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Power 100: A – H

Sue Altman

The organization Altman leads, the Working Families Alliance, may not be a Trenton powerhouse. But Altman has a knack for getting under the skin of New Jersey power brokers. That was evident when she was forcibly removed from a hearing room in Trenton where South Jersey powerbroker George Norcross was scheduled to testify about tax incentives. It wasn’t immediately clear why Altman was ejected or who ordered her removal. But the images of state troopers surrounding her and physically ushering her out of the room went viral. The scene made Altman into something of a folk hero, and you just can’t buy that kind of publicity.

Leslie Anderson

Anderson is the president and chief executive officer of the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority, the first African American woman to lead an independent financing authority in New Jersey. That she has been reappointed by three governors is a testament to her tenacity, effectiveness and vision. Since Anderson took over more than a decade ago, the authority has leveraged nearly $4 billion in new investments – including about $500 million in direct investments – in some of the state’s most economically distressed communities. That funding has been vital to redevelopment efforts around New Jersey, with the authority claiming credit for 15,000 new housing units and more than 10 million square feet of commercial and retail space. And the authority is now poised to play a significant role in the Opportunity Zone program.

Ras Baraka

While he continues to work on Newark’s upward trajectory and billions of dollars worth of construction, the mayor partnered with corporate stakeholders and institutions, such as the New Jersey Institute of Technology, on efforts that will capitalize on the 26 miles of dark fiber running beneath the city’s main corridors. He also was finally able to cut the ribbon on Mulberry Commons Park, a $10 million public-private partnership 15 years in the making. The park is two blocks long and sits in the shadows of the Prudential Center and amid new commercial construction and towering office buildings. More than anything else, City Hall considers this development a catalyst with a potential economic impact of $400 million. Then there’s the lead crisis. As of January the city had replaced more than 4,500 lead lines, more than a quarter of the 18,720 that the city is taking out in one of the nation’s most ambitious infrastructure programs. Baraka was instrumental in pushing legislation allowing municipalities to adopt an ordinance to enter properties to perform lead service line replacements, after providing notice to residents. “The legislation Governor Murphy signed today on lead service lines is a major step forward in removing these health hazards from all of New Jersey’s municipalities,” Baraka said. “We hope that this sparks a national policy movement on how all communities should address lead service lines.”

Cathleen Bennett

Bennett took over as CEO of New Jersey Hospital Association in November 2017. The NJHA is a nonprofit trade association representing New Jersey’s hospitals, health systems and other health care providers that offers leadership on quality and patient safety, education and advocacy in both Washington, D.C. and in Trenton. Bennett oversees NJHA, the Health Research and Educational Trust of New Jersey, a not-for-profit affiliate that promotes continuing education, patient safety, quality improvement and research; and the for-profit Healthcare Business Solutions, which provides group purchasing and other business solutions for health care providers. She has led the association into broader areas such as social determinants of health, in pursuit of the NJHA goal of improving the health of the state’s residents. Before taking her position at NJHA, Bennett served as New Jersey’s 20th Health Commissioner, beginning Aug. 3, 2015. She knows the hospital business inside and out – a strong resumé at a critical time for the sector.

Marc Berson

It’s hard to name a greater champion of Newark’s comeback than Berson, an entrepreneur and philanthropist who seems to be in the contact list of every important Brick City community leader and politician. Berson’s company, Fidelco Group, developed, owns or manages many key properties in the city. But his commitment to Newark — he was born at Newark Beth Israel Hospital and earned a law degree at Rutgers — and influence extends further than buildings. In the 1990s, he was among the visionaries who launched the city’s anchor cultural institution, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and he has been a member of its executive board from the beginning. He later teamed up with Rutgers to build its Business School, Honors College and other facilities. In addition after a 19-year tenure as chair of the Newark Beth Israel Hospital board, Berson now chairs the board of its parent, RWJ Barnabas Health, one of the state’s largest health care systems.

