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No. 1: John Kennedy (access required)

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 (access required)

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 (access required)

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 (access required)

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 (access required)

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 (access required)

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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