Currently councilman at-large for Franklin Township in Somerset County, Anbarasan served as the executive director of the New Jersey Community College Consortium and the Advanced Manufacturing Training Initiative where he helped to close the skills gap manufacturing companies face in hiring. The consortium finds people who are seeking new careers and connects them with business, education, health care, life sciences, technology and utility associations to create training programs. Anbarasan says these programs are free to associations and their members, and they add tremendous membership value. The consortium’s largest association partner is the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, which helped launch and promote the NJBIA Basic Skills Workforce Training Program, also known as the Employability Skills Training Program and the consortium’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Initiative. One of Anbarasan’s biggest goals as councilman is to establish a job training program for unemployed local youths.
Consumers might not recognize Puratos Corp. by name, but it’s likely that they’ve consumed its products—at least, if they have a sweet tooth. Puratos products are in artisan breads, pastries, chocolate, and fillings; Bakus has been the president and North American markets director for a little over a year. Bakus has long been a power player in food manufacturing, having spent more than three decades at Nestlé outposts all over the world, in executive positions since 2001. Bakus works out of the company’s Pennsauken headquarters, situated right by a production facility and the new Innovation Center, which provides customers — artisan bakers, industrial bakeries, supermarkets, and food service companies – with access to state-of-the-art equipment, expertise and training, and an abundance of research into international trends. The New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program recognized the company with a Manufacturer of the Year Award.
Thorlabs is a New Jersey-based manufacturer of fiber equipment and optical equipment and a global manufacturer of Photonic Tools. Cable founded the company in 1989 and has expanded it for 30 years. Thorlabs operates manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Germany, U.K., Sweden, Japan, Brazil and China, employing more than 1,500 employees worldwide. A graduate of the Stevens Institute of Technology, Cable uses innovation to expand his business. He is also a board member of Castor Optics, a strategic partner of Thorlabs, which is developing a new line of double-clad fiber optic couplers. The coupler has numerous applications in optical imaging, especially in the biomedical field. During the COVID-19 Thorlabs stepped up to assist in manufacturing face shields and supplied enough clear sheets to make about 5,000 masks.
Many New Jersey manufacturers bemoan the apparent lack of interest in the industry among young people. A few employers are actually doing something about it — including Campbell, the founder and CEO of Jersey City-based Eastern Millwork. In the spring of 2019, the company — a leading producer of architectural woodwork — teamed up with the Hudson County and Jersey City governments, along with three schools to offer an apprenticeship program that allows Jersey City students to start a career immediately after graduating. The students will be paid, with full benefits, and earn an associate’s degree from the Holz Technik Academy, without accumulating debt. They are guaranteed a job after completing the program at a starting annual salary of $70,000. All of which makes manufacturing look pretty great.
Ferrero North America has posted strong growth under Chibe, who took the helm in 2015 after years as the chief marketing officer at Anheuser Busch. Ferrero invested $12 million in its Somerset repack facility in 2017 and another $9 million in 2018 with the explosive growth of its Kinder Joy, which has recorded triple-digit growth since coming to the U.S. market in November 2017. In addition, with the expansion of its headquarters in Parsippany in 2019 and 2020 Ferrero has added hundreds of jobs in the state under Chibe. And it may not be New Jersey, but it’s still a first: The Italian chocolatier announced plans to build its first U.S. chocolate production plant in Bloomington, Ill. In November. Construction is expected to start in the spring.
Chiminski has been the chairman and CEO of Somerset-based Catalent Inc. since 2009. In June, the company agreed to collaborate with AstraZeneca on production of the U.K. pharmaceutical maker’s COVID-19 vaccine. Ten days later, Catalent announced a similar arrangement with Moderna, which is also working on a vaccine. The New Jersey company is a global provider of advanced delivery technologies, development and manufacturing solutions for drugs, biologics, cell and gene therapies, and consumer health products. As such, it is in a position play a crucial role in helping the massive rollout of vaccine doses around the world.
When Clouse took over as CEO of Campbell Soup Co. in January 2019, his focus was largely pre-determined: guide the 150-year-old company through multiple divestitures to hone in on the growth of its core snacks, meals, and beverages businesses. Goodbye, Bolthouse Farms. Goodbye, Kelsen. Goodbye, Arnott’s. The end of 2019 brought a stock price gain of 47 percent over the year. Was the turnaround set to continue? Hard to say, but pandemic stay-at-home strictures continued to push it that way in 2020. As Americans pulled their wallets out in grocery retailers rather than restaurants, Campbell revenue rose 7.2% YoY to $2.34 billion, the company said in December. And the company is doing well going into what Clouse, a longtime vet of the consumer packaged goods industry and former head of Pinnacle Foods, called “the heart of soup season,” with U.S. soup sales jumping in the most recent quarter by 21%.
