NJ Chamber’s ReNew Jersey Business Summit kicks off in AC

Matthew Fazelpoor//March 15, 2023

NJ Chamber’s ReNew Jersey Business Summit kicks off in AC

Matthew Fazelpoor//March 15, 2023

“We are here to celebrate the great things about operating a business in New Jersey, and the many wonderful reasons companies call the Garden State their home,” said Tom Bracken, New Jersey Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, as the ReNew Jersey Business Summit got underway March 14 at Harrah’s Atlantic City. “We are also going to examine the obstacles that we have preventing us from doing even more.”

The annual event, which effectively replaced the Chamber’s Walk to Washington trip, offers the opportunity to bring together leaders across business, government, media, nonprofits, and more to discuss and engage on ways to boost the state’s economy.

The summit and business expo drew more than 800 attendees, 47 speakers, 15 sessions on the state economy, and over 90 exhibitors.

Bracken noted the record registration numbers for this year’s event.

Tom Bracken, president and CEO, New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.

“And I think it speaks to the fact that everybody wants to move forward in a better way with our state, and the business economy that we’re all part of,” said Bracken. “We put together an agenda that I think will be enlightening, educating, and, hopefully, inspiring. Also, real, by addressing some of the issues we still have. And hopefully the end result of this will come out in something we will propose later that will move us forward faster as a state.”

Bracken said a main goal is to examine how to leverage the advantages of operating a business in the Garden State and explore actions to help make the state’s business climate more competitive and attractive.

The panels and speakers will suggest recommendations and solutions to achieve those aims throughout the summit. On the second day of the event, those ideas will be presented to the state’s legislative leaders during a panel discussion.

“The goal is to bring together subject experts from business, politics and nonprofits to discuss the advantages of doing business in New Jersey and the challenges stifling New Jersey’s economy, and propose the actions needed to shift into long-term economic growth,” said Bracken. “We’re looking for solutions.”

The panel topics and participants include:

  • The National Business Outlook and its Impact on New Jersey
    Featuring: U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-5th District, and Neil Bradley, executive vice president, chief policy officer and head of strategic advocacy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • New Jersey’s Advantages and Opportunities in 2023
    Moderated by: Bracken
    Jim Kirkos, president and CEO, Meadowlands Chamber; Christina Renna, president and CEO, Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey; Michael Chait, president, Greater Atlantic City Chamber; Chris Phelan, president and CEO, Hunterdon Chamber of Commerce; and Meghan Hunscher, president and CEO, Morris County Chamber of Commerce
  • Celebrating New Jersey
    Featuring: Steve Edwards, president, NJ Hall of Fame
  • New Jersey’s Programs: What We’re Doing & What’s in the Works
    Moderated by: Ted Zangari, member, Sills, Cummis, & Gross
    Featuring: Eric Brophy, senior advisor, Governor’s Office; Wes Matthews, president and CEO, Choose NJ; Tim Sullivan, CEO, New Jersey Economic Development Authority; and Melanie Willoughby, executive director, New Jersey Business Action Center
  • Investing in New Jersey
    Moderated by: Joseph Divis, state president – New Jersey, AT&T
    Featuring: William Caruso, partner, Archer; Will Morey, president and CEO, Morey Piers; David Rodriguez, executive producer, New Jersey Performing Arts Center; Aaron Price, CEO, TechUnited: NJ; and Madeline Urbish, head of government affairs and market strategy, N.J., Ørsted
  • Making New Jersey Stronger
    Moderated by: Gary Dahms, president, CEO and chairman of the board, T&M Associates
    Featuring: Enrico Della Corna, regional president, PNC Bank; Lisa Chowansky, president and owner, HC Constuctors; Will Hagaman Jr., immediate past managing partner and CEO, Withum; and Dana Lancelotti, president and CEO, NJ Restaurant & Hospitality Association
  • Macroeconomic Factors Impacting NJ Business
    Moderated by: Mike Reagan, senior vice president consulting services, CGI
    Featuring: Braxton Plummer, director of state government affairs, Verizon; Colin Newman, director, Economic Development, Amazon; Abbey Barksdale, director, Business Development, New Jersey American Water; and Nicole Swan-Bennett, director – Business Customer Solutions, PSE&G
  • Power of New Jersey’s Diversity
    Moderated by: Dwayne Redmond, market executive, Bank of America
    Featuring: Carlos Medina, chairman, Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of NJ; Dale Favors, managing partner, Adaptive Growth Leadership; Gus Penaranda, executive director, PRIDE Chamber; and Marjorie Perry, president and CEO, MZM Construction & Management
  • Reporter’s Forum: Covering the Intersection of Business & Government
    Moderated by: Tom Bergeron, editor and chief content officer, ROI-NJ
    Featuring: Daniel Munoz, staff writer – Business, The Record; Rhonda Shaffler, business correspondent, NJ Spotlight News; Stacie Sherman, senior editor – Americas News Desk, Bloomberg News; as well as this NJBIZ reporter
  • Legislative Leaders: Policy Discussion from Policy Makers
    Moderated by: Benjamin Dworkin, founding director, Rowan Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship
    Featuring: Senate President Nick Scutari, D-22nd District; Senate Republican Leader Steve Oroho, R-24th District; Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-19th District; and Republican Minority Leader John DiMaio, R-23rd District


The first day's session of ReNew Jersey Business Summit at Harrah’s Atlantic City closed with a keynote speech from Gov. Phil Murphy.
The first day’s session of ReNew Jersey Business Summit at Harrah’s Atlantic City closed with a keynote speech from Gov. Phil Murphy. – JESSICA PERRY

Preparing for the future

The first day’s session closed with a keynote speech from Gov. Phil Murphy.

“I would not miss this summit, period,” he said.

Murphy opened his remarks discussing the recent developments at Silicon Valley and Signature banks, referencing a state assistance package approved over the weekend following the SVB collapse. The governor said that emergency situations like that are precisely why it is so important to maintain a robust state surplus.

“This Next New Jersey prepares for the future, whatever that future may bring,” said Murphy.

He continued by mentioning the sunset of the Corporate Business Tax surcharge, which he laid out in his recent Fiscal Year 2024 spending proposal.

“And the budget is also set to provide certainty to our business sector. It does so by keeping our word to allow the temporary Corporate Business Tax surcharge to expire,” said Murphy. “I know one of the most important factors for business in either deciding to relocate or expand capacity is certainty.”

The governor said he has heard from companies that said letting the CBT surcharge expire will free up capital to make improvements, to hire more workers, or simply ensure that business costs can keep up with inflation.

“It is only fair that I ask the business community to keep its word on how these resources will be invested,” he said.

Murphy then ticked off other recent initiatives and legislation that he says will support the business community, such as the law he signed to expedite the state’s construction permitting process.

The governor closed by saying that events like the ReNew Jersey summit are critical to helping move the state and its business community forward.