Joan (DeVito) Cergol is approaching her fourth year as a Councilwoman in the Town of Huntington. Prior to her elective service, Joan was an instrumental figure in former Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone’s administration, serving for sixteen years in various appointed leadership positions- as Director of the Huntington Community Development Agency (HCDA) and before that- as an economic development and communications specialist. Throughout her nearly 20-year government career, businesses and residents throughout the town have come to rely on Joan for her accessibility, affable disposition, and unfailing reliability in solving problems and untangling bureaucracy to make government work effectively and fairly.
Joan has additionally served as the volunteer Executive Director for the Town of Huntington Economic Development Corporation whose primary focus is the revitalization of Huntington Station, and also as the Executive Director for the Town’s Local Development Corporation, an entity created by the town to provide tax-exempt bond financing for the not-for-profit sector in Huntington.
In all of her government roles, Joan has worked to advance a wide range of initiatives aimed at protecting and enhancing the civic, education, environment, not-for-profit and business realms, including leading many of the town’s high profile capital improvement projects from inception to ground-breaking. During her tenure as Director of the Huntington Community Development Agency, Joan streamlined and modernized its business practices, while advancing the development of thousands of new affordable housing units and managing the highly regulated disposition of the town’s existing affordable housing inventory.
Prior to entering Huntington government in 2002, Joan worked for eighteen years in the private sector in various marketing and public relations executive positions, eventually starting her own consulting practice in 1997 where she used her persuasive oral and writing skills to advance the causes of a wide variety of clients.
In 2000, Joan’s private work as a law firm marketing professional was recognized by the Washington DC-based Citizens Democracy Corps (CDC) that deploys volunteer advisors to countries throughout the world to help strengthen their economy, democratic structure and relations with the United States. The CDC tapped Joan to travel to Moscow and the south of Russia for a one-month long consulting assignment to teach Russian lawyers and other businesses how to market themselves in order to compete in their then still emerging capitalism and democracy, as well as in the global marketplace.
Joan has used her private sector communications experience, government knowledge and diplomacy skills to achieve consensus between a variety of groups, often of opposing interests, as well as to convince grantors from every level of government to award tens of millions of dollars in grants for Town infrastructure and outside economic development projects. In 2012, The Times of Huntington Newspaper named Joan their Woman of the Year in Government, dubbing her the “go-to-girl in government.” In 2011, Sustainable Long Island bestowed upon Joan its “Getting it Done” Award for her work in leading Huntington’s efforts in the successful creation and completion of Huntington Station’s Gateway Park that features an historic restored farmhouse and community garden.
A lifelong Huntington resident, Joan attended the Huntington School District, graduating from Huntington High School. After high school Joan continued her studies at Loyola University of Chicago to pursue her interest in writing and communications, later transferring to Long Island to earn her B.A. degree, cum laude, from Long Island University, with a major in public relations and a minor in broadcast journalism. She is a member of the 2016 Class of the Energeia Partnership.
Joan has served as an adjunct professor of public relations at St. Joseph’s College and at Long Island University. Both institutions invited Joan to develop her own course curricula based upon contemporary public relations practice as it related to her private and public sector work experience. She has written two books chronicling the history of Huntington’s OHEKA Castle and continues to exercise her love of writing by posting online blogs that reflect upon her family, work and other subjects that inspire her.
Joan just celebrated 35 years of marriage to husband Greg Cergol, who has served as the Long Island Correspondent for WNBC-TV for the last 25 years. Joan and Greg reside just outside of Huntington Village with their two boxer dogs, Santino and Ella. They are the proud parents of grown daughters Emily and Kristina who they raised in Huntington.