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Manufacturing

No. 1: John Kennedy

As the CEO of the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, Kennedy is the face of the industry in New Jersey. And its most prominent voice. He has been a tireless advocate for policies that would promote manufacturing in the state -- a task that has become even more critical after the COVID-19 pandemic exposed dangerous weaknesses in supply chains.

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No. 2: Alex Gorsky

Most of 2020 has been rough and Johnson & Johnson was not spared. The New Brunswick-based pharmaceutical giant spent much of the year in court fighting allegations that its talcum powder was responsible for cases of ovarian cancer because of asbestos in the product.

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No. 3: Kenneth Frazier

In the race to develop a vaccine against the COVID-19 at a record pace -- or as the Trump administration has called it, warp speed -- Merck has trailed Pfizer and Moderna, which are in the process of getting emergency federal approval for their vaccines.

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No. 4: Thomas Kendris

Kendris fills several roles at pharmaceutical giant Novartis. He’s the president of East Hanover-based Novartis Corp. and as such is the U.S. country head. Kendris also chairs the company’s country leadership team, which consists of all the country and business heads. And he is the global head of litigation, a role he retained after past stints as general counsel of several Novartis units, including its vaccines business during the H1N1 epidemic.

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No. 5: Tom Polen

Franklin Lakes-based BD, one of the largest global medical technology companies in the world, works to advance the quality of health care by improving medical discovery, diagnostics and the safe delivery of care. Led by President and    CEO Tom Polen, BD is now one of the many New Jersey companies leading the global efforts to battle the COVID-19 pandemic

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No. 6: Michele Siekerka

As President and CEO of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, Siekerka has her finger on the pulse on what exactly business owners need in order to succeed in New Jersey. She and Tom Bracken, head of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, are two of the key voices for the needs of businesses across the state.

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No. 7: Bob Unanue and Peter Unanue

Goya sales surged this year amid the pandemic as people traded taco Tuesday at their local bar for a similar festivity in isolation. In March alone, sales for Goya products quadrupled, and Goya distributed over 23 million cans of beans to retailers. The company was in the news time and time again for donating products and cash, including 18,000 meals in March, 20,000 masks in April, 180,000 pounds of food to Venezuela in September, and 300,000 pounds of food to Guatemala in October. Now, Goya is offering $80,000 in culinary arts and food science scholarships nationwide.

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No. 8: Debbie Hart

Hart worked with the state’s biotechnology industry leaders to establish BioNJ in 1994 and has been dedicated to building the state’s life sciences ecosystem ever since. Those efforts have been even more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic, with New Jersey situated squarely in the middle of both the outbreak and the fight to end it.

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No. 9: Dean Paranicas

Along with BioNJ, the HealthCare Institute of New Jersey is an important voice on behalf of the state pharmaceutical industry. And both voices will be sought even more as the effort to eradicate COVID-19 heads into the final, most critical phase. Paranicas oversees HINJ, which represents research-based biopharmaceutical and medical technology industry. That membership includes many of the world’s largest as well as smaller, growing companies.

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