In business, as in life, sometimes it’s about taking a shot. The New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) has teamed up with entrepreneur, CEO and business consultant Mike Luzio to give one lucky New Jersey business its big shot to advance its business to the next level. Mike took $15,000 and turned it into millions as a successful entrepreneur right here in the Garden State. He has teamed up with NJBIA because there are so many challenges facing businesses today, but by leveraging the resources available through NJBIA, a business can find the solutions that it needs. The “Big Shot” campaign was designed to educate members on the benefits available from the organization that should be better leveraged.
Here’s how it works
Members are encouraged to submit self-shot videos answering a few simple questions about why they are good candidates for the contest. No need for a fancy video crew with all sorts of equipment – unless of course you’d like to – a smartphone video would work just fine. We are looking for a New Jersey business that deserves its own BIG SHOT. The grand prize for this campaign is just that: consulting time from a team assembled of NJBIA members and $15k cash, the same amount that Mike used to start his business! Make your videos as creative as you’d like – give us a taste of what you do, why you do it, and how you would leverage both the consulting time and the cash to break out to the next level of success. Not savvy with a smartphone? No problem, get people from your team involved, the more the merrier – have fun with it! It’s easy to enter and submit your video – all you have to do is take a shot.
In the meantime, remember to capitalize on the countless benefits available to you as an NJBIA member. Only one member will win this amazing contest, but we’re all winners for just being members of NJBIA. If you’re spending too much money on shipping, merchant services, energy, disability insurance, or just need access to capital – look no further than NJBIA. If you’re a small business in need of otherwise costly healthcare benefits – look no further than NJBIA. If you want to network and learn from like-minded business owners – look no further than NJBIA. And whether or not you even realize it – look no further than Trenton, where NJBIA has represented your business in ways that you cannot. The association continuously fights against anti-business legislation so you can focus on what’s important – your BIG SHOT.
These are just a few examples of how NJBIA can help, and there are so many more. Since 1910, this organization has existed to serve the innovative businesses in this great state and it is now the nation’s largest statewide employer association. Opportunities like this don’t come up often, so don’t wait any longer. Submit your video at www.bigshotnj.com and maybe you’ll start the New Year with an extra chunk of change to invest in your business.
Q: Why Luzio, why now?
When NJBIA came to me and said it wanted to make some noise for its members, I knew right away I was the man for the job. Noise is my specialty!
I’m a Jersey guy through-and-through; a loud, brash, confident kid raised in Matawan. In 2003, I started a business in my Old Bridge basement with only $15,000. I sold that business, less than 10 years later, for more than $50 million – and I was still running it out of my basement. But I wasn’t alone. Along the way, I had mentors, outside consultants and the expert opinions of the people I trusted. These people were smarter than me, had more experience than I did, and ultimately, shared a vision for what I was doing. I take a ton of pride in what I accomplished as an entrepreneur, CEO and a business owner in New Jersey, but I know I couldn’t have done it alone.
Q: Is it a good time for businesses in the state of New Jersey right now?
I don’t listen to the hype! I’m a believer that it’s a great time for businesses in New Jersey. We move at a quicker step here, a quicker beat, and if you’re not moving in the same way, you’re going to get run over. NJBIA itself is a perfect example of why it’s such a great time. The Association is here to help you keep the pace by providing you with an array of services and resources that you need to stay one step ahead.
There’s a great sign on the New Jersey Turnpike and I know you’ve all seen it: keep right, pass left. If you can believe it, this applies to business as well! We brought this campaign to life so that we can help a business switch lanes whenever it’s ready.
Q: What do you hope to see as the outcome of the Big Shot campaign?
For me, this contest is all about opportunity. This is a no-brainer, a win-win, the chance of a lifetime – all those cliché catch-phrases come to life. One New Jersey business will win the Big Shot contest and will get the tools to shift gears as an organization and start revving its engines like never before. It’s easy to enter and the payoff is substantial. This isn’t like putting your business card into a fishbowl to win a free lunch. This is going to help change the future of one lucky business, but also demonstrate to all other members how valuable NJBIA really is.
Q: Why is consulting from a third party so important to business owners?
I think a lot of people need to wrap their heads around something: it’s okay to take advice from other people. Some of the most successful people I know leverage others who have “been there, done that.” Too often, people want to do it on their own and prove they can fly solo. This doesn’t make sense to me.
For this Big Shot contest, we will bring in individuals who have been successful in their own careers, each with a different business concentration, who are unique from each other. Together, we will take an outsider’s look at your business and ask questions you may not have asked yourself. There is no single solution to increasing revenue and profitability in your business – there are many. Having that fresh perspective on your business is, in fact, your Big Shot!
Q: Summarize NJBIA for us.
I cannot summarize any better than this: NJBIA is a resource, a virtual toolbox for business owners to reach into, find what they need and put it to use. The Association will help you grow your business at any stage of the game. Whether you need its discounted services, like healthcare, energy, shipping, insurance and legal assistance, or knowledge of the political climate and implications for your day-to-day operations … whatever you need, NJBIA likely has the resources to help.
