Eight Staten Island business and community professionals will be honored at Louis R. Miller Business Leadership Awards

STATEN ISLAND, NY – Among the many challenges and responsibilities business owners and professionals have managing their businesses and organizations, they still find time to volunteer for worthy causes on Staten Island.

Eight of the borough’s distinguished business and community leaders will be saluted for those efforts when they’re honored by the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce at the 25th Annual Louis R. Miller Business Leadership Awards Breakfast on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 8 a.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn (1100 South Avenue).

Miller was a tireless community activist and mentor who viewed volunteering as a way of giving something back to his neighbors. The Chamber continues his legacy by recognizing members of the community who help make Staten Island a great place to live and work.

This year’s honorees are: Dr. Kenneth Byalin, President of Integration Charter Schools; Rev. Dr. Demetrius S. Carolina Sr., Executive Director of Central Family Life Center; Keith Cummings, Owner/Plumber of KCM Plumbing & Heating Corp.; Massimo DiDonna, CEO/Managing Partner of Partners in Sound Entertainment Group; Annamarie Gulino Gentile, Supervising Attorney and Partner of The Law Firm of Angiuli & Gentile, LLP; Danielle Reyes, Co-founder and Chief Relationship Officer of Wealth and Legacy Group; Debi Surmanek, Owner/Partner of Ivy Branding & Marketing Group; and Tariq Zaid, Owning Partner/Operations Manager at Richmond Hood Company.

To learn more about the recipients and read their profiles, visit

The Louis R. Miller Awards Breakfast, sponsored by M&T Bank, is presented by the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce and the Staten Island Advance.

Winners were chosen by the Selection Committee from nominations submitted throughout 2018. This committee is co-chaired by Solomon Chemo, Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network Richmond Wealth Management, and Janet Langton-Magnuson of SCARAN/AAA Thrifty Exterminating. Committee members are: Tatiana Arguello, United Activities Unlimited; John J. Amodio, SCORE Staten Island; Donna Long, Crossroads Unlimited, Inc.; MaryLee Montalvo, MLM Public Relations; and Jon Salmon, Salmon Real Estate.

Presenters this year include: Frank Besignano, Signature Bank; Jon Salmon, Salmon Real Estate; Tom Scarangello, SCARAN; and Cory Schifter, Casale Jewelers.

The cost for the breakfast is $60 per person for Chamber members and $90 per person for non-members. Reservations can be made at or by calling the Chamber at 718-727-1900.


About Louis R. Miller

Louis R. Miller was a tireless community activist who viewed volunteering as a way of giving something back to his neighbors and repaying everyone for the love of America he found after immigrating to the country.

Born in a small village in Russia, Miller’s family moved to Plainfield, N.J., in 1913. He also lived in Burlington Township and Jersey City before relocating to New Brighton in the early 1930s. He settled in West Brighton in the 1950s.

His first job while attending high school was in a bakery in Plainfield, where he worked nights for a salary of $2.25 a week. He eventually entered the insurance field, working his way up to several positions such as a life insurance underwriter and, later, an estate planner for the Prudential Insurance Co. on Staten Island. 

Miller joined the Solomon Huber Agency of the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Co., Manhattan, at its founding in 1941, and remained with the firm until 1966. Due to his dedication, he earned the title “Man of the Year” twice from the company.

Leaving insurance, Miller entered the world of banking and joined the staff of the former Community National Bank and Trust Co., Oakwood. After serving as director of business development for four years, he was named trust officer in 1971 and gained responsibility for the development and implementation of all corporate pension plans, trust and incentive plans, and estate planning.

A chartered member of the Life Underwriters Association of New York, Miller opened an estate planning office in St. George in 1955, which he maintained for about 20 years. Miller’s expertise in insurance, life underwriting, and estate planning led to many lectures and writings on these topics. He also served as a consultant to numerous small businesses on the Island.

One of Miller’s pet projects was the Meals on Wheels program. His contributions to the agency were recognized in 1990 when the agency dedicated its new Port Richmond headquarters in his name. Miller suggested the agency should move to a new location six years prior to the actual relocation and he even helped sell the old building and purchase the new one.

Another important project was the Business Education Development Council, which was formed in 1993 to serve as a liaison between the business community and the College of Staten Island. Miller found the organization because he firmly believed in the need for business owners and professionals to provide continuing education to small businesses on Staten Island.

Miller also supported the Jewish Community Center, the United Jewish Appeal, the Jewish Foundation School, the Staten Island Community Chest, Staten Island Family Services, the Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences, the YMCA, the College of Staten Island, and Doctors’ Hospital.

He received the Wagner College Distinguished Citizenship Award, and was named a Paul Harris Fellow, the highest honor that Rotary International bestows. 

Louis Miller died on August 12, 1994, at the age of 93.


About the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce
Founded in 1895, the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce is the largest and most respected business organization on Staten Island. The Chamber is comprised of over 700 businesses representing over 20,000 employees from across the tri-state area. The majority of its members are small businesses, 80 percent of which have less than 10 employees. In addition to its circle of 700-plus members, the Chamber has affiliations on local, state, and federal levels. It is associated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Chamber of Commerce Executives, the Business Council of NYS, the Chamber Alliance of NYS, the Five Borough Chamber Alliance of NYC, and The Partnership for NYC. Through these relationships, the Chamber can provide access, address business concerns, and pass along information that is pertinent to its members.

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