Awards for Excellence

2014 Awards for Excellence

12 Companies to Receive NJBIA’s 2014 Award for Excellence

On October 15, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association will present its 2014 Awards for Excellence to 12 companies that have improved the quality of life in New Jersey.

The awards will be presented at a dinner ceremony at the Pines Manor in Edison.

Every year, NJBIA honors a select group of employers from among its 20,000 member companies for their outstanding achievements in four categories: business expansion, environmental quality, outstanding employer, and community service.

All NJBIA members in good standing are eligible to be nominated for this annual award. The winners are selected by an independent panel of judges who volunteer their time. This year’s judging panel was comprised of representatives of SCORE—Counselors to America’s Small Business, and selected NJBIA members.

 Mercadien P.C. verified the information supplied by the winning applicants. 


Business Expansion Award

The Business Expansion award is presented to companies that have contributed to the state’s economic growth through the expansion of their businesses.

ACCSES New Jersey
  • President & CEO: Nils Richardson
  • NJ Location: Trenton
  • Founded: 1967
  • NJ Employees: 6,577 in government contracting
  • Business: Non-profit government supplier

ACCSES New Jersey and its member agencies create jobs for the disabled by contracting with government agencies for products and services provided by member nonprofit companies that employ people with disabilities. Over the last seven years, they have dramatically increased the value of those contracts and, by extension, the number and quality of jobs for people who likely would not have employment otherwise.

Thanks to an executive order by then Governor Richard Codey, state and local governments are required to purchase 3 percent of their goods and outside services from ACCSES New Jersey. The not-for-profit company also upgraded its sales staff and improved its marketing operations to increase business. It also worked with its member agencies to increase its contracting capabilities.

The plan worked. Sales in both commodities and services went from $14 million annually in 2007 to $37 million in 2013. As a result, a wide variety of high-quality jobs were created, with employment increasing from 2,570 in 2007 to 6,577 in 2013. Likewise, total wages increased from $2.7 million to $9.7 million during the same period, with the average wage going from $6.99 per hour to $11.44.

ACCSES New Jersey is a successful company in many ways, most notably for the thousands of New Jerseyans with disabilities who have productive employment because of the company’s efforts.

MAG-AFE-Logo-BergensPromiseBergen’s Promise
  • Executive Director: Dean Pastras, ACSW, LCSW
  • NJ Location: Rochelle Park
  • Founded: 2002
  • Full-time NJ Employees: 67
  • Business: Social Service

Bergen’s Promise provides care management to children who struggle with serious behavioral, emotional, mental health, substance abuse and developmental disabilities. The agency is distinguished for handling an ever-increasing service population while improving the quality of its services.

Expansion began in 2012, when Bergen’s Promise was awarded the contract to become Bergen County’s Unified Care Management Organization. The service level was expected to grow from 200 to 470 participants. However, program participation nearly tripled in size, increasing to 550 participants by the end of the first year. Employment grew as well, from 36 to 54 positions, and office space was increased by more than 6,000 square feet.

In 2013, two new service populations were added—developmentally disabled youth and youth with substance abuse challenges. The participant census surpassed 625, and the number of staff positions grew to 70.

The initiation of the Behavioral Health Home program will provide youth with chronic, co-occurring behavioral and medical conditions with access to health education, support and links to community resources. The participant census is expected to exceed 700, and the number of staff will reach 85 by the end of the 2014-2015 contract year.

But growth alone is not the only way Bergen’s Promise measures success. During this time, the agency still met or exceeded productivity, efficiency and output goals all while improving the quality of services. Even while serving approximately 1,000 youth over the last year, 93 percent of families said Bergen’s Promise’s services were essential to their success and 94 percent rated Bergen’s Promise’s Child and Family Team meetings as excellent, very good or good.

Bergen’s Promise looks forward to continued expansion of its mission – Healthy Families, Safe at Home – throughout Bergen County in the coming years.

MAG-AFE-Logo-TrisTris Pharma
  • President & CEO: Ketan Mehta
  • NJ Location: Monmouth Junction
  • Founded: 2000
  • Full-time NJ Employees: 332
  • Business: Pharmaceutical

Tris Pharma has translated its innovative, high-tech research of pharmaceutical products into a tremendously successful three-year period in which the company’s employment grew by 258 percent.

Tris’ research and development efforts have produced new prescription and over-the-counter products as well as specialty generic products. The company pioneered the delivery of sustained release in liquid, chewable or orally disintegrating tablet (ODT) medications and other unique dosage forms. It has also developed technology to prevent the abuse of widely available controlled substances and opioids.

In 2011 through 2013, the employee base went from 92 full-time employees to more than 300, and Tris became a 24-hour-a-day operation. The increases included a jump from 34 to 200 employees in the Operations Group, and from about 60 to 132 in Research and Development, Regulatory, Quality and Business Development, including administrative functions.

Not only has this been a boon for New Jersey’s economy, it has reaffirmed the state’s reputation as a hub for pharmaceutical innovation. Among other things, President and CEO Ketan Mehta was a finalist in the Enrst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2013.

When it comes to innovation in the pharmaceutical industry, New Jersey has a long and successful history. Tris Pharma is making sure that tradition continues.


Environmental Quality Award

The Environmental Quality Award is presented to companies that have performed outstanding work to preserve or enhance the quality of the environment in New Jersey.

MAG-AFE-Logo-CarbonExpressCarbon Express Inc.
  • President & CEO: Steve Rush
  • NJ Location: Wharton
  • Founded: 1983
  • Full-time NJ Employees: 36
  • Business: Transportation

Less is more, as the saying goes. Carbon Express has put that axiom to work for the environment, recognizing that even little changes in the way it operates could have a big impact.

Carbon Express, a liquid tank truck company, undertook a project to reduce the weight of its trucks so that each vehicle could haul more per shipment. The company also eliminated the sleeper cabs in its trucks and began paying for its drivers to sleep in motels.

By law, trucks cannot exceed 80,000 pounds for both the vehicle and the payload. By reducing the weight of their trucks, Carbon Express was able to increase each truck’s payload by 5,000 to 7,000 pounds more than most other companies.

Some of the changes were small—switching from double tires to stronger single tires, reducing the number of fuel tanks from two to one, as well as reducing the number of batteries. With 46 trucks in its fleet, these changes reduced the number of truckloads in 2013 by 888, cut the total driving distance by 266,000 miles and saved almost 41,000 gallons of fuel.

Eliminating sleeper cabs had the additional benefit of preventing trucks from idling up to 10 hours a day. By law, drivers have to take a 10-hour break every 24 hours, during which time the truck would idle to cool or heat the cab while the driver rested. That would burn about 8 gallons of fuel per night. Using motels saved another 95,000 gallons of fuel each year

In total, Carbon Express was able to reduce its fuel consumption by a total 136,665 gallons per year and significantly reduce its carbon footprint.

MAG-AFE-Logo-HackensackHackensack University Medical Center
  • Health Network President & CEO: Robert C. Garrett
  • NJ Location: Hackensack
  • Founded: 1888
  • NJ Employees: 7,676
  • Business: Healthcare

Hackensack University Medical Center (HackensackUMC) is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. It is the flagship hospital of Hackensack University Health Network, one of the largest health networks in the state with nearly 10,000 employees.

HackensackUMC, in collaboration with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center®, is committed to identifying, controlling and ultimately preventing the toxic exposures in the environment that threaten the health and well-being of children, their families and the wider community.

In February of 2012, Hackensack-UMC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Environmental Protection Agency pledging to become an environmental steward. And it made a big impact. HackensackUMC reduced its carbon footprint by 22,236 MTCO2e (metric ton carbon dioxide equivalent) or equivalent to the reduction of annual greenhouse gas emissions from 4,681 vehicles.

It was a comprehensive approach. HackensackUMC shifted to more fuel-efficient vehicles, installed environmentally friendly LED lights and partnered with PSEG to replace two chillers, which is expected to save 2,168,735 kWh annually. HackensackUMC cut its medical waste nearly in half and, in the past year, recycled 30 percent of its waste stream. State-of-the-art recycling initiatives were implemented across the campus.

HackensackUMC successfully diverted 250,000 pounds of food waste from the landfill by utilizing a biodigester, which uses micro-organisms to break down food into a liquid substance for the drainage system. In addition, 7,000 pounds of vegetable oil waste was sent to the Westwood, NJ Department of Public Works to be converted into biodiesel fuel, which has far lower greenhouse gas emissions than petroleum-based diesel, and the medical center formed an innovative partnership with TerraCycle to give new life to more than one ton of old materials.


Outstanding Employer

The Outstanding Employer Award is presented to companies that demonstrate a creative and forward-looking approach to managing their human resources.

MAG-AFE-Logo-WyndhamWyndham Worldwide
  • NJ Location: Parsippany
  • Founded: 2006
  • Full-time NJ Employees: 1,818
  • Business: Hospitality

At first, Wyndham Worldwide’s “Be Well—Embracing Healthy Lifestyles” program was focused on the physical activity of its employees and providing education on health topics. But over the past six years, Be Well evolved into a comprehensive health program and resulted in a noted reduction of insurance claims for diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

Wyndham Worldwide, a leader in the hospitality and accommodations industry, has a wide variety of health services throughout its international facilities. These include onsite health services with a nurse practitioner, onsite fitness facilities staffed with fitness trainers, and a lifestyle management program that includes stress management and smoking cessation. In 26 countries, the company sponsors its “Global Be Well Day,” in which employees participate in organized walks, onsite health fairs and more.

At Wyndham’s corporate headquarters in Parsippany, a convenient mammography program is offered through a local hospital. Also, there is a state-of-the-art, no-cost fitness center, and the cafeteria provides healthy breakfast and lunch choices.

One example of Wyndham Worldwide’s success at encouraging weight loss was demonstrated in a contest that led to associates losing almost 4,000 pounds. The associates then donated the same amount of weight in food to a local food bank. To keep up the enthusiasm, Tara Costa, a contestant on the NBC television show “The Biggest Loser”, was invited to several locations to speak with employees.

Wyndham Worldwide’s Be Well program has attracted national recognition from the American Heart Association, which has named it a Platinum Award Winner for five years running, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in conjunction with the White House Business Council and the National Business Group on Health.

MAG-AFE-Logo-RWJRobert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton
  • President & CEO: Richard Freeman NJ Location: Hamilton
  • Founded: 1971
  • Full-time NJ Employees: 1,062
  • Business: Healthcare

Robert Wood Johnson’s (RWJ) Wellness@Work program empowers employees to be the healthiest they can be. It begins with the Annual Health Risk Assessment. Employees complete an online questionnaire and receive an in-depth, confidential report assessing their health risks.

A key component of Wellness@Work is encouraging employees to become more physically active. RWJ already has an outdoor walking path, but this spring it introduced two newly constructed indoor walking tracks, one on the upper level and one on the lower level. The paths encourage staff to take a break by getting some quick exercise or even conducting an informal meeting while walking.

The hospital also held a 12-week walking challenge in which participants were encouraged to walk at least 7,500 steps a day and measured their individual distances with pedometers provided by the hospital. Collectively, the staff walked 59,908 miles—enough to walk around the world twice.

On top of that, the hospital brought in a certified group fitness instructor last February to lead free circuit exercise classes, providing employees with a 45-minute full body workout.

Finally, employees can take control of their wellness online through RWJ’s wellness portal. Operated in partnership with the wellness company Onlife Health, employees can track their individual wellness goals—diet, stress management, exercise—and access the symptom checker to monitor their own health. It also offers self-directed educational courses and other health resources.

  • President & CEO: David P. Tilton
  • NJ Location: Egg Harbor Township
  • Founded: 1898
  • NJ Employees: 5,293
  • Business: Healthcare

With facilities in five counties, AtlanticCare is one of the largest non-casino employers in southern New Jersey. So it is no small accomplishment to successfully manage healthcare costs for its 9,300 covered lives while enhancing their well-being and providing them with high-quality care.

AtlantiCare offers an “Engaged Health Plan” to its employees and their dependents. The plan rewards members who take an active role in their own health and well-being.

The Engaged Health Plan offers a low per-pay-period contribution along with a deductible that can be offset by wellness credits. Wellness credits are earned by participating in variety of activities, including having an annual preventive visit with a primary care provider, participating in fitness challenges, and attending physical, financial or mental health wellness classes. In 2013, 82 percent of members completed all available activities and brought their deductibles down to zero dollars.

In addition, AtlantiCare offers a variety of programs to employees to support health improvement efforts such as onsite fresh produce delivery during the summer months, a discounted fitness membership to the AtlantiCare LifeCenter, and access to weight management programs and nutritional counseling.

The program has produced tangible results. For 2012, AtlantiCare not only spent less per employee than projected, but actually lowered its cost per employee over the previous year. At the same time, quality measures and health status both improved. Engagement in health likewise improved, as noted by:

A reduction in covered staff and dependents who had high blood pressure from 14.6 percent in 2011 to 9.4 percent in 2013

94 percent of members having an annual preventive visit with their primary care provider

A 7.7 percent reduction in sick time

AtlantiCare believes a healthy community starts with itself. The company’s Engaged Health Plan supports its vision to build a healthier community.


Community Service Award

The Community Service Award is presented to companies for outstanding service to their communities.

MAG-AFE-Logo-NJMNew Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company
  • President & CEO: Bernie Flynn
  • Location: West Trenton
  • Founded: 1913
  • Full-time NJ Employees: 2,500
  • Business: Insurance

Studies show that driver simulation programs reduce accidents involving teenage drivers. For several years, New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company (NJM) has been donating two driving simulators a year to New Jersey high schools as the grand prize in a contest to see which school could come up with the best teen safe-driving project.

In 2013, however, the company surprised all 55 schools that entered by providing a driving simulator to each one of them.

The surprise donation was part of the company’s 100th Anniversary Celebration (NJM was founded in 1913), but NJM has been actively promoting teen driving safety since 2011, when the company signed on as founding sponsor of the Brian Injury Alliance of New Jersey’s Champion Schools Program. NJM staff assists in the outreach and recruitment of schools for the “U Got Brains” competition and are an integral part of the program every step of the way. When the simulators were delivered, NJM staff set them up and showed school personnel how they worked.

As part of its centennial celebration, NJM developed a Teen Driver Safety program and hired a retired state trooper to educate teens about safe driving, the dangers of distracted and impaired driving and New Jersey’s laws. More than 15,000 students in nearly 100 New Jersey schools have benefited from these presentations.

The company also launched its Don’t Text and Drive campaign, urging people to pledge not to send text messages while behind the wheel. As an incentive, NJM pledged to donate $1 to charity for every pledge it received. The company ultimately donated $50,000 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Special Olympics New Jersey, the Community Food Bank of NJ, Autism New Jersey and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society—New Jersey Metro Chapter.

Argo Turboserve Corporation
  • President & CEO: Clyde Keaton
  • NJ Location: Lyndhurst
  • Founded: 1996
  • Full-time NJ Employees: 97
  • Business: Supply Chain Management Services

Junior Achievement of New Jersey (JANJ) is dedicated to providing practical business lessons to K-12 students. Argo Turboserve Corporation or ATC has backed that effort in a big way.

President and CEO Clyde Keaton has dedicated his time and resources to Junior Achievement of New Jersey, helping to turn the organization into an award-winning, nationally recognized chapter.

Keaton engaged ATC employees to serve as volunteer role models to New Jersey’s students, predominantly through JANJ’s Finance Park program. The volunteers serve as coaches and mentors with six students at a time and conduct exercises in which the students role-play adults managing their personal budgets in a simulated community.

To help the nonprofit organization raise money, ATC covers all of the cost of JANJ’s annual bowl-a-thon fundraiser, plus a donation of $25,000. That’s on top of ATC’s corporate donations and Keaton’s personal investments in JA. Not surprisingly, ATC also is a principal supporter of JANJ’s signature event, the NJ Business Hall of Fame, which annually recognizes New Jersey’s business leaders.

ATC’s, Keaton’s and the New Jersey JA Board’s efforts have produced concrete results. Over the last 10 years, JANJ has increased its revenue from $676,000 to more than $2 million, and the number of students it has reached grew from 15,000 to nearly 50,000 this school year.

MAG-AFE-Logo-AffinityAffinity Federal Credit Union
  • President & CEO: John T. Fenton
  • NJ Location: Basking Ridge
  • Founded: 1935
  • Full-time NJ Employees: 354
  • Business: Finance, Insurance, Real Estate

It wasn’t until 2009 that New Jersey added the topic of financial literacy to the list of what public school students should learn. Affinity Federal Credit Union, the largest credit union in the state, saw the need for financial literacy long before that.

Affinity has been offering free financial literacy courses to schools and community nonprofit agencies for more than a decade.

Since then, its efforts have grown. In 2013 alone, the credit union provided 46 classes for 770 students, mostly in low-income and underserved areas. It also has received a grant to develop a version of the curriculum to be taught in Spanish and grounded in the Latino culture, and which can then be replicated by other financial institutions and organizations.

Credit union employees volunteer their time to run the programs and are involved in creating and editing the class material in their area of expertise.

It’s all part of Affinity’s mission to improve the financial lives of its members and its communities. Its efforts have been recognized by an award from the NJ Coalition for Financial Education and the Community Partnership of the Year Award from the NJ Alliance for Children, Youth and Family Services.

MAG-AFE-Logo-InvestorsInvestors Bank
  • President & CEO: Kevin Cummings
  • NJ Location: Short Hills
  • Founded: 1926
  • Full-time NJ Employees: 1,466
  • Business: Financial Services

Investors Bank makes community service part of its everyday business operation. After all, one of the company’s four core values is “Community.”

At the heart of Investors’ dedication to community is the Care2Share Affinity Program. Under this initiative, Investors will make regular contributions to a designated charity based on the average monthly balance of a customers’ checking or savings account.

Customers can enroll online, select the charity they want to support or suggest a charity to be a part of the program. The bank will then contribute 0.25 percent on the average monthly balance of a customer’s checking account, or 0.15 percent of the average monthly balance of a savings account.

Investors’ commitment goes beyond financial contributions, taking both leadership and support roles in many community activities. Employees are encouraged to volunteer their time, and Investors’ workers have contributed thousands of volunteer hours.

The bank’s community service has benefited a wide range of non-profit organizations, but it has focused especially on those struggling to recover from Sandy, to assist non-profits hit hard by the Great Recession, and support future leaders who have socio-economic challenges.

Among the 50 groups that have benefitted from its efforts are the Community Soup Kitchen of Morristown, Family-to-Family Inc., The Sandy Ground Project and The Development School for Youth. Investors is a community bank in the fullest sense.

Verification of AFE Information Provided by Mercadien, P.C., CPAs.

Mercadien, P.C., Certified Public Accountants performed the agreed-upon procedures to verify the information supplied by the award-winning finalists. As entrepreneurs serving entrepreneurs, Mercadien’s principals and staff are uniquely suited to provide creative solutions to a variety of business challenges.

Mercadien offers a full spectrum of accounting and advisory services, including traditional audit and financial reporting, Federal, multi-state and international tax compliance and consulting, Section 404 internal control reviews, and management and board consulting. 

Mercadien works with a diverse group of clients to develop strategic and financial plans designed to maximize wealth and profitability, minimize taxes and risk, and evaluate systems and processes, while increasing efficiencies.

Mercadien has a strong background providing services to nonprofit organizations; professional trade associations; colleges and universities; government agencies, authorities, municipalities and other public entities, as well as to businesses of nearly every type and industry.

Mercadien has served the Princeton and Delaware Valley areas for more than 50 years and has a staff of 125 professionals, including 15 principals.

The Mercadien Group is a family of distinct companies created to serve the diverse and sophisticated needs of clients in a capacity greater than any single organization can offer.  Mercadien provides accounting, auditing, tax planning and compliance, and management consulting, as well as technology, wealth management, outsourcing and investment banking services.  A team of trusted advisors working together, The Mercadien Group shares a broad knowledge base and creates seamless solutions that meet clients’ personal and business objectives.  Learn more at

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