The COVID-19 pandemic has dominated public life in New Jersey for nearly two years. Businesses and government agencies at all levels have been forced to account for the virus before making nearly any decision. And with good reason – halting the pandemic was the most important task to not only protect public health but also to keep the economy growing.
Is it time now to look beyond COVID-19 and consider what the state’s priorities should be in a post-pandemic world? The answer, as readers should see reflected in the latest NJBIZ Power 100 list, is a cautious yes.
Have we been here before? Of course. New Jerseyans have on several occasions believed the pandemic was over. Delta and omicron quickly disabused most residents of that notion. And new Greek letters could set us back again. And again. Hence the caution.
But business leaders and public officials – like most residents – cannot wait for some sort of cosmic “all clear.” It’s time to move on – carefully, yes – but with confidence we can prevent the catastrophe that befell the state in 2020.
So readers will see in these pages some optimism, mixed with vigilance. The health care profession is again well-represented, but this time in no small measure because the industry is resetting its focus on traditional goals. Need evidence? Look what’s going on in New Brunswick.
Economic expansion is now front and center, rather than just getting up off the mat. To be sure, the most hard-hit sectors are still struggling. Restaurants, bars and hotels have a lot of ground to make up. But Tony Coscia tops this list for a reason. Infrastructure spending will be a crucial component of setting up the state to move beyond recovery and into growth mode for decades to come. Gov. Phil Murphy remains an important economic actor, but the center of gravity around which business decisions are made should shift away from Trenton and toward the Gateway. The future lies through that portal.
That’s the context readers should keep in mind as you read through these profiles. Whether you agree or disagree, by all means share your reactions. As always, the top 10 honorees are listed in numerical order; the rest are listed alphabetically.