Board of Directors
President & CEO
Manhattan Beer Distributors
Simon Bergson started Manhattan Beer Distributors in 1978 with not much more than a dream, a desire to work hard and a handful of employees. Manhattan Beer Distributors first warehouse was a 4,000 square foot garage located on East 5th Street in Manhattan, hence the name Manhattan Beer Distributors.
Today, Manhattan Beer Distributors has grown to employ over 1,700 people and is one of the largest beer distributors in the country, delivering over 46 million cases of beer annually. Operating out of five warehouses: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Wyandanch, and Suffern, Manhattan Beer Distributors warehouse capacity has grown from 4,000 square feet to over 1,500,000 square feet. Manhattan Beer Distributors represents over 75 beer suppliers and over 250 brands.
Simon was born in a U.S. Government Displaced Persons Camp in Austria and was 6 months old when the Bergson family came to the United States. Both of his parents survived the Holocaust and Hitler’s Auschwitz death camp. Simon learned at a very young age the meaning of survival, perseverance, and drive. He earned an Associate of Arts Degree majoring in language (Spanish) from Queensborough College.
In addition to being the Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Manhattan Beer Distributors, Simon serves as:
- Board Member of SOBRO (South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, Past Chair).
- Past Board Member and Past Chair of the New York State Beer Wholesalers Association.
- Past Board Member of the National Beer Wholesalers Association.
- Trustee of the Museum of Jewish Heritage- A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, in Battery Park, NY.
- Chairman of the Board of Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation in Oswiecim, Poland.
Simon was awarded with the “Knights Cross of the Order of the Merit of the Republic of Poland” for his dedication and work toward Polish-Jewish relations. In addition, he was knighted by the “Belgium Brewers Guild” for his dedication to Belgium Brewing.
Simon resides in NYC with his wife Stefany and has three grown children, Brianne, Alex and Mitchel.
Blumenfeld Development Group Ltd.
David Blumenfeld, a partner of Blumenfeld Development Group, Ltd. since 1989, has been the driving force behind many of the company’s high profile projects, including the acquisition and development of East River Plaza in Manhattan and The Arches at Deer Park. East River Plaza is an innovative, vertical, urban power-center that is often cited as being the spark that ignited the revitalization of upper Manhattan. The Arches is an 800,000-square foot, hybrid/lifestyle center and Long Island’s first green retail development that combines discount and outlet shopping with entertainment and restaurant uses.
In addition to this role, David also serves as a president of BDG Construction Corp., a BDG subsidiary with annual revenues exceeding $20 million, where he actively manages the development process on a majority of BDG’s projects.
David, who studied at the University of Michigan, spent three years as a project manager at R.C. Dolner Construction Corp. before joining BDG.
David is also active in the local Long Island community. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Children’s Medical Fund of New York (CMFNY), a non-profit charity that raises funds solely for the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of NY (formerly Schneider Children’s Hospital). David also serves on the Board of Trustees for Northwell Health (formerly North Shore) LIJ and he is both a Board Member and Executive Committee Member for the New York City Police Museum.
John A. Catsimatidis, Chairman
Chairman & CEO
Red Apple Group
John Catsimatidis is the Chairman and CEO of the Red Apple Group. The Red Apple Group has holdings in oil refining, retail petroleum products, convenience stores, supermarkets, real estate and aviation.
Catsimatdis grew up in New York City after coming to the United States as an infant with his parents from the island of Nissiros, Greece.
While attending the Bronx campus of New York University, studying engineering, Catsimatidis worked for an uncle in a small supermarket on 137th Street who helped him open his first store. While still in college, Catsimatidis opened this store in 1968 on Manhattan’s Westside at 99th Street and Broadway.
This supermarket evolved into Manhattan’s largest, high quality supermarket chain, Gristede’s Supermarkets. Famed throughout the borough of Manhattan, Catsimatidis took over the 114-year-old company, Gristedes, transforming it into a staple of New York City life.
In the mid-1980’s, Catsimatidis broadened his interests beyond the supermarket industry. United Refining Company of Warren Pennsylvania, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2002, was added to Catsimatidis’ holdings along with approximately 400 gas stations and convenience stores. This refinery provides the energy needs of Western Pennsylvania, New York and Eastern Ohio.
As Catsimatidis increased his business holdings, so did his real estate holdings. Red Apple Real Estate has substantial investments in the New York, New Jersey and the Florida real estate markets.
Jamie B. Coulter
Coulter Enterprises, Inc.
Jamie B. Coulter currently serves as Chairman and CEO of Coulter Enterprises, Inc., a private investment firm. Mr. Coulter served as Chief Executive Officer of Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, Inc. from January 1992 until the Company was sold in December of 2006. During this period the Company was the IPO of the Year; Forbes Magazine #1 Best Small Company in America for three consecutive years; he is a recipient of the Nation’s Restaurant News Golden Chain Award and its Hot Concept Award for Sullivan’s Steakhouse. Mr. Coulter is a member of the Pizza Hut Hall of Fame and a former Restaurants & Institutions CEO of the Year.
Mr. Coulter has previously served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Young Presidents’ Organization; Chairman of the Venice International University of Leadership; Chairman of the Board of the International Pizza Hut Franchise Holders’ Association; Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Friends University; Member of the Board of Advisors of The Wichita State University Center for Entrepreneurship; Member of the Board of Trustees for the University of Kansas School of Business; Director of Intrust Bank, N.A. and Chairman of the Board of Fox & Hound Restaurant Group.
Mr. Coulter received a BS degree in Business from Wichita State University and is a graduate of the Stanford University Executive Program.
L & L Holding Company, LLC
Christopher Levinson is a Vice President at L&L Holding Company focused on the acquisition and development of new assets in New York City. He has served in this role since 2013.Prior to joining L & L, he was a senior analyst in the Agency Group at CBRE where he specialized in landlord representation and disposition. During his time at CBRE, Mr. Levinson was involved in leasing 3 million square feet of office space for clients including GE Capital, CBREI, Willkie Farr & Gallagher, and Altria Group.
At L&L Holding Company Chris was involved in the acquisition and redevelopment of several Class A office properties including 425 Park Avenue, 511 West 25th Street, and 114 Fifth Avenue. He is currently serving as development manager at 150 Fifth Avenue and 390 Madison Avenue, two projects which combine to approximately 1 million square feet and $500 million in development budgets.
In addition to the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation Chris serves as Vice Chairman Young Leadership, for the State of Israel Bonds Real Estate and Construction Division. He also attended and graduated the FBI Citizens academy in 2015.
Mr. Levinson attended Babson College.
Chairman, President & CEO
Warren Lichtenstein is the founder and executive chairman of Steel Partners Holdings L.P. (NYSE: SPLP), a global diversified holding company. Under his leadership for the past 27 years, Steel Partners has grown from a private investment fund with two employees and assets of $600,000 into Steel Partners Holdings L.P., a company through its consolidated holdings employs 13,500 people in 155 plants and facilities in 20 countries with a combined revenue of more than $3.6 billion.
Mr. Lichtenstein serves as executive chairman of Steel Sports, Inc., an organization he founded in 2011 focused on transforming youth sports in America. Mr. Lichtenstein is also executive chairman of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc., a company delivering solutions that create value for its customers in the aerospace and defense markets. Mr. Lichtenstein is executive chairman of ModusLink Global Solutions, Inc. He has served as a director of approximately 30 public and private companies.
Mr. Lichtenstein’s philanthropy spans many different areas, but as the proud father of two children, he focuses his efforts on charitable causes that benefit children, education and youth sports. He is a founder and board member of Steel Partners Foundation and Our Kids First Foundation which is dedicated to raising awareness and stimulating conversation about the issues and challenges of childhood including Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Mr. Lichtenstein is an executive producer of the 2014 film about children with ADHD titled “Sister,” directed and written by David Lascher.
Mr. Lichtenstein’s Steel Partners Foundation has pledged support to many different charitable organizations and impactful organizations such as the Aspen Jewish Community Center, the Positive Coaching Alliance’s New York and Los Angeles chapters, as well as University of Pennsylvania, Tulane University and Chadwick School. Steel Partners Foundation recently co-hosted a Think Tank on Parental Alienation with Stand Up for Gus, actor Jason Patric’s charity that helps to create awareness of parental alienation.
Mr. Lichtenstein studied at Tulane University and the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.
Philip O. Ozuah, MD, PhD
President & CEO
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Dr. Ozuah is the President and CEO of Montefiore Medicine, the umbrella organization for the 13 hospitals and nearly 300 clinical sites of Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. A nationally recognized physician, leader, executive, researcher, teacher and author, Dr. Ozuah leads a healthcare system that performs more than 6 million patient interactions a year. He previously served as President of Montefiore Health System, Professor and University Chairman of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Physician-in-Chief of the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM).
