From the Sunnyside Post:
Sunnyside Shines, a local business improvement district (BID), has hired 23-year-old James Bray as its new executive director.
Bray, who has just completed his studies at Rutgers University, will head the Sunnyside BID that has an annual budget of approximately $300,000 per year. The Jersey City resident will be the only full-time executive working for the public/private group.
The BID’s role is to promote business in Sunnyside. Its function is particularly important right now as a slew of businesses are struggling to survive. In recent months many businesses have closed, from Sugar & Joe, Flynn’s Pub, Sleepys, Nourish and Curves.
Bray, who said he knew “nothing about Queens” before joining the BID, was hired as a part-time worker in November to help Sunnyside Shines with is computer and network problems.
He was able to get the part-time job through his father Thomas Bray, who reports to John Vogt, the regional director at White Castle. Vogt is the chairman of Sunnyside Shines.
Thomas Bray and Vogt have worked together at White Castle for years. “They hang out all day at 34th Ave [White Castle],” James Bray said. “I used to see him at our BBQs.”
Vogt, a Lindenhurst resident, is also the chairman of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and a board member on Woodside on the Move.
This will be Bray’s first executive role. He has worked as a Hillsborough Township Volunteer Firefighter in his hometown of Hillsborough, NJ, and has helped provide before- and after-school child care to working families for Catholic Charities. He also worked at Lowes Home Improvement, where he sold grills and other outdoor products.
Bray, who is being paid $41,600 (without healthcare), said that he brings a “fresh perspective to the job.” Many people in Sunnyside’s local organizations have been here a long time, he said.
The New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) is the lead agency responsible for BID creation and oversight.