Lewin ran Rutgers Food Innovation Center’s Piscataway campus for less than a year before taking the helm of the organization, which included its main south campus in Bridgeton, as acting executive director in 2018, and ultimately as executive director in May 2021. He joined RFIC from a career in manufacturing that included managing plants for Hanover Foods, Stay Fresh Foods and LiDestri Food and Drink. RFIC has been home to development and scaleup of several now-national brands, including early plant based champion Impossible Foods and gluten-free brand Schar Foods. In spring 2021, RFIC client Chef Jared Cannon, maker of pre-packaged salads Simply Good Jars, appeared on Shark Tank and struck a $500,000, 10% equity deal with billionaire Mark Cuban and the Queen of QVC Lori Greiner.
Lewis is the founding CEO of eMachineShop based in Mahwah, which allows businesses and customers to design, price and order custom mechanical parts. The business was founded by Lewis to offer low-cost fabrication of custom parts on the web – a key service in demand during both the socially distanced days of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to work-from-home. eMachineShop uses web, software and machining technologies and can support customers through computer-aided design software. With its capabilities, the company can go from initial design to placing an order within 15 minutes, according to Lewis.
Loewald became CEO of East Rutherford-based Cambrex in September 2020, having spent 15 years in senior executive roles at Thermo Fisher Scientific. Cambrex, which describes itself as “the leading small molecule company,” provides substances and analytic services across the entire lifecycle of a drug. “Cambrex has a phenomenal reputation for providing unmatched expertise, innovation and customer service across the entire drug lifecycle,” he said last June when announcing his new role as CEO. Earlier in his career he held leadership positions at Tyco International and General Electric. Loewald currently serves on the board of directors of Harvard BioScience, a global developer, manufacturer and marketer in life science research.
Reed Smith life sciences health industry group partner Julia Lopez is often called upon by pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers to represent them in mass tort litigation involving contraceptives, vaginal mesh and more. She’s worked on single plaintiff matters, coordinated cases, and multidistrict litigation in both federal and state courts; and she’s counseled clients in breach of contract matters, business torts, other complex business disputes, and in government pharmaceutical pricing investigations. She’s a past president of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey and is currently national finance director at the Hispanic National Bar Association, which represents 65,000 Hispanic attorneys nationwide.
Lyons is an associate professor at Rutgers Business School, where he focuses on supply chain management, and heads their Public Private Community Partnership Program. His research has focused on how to integrate the different aspects of the supply chain – including raw material extraction, logistics, manufacturing and design – into economic development, financial forecasting and environmental and social justice efforts at the local, nationwide and international levels. With shortages of raw materials and other products hindering economies everywhere, a major push has been to source locally and domestically. Lyons has been involved with the “Buy Newark” initiative, under which businesses in the state’s largest city purchase directly from Newark businesses. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka’s office said there’s been considerable buy-in from partners such as Rutgers-Newark, United Airlines, Verizon, Panasonic, and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. “We can make the local competitive,” Lyons said in a February interview, as long as local officials do their work to promote the goods and products made in the communities they lead.
Brian C. Neuwirth
Neuwirth has been the president of UNEX Manufacturing Inc. in Lakewood since January 2019, having worked his way up from the sales team when he joined the company in 2004. UNEX deals with material handling and carton flow for distribution centers and warehouses, and boasts a client list of retailers, big box stores, wine and spirits and food and beverage distributors and the automotive, heavy equipment and industrial distribution sectors. During his tenure, Neuwirth has built a reputation as an expert in order fulfillment and the order picking process, line side storage solutions, the application of lean manufacturing principles, carton flow, SKU analysis and ergonomics in order picking and assembly.
Nynens was tapped as head of the New Jersey Innovation Institute in 2019, after more than a year as vice president and chief commercial officer of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, where the NJII is based. NJII was founded in 2014 to offer an incubation space to grow startups around the New York City metro area in biopharma, data and advanced technology, defense and homeland security, health care deliver, and human capital. Before coming on board at NJII, Nynens spent 12 years as CEO of Wayside Technology Group, increasing revenues from $180 million to $450 million. A 2011 recipient of Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award in the technology services category, he’s no stranger to the realms of innovation, science and tech.
