Devils, Riverside Oral Surgery team up on mouth protection partnership

Could the image of toothless hockey players become a thing of the past? Maybe, if the New Jersey Devils and Riverside Oral Surgery have anything to say about it.

The Devils and the oral surgery firm have partnered up for a new sponsorship, the Mouth Guard Challenge, to promote the importance of player safety and protecting your mouth in the sport of hockey.

Founded in 2007, Riverside Oral Surgery offers oral and maxillofacial surgery, specifically dental implant surgery, wisdom tooth removal, outpatient anesthesia and corrective jaw surgery. Its medical personnel also diagnose and treat facial pain, pathology, trauma and fractures. Riverside has four locations throughout the state in River Edge, Westwood, Livingston and Englewood.

“Riverside Oral Surgery has always appreciated our longstanding relationship with the New Jersey Devils, and we are humbled by the trust they have placed with us,” said Dr. Jason M. Auerbach, founder and chief surgeon of Riverside Oral Surgery. “To now expand this partnership and announce Riverside Oral Surgery as the official oral surgeons of the New Jersey Devils is incredibly exciting to our entire practice.”

The Devils will feature the Mouth Guard Challenge on all social media accounts, the team website and at 15 of their home games. The challenge features two Devils players trying to guess what each other are saying while wearing a mouthpiece. Players also will put on a skills contest while wearing mouthpieces. Bloopers will be posted on newjerseydevils.com.

The goal of the challenge is to relay the importance of wearing a mouth guard in hockey.

Riverside also will receive exposure at all Devils home games through a sign in front of the bench.

N.J. launches website to bolster interest, investment in Opportunity Zones

The state is proactively helping investors navigate Opportunity Zones, with the launch of a new website Tuesday.

The NJ Opportunity Zone Navigator website is a collaboration between the Governor’s Office, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority.

“The Opportunity Zone Navigator gives invaluable insight to investors, businesses and local governments. The tool provides a quick view of the zones with overlapping layers of complexity,” said Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “The one-stop shop and Navigator provide the missing link needed to connect municipalities with the right investors. At the end of the day, it’s about investing in our communities.”

Meanwhile, the Internal Revenue Service continues to work on the regulations and guidelines for Opportunity Funds.

The tax-free capital gains investment program was passed as part of the federal tax reform, and sponsored by U.S. Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

The IRS is tasked with the final rules around how Opportunity Funds will exist and operate, but investors are already gearing up to take part in the new program.

“Given that minority- and women-owned businesses comprise over half of the firms in the state, they have the potential to be a strong economic engine for New Jersey,” said Hester Agudosi, chief of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “The Opportunity Zone Navigator will serve as an excellent tool to help microtarget this community in an effort to maximize that potential. Ultimately, we want to make sure that, when investment opportunities materialize, they do so equitably so that community stakeholders, and not just investors, are able to partake in and benefit from this transformation.”

Opportunity Zones are selected census tracts that are identified as distressed communities — with a disproportionate lower-income population — and are in need of redevelopment and investment.

New Jersey has 169 such tracts, and the new website has several layers and pages to help interested investors look through them.

“A central focus of our efforts at the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority is ensuring that the targeted low-income communities fully benefit from the funding opportunities generated by the Opportunity Zone program,” said Leslie A. Anderson, CEO and president of NJRA. “The NJ Opportunity Zone Navigator is an essential step toward ensuring access to key information and resources for the communities that need it most.”

EDA CEO Tim Sullivan said the Opportunity Zones play into the governor’s vision for the state’s economy.

“We are excited that New Jersey’s Opportunity Zone program aligns with this vision and holds the promise of driving significant investment in areas of the state that need it most,” he said. “The one-stop shop and innovative Navigator tool will best position our state to take full advantage of this initiative and exemplify the Murphy administration’s commitment to making government work better for the benefit of our communities and residents.”

When users click on a zone on the site, they can see the demographic makeup of the zone, as well as other details of the region.

The map has “over 30 layers of data,” according to a statement Wednesday.

“Supporting New Jersey’s Opportunity Zones is a vital component of our plan to build a stronger and fairer economy,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “I am thrilled to announce the launch of the NJ Opportunity Zone Navigator, a tool that truly leverages New Jersey’s innovation economy to encourage investment across our state.”

