General Business

2019 Awards for Excellence

19 Recipients to Be Honored

On October 29, at the Bridgewater Marriott, NJBIA will present the 2019 Awards for Excellence to 6 executives and 13 companies who have improved the quality of life in New Jersey in outstanding ways. NJBIA annually honors select employers from its membership for outstanding achievements in seven areas: Executive of the Year, Nonprofit Executive of the Year, Member of the Year, Community Service, Outstanding Employer, Nonprofit of the Year, and Vanguard Company.

Executive of the Year Award

For individuals who demonstrate leadership and passion while achieving business success.

Gary DuBoff

CEO, Arrow Fastener Company, LLC

Arrow Fastener Company, LLC is the kind of manufacturer you would have expected to move operations overseas years ago. But today, Arrow remains the only company still manufacturing heavy duty staples and stapling tools in the United States. That’s due in large part to the battles fought and won by its CEO, Gary DuBoff.

The fight began in 2013 when Chinese competitors drove prices down nearly 30% in core product categories. DuBoff invested heavily in automating the Saddle Brook company’s manufacturing process, improving productivity and the cost structure, and making significant market share gains at all major US retail outlets.

When the US government imposed a 10% tariff on steel, DuBoff became a vocal leader on the impact of tariffs on the New Jersey manufacturing infrastructure. He fought for and won a government exclusion on the tariffs for Arrow’s imported steel – saving over 100 jobs at the Arrow plant and keeping Arrow staples Made in America.

Robert C. Garrett

CEO, Hackensack Meridian Health

The sheer size and scope of Hackensack Meridian Health makes the job of its CEO, Robert Garrett, a daunting one. The leading not-for-profit healthcare organization is the largest in New Jersey with 17 hospitals and more than 500 patient care locations. In all, Hackensack Meridian Health has more than 35,000 team members and 7,200 physicians.

But that didn’t stop Garrett from putting his signature on the institution. Going on the philosophy that reforming healthcare begins with educating future physicians, he started the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, the first private medical school in New Jersey in more than 50 years.

The school transforms medical education by providing a three-year path to residency, inter-disciplinary learning, and a community immersion program. As a result, physicians get in the pipeline faster, receive a more affordable education, and learn to work in teams since team-based care provides better outcomes.

Carl Gould

President, 7 Stage Advisors

7 Stage Advisors is Carl Gould’s third startup, and it’s safe to say it is born out of the success of his first two companies, both of which were multi-million-dollar enterprises.

7 Stage Advisors is a business coaching company that puts Gould’s methodologies in coaching, mentoring, performance training, and growth advice to practice in 35 countries. Since its beginning in 2002, Gould has trained, certified or accredited more than 7,000 business coaches and mentors.

Before Gould came along, a comprehensive coaching strategy system did not really exist. Since then, 7 Stage clients have become some of the fastest-growing companies in New Jersey and around the world. Gould himself has advised over 100 of the Inc. 500/5000 Fastest-Growing Companies. Some of the companies he has helped are Walgreens, Walmart, American Idol, USA Olympic Track, IBM, McGraw-Hill and the U.S. Army.

Michael Munoz

Market President, AmeriHealth New Jersey

Munoz became president of AmeriHealth New Jersey in 2017 and played a key role in returning it to profitability. He oversaw the revision of its product portfolio, operational improvements, and reestablishment of trust with customers and brokers. As a result, AmeriHealth New Jersey experienced a nearly $90 million turnaround in operating income, the largest in the company’s history.

But it’s not just about the bottom line. Munoz also made associate engagement a top priority, taking the company culture to another level. In addition to the existing perks like Bagel Mondays and monthly birthday cake celebrations, Munoz brought in complimentary onsite yoga and introduced a work-from-home policy, allowing associates to telecommute one day a week.

As a result, AmeriHealth New Jersey was named one of the Best Places to Work for the eighth consecutive year, coming in at No. 11, moving up 26 places from last year.

Leonardo Ponzio, PLS

EVP and CAO, Maser Consulting, P.A.

Any formula for success at a company like Maser Consulting is going to include new technology and talented, motivated people. Leonardo Ponzio, the company’s executive vice president and chief administration officer, is adept at managing both.