Ramesh is the founder of Suuchi Inc., a next-generation supply chain platform provider for fashion brands and retailers. In the span of a year, the company’s revenue jumped 598% — from $6.3 million in 2019, to $44 million in 2020. At the onset of the pandemic, the Carlstadt-based company shifted some of its operations to manufacture masks and other protective gear for health care professionals. Ramesh said the company was “re-purposing as much of our available capacity as possible for mass production of materials that are desperately needed.” Ramesh told NJBIZ that she believes her company has a responsibility to assist health care workers during the crisis. “As the world continues to navigate these dark times, we want to be the light that helps medical professionals be able to keep our communities safe and healthy without having to sacrifice their own well-being and safety.”
Rosenberg came up with PIM Brands Inc. (nee Promotion in Motion) in his college dorm room four decades ago. Now, its most popular product, Welch’s Fruit Snacks, travels from its production facility in Somerset to millions of mouths a day. The company reports consumer consumption at 100 packages per second worldwide. Combined with its factory in Spain, PIM Brands capacity is about 250 million pounds of product per year. In 2021 Rosenberg moved the company’s headquarters from Allendale to Park Ridge into the former home of Hertz Corp. The site, which includes research and development, tasting and sensory labs, a pilot manufacturing lab, and graphics studios was renovated and expanded over the last year. At the same time, the company added a new 309,000-square-foot distribution center on Randolph Road in Somerset, increasing PIM’s Somerset footprint to nearly 1 million square feet.
To avoid unwanted contamination in food across the nation, whether by an allergen or a bacteria, the Food and Drug Administration mandates specific preventive measures under the Food Safety Modernization Act, which was enacted in 2011. Most every food and beverage company in the country needs someone on site trained in aspects of food safety under the FSMA, and Schaffner and her team at the Rutgers Food Innovation Center train hundreds of companies every year. Food manufacturers are familiar with FSMA—and whether they know it or not, that makes them familiar with Schaffner. “You can’t inspect safety into something,” Schaffner told NJBIZ. “[With FSMA], the onus is on the food processor to make the food safely. If they’re not, [the FDA] can shut them down. They can take away their registration to stop them from producing food, they can make them recall food if they feel like it was made unsafely, they can fine them and, in some cases, people can go to jail.”
Schnepper was at GAF for 25 years when he was named CEO in July. He spent years face-to-face working sales for the company, giving him a keen ground-up understanding of GAF’s customers and their needs. During his tenure at the top, GAF has already acquired FT Synthetics, a premium synthetic underlayment manufacturer, and it opened a manufacturing plant in New Columbia, Pa. in November. Before taking the CEO role, Schnepper held positions of increasing responsibility over time and has held executive roles for the last decade.
Singh is the head of Holtec International, a major employer in South Jersey and recipient of one of the state’s largest economic subsidies. The company produces equipment for nuclear power producers and is credited as the nation’s largest exporter of nuclear equipment. The company operates from six overseas offices and in 18 nations across five continents. More locally, Singh is a major player in the Camden and South Jersey economies, including his role on the Cooper Health board of trustees. Holtec built the $300 million Krishna P. Singh Technology Campus on 50 riverfront acres in Camden, which the company and local officials contend helped to usher in an economic renaissance to one of the nation’s poorest cities. According to Holtec, the site “consists of two large manufacturing plants, a seven story corporate engineering center, a system test facility (without nuclear fuel), and support installations like a training center, non-destructive testing laboratory, and corporate apartments.”
Smith has been CEO of Ortho Clinical Diagnostics since September 2019, and spent much of his tenure at a variety of health care, medical device and surgical product companies. Ortho, which is based in Raritan with another office in Colorado, produces diagnostics tests for clinical laboratories in hospitals, blood banks, and other health care facilities across 125 countries and territories. The company’s goal is to develop more automated and complex testing technology for labs, to produce better, more accurate and quicker results for patients. In April, Ortho was awarded a $53.7 million contract for the mass production of a new COVID-19 antibody test. By next spring, it’s slated to produce 6.7 million tests a month, a task that will require it to enlist the aid of the U.S. Department of Defense and the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.
