Industry Comes Together in Largest Celebration Yet
The 10th Annual ‘MADE in New Jersey’ Manufacturing Day was a huge success as approximately 1,000 attendees from the manufacturing community joined the festivities on October 7th at iPlay America in Freehold, NJ. This year’s celebration broke previous attendance records, nearly doubling last year’s total. Manufacturing, legislative, educational, and community organization leaders throughout the Garden State joined NJMEP for this annual event. ‘MADE in NJ’ Manufacturing Day is more than a networking event, it features educational discussions, works to change the public’s perception of manufacturing, and celebrates the Manufacturer of the Year award winners.
This is the state’s largest manufacturing networking event of the year and has recently been called the largest on the East Coast. With the event’s growing popularity, it was held at a much roomier venue that can fit 1,000+ attendees. Due to the event center’s massive size and centralized location in New Jersey, iPlay was selected as this year’s host venue.
Five manufacturing businesses and one standout women leader were recognized for their incredible achievements at this year’s ‘MADE in New Jersey’ awards ceremony. This year’s winners introduced two new categories – the Rising Star and the Leader in Life Science awards. Ellen Pietrowitz-Phillips, President of L-E-M Plastics & Supplies, Inc. was presented with the Rising Star award given to a standout women leader in the industry. Celularity was presented with the other first for the Leader in Life Science award given to an outstanding company in the life sciences field. Both awards recognize two areas that need to be highlighted for their value to New Jersey’s manufacturing industry, women in manufacturing and the life sciences field.
This year’s Manufacturer of the Year titles were presented to manufacturers in three separate categories: Small-Size Manufacturer – Prince Sterilization Services; Medium-Size Manufacturers – IPAK; and Large-Size Manufacturer – Marotta Controls. The final award went to Intelligent Material Solutions, Inc. (IMS) who took home the title of Innovator of the Year.
This annual celebration is a rare opportunity for the manufacturing industry to network while working to change the public’s perception and providing invaluable knowledge and resources to help strengthen the businesses that participate. The industry is currently facing countless challenges hindering its ability to grow in the state and nation. 8 separate breakout sessions were held throughout ‘MADE in New Jersey’ Manufacturing Day to address these concerning topics ranging from supply chain disruptions to workforce development. Attendees packed each room to participate in the breakout sessions while finding solutions that can help both their business and the industry thrive. Some of the notable breakout panelists included Sen. Linda Greenstein, NJMEP CEO John Kennedy, and Rising Star winner, Ellen Pietrowitz-Phillips. During a session, Sen. Greenstein presented Kennedy and NJMEP with special proclamations for their contributions to industry and the state.
Breakout sessions were offered on a wide range of topics:
- Mitigating Supply Chain Disruptions – Strategies, Tactics, Real-world Examples
- ‘Year of Women in Manufacturing’ Collaborating to Drive Forward Progress
- Bridging the Divide Connecting Manufacturers
- Cybersecurity Made Simple the Threats and How to Avoid Them
- Strategies for Manufacturers to Improve Cashflow
- Reaching More Customers and New Markets
- Best Ways to Retain Your Current Workforce
- How Manufacturers Can Rebuild the Talent Pipeline
Celebrating The Year of Women in Manufacturing
The ‘Year of Women in Manufacturing’ breakout session was of particular interest to guests this year as it coincides with this year’s largest theme with the same name focusing on the women leaders in the industry. Guests listened to the five women panelists discuss their experience working in the manufacturing sector, leadership, providing advice to other women in the industry. The panelists fielded questions for women interested in exploring industrial careers and helped guide those just starting their journey in the manufacturing industry.
Women play an integral part in the manufacturing industry. Thirty percent of the active workforce is made up of women, and that number is expected to rise every year. However, there is still a huge gender gap, particularly at the management and executive levels. Women make up 9% of CEOs in the manufacturing sector, according to the World Manufacturing Foundation. Events like ‘MADE in NJ’ Manufacturing Day provide women with a large platform to be heard, recognized, and for a chance to inspire the next generation of women manufacturers. This celebration also encourages companies to look to women when it comes to addressing their workforce challenges.
NJMEP’s CEO, John Kennedy is a huge advocate for women in manufacturing and strongly believes ‘MADE in New Jersey’ Manufacturing Day is an opportunity to highlight the contributions of women and the value they add to the industry. To commemorate the ‘Year of Women in Manufacturing’ theme, Kennedy invited a local all-girls Robotics Team to lead the festivities with a ‘Pledge of Allegiance’.
“The ‘Year of Women in Manufacturing’ was built into this annual celebration as a primary theme. With new awards, and an emphasis on sharing just how many incredible women leaders are already in the industry gave these spectacular people a platform to tell their story and inspire the next generation,” John W Kennedy, NJMEP, CEO stated.
Highlighting Workforce Solutions, Robotics and New Jersey Made
A workforce development panel was held on stage in front of nearly 1,000 attendees. Panelists from local organizations that work with underrepresented communities such as military veterans and the neurodiverse community, held a discussion on restoring the workforce pipeline with members from these groups. During the conversation, these panelists expressed the readiness and skillset members from these overlooked communities offer as an invaluable addition workforce for an industry desperately seeking talent.