Sullivan: What N.J. gained from Amazon experience

With the long-awaited announcement of Amazon’s intentions to build two major new campuses in Queens and Northern Virginia, I wanted to offer some initial observations for what this means for New Jersey’s economy.

We won’t know the full impact of the new campuses or the process of selecting them for many years, but a few things already are clear:

Newark is on the national map in a big way: Whatever stage of comeback we thought Newark was at in September 2017, when the HQ2 process began, it’s inarguable that the Brick City took several quantum leaps forward in its national perception as a top destination for major companies. With 238 proposals received, 218 were dismissed early on in the process; Newark made it to the finals — this would have been difficult to imagine just five or 10 years ago. No doubt, other companies will take notice and want to be a part of the Newark story.

The process itself was good for Newark: The work that went into Newark’s proposal and pitch process will pay dividends for years to come. And the collaboration that was on display throughout this process at the local, county, state and federal government levels, along with the private sector and labor, was something unique. When Amazon visited Newark in the spring, Gov. Phil Murphy, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and Mayor Ras Baraka made an incredibly compelling case for the city and a strong demonstration of what productive partnerships look like. We will see that play run again.

The process was good for all of New Jersey: Many cities and counties threw their hats in the ring along with Newark — and, in the process of doing so, honed their own pitches, inventoried their key assets and, importantly, identified areas for investment and improvement for when the next big pitch opportunity comes along.

The nexus of higher education and economic development: If you wanted to make the case for Long Island City, New York, at the top of the list would be its proximity to the Cornell-Technion applied sciences campus that former Mayor Michael Bloomberg spearheaded. And, in Alexandria, Virginia, plans call for the creation of a new 1 million square foot Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, part of a statewide commitment to double the number of grads in computer science and related fields.

The nexus between higher education and economic development continues to grow stronger in the best-performing economies, which is why Gov. Murphy has been so focused on enhancing that connectivity here in New Jersey. The proposed Hub project in New Brunswick will bring together Rutgers, Princeton, corporate partners, incubator and collaborative workspace and, potentially, foreign research universities to bring about the kind of commercialization and innovation our economy needs more of to compete.

The Hub is just one example of the kind of academic/corporate collaborations that Gov. Murphy’s economic development vision plans to foster throughout the state in partnership with our strong crop of higher education institutions.

Amazon is part of a broader urban trend: More and more of the most successful companies (but not all) are making the decision to locate in thriving, vibrant, walkable, transit-rich cities and downtowns. That’s why Gov. Murphy’s plan for a “Stronger and Fairer Economy” proposes major investments both in infrastructure as well as in strengthening our cities’ and downtowns’ ability to attract people and investment.

From a revamped brownfields revitalization program to a new historic tax credit to a major gap-financing tool to bring new development to urban areas and suburbs served by mass transit, Gov. Murphy’s economic development plan will position New Jersey to be even more attractive to both homegrown and global companies. We will also continue to help our suburban communities reposition legacy corporate assets as new engines for the innovation economy via the Economic Development Authority‘s 21st Century Redevelopment challenge.

Incentives are important, but rarely the main driver of big strategic decisions: We now know that incentives offered by New York state and city and Northern Virginia are far less than those offered by New Jersey, Maryland and many other states and cities. As Gov. Murphy said from the campaign through the early days of his administration, incentives must be a tool in service of a broader strategy, not a strategy unto themselves.

Gov. Murphy’s economic development strategic plan calls for a new approach to incentives and economic development, one that recognizes the important role that incentives play, but that also approaches economic development comprehensively through parallel investments in people, communities and infrastructure.

We can do well and do good: In the last several years, New York City and New York state enacted paid sick leave, paid family leave and one of the highest minimum wages in the country. We can do well and do good at the same time.

This is good for the region and therefore good for New Jersey: As disappointing as the ultimate outcome of the HQ2 process may be for Newark and New Jersey right now, we should keep in mind that we are part of two major metropolitan areas centered around New York City and Philadelphia.

