Accelerate Long Island is a regional collaboration among Long Island's major research institutions, including Brookhaven National Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Hofstra University, the North Shore-LIJ Feinstein Institute, Stony Brook University, and the business community to commercialize research and create high tech startup companies.
Lesko is a native of Washington D.C. He is a graduate of Yale University, where he was a quarterback on the varsity football team. In 1994, Lesko received his law degree from Georgetown University Law School, graduating on the Dean's list and serving as a Notes Editor of the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal.
On August 15, 2012, Lesko was selected by the Board of Directors of Accelerate Long Island to become the organization's first Executive Director.
In 2009, Lesko was the Democratic candidate for the open Brookhaven Town Supervisor position, which was vacated by Democrat Brian X. Foley. Lesko's opponent for the special election to fill the seat was a town councilman, Republican Tim Mazzei. The special election for town supervisor was held on March 31, 2009 and Lesko topped the sitting Councilman Mazzei with almost 55% of the vote. Supervisor Lesko beat Martin Haley in the general election on November 3, 2009, receiving 56% of the vote. Supervisor Lesko won his third term on November 8, 2011 against Republican Challenger Cecile Forte with nearly 60% of the vote.
Lesko practiced law at firms in Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. He then served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for 10 years, from 1999-2002 in the District of Columbia and 2002-2009 in the Eastern District of New York.
Accelerate Long Island
In 2011, Lesko spearheaded an initiative as Brookhaven Town Supervisor to commercialize research at Long Island's major research institutions, including Stony Brook University, Hofstra University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, North Shore-LIJ Health System and the Long Island Association. The effort was modeled after other successful commercialization efforts around the country, like Connect.org in San Diego and other high-tech economies in Silicon Valley and Boston. Subsequently, Accelerate Long Island was launched as a not-for-profit organization with the research institutions and several private companies serving on the Board of Directors. After hiring an interim director, the Board of Directors unanimously tapped Mark Lesko to be the organization's first Executive Director. Lesko was charged with transforming Long Island's economy by cultivating an ecosystem that connects researchers with entrepreneurs and investors and creating high-technology jobs.
As Executive Director of Accelerate Long Island, Lesko is responsible for overseeing the organization's $500,000 seed fund. Lesko is also working on bringing more venture capital dollars to Long Island from places like New York CIty.
Lesko administers the Accelerate Assist mentorship program and Accelerate Ecosystem networking program. The Accelerate Assist program includes a team of experienced entrepreneurs-in-residence that mentor early stage high tech startup companies.
Accelerate Long Island is working with over 100 high tech startup companies in the information technology, biotech, and energy sectors. The goal is to create an innovation cluster of high tech startups on Long Island.
Major Initiatives As Supervisor
As Supervisor, Lesko made it a priority to take the politics out of Brookhaven government. Lesko forged a partnership with a Republican Councilwoman, Deputy Supervisor and Councilwoman Kathleen Walsh, and appointed a new bi-partisan management team.
Lesko supported a property tax cap, a spending cap, and a debt management cap for Brookhaven Town, and voters overwhelmingly approved all three measures, which were referendums on the ballot in November 2010. Wall Street Rating agencies affirmed Brookhaven’s high bond ratings eight times when Lesko served in office.
Lesko focused on economic development in the Town and is the brainchild of Accelerate Long Island, an initiative to connect research conducted at Long Island's major universities and research institutions and connect them with entrepreneurs to create start-up companies on Long Island.
Lesko also focused on redeveloping the blighted areas of the suburbs and redirecting development away from virgin land through a program he developed called "Blight to Light".
A hallmark economic development project of Supervisor Lesko is the Ronkonkoma Hub Transit-Oriented Redevelopment, which seeks to create a live-work destination 50 acres of Brookhaven owned property adjacent to the busiest train station on the entire Long Island Rail Road and proximate to Long Island's major commercial airport, Long Island MacArthur Airport.
Career as Assistant United States Attorney
Some of his successful cases as Lead Prosecutor include:
- Muttontown Slavery Case − a Muttontown couple were found guilty of abusing two Indonesian women and holding them as slaves in their home.
