Manufacturing Day

“Made in New Jersey” Manufacturing Day 2019 – What You Might Have Missed

Manufacturing Day has come and gone. Yet the impact of the celebration can still be seen. Every year the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP) hosts Made in New Jersey Manufacturing Day on the first Friday in October, and 2019 marked the most successful event to date. Celebrated nation-wide, NJMEP created a way to focus on and honor manufacturers and progress right here in the state of New Jersey. On October 4th, over 500 business leaders from the manufacturing, logistics, and related industries came together at The Marigold in Somerset New Jersey to showcase the new, true face of Manufacturing. 

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The NJMEP team began their day about an hour before sunrise. Everyone was excited to kick off the eighth annual New Jersey Manufacturing Day. Doors opened up at 7:30am and attendees began to arrive in droves. It quickly went from a quiet early Friday morning to the hustle and bustle of the largest Manufacturing networking event New Jersey has to offer. The breakfast and first networking session started the day. Rows of sponsor tables lined two rooms where the bar and food were located. Attendees had the opportunity to speak and share ideas with like-minded individuals and learn more about each sponsor that helped make the Made in New Jersey Manufacturing Day celebration possible. 

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Manufacturing Day 2019 in the Morning

After breakfast and the first networking event settled down, it was time to gather in the ballroom where CEO of NJMEP John W. Kennedy, PhD, sponsors, Senator Linda Greenstein, and other state legislators welcomed attendees. They spoke about the current state of the industry, challenges, and future plans. John W. Kennedy began by addressing the audience with a sense of optimism about the industry’s future. Once he reached the NJMEP Impact section of the presentation that showed over $3 billion in increased sales and revenue his sense of pride was impossible to ignore. Over $4.16 billion in realized value goes a long way and the 36,951 job created and retained since 2000 was a figure that touched everyone in the room that day. 

Representatives from Crowe and Withum, two platinum sponsors of Made in New Jersey Manufacturing Day 2019 followed John W. Kennedy in expressing how important the celebration was to the industry. President & CEO of NJBIA, Michele Siekerka took the stage next, reiterating that same message while also providing a little insight into the history of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association and the role their organization plays in strengthening business here in New Jersey. 

New Jersey Legislators had a chance to speak in the morning presentation. Senator Linda Greenstein had a lot to say about the current state of Manufacturing in New Jersey and future plans on how to make New Jersey more attractive to these kinds of businesses. She shared how the Manufacturing Caucus made impressive progress over the past year. Showcasing successes and even making mention of an exciting Legislative Bill Package that could result in permanent state funding for NJMEP. 

Amy Eskilson, President of Inrad Optics and a member of Vistage had a chance to address MFG Day attendees. Amy shared her experience working with Vistage, a private advisor board for CEO’s, executives, and business owners. One of the platinum sponsors for the day’s event, Amy was able to speak about her experiences with the group and how collaboration is essential in today’s business landscape, a critical component of Manufacturing Day as well. 

James Hoffman, a STEM teacher from Newton High School and the coach of the Newton High School first varsity robotics team had a special Keynote speech to share. He brought with him students from the robotics team to share their experiences and their hopes for future employment. The students were passionate about their love for technology, and how they see engineering and robotics being a segway to an exciting future career. Their words shook the audience to their core. Many manufacturers in the crowd thought the talent pipeline was all but lost. Hearing the passion these students had about their industry was breathtaking and inspiring. Hoffman’s students then went on to show off a robot that the team engineered. This was far from a science fair robot, this was a massive, heavily engineered robot that served a very specific purpose. A video of the robot in action can be found below. 

Manufacturers in attendance immediately saw an opportunity to reach out to these students after their presentation. During the breaks, manufacturers were seen walking up to the students, speaking to them about their skills and knowledge, and explaining to the students what their company does in New Jersey. Business cards were handed out and connections were made. These kinds of networking opportunities are far and few between. Manufacturing Day created a platform for local businesses to connect to young people with exceptional skills. Skills that these businesses are actively seeking. 

Part of the MFG Day celebration was recognizing the Made in New Jersey Honor Roll. This section of awards is presented to stand out New Jersey legislators and community members that played critical roles in helping NJ manufacturing progress forward over the past year. Senator Vin Gopal, Former Manufacturing Caucus Chair and Senate Majority Conference Leader, and Chairman of the Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee; Senator Linda Greenstein, Manufacturing Caucus Chair and Representative of the 14th legislative district in the New Jersey Senate Affairs Committee; John Harmon, President, African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey; and Phillip Singerman, Associate Director for Innovation and Industry Services at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) were all presented as Made in New Jersey Honor Roll recipients. Along with these individuals, specific organizations and institutions were recognized as well. These included Essex County College; Rowan College at Burlington County; and NJ Department of Labor Apprenticeship Team. 