New Jersey is stronger when our region is stronger, and we will reap more benefits (a stronger regional tech cluster and talent pool, for example) from Amazon choosing NYC than, say, Denver or Columbus, Ohio.

And if it doesn’t work out in Queens for whatever reason, Amazon, it’s less than a 30-minute train ride from Manhattan to downtown Newark.

Tim Sullivan is the CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

Montclair State — Ready to support professional apprenticeships in N.J. (Sponsored Content: Montclair State Univ.)

Gov. Phil Murphy has laid out a clear agenda to establish New Jersey as an innovation destination for companies to call home. His administration’s plan is to leverage the second-to-none education infrastructure in New Jersey to provide businesses a workforce that is prepared with 21st-century skills. There are already signs that this message is resonating with multinational companies, as evidenced by recent relocations by Mars Wrigley, expansions by Lockheed Martin and Home Depot, and the fact that Newark is a finalist for Amazon’s HQ2.

One of the key components of this workforce development plan is to introduce an apprenticeship model that expands the traditional view that apprenticeships are only relevant for trade occupations. Gov. Murphy is looking to Germany — a country that has one of the most well-respected apprenticeship models in the world and a country with which he is very familiar as a former banker and ambassador — to inspire higher education to radically expand apprenticeships into a variety of new industries. These include high-growth areas such as advanced manufacturing, clean energy and utilities, financial services, IT and software, and health care.

Montclair State is apprenticeship ready.

Montclair State University is looking forward to working directly with industry and business leaders, local municipalities and government entities, trade organizations and the school districts that make up the K-12 feeder system to design and build apprenticeship programs to support innovation in a variety of areas. Some of the reasons to consider working with Montclair State University:

To learn how Montclair State University can work with your organization to establish a career-oriented apprenticeship program, contact Dr. Peter McAliney, executive director of Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE), at mcalineyp@montclair.edu or 973-655-6824.

Learn more

Graduates of New Jersey’s public community and senior colleges will receive a 5 percent discount on all noncredit-bearing certificate programs. To learn more, or to register for a Continuing and Professional Education course or any of the online degree programs, visit montclair.edu/cape.

The huge water problem no one is talking about — but everyone should be

When Greg Lalevee heard about the recent water issue in Newark, his mind wandered back decades.

Back to when Newark was known as the brewery capital of the Northeast, home to all the big-name beers, including Ballantine, where his grandfather worked.

“The whispers were,” Lalevee said, “that the water in Newark was so good that all these brewing companies ran there and set up shop.”

Lalevee, the business manager of IUOE 825 — the union that gets the call when it’s time to work on water issues — does not bring up the memory to disparage Newark.

In fact, Lalevee said Newark is more proactive than most when it comes to upgrading and updating its water lines.

He brings up the breweries because that may have been the last time anyone really thought about the water infrastructure that’s now crumbling under our roads throughout North Jersey.

“It’s a combination of the age of infrastructure and the number of people we have using it,” he said.

Lalevee says it’s the biggest problem no one is talking about.

And for one good reason. Few people see it.

Robert Sciarrino
Greg Lalevee, business manager of IUOE 825.

“It’s no different than how we can beat a road to death,” he said. “We’re doing the same thing with water, but because it’s subterranean, you can’t see it.”

Lalevee and his union colleagues see it. And it’s a mess.

Not only are the water mains deteriorating, they are difficult to replace — even if the money can be found to do so.

“When we look at underground infrastructure in New Jersey — and the same goes for New York and Connecticut — there’s gas over water over electric,” he said. “We open up holes around here, and there are seven different pipes or conduits down there. And not all of it is easily located or fixed.

“People put things in years ago without really thinking about when people were going to have to go back in there. That’s the challenge of the underground infrastructure throughout the Northeast.”

Not being seen is only one of the ways water differs from our crumbling infrastructure needs, such as roads, tunnels and bridges.

Figuring out who controls the water is a challenge unlike any other.

“It’s kind of like herding cats,” Lalevee said. “There are so many parties involved. Some water is owned by the town, others by the region. Some is private.

“You can go from town to town down a line and have a different water authority.”

Finding a solution is imperative, he said. And far more cost-effective than responding to emergencies.

