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Assessor Quinn Karpeh

Julie Lane
Shelter Island Reporter

Quinn Karpeh was a Shelter Island “summer kid” before he knew that his future would demand his full time presence here. But his love of the Island from childhood and his recent election to public office as an assessor clinched the deal on staying.

Mr. Karpeh ran unopposed, knowing he would be changing jobs, leaving Chase Bank where he has been a personal business banker. But he never expected he would garner the highest number of votes of anyone on the Shelter Island ballot — 1,077, according to the final tally from the Suffolk County Board of Elections.

Although he grew up in New York City, his parents purchased an Island home back in the early 1990s, so at 28 he has spent most of his summers here.

After graduating from Fordham University with a degree in economics, he tried his hand at a number of jobs. His father was a doctor, so he considered medicine, ultimately deciding that wasn’t the right path for him. He went on to a job as a financial adviser at Equitable Insurance in New York, but “figured the insurance industry wasn’t for me.”

When a Chase Bank recruiter called three and a half years ago, he happily moved to Shelter Island full time to take the job in the place he had come to think of during his summer months here as “magical.”

What drew him was the slower pace and the opportunity to indulge his love of the environment in a place where his efforts could have an impact for the better. “I consider myself an environmentalist,” he said.

Having spent much of his summers at the Mashomack Preserve, it was a natural transition as an adult to join the town’s Green Options Advisory Committee.

But it wasn’t just the pace or the environment that attracted him to the Island. In large part, it was getting to know people here. It’s why he’s enjoyed his position at Chase so much because of the interaction with community residents.

Leaving the bank for his new job in January will be “bittersweet,” he said. At the same time, he admitted he’s “a political junkie and a wonk when it comes to policy,” so he’s looking forward to his new role.

Through his course work in economics, he developed a strong interest in real estate and looks forward to getting to know all 2,700 parcels of land on the Island. He has to learn more about the laws that affect exemptions on real property so he’ll have a full grasp of the job he’ll be taking on.

When he’s not working or engaging in activities centered on the environment, he can usually be found playing basketball a couple of times a week at Shelter Island School, golfing and engaging in other sports.

And as a single man, he said he expects to be traveling back to the city from time to time to enjoy the nightlife there.

There are those who have speculated about his eventual political future, some saying this young man could someday be a Town Board member.

It’s speculation he doesn’t entertain — at least not yet.

“I feel so blessed to be in the position I’m in,” Mr. Karpeh said.