Marie Blistan

Blistan is head of the New Jersey Education Association, a union that represents 200,000 public school employees and a major donor to the campaigns of Gov. Murphy and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin. Not surprisingly, Murphy has opposed Senate President Steve Sweeney’s proposed public worker retirement and health cuts, which would affect the NJEA’s members. According to the NJEA, Blistan is no stranger to partnering with like-minded advocates. As one of three founding members of the Healthy Schools Now Coalition, Blistan helped spearhead efforts that led the New Jersey School Development Authority to release money that would go directly to public schools. She also led statewide efforts to write and see the passage of legislation that created a new endorsement for public school employees who hold standard teaching certificates, the Teacher Leader Endorsement. According to the NJEA, while serving as secretary-treasurer, Blistan was the lead officer in establishing NJEA’s Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund for members and students. And she was part of NJEA’s Hurricane Sandy Back-to-School Relief Program as well as the Sandy Ground Project, a joint venture with the New Jersey’s Firefighters’ Association that resulted in 11 playgrounds being built in New Jersey.

Joel Bloom

As president of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Bloom advocates for STEM education, especially for underrepresented groups. Toward that end, the school introduced the Rising Scholars mentoring program in fall 2019 to provide guidance in navigating the college experience and paid employment through federal work-study. According to NJIT, Rising Scholars supports up to 20 students annually, enrolling eligible Newark students first and then inviting other qualified incoming freshmen if space permits. Students must apply for Rising Scholars and then, once accepted, sign a contract stipulating they maintain good academic standing and eligibility for Federal Work-Study in order to continue in the program. “The Rising Scholars program is the most recent effort to build upon NJIT’s deep and close relationship with the city of Newark while serving its students,” Bloom said in a statement. Collaborations between NJIT and the city of Newark also include an expansive pre-college program, 60,000+ hours of community service annually, a Smart City program, teacher training, curriculum development and many more educational as well as economic and community development efforts. “The relationship between NJIT and Newark is one that should be a model for universities and the communities in which they reside,” Bloom said.

Cory Booker

The state’s junior senator will not be the next president of the United States. Booker’s campaign for the Democratic nomination generated enthusiasm, evident by the large and boisterous crowds at his rallies in early primary states and by the uniformly positive reviews of his debate performances. But that ardor did not translate into poll numbers or donations, so he abandoned his campaign weeks before the Iowa caucuses. Nonetheless, Booker’s performance on the stump surely elevated his national profile, and reflected well on his home state and the city he once led as mayor. So he will likely be on the short list of vice presidential choices for the eventual nominee, though that competition will also be intense. But even if he does not end up on the national ticket, he is a shoo-in for reelection to the Senate. And his higher profile should allow him to be an even greater force on his issues, even if the Democrats remain in the minority.

Omar Boraie

The chairman and founder of Boraie Development has become a dominant player around the state with an impressive roster of marquee projects. In the last three years alone the firm completed premier developments in three major urban centers; a 300,000-square-foot, 23-story tower in Newark; a 500,000 square foot residential complex in Atlantic City, the first such project in that neighborhood; and a 400,000-square-foot, 18-story tower in New Brunswick. The latter is only the latest in a string of buildings that have transformed the city’s skyline. Anyone returning to New Brunswick today after an absence of a few decades would not recognize the place, and Boraie had a lot to do with that metamorphosis. A native of Egypt, Boraie came to Rutgers University to pursue a doctorate. In the process of buying a home, he discovered a flair for real estate. His firm developed Albany Street Plaza Towers I and II, the luxury residential tower The Aspire, and many other important buildings—helping to revitalize the city. Through the Omar Boraie Chair in Genomic Science, he hopes to do the same for cancer research—an interest kindled when, as a donor to the Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital, he met young cancer patients. After speaking with administrators and researchers from the Rutgers Cancer Institute, he knew where he wanted to put his efforts.

