State of the State

​​​State-Of-The-State of Manufacturing Profiles: INDUSTRY PANELISTS

​​Today We Feature the Manufacturing Leaders and Panelists for 2023’s State-of-the-State of Manufacturing Summit​ 


​​NJMEP and NJBIA are bringing together notable Manufacturing Industry Leaders to discuss the industry’s most critical issues and work toward more pro-manufacturing policies. The first Town Hall will include the following panelists asking questions about the Supply Chain, Covid Recovery, and Incentivizing Manufacturers to stay in New Jersey.​​ 

Michelle Megala is a Boston University graduate based out of the New York City Metropolitan Area. She’s the 25-year-old CEO of Hickory Industries Inc., a nearly 80-year-old women and minority-owned equipment manufacturer, and at the helm she’s disrupting the quick service restaurant and supermarket equipment industry with innovative rotisseries, display warmers, and churrascos. (SEE MORE)

Elene Costan is a graduate of New York University and brings over 20 years of Human Resources experience to the Industry Panel. She’s currently serving as the Chief Human Resources Officer for Berje Inc., one of the nation’s largest importers of EOs and aroma chemicals based in Carteret, New Jersey. (SEE MORE

Pankaj Das came to the United States in 1987, where he began working as an MSW, LCSW at a New Jersey psychiatric hospital, during which time he graduated from Rutgers University with his second master’s degree focused on Public Administration. Early retirement led Mr. Das to pursue his dream of opening an ice cream shop, where he and his daughter manufacture and serve up over 40 unique homemade flavors of ice cream. (SEE MORE

Tony Russo has been the President of the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ) since 2013, and for nearly 100 years, the CIANJ has been an advocate for business and free enterprise in the Garden State. Tony is a graduate of the New Jersey Institute of Technology and also serves as the Publisher and CEO of COMMERCE Magazine. (SEE MORE)   

Michele Siekerka is a graduate of Rutgers University and the James E. Beasley School of Law at Temple University, and the current President and Chief Executive Officer for the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA), which is a pioneer in legislative and financial advocacy. Michele leverages over 20 years of experience in policy, law, leadership, strategy, team building, and change management. (SEE MORE)


​​The second Town Hall Discussion will include the following industry panelists, who will discuss with state policymakers issues regarding Regulatory, Capital Equipment, and Innovation Spending/Support.​ 

Alison Brita is the Owner, Chief Executive Officer, and Master Blender at Mamma Bella LLC, an award-winning producer of cello and liqueurs, and the first legal spirit manufacturer in Hammonton, New Jersey’s history. Alison is breaking through the ceiling of the predominantly male-dominated liquor industry. Her alma mater is Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania. (SEE MORE)  

William Scull is a Rowan University graduate and has been working in the manufacturing industry for over 15 years. William has been with South Jersey Glass & Door since 2020, which has provided residential and commercial glass, window, and door sales and installation to South Jersey for over 90 years, and he currently serves as Logistics and Continuous Improvement Manager. (SEE MORE

Ellen Pietrowitz-Phillips is a graduate of Caldwell University, Ramapo College of New Jersey, and The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. She’s the President of L-E-M Plastics, a woman-owned and led precision fabricator and distributor of raw material plastics, sheet, rod, tubing, and film, based in Fairfield, New Jersey. (SEE MORE

Luis O. De La Hoz is a graduate of the Universidad Autonoma de Manizales, the Universidad de Los Andes, and Rutgers University. For over 10 years, Luis has served as the Vice Chairman, and subsequent Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey. Luis also works as the FVP Regional Director of Community Lending NJ for Valley Bank since 2020. (SEE MORE

Christina Renna is a graduate of Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and Villanova University, and has worked extensively in the political sphere, starting as a Campaign Manager, then as a Legislative Aid for various campaigns, before ending up as a director of several areas in the Office of the Governor of New Jersey. Christina has been working for the Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey since 2014, first as Vice President and most recently as President and Chief Executive Officer. (SEE MORE


​​Be sure to subscribe and check back for the next event profile, where we’ll take a look at the various manufacturers who will be acting as panelists at State-of-the-State’s Town Hall, just under two weeks away! State-of-the-State is taking place on ​May 4th​. NJMEP’s State-of-the-State of Manufacturing Summit brings together manufacturers, STEM Firm executives, and NJ elected officials to highlight and discuss industry-critical challenges within the manufacturing sector. Be there and be heard, ​May 4th​!​ 

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