Connolly’s roots go back to the aviation and aerospace industry, and that gives him crucial insights into how the manufacturing sector operates in New Jersey. He chairs the board of trustees at NJMEP, the primary voice for manufacturers around the state. In his day job as president of the Mahwah-based Shocktech, Connolly oversees a company handling the multi-million-dollar design, production and supply of products used in commercial and military aircraft, marine ships, mission launch vehicles, guidance systems, military vehicles and outer space. The company has been designing, manufacturing, and testing shock attenuation and vibration isolation mounting systems for the most demanding environments for over 25 years.
Brothers International Corp. specializes in home office and business products, and home applications for sewing and crafting — both of which have exploded in demand as many people work from home to remain socially distanced. To that end, the Bridgewater-based company set up two sections on its webpage, called the “Work from Home Hub” and the “Create at Home Hub,” to satisfy the growing demand for the home-bound lifestyle. Cummins joined Brothers International in 1985 as a product coordinator for office typewriters, working his way up before he was tapped as president in November 2019. Brothers International made headlines earlier this year when the company donated 100 industrial sewing machines to help produce facemasks. “Given the severe and growing shortage of personal protective equipment, Brother is proud to donate our products to support these stalwart manufacturers with their efforts in making masks for our frontline workers,” Cummins said at the time.
DeFilippis, who co-chairs the intellectual property group at Norris McLaughlin, is well-known among food manufacturers. She acts as outside general counsel for many in the space and shows up for them in court. DeFilippis provides trademark counseling, prosecution and enforcement for a well-known domestic confectionery manufacturer; and day-in, day-out, and she provides advice to manufacturers on advertising claims under consumer protection laws, state and federal statutes, and applicable law. DeFilippis is called upon time and time again to present on IP issues for food and beverage companies, and has become one of the region’s most prominent voices on the subject.
In his three years with the nonprofit Choose New Jersey, Danielli played a major role in boosting manufacturing for the state’s food and beverage industry. With two decades of food and culinary industry experience to boot, Danieli was a key player in the task. He left the role in August but continues as the owner of the New York City-based City & Sea lifestyle Concierge. A legacy of former-Gov. Chris Christie, Choose New Jersey is tasked with marketing the state to businesses across the country and around the world. The nonprofit has some heavy financial backers and supporters: its board includes PSEG, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, PNC Bank, Hackensack Meridian Health, United Airlines, Prudential Financial and RWJ Barnabas Health.
From soaps to side dishes, ice cream to cold cream—you name it, they make it. Unilever, dubbed by consumer insight company Kantar Worldpanel as the world’s strongest manufacturer, has its hands in just about every consumer packaged goods subcategory you can name. With that business comes, well, packages. As head of supply chain, Eboli is instrumental in implementing the company’s most significant packaging sustainability initiatives. In 2019, the company pledged that it would halve the use of virgin plastic in its packaging by 2025. It aims to move its Dove products to 100% recycled bottles in that time. In October, the company said it was on track to deliver on these goals and more: Post-consumer recycled plastic now accounts for more than 10% of Unilever’s plastics footprint worldwide, an increase from 2019 and progress towards its goal of using at least 25% PCR by 2025.
After 2019 brought Flawless and Finishing Touch hair removal products into Church & Dwight’s cabinet, 2020 brought zinc-based common cold shortener Zicam, which it acquired for $530 million. While Farrell said in a quarterly earnings call in October that social distancing has impacted some Church & Dwight brands—Batiste dry shampoo was down 22% year over year in the second quarter and 10% in the third quarter, and Trojan products were down 15% in the second quarter and 6% in the third — production records were set for others, including Vitafusion, Arm & Hammer laundry, and Arm & Hammer baking soda. The manufacturer increased capacity both in its plants and externally with new co-packers.
Gattone is vice president of engineering for Piscataway-based LIXIL Americas, a company that sells water and housing products within the brands American Standard, Grohe and DXV. And he sits on the 2020 board of directors of the Plumbing Manufacturers International, the national advocacy and trade group for the plumbing industry. During the height of the pandemic, plumbers were among the essential workers allowed to stay open, given the necessity of their work. Even now, businesses have to risk their workforce out on the field, where the chances are greater they may be exposed to COVID-19. And working from home, in many cases, is not an option.
As executive director of the Chemistry Council of New Jersey, Hart leads a trade and advocacy organization that represents the interests of more than 5 manufacturers and 45 firms “in the business of chemistry.” Members include Bristol-Myers Squibb, Church & Dwight, Eli Lilly & Co., J&J, Procter & Gamble, 3M among many others. With businesses and policymakers seeking to shore up domestic supply chains — exposed as vulnerable during the pandemic — Hart and his members will play prominent roles. That means building up the supply of available personal protective equipment – masks, gloves and face shields, for example – he said during a 2020 NJBIZ webinar. Doing so means “[n]ot exacerbating the problem,” he added. “But saying ‘hey, here’s some policies that maybe can allow companies to stockpile some inventory or allow manufacturing to return in New Jersey, or what’s really keeping people from hiring more people.”
