William Wahlig, longtime executive director of the Long Island Forum for Technology, has resigned from the nonprofit that helps manufacturers improve their products and operations, officials said Monday.
Barry Shorten, interim chairman of the LIFT board, confirmed Wahlig’s departure but said he couldn’t discuss the reasons.
Wahlig didn’t return voicemail messages on Monday seeking comment. He also had served as interim president. He earned $165,000 in 2014, according to LIFT’s most recent available federal tax filing.
Shorten praised Wahlig and said Bethpage-based LIFT “will become more active in coming months” now that a governmental grant shared with Stony Brook University has been finalized.
Earlier this year, Empire State Development, the state’s primary business-aid agency, awarded a five-year, $5 million contract to LIFT and Stony Brook to operate a Manufacturing Extension Partnership center for Long Island.
The center, part of a national program, will seek to help small- and medium-sized factories use technology more effectively. In previous years, LIFT had the MEP designation by itself.
Since Northrop Grumman Corp. and other defense contractors began downsizing in the 1990s, factory jobs in Nassau and Suffolk counties have dropped by more than half, from annual averages of 147,637 in 1991 to 69,514 in 2013, according to the most recent census data.
LIFT was established in 1976 to bring new technology to businesses and to create jobs. The group has a homeland security center in Bethpage and a composite prototyping center in Plainview. Both were created with millions of dollars in government funds.
Wahlig came to LIFT in 2007 after working as an executive at defense contractor EDO Corp. of Bohemia. He also served on the LIFT board while an EDO employee.
The LIFT-Stony Brook partnership had competed with other local groups for the manufacturing grant, including the Hauppauge-based Aerospace and Defense Diversification Alliance in Peacetime Transition, or ADDAPT.
Shorten said on Monday the grant will ease a cash crunch that led LIFT to lay off half of its staff and reduce services earlier this year. The group’s 2014 tax return showed revenue of $6.2 million, down from 2013’s $7.4 million.
Separately, Wahlig has resigned from the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, appointed in 2011 by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to devise and implement a five-year economic growth plan for Nassau and Suffolk counties. The council also recommends projects for state tax credits and grants.
Jonah Bruno, a spokesman for Empire State Development, which administers the council, said, “Bill Wahlig was an original member of the LIREDC and voluntarily resigned after more than five years of dedicated service.”