NJBIZ, NJMEP celebrates inaugural N.J. Manufacturing Awards

NJMEP and NJBIZ held its inaugural New Jersey Manufacturing Awards event in celebration of Manufacturing Day on Friday.

The all-day event kicked off with a welcome address by Harold J. Wirths, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor, and the event’s keynote speaker, U.S. Sen. Cory A. Booker, both of whom addressed the need for the state to continue to help finance employee training and further regulate uncompetitive corporate tax rates and trade practices in order to better assist the manufacturing industry.

Ray Vaccari, director of ManufactureNJ Talent Network, led panelists Robert J. Staudinger, president, National Manufacturing Company in Chatham; Michael Stern, CEO, Kreisler Manufacturing Corporation in Elmwood Park; and Frank Wyckoff, president, The Wyckoff Group and chairman of NJMEP Board of Directors; in a discussion about workforce development in the state.

The panelists agreed that while the U.S. is indeed set to produce goods at a lower cost than China within the next few years, a highly publicized skills gap could prevent further growth of “Made in the U.S.A.” manufacturing. Through potentially state-funded internships and apprenticeships with colleges, the focus will be to change the perception of the manufacturing industry for younger generations that still view what is now a highly technical field as dirty, unsafe and mundane. Emphasis was also be placed on targeting youths who choose not to attend college yet still have the critical thinking skills necessary for a high paying job.

Kevin Lyons, associate professor in the Department of Supply Chain Management and Marketing Sciences at Rutgers Business School, led panelists Clifford F. Lindholm III, president and CEO, Falstrom Company in Passaic; Casey Muench, president, Gemco in Middlesex; and Robert Russo, associate director of logistics, Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation in Edison; in a discussion about supply chain management.

The panelists discussed why New Jersey’s strength is in being a supply chain state, and how to better develop good relationships with vendors to create strategic partnerships and handle changing regulations with ease.

Donald H. Sebastian, president and CEO of New Jersey Innovation Institute, led panelists Michiel E. Ultee, chief scientific officer, Gallus Biopharmaceuticals in Princeton; John Tucci, assurance partner, BDO in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Marcia Frieze, CEO, Case Medical in South Hackensack; in a discussion about innovation and growth within the manufacturing industry.

The panelists provided tips and ideas on how and why to innovate in the face of change to continue to manufacture products of value and necessity, including streamlining processes and improving existing products. The panelists also discussed the importance of financial organization, research into tax credits or grants, and implementing succession plans.

The 2014 Manufacturing Awards Winners included: Desiron in Kenilworth, Manufacturer of the Year (Small); Strato Inc. in Piscataway Township, Manufacturer of the Year (Medium); Sandvik Coromant Company in Fair Lawn, Manufacturer of the Year (Large); Eastern Millwork in Jersey City, Workforce Development; EarthColor in Parsippany, Sustainability Award; Westlock Controls in Saddle Brook, Supply Chain Leadership Award; Zytron Control Products in Ewing, Bold New Strategy; Caonabo Delgado at Exothermic Molding in Kenilworth, Next-Generation Leadership Award; and Jackie Daly Johnson at Beacon Converters in Saddle Brook, Growth, Innovation & Leadership Award.

A complete list of the 2014 Manufacturing Awards winners can be viewed here.

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