Preparing for the next big storm

Lawrence resident focuses on energy innovations


After witnessing boats wash up on the front lawns of homes throughout the Five Towns and students from Lawrence High School forced out of their building and into Lawrence Middle School due to flooding from Hurricane Sandy, John Licata knew something had to change to prevent anything like that from ever happening again.

The Lawrence resident, who in 2005 founded the Manhattan-based Blue Phoenix Inc., an independent research company that focuses on the future of energy, wrote his first e-book, “Lessons from Frankenstorm: Investing for Future Power Disruptions,” and released it in July.

Licata was inspired to write the book by seeing first-hand how people were affected both in Lawrence and his native hometown of New Dorp, on Staten Island. “What helped me to write this book was having no communication; days and weeks went by and no one knew what was happening with the [Long Island Power Authority],” he said. “It was uncomfortable living without power and if a stronger, new or different storm were to come, could the U.S. still be at the forefront of global leadership if the lights weren’t on?”

The 80-page book, Licata said, was needed to help prepare people for the future. “The next storm may or may not come from weather, it could come from cyber terrorism or too much reliance on natural gas,” he said. “Timing was essential to bring these issues to the forefront and people need to be open to change. We need to put more money into our schools to advance new technology.”

Bill Falloon, executive director of Finance and Investment at Wiley, the publishing company that produced Licata’s book, said the timing was right to address these issues. “We are now in the middle of the 2013 hurricane season,” Falloon said. “The book is meant to raise awareness that weather is not our only threat to future power outages and to help those interested in learning about the future of energy while also keying into new opportunities, technologies and companies to consider investing in.”

By writing in simple terms, Licata said he strived to make the book easily understandable. “When people think energy they instantly think science and engineering,” he said. “This book is written in plain English so people can understand and learn about the future of energy post-Sandy.”

Licata’s longtime friend from Staten Island, Ralph Ranieri, read the book and said energy has been a serious issue in recent years. “I found the book to be very insightful,” he said. “There were a lot of things in the book that I wasn’t aware of so I’ll probably go back and read them again to become more familiar with them. These issues are vital for people in today’s society.”

Ranieri said he now understands more how to participate and contribute to helping prepare for the future. “These storms are going to happen and instead of waiting for them to happen, I’m going to start preparing,” he said. “It really opened my eyes.”

“Lessons from Frankenstorm: Investing for Future Power Disruptions” is available on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play and Barnes & Noble for the nook.