“It’s a testament to aging infrastructure,” Lalevee said. “We’ll go in and fix the main line that breaks and what happens? It finds the next weakest link. That’s just going to continue to happen. This is the difference between fixing things on an urgent basis and understanding that the infrastructure is old and that we need to plan out a solution.”

The problems, Lalevee said, are not going away.

“We need a plan of attack,” he said. “Look at Hoboken: How many times are we going to wake up, turn on the TV and see a water main break in the streets and commuters at the PATH station, sloshing through 8 inches of water to make their commute, and not think that we have to come up with a systematic way to address this?”

That’s why Lalevee said there could be a silver lining to the water issue in Newark.

“Any issue with water will hopefully make other people sit up and say, ‘How’s our water system?’” he said. “The fact the discussion is even happening is a good thing. There’s needs to be some planning and upgrading and updating — and the sooner the better.”

Don’t be confused, 825 doesn’t mind the work. Lalevee, however, just puts the needs of the state above everything else.

“Our guys respond to every emergency,” he said. “On one hand, it’s a ton of overtime when you get shaken out of bed in the middle of the night.

“But that’s no way to run a water system.”

It’s been too long, Lalevee said, since water was a priority.

How long?

Perhaps since Mickey Mantle was hitting Ballantine blasts.

Tactics to help attract, retain manufacturing talent

Attracting and retaining top talent for the manufacturing industry is more challenging than ever. Employment is up, U.S. unemployment is at a 10-year low (falling to 4.4 percent this year) and baby boomers are reaching retirement age and exiting the workforce. The global supply of high-skill workers is not keeping up with demand, and, according to the McKinsey Global Institute, there may be a potential shortage of more than 40 million high-skill workers by 2020.

Unfortunately, the manufacturing industry is suffering from a perception problem; eligible recruits fear layoffs, associate the industry with a “lower status stigma” and see better opportunities in other occupations. To mitigate these issues, companies should get creative to entice the next generation of manufacturing professionals.

Here are some ideas to help improve recruiting and retention:

  1. Differentiate

During recruitment, reinforce the fact that manufacturing jobs often pay better than other unskilled or semi-skilled labor positions. According to IndustryWeek, fast-food workers stand to make $10 to $15 dollars an hour, while a new manufacturing employee could make $15 to $25 an hour.

Another area for differentiation is workplace culture. Articulate the improved safety standards, collaborative environment and use of state-of-the-art technology in job descriptions.

  1. Partner with local schools

Some companies are beginning to conduct focused outreach at local high schools, community colleges and technical schools. By working with school counselors, manufacturers can identify students with the skill set and desire learn more about technical pursuits. Another route is to offer sponsorships, internships and/or apprenticeships. These programs provide a hands-on experience without the full commitment of employment.

  1. Re-evaluate benefits

By 2020, millennials are expected to comprise 50 percent of the global workforce, so they will have significant influence in the work experience. According to Ernst & Young, millennials are the generation most likely to change jobs, give up promotions or take a pay cut to have flexibility in their work. In order to attract this talent, manufacturers should reconsider paid-leave and scheduling policy.

For example, Globe Manufacturing of Pittsfield, New Hampshire, allows its first-shift employees to choose from start times between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Although around 80 percent still choose to begin the day at 6 a.m., they report satisfaction with the freedom of choice.

  1. Update sourcing technology

Consider pairing with a partner firm that can provide modernized recruitment technology and expertise for your company.

For example, many workers in the U.S. speak English as a second language. Some recruitment technologies offer multilingual career sites to ensure all information about the company and its jobs is understood correctly. A good partner will also help you consolidate your records and process, such as moving application materials to an online portal to help you keep track of strong candidates. Lastly, a technology partner will help you craft a social media strategy. More than 3 billion people around the world use social media each month, with 90 percent of users accessing preferred platforms via mobile devices.

Recruiting the next generation of manufacturing workers won’t be an easy feat. But, with a renewed approach to HR and talent management, the industry can find its future leaders.

Cathy Callahan is the New Jersey market executive for commercial banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Life after Amazon: N.J. quickly learns there is still corporate interest in Newark (two companies called)

Here’s what happened on the day Newark officially learned it would not be selected as the location of Amazon’s second headquarters:

Newark may have officially lost the bid for Amazon’s HQ2 on Tuesday, but that hasn’t stopped the influx of calls that began after the state’s largest city made the e-commerce giant’s Top 20 finalists earlier this year.

So said Aisha Glover, who now leads the Newark Alliance but who served as the point person for Newark’s Amazon bid as the CEO of the Newark Community Economic Development Corp. And Jose Lozano, the CEO of Choose New Jersey.

Glover and Lozano spoke with ROI-NJ on Tuesday after Amazon announced Crystal City, Virginia, and Long Island City, Queens, as the winners of the HQ2 bid.

The experience gained from the effort was invaluable, both agreed.

“No one expected Newark to be on the shortlist, so it elevates our profile in a way we could not have done otherwise on our own,” Glover said.

Lozano said it had done wonders for Newark’s brand.

“Before Amazon, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post were never calling her, talking to her about what Newark can provide,” Lozano said. “So, there has been a lot of organic, natural press because of Amazon putting (Newark) on the list.”

There’s also the fact that media impressions have skyrocketed for the city.

Lozano said that mentions of Newark and Amazon have amounted to 12 billion media impressions since Newark was announced in the Top 20 back in January.

“Anyone would kill for some 12 billion impressions worldwide without spending a dollar,” Lozano said.

Lozano said the race for HQ2 was a good exercise for the state to understand its assets better.

“It was the first time that New Jersey came together from government, higher ed, private sectors, to pull together the necessary data that afforded Newark and New Jersey to be a Top 20 contender,” he said.

And, as a result, the state has been able to use the same pitch it created for Amazon when talking to other companies.

“Everything used for Amazon has been recycled on multiple occasions for multiple companies, from small to Fortune 100 companies,” Lozano said.

That includes analyzing the investments from existing large companies — including Audible, Mars Wrigley, Panasonic, Public Service Enterprise Group and Prudential Financial — as well as the airport, port, rail and utility infrastructure.

“There’s been a steady increase in an interest in Newark because of Amazon,” Lozano said.  “From big tech firms and name-brand companies that would be easily recognizable.

“Folks may be down today, because we lost Amazon, but I don’t think all our doors are closed.”

In fact, there are companies who said they were waiting for Amazon because, if Amazon came to Newark, there may not have been room for them, Lozano said.

Glover said the exercise was indeed a good one for the city, and the momentum that has been built, which has been building since before Amazon, can easily continue.

“All of our coworking and incubator spaces are filled to capacity,” she said. “Some can’t keep up with the inquiries.”

And that’s where the focus for Newark is now: the tech and startup space.

“We’re focused on tech because of our data infrastructure and growing ecosystem like Audible and … Newark Venture Partners,” she said. “Collectively, going to create Newark 2.0.”

Lozano said that, for the state, it has been a moment of reflection.

He added that one thing Amazon hasn’t gotten credit for from the state, amid the HQ2 drama, is its recent announcement of a ninth warehouse.

Amazon’s presence in New Jersey is the largest concentration of warehouses anywhere in the U.S., Lozano said.

In fact, Amazon left New Jersey to go over the river after its eighth warehouse, but, having had a better experience in the Garden State, returned for a ninth, he said.

“Amazon was a really good dry run; it has made us a better business development organization because of Amazon and the drill that Amazon forced us to go through,” Lozano said.

Glover said the interest Newark has received since being shortlisted has completely turned the tables on its outreach efforts.

Where Glover spent her first two years at the Newark CEDC trying to get city officials onto panels at various conferences, she said that, since January, she has instead had to respond to requests for them.

“For a city like Newark, which has struggled with public perception, that cannot be understated,” she said. “(Making the final 20) supported our other business and corporate attraction efforts.

“We’ve seen an uptick in the number of inquiries coming in. I don’t think we’ve even seen the tip of the iceberg of what the impact is going to be from this entire process.”

Read more from ROI-NJ on the Amazon decision:

Grewal announces N.J. is suing J&J subsidiary Janssen over opioids

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced Tuesday that the state is suing a subsidiary of one of its largest pharmaceutical companies in connection with the opioid epidemic.