Meet the Panelists
The team below will provide the winning Big Shot company with expert advice on a broad array of issues vital to business operations today.
Laura L. DiTommaso – Smolin Lupin & Co.
Laura L. DiTommaso, CPA is a licensed certified public accountant in New Jersey, and has practiced accounting for more than 35 years with a client base comprised of: professional medical and engineering firms, not-for-profit organizations, school boards, hospitality and technology-based organizations. A graduate of the University of Delaware, DiTommaso holds a B.S. in Accounting, and, additionally, she is certified as a Public School Accountant. DiTommaso has been active within the Monmouth-Ocean Chapter of NJCPAs and is a member of the NJCPA Government Interest and Accounting Group, among a range of additional affiliations.
Thomas Foschino – Arch Insurance Group
Thomas Foschino started his career in technology, working for companies such as Computer Sciences Corporation and Zurich Insurance Company, where he gained both domestic and international experience. Foschino reinvented himself into an insurance professional in 2010, and is now vice president at Arch Insurance Group, Inc., heading disability insurance products. Foschino believes that his diverse background in technology, operations, marketing and analysis is essential in his current position, where these skills are utilized every day. Foschino holds a degree in computer science from New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Sandra Seastream – Direct Energy
Sandra Seastream is a strategic sales originator at Direct Energy and is responsible for the sale of complex risk management and commodity hedging services for commercial and industrial customers, as well as the assessment and sale of technical energy solutions. Prior to joining Direct Energy, Seastream was in operations and finance at ExxonMobil, and then moved to management consulting with Booz Allen Hamilton. She has deep experience across the energy sector in marketing and sales, financial analysis, strategy development, renewables and risk management across the power, petrochemicals, and oil and gas space. Seastream holds an MBA from Pepperdine University, and a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan.
Angelo Mendola – Priority Payments Local
Angelo Mendola is the president and COO of Priority Payments Local – a Red Bank headquartered financial transactions and payment processing company. After spending years in banking, marketing and infrastructure management, Mendola co-founded Priority in 2013.
As president and COO, Mendola oversees Priority’s operations, which include: infrastructure management, strategic alliances, payment security, company structure, and new product initiatives that enhance the customer and employee experience. Mendola is an active member and partner of the NJBIA.
Mike Leneghan – Association Master Trust
Mike Leneghan studied Business Administration at Belmont Abbey College. Returning home to New Jersey, he started his career selling individual life, health insurance and annuities for a large insurer. Moving to AMT in 1993, Leneghan has participated in AMT’s growth from five participating trade associations to 17 now participating in the AMT program and helping to serve the healthcare coverage needs of member employers. Leneghan is a New Jersey licensed insurance broker for life, health and property casualty coverage.
Jeffrey J. Corradino – Jackson Lewis
Jeffrey J. Corradino is a principal in the Morristown office of the national labor and employment law firm, Jackson Lewis P.C. He has counseled clients in virtually every area of labor and employment law for more than 30 years. Corradino has extensive experience representing employers in public- and private-sector employment related litigation, collective bargaining negotiations, representation cases, arbitrations and National Labor Relations Board matters. He specializes in traditional labor law. In that role, he has acted as the chief spokesperson in hundreds of collective bargaining relationships, and has also advised employers on the workplace issues raised by numerous complex business transactions.
Leon Grassi – The DSM Group
Leon Grassi, vice president of sales and marketing at The DSM Group, is responsible for bringing in new clientele to the marketing agency, as well as effectively leveraging his expertise in marketing strategy and business development. Prior to joining The DSM Group, Grassi worked as the director of sales and marketing at Smolin Lupin in Fairfield, where his responsibilities included the preparation and execution of a detailed marketing strategy/plan on behalf of the firm. He is an alumnus of Fordham University and credits his success to a tremendous network of talented associates that he’s built over the years. Most recently, Grassi was inducted into NJADClub’s 40 under 40, an award that is given to MARCOM professionals who represent the “Best-of-the-Best” in their marketing and communications fields.
Sivaraman Anbarasan –NJCCC
Sivaraman Anbarasan has been the executive director/CEO of NJ Community College Consortium for Workforce & Economic Development in Trenton since 2012. He has been in higher education for more than 14 years, working at Camden County College, Sussex County Community College and NJIT in various capacities in continuing education and workforce development. Under Anbarasan’s leadership in 2014, the Consortium received a $10-million grant from the US Department of Labor. Prior to higher education, Anbarasan worked in the IT industry for nearly 24 years, including at Unisys Corporation. He then founded his own award-winning IT company and employed more than 100 IT professionals, nationwide. The firm was sold in 2002. Anbarasan holds a graduate degree in electrical communication engineering from Indian Institute of Science, and an MBA from University of Pittsburgh.