As the CEO of Whippany-based Suburban Propane, Stivala runs a company with a large footprint supplying gas to a variety of residential and business customers — in industries ranging from agriculture to hospitality to construction — around the country. And under his leadership, Suburban Propane has made green energy a centerpiece of its corporate strategy. In addition the company plays a prominent, positive role in the communities it serves. The company recently signed a partnership agreement with the United States Army’s Partnership for Youth Success Program to match service members with employment opportunities. In November, Suburban joined with Operation Tiny Home and Cornerstone Design Build to give a combat-wounded veteran the chance to purchase a custom-built small-footprint house. Not surprisingly, perhaps, Suburban Propane is a Corporate Citizen of the Year finalist in the NJBIZ Business of the Year awards.
Tabatchnick has been president of Tabatchnick Fine Foods, a 115-year-old food manufacturer in Somerset, since 2014. She took over the company after her husband Ben, a fourth-generation soup maker, passed away and since then has overseen all aspects of sales, manufacturing, new product development, quality assurance and hiring. Tabatchnick soups are easy to find in both the refrigerated and the frozen aisles at most grocery stores, but the business is diversified: it’s also served in school lunches, and the company donates a portion of its production to soup kitchens and to humanitarian initiatives through USAID and UNICEF.
Having brought 35 different products to market in the U.S. and internationally over the course of his career, Dr. Marco Taglietti leads Jersey City-based Scynexis Inc. as president and CEO. He’s held the former post since September 2015, the latter since April 2015, and has been a member of the board since November 2014. In June, the FDA approved the company’s Brexafemme–the first and only oral non-azole treatment for vaginal yeast infections. Not only that, it’s the first new antifungal class approved by the FDA in more than 20 years, and the first new treatment for vaginal yeast infections in 25 years. In September, the tablets became available nationwide. Then in November, Scynexis announced the successful completion of a Phase 1 trial evaluating the intravenous formulation of ibrexafungerp. The formulation would provide flexibility to switch between oral and IV applications of the antifungal treatment across clinical settings. Finishing out the year, in December a Phase 3 study was started to evaluate Scynexis’ oral ibrexafungerp as a step-down treatment for patients with invasive candidiasis. Approximately 35,000 cases of IC come up per year that are caused by Candida species and are resistant to azole drugs; Scynexis could provide a much-needed oral alternative.
With 40 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, Tardugno’s career has been devoted to health care. In 2011 the president and CEO of Celsion Corp. relocated the biopharmaceutical company to Lawrenceville from Maryland, looking to develop and commercialize life-saving chemotherapy and immunotherapy agents where he could recruit the best talent. He’s been instrumental in developing the company’s pipeline, which represents a comprehensive, integrated portfolio of targeted therapeutic agents in the areas of chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and RNA-based therapy, largely focused on first-line treatment in combination with the standard of care. This year, Celsion filed a provisional U.S. patent application for its PLACCINE DNA vaccine technology platform. The novel DNA-based, investigational vaccines prevent or treat infections from a range of agents, including coronaviruses. It also amended an existing agreement with Hainan Poly Pharm Co. Ltd. to include development work for Celsion’s investigational DNA-based COVID-19 vaccine. A registered direct offering of more than 11 million shares of Celsion common stock resulted in net proceeds of $13.9 million. A participant in the New Jersey Technology Business Tax Certification Transfer Program, the company has raised more than $14 million in non-dilutive capital from selling its unused New Jersey net operating losses. In May, it received $1.85 million in net cash proceeds from NOL sales covering tax years 2018 and 2019. Then in November, Celsion was approved by the NJEDA to sell $1.5 million of its NOLs for the 2020 tax year, a move the company said would extend its operating runway by three years. At the end of Q3, Celsion reported $60.6 million in cash, investment securities, restricted cash and accrued interest receivable.