- The Lawrence Aviation Environmental Pollution Case - The leadership of Lawrence Aviation Incorporated was convicted for dumping 12 tons of hazardous waste into the ground of Port Jefferson Station, New York.
- The Symbol Technologies Fraud Case − Virtually all of the company's senior management were found to be involved.
- A racketeering case involving the murder of an innocent man by gang members.
Mark also has overseen and managed the federal prosecutions leading to conviction in:
- The "Asphalt Cartel" Case − Involving the owners of major asphalt companies in Suffolk County for conspiracy to rig bids.
- The prosecution of officials of the William Floyd School District for tax evasion.
- The conviction of a sitting New York State Judge.
- Saslow, Linda (2009-04-02). "Supervisor for the Short Term in Brookhaven". The New York Times.
- "Accelerate Long Island".
- "Accelerate Long Island".
- "Bio from LeskoForSupervisor website" (PDF).
- Georgetown Law: Class of 1994: Mark J. Lesko (Page 28), includes photo
- "Accelerate Long Island Board Names Mark Lesko as Executive Director". The Long Island Association. 2012-08-15.
- Strickler, Andrew (2009-01-11). "Mazzei, Lesko kick off campaigns". Newsday.com. Archived from the original on 2009-01-17.
- "Final Results of Special Election on Tuesday, March 31, 2009". Suffolk County Board of Elections.
- "Suffolk County Board of Elections, FInal Results of General Election on Tuesday, November 9, 2009". Suffolk County Board of Elections.
- "Suffolk County Board of Elections, Final Results of General Election on Tuesday, November 8, 2011". Suffolk County Board of Elections.
- Whittle, Patrick (2009-03-10). "Power brokers eye Brookhaven supervisor". Newsday.com.
- "Accelerate Long Island". 2011-01-25.
- "Accelerate Long Island Board Names Mark Lesko as Executive Director".
- James Bernstein (2012-04-16). "Resi Cooper, of Accelerate Long Island". Newsday.
- "Accelerate Long Island".
- Ryan, Joe (2012-09-14). "Lesko's Job is Getting NYC Venture Capital for LI". Newsday.
- Du, Lisa (2013-07-01). "Accelerate LI launches three initiatives". Newsday.
- Du, Lisa (2013-06-13). "Accelerate LI reaches more than 100 local start-ups". Newsday.
- Fidler, Ben (2013-05-20). "Accelerate LI's Lofty Goal: Create the Next U.S. Innovation Cluster". Xconomy.
- "Mark Lesko Biography".
- "Brookhaven Town Board Adopts No Tax Increase Budget".
- "Suffolk County Board of Elections Final Results of General Election on Tuesday, November 2, 2010".
- "Supervisor Mark Lesko Announces that Wall Street Agency Affirms Brookhaven's High Bond Rating".
- "Moody's and Standard & Poor's Rating Agencies Both Affirm the Town's High Bond Ratings".
- "Mark Lesko Biography".
- "Group Effort to Rev up Economy".
- "Blight to Light".
- "Rethinking Ronkonkoma".
- Kessler, Robert E. (2007-11-15). "Alleged slavery victim's son says mother was threatened". Newsday.com.
- Kessler, Robert E. (2007-09-19). "Housekeeper: Couple tortured, humiliated me". Newsday.com.
- "Results That Matter...". LeskoForSupervisor.com.
- Lutz, Lee (2009-01-07). "Lesko in supervisor race". Times Beacon Record Newspapers.
- , Accelerate Long Island
- marklesko.net, official campaign website
- The Mark Lesko Campaign on Facebook
- "Supervisor candidates go head to head" by Kelly Campbell. Times Beacon Record Newspapers. 2009-01-19.
- "Mazzei and Lesko step up fundraising efforts by Rick Brand, William Murphy & James T. Madore. Newsday.com. 2009-01-29.
- "Let's Go Lesko!" by Amy Ellis. The Statesman (Stony Brook University). 2009-02-23.