Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey

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CIANJ President's Message

"A Path for New Jersey's Future"



by John Galandak, February 2015 COMMERCE Magazine Column

If we were casting a movie about being the governor of New Jersey, most people wouldn’t immediately look for a man or woman with a marketing background to play the governor. But serving as the Garden State’s chief executive officer is, after all, a sales position.

Just think about the pitch Gov. Chris Christie had to make to convince companies to stay in New Jersey after years of less than business-friendly policies and taxes implemented by previous administrations and legislatures. Consequently, the competition for keeping companies and getting them to expand in-state is a constant battle, with wins and losses representing thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue for the state.

That’s not even counting money from tourism, which is the number one job creator in New Jersey. The tourism sector generated $35.9 billion of state GDP in 2013, 6.9 percent of the entire state economy—with an increase projected when the 2014 figures are released.

Few understand the need for selling New Jersey better than former Gov. Thomas H. Kean, who used a well known slogan to attract tourists during his time in office: “New Jersey and You: Perfect Together.” But the spirit of this advertising campaign was more about “making people proud of New Jersey,” said Gov. Kean during his presentation at CIANJ’s December Executive & Officers Series breakfast. Making people believe in New Jersey was and is the key to success, he explained.

A former governor of New Jersey (1982-1990) and president of Drew University for 15 years (1990-2005), Gov. Kean served for 10 years in the New Jersey Assembly, rising to the positions of majority leader, minority leader, and speaker. As governor, he served on the President’s Education Policy Advisory Committee and as chair of the Education Commission of the States and the National Governor’s Association Task Force on Teaching.

As governor of New Jersey, Gov. Kean’s path for enabling business success in New Jersey was finding out what companies needed and creating incentives to keep them vested in New Jersey’s success; building in urban areas to attract jobs to the cities; investing in higher education; and giving tax breaks to small businesses.

“People have to believe that New Jersey is a place to come and create jobs,” said Gov. Kean. “Perception becomes reality,” but you still have to deliver business friendly public policy—so you attract, keep and grow opportunities for businesses. “As a state, we can do this. New Jersey’s location and highly educated workforce are major benefits we can offer. At the same time, we have to realize that high taxes are counterproductive and drive people out of the state. We have to work with those that create the jobs—the governor has to be totally involved in the process, meeting with the heads of corporations and being available to travel or make phone calls to maintain good working relationships with business leaders.”

As governor, Thomas Kean did a great job improving the image of New Jersey, and backed up that perception with the right priorities— business-friendly policies and a focus on higher education. He knew the value of marketing and selling New Jersey, but also saw the wisdom of investing in its institutions.

“You have got to sell reality,” explained Gov. Kean. “You can’t substitute marketing for higher education excellence and creating incentives that make companies love New Jersey as much as we do.”

Like it or not, being the Governor of New Jersey is still a sales position. Gov. Christie must give business leaders confidence in the direction the state is heading, despite some of the economic numbers that paint a less than rosy picture.

According to an end-of-year report by Wells Fargo Securities, “New Jersey’s economy is still struggling to regain its footing. Weakness persists across much of the state, as high costs and continued consolidations in many of the state’s key industry clusters limit new business investment.”

Gov. Christie, like former Gov. Kean, must continue to use his skills and experience to inspire pride and confidence in our state, and showcase New Jersey for the great state that it is.

To view the complete February issue of COMMERCE Magazine, click here.

Honoring "Companies That Care"

CIANJ saluted the generosity of business at its 2nd Annual Chairman’s Reception where more than 30 “Companies that Care” were honored this year.

Staff Recognition Luncheon

A great way to thank your staff on Administrative Professionals Day! Join us for a delicious lunch, fabulous door prizes and great entertainment!

April 22nd, 201511:30 am | Register Now

Business 2 Business Council

Through the Business to Business Council, CIANJ is seeking to provide opportunities for small business owners and entrepreneurs to gain the contacts, knowledge, and information necessary to grow their businesses profitably. The B2B Council events will connect them to opportunities across New Jersey’s diverse business landscape.

Business Impact Group (BIG)

BIG has joined CIANJ and will be working with the Small Business Council to bring value to the small business sector within CIANJ and the New Jersey Small business community. BIG operates as a closed group within CIANJ similar to the CEO Roundtable providing an opportunity for its members to gain insights in a peer-to-peer atmosphere.

CEO Roundtable

The CEO Roundtable provides a forum for chief executive officers or business owners to seek advice and share experiences. Participants freely discuss issues they confront daily, such as compensations, financing, dealing with family members, relocations, sale of a business and many of the topics.

Environmental Business Council

Since its inception, the EBC’s mission has been to recognize the important economic role the environmental industry plays within the state, to demonstrate that environmental issues are also business issues, and to teach the business and regulatory communities that environmental responsibility and economic growth are fundamentally related

Financial Decision Makers Roundtable

CIANJ’s Financial Decision Makers Roundtable is intended for senior executives in key financial positions within their firms, as well as CIANJ members and invited guests. The purpose of this roundtable is to share critical information related to financial decision making and to allow attendees to develop professional relationships with each other. CPE credits are offered.

Generation Now: A Young Professionals Or

Generation Now is a group of young professionals in alliance with one another for the purpose of education, networking and peer-to-peer exchange leading to personal and professional growth.

Healthcare Roundtable

CIANJ’s Healthcare Roundtable is a forum for professionals who work within a spectrum of related disciplines to interact with one another by discussing critical issues that affect healthcare, as well as to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and develop relationships that enhance business

Human Resources Council

CIANJ’s Human Resource Roundtable is intended to advocate HR awareness by providing information and resources in various HR disciplines. It educates those responsible for HR in their organizations by sharing knowledge to solve common challenges. As an HRCI Approved Provider, attendees can earn continuing education credits toward PHR, SPHR, and GPHR

Legislative Roundtable

The mission of the Legislative Roundtable is to provide a forum where business executives can meet with state and federal lawmakers to discuss the latest issues affecting commerce.

Manufacturing Roundtable

The Manufacturing Roundtable is intended to be a forum for professionals who work in complimentary disciplines to discuss critical issues that affect manufacturing, facilitate the exchange of knowledge, and to develop relationships that enhance business

Marketing Roundtable

Without a savvy marketing strategy, any product or service is doomed to failure. Industry leaders guide this roundtable as it helps businesses promote their brand, harness social media, and determine the best ways to identify new customers and clients

Real Property Roundtable

CIANJ’s Real Property Roundtable is intended to be a forum for professionals who work in complementary disciplines to discuss critical issues that affect real property, facilitate the exchange of knowledge, and to develop relationships that enhance business

Technology For Business Roundtable

The Technology For Business Roundtable is intended to be a forum for professionals who work in complementary disciplines to discuss critical issues that affect technology, facilitate the exchange of knowledge, and to develop relationships that enhance business.

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