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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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