City & State N.Y. magazine has released its 2019 Staten Island Power 100 list — and seven Wagner College leaders were prominently included on the list!
“In a new marketing effort, Staten Island is being rebranded as ‘The Unexpected Borough,’ ” the magazine explained. “In City & State’s 2019 Staten Island Power 100, we recognize the elected officials and government staffers, business and nonprofit leaders, academics, advocates and activists who play influential roles in the borough’s political and public life – and how they have made it an ‘unexpected’ destination.”
#5 Brian Laline MS’72
Staten Island may be the smallest borough in New York City, but with a population just shy of half a million, it’s nearly twice as large as Buffalo, the second-largest city in the state. Yet it has only one newspaper dedicated to covering the entire borough: the Staten Island Advance, where Laline has been editor for 17 years. (He succeeded another alumnus in that position, Les Trautmann ’40, who also served as a Wagner College trustee.) Laline has deep roots on Staten Island, having worked at the Advance for nearly 50 years.
#12 Nicole Malliotakis MBA’10
Nicole Malliotakis began her political career as the community liaison for state senator John Marchi and Gov. George Pataki. In 2010, she defeated a two-term incumbent by 10 percentage points to represent Staten Island’s East Shore in the state Assembly. In 2017, she was the Republican candidate for New York City mayor, running against Bill de Blasio. Currently, she is positioning herself to take on newly elected congressman Max Rose next year — but, first, she’ll have to fend off former Rep. Michael Grimm in the congressional primary.
#21 Edward Burke ’80
Ed Burke, who edited the Wagnerian during his student years, has been a fixture in Staten Island political circles for years — as a staff member, not a politician. “If anything, I would run from public office,” he told the Staten Island Advance when asked about his political aspirations.
For 16 years, from 1985 to 2001, Burke worked for legendary Staten Island pol Guy Molinari ’49 H’90, first as his congressional press secretary, then as his communications director and executive assistant in Borough Hall. Burke continued working for the borough president’s office when James Molinaro took office in 2002, rising to become Molinaro’s deputy B.P. in 2006, an office in which he continues to serve under Borough President James Oddo.
#25 James Molinaro H’11
The former borough president (2002–2013) and Conservative Party leader is one of the few politicians who isn’t trying to get back into elected office. The Pitta & Baione senior adviser is supporting the Museum of Maritime Navigation and Communication, the St. George Theatre and the Community Agency for Senior Citizens. Wagner College awarded Molinaro an honorary doctorate in 2011.
#33 Richard Guarasci H’19
During his 17-year tenure as president of Wagner College, Richard Guarasci boosted the school’s endowment from $4 million to $98.7 million, built its first new dorm in more than 40 years, led a renovation of its iconic Main Hall, initiated the Port Richmond Partnership with community leaders, businesses and organizations, and created the school’s signature curriculum, the Wagner Plan for the Practical Liberal Arts. Guarasci, who is stepping down at the end of this month, said goodbye to the school as this year’s commencement speaker, telling graduates, “I have great faith in your generation.” He is the school’s longest-serving president and was recently named president emeritus by the college’s board of trustees.
#55 Robert Scamardella
As the new chairman of Wagner College’s DaVinci Society, Robert Scamardella is helping raise scholarship money for students. The managing partner of Scamardella, Gervasi, Thomson & Kasegrande and former Staten Island Republican Party chairman also plays a key role in the borough’s Republican circles – and its philanthropic causes. He is involved with St. Teresa’s Church and the St. George Theatre, and is on the board of the YMCA of Greater New York.
#58 Kenneth C. Mitchell ’87
Ken Mitchell’s previous job as New York City councilman — navigating the disparate personalities of council members and commissioners — likely prepared him for his current role as executive director at the Staten Island Zoo. Now he spends his days with rambunctious Geoffroy's marmosets and premonitory rodents who have kept their thoughts about the mayor’s presidential chances mum. Mitchell, who kept a low profile on the City Council, previously served as chief of staff for Councilman Michael McMahon before McMahon’s term in Congress and election as Richmond County district attorney.