When Robert Tillis appeared on the Power 50 Manufacturing list last year, Imperial Dade, which he leads as CEO with his brother and the company’s president Jason Tillis, had just finalized its 29th acquisition under the pair. As of Dec. 7, that number stands at 44; the latest deal expanding the company’s presence in the Southeast. Ranking at No. 9 in the NJBIZ 50 Fastest Growing Companies in New Jersey Awards in 2020, Imperial Dade – which employs 850 people in the Garden State – saw a nearly 12% jump in revenue from 2019 to 2020. In June, the Jersey City-based company broke ground on a new logistics hub set to occupy 220,000 square feet in Baldwin County, Ala. In October, it received Member of the Year award – the highest honor – from Network Distribution. The recognition acknowledges distributors for their performance and support. The company was at the forefront of the national response to COVID-19. A leading distributor of janitorial and cleaning supplies and equipment in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, its customers include hospitals, school districts and nursing homes. In addition to its cleaning and janitorial supplies, the company worked to supply gloves and masks and hospital supplies.
Bob Unanue and Peter Unanue
The Unanue brothers continue their family’s legacy in leading Goya, the largest Hispanic-owned business in the United States, which was started by grandfather Prudencio Unanue Ortiz in 1936. Goya is more than just a bean company—it sells a variety of packaged consumables and operates its own distribution network, cutting out the middle man between where they make the product and where they sell it. The company also makes all its own cans and bottles, Bob Unanue told Fox Business News in November. The company’s sales skyrocketed during the pandemic as folks traded in their trips to restaurants for trips to the grocery store. This year, the company raised prices as much as 10% for some products, which Unanue told Fox Business he had “no choice” but to do due to supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and inflation.
Vincent’s a snacking vet. He’s been president of Mars Wrigley North America in Hackettstown since May 2019, leading the company that brings M&Ms, Snickers, and Skittles to cure snack attacks worldwide. He joined Mars Wrigley from Greencore Global plc, a global manufacturer of convenience foods, where as CEO he ran 13 plant locations across the nation. He spent much of his career in various leadership positions at General Mills including as president of the baking division, president of the frozen frontier division and finally as president of the U.S. snacks division, a $3 billion business. Under Vincent, Mars Wrigley has invested in innovation, with new product launches—aerated gummies Starburst Airs and sweet-salty treat Salted Caramel—as recently as September.
Welsh is the president and general counsel of DSM North America, a life sciences and material sciences company that trades on the Amsterdam stock exchange. DSM has 21,000 employees worldwide and $12 billion in annual sales, and is arguably one of the largest vitamin manufacturers in the world. Research shows that vitamin D bolsters immunity, obviously an important characteristic amid the COVID-19 outbreak. One study suggested that vitamin D deficiency can triple the mortality of the disease. That fact is just one of many brought to light in an op-ed column Welsh wrote for NJBIZ. In an a January interview, he shared his outlook. “I think we will spring back very, very quickly — I mean I could see six to eight months,” Welsh said. “This is, I think, more optimistic than many, but I can see six to 8% GDP in the second half of the year, simply because there’s so much pent up demand. Think of all the discretionary spending that’s been deferred by consumers and we’re a consumer based economy. That will spring forward when restaurants and bars begin to reopen and folks can travel again.”
As executive director of the New Jersey Business Action Center, Willoughby oversees a state office tasked with helping businesses navigate through the bureaucratic red tape of governmental regulation and permits. A typical effort came in March, when the organization launched a webinar series covering topics ranging from available financial and technical resources, tips for obtaining personal protective equipment, understanding safety protocols, mandated employee benefits and setting up ecommerce businesses. The live webinars also described international opportunities through the New Jersey State Trade Expansion Program, which provides financial awards to eligible small businesses to increase export capacity, and financial resources and tips for growing a business. “As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are excited to provide information directly to small businesses that they can use to spur their economic recovery,” Willoughby said at the time.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]