The head of one of the state’s largest manufacturing groups, John Kennedy, said Oct. 1 that he’s looking at stepping down from his post at the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program in the near future.
“The last two years have really beat the hell out of me,” Kennedy, the NJMEP’s chief executive officer, said in reference to the COVID-19 pandemic, during the group’s “Made in New Jersey” Manufacturing Day 2021 at The Marigold in Somerset.
Planning on exiting after next year’s Manufacturing Day, which he said would mark the organization’s 10th such event, Kennedy joined NJMEP in July 2012 as its chief operating officer, becoming CEO in 2014, according to his LinkedIn profile.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic closures last year, manufacturers had to operate at reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing, throwing a wrench in their ability to produce goods.
On top of that, amid national shortages in personal protective equipment and a cratering supply chain with China, many states found themselves scrambling to cobble together enough equipment for health care and emergency workers. Many New Jersey manufacturers switched to the production of PPE, and images poured in of hospital staff using trash bags in place of gowns or wearing masks for over 12 hours.
“The work you did with creating and making PPE supplies [for] our health care industry saved lives,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in his pre-recorded remarks at Manufacturing Day.
Now, the manufacturing industry at large is looking at how it can bring more PPE production into the Garden State on a much more permanent basis.
U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat, said those efforts were effectively matters of national security because the nation’s emergency response infrastructure needs PPE and other equipment for “future pandemics, natural disasters, cyberattacks, raw material shortages” and trade disputes which could “crippled our supply chain.”
1 of 2
1 article remaining
Advance your business edge with news from NJBiz. Register now for more article access.