Welcome to the BID!
During the Sunset Park Business Improvement District’s 23rd annual meeting, held on Wednesday, June 27 at the BID office, 5116A Fifth Avenue, David Estrada, the former chief of staff for Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, was officially named the new executive director of the BID.
Starting Sunday, July 1, Estrada replaced Renee Giordano, who served the position for 20 years before retiring towards the end of last year. Since Giordano’s retirement, Cathy Williams has served as interim executive director.
The new executive director is thrilled to be a part of the BID family.
“This is fantastic,” he said. “What really makes me happy is the idea of being able to focus on the specific geography of the BID, roughly 35th to 64th Streets. It just gives a focus to the work for merchants, building owners and residents. It is going to be great. We’re building on an already successful BID. This has been a historically active BID and I think that is a strong base to work forward from.”
The search for Giordano’s successful was a long and trying process as the job was advertised back in November.
“There were a series of interviews that took place leading up to the holiday season, but that didn’t result in a successful match and then there was another round of interviews and open advertisement of the job in the early spring and that’s what led to my employment,” Estrada added
“We took our time,” said BID president Llamil Nuñez. “We didn’t want to rush. We wanted to get someone in here who could hit the ground running, who would be good for the BID.”
Estrada, who is originally from San Diego before moving to south Brooklyn, where he’s lived for 30 years, believes that his passion for work within the community makes the job an ideal fit for him.
“My career is focused on community service but a big part of my professional life has been involved in business settings so I wanted to combine business with community advocacy,” he said. “That’s the sweet spot for me and I really like to work in a context where I could affect the outcome and see the positive results of the things we’re doing together as a BID, a collection of merchants that are trying to build brand awareness in Sunset Park. Those are passions of mine. It’s a fantastic venue to try and do good work.”
Before working for Menchaca, Estrada spent about 20 years in corporate America working for a human resources consulting firm. He also has a background in business development, web promotions, web content management and customer relationship management. Now he’s ready to continue the progression of Sunset Park’s business district.
“This seems like a natural transition. I want the world to see Sunset Park,” he explained. “Already Brooklyn is a global brand and Sunset itself is to my eyes where real New Yorkers come when they feel homesick. We’ve seen so many neighborhoods that have changed character so much. It’s not just success. They’ve become unrecognizable. And Sunset Park has that quality of Brooklyn, family, small business that people are hungry for. That’s where I think we’ve got a good opportunity.”
Giordano’s stellar contribution to the neighborhood was also discussed throughout the event.
“Look at the proclamations and the awards and events. There’s a lot of history here,” Estrada said. “One of the more important tasks when someone takes over leadership of an organization that has had one passionate leader is continuity,respecting everything Renee built up over time and honoring that. Even if we’re looking for new and different opportunities, that doesn’t mean erasing two decades of hard work.”
“Renee was a great executive director for many years with us,” he said. “[David] can continue all the things that were working out very well.”
Estrada also praised Williams, who has been the interim executive director since late last year.
“This BID was not just treading water since November,” he said. “The events were happening, the outreach was happening. Cathy wasn’t just babysitting this BID. She was taking care of it and the committee. I’m just really respectful of her and her work.”
Members of the BID are excited about the change.
“We got a wonderful person who not only is well qualified, but has been involved with this community for a number of years,” said member Delvis Valdes.
“We are definitely excited to have him on board,” Nuñez added. “He has great communication skills and a great relationship with people in the city. That’s one of the things we really liked about him.”
Estrada plans to get to work right away on advocating for Fifth Avenue’s merchants, business owners and residents.
“We need a little more diversity and outreach to increase the number and variety of people that are feeling not only that they’re helping the BID, but that the BID is helping them,” he said. “My initial work is going to be a lot of visiting, knocking on doors, asking questions, listening to people, doing some direct polling and looking for opportunities for making avenue successful as can be. All the things a BID can do are at the center of the work, such as sanitation, graffiti removal, streetscape improvements, business promotion, filling vacancies, filling street vendors, and commercial waste hauling.”