Breakout Sessions and Industry Panels

The NJMEP team received an overwhelmingly positive response from each and every one of the breakout sessions that took place throughout the day. Breakout session themes ranged from Industry 4.0 to the resources available to help New Jersey businesses grow. The list of the morning and afternoon sessions are available below.

  • Understanding the Impact of Industry 4.0 – A Discussion on Avoiding the Risks of Adoption
  • Real Solutions to Serious Workforce Problems
  • The Value of Blockchain for Manufacturers Involved with Food & Beverage Manufacturing
  • Women in Manufacturing: a Roundtable Discussion on Why Manufacturing Matters to You and Why You Matter to the Industry

The breakout sessions were led by manufacturers that have experienced and overcome these challenges or are currently living through these disruptions. Industry experts sat in to offer an informed outside perspective. These topics weren’t picked out of thin air. Carefully chosen from feedback from manufacturers NJMEP has done business with all year long, they were crafted to provide essential and invaluable insight. 

After a break and some cocktails, the second breakout sessions started up. Themes remained focused on relevant industry trends and providing actionable information for manufacturers in attendance.

  • An Overview on the NJ Resources Available to Help Your Business
  • Real Solutions to Serious Workforce Problems
  • Understanding the Impact of Industry 4.0 – A Discussion on Avoiding the Risks of Adoption

Manufacturers and business leaders that sat in on these industry-specific breakout sessions were floored with the amount of actionable information they were able to accumulate. These were not sales presentations, instead, panels were made up of industry leaders with the knowledge to share. Q&A time allowed attendees to share their own experiences and pick the brains of those leading the discussions. Real-world examples were given to showcase how many manufacturers are going through similar challenges and disruptions, but there are solutions. Manufacturing Day is focused on celebrating the industry and its progress however NJMEP ensured MFG Day 2019 was also about providing new opportunities to help the industry progress even more.

Manufacturing Award Winner Announcements

The winners of the Manufacturing Award winners were broken up into two parts. One in the morning and the second took place in the afternoon presentation. Each finalist was called to the stage where they received a gift from Vistage. These business leaders were given one month of Vistage service for free in recognition of their exceptional work over the past year. RSM’s Nate Beachum, the platinum award sponsor for Manufacturing Day 2019 took pictures with each of the finalists as they walked across the stage waiting to find out who would be presented with the title of Manufacturer of the Year in their given category. 

A voice-over presenting each of the finalists in their category offered a brief overview of the company and touched on why they earned a spot in the Manufacturer of the Year finals. 

Manufacturers were broken up into six unique categories. Four were based on size and the other two focused on Innovation and Community Engagement. The winners of this year’s Manufacturer of the Year awards are all listed, here. 

NJMEP’s Made in New Jersey Manufacturer of the Year Award Winners!

Manufacturer of the Year –
Manufacturer of the Year –
Small (50 employees or less)
Manufacturer of the Year –
Medium (51 – 250 employees)
WINNER – Succhi, Inc. WINNER – eMachineShop WINNER – Puratos Corp.
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Manufacturer of the Year –
Large (251 or more employees)
Manufacturer of the Year –
Innovator of the Year
Manufacturer of the Year –
Manufacturing Cares
WINNER – Thorlabs, Inc. WINNER – Westlock Controls WINNER – Broadway Industries

These manufacturers have proven themselves to be stand-out entities in New Jersey. Providing for their employees, pushing the boundaries on progress, and contributing to the local economy. NJMEP is honored to have the opportunity to present these businesses with Manufacturer of the Year awards and recognize their efforts over the past year. Every one of these manufacturers represents forward steps in this vital industry. 

Manufacturing Day 2019 In Review

NJMEP’s MFG Day 2019 was the largest, most successful event to date. This national celebration of the manufacturing industry has a special place in the hearts of New Jersey businesses. NJMEP does all it can every year with the help of its sponsors to ensure Manufacturing Day makes an impact in the Garden State. 

A culmination of business leaders collaborating, relevant and educational discussions on how the industry can progress forward, sharing actionable information with the businesses that contribute so much to the New Jersey economy, and recognizing stand-out businesses is all part of the celebration. Keynote speakers, invaluable breakout sessions, and the Manufacturer of the Year awards are all rolled up into one day but these aren’t the only aspects that make MFG Day such an impactful event. Sometimes it takes bringing the best and brightest industry, government, and community-centric minds together in one place before progress can be made. 

Nominations for Manufacturer of the Year 2020 are open now! Do you know a manufacturing company that deserves to be recognized at MFG Day 2020? Submit your nomination today by emailing Peter Okun or Michael Womack. 

Contact Information:
Peter Okun, Director of Marketing and Public Relations

Michael Womack, Marketing Outreach Coordinator

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