2022 Public Servants of the Year: Steve Shauger & Kristy Verity

The News-Review’s Public Servants of the Year are Steve Shauger and Kristy Verity of the Riverhead Business Improvement District Management Association, who have spearheaded several popular events the BID sponsors, sometimes in conjunction with other organizations like Chamber of Commerce, bringing thousands of people to downtown Riverhead. 

Mr. Shauger, general manager of the Hyatt Place East End, is president of the BIDMA, a position he’s held since July 2016, after serving on the board since 2013. 

Ms. Verity is BIDMA’s executive director, a position she’s held since July 2019. Her background is in marketing, public relations and event planning. 

“Excellent choices,” said Councilman Tim Hubbard, who is the Town Board liaison to the BIDMA. “Those two single handedly put together the Alive on 25 concerts,” adding “It’s a massive undertaking every year and they are always hands on with everything they do.”

Mr. Hubbard said the events bring visitors to downtown Riverhead who might then come back to explore the town further.

“The businesses all feel that anything that can generate people in the downtown area is a great thing,” said Connie Lassandro, president of the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce. “All the events they’ve had bring a lot of camaraderie and community spirit to the area. It’s something that’s welcomed by the businesses and by the community at large.”

The chamber has actually taken over running the Cardboard Boat Race, although Mr. Shauger and Ms. Verity still help out, Ms. Lassandro said. 

“They are very compassionate about the town,” she added.

The Business Improvement District is a taxing entity that represents businesses in downtown Riverhead, and consists essentially the Riverhead Town Board members. The district’s management association — BIDMA— is appointed by the Town Board to run the day-to-day activities of the BID. 

Events produced by the BIDMA include Alive on 25, which is easily its most popular and takes place four times each summer, including a fireworks show in July.

More recently added events include an “Oktoberfest” that features beer, food and live music and the Halloween Fest, which begins with coffin races in the afternoon, and concludes with a Halloween Parade at night.

Previous Winners

2021: Dawn Thomas
2019: Allen Smith
2018: Dashan Briggs
2017: Richard Ligon
2016: Tom Lateulere
2015: Susan Wilk
2014: Carl James
2013: Dennis Cavanagh
2012: Ed Romaine
2011: George Woodson
2010: Robert Brown
2009: Barbara Grattan
2008: Liz Stokes
2007: Michael Reichel
2006: Gary Pendzick
2005: The Riverhead Ambulance Corps
2004: Richard Wines
2003: Ken Testa
2002: “KeySpan Coalition”
2001: Ed Densieski
2000: Judge Richard Ehlers
1999: Barbara Blass
1998: Vicki Staciwo
1997: Lenard Makowski
1996: Buildings & Grounds
1995: Jack Hansen
1994: Jim Stark
1993: Rick Hanley
1992: Lawyer Jackson
1991: Andrea Lohneiss
1990: Monique Gablenz
1989: George Bartunek
1988: Patricia Tormey

Editor’s Note: There was no Public Servant of the year named in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.