He took a large financial risk by purchasing over $1.5 million of highly advanced geospatial survey equipment known as mobile LiDAR. At the time, it was ahead of where most of the industry was and proved to be a valuable tool. Since this initial investment, he has continued to purchase additional survey technology and strengthened service offerings throughout the firm. This has increased survey revenue from $14.8 million in 2012 to $48.6 million in 2018.

But technological advances are nothing without the right people running them. What makes Maser’s investment so effective is Ponzio’s continuous encouragement of staff. He is invested in improving the staff’s ability to do its job and is committed to providing opportunities for growth and efficiency to every employee.

NJBIA Member of the Year Award

For company contributions to NJBIA and efforts to improve the state’s business climate.

All-Ways Advertising

Bloomfield-based All-Ways Advertising is a valued NJBIA member that has partnered with the Association on many events, including the Women Business Leaders Forum, Golf Day and the Awards for Excellence. Camille DiLorenzo, senior account executive in charge of promotional merchandise sales, also serves as an NJBIA Ambassador, and acts as a valuable resource to new association members.

Robert Lieberman established the company 50 years ago in Newark as a home delivery service, providing advertising circulars and samples. The agency expanded through exceptional client service and business acquisitions to become a full-service promotional advertising and marketing agency. Its full line of services includes creative, online client stores, promotional products and fulfillment. The agency also operates a 38,000-square-foot fulfillment center where it handles a wide range of services. All-Ways also believes in giving back to the local community and has sponsored and donated to various events and scholarship programs, as well as hiring college interns.

Berkeley College

Berkeley College’s relationship with NJBIA spans decades. The institution serves on the Association’s Education and Workforce Development Committee and its faculty and career development experts have participated in various post-secondary education and leadership panels and workforce development forums. Berkeley is also one of the founding sponsors of NJBIA’s Annual Women Business Leaders Forum and is a member of the Association’s CEO Roundtable.

The college’s main campus is in Woodland Park, but its more than 7,000 students, including over 350 international students, are enrolled in Master’s, Bachelor’s and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs at additional campuses in Newark, Paramus and Woodbridge. The institution also has three New York campuses in Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and White Plains. Additionally, Berkeley College OnlineR serves a global population.

In 2016, the institution was recognized with an NJBIA New Good Neighbor Award for its Renaissance Hall.

Connell Foley

The law firm of Connell Foley has been an NJBIA member since 1949. Its skilled labor and employment lawyers have taken part in various Association events as moderators and panelists. Some of these programs have included: HR/Employment seminars; the Cyber Security Summit; the Women Business Leaders Forum; the Public Policy Forum; and the Cannabis Economy program.

Connell Foley has more than 145 team members. Notable attorneys, past and present, have included former New Jersey Governor Richard J. Hughes and, presently, former Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. Its names sakes joined the firm in the 1950s, when George Connell came on board to work on the commission charged with examining New Jersey’s automobile insurance system. Adrian Foley Jr. joined after serving as Essex County Surrogate from 1954 – 1958. He was also president of the New Jersey Bar Association.

Based in Roseland, the firm has additional offices in Newark, Jersey City, Cherry Hill, New York and Philadelphia.

Outstanding Employer Award

For companies celebrating creative and forward-looking approaches to managing HR.

M&E Engineers, Inc.

For more than 35 years, Somerville-based M&E Engineers, Inc. has been making buildings safe, healthy and efficient by providing mechanical and electrical engineering services that are on the cutting edge of technology and innovation. M&E makes the same effort to serve for the good of its own, with a policy to pay 100% of medical insurance premiums for each employee.

M&E Engineers, Inc. also implements programs and policies designed to improve its employees’ overall mental and physical well-being, including flex hours to accommodate all schedules, telecommuting options, mandatory breaks to reduce fatigue, a regular bounty of fresh fruit – not to mention an edict that no desk be farther than 25 feet from a window to ensure each employee sees natural light.

On top of all that, employees working toward relevant higher education qualifications or advanced certifications are reimbursed. All of this is done to provide problem-solving for their problem solvers.


With all due apologies to milk, it’s really Medtronic that does a body good.

