Mr. Khuzami has been a member of Community Board 1 in Astoria, NY for the last 20 years. He sits on the Zoning and parks Committees and is on the Executive Board. Previously, he served as Parks and Culture chair of Community Board 1 for eleven years and also chaired Capital and Expense priority Committee. He is a member of the Queens General Assembly and had been a panelist for grant submissions for the Queens Council on the Arts (QCA). Richard also is an officer of The Eastern Mediterranean Business Culture Alliance (EMBCA).
Because of the tremendous growth in Old Astoria, especially around Hallets Point (which could potentially have over 5,000 new housing units), Mr. Khuzami has established, along with concerned neighbors, the “Old Astoria Neighborhood Association,” a 501c3 non-profit. OANA’s boundaries are Astoria Park South to the North, 21st St to the East, 34th Ave to the South, and the East River to the West. Members include any residents, business and property owners within these borders.
Our mission is to both educate and protect the interests and quality of life for all residents of this previously often neglected part of Astoria/Long Island City.
Mr. Khuzami has also worked as a professional musician and composer for over 50 years and worked in the International Trade, Logistics, and supply chain field.
Kevin Hernandez, president of GIL homes is an award-winning local developer and is an active participant in various community organizations throughout Astoria.
Aki is the Chairman of AKI GROUP, a multinational holding company that manages over a dozen affiliated real estate service companies. Business lines include Construction Management, Development, General Contracting, Interior Renovation, Exterior Restoration, Electric, Plumbing, HVAC, Building Management, Custom Cabinetry and Millwork, Large-Scale Cabinet Distribution, Flooring, Countertops and Fabrication, Large-Scale Granite Distribution, Painting, and Building Maintenance. This integrated business model enables superior cost savings, increased purchasing power, faster delivery times, hands-on control, and streamlined operations.
AKI Renovations, the in-house general contracting company responsible for gut-renovating existing assets, works on behalf of NYC’s most distinguished real estate companies including Kushner Companies, Stellar Management, Stone Street Properties, Moinian Group, Jack Parker Corporation, and Trump Organization among others.
Aki is the definition of an American success story, having immigrated to the United States as a young child to escape war-torn Yugoslavia. In a short period of time, he successfully created a vertically integrated real estate conglomerate that employs hundreds of highly skilled workers. Aki has lived in Astoria for his entire adult life and is involved with numerous charitable organizations.
Bishop Mitchell G. Taylor has lived in and around Queensbridge Houses for most of his life. In 1991, he
was installed as Senior Pastor of the Center of Hope International (COHI), a non-denominational church
adjacent to the Queensbridge Houses. For over a decade COHI has provided a safe place for hundreds
of children in its after-school program and has fed thousands of families each year through its Bread of
Life food pantry.
In 2004, convinced that a single church would not be able to mitigate the mammoth issues facing public
housing residents, Bishop Taylor founded Urban Upbound (formerly East River Development Alliance as
“ERDA”). In founding Urban Upbound, Bishop Taylor has created a true alliance of local religious
leaders, government officials, educators, business owners and residents all working together to affect
neighborhood improvement and expand economic opportunity for the 30,000 residents living in
Queesnbridge, Ravenswood, Astoria and Woodside public housing developments. Urban Upbound’s key
programs include Workforce Development, College Preparation, Financial Education and Counseling and
Community Revitalization. In April 2010, Urban Upbound opened the Urban Upbound Federal Credit
Union (FCU) – the first new credit union in NYC in 10 years, the first in Queens in 30 years, and the first
chartered nationally in the Obama administration.
Bishop Taylor has been profiled by the New York Times, CNN, National Public Radio and other leading
media outlets for his leadership around public housing and has received prestigious awards including the
New York City Public Library Brook Astor Award, NYC Neighborhood Achievement Leadership Award,
and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York Martin Luther King Award. He was also a
participant in the United Way Executive Fellows Program and was chosen to participate in the highly
competitive Achieving Excellence in Community development program led by Neighborworks and
Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.
Bishop Taylor is the author of Unbroken Promises, published by Whitaker House (2003).
Diane is a Greek Canadian living in New York in Old Astoria since 1994.
Diane has been an entrepreneur since she was 21, owning multiple businesses in Canada, Europe and New York. She has now settled into a permanent career in Real Estate of which she loves and devotes most of her time.
Diane has been an advocate for the evolution of Old Astoria, to bring it to a premier residential and a tourist destination of New York City. She is a mother of 3, married happily for 40 years.
Jaime-Faye Bean is the Executive Director of Sunnyside Shines, the Business Improvement District for Sunnyside. Sunnyside Shines represents the interests of over 300 businesses and property owners within an area covering 36 block faces along Queens Boulevard and Greenpoint Avenue; the majority of businesses within the BID are immigrant-owned small businesses.
Ms. Bean serves on the Board of Directors for Thalia Spanish Theatre, the LOVE, HALLIE Foundation, and the St. Pats for All Committee, and is a member of the Museum of the Moving Image’s Neighborhood Council. She is also on the Board of Directors of the New York City BID Association, where she serves as Secretary
A Vermont native, Ms. Bean is a graduate of Dartmouth College and has lived and worked in Europe and the Middle East.
Brett Harris is Managing Partner at AKI Development and is responsible for the daily operations and management of the firm, strategic direction, deal sourcing through execution, managing project teams, and marketing/sales. He has over a decade of experience in real estate development including land acquisition, finance, construction, development, project management, asset management and marketing/sales. Brett previously worked at Stone Street Properties, LeFrak Organization and Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group.
In addition to studying commercial real estate acquisitions and due diligence at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, Brett graduated from Boston University with a B.S. in Business Administration and Management with a concentration in Law, and from New York University with a Masters in Real Estate Development, where he was a finalist in the 2011 NYU Entrepreneurship in Real Estate Development Competition. Brett was a recipient of Boston University School of Management’s “Most Likely to Succeed” Business Plan award and was a three-time recipient of the NYU Dean’s Graduate Fellowship for Academic Excellence.
Owner of Redken Saloon Salon on 30th ave .. we’ve served and supported the Astoria community, since 1981.
Brett Littman has been the Director of The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum in Long Island City, New York since May 2018. He was Executive Director of The Drawing Center from 2007–2018; Deputy Director of MoMA PS1 from 2003–2007; Co-Director of Dieu Donné Papermill from 2001–2003 and Associate Director of Urban Glass from 1996–2001.
Littman’s interests are multi-disciplinary: he has overseen more than seventy-five exhibitions and personally curated more than 20 exhibitions over the last decade, dealing with visual art, outsider art, craft, design, architecture, poetry, music, science, and literature. He is also an art critic and lecturer and an active essayist for museum and gallery catalogues, in addition to writing articles for a wide range of U.S. and international art, fashion, and design magazines.
A native New Yorker, Brett Littman received his B.A. in Philosophy from the University of California, San Diego.
Johannes Schmidt is the President of Alphaporting, a consulting agency specializing in Marketing, Risk, and Business Advisory to SMEs as well as PropTech and Fintech startup companies.
He’s a former Deutsche Bank VP with over 15 years of experience in real estate, financial operations, riskmanagement, portfolio operations, project management, and regulatory relations.