AFE Award
General Business

2018 Awards for Excellence

13 Companies to Receive Awards

On October 24, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association will present the Association’s 2018 Awards for Excellence to 13 companies that have done outstanding work to improve the quality of life in New Jersey.

The awards will be presented at a reception at The Palace at Somerset Park, Somerset. Click here for event and ticket info.

Every year, NJBIA honors a select group of employers for their outstanding achievements in five categories: Executive of the Year, NJBIA Member of the Year, Community Service, Outstanding Employer and Environmental Quality.

All NJBIA members in good standing are eligible to be nominated. The winners are selected by an independent panel of judges who volunteer their time to select the winners. 

Executive of the Year Award

Presented to individuals who demonstrate exemplary leadership and passion while achieving business success.

Michael Novak
President, Atlantic Environmental Solutions, Inc.

Since founding Atlantic Environmental Solutions, Inc. (AESI) in Hoboken 20 years ago, President Michael Novak has led the team in completing more than $65 million in environmental projects at over 5,000 industrial and commercial locations across 47 states.

The firm helps clients with complex environmental laws to ensure a better quality of life in communities throughout the region. AESI routinely performs Phase I Environmental Site Assessments for property buyers, sellers and lenders to help establish “innocent purchaser” status in commercial real estate property transactions.

Novak ensures senior management is directly involved in all projects to provide reliable, cost-effective solutions. AESI specializes in commercial real estate projects, a market that is largely influenced by environmental concerns. Novak and his staff are specifically trained to perform due diligence and remediation services in this arena, allowing them to be far more efficient and cost-effective in identifying critical issues that need to be resolved as a part of these transactions.

As a result of Novak’s strategic vision, AESI’s revenues have increased fourfold over the last 10 years, while the firm has helped return numerous contaminated industrial properties to beneficial use.

Chaya Pamula
President & CEO, PamTen, Inc.

Technologist, philanthropist, visionary, mentor, entrepreneur and – above all – a passionate human being. These are the words used to describe Pamula, an entrepreneur originally from India who left a senior management job at Bristol-Myers Squib to establish her own IT company.

As president and CEO of PamTen, Pamula conceptualizes innovative software products that open doors into new marketplaces, including ConnectPro Global, a powerful membership, event management, and networking application.

Pamula also puts her entrepreneurial skill to work for those in need through Support Organization for Kids In Need, an NGO helping more than 100 destitute and underprivileged children in India. SOFKIN, as it’s known, creates loving, supportive homes that allow underprivileged children to grow up in an environment where everyone has an opportunity, no matter their race, background or religion.

Pamula takes time from her busy schedule to check on their progress through daily phone calls and Skype.

Recognizing that women in the technology field don’t have a strong support or mentoring system, Pamula is developing a new organization, SheTek, to create opportunities for women and girls in the technology industry so that women are equally represented.

Laurence M. Downes
Chairman and CEO, New Jersey Resources

Downes and his team of talented employees see New Jersey Resources (NJR) as a lifeline service provider delivering natural gas to heat their customers’ homes and run their businesses. For shareowners, it’s providing consistent results. And for communities, it means being a reliable corporate partner and responsible steward of the environment.

Under Downes’ leadership, NJR has grown into a Fortune 1000 company with a market cap of $3.7 billion. NJR’s principal subsidiary, NJ Natural Gas, maintains and operates more than 7,400 miles of natural gas transportation and distribution infrastructure and serves over half a million people in Monmouth, Ocean, Morris, Middlesex and Burlington counties.

Downes is the longest-serving CEO in NJR’s history; he has led the company since 1995. During his tenure, he has developed extensive expertise in every facet of running the company.

He has a unique approach to leadership, recognizing that the more than 1,000 women and men who work there are each leaders in their own right, and it’s his job to empower these individuals in their respective roles.

His philosophy of leadership is based on learning, teaching and sharing; recognizing the unique talents that every employee has.

NJBIA Member of the Year Award

Presented to companies for their contributions to the association and efforts to improve the state’s business climate.

Brody Business Development

NJBIA hardly has an event that is not attended by Fred Brody, the principal behind Brody Business Development (BBD). He is a fixture at the five or six Meet the Decision Makers events NJBIA hosts every year, he regularly attends seminars and awards programs, and occasionally serves as a judge for NJBIA’s awards program. He even served as a volunteer at the annual Golf Day event.

Lately, Brody has taken on a more direct role for NJBIA, serving as one of a handful of “ambassadors” who help explain to new members what NJBIA is and how it helps New Jersey companies grow.

It makes sense, since Brody and NJBIA are both committed to helping New Jersey businesses succeed. Brody’s business development company is a certified Small Business Enterprise that offers strategic marketing and sales consulting services in both the public and private sectors.