Tom Bracken

The president and CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce presides over the annual Walk to Washington, perhaps the state’s leading event for business leaders, politicians, economic development officials, lobbyists and journalists. The event routinely draws influential leaders and lesser lights who want to rub elbows with them. But it recently drew some unwanted attention when it was cited in an NJ.com story about the toxic environment women face in New Jersey politics. It will be up to Bracken to repair the event’s reputation. The Walk to Washington has a long history and Bracken, a 40-year veteran of the banking and financial services industry, will have decades of goodwill to call upon. And he is a respected voice for business in the state, with years of experience navigating the Trenton labyrinth. His courtly manner should be an asset going forward.

Jon Bramnick

The Assembly minority leader defied expectations by winning reelection in a district Democrats thought they could flip. In so doing, and with Republicans actually gaining seats in the Legislature, Bramnick may have demonstrated that GOP candidates can maintain some distance from President Trump and still win. At least in New Jersey. Situated in a district straddling the line between North and Central Jersey, Bramnick also shares the 21st Legislative District with Sen. Thomas Kean Jr., another one of the most powerful Republicans in the state. The two are eyeing seats currently held by Democrats, Bramnick to unseat Murphy as governor, and Kean to win the House seat held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski.

Mark Clouse

It’s been a little over a year since Clouse took over as Campbell Soup Co.’s chief executive, and he’s stuck to the plan announced in August 2018 to focus on the consumer packaged goods giant’s core business. The flurry of activity since he took the reins has included sales of its Danish snack division to a Ferrero affiliate for $300 million, its European chips business to Valeo Foods in Ireland for $80 million, and its Australian Arnott’s cookies and crackers business to New York-based KKR for $2.2 billion. Though not quite as crazy as 2018, when activist investor Dan Loeb of Third Point tried to overthrow Campbell’s entire board—Clouse wasn’t there at the time and the two sides reached a settlement two months before his arrival—2019 was definitely not boring. Loeb had nice things to say about Clouse in Third Point’s fourth quarter investor letter in January, noting Clouse “has demonstrated how powerful leadership working with an engaged board can revitalize a company. During the most recent quarterly call in December, Clouse was upbeat about the potential for top line growth in 2020, which is key to the next leg of the story,” … we remain enthusiastic about Clouse’s leadership and Campbell’s future and are pleased to have played a role in repositioning this iconic company.”

Joseph Colalillo

New Jersey’s top private company is a retail co-op with 51 family owners. Colallilo has been Wakefern Food Corp.’s chief executive for 15 years running, and since his inaugural Power 100 list appearance in 2011, the company has increased its revenue by $7.6 billion. Slightly up from 2018, its revenue in 2019 was $16.6 billion; and in fiscal year 2019 it opened five new ShopRite stores and welcomed Manhattan-based banner Gourmet Garage. It opened the first stand-alone micro-fulfillment center in the U.S. in July where robots assemble ShopRite from Home grocery orders. Wakefern attracted its 51st family in a co-op industry shake-up when Nicholas Markets, a grocer with four stores in North Jersey under the Foodtown banner within the Iselin-based Allegiance Retail Services LLC cooperative, joined in the fall to transition to Wakefern’s The Fresh Grocer. Nicholas Markets CEO David Maniaci had recently been chairman and CEO of Allegiance.

Susan Cole

As president of Montclair State University, Cole focuses on the affordability of New Jersey colleges and on science/technology/engineering/arts/mathematics education (STEAM) to prepare students for high-demand careers. She wants to see more equitable allocation of funding to New Jersey’s public universities and a more rational system of distribution. She notes that public colleges in New Jersey were the fourth most expensive in the United States in 2018. Cole is also leading Montclair State into the Research with NJ online database, joining the Garden State’s five other research universities. . Research with NJ is a collaborative effort by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education to forge stronger connections between New Jersey’s research universities and industries. “We are thrilled to be part of the Research with NJ project,” Cole said. “Providing entrepreneurs and industry leaders with a streamlined portal where they can access the cutting-edge research taking place at Montclair State and around New Jersey will foster the next generation of collaborations our state needs to reclaim our position as a leader in the innovation economy.”

