Nearly a Thousand Professionals Attended the 11th Annual ‘MADE in NJ’ MFG Day Event, the Event’s Largest Gathering To-Date
REGISTRATION AND NETWORKING
In celebration of Manufacturing Day (MFG Day), the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP) held the 11th Annual ‘MADE in NJ’ Manufacturing Day event at iPlay America in Freehold, New Jersey. This year’s ‘MADE in NJ’ MFG Day event was the East Coast’s largest manufacturing networking event to-date, surpassing past attendance records and bringing together roughly one thousand attendees to help illustrate the importance and to change the perception of domestic manufacturing.
Attendees arrived just before 8 a.m. on October 6th, and for the first part of the day, they had an opportunity to connect with other industry professionals and engage with exhibitors throughout the iPlay America Events Center. Attendees were greeted by a military vehicle outside the venue, a military radar system in the lobby, the ‘MADE in New Jersey’ product showcase which has grown every year since its inception, and the over 50 business that had booths on the exhibit floor.
Following registration and networking, attendees heard opening remarks from NJMEP’s CEO, Peter Connolly, who was particularly excited to host his first ‘MADE in NJ’ Manufacturing Day as CEO.
“Today, we gather to acknowledge the remarkable achievements of our local manufacturers—the dedicated men and women who craft products that impact our daily lives,” said Connolly during his opening remarks.
“This day represents a celebration of our thriving manufacturing industry—a testament to innovation, hard work, and a collaborative spirit that defines manufacturing.”Peter Connolly, CEO, NJMEP
“Manufacturing, both on a local and global scale, holds a significant place in the heart of our economy and society,” added Connolly.
Following Connolly’s remarks, guests heard from industry notables like Michele Siekerka, President and CEO of the NJBIA, Tim Sullivan, CEO of the NJEDA, and Senator Michael Testa, NJ’s 1st Congressional District.
“I love to be able to tell the story of the great things that are made and curated here in the State of New Jersey,” said Michele Siekerka, President and CEO of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA), during her remarks. “And I think for too long, you have been an underappreciated asset. And it is up to all of us to make sure that we continue to amplify and elevate what you do—not just at the state level, but at the federal level. This is a critical time not just in New Jersey, but in this country for manufacturing. All eyes are back on manufacturing, for good reason and good purpose.”
‘MADE IN NJ’ MANUFACTURING AWARDS – PART 1
Once opening remarks concluded at the main stage, the first round of the ‘MADE in NJ’ Manufacturing Day Award winners were announced, recognizing the ‘MADE in NJ’ Honor Roll, the Rising Stars Award, Leaders in Life Sciences, and the Innovator of the Year.
MADE IN NJ HONOR ROLL
‘MADE in New Jersey’ Manufacturing Day was filled with celebrations and awards focused on New Jersey businesses, however, the industry would be nothing without its dedicated advocates and partners. This is why the ‘Manufacturing Honor Roll’ was created, to honor these incredible allies who work so diligently to support this critical industry. The following individuals were the industry partners that were recognized for their contribution to New Jersey Manufacturing at the 11th Annual ‘MADE in NJ’ Manufacturing Day:
- Senator Michael Testa Jr. | New Jersey’s 1st Legislative District
- Pravina Raghavan | Director, Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program
- Christina Renna | President & CEO, Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey
- Dr. Anthony J. Iacono | President, County College of Morris
- Aaron Fichtner | President, New Jersey Council of County Colleges
- Steven Gerber, Esq. | Secretary Emeritus, NJMEP
- Robert Loderstat | CEO Emeritus, NJMEP
RISING STARS, LEADER IN LIFE SCIENCES, AND INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR AWARDS
Following acknowledgments for the ‘MADE in NJ’ Honor Roll and its standout industry advocates, a further three more awards were presented to individuals or businesses that have shown excellence in manufacturing. Each award is a way to show the value and contributions of companies and individuals to the Garden State and to the nation.
The RISING STARS AWARD, which is presented to a Woman Leader who has exemplified standout leadership in the industry and in 2023 was presented to MICAELA B. ALVAREZ, Director of Operations & Engineering at Universal Nutrition. In her current role, Micaela is responsible for automation, innovation, capital projects, process engineering, maintenance, and training, and prior to working at Universal Nutrition, she brought new consumer products to the world from lab innovation to full-scale manufacturing at P&G and DuPont.
The LEADER IN LIFE SCIENCES AWARD, which recognizes a company that exemplifies progressive manufacturing in the Life Sciences sector, was presented to WEISS-AUG GROUP. Weiss-Aug is a recognized leader in precision metal stamping, injection molding, value-added assembly solutions, and tooling.
The INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD, which shines a light on manufacturing businesses that live and breathe innovation, was presented to CASE MEDICAL. Case Medical is a leading manufacturer of medical device reprocessing products and has been recognized for its innovation, growth, and commitment to its employees and community.
On behalf of the entire industry, NJMEP would like to thank all those who contribute to manufacturing’s progression in New Jersey and congratulate all the businesses that took home this year’s title of ‘Manufacturer of the Year’. Congratulations to the 2023 ‘MADE in NJ’ Manufacturing Day award winners!