The Eatontown-based company is a global leader in both the processing of human bone and connective tissue for transplantation AND an innovator in the manufacturing of biologic, biomaterial and device systems for musculoskeletal surgery.

At the same time, Medtronic buoys the mind and spirit of its employees by fostering engagement, inclusion, innovation and, ultimately, recognition. Some examples include a Medtronic Recognize award system that provides employees with points to be redeemed for merchandise or gift cards, a quarterly Safety Superhero award, and a quarterly Quality Crusader award for demonstrating behaviors that support the tenet of “Quality Begins With Me.”

Medtronic also extends its good will externally by taking part in a Neighbors Helping Neighbors food drive every year. Last year, it collected nearly 7,700 pounds of food and more than $27,000 for Fulfill (formerly the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties).

Preferred Behavioral
Health Group

This nonprofit has established itself as an invaluable resource for people with behavioral health challenges in Monmouth and Ocean counties. PBHG takes great pride in its comprehensive initiatives to service its 400-plus staff. Its robust internship program enables undergraduate and graduate level students the opportunity to gain the skills and experience required for their degrees, while also fortifying a recruit pool for future positions.

This year, PBHG began the process of becoming a Trauma-Informed Care organization – which benefits both its employees and consumers by creating a better understanding of the profound neurological, biological, psychological and social effects trauma has on an individual.

PBHG’s Employee Recognition program includes an annual breakfast to celebrate employees’ years of service and outstanding performance. Some employees are celebrated for their “mission moments” during board meetings. And its Peer to Peer recognition program gives any employee the chance to acknowledge another in the company’s biweekly newsletter.

Community Service Award

For companies committed to leadership in finding solutions to social or economic challenges.

American Asphalt Company

American Asphalt Company’s philanthropic endeavors, ranging from volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House of Camden and providing “Chemo Bags” for patients going through chemotherapy and radiation, to donating to the Camden County Women’s Center, for example, all play a part in the firm’s ongoing commitment to its communities. It is one of the leading asphalt companies in Southern New Jersey, and is not only a manufacturer of asphalt with three locations (two located in Burlington and one in West Collingswood Heights), but it is also a paving contractor and parking lot maintenance provider.

The firm has invested heavily in machinery and equipment, and is able to reuse 100% of the old pavements that are taken off the local roads. Its skills and technology keep this waste product out of landfills and, instead, turns it into recycled products that are in demand and have beneficial uses in the South Jersey area.

CompoSecure, L.L.C.

CompoSecure, L.L.C. – a designer and manufacturer of metal premium financial cards – in 2019 was able to donate 1,500 volunteer hours (a 50% increase from the year before), 200 pounds of food and clothing, and more than $80,000 to various charities and organizations. It anticipates surpassing this in 2020, since it is CompoSecure’s goal to “give more each year.”

A few organizations CompoSecure is proud to support include: Roots and Wings, which helps young adults aging out of the foster care system achieve independence and build successful lives; The ARC of Somerset County, which serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families; and The Center for Great Expectations, which serves women, men and children who are homeless or economically marginalized, pregnant or parenting, or living with mental health or substance use disorders.


As a testament to its devotion to communities, Covanta – a world leader in providing sustainable waste management and energy solutions – worked with the Camden County School District (CCSD) to transform more than 20 schools in Camden by providing the tools and training needed to annually recycle approximately 1,000 tons of mixed recyclables.

Covanta separately launched the Rx4Safety program in 2010, which – since its inception – has allowed Covanta facilities across the US to destroy more than five million pounds of unwanted drugs and medications, generating enough renewable electricity (~1,375,000 kWh) to supply 128 homes with power for a year.

Covanta also hosts six e-waste events yearly in Newark, and, separately, is a founding partner of the Fishing for Energy partnership (collection bins for disposal of old fishing gear and marine debris). Additionally, it has partnered with the Camden County Municipal Utility Authority to create one of the state’s first microgrids – a way to produce energy even if the electrical grid is down.

Zago Manufacturing

Zago Manufacturing Co. is a family-owned business whose products (used in countless industries) shield toxins from leaking in or out into the surroundings; are inherently green; and are developed to withstand engineers’ toughest production requirements.

