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Everybody’s Port: August 15, 2013

Schwartz, Schein

Co-Preside Over Port Chamber

In short, he made the trip from Brooklyn to Ithaca to Brooklyn to Port Washington before he was 25. Once he got to Port, he never lived anywhere else. Of course, he liked it here, but Manhasset Bay and its environs were not the deciding factor. That was a young woman named Stephani, who also liked it here.

So? What does any normal red-blooded young man do after he courts a captivating young woman who causes his heart and mind to agree, “She’s the one”? (No, he did not ask her if she had a job.) He married the lady;they bought a house in Port and have lived here ever since. It proved a definite plus, but it almost didn’t happen.

After high school, he traveled “far above Cayuga’s waters.” to Ithaca, New York, and enrolled at Cornell University — ostensibly to study oceanography. “I grew up in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn and always loved the ocean. I was a scuba diver back then,” he said. But he changed courses at Cornell. Why? “I realized there were no oceans within 300 miles, so I switched to computers,” he explained.

From then on, computer technology has been his life’s work. He’s become a guru in his field — a go-to guy. And that’s how we came to know him in Port Washington. Oh, just remembered. You may know him, but I suppose you won’t if his name remains a mystery.

Okay, okay. He is Mitch Schwartz, whose company, Millennium Software, provides technology solutions for businesses using computers.

After doing very well with one or two large companies requiring all his time, including treks back and forth to NYC, Mitch decided Millennium would focus on smaller businesses in his home area. It did away with wasted travel time. It also gave Mitch an opportunity to become a leader in the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce.

Warren Schein has been president of the Port Chamber so many years that some — meaning no disrespect — tease that he was elected PWCOC’s president-for-life. In truth, Warren has been an energetic and effective president of the Chamber. As its membership has grown, even Warren realized he couldn’t be at two places at once, representing the Chamber. So, about four years ago, a decision was made to elect Warren and Mitch as co-president. That has proved effective.

The two are different. Warren is a deft performer; Mitch once had difficulty addressing groups. He overcame it with help and hard work. He’s about 6 feet tall and looks fit. With his graying, neatly-trimmed beard, he has the look of a judge. With a seemingly permanent wry smile and a benign countenance that often mask what he’s really thinking, he appears an experienced judge. He’s empathetic and modest to a fault; rarely, if ever, raises his voice, and I’ve never heard him laugh aloud. Whatever he has to say, he says it succinctly. You listen; you understand.

Fortunately, Mitch is a constant champion of the Chamber. “Do you know the Chamber has been around since 1930?” Mitch asked. Some members feel the majority of people in Port are unaware of the Chamber. “That’s why we’re trying to be more visible to the general public,” Mitch said. He cited a few of the major projects the PWCOC has spearheaded: Annual HarborFest, Annual SOUPer Bowl, “Try Port First Dirctory”, Holiday Decorations on every Main Street lamppost, distributing 3000 American Flags at Memorial Day Parade, and Harborsafe Environmental Education Program.

Back to more important things. Stephani and Mitch Schwartz will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary on September 3rd. It is also Charlie Sheen’s 48th birthday. Personally, on 9/3/13, I plan to hoist an imaginary glass of champagne to two of Port’s best. Please join me.