For 87 years, the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ) has been the leader in free enterprise advocacy for the purpose of “providing, through education, legislative vigilance and membership interaction, an economic climate that enhances business potential and makes New Jersey a better state in which to live, work and conduct business.”
But what sets us apart from other organizations is that we help New Jersey’s elected leaders see the world through the eyes of the entrepreneur—the creative man or woman that takes big risks to bring his or her creative vision to life. Innovation is the process by which we create new jobs, careers and grow existing and new markets. The process makes the world a better place, and energizes the economy.
Free enterprise principles are our core values and CIANJ is New Jersey’s business advocate. In fact, we are increasingly being recognized as that statewide business advocacy group synonymous with free markets, which has led to a significant growth in membership this year. If businesses are looking for a strong voice in Trenton, they are choosing the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey. In 2014, we signed up members such as LG Electronics, Tesla Motors, Haier America and yes—the Town of Newton, New Jersey.
I know it may sound strange to announce that a town is a member of CIANJ—and indeed Newton is the first—but I am excited about Newton’s decision because the catalyst for joining CIANJ was the town’s desire to transform its image into one that welcomes business. We want to help Newton to be the kind of town where businesses want to locate, and I am proud to be working with Newton’s leaders, including Mayor Kevin Elvidge and Town Manager Thomas Russo, Jr., to make this a reality.
I am also grateful to Tracy Straka for her leadership as our chairman over the last two years. During her time as chairman, the level of member engagement and the scope of activities have increased dramatically, and we have seen a significant increase in the number of members who have taken an active role in guiding the direction of the Association.
At CIANJ’s 87th Annual Meeting & Luncheon on Oct. 31, 2014, at the Hilton Woodcliff Lake, Immediate Past CIANJ Chairman Tracy Straka, executive vice president of Creamer Environmental, Inc., passed the torch of leadership to CIANJ’s new Chairman, Martin W. Kafafian, Esq., managing partner for the law firm Beattie Padovano, LLC. Congratulations to our new chairman, and our new slate of officers including Vice Chairman Robert Iacullo, executive vice president, United Water; Treasurer Andrew Silverstein, member, Dorfman, Abrams Music, LLC; Counsel Richard Abramson, Esq., partner, Cole Schotz Meisel Forman & Leonard; and Secretary Elizabeth Napoli, president, MC&M Ltd. The following at-large officers were also elected: Chilton Medical Center President and CEO Deborah Zastocki; Harwood Lloyd, LLC Co-Managing Partner David Repetto; Lakeland Bank President and CEO Thomas J. Shara; and XSolutions Consulting Services Partner Joseph Imperato, Jr.
I also would like to thank the sponsors of this year’s Annual Luncheon: AmeriHealth New Jersey; Beattie Padovano, LLC; Columbia Bank; COMMERCE Magazine; Connell Foley LLP; EisnerAmper LLP; Hackensack University Medical Center; Haier America; Harwood Lloyd, LLC; Inserra ShopRite Supermarkets; J. Fletcher Creamer & Son; Lakeland Bank; Mack-Cali Realty Corporation; McCarter & English, LLP; PSE&G; PwC; Sharp; United Airlines; Valley National Bank; Verizon; and WeiserMazars, LLP.
A special thanks to Hackensack University Medical Center for its sponsorship of the Networking Reception; Haier America for its sponsorship of our keynote speakers; Flyte Tyme Worldwide Transportation for providing ground transportation; and Stuyvesant Green Earth Press for printing the program.
For more on CIANJ’s 87th Annual Meeting & Luncheon, see page 8.