Its “Zago Sustainability 360” serves as a community outreach program that promotes STEM education and manufacturing to students of all abilities and economic backgrounds as viable pathways for success – from the assembly line to compliance to the C-suite and everything in between. Zago launched the Sustainability 360 program in January 2019 with Newark Tech School, hosting recurring field trips to its manufacturing facility and offering a scholarship to graduating 12th grade students who thoughtfully address the question: What is Advanced Manufacturing, and how can it be used as a force for good? Zago and Rutgers Business School students also won second place in the Rutgers Institute for Corporate Social Innovation’s Newark Project & Case Competition for its community project, Engaging the Next Generation in Manufacturing Careers.

Vanguard Award

For companies celebrating innovative and effectual new projects.

DCO Energy and
Montclair State University

DCO Energy and Montclair State University (MSU) have won the Vanguard Award for two projects that allow the university to generate less costly power for campus buildings and also serve as an independent energy island for surrounding communities in the event of a widespread power outage.

The $90-million public-private venture between the Mays Landing-based energy-development company and MSU enabled the university to replace its 1950s-era energy plant with a 5.4 MW Combined Heat Chilling Power (CHCP) Production Facility that generates electricity, heating, hot water and air conditioning more cost effectively for over 25 campus buildings on the 250-acre campus.

Most recently, a microgrid was added that expanded the system’s power-generating capacity, allowing MSU to operate independently from local utilities and export up to 3 MW of power to the grid. MSU is now a potential “island of energy” if a natural disaster or other emergency affects nearby towns.

Nonprofit of the Year

For nonprofits demonstrating impactful achievement to provide greater opportunity and improve quality of life.

Court Appointed Special Advocates of New Jersey (CASA), Inc.

With its work described by some as “life-changing,” Court Appointed Special Advocates of New Jersey (CASA) Inc. is part of a national network of nonprofit programs that advocate for children who have been removed from their families because of abuse or neglect.

CASA is galvanized by 2,000-plus volunteers, who work tirelessly on behalf of over 4,000 children in foster care in the state. These “volunteer advocates” undergo rigorous training before getting their first case. From there, they stay with the case until it closes. And then they remain dedicated to those children by visiting them regularly, advocating for them at school and in the community, and being a constant in their lives.

The work of CASA’s volunteer advocates has also not gone unnoticed in the legal system. According to a 2017 survey of New Jersey judges who hear foster care cases, 96% agreed that “the court is better served because of CASA volunteer involvement.”

SERV Behavioral Health System

Celebrating its 45th anniversary, SERV Behavioral Health System Inc. is a private not-for-profit behavioral healthcare organization providing housing and supportive services for 1,800 children and adults who are struggling with mental illness, addictions or developmental disabilities.

SERV, which stands for Social/Educational/Residential/Vocational, integrates housing and supportive services so that people with special needs can gradually build a more independent lifestyle in ways that strengthen themselves and the communities where they live and work. SERV offers a wide variety of residential, clinical care, vocational training, education, crisis intervention and other outpatient services through programs and facilities.

Regina Widdows joined SERV as its president & CEO in 2016 and has guided the Ewing-based organization through the largest organizational restructuring in its history, including a company-wide transition to a sliding fee scale, which is designed to accommodate participants’ financial situation and does not reflect the full cost of services provided.

Nonprofit Executive of the Year

Les Vail

President & CEO
Gloucester County Chamber of Commerce

Les Vail has drawn upon on his 30-plus years as a volunteer to foster education, encourage workforce development, and promote South Jersey as a business hub.

Vail, who saw GCCC’s inception 18 years ago, has established a one-third tuition discount for employees of its members at Rowan College of Gloucester County and Thomas Edison University. The program has been used by 75 employees this year alone. In addition, Vail created a foundation for the GCCC to provide scholarships to local high school students who wish to attend college in New Jersey, as well as micro-loans for small businesses to help them have important workforce training.

Outside of his role at the Chamber, Vail stays involved with the community. He volunteers with local boards, works with organizations like the March of Dimes and the American Cancer Society, and raises tens of thousands of dollars for charitable causes.

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