The company advocates for small- and medium-sized businesses and other groups and provides messaging. “It’s not just that whispering and the handshake and the slap on the back,” he says. The firm articulates “the true merits of a case” for its clients to elected officials and the public.
Gerstman, 43, first met his wife while writing the book, “What Men Want: Three Professional Single Men Reveal to Women What It Takes to Make a Man Yours.” The couple have two children.
Gerstman co-founded the Lisa Beth Gerstman Foundation, which helps provide summer camp experiences for children with physical disabilities.
Has the recession impacted business?”It’s hard to tell when you’re in a growth stage — I don’t know any different. Would we have been double the size if there was no recession? Possibly. I’m just pleased that we’re growing at such a fast clip.”
What qualities do you look for when hiring?”There are a number of people out there that are quite comfortable being without a job. That really disappoints me. It’s commonplace now to go home after college and live back at home . . . whereas when we were young, we wanted to finish college and get out under any circumstances — any job,” he says, reminiscing fondly about his “little one-bedroom without a kitchen” in Manhattan. “We always look for energetic, committed, loyal people. You can teach them politics. You can’t teach them how to be energetic and how to really care and feel an ownership.”
What kind of culture are you trying to create here?”Politics is 24/7, whether you talk about the work of politics or just the learning part of politics. We just want it to be a state of mind. The job doesn’t have boundaries. “I always say to somebody, ‘What are you interested in advancing: women’s issues, breast cancer issues?’ Anyone here we support to go out into their particular community at any level . . . and make a change.”
How do you motivate employees?”If you’re very serious as a boss and you have a small organization and people see that, they know that they have to be serious. There’s just no other way about it. It’s really: Lead by example.”
What would you change about Long Island?”If I was Nassau County executive, there’s no question I would have a business development commission and a commissioner that would report directly to me every single day to work relentlessly to cut the red tape for businesses and to be an ambassador to businesses.”
Have you considered running for office yourself?”I’ve been asked, and I’ve declined,” he says. But he doesn’t totally rule it out “if something came up that was interesting.”
NAME: Brad Gerstman
COMPANY: Gotham Government Relations
BUSINESS: Lobbying firm
LOCATION: Roslyn, Manhattan, Albany, Washington, D.C.
TYPE: Private company
REVENUE: More than $1 million