Brody himself has more than 30 years of experience in building and fostering dynamic relationships, and BBD offers proven expertise in opening the right doors and breaking down the barriers that have led to the successful completion of projects. For over a quarter of century, he has been establishing key relationships with state, county and municipal officials, high level agency department heads, regulators and legislators.

Domain Computer Services

Over the last 21 years, Rashaad Bajwa has been building his business, Domain Computer Services, into a full-fledged IT service company with an impeccable reputation. But that has not stopped him from generously sharing his knowledge and expertise with NJBIA members in several capacities.

Domain prides itself on being part of their client’s team and that team approach is how Bajwa has helped member companies. He is chair of NJBIA’s IT network, a group of IT professionals from member companies who meet regularly to share best practices and tackle new obstacles to success.

Earlier this year, he emceed NJBIA’s cybersecurity summit, “The Internet of Things,” and has appeared on numerous panels at NJBIA education events, as well as in videos and articles in NJBIA’s electronic media. And he has done it with an entertaining style that engages audiences right away.

Bajwa’s career path is a perfect example. He was planning on attending law school when an attorney promised to get him out of a speeding ticket if he helped them get their firm online. This unofficial client was so enthralled, they started recommending him to other law firms, and Bajwa’s career as an IT entrepreneur was off and running.

RWJBarnabas Health

RWJBarnabas Health is dedicated to serving the people of New Jersey beyond the care it provides within its hospital walls. That is certainly true of its engagement with NJBIA on behalf of members. As a leading healthcare provider in the state, its expertise in analyzing health legislation as part of the Health Affairs Committee has been invaluable. Deanna Sperling, president and chief executive officer, Barnabas Health Behavioral Health Center, has been a tireless worker on behalf of the association and is now a member of NJBIA’s new board of trustees.

Additionally, RWJBarnabas Health staff has participated in NJBIA’s Minimum Wage Coalition, Government Affairs Committee, Employment and Labor Law Policy Committee and Legal Affairs Committee. And not to be overlooked is the company’s financial support of the association as one of our Grand Sponsors.

RWJBarnabas Health has done all of this while developing a new partnership with Rutgers University that will make it the state’s largest academic healthcare system. The new collaboration also will align RWJBarnabas Health with Rutgers’ education, research and clinical activities, including those at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care.

RWJBarnabas Health also remains dedicated to providing high-quality patient care, leading-edge research, and world-class health and medical education, further advancing its mission of providing healthcare excellence in New Jersey.

Outstanding Employer Award

Presented to companies for celebrating creative and forward-looking approaches to managing human resources.

Aleon Pharma International, Inc.

Aleon wants its employees to feel like they are part of a team, one where everyone’s opinion is valued and each person’s work is appreciated. It’s something the company does proactively to create its special culture.

It begins every Monday morning with a one-hour Monday Sharing Program. All Aleon employees get a chance to speak about a topic they feel strongly about or something they simply would like to say, as well as have some fun and socialize. The event encourages communication among employees from different cultural backgrounds and is a great ice-breaker for new employees to get to know Aleon’s diverse staff.

Aleon’s Lunch and Learn program is focused on the business. Each month, an employee gets to speak about his or her expertise, covering everything from Orphan Drug Designations to Profit and Loss Statements. Aleon even picks up the tab, providing lunch to all employees and other attendees from outside the company who attend these presentations.

Awards are given out quarterly through the Encore Award program. Employees have an opportunity to nominate who they believe is the most deserving.

And employees can take part in exercise and yoga sessions three times a week with a certified personal trainer.

Parker McCay P.A.

Parker McCay is a Jersey-centric law firm serving local businesses and government for more than 100 years. But it still knows how to change with the times. So, while it is undergoing an exciting modernization, the firm will hang on to the traditions that have made it so successful for so long.

One of those traditions is employee development. Given the advancing technological legal environment, Parker McCay is keeping pace with its in-house Development Institute, which provides employees with training opportunities that offer professional growth and career mobility within the firm. The curriculum is designed for both attorneys and administrative professionals, and covers both personal and professional development. The workshops and training are presented as part of the regular work day so that employees can feel free to participate.

Parker McCay offers a wide variety of opportunities for employees to give back to the community, including denim day fundraisers, time off to volunteer, food drives and giving campaigns. The firm “greens” its operations by wasting less and recycling more through Earth Day activities, motion-sensor lights, and paperless office initiatives.

And Parker McCay’s workplace initiatives support wellness, diversity and development for all employees through free yoga classes, fresh fruit deliveries, financial education, women’s leadership programs and more.

William H. Connolly and Co.

This risk management provider believes strong employee morale and interoffice relationships are essential for having an outstanding workplace, so it encourages employees to engage in group activities, such as the company’s book club.

In summer, WHC institutes Summer Fridays, where the dress code is relaxed and the office is closed early to give employees a jump on the weekend. Throughout the summer, the company hosts ice cream trucks and picnics, and around Thanksgiving, there is an old fashioned potluck dinner where many employees bring dishes into the office to share with their colleagues.