Kevin Conlin

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is the state’s oldest and largest health insurer, with 5,600 employees and 3.8 million members. The company controls about half of the health insurance market in New Jersey and, for good or ill, can shape the health care industry in the state. Conlin currently serves as its chairman, president and CEO. As of April 6, Gary St. Hilaire will become president and chief executive officer, at which time Conlin, with his more than 35 years of executive management experience in health care, with a concentration in hospital systems, provider management, and managed care business, will assume the role of executive chairman of the board, where he will continue to focus on several areas of strategic transformation. He was the architect of the company’s valued-based health care strategy that is focused on transforming health care in the state to improve quality and the patient experience, and lower costs. In 2019, the company was the sole recipient of competitively bid State Health Benefits contract to administer the benefits for 600,000 public employees, a huge win. He is now working with state leaders to modernize the 87 year-old company and become a not-for-profit mutual so it can accelerate and expand partnerships that deliver on improving health care quality, affordability, and customer experience. Horizon’s latest move: a partnership with 17 other Blues to manufacture generic drugs and tackle high prescription prices.

Kevin Corbett

As the chief executive officer of New Jersey Transit, Corbett inherited a powerful platform for public action in January 2018. He helped the agency meet the federally mandated deadline of Dec. 31, 2018, for installing positive train control technology, a system of sensors and computers that stops trains to prevent crashes if an operator fails to apply the brakes. The focus on safety came to the forefront after a 2016 crash at the Hoboken Terminal killed one person and injured more than 100 others. Corbett now must ensure that positive train control is fully implemented by Dec. 31, 2020. And he must improve service. The executive who manages to reduce cancellations, delays and overcrowding will be a genuine Garden State hero. Corbett predicts the agency will hire enough engineers to operate all its trains, reducing cancellations of trains in 2020. The rail operator currently employs 350 engineers but must hire another 50 to be fully staffed at a total of 400 engineers. In a December 2019 interview with NJBIZ, Corbett predicted NJT will hit that number by late 2020, noting that the training course is so strenuous that many candidates either flunk out or quit. “It is a moving target only because the graduation rate varies,” he said. “It is a very tough course. They get out into the classroom, get out doing the actual riding, and doing the on-the-job training.”

Anthony Coscia

If the Gateway Project ever gets off the ground (and under the river), proponents estimate it will double rail transit capacity between New Jersey and New York. Coscia, a partner at Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf with a focus on corporate litigation and transactional law and the ability to sort out the fine print of deals and proposals, is the chairman of Amtrak and one of three trustees of the Gateway Development Program Corp., the nonprofit managing the estimated $14.3 billion bridge and tunnel infrastructure project. It features the replacement of the 110-year-old Hudson River rail tunnels that connect New Jersey with Manhattan and the Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River. Coscia has been a power player in the region – and the nation’s – transportation system since becoming chairman of Amtrak in 2013. He also chairs its audits and finance committee. In addition, Coscia serves as chairman at SUEZ North America Inc. and is on the board of OceanFirst Financial Corp., Georgetown University and New Jersey Community Development Corp.

Craig Coughlin

The sometimes mild-mannered Assembly speaker, the state’s second most-powerful lawmaker behind Senate President Steve Sweeney, has often been seen as a negotiator between the rival Murphy and Sweeney camps. Coughlin was largely credited as pushing the deals between Murphy and Sweeney last year to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and to expand the state’s medical marijuana program. Coughlin, D-19th District, is one of the first Central Jersey-based power players in recent memory, and he shares the district with fellow Democrat Sen. Joe Vitale, chair of the powerful Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. And as Murphy and Sweeney lock horns over how to refwork the state’s public employee retirement and health care plans, Coughlin is again in a political crossfire. The state’s largest teacher’s union, the New Jersey Education Association, whose members would be affected by the changes and oppose Sweeney and his proposals, has sunk millions into Coughlin’s campaign coffers. The speaker has his own proposal to cut the cost of health benefits for the state’s public school workers, a non-starter with Sweeney. So as this and other political battles play out over the next year, the trifecta of Murphy, Sweeney and Coughlin will continue to be locked in a tug-of-war.

Kevin Cummings

As chairman and CEO of Investors Bank, Cummings oversaw growth of the bank’s total assets to $26.7 billion as of Sept. 30, 2019 from $25.13 billion a year earlier. With the July 2019 $63.6 million acquisition of Gold Coast Bank, Investors, under Cummings’ watch, roughly doubled its footprint on Long Island. He also oversaw the financing of the Somerset Development Transit Village deal in Somerville. Cummings is the former chairman and current member of the Executive Committee of the New Jersey Bankers Association and sits on the board of trustees of the Scholarship Fund for Inner-City Children, Liberty Science Center and the Visiting Nurse Association Health Group, and is also a member of the Development Leadership Council of Morris Habitat for Humanity. Under Cummings’ leadership, in 2018 Investors Bank and the Investors Foundation provided grants that support the arts, education, health and human services, youth programs and more valued at $4.7 million.

Joseph Devine

Jefferson Health in New Jersey continues to expand and modernize, with new Patient Towers at both its Cherry Hill and Washington Township hospitals underway, and the opening of a new regional Patient Access Call Center in Cherry Hill. These enhancements to the southern New Jersey arm of Jefferson are a source of pride for Devine, New Jersey president and chief experience officer for the Jefferson enterprise. Devine, who served as chairman of the New Jersey Hospital Association in 2019 helped expand that organization’s community outreach efforts to improve the health status of the state’s residents. He is currently chair of the Southern New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, which thrived under his leadership with dynamic programming and lobbying efforts in support of the region’s business community. In fall 2019, all three Jefferson Hospitals – in Cherry Hill, Stratford and Washington Township – earned “A” grades from safety watchdog, the Leapfrog Group. More sources of pride for an obviously talented leader.

Marilou Halvorsen and Linda Doherty

New Jerseyans gotta eat, and the millions of folks within the state’s food industry need a voice when it comes to regulation that might affect them. Enter Halvorsen, president of the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association, and Doherty, the longest running president in the history of the New Jersey Food Council, which represents food retailers. Both track the hundreds of legislative measures that could affect their respective industries, some of the biggest employers in the state. Halvorsen’s top initiative in 2020 is educating members on the harm of the proposed “predictive scheduling” bill, which takes away one of the reasons people work in hospitality and puts a huge burden on restaurant owners. Doherty’s organization spearheaded a reusable shopping bag initiative in October to bolster consumer engagement against the issue of single use plastic bags with the NJ Clean Communities Council, a litter-abatement program funded through a litter tax paid by the business community, which in February, named Doherty president of its board.

Patrick Dunican

The influence of Gibbons PC, one of the state’s biggest law firms, grew this year with the addition of an office in Red Bank. The 94-year-old Newark firm, which has a Trenton outpost that opened in 2002, expanded to Red Bank because it’s a linchpin of Monmouth County and home to some of its most significant clients—nearly half of the county’s top 10 employers are Gibbons clients. Patrick Dunican has been at the helm since 2004 and his business influence extends internationally: he was recognized in August for promoting business ties between New Jersey and Ireland by Donegal County Council with the 2019 Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award. From 2017 to 2018, exports from the Garden State to Ireland increased 14.3 percent.

Shereef Elnahal

Elnahal is the president and chief executive officer of University Hospital in Newark, the state’s only public hospital and its largest safety net hospital. He has served in the role since July 2019. Before taking over University Hospital, Elnahal served as Gov. Murphy’s first health commissioner. With his statewide experience and public health background, Elnahal has offered a breath of fresh air for University Hospital and a new vision for the facility. A coalition-builder, he has renewed the organization’s status in the Newark community and embraced the hospital’s legacy as an anchor institution with an obligation first and foremost to the city’s residents under the Newark Accords. He has also focused on improving the hospital’s quality and safety, restructuring to an evidence-based quality management approach that is quickly reducing infection rates and other adverse outcomes.

Jim Fakult

As a 32-year veteran of FirstEnergy Corp., Fakult has served in myriad roles at the company, ranging from operations to communications before making the leap to president of FirstEnergy’s Maryland subsidiary, a position he held for three years. After taking over as president and CEO of Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) – another FirstEnergy subsidiary – where he continues to serve today. Fakult knows how important the infrastructure of JCP&L’s lines is to keeping its 1.1 million customers with power. Last summer, JCP&L filed Reliability Plus, an infrastructure plan that includes $387 million in targeted investments to enhance the company’s service reliability. Another initiative that JCP&L is a part of is New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan, which is intended to set forth a strategic vision for the production, distribution, consumption and conservation of energy in the state, with an ambitious goal to put New Jersey on a path to 100 percent clean energy by 2050.

Dale Florio

Florio has occupied a central place in New Jersey politics dating back to his early days as a novice Republican sitting on the Somerville Borough Council. As managing partner at the lobbying firm Princeton Public Affairs Group, Florio brings along nearly 30 years of governmental affairs expertise to his clientele. The firm has consistently scored at least $9 million in receipts year after year, and has been the firm of choice for such giants as AllState Insurance Co., Google, AT&T Solutions, BioNJ, BP America Inc. and Ernst & Young LLP. PPAG was previously tapped by the American Progressive Bag Alliance, according to public records, which represents plastics manufacturers and has opposed a proposed plastic bag ban And the group is expected to represent clients in the esports-betting realm, as New Jersey’s sports wagering market booms. “Dale continues to be in the middle of a lot of important issues for a lot of important clients, and I hear his name coming up with quite a bit of regularity,” said one Trenton insider. Florio enjoys a rapport with GOP gubernatorial candidate former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli and Trenton insiders watching the relationship between these two Somerset County Republicans as the race heats up to unseat Murphy.

Kenneth Frazier

In February, Kenilworth-based Merck said it would spin off products from its women’s health, trusted legacy brands and biosimilars businesses into a new – yet-to-be-named – independent, publicly traded company. It was the latest move by Frazier as president and CEO to refocus the company. Nearly 90 products will be shifting to the new company, which include cholesterol drugs Zetia and Vytorin and the contraceptive Nexplanon—in total they generate annual sales of $6.5 billion. “By optimizing our human health portfolio, Merck can move closer to its aspiration of being the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company, while also properly prioritizing a set of products at NewCo that are important to public health and the patients who rely on them, and which present real opportunities for growth,” Frazier said at the time. He joined Merck in 1992 as vice president, general counsel and secretary of the company’s joint venture with Astra AB. He became vice president of public affairs in 1994, assistant general counsel in 1997 and general counsel in 1999. From 2007 to 2010, he served as president of Global Human Health, Merck’s sales and marketing division. In 2010, Frazier became company president and he was appointed chairman and CEO in 2011.

Steve Fulop

When he was mayor of Newark, Ken Gibson famously predicted that wherever the country was going, Newark would get there first. Arguably, Jersey City, where Fulop now serves as mayor, won that race. After years of decline, the city is now a hot destination, with residential towers along the Hudson waterfront drawing critical raves and throngs of residents. The influx also brought trendy restaurants and nightspots, giving the city a more urbane cast than it has at any other time in its history. In the process, Jersey City became a popular destination for AirBnB renters, making Fulop’s battle for tougher regulations on the web-based short-term rental company an interesting move. The mayor does some to realize that his challenge is to make it work for all Jersey City denizens, not just the newcomers. Fulop has been dealt a good hand, now he must play it well.

Carley Graham Garcia

As the executive director of the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Montclair State University, Garcia succeeded Dennis Bone, the center’s founding director, who retired after serving in that role for six years until September 2019. Garcia spent the last 12 years at Google, most recently as head of external affairs, responsible for public policy, government relations and community engagement for the New York City region, including New Jersey. Garcia is prioritizing developing a new strategic plan, increasing investments in women’s entrepreneurship week, attracting businesses to Montclair State and creating an innovation hub at the center so “the center is a place where students come to collaborate and to heighten the awareness of what our students can do to create startups.” Garcia sees the most common obstacles that inhibit Montclair State University students from starting businesses center on their competing priorities: balancing family, work and school. “I am attracted to Montclair State University because our students show a lot of grit,” Garcia told NJBIZ in October 2019. “I am attracted to helping these students be working professionals.”

Frank Giantomasi

The name partner at Chiesa, Shahinian & Giantomasi PC is a mainstay on NJBIZ power lists and a power player in Newark’s real estate market. “What’s that word for something that is what it sounds like—onomatopoeia? That’s what Frank is. He’s a giant guy, he’s a giant as a lawyer, and he’s got a giant personality,” said one insider. There’s likely not a significant real estate deal in Newark that he’s not involved in one way or another, this person said. In June, he was elected chairperson of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital’s board of trustees.

Col. Bridget Gigliotti

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is one of South Jersey’s “economic lodestars,” as one business leader in the region puts it. The other two, the cities of Camden and Atlantic City, are more politically controversial. And JBMDL is the only joint base in the country that houses three branches of the armed services, a function of its components: the installations formerly known as McGuire Air Force Base, the Army’s Fort Dix and the Lakehurst Naval Air Station. A 1997 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Gigliotti took over as commander at MDL in July 2019. In that role, she oversees a facility that occupies more than 42,000 acres in the Pinelands. And with more than 40,000 workers, JBMDL is also the second-largest employer in New Jersey after the state government.

Brendan Gill

Gill, a veteran political consultant, has made himself a centerpiece of New Jersey politics. He brings more than 20 years of experience in campaign management, government relations, political consulting, and strategic communications. Gill made a name for himself chairing Phil Murphy’s campaign for governor. As head of the public affairs firm The BGill Group, he earned a spot within Murphy’s inner circle — a point of tension between Murphy and Democratic lawmakers. “Absolutely, positively the most important person to Murphy is Gill,” said one Trenton insider. “That has severely hurt Murphy’s relationship with Sweeney.” The Montclair-based Democrat, who is also freeholder director in Essex County, counts among his clients Sen. Cory Booker and he’s served on the election campaigns of Sen. Robert Menendez, U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill and former Gov. Jon Corzine. In early 2020, he was accused of creating “the most toxic workplace environment I have ever seen in 25 years of working on political campaigns,” by Julie Roginsky, a former head of Murphy’s bid for governor. “I can’t think of someone with more of a target on his back. There’s a lot of people who are gunning for him,” another Trenton insider said. “I’m not close enough to know whether it’s deserved or not, but he’s got a lot of enemies.”

Carl Goldberg

Goldberg is the founder and managing member of Canoe Brook Associates, a family-owned real estate consulting and development company in Roseland. The firm is comprised of the former founding partners of Roseland Property Co. Since the inception of Roseland, Goldberg has been responsible for securing the entitlements for the development of communities throughout the northeast with a special emphasis on urban waterfront development. He has directed Roseland’s production of more than 1,500 homes annually and has overseen Roseland’s flagship endeavor, Port Imperial. Goldberg has a long history of political and industry-wide activism in New Jersey, with relationships with leaders throughout the state. He currently serves as chairman of the New Jersey Builders Association Political Action Committee and as co-chair of the Center for Real Estate Studies at Rutgers Business School. In the sharp elbowed New Jersey real estate community Goldberg is recognized for his kind approach to conflict, but from his success it’s clear he’s no pushover.

Alex Gorsky

Gorsky was named CEO of Johnson & Johnson in April 2012 and chairman later in the year. Under his leadership, J&J continues in its 132nd year to be one of the world’s most prominent pharmaceutical companies, though the past year has been marked by litigation over its production and marketing of opioids and a baby powder that allegedly contained evidence of asbestos contamination. The company insists that the powder is safe but Gorsky himself was ordered to testify in court during one of the powder cases. And last summer, J&J was ordered to pay damages in a case brought by Oklahoma authorities over the company’s marketing of opioid drugs. The cases have and will continue to test Gorsky’s leadership of a company that stands as one of New Jersey’s largest and most important corporate citizens.