BREAK-OUT SESSIONS PART 1
Following the first round of the Manufacturing Day Awards, attendees took a break for some light refreshments, and more networking opportunities, and prepared to find their seats to take part in the day’s first round of breakout sessions that would tackle such critical issues as:
- INDUSTRY 4.0 AND WHY CYBERSECURITY MATTERS
- IMPROVING SUPPLY CHAIN RESILIENCY AND TRANSPARENCY
- COST SAVINGS AND FINANCING STRATEGIES FOR NJ MANUFACTURERS
- WOMEN IN MANUFACTURING AND WOMEN IN DEFENSE
‘MADE IN NJ’ MFG DAY SIGNATURE COCKTAILS & ROBOTICS SHOWCASE
After the first round of breakout sessions, attendees flocked back into the events center to enjoy the ‘MADE in NJ’ MFG Day Signature Cocktails and Beers, which were on offer from the following New Jersey Brewers and Distillers:
- JERSEY SPIRITS DISTILLING CO.
- LONG BRANCH DISTILLERY
- SOURLAND MOUNTAIN DISTILLING
- BELLAMARA DISTILLERY
- MISSION SPIRITS
- 902 BREWING CO
- THREE 3S
- JERSEY GIRL BREWING
While attendees were enjoying the day’s signature drinks, hundreds gathered around for an exciting live robotics display and competition, compliments of the Clifton, Roxbury, and Villa Walsh High School FIRST Robotics teams. These future creators and makers wowed onlookers with their technical know-how and command of engineering principles as their teams competed to outmaneuver and outwit their opposition’s bots!
During this time, attendees also had the option to enjoy a cigar at the Pure Leaf Mobile Cigar lounge, run by NJMEP’s Lance P. Lopez, Sr., Project Manager, Veterans & Community Recruitment.
BREAK-OUT SESSIONS PART 2
Once the excitement subsided from the live robotics displays, attendees once again flocked to the separate conference rooms to sit in on the day’s second and final round of breakout sessions that would cover critical issues like:
- PRODUCTION BEST PRACTICES
- MARKETING STRATEGIES SPECIFICALLY FOR THE MODERN MANUFACTURER
- WORKFORCE SOLUTIONS — WHAT ARE THEY, WHERE ARE THEY & HOW TO IMPLEMENT
- NEW JERSEY INDUSTRY AND GOVERNMENT COLLABORATION — PROGRESS AND FOLLOW UP
MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR AWARDS | LARGE, MEDIUM, AND SMALL
No ‘MADE in New Jersey’ Manufacturing Day would be complete without the coveted Manufacturer of the Year Award Ceremony, where we recognize excellence in manufacturing in three separate categories: small manufacturers with 50 employees or less, medium-sized manufacturers with between 51 and 250 employees, and large manufacturers with 251 or more employees.
The SMALL MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR AWARD was presented to L-E-M PLASTICS & SUPPLIES, INC., a woman-owned fabricator and distributor of raw material plastics, sheet, rod, tubing, and film, located in Fairfield, New Jersey.
The MEDIUM MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR AWARD was presented to BESTWORK INDUSTRIES FOR THE BLIND INC., a company located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, that provides training and employment opportunities for people who are blind to help improve their quality of life while also bringing their customers the highest quality products and services.
The LARGE MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR AWARD was presented to NIPRO PHARMACEUTICAL PACKAGING AMERICAS CORP., located in Millville, New Jersey, a company that provides high-quality packaging solutions for the pharmaceutical industry such as glass tubing and specialty vials.
‘MADE in NJ’ Manufacturing Day takes place each year on the first Friday of October. Next year on October 4th, NJMEP will once again host this critical day to celebrate the industry. Nominations for the 2024 ‘MADE in NJ’ Manufacturing Day awards will open in February 2024 on NJMEP.org. Every New Jersey manufacturer will once again have the opportunity to nominate themselves for a chance to take home these prestigious titles in the new year!
LOOKING AHEAD TO THE FUTURE
The 11th Annual ‘MADE in New Jersey’ Manufacturing Day was a massive success, boasting the largest number of manufacturing professionals in attendance in the event’s history and truly evocative of what New Jersey Manufacturing has to offer. From the ‘MINJ’ MFG Day Awards, to the vital discussions happening in the breakout sessions, there was tons of valuable information and resources on display for manufacturers at this year’s event. The event achieved what it set out to accomplish—recognizing the excellence and diversity of the ‘MADE in NJ’ Manufacturing sector, bringing together the information and resources that are driving innovation and advancement within the industry, and showcasing that there’s much more to manufacturing than meets the eye. This event hopes to inspire the next generation of makers and creators and hopes to illustrate to the public that there are valuable career opportunities, diverse technologies, and expansive industry sectors that touch almost every aspect of our daily lives right here in the New Jersey manufacturing industry.
For NJMEP’s CEO Peter Connolly, the event is an opportunity to connect, honor, and drive manufacturing forward.
“Today is a day to honor the past, enhance the present, and look ahead to the future. Where manufacturing remains an integral part of our vibrant New Jersey community.”Peter Connolly, CEO, NJMEP