Dr. Ozuah earned his medical degree from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, a Master’s Degree from the University of Southern California, and a PhD from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln. He completed his Pediatric Internship and Residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore, and his Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Medical Education at the University of Southern California School of Medicine. Dr. Ozuah also serves on the boards of the New York City Police Foundation, the New York Proton Center, and the Greater New York Hospital Association.
Chairman & CEO
Apple Metro, Inc.
Zane Tankel graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, in 1962 with a B.S. in Economics. He is a founding partner and CEO of Apple-Metro, Inc., the franchisee which operates Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar restaurants in the New York Metro area.
Zane serves as a Board Member and Chairman of the Compensation Committee for Aly Energy Services, Inc., and Board Member of Caribbean Restaurant Group, Owners and Operators of Burger King restaurants in the Caribbean. Zane is also a Founding Director of the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation.
A tireless advocate and supporter of many causes ranging from regional to international, Zane was a former Chairman of the Metro Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), founder of the advisory board for the Boys and Girls Choir of Harlem and, at one time served on the executive committee of Bridging the Rift. Before its dissolution, BTR was an international initiative in conjunction with Stanford and Cornell Universities and the governments of Israel and Jordan focused on the creation of peace in the Middle East through education and scientific innovation. A member of President Jimmy Carter’s Inaugural Committee in 1976, his printing company at the time coordinated printed materials for the 1976 and 1980 campaigns.
Zane’s personal life reflects the same verve and intensity as his business pursuits, including being named a member of the “Everest Light” Canadian Mount Everest Expedition, 1984 North Pole Expedition as well as making four trans-Atlantic crossings in a 42′ sailboat. Zane currently holds a second-degree black belt in Karate and is an avid cyclist.
Zane and his wife Joan have two daughters, Melani and Nicole.
Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP
A pioneer in shareholder activism, Steve spearheaded Olshan’s Shareholder Activism Practice more than 20 years ago. Today, he is one of the leading lawyers in the country advising hedge funds and investment partnerships on activist situations in the United States and worldwide. Steve advises on some of the most high-profile activist campaigns year-in, year-out.
Steve is regularly quoted as an industry expert in The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, The Deal, Law360, and in other notable media publications discussing important trends in shareholder activism. He also lectures at corporate and securities law conferences, and speaks on distinguished activist panels throughout the country.
Steve has been cited for his preeminence in shareholder activism and corporate and securities. According to Chambers USA, Steve is “the go-to guy, no question” when it comes to representing activists. In Best Lawyers in America, his clients are quoted as saying that “he possesses a deep understanding of both business and legal needs of the client.” In addition, he is Martindale-Hubbell AV (“Preeminent”) rated by his peers and consistently named to the New York Super Lawyers list since 2006.
Joseph A. D’Amico, Senior Vice President
Chief Security Officer
Montefiore Health System
Retired from NYS Police
Joseph A. D’Amico currently serves as the Senior Vice President and Chief Security Officer of Montefiore Health System. In this role, which he’s held since April 2018, Mr. D’Amico’s responsibilities include maintaining the safety and security of Montefiore’s 35,000 plus employees, infrastructure, and facilities that include 11 hospitals, a medical college and some 200 plus community based medical clinics throughout the Bronx and Westchester.
In 2016, Mr. D’Amico retired from a distinguished, 35 year career in law enforcement. He served twenty-seven years with the New York City Police Department (NYPD), rising to the rank of Deputy Chief. He commanded many uniform and investigative units and prior to his retirement, served as Commanding Officer of the Police Commissioner’s Real Time Crime Center, where he was instrumental in developing a state of the art, 24-hour investigative support center to assist detectives in solving violent crimes from the scene of the crime. The Crime Center was the first of its kind in U.S. law enforcement.
Following his tenure with the NYPD, he acted as the Chief Investigator for the Office of the New York State Attorney General for four years, where he oversaw and coordinated the efforts of 300 criminal and civil investigators assigned to statewide investigative units such as the Organized Crime Task Force, the Auto Insurance Fraud Unit, and the Medicaid Control Fraud Unit.
For over five years Mr. D’Amico served as the 14th Superintendent of the New York State Police, where he was responsible for the overall management and policy of the second largest state police entity in the nation. As Superintendent, Joseph D’Amico commanded more than 5,000 troopers, investigators and civilian support staff who provide a full range of policing and public safety services to New Yorkers and other law enforcement agencies across the state.
In August of 2016, he joined MSA Security and Investigations in New York City as Senior Vice President in charge of Operations. MSA specializes in providing niche security services such as explosive detection canine teams and bomb tech support for x-ray screening operations and serves clients all across the globe.
