North Shore Towers Board President Bob Ricken was one of 35 honorees at The Queens Courier’s recent fourth annual “King of Queens” event, which recognized leaders in the borough from a variety of fields.
While Ricken might have at first been unsure about accepting the award, he said he eventually did so because of the cooperative.
“I really felt North Shore Towers deserved it [the honor] so that’s why I became very excited with the opportunity,” he said. Ricken also said, “I really believe we’ve been a miracle in the last few years.”
Ricken explained that the “miracle” has been avoiding maintenance increases for the last two years and Country Club dues increases for the last three even in the current economic environment. He also noted that the cooperative is waiting on the New York City tax rates to determine what will happen with maintenance for next year.
“One of the promises I made when I got onto the Board was I would work to that end but I never thought we’d achieve it in this economic environment,” Ricken said.
Ricken said that he thought the November 3 event, which was held at Terrace on the Park, was “magnificent.” He said he was excited to meet everyone, particularly Matilda Cuomo, who was honored as “Women of the Year,” and New York City Comptroller John Liu, who was recognized as “Man of the Year.”
“I found that the people there were excited to be there; the program was just brilliantly put together,” Ricken said. “The whole tone was a pro-business, pro-community, pro-Queens kind of an affair and it made you feel good to be there and be a part of it.”
Among the people on hand for the event were Ricken’s wife Susan; Board members Herb Cooper, Phyllis Goldstein, Phil Plafker and Jim Short; General Manager Glen Kotowski; Assistant to the General Manager Bruce Vogel; Controller Robert Serikstad; Security Director Kris Debysingh; realtor Linda Rappaport; counsel Errol Brett; Country Club Manager Mary Anne Langone and vendor Pouran Eshghi.
“I really appreciated them being there,” Ricken said.
Ricken said that the event was a great public relations opportunity for North Shore Towers since he was able to speak with bankers, lawyers, business people and political people.
“These are people who can well afford to live here,” he said.
When it comes to being a leader, Ricken said that he thinks it’s important to be “a warm fuzzy with teeth.” This means being good to all people while still making tough decisions when necessary. He also said it’s important to treat people fairly, collaborate and recognize that “a mass of people know more than you.”
Ricken has served as the President of the North Shore Towers Board of Directors for about the last three and a half years. In that leadership role, he said the most rewarding part has been having the community grow to respect the Board and appreciate their accomplishments. He also said there is now a tone in the buildings that the Towers is a great place to live.
“I’m also very appreciative to have a Board that works cooperatively together. That doesn’t mean we have any yes people on the Board,” Ricken said. “It means that we have our own arguments, our discussions and then come out with a decision that’s best for the community. I think that collaboration and cooperation on the Board is what I appreciate probably more than anything.”
To view more photos, see the North Shore Towers Courier’s December issue!