High Profile: Lisa Mulligan, Brookhaven IDA CEO
Lisa Mulligan is the CEO of the Brookhaven Industrial Development Agency (IDA). Taking the reins of the Town of Brookhaven’s economic development arm in 2009, her leadership has helped foster profound economic growth and prosperity in this region of Suffolk County. A vocal, Island-wide leader in the conversation about Long Island’s economic prosperity, Mulligan is, quite literally, helping the foundation on which business progress is built.
Born and raised in Brookhaven town, Mulligan’s unique perspective on the future of the town is both personal and professional. Seasoned with business experience and savvy, Mulligan interfaces with small, medium and large-scale companies who seek to bring their business to Brookhaven.
“Growing up here, living in other places, and then coming back to raise my family in Brookhaven has helped me appreciate all that Long Island and Brookhaven have to offer,” Mulligan says. “It’s not only the amazing physical attributes of the area, but the culture, the work ethic and of course, the people.
“When I was young, I thought that you were either a school teacher or a police officer,” she continues. “However, for my children, I realize there are so many opportunities for amazing careers here on Long Island beyond what I thought when I was a kid. I think that it is important to make sure the next generation realizes how much is truly available to them, in life and career, right here on Long Island.”
The IDA, which is composed of dedicated professionals and a board of directors, has helped create a friendly environment for growth and commerce under Mulligan’s stewardship of the business interest of Brookhaven. Throughout her career, Mulligan has served in various appointed and advisory leadership roles to Long Island’s esteemed economic councils, namely, the Long Island Business Development Council, the Suffolk County Industrial & Commercial Incentive Board, and both the Brookhaven and Suffolk County Small Business Advisory Councils. Mulligan also serves as the CEO of the Brookhaven Local Development Corporation and executive director of the Southold Local Development Corporation.
Mulligan’s commendable efforts are the embodiment of the Brookhaven IDA’s mission statement. Each day, she dedicates herself to improving the quality of life for the nearly half a million residents of Brookhaven. Through attracting businesses to Brookhaven and facilitating their launch within the confines of the town, Mulligan says that the lives of those in Brookhaven have been improved through new offerings of goods and services, much-needed resources, and reliable and stable job opportunities.
“I think quality of life involves a balance,” Mulligan says. “In order to have true quality of life, you need to have professional opportunities, recreation, as well as education, and so much more. Much of what we do at the Brookhaven IDA is try to ensure that the residents have this balance in Brookhaven.”
Throughout her now 13-year tenure as CEO, the Brookhaven IDA has made possible various projects that benefit local residents. Notably, the Brookhaven IDA and Mulligan have made a priority of securing housing opportunities for people throughout the town.
“We can’t incentivize businesses to come to Long Island if there aren’t safe and affordable places for their employees to live,” Mulligan says. “It is mutually beneficial to businesses and their employees alike to have housing opportunities that meet both of their needs.
“This has been an existing problem on Long Island, Island-wide, but we’ve done our part in Brookhaven to attract employees and businesses alike,” she adds.
Mulligan has helped revitalize downtown areas, like Patchogue and Port Jefferson. Her leadership and the agency have played a critical role in the advancement of the Ronkonkoma Hub Project, and its success has been lauded by those in local and Island-wide business.
The Ronkonkoma Hub is located near Long Island MacArthur Airport and the Ronkonkoma Long Island Rail Road station. These ports of entry provide the means for businesspeople, tourists as well as New York City residents to visit, attracted by retail, offices and rental housing in a walkable downtown. It is the hope of many in Long Island’s business community that a thriving Ronkonkoma Hub will be the tide that raises all ships in that area.
Mulligan says that when the IDA and local leaders incentivize a business to come to Brookhaven, it improves the entirety of the Long Island ecosystem. Bringing businesses to an area expands opportunities for all, by way of employment, recreation and overall quality of life, Mulligan continues.
In addition to their role in downtown development, the Brookhaven IDA is committed to bringing industry and manufacturing opportunities to Brookhaven. The group has worked with household names like Tate’s cookies, Top Golf and Blue Point Brewery. Mulligan says the investments made by the manufacturing industries have made the largest impacts.
“The IDA’s goal is to help build the economy of the Town of Brookhaven,” Mulligan says. “If there’s a business interested in growing, expanding or relocating in the Town of Brookhaven, we are thrilled to sit down with them to see how we can help.
“In 2021 alone, Brookhaven IDA closed 23 projects that resulted in $1.4 billion of new investment to the community, and approximately 6,500 jobs are going to be created or retained as a result,” Mulligan continues. “This is an injection of money from outside of this region, into Brookhaven, which benefits everyone from business owners, small and large, to the homeowners.”
Mulligan says the future is bright for Brookhaven, a vision that is shared by Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine, IDA Chairman Fred Braun and the IDA board. Mulligan says that many of the projects being considered before the Board, or recently approved, will create new job opportunities — the key to the IDA’s role, she says, and one of the many metrics by which success is measured.
“We are very fortunate at the IDA to have amazing leaders, like Supervisor Romaine and the town board, as well as each member of the IDA board, who are dedicated volunteers and are committed to our mission,” Mulligan says. “Our great team at the IDA works diligently — we are a small staff with big impact.”
One of the more interesting and successful initiatives embraced by the Brookhaven IDA and the Town of Brookhaven has been their leadership in the industry of alternative energy. Mulligan and fellow economic development leaders have been instrumental in securing investments in the Town by companies, like Duke Power, the proprietors of the Shoreham solar energy farms. Other national players have taken notice of Brookhaven’s green energy vision, only expanding the horizons for Brookhaven’s status as Long Island’s leader in this territory.
“Supervisor Romaine deserves tremendous credit for our ability to attract the green energy sector to Brookhaven,” Mulligan says. “It is his vision — he was one of the first to see the importance of these projects, and definitely encouraged the IDA to play a role in the advancement of this growing industry here in the town.”
While the Brookhaven IDA has certainly accomplished much, it is continuous progress that keeps Mulligan and the IDA team dedicated every day. Mulligan says the agency’s work is far from finished.
“I am excited to see what the future brings for the residents of Brookhaven and I am humbled to play a small role in helping businesses grow, create jobs and improve the lives of those who call Brookhaven home,” Mulligan concludes.
Todd Shapiro is an award-winning publicist and associate publisher of Dan’s Papers.