Longtime Long Island Business Leader Jack Kulka Dies at Age 79

jack kulka
Jack Kulka at a workers’ rally in 1981
Courtesy The Kulka Group

Jack Kulka, a leader in Long Island business growth and development for decades, has died. He was 79.

Kulka was a founding member of the Hauppauge Industrial Association (HIA-LI) and founder of Kulka Construction Corp., now known as The Kulka Group. He also served as a leader in many business and community organizations on Long Island.

“My father was a visionary businessman and a strong advocate for Long Island and the working people who make it what it is. He helped shape the Long Island landscape forever,” said Devin Kulka, CEO of The Kulka Group. “His legacy is his large, blended family, the business he created and the friendships he made throughout his life. We thank everyone for their well wishes at this challenging time for our family.”

Kulka grew up in the Bronx and attended The Bronx High School of Science on a full scholarship. He then earned a full scholarship to NYU, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

The engineer and businessman founded The Kulka Group when he was 34 years old and ran its operations for the next 39 years. During that time, he oversaw more than 22 million square-feet of commercial projects across the Tri-state area and South Florida.

Terri Alessi-Miceli, president and CEO of HIA-LI, recalled that Kulka had a passion and strong vision for building the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge and “helped the organization lead a group of business professionals to get them what they needed when they needed it to help their businesses thrive.”

“Jack built an empire and, as one of the original founders of the HIA-LI, was a driving force. He was relentless about everything he did and showed us what real tenacity looked like,” she said. “I was fortunate enough to have worked alongside him and he showed me that if you bring the right people together for the right reasons anything can get accomplished. I felt privileged to work and learn from him. We are forever grateful.”

Kulka was a past president and founder of HIA-LI, Suffolk Y Jewish Community Center, and the Farmingdale College Foundation. He also served on the boards of Commack Jewish Center, the Long Island Israeli Bond Campaign, United Way of Long Island, Suffolk County Crime Stoppers, American Cancer Society, St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, and the Hauppauge Educational Foundation. 

Kulka is survived by his wife, Harriet; his five children, Devin Kulka, Paula Zeeman, Amy Marks, Nell Kalter, and Leigh Becker; his five grandchildren, Michael Becker, Jadyn Becker, Mackenzie Marks, Brynn Zeeman, and Kylie Zeeman; his daughter-in-law, Danielle Kulka; and his son-in-law, Scott Zeeman. 

Services in Kulka’s honor will be held Sunday, Oct. 2, at the Star of David Memorial Chapel at 9:45 a.m. Burial service will directly follow.

The family will be sitting shiva at 16 Wyandanch Blvd. in Smithtown and requests that shiva visits be limited to the following times: 

  • Sunday following the service
  • Monday, Oct. 3, 5-8 p.m. 
  • Tuesday, Oct. 4, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. 

Kulka’s family encourages donations in his honor to the following organizations: Chabad of Mid Suffolk, Suffolk Y JCC, Hauppauge Industrial Association Scholarship Fund, Suffolk County Crime Stoppers, Family & Children’s Association of Long Island, and Long Island Home Builders Care.