WHC also looks out for employees’ professional and financial futures. The company invests a significant amount of time and capital in training courses for insurance and business. Study groups are led by upper management and designed to provide employees insurance designations. Continuing education courses are offered at no charge.

WHC encourages employees to take good care of their health as well. Employees in the “Walking Group” join together once a week for a two-mile walk before lunch. The company also provides fresh fruit, and when lunch is purchased for group meetings, plenty of healthy options are available.

Community Service Award

Presented to companies for recognizing committed leadership in finding solutions to pressing social or economic challenges.

Berkeley College

Volunteering and donating to charity have been part of Berkeley College’s m.o. since the college was established in 1931. Today, those activities are undertaken by Berkeley Cares, a unified identity for the college’s community service initiatives, like raising money for scholarships and programs and assisting charities.

In 2010, Berkeley began its Community Service Day, setting aside a day for faculty and staff to donate their time to local service organizations. That one day soon turned into a week as alumni and students joined the effort. In 2018, Berkeley’s Community Service Week has pledged more than 2,000 hours to 50 nonprofits and community agencies.

Volunteers have an opportunity to recommend organizations that need help with tasks like painting, landscaping, cooking or cleaning. Other organizations ask for volunteers to interact with people, playing games or just spending time with senior citizens, children with autism, or adults with developmental disabilities. If needed, the college contributes a portion of the costs related to its volunteer services for resources such as paint, flowers or meals.

Community Service Week is a rewarding experience for participants as well. In a 2017 survey, 96 percent of faculty, staff, alumni and student participants said they felt the experience was meaningful and had a positive impact on the community.

Delta Dental of New Jersey, Inc.

“Try and leave the world a little better than you found it” is the motto that defines Delta Dental of New Jersey, Inc. (DDNJ) and its Foundation. They put that motto into practice by providing dental services to the underserved and uninsured.

The mission of DDNJ and its subsidiaries is to promote oral health to the greatest number of people by providing accessible dental benefit programs of the highest quality, service and value. In 2017, the foundation enabled dental care for nearly 10,000 children, senior citizens and developmentally disabled individuals. In November, it partnered with Zufall Health to provide free dental care to more than 200 veterans.

Over the last two years, DDNJ employees spent 1,080 hours participating in food and clothing drives, building homes, and walking to fight against oral and breast cancer. The organization also lends support to Special Olympics New Jersey by hosting an annual Golf Classic and serving as a sponsor at SONJ’s Winter Games.

The DDNJ Foundation also supports dental education. Since 1986, it has awarded more than $17.7 million in grants for dental education programs for children, scholarships for students pursuing dental careers, and providing access to services.

Pinnacle Commercial Development

For Pinnacle, community service is about getting your hands dirty, literally. That makes sense since it serves as general contractor for retail, self-storage, healthcare and light industrial sectors. This approach is just what Toms River needed for the Challenger Little League, in which special needs children get to play baseball.

To accommodate them, Pinnacle undertook an intensive four-month project to renovate and retrofit Toms River East Little League fields to make them accessible for the disabled. Pinnacle’s team led a consortium of tradesmen, including roofers, paving companies, painters, landscapers, fencing companies and more to reconstruct dugouts to allow for wheelchair access, widen gates, build ramps, and create wheelchair and walker-accessible paved walkways, all to provide a safe and friendly place for more than 60 Challenger athletes to play baseball.

This hands-on approach is also employed for food drives every three months to benefit Lunch Break Community Center in Red Bank, the collection of more than $10,000 worth of sporting equipment for under-funded programs, and an annual blood drive.

Pinnacle President Mike Kogan is also an original and sponsoring member of the Annual Joe Namath Celebrity Golf Outing benefitting the March of Dimes, and an original stakeholder of the Joe Namath Foundation.

Environmental Quality Award

Recognizing outstanding work to preserve and enhance the environment.

Express Scripts

As a pharmacy benefits manager, Express Scripts processes millions of prescriptions each year through the Express Scripts Home Delivery pharmacy. This has produced numerous opportunities to recycle waste that typically winds up in landfills – opportunities of which the company has taken full advantage.

At the Florence location, the company recycles some familiar items: seven to 10 tons of cardboard per week and a ton of mixed paper. But it also recycles 10 tons of pill bottles every week, as well as low density polyethylene, electronics, bulbs, metals and even the shipping pallets. In all, the company has diverted more than 2.3 million pounds of material from landfills and saved $245,000 in the process.

Its Franklin Lakes location contributed to open space by donating 85 acres of passive and active recreational parkland to the Borough of Franklin Lakes, creating Parson Pond Park.

Express Scripts operations are green as well. All janitorial staff utilizes a green cleaning program where environmentally friendly cleaning products are certified green cleaners. A building management system monitors space temperature, alarms, schedule and control HVAC and critical equipment systems within its facility.

To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.


Related Articles: