NJBIA has gathered some of the most influential CEOs in the state to be part of its Business Roundtable. New Jersey Business Magazine is proud to spotlight these executives. Throughout the year, this group of Thought Leaders has met with some of New Jersey’s top policymakers to help determine the true tenor of business in the state, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, while also providing critical input to help drive policy solutions that will help make a meaningful difference for workers, families, communities and job creators of all sizes. We recognize these exceptional Thought Leaders for their valued contributions to NJBIA and for advancing the competitive nature of business in the state of New Jersey.
Below is part one of our two part series spotlighting these executives.
Rashaad Bajwa is the CEO of Integris. Integris is the new brand of New Jersey-headquartered Domain Technology Partners, which took on a private equity investment in September 2020 and has been busy pursuing a roll-up strategy around the United States. With five acquisitions in the last 12 months, Integris is now one of the largest IT support providers in the country with 16 offices across 10 states. Bajwa also serves on the Boards of the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce, Keep Middlesex Moving, and NJBIA.
Role Models: James Burke, CEO of Johnson & Johnson during the Tylenol cyanide poisoning scare in 1982. His display of integrity became part of the playbook used to teach the concept of “value-driven companies” for generations of business leaders to follow.
CEO, Wedgewood Pharmacy
Marcy A. Bliss is CEO of Swedesboro-based Wedgewood Pharmacy, one of the largest compounding pharmacies in the US, serving more than 40,000 prescribers of compounded medications. The company, which was acquired in 2021 by Swiss-based private equity firm Partners Group, provides specialty medications to both human and animal patients when a prescriber feels a commercial drug does not meet the unique needs of the patient. Bliss joined the company in 1999 as marketing director and, through the years, was promoted to vice president of sales and marketing, executive vice president of business operations, president and CEO.
Lessons Learned: Be in touch with your purpose, and lead from both your heart and your head. Every week I speak our mission: “To improve the lives of animals and those who love them.” Living your mission should shape your culture, how you treat customers, your hiring, your priorities, and your investments. It will also give you a higher probability of success.
President, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)
Joel S. Bloom was an economist before becoming an educator and administrator for NYC public schools. He later joined Teachers College, Columbia University, as a research director, and then became assistant commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education. He joined NJIT in 1990 as a vice president before becoming founding dean of the Albert Dorman Honors College. He was named NJIT president in 2011 and has: led NJIT’s rise to a top 50 public university; completed a $500 million campus transformation; created the New Jersey Innovation Institute; and increased NJIT’s annual economic impact on New Jersey to more than $2.8 billion.
Role Models: I admire former Governor Tom Kean Sr. and NJIT alumnus Clifford Samuel, formerly a senior vice president at Gilead Sciences. Governor Kean’s founding of the Educational Opportunity Fund is critically important, and Samuel, a low-income student who immigrated to the US, has led a team that makes Gilead’s HIV/AIDS and other medicines available to patients in more than 140 countries.
President, IBEW Local 102
Bernie Corrigan is the president of IBEW Local 102, where he also serves as training director and sits as a trustee on the organization’s pension, welfare and surety funds. He holds a BA in leadership and administration from the National Labor College and received his master’s degree in Labor and Employment Relations from Rutgers University. Corrigan spearheaded the movement that resulted in Local 102 becoming the first labor union to become an NJBIA member. Corrigan holds a board seat on the NJ Chapter of the Labor and Employment Relations Association, was appointed to the Red Tape Review Commission under Gov. Chris Christie, and serves as a trustee of Focus NJ.
Embracing Technology: Embracing technology is more about cultivating a mindset. Many individuals put too much value on what they have while fearing what change will bring. Welcome open dialogue and feedback, provide accessible pathways to new technology, set the example for colleagues. The most successful teams enjoy surroundings that welcome new ideas.
Chairman and CEO, Investors Bank
Kevin Cummings is the chairman of the board of directors and CEO of Investors Bank. Under his leadership, the bank has been listed on Forbes magazine’s “Best Banks in America” since 2013. Prior to joining Investors, he had a 26-year career at KPMG, where he became a CPA and partner. Throughout his career, he has generously donated his time and support to community-based organizations and currently serves on the boards of several non-profit and industry organizations. Cummings has a BA in economics from Middlebury College and earned an MBA from Rutgers University School of Business.
Embracing Technology: We focus our employees on finding innovative ways to respond rapidly to customers’ needs and exceed their expectations. Although the past 20 months were challenging, employees quickly learned to leverage the bank’s digital-first technologies to enhance the customer experience. It’s a learning experience on both sides as we work with our clients to find out what they like about our digital solutions.
Interim President, AT&T New Jersey
Joseph Divis is interim president, AT&T New Jersey. In this role, he leads AT&T’s legislative, public policy, and philanthropic initiatives in the state where he works with elected and appointed officials and business, community and civic leaders. Divis is a 26-year veteran of AT&T and its predecessor companies. His diverse professional experience includes: legislative work in 16 states and Washington, D.C.; corporate communications and congressional staff assignments; and news gathering as a reporter. He’s been recognized for his volunteer leadership by Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) and College Possible Philadelphia. He is a graduate of Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.
Embracing Technology: AT&T is a technology company. For my colleagues and me, perhaps the question is how we are helping New Jersey businesses use AT&T’s robust connectivity to embrace technology and innovation in their operations. We have doubled down on our security-first approach to enable highly secure OT/IT environments and remote access.
President, Bank of America New Jersey
Alberto Garofalo is the president of Bank of America New Jersey. He is also the Chief CRA Officer and head of Community Banking & Development for Consumer and Small Business. He joined BofA in 2003 and has held leadership positions across contact center and financial center organizations. He is focused on supporting clients in financial centers in predominantly Hispanic/Latino communities, and is developing a strategy to drive growth for the Hispanic/Latino segment across consumer and small business markets. Garofalo also serves as a co-chair for the Hispanic Leadership Executive Council. He served as executive sponsor for several Chapters of the Hispanic/Latino Organization for Leadership and Advancement.
Recovering from COVID-19: Since the pandemic, we have seen a significant increase in digital transactions across all of our businesses. We expect this trend to continue as clients see the convenience and security we can provide through our online and mobile banking platforms.
CEO, Hackensack Meridian Health
Robert C. Garrett is CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey’s largest health network with 17 hospitals, 500 patient care locations, 36,000 team members and 7,000 physicians as well as the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. Under Garrett’s visionary leadership, the network has made major strides in medical education, behavioral healthcare, cancer care, innovation and research. Garrett has been ranked in Modern Healthcare’s “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare”; was included in “10 CEOs Transforming Healthcare in America” by CEO Forum Magazine; and was featured on ROI-NJ’s “ROI Influencers: Power Lists” and NJBIZ’s “Power 50 Health Care” list.
Recovering from COVID-19: Hackensack Meridian Health is investing more than ever in care outside the hospital. COVID-19 accelerated the trend to provide more telehealth, urgent care, home care, and convenient care in the community, and we are never going back. This not only provides more high-quality convenient care; it delivers better value to the communities we serve.
Co-Founder, Managing Partner & Chairman, Genova Burns LLC
Angelo J. Genova is a noted trial and appellate advocate, labor negotiator, employment litigator, government contracts & procurement counsel, and campaign finance and election lawyer. He counsels clients in matters involving the development of urban landscapes and provides government and strategic affairs advice. His precedent-setting legal representations have touched all corners of the state and federal legal landscape. Genova is a former commissioner of the Port Authority of NY/NJ, and former chairman of the New Jersey Urban Development Corporation.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Genova Burns has always understood that the firm should reflect the business community it serves, both as a matter of principle and sound business judgment. Through our outreach efforts and partnerships with organizations like the Association of Black Law Students at Rutgers and Seton Hall universities, the South Asian Bar Association, the LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce, and Lead New Jersey, we seek to maintain and promote diversity at every level.
Jessica Gonzalez is a lifelong New Jersey entrepreneur. She founded Newark-based InCharged 11 years ago by selling everything, moving in with her parents, and working three jobs. As a Latina mother, being a business owner hasn’t been easy, but Gonzalez believes “nothing is impossible.” After the pandemic, events came to a halt. Gonzalez needed to pivot to keep her company afloat and to support a new economic landscape. Using her operation knowledge and applying cutting-edge research & development processes, Lux Disinfect was born. Gonzalez has never been a “typical” business leader. She brings a think-outside-the-box approach to help keep communities moving forward and safe.
Embracing Technology: We encourage employees to utilize current technology, but also allow them to bring in new tech that can make their jobs easier. Employees are constantly asked what can be done to make their work life more productive and if there are there any tools and or technology that I can provide.
Chief Operating Officer, Public Service Enterprise Group
Ralph A. LaRossa is COO of Public Service Enterprise Group. He has been president and COO of PSEG Power since June 2017. LaRossa is also chairman of PSEG Long Island. Previously, he served as president and COO of PSE&G, PSEG’s regulated utility business. LaRossa began his career with PSEG 36 years ago as an associate engineer, and has worked ever since to enhance the lives of customers, employees and communities. He also is chairman of Choose New Jersey, a Montclair State University Board member, and a past chair of the American Gas Association. LaRossa is a graduate of Stevens Institute of Technology.
HR Realization: Health and safety are PSEG’s No. 1 priority, and long ago I learned the value of using my voice to help keep people safe. It’s harder than it sounds, and goes beyond physical safety. As a leader, you have an opportunity to lend your voice to help others who are struggling, fix unsafe conditions, and make tough, sometimes unpopular, decisions.
President, Falstrom Company
Cliff Lindholm is president and CEO of Falstrom Company, a Passaic-based contract manufacturer of custom enclosures for a wide variety of military applications. Lindholm is part of the fourth generation of family members to work at the company since its founding in 1870. He earned Bachelor of Science degree from Allegheny College and an MBA from Rutgers Graduate School of Management in Newark. In August 2004, Lindholm was named chairman of NJBIA’s Manufacturing Council. He was elected a NJBIA Trustee in April 2005. He is also currently chairman of the Passaic Enterprise Zone Development Corporation. Lindholm is also a director of NJM Insurance Company.
Recovering from COVID-19: At Falstrom Company, we are continuing to actively monitor employees’ physical and mental health more closely. This emphasis will continue and, I believe, creates a more supportive and engaged workplace for our employees.
President and CEO, NJM Insurance Group
Mitch Livingston is president and CEO of NJM Insurance Group, New Jersey’s largest domestic property and casualty insurer, and a leading writer of both personal and commercial insurance. Under Livingston’s leadership, NJM is undertaking a strategic geographic and product expansion from its New Jersey roots to become a full service personal and commercial lines writer in the Mid-Atlantic region, while maintaining its strong commitment to present and future policyholders. Prior to assuming the role of president, Livingston served as COO and general counsel, and has served on the company’s Board of Directors since 2014.
Recovering from COVID-19: NJM launched new products for our commercial policyholders this past year despite the enormous challenges associated with COVID-19. These products enable NJM to be a total account solution for small businesses to address their insurance needs. We believe expanding our products and improving our online services will assist policyholders’ recovery and protect them well into the future.
Chairman, Berkeley College
Board of Trustees
Kevin L. Luing has provided leadership to Berkeley College for 33 years, including 10 years as president of the college’s New Jersey campuses, and the past 20 years as chairman of the Board of Trustees. Under Luing’s leadership, the college expanded its academic offerings onsite (with four campuses in New Jersey, and a campus in New York City), and online, through the Larry L. Luing School of Business, the School of Health Studies, and the School of Professional Studies. In addition, Berkeley College is recognized as a top institution for online education and income mobility.
NJ’s Economy: Partnerships with higher education are key to strengthening New Jersey’s business climate. Enabling the development of a diverse and technology-ready workforce entails collaborations with colleges and universities to provide the critical infrastructure needed to educate the workforce. Maintaining a robust workforce training environment is a win-win for New Jersey residents and businesses.
President, Georgian Court University
Joseph R. Marbach, Ph.D., is Georgian Court University’s ninth president, where he is leading a strategic plan to ensure the long-term viability of the university. He has served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at La Salle University. He was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Seton Hall University, where he also was a professor and former chair of the Department of Political Science. Marbach currently chairs the Independent Colleges and Universities of New Jersey and the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference. His areas of expertise include federalism, state and local government, and New Jersey politics.
Recovering from COVID-19: The pandemic forced us to rethink our pedagogical approach as the faculty pivoted from teaching in-person classes to mostly online courses. Our goal was to meet the needs of our students by continuing to provide the quality education that has been the hallmark of the Georgian Court experience.
Construction Group Chair, Connell Foley
Michael McBride co-chairs Connell Foley’s Construction Group and is the law firm’s former managing partner. With a family background in construction and real estate dating back more than a century, McBride has an intimate and unsurpassed understanding of the industry and the legal issues faced by his clients. He represents owners, developers, contractors and vendors in all aspects of real estate development and construction. McBride is also passionate about community service and maintains an active pro bono practice. He helped start Covenant House New Jersey (CHNJ) in 1990 and was instrumental in expanding the number of cities where CHNJ serves homeless children.
Lessons Learned: Future business leaders not only must become great at their craft, they must use character as their beacon. Character is more valuable than money or anything else. Remember, your reputation is everything – it is the only thing you truly own. If you are recognized for your integrity, you will go far.
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