Heltzer, head of state government affairs at BASF Corp., chairs the Chemical Council of New Jersey. He is responsible for the management and coordination of BASF’s 50-state advocacy program and manages BASF’s grassroots program — the Capital Club — while handling government affairs communications. In addition to his administrative and lobbying responsibilities, Mike is responsible for managing state-level relationships with key trade groups, such as the American Chemistry Council and Household & Commercial Products Association. Heltzer joined BASF in December 2006 after a stint as the U.S. government affairs and global domain name policy lead for the International Trademark Association, where he managed passage of six federal intellectual property measures and trademark legislation in more than 20 states. Before that, he was a staff member at the New York State Assembly. Heltzer is based at the BASF North American headquarters in Florham Park and is the BASF lead for national Superfund matters.
E. Yuri Hermida
Hermida is executive vice president for North America Hygiene at RB, a role he has been in for less than a year. That puts him in charge of products consumers are clamoring for. Under his direction the company has been handling high demand for its Lysol household disinfectant products since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged worldwide. He has on more than one occasion been known to say “At RB, we know that the best weapon against germs is knowledge.” together with RB he has joined several outlets to use the company’s expertise to assist during the health crisis.
Howe, president and CEO of The Knotts Company, has devoted his career — including 41 years at Knotts — to helping customers in the industrial and automation markets increase productivity and grow their businesses. After graduating from Fairleigh Dickinson University, he scaled through the sales team and worked his way to the top job. Howe has spent the last 23 years leading and growing the team and purchased the company in 2004. During his tenure at Knotts, the company has provided expertise in pneumatics, machine guarding and framing, electric actuators, conveyors, automation, motion control, robotics, machine safety, and compressors. Under Howe, Knotts has continued to be the leader in providing engineered product and service solutions for the industrial and automation markets.
This year was like no other in the bicycle business, bike sales soaring 400% as consumers sought to alleviate pandemic boredom and replace cancelled indoor activities with outdoor fun. Kamler runs Kent International, one of the nation’s biggest bike manufacturers, and while none of the millions of bicycles Kent sells each year are made in New Jersey, the company still does development and design work from its Parsippany headquarters. Kamler told NJBIZ this summer that Kent’s big box retail customers were selling 15,000 bicycles a day across the country before the supply was wiped out, compared to the pre-COVID daily average of 6,000.
“People were going into Target and Walmart waiting for the employees to assemble the bikes they’d gotten in that day from the local distribution center. As soon as it hit the floor, they were queuing up to buy it,” according to Kamler.
Reed Smith life sciences health industry group partner Julia Lopez is a favorite among pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, who call on her to represent them in mass tort litigation involving contraceptives, vaginal mesh, and more. Her experience includes working on single plaintiff matters, coordinated cases, and multidistrict litigation in both federal and state courts and handling all aspects of general litigation. She has also counseled clients in breach of contract matters, business torts, other complex business disputes, and in government pharmaceutical pricing investigations. In November, she received the Professional Lawyer of the Year award from the New Jersey Bar Association’s New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law, a joint venture of the state bar association, the state and federal judiciary and New Jersey’s three law schools. Lopez earned the award based on the respect her colleagues show for her character, competence and exemplary professional behavior.
Dr. Kevin Lyons
Lyons is associate professor in the Supply Chain Management Department and director of Public Private Community Partnerships for Rutgers Business School. His research includes the integration of sustainable development and diversity criteria into local and global supply chain management and manufacturing systems, processes and operations. All those subjects will be critical as U.S. businesses rethink and reimagine their methods for securing necessary materials. Lyons developed the Supply Chain Environmental Archeology research program/lab, which involves the archeological study of climate change and environmental impacts via the supply chain, big data analytics, risk assessment, decision analysis as well as product end-of-life and new product innovation research. And he is the principal investigator for the Newark (NJ) Manufacturing and Industrial Solution Center research project, Newark Anchor Institution Research Institute, the Newark Urban Agriculture Project and the US State Department Mandela Washington Fellows Program.
Rutgers Food Innovation Center in Bridgeton has brought to market multiple products that have turned their producers into household names, like the Impossible burger — now available at Burger King and White Castle, and an early success in the plant-based meat market — and Schar, which gluten-free folks seek out on shelves across the country. Food manufacturing vet Lewin has been the FIC’s acting executive director for about a year since the departure of former Executive Director Rich McArdle. Before that, Lewin was director of the Piscataway center and director of operations for both facilities since April 2018. The FIC is one of the few centers in the country that is university-affiliated and has both United States Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration certification, allowing it to manufacture a wide variety of food from its full-service facilities in Bridgeton and Piscataway.
Lewis is the founder and CEO of the Mahwah-based eMachineShop, which allows any business or individual to design, price and order custom mechanical parts. Lewis founded the company as a way to provide low-cost fabrication of custom parts on the web — a key service as businesses and workers across the nation keep socially distanced amid the COVID-19 pandemic. eMachineShop uses web, software and machining technologies and can support customers through computer-aided design software. All told, the company can go from initial design to placing an order within 15 minutes, according to Lewis.