Another exciting aspect of the event was the addition of New Jersey high school robotics teams participating in a robotics competition which took place in the expo room. A robotics version of basketball took place, with robots shooting balls into a giant hoop while hundreds of attendees watched. The robotics demonstration showed the industry the talent pipeline is being rejuvenated and more students are being exposed to the manufacturing field.
‘MADE in New Jersey’ Manufacturing Day wouldn’t be complete without the exhibit booths from supporting businesses, including hands-on demonstrations with the latest workforce training technology. This year the expo room was even bigger with over 48 sponsors exhibiting. Beyond the expo room, the ‘MADE in New Jersey’ room was back and bigger than ever. The ‘MADE in New Jersey showcase highlighted dozens and dozens of the state’s manufacturers and people could walk around the display to see all the incredible products that are manufactured right here in the garden state. One of the most unique products displayed was a custom NJMEP chair made and donated by GAR Products.
To top things off, there was an endless supply of food and drinks being served during the event. Each year, ‘MADE in New Jersey’ Manufacturing Day serves breakfast, lunch, and a specialty drink from a local winery or distillery. This year’s wine was produced and provided by Old York Cellars out of Ringoes, NJ. The bottles featuring the ‘MADE in New Jersey’ Manufacturing Day logo were not only popular with guests, but it also helps promote a New Jersey business as well as the state’s wineries, breweries, and distilleries. Two signature cocktails, Lairds Apple Jack and Blue Rascal, were also served during the festivities, Laird & Company of Eatontown, NJ and Blue Rascal Distillery of Hammonton, NJ.
Welcoming the Newest ‘MADE in New Jersey’ Honor Roll Members
Every year, NJMEP honors standout supporters of the industry by inducting them into the ‘Manufacturing Honor Roll’. These individuals can be industry professionals, legislators, organizations, or anyone else who is an advocate for manufacturing in the state. This year, eight new names have been added to the prestigious Manufacturing Honor Roll. The latest members are:
- First Lady of New Jersey – Tammy Snyder Murphy
- Congresswoman Rebecca Michelle “Mikie” Sherrill
- Congresswoman Bonnie M. Watson Coleman
- NJ Assemblywoman Nancy F. Munoz
- Carroll A. Thomas – Former NIST-MEP Director
- Debbie Hart, MS, CAE, APR – BioNJ, President/CEO
- Senator Ronald L. Rice
- John W. Kennedy, Ph.D. – NJMEP, Chief Executive Officer
Rep. Sherrill, a strong advocate for domestic manufacturing, was one of the legislators in attendance. She was among the many notable individuals on this year’s list, including NJMEP’s CEO, John Kennedy.
“I am honored to have been voted onto the 2022 NJMEP Made in NJ Honor Roll by the members of the manufacturing industry, especially as we celebrated the first ‘Year of Women in Manufacturing,’” said Rep. Sherrill. “The 10th annual ‘Made in New Jersey’ Manufacturing Day showcased the talent and the innovative spirit that has long driven our state’s economy. New Jersey is a hub of advanced manufacturing and high-tech industries due to our best-in-the-nation workforce, and I am committed to working on your behalf to keep our state at the top of those industries. Thanks to NJMEP for your advocacy and partnership!”
Thank You to All These Amazing Manufacturing Supporters
This year’s celebration was made possible only with the help from the countless businesses that sponsored this grand spectacle. Each of these sponsors listed below provided an essential role in making the Garden State’s largest networking event of the year possible.
- Crowe LLP
- Grassi Advisors & Accountants
- HealthCare Institute of New Jersey (HINJ)
- NJBIA (New Jersey Business & Industry Association)
- Provident Bank
- Provident Bank
- NJ Advance Media
- Alan Zakin Associates
- African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey
- Delta Dental
- Kean University
- The Knotts Company
- NJ Biz
- PKF O’Connor Davies
- Townsquare Media Group
- Vision 33
- Allegheny Educational Systems, Inc.
- Circular Edge
- Columbia Bank
- Concord Energy Services
- Costello Creative Group
- County College of Morris
- Jeff Vreeland
- JP Morgan Chase & Co.
- Kearny Bank
- Rovere Media
- Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey
- Techminds Group
- TDK Lambda
- U.S. Army
- Citrin Cooperman
- HoHoKus School
- New Jersey Innovation Institute
- Porzio Bromberg & Newman
- New Jersey Food Processors Association
- Eat Clean Bro
- Garden State Precast
- L-E-M Plastics & Supply, Inc.
- Meadowlands Chamber
- MF Supply
- Power Container
- Zero Surge
‘MADE in New Jersey’ Manufacturing Day shines a light on the value of domestic manufacturing and its contributions to the Garden State and the nation. It also shows students the true face of manufacturing and the opportunity that exists in the field. The celebration provides manufacturers and STEM companies the chance to address their workforce challenges and collaborate to find solutions to their largest challenges. Having this annual celebration is vital to help companies network, learn, and grow so the industry can thrive in New Jersey.