Peter Goldsmith

Peter Goldsmith Credit: LISTnet

Peter Goldsmith, who has served as president of technology advocacy group LISTnet since its beginnings two decades ago, will be stepping down from that role Jan. 1.

Paul Trapani, who became LISTnet vice president in February 2015, will become president, said Goldsmith, who will remain chairman and take the title chief visionary officer.

Plainview-based LISTnet, the Long Island Software & Technology Network, was conceived in May 1997 and had its first meeting the following September with about 100 members.

“Now we have almost 800 members,” Goldsmith said. Most are technology companies, but members also include law and accounting firms that support the tech industry and non-technology companies that have IT departments, such as Farmingdale-based retailer PC Richard & Son, he said.

The not-for-profit had revenue of $258,467 in the fiscal year ending July 2016, according to its most recently available tax return.

Goldsmith said the organization has managed to survive economic cycles and the departure or acquisition of some of Long Island’s largest tech companies by focusing on its mandate.

“We’ve always stuck to our mission: building up the tech industry on Long Island,” he said. “We don’t get involved in politics. We get no government money at all.”

Goldsmith said LISTnet, now housed in leased space dubbed the “digital ballpark,” also keeps costs low.

In practice, he said, that means he and Trapani have hauled a donated conference table and chairs into the LISTnet offices, and that events are typically low-key affairs like get-togethers over pizza, and bring-your-own-guitar Fridays, where musicians from the 24 businesses at the high-tech hub stage an after-hours jam. Goldsmith sometimes joins on saxophone, while Trapani does karaoke vocals.

The one major outside event sponsored by LISTnet is the annual Long Island SummIT Awards — known as the LISA awards — at the Garden City Hotel, this year on Oct. 16.

Goldsmith said LISTnet emerged from efforts to fill the gap in Long Island’s economy after Bethpage-based Grumman Corp. was acquired by Northrop Corp., then based in Los Angeles, for $2.2 billion in 1994.

Goldsmith left Grumman following the Northrop deal after 19 years at the aerospace company. Previously he had worked at CBS Records under record producer Clive Davis. Davis is known for signing acts including Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Bruce Springsteen, Chicago and Billy Joel.

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