The list that unfolds over the following pages is the last such feature we’ll publish this year. Like the others – and like most of business and life in New Jersey – the Manufacturing Power 50 is shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic. The top ten individuals are drawn mostly from the pharmaceutical industry, which will provide the treatments and tools that will eventually end the outbreak. No surprise there.
But success in stopping the pandemic and igniting economic growth requires contributions from all sectors. That reality is also reflected in the list.
First, and most obviously, are the companies that shifted to producing personal protection equipment or other gear needed by health care workers when their normal output was disrupted. Unionwear and Suuchi are two prominent examples, but many others pitched in.
Second, we recognize individuals and institutions that will play important roles strengthening supply chains. The pandemic exposed critical vulnerabilities in the existing infrastructure that must be repaired. Trade groups and academics are key actors in this respect.
And finally, a robust economic recovery will require a healthy and growing manufacturing sector – in part to fix the supply chain problem, but also to create jobs and put New Jerseyans back to productive work. For his tireless advocacy on this issue, New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program CEO John Kennedy earns the top spot on this list. He has been making the case for years and perhaps now policymakers in the state will begin heeding his call. The health of the economy – and of the state’s citizens – depend on it.
Read through these pages and let us know what you think about the choices and rationale. Your input was invaluable in compiling this list and all the others throughout 2020. And your feedback will be just as important as we think ahead to 2021.
As always, the top ten honorees are ranked in numerical order; the rest are listed alphabetically and you can check out our slideshow here. Take a look and let us know what you think.