The 97-page suit against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, puts the state in the company of others like Kentucky and Texas, which have already sued Janssen and other opioid makers.

“Janssen helped fuel a public health crisis unlike any other our state has faced,” Grewal said in a statement.

“The public has a right to know about Janssen’s efforts to mislead health care providers and patients, and we will fight any effort to keep today’s filing hidden from view. Janssen’s conduct was illegal, and details about it should not be kept confidential.”

Grewal acknowledged the company’s impact on the state’s economy.

In a tweet, Grewal said: “One of the most troubling aspects of the allegations against Janssen Pharmaceuticals is how much of the illegal conduct took place in our own back yard. New Jersey may be the pharma capital of the world, but we refuse to turn a blind eye when a major corporation harms our residents.”

The complaint is based in part on internal company documents, which Grewal is additionally calling on Janssen to release unredacted.

“We intend to hold Janssen accountable for its deception, and to make the company pay for the public health crisis it helped to create,” Grewal said.

Calls to Janssen for comment were not immediately returned.

Cooper boosting minimum wage, calling on other health systems to do so, too

Cooper University Health Care is the first health care system in the state to address the $15-per-hour minimum wage debate, announcing it will implement the new minimum wage policy beginning Jan. 1 — and asking surrounding health systems to do the same.

Cooper board Chairman George Norcross III said the new policy affects 10 percent of the 7,500 employees at Cooper — one-third of which are Camden city residents — and includes patient service representatives, food and nutrition staff and critical care technicians.

Some of these employees will be getting an increase of $31,200 in annual salary as a result.

“We have an absolute obligation, as the largest employer in both the city of Camden and Camden County, to do the right thing and lead the way on providing a quality wage for our workers,” Norcross said in a statement. “In addition to being the right thing to do, we believe investing in our employees is a smart business decision that will pay dividends in the long run by helping us attract and retain talented people who will ultimately improve the health care experience for our patients. We are delighted that one-third of the employees who will receive a raise are Camden city residents and more than 450 are Camden County residents. 

“It is important that, as the city continues to rise and the private sector continues to invest here, that Camden residents benefit and that the new jobs being created are paying wages high enough to raise a family.”

Norcross also announced he was sending a personal letter to surrounding health care systems in the state and Southeastern Pennsylvania to adopt the same policy.

Two Long Island City elected officials make it clear: They do not want Amazon HQ2. Seriously

Imagine winning the contest for Amazon’s second headquarters … and not wanting it.

Or even announcing you will fight against it.

That’s how it is playing out in Long Island City, in Queens, New York. Or, at least it is with two elected officials who are not happy about what the city and state potentially have promised the e-commerce giant.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Queens) and City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer released a statement on Twitter against Amazon coming to Long Island City.

Amazon announced Tuesday it was splitting what it is calling HQ2 between Long Island City and Crystal City, Virginia.

“As elected officials representing Long Island City and its surrounding neighborhoods, we have serious reservations about the reported deal to bring Amazon to LIC,” the statement started. “Offering massive corporate welfare from scarce public resources to one of the wealthiest companies in the world at a time of great need in our state is just wrong.”

It is unclear what incentives Amazon has been promised. But, in its RFP that was released in September 2017, Amazon said the winning bidder would land 50,000 high-paying jobs (averaging $100,000 in salary) and a $5 billion investment.

Gianaris and Van Bramer went on to say it is not right for ordinary citizens to pick up the cost for the company.

“The burden should not be on the 99 percent to prove we are worthy of the 1 percent’s presence in our communities, but rather on Amazon to prove it would be a responsible corporate partner.

“Corporate responsibility should take precedence over corporate welfare.

“If public reports about this deal prove true, we cannot support a giveaway of this magnitude, a process that circumvents community review through the use of a GPP, or the inevitable stress on the infrastructure of a community already stretched to its limits.”

The pair ended the note with a shot against Amazon — and a promise to fight.

“We are not elected to serve as Amazon drones. It is incumbent upon us to stand up on behalf of the people we represent and that is what we intend to do.”

Read more from ROI-NJ on Tuesday’s announcement: