More than 300 business, government and higher education leaders in the state gathered at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster this past October to celebrate Choose New Jersey’s inaugural fundraising gala: Growing the Garden State: Rocking Reception 2014.
The organization, a private 501(c)(3), is the marketing arm of the Partnership for Action, the state’s economic development organization led by Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno.
“For our inaugural event, I am very pleased at how everything was executed,” Tracye McDaniel, Choose New Jersey president and CEO, tells New Jersey Business magazine. “The right people were in the right room. This was not only a fundraising event, but a ‘friend-raising’ event. It created more awareness of the organization and its mission, and will hopefully generate new prospects that can support us.”
The funds raised at the event will be used “to showcase New Jersey as the premiere business location, both domestically and internationally, in order to bring jobs and investments to the state,” McDaniel explains.
The organization is now showcasing New Jersey in all 50 states, and McDaniel calls its international efforts “tremendous. We are in more than 20 countries. This year, we presented to audiences in Mexico, Italy, Germany, China, India, Taiwan and South Korea.”
Currently, Choose New Jersey has a pipeline of more than 300 companies it is working to bring to the state. “If we are able to convert those projects, we are looking at more than 26,000 jobs created and at least $4 billion in capital investment,” she explains.
Choose New Jersey is just three years old. When looking back on its early days, McDaniel says, “From a start-up organization, we are now recognized as a leader in economic development.” She says the credit goes to the organization’s board of directors and the Christie Administration, which has built “one of the best economic development teams in the country.”
From left to right: Edward Walsh, principal & managing director for Avison Young, New Jersey; Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno; Choose New Jersey President and CEO Tracye McDaniel; NJM Insurance Group President and CEO Bernard Flynn; PSE&G President and CEO Ralph LaRossa; NJ Economic Development Authority Executive Director Michele Brown.
From left to right: Brian Neuwirth, president of Unex Manufacturing, Inc., with Robert Zetterstrom, executive vice president and general council, NJM Insurance Group and Matthew Wright, president of Piper Holdings, LLC.
From left to right: Niel Siekerka; Catherine Milone, president of Junior Achievement of New Jersey; Matthew Wright, president of Piper Holdings, LLC; Douglas Kuiken, president of Kuiken Brothers Company, Inc.; Caren Franzini, president of Franzini Consulting, LLC; Linda Bowden, NJ regional president, PNC Bank; and Michele N. Siekerka, president of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association.
From left to right: Dr. Diane Bloom; Donald Sebastian, senior vice president for R&D at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT); Gary Dahms, president, CEO and chairman of T&M Associates; and Dr. Joel Bloom, president of NJIT.