Mr. D’Amico holds a Bachelor of Science in Management from the State University of New York and is a graduate of the Columbia University Police Management Institute.
James J. Hunt
President, HUNT Group Investigations
Retired from DEA
James J. Hunt began his law enforcement career in the New York City Police Department in 1982. In 1985, he graduated the DEA Academy at Quantico, VA and became a DEA Special Agent assigned to the New York Division.
Throughout Mr. Hunt’s career with the DEA he held supervisory positions in the Miami Field Division; Special Operations Division in Chantilly, Virginia; and New York Division. Mr. Hunt oversaw multi-jurisdictional investigations leading to the dismantling of major international drug cartels.
In 2010 Mr. Hunt was selected to lead the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force in the position of Associate Special Agent in Charge, a Senior Executive Service position, overseeing the men and women of the DEA, NYPD and New York State Police. The New York Drug Enforcement Task Force is the largest and oldest task force still used as a model for drug enforcement task forces worldwide.
In 2014, Mr. Hunt was promoted to the position of Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division, which is DEA’s largest. In that capacity he had supervisory responsibility for one thousand federal, state and local law enforcement personnel.
Mr. Hunt retired from government service in November 2019 and founded the HUNT Group, an investigative and security consulting service.
Mr. Hunt received a B.A. in Criminal Justice from Seton Hall University. He is the recipient of the United States Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement and the DEA’s highest award, the Administrator’s Award of Honor.
John C. Varrone
Managing Director, Global Head of Security
Retired from U.S. Customs
Mr. Varrone joined Morgan Stanley in September 2005 as Head of Global Security. In this role he has responsibility for the safety and security of 60,000 staff in 36 countries. Other responsibilities include: terrorist risk assessment and mitigation, crisis management and preparedness, investigation of internal or external fraud, theft or loss prevention, executive protection, and global security strategies and business intelligence.
Mr. Varrone served as the Director of Global Security at Credit Suisse between 2003 and 2005. Preceding his entry into Corporate, he served for 26 years in Federal law enforcement in the U.S. Department of the Treasury, United States Customs Service as a special agent. Based upon his leadership accomplishments, he was appointed by Customs Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly to Assistant Commissioner, the agency’s highest career position. In this role, Mr. Varrone was responsible for the management of a 762 million-dollar budget and the daily operational and administrative activities of over 7,000 special agents, intelligence analysts, pilots, and air and marine interdiction officers serving in 142 domestic and 30 international offices.
On September 11, 2001, Mr. Varrone, served as the Commissioner of the U.S Customs Service and was responsible for leading the agency’s tactical, intelligence and aviation response in securing all land borders and ports of entry. This included the activation of the Threat Management Center, Mission Critical Team, implementation of agency and government-wide Continuity of Operations Plan and deployment of Customs P-3 aircraft to lead domestic airspace security coverage.
Mr. Varrone received a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. In addition, Mr. Varrone completed the Senior Executive Fellows Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. In recognition of his leadership and exemplary performance, Mr. Varrone was awarded the Presidential Meritorious Service award in 2003. Mr. Varrone and his wife Judi have been married for 30 years and have three children, John, Ryan and Kaitlin.
George C. Venizelos
Executive Vice President
The Red Apple Group
Retired from FBI
Mr. Venizelos retired from the FBI in January 2015 after 24 years. At time of retirement he was the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI New York Office. He is currently Executive Vice President at The Red Apple Group in New York City since October, 2016. Red Apple Group owns several businesses involved in real estate, energy, finance, insurance and supermarkets.
In his 24 years in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mr. Venizelos held numerous executive level positions. George served as the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Office, the largest FBI office, where he oversaw a team of 2,500 special agent, professional staff and task personnel for all FBI operations within the five boroughs of New York City and eight counties in New York State. Prior to leading the New York Office, he led the FBI Philadelphia Field Division as the Special Agent in Charge. Over the years he played a vital role in security planning and coordination of numerous special events, including the 2004 Republican Convention, Super Bowl XLVIII, and the 2015 Belmont Stakes.
Prior to joining Red Apple Group, Mr. Venizelos was Senior Vice President at Quality Protection Services and prior to that Vice President and Chief Security Officer of the New York Racing Association, Inc. At NYRA he was responsible for commanding, directing, and coordinating NYRA’s uniformed and investigative security force in all activities related to the protection, conservation, and security of company assets, employees, guests, and others.
George is a graduate of Fordham University with a B.S. degree in accounting.