the former New York City Board of Education. He has also served as an adjunct professor of social work at York College and as a talk show radio host. Walcott and his wife Denise have four children—Dejeanne, Dana, Shatisha, and Timmy—and five grandsons.
Matthew M. Gorton
Matthew Gorton works at Hiltzik Strategies, a New York-based strategic communications and consulting firm, where he provides strategic counsel, profile management, message development, media relations and crisis management for corporate, non-profit, government and public affairs clients. Prior to joining Hiltzik Strategies, Matt was Director of Government Affairs for the Madison Square Garden Company, where he aligned the media company's strategic objectives with its external political and regulatory environment. For seven years Matt served in various capacities within the Bloomberg Administration, rising to become Senior Advisor where he coordinated intergovernmental affairs, external relations and communications. Before joining the Mayor's Office, Matt was an aide to a City Councilmember in Brooklyn. Matt attended Loyola University Maryland, graduating with a degree in economics in 2001 and with master's degree in business administration in 2004. While in graduate school, Matt served as Assistant Director of Christian Service at Loyola Blakefield, a private high school in Baltimore, MD.
Matt is currently Vice-Chairman of the Queens Borough Public Library Board of Trustees, and Chair of the Board's Administrative Committee.
Matt was born and raised in Glendale, Queens.
James M. Haddad, Esq.
ames M. Haddad is Principal of the Law Office of James M. Haddad, New York City. He previously served in various capacities at the law firms of Rubin, Fiorella & Friedman LLP, Lustig & Brown, LLP, Miller & Associates, P.C., Mendes & Mount, LLP and was a partner at Pirk & Haddad, LLP. He received his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law in 1993 and his AB from Brown University in 1986. He is an active attorney admitted to the Bar in New York, Pennsylvania, SDNY, EDNY and D.C. He is rated AV by Martindale Hubbell and is a Chartered Property/Casualty Underwriter and licensee of the New York State Department of Financial Services (Insurance Division).
In addition to his service as a Trustee of the Queensborough Public Library, he is an involved resident of his Forest Hills neighborhood, a Member of the Congress of Fellows of Center for International Legal Studies, and was a Member of Commercial Law & Uniform State Laws Standing Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York from 2011-2013. He has been a presenter and panel mediator and is the author/co-author of several publications.
Carl S. Koerner, Esq.
Carl Koerner heads Carl Seldin Koerner's New York business practice. He has over 35 years of experience as a business attorney in New York, giving him a thorough and comprehensive understanding of the everyday challenges faced by business leaders whether in sales and marketing, manufacturing, service delivery, regulatory compliance or customer satisfaction. Throughout his career Carl has advised entrepreneurs, clients in debt and equity financing, financial institutions and private investors in commercial real estate and structured finance transactions, and clients in commercial litigation, arbitration, mediation and governmental agency enforcement proceedings.
Carl is also a partner in Koerner Kronenfeld Partners LLC, of New York City, a strategic planning and implementation consulting firm which advises leaders in the business, not-for-profit and government sectors regarding the creation and implementation of strategic plans for personal and organizational development. Clients of the firm include leaders in Fortune 500 companies, government, medicine, media and the arts.
He has been admitted to the New York Bar, received his JD from Brooklyn Law School and his BS from Union College and is AV® rated by the Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating system. His practice areas are corporate and securities law, financial restructuring and bankruptcy, international transactions and disputes, and private investment funds.
Carl serves, and has served, as an officer and director of publicly traded and privately owned business entities, charitable and community service organizations. He is currently Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Queens Library and a Board Member of the Forest Hills Jewish Center where he previously served as President, Vice-president, Secretary and Treasurer. He is a member of the Jewish Theological Seminary Religious Leadership Advisory Board, former Director of the Forest Hills Gardens Corporation and Governor and former Treasurer of the West Side Tennis Club. He was named one of Philadelphia's "Top Rated Lawyers" in 2012. He has authored several publications and appeared on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" and other venues.
Catherine Lee is a Managing Director of F&T Group, a real estate development and operating company with offices in New York, Shanghai and Nanjing. Catherine focuses on the firm's development and marketing activities as well as its China operations. Most recently, she spearheaded the development of the iconic World Trade Center Nanjing, a 4.3 million square-foot mixed-use development in China. It has won numerous recognitions for excellence in planning and became one of the first green WTC LEED certified mixed-use facilities.
Prior to joining F&T Group, Lee worked as part of the Acquisitions and Development Group at Tishman Speyer and in Development Consulting at Cushman and Wakefield. Catherine began her career in equity research at Wachovia Bank.
