The formation of “Accelerate Long Island” is indeed cause for celebration. All Long Islanders should join in savoring this achievement, and the exceptional vision and cooperative spirit that made it possible. These qualities especially should we pause to recognize and applaud, for they will be greatly needed on the difficult journey ahead.

The coalition, spearheaded by Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko with research funded by Brookhaven IDA, brings together Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, North Shore-LIJ Health System, Stony Brook University, Hofstra University, and the Long Island Association in a collective endeavor to turn cutting edge science into successful commercial ventures. The entity has the potential to transform Long Island’s economy.

Its creation itself is big news. Think of it! Long Islanders coming together in common cause—precisely what our region has so long lacked.

This needed to happen, but it didn’t have to happen. The odds are steep against large, independently successful institutions coming together. Think about where you work: what it takes to get something done when multiple departments and people are involved. Multiply that by I don’t know how many times.

Hard economic times may have helped nudge the process, along with the recognition that regional growth promises benefits to all. But at the end of the day, people made this happen. Individuals who set the greater good above parochial concerns, and common goals above personal agendas.  

Keeping that commitment is vital if the new coalition is to fulfill its promise. A venture like this is as difficult to sustain as to start, for the power of the member institutions that give the coalition its strength can also make it hard to hold together. Great acceleration demands the most precise control.

Capable leadership of course will be critical. Yet as the organization moves into operation, the institutional leaders who created it must remain engaged; their collective vision must be maintained.

Among these leaders personal relationships must be carefully cultivated, based on both awareness of and respect for each other’s responsibilities to their respective institutions. The potential for friction is ever-present; the proven lubricant is sensitive, pro-active communication.

Long Island leaders have risen to a new standard in pursuit of common good, and it has been heartening to see their vision and mutual good will. With that spirit Long Island can fly.