ABOVE: Ricardo Cortez, Jacques Jiha & Dr. John Park.
Cortez Receives Queens College President’s Medal
The Queens College President’s Medal — the college’s highest administrative honor — was awarded to distinguished alumnus Ricardo “Rick” L. Cortez, a financier and asset management specialist, at the college’s annual Academic Excellence Award Ceremony.
A 1972 cum laude graduate with a BA in mathematics, Cortez went on to become certified as an Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) at the Wharton School in 1993.
He is the co-chief executive officer of Broadmark Asset Management, where he is primarily responsible for business development, as well as management of the firm’s sales and marketing efforts.
“I graduated from Bayside High School in 1967, and perhaps like some Queens College students, I was the first in my family to go to college,” said Cortez. “I applied to three schools: Columbia, St. Johns, and Queens. I was accepted at all three, but my parents, who did not have a lot of money, thought Queens College was by far the best choice. They turned out to be right.”
As Broadmark Asset Management co-CEO, Cortez shares in the oversight of the firm’s business operations. Additionally, he is a member of the investment team and serves as the firm’s chief risk officer.
Cortez joined Broadmark in 2009 as president of global distribution and was named co-CEO in 2013. Cortez joined the QC Business Advisory Board in 2009 and served for a time as its chairman.
He has returned to campus multiple times as a guest lecturer in the Risk Management graduate program at QC. An adjunct faculty member at Harvard University, Cortez has been a guest lecturer on investment policy and hedge funds at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Since 2014, he has volunteered his time and expertise to American Corporate Partners helping veterans make the transition to the private sector through mentor-mentee programs.
A trained classical guitarist, Cortez performed on tours in the 1970s. He continues to play for pleasure and collects guitars. He is also interested in physics and philosophy.
An essay he wrote highlighting his principles was referenced in the 2019 book by space philosopher and author Frank White, “The Cosma Hypothesis: Implications of the Overview Effect.” Cortez is also a longtime tennis fan.
“I’m honored to present the first president’s medal of my tenure to alumnus Ricardo Cortez,” said Queens College president Frank Wu. “A great success story and valued member of the Queens College family, Cortez has accomplished a level of achievement and service to the community that makes us proud and makes him a role model for our students.”
Jiha Tapped to Lead NYC Out of Budget Crisis
Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed Queens resident Jacques Jiha as director of the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget.
As Budget Director, Jiha will help lead New York City out of the fiscal crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and make decisions that will strengthen and protect the city’s finances for generations to come.
“I am pleased to appoint one of our city’s most hard-working and passionate public servants to take on an even bigger role as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said de Blasio. “Jacques has the experience and vision necessary to support New Yorkers during this crisis and guide our city through financial hardship.”
In 2014, de Blasio appointed Jiha as the commissioner for the Department of Finance, the agency responsible for collecting over $40 billion in revenue that make all city services possible.
Jiha modernized the department by integrating new technology and data analytics to increase efficiency and make better decisions.
Under his leadership, the department also created new options focusing on customer experience, including a full-service call-center, online property tax system, parking ticket mobile app and the offices of the Taxpayer Advocate and Parking Summons Advocate.
Prior to becoming commissioner of the Department of Finance, Jiha was the chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Earl G. Graves, Ltd/Black Enterprise.
Previously, he served as deputy comptroller for pension investment and public finance in the Office of the State Comptroller, deputy comptroller for Nassau County, chief economist for the Office of the City Comptroller, executive director of the State Legislative Tax Study Commission, and principal economist for the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means.
Born in Haiti, Jiha immigrated to New York City in 1979 and earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Fordham University. He also holds a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in economics from the New School for Social Research. He lives in Queens with his wife and daughters.
“Our city is facing an enormous fiscal challenge in light of the public health crisis,” said Jiha. “As we recover, I am committed to making fiscally responsible decisions to keep New York City a vibrant place to live and work.”
Park Takes Lead Role at NYPQ
Dr. John Park has been named chief of neurological surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens. He was also recruited to serve as professor of neurological surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine. Park, who has expertise in the treatment of brain and spinal tumors and degenerative disorders of the cervical and lumbar spine, joins a team that provides the full range of treatment for neurosurgical conditions.
Before joining NewYork-Presbyterian Queens, he founded and served as the medical director of the multidisciplinary Brain and Spinal Tumor Program at Cottage Health in Santa Barbara, California.
Park also had an active practice providing neurosurgical treatment for patients with neck and low back pain and other spinal disorders. He has particular expertise in the use of minimally invasive spinal surgery techniques.
Prior to his work in California, Park developed a national reputation at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, for the surgical treatment of low-grade tumors that occur in the brain and spinal cord.
Park has received numerous awards, including from the Joint Section on Pediatric Neurosurgery of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons, American Brain Tumor Association, New England Cancer Society, and Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation, among others.
Park grew up and attended public schools in Queens and Manhattan, later receiving his undergraduate degree from Brown University and a medical degree and doctorate at Harvard Medical School.
“I am fortunate to have the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life on a daily basis,” said Park. It is an honor and a privilege to have patients and their families put their trust in me, and I am excited to lead a highly skilled team dedicated to achieving the best possible outcomes for patients.”