Ms. Lee is also an avid collector and supporter of art and culture. She founded Crossing Art Projects in 2008, where she aims to enable critical, social, cultural and aesthetic dialogue both locally and internationally through artist projects, new commissions, public installations and exhibitions throughout New York City. Since its inception, Catherine has organized several public art events including the Flushing Cow Parade and the Queens Art Express.
Catherine received a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Tufts University and a Masters degree in Real Estate Development from Columbia University where she was a William Kinne Scholarship recipient. She sits on the Board of the Queens Council of Arts (QCA) and the Museum of Contemporary Art Beijing.
Eugene A. Petracca, Jr.
Mr. Petracca has been a resident of the New York Metropolitan area all his life. He graduated from Villanova University College of Engineering in 1975 with a Civil Engineering Degree and has worked in the construction and real estate development industry since high school, spending summers and holidays working with his father to learn the business from the bottom up. By college graduation in 1975 he was prepared to take over the NYC based construction business and build it into a nationally ranked and recognized firm. Petracca & Sons, Inc. has built a variety of projects including practically every type of construction. Some typical projects Gene has been involved with are: the Queens Civil Court House, portions of the reconstruction of the Long Island Expressway, portions of the reconstruction of the FDR Drive, the Riker's Island West Facility Prison, the Staten Island Ferry Maintenance Facility, Yankee Stadium Parking Lot 13, NYC schools in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, just to name a few. Mr. Petracca has received many letters of thanks and acknowledgment from commissioners, agencies, owners, contractors and the industry at large celebrating the quality, architecture and timely nature of this work.
In addition, Mr. Petracca has served on many volunteer Boards including Brooklyn D.A. Charles Hynes' Special Task Force for the Construction Industry. He was former Mayor Rudolph Guiliani's representative to the Private Industry Council and an advisor to the Mayor on construction issues. Mr. Petracca was an advisor on Construction and Prevailing Wage Violations to former NYC & NYS comptrollers. He served on the Village of Plandome Manor's Board of Trustees from 1998 thru 2006 and was Deputy Mayor of the Village from 2000 thru 2004. Mr. Petracca is a licensed Professional Engineer for the States of NY, NJ, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
Gene's endeavors also include charitable community work symbolized by: his Alumni Award for Meritorious Service from Villanova University; recipient of the Boy Scouts Silver Beaver Award as well as the1993 Camp Builders Award; the Builder of the Year Award from the STA; The Queens Library 2008 Leadership and Dedicated Support Award; the Science Museum of Long Island 2010 Community Service Award; and was inducted into the Holy Cross High School Hall of Fame in 2010. Gene has served the community as: Deputy Mayor and Trustee of the Village of Plandome Manor, President of the Science Museum of LI, Plandome Park Association Water Front Commissioner, MBYC Trustee & Chair of the MBYC House Committee Buildings and Grounds. Gene Chaired the Construction Finance Committee from its inception in 1992 till 2000 and raised over a million dollars during his tenure to support important regional issues.
Still very active Gene currently serves as: VP of the Science Museum of L.I.; Member of the Queens Council BSA Executive Board; Executive Committee of the GCA, and President of the Board of the Manhasset Coalition Against Substance Abuse (CASA). Professional and charitable accolades notwithstanding, the greatest joys in Gene's life are his family. He is the proud father of his son Eugene, currently a PhD candidate at Columbia and his twins Grant and Alicia who attend Manhasset High School.
Diana Chapin, Director Emeritus, Queens Library Foundation
Diana graduated from the University of Michigan cum laude with honors in English where she was a Laurel Harper Seeley Scholar and a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. She holds a Master of Arts and Ph.D. from Cornell University where she was a Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellow. She was an Assistant Professor of English at Queens College.
As a Deputy Commissioner under four different Mayors (Koch, Dinkins, Giuliani and Bloomberg), she:
Designed the post of Borough Commissioner for the NYC Parks Department and served as the first Borough Commissioner; Directed the Planning, Revenue, and Capital Projects Divisions as Deputy Commissioner of Parks; Received an NYC Outstanding Leadership in Management of IT award as Deputy Commissioner for Policy and Administration at the NYC Department of Buildings; and was the longest serving First Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection and the first woman to hold the post where she was responsible for directing the operations of a staff of 6,000 employees.
She has served as a Commissioner on the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission since 2007 and is currently the longest serving Commissioner. She was one of the founders of the non-profit Historic House Trust and was the individual honoree of their annual Founder's Dinner in 2014.
She is the Vice President for Development for Queens Library and has served as Executive Director of the Queens Library Foundation and a non-voting Member of the Board for more than a decade. Her husband James, was a Trustee of Queens Library for more than 20 years until his death in 2002.