Brian Gragnolati 

As president and CEO of Atlantic Health System and a recognized voice in the national health care conversation, Gragnolati is one of the most influential executives in the state. His influence extended across the nation in 2019 when he served as chair of the American Hospital Association, advancing key issues including innovation and the accessibility and affordability of care. Gragnolati’s AHA service continues as immediate past chair this year, maintaining his influence of its 5,000-member hospitals and health systems, as well as the ongoing national health care debate. At Atlantic, Gragnolati oversees a workforce of 17,000 caregivers who serve more than half the state, including 11 counties and 4.9 million people. Throughout Gragnolati’s tenure, Atlantic has continuously been named one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. He has built a diverse team of administrative, clinical and physician leaders who continue to garner national attention by embracing his patient-centric vision.

Gurbir Grewal

The state’s top lawyer makes headlines nationally for his opposition with Trump administration policies, for which he’s often signing on to lawsuits or letters of protest. Unfortunately, he’s in their crosshairs as well: The U.S. Department of Justice joined a lawsuit against the Attorney General in January, challenging the “Immigrant Trust Directive” he enacted two years ago to limit how much information local law enforcement officers can share with federal immigration officers. Still, he remains active in speaking out against national policies he sees as unfair, recently joining 14 other attorneys general asking a federal appeals court to overturn the federal government’s recent rollback of regulations that protect communities from plant explosions and chemical disasters. Grewal has also opposed White House efforts to roll back several provisions of the Affordable Care Act, LGBT rights, protections for undocumented immigrants, abortion and women’s rights, and consumer protection. At home, Grewal’s work has extended online. He and his office reportedly spent 10 months pressuring Facebook to take down a New Jersey-based public page littered with racist and anti-Semetic sentiments. The AG and Gov. Murphy vowed in a joint statement after the removal that they “will continue working to make New Jersey a safe and inclusive place for all of our residents.”

Debbie Hart

Hart is the founding president and CEO of BioNJ, the 400-member trade association for research-based life sciences companies in New Jersey. As the public and lawmakers focus on the price of prescription drugs, Hart’s voice as a spokesperson for New Jersey’s pharmaceutical industry will be crucial. “The biopharmaceutical industry has entered a promising new era of discovery where breakthrough innovations are attacking the root cause of disease and altering the trajectory of many life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, asthma and diabetes and providing patients with newfound hope,” she told NJBIZ in December. “It is critically important that these innovations not be threatened by legislative proposals, such as price controls, importation or direct price negotiation by government. These proposals jeopardize the development of innovative treatments and will have a devastating impact on patients by limiting funding for innovation thereby constraining and reducing the discovery and development of treatments”

George Helmy

As Gov. Murphy’s chief of staff, Helmy runs the most powerful office in the state. That fact alone would warrant his inclusion here, but Helmy is also a rare, and crucial, point of contact between the administration and the Norcross faction of the Democratic Party. The former aide to Sen. Frank Lautenberg and state director for Sen. Cory Booker, Helmy is the one person in Murphy’s office who can talk to George Norcross, according to one political insider. “To know him is to like him,” this person says. “And to know him is to respect him and George does.”

Sue Henderson

Henderson is the 12th president of New Jersey City University, having been appointed in August 2012. Since her arrival, she has played a critical role in raising NJCU’s profile and improving its image. She created the NJCU School of Business and relocated it to a state-of-the-art facility in Jersey City’s financial district, while hiring more than half the faculty during her tenure. Henderson also spearheaded a $350 million project to redevelop the institution’s West Campus, to include student housing, shops, restaurants, and a pedestrian-friendly layout to aesthetically and economically revitalize the area.

Editor’s note: This post was updated at 12:48 p.m. EST on Feb. 17, 2020 to correct a typo in Omar Boraie’s profile that identified a residential complex in Atlantic City as boasting 50,000 square feet; the complex has 500,000 square feet.

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Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@njbiz.com.