Sam Aronson, left, Brookhaven National Laboratory director, and Dr. Samuel...

Sam Aronson, left, Brookhaven National Laboratory director, and Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr., right, Stony Brook University president, met, above, with Leo Guthart, Cold Spring Harbor Lab vice president, in January. (Jan. 10, 2011) Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

They said it couldn't be done -- getting the Big Five together in the same room at the same time, that is. But earlier this week, at CA Technologies in Islandia, it was done.

Sam Aronson, director of Brookhaven National Laboratory; Michael Dowling, chief executive of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System; Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr., president of Stony Brook University; Stuart Rabinowitz, president of Hofstra University, and Bruce Stillman, president of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, make up the Big Five. They are the leaders of Long Island's largest research and educational institutions, and they are all now on the board of the Long Island Association.

They got together for the first time Wednesday to begin mapping out the inner workings of Accelerate Long Island, an LIA program that seeks to commercialize projects at the region's labs and colleges. LIA president Kevin Law said someone -- it hasn't yet been decided who -- will run Accelerate Long Island on a full-time basis.

But for now, getting the Big Five together seemed a good start. They talked about the legal and financial issues involved in running Accelerate Long Island. Steve Savage, a senior vice president at CA, joined the group, so it may now be the Big Six! But then again, Law said, other top executives and educators may be joining, so for now it remains the Big Five.

Accelerate Long Island seeks to follow the model of the Long Island Housing Partnership, which grew out of the LIA before becoming an organization on its own.

"We're gaining momentum," Law said. "All the principals [of the Big Five] showed up."

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