NJMEP Manufacturing Day award winners announced

Five New Jersey manufacturing companies were among a number of honorees at the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program’s sixth annual “Made in New Jersey” Manufacturing Day, held last Friday at the Bridgewater Marriott.

John Kennedy, CEO of the NJMEP, said the awards honor key members of New Jersey’s economy.

“The 2017 Manufacturing Awards finalists demonstrate industry leadership, innovation, growth and a commitment to development of their employees and communities,” he said.

A look at the winners:

Manufacturer of the Year — Large (more than 251 employees)

Winner: GGB Bearing Technology (Thorofare)

GGB Bearing Technology’s history dates back to a London company founded in 1899 to produce bearings for grease or oil lubricated applications. Today, GGB Bearing is the global leader in high-performance bearing solutions, with eight facilities in the U.S., Germany, France, Brazil, Slovakia and China.

The North American operations are located in Thorofare: One produces U.S. industry standard bearings for the automotive, general industrial and aerospace markets; the other produces fiber-reinforced composite U.S. bearings, bushing blocks and high-precision assemblies for the agricultural, construction and marine markets.

Other finalists:

  • Tropical Cheese Industries
  • Kreisler, a United Flexible Company

Manufacturer of the Year — Medium (between 51-250 employees)

Winner: Demountable Concepts (Glassboro)

Since 1989, Demountable Concepts Inc. has been at the vanguard of the transportation manufacturing industry and has become North America’s leading manufacturer of demountable swap-body and glass rack systems and trailers. With DCI’s 2-in-1 platform, companies can use different body styles with the same cab chassis, enabling them to load and deliver at the same time instead of needing two separate trucks.

MyGlassTruck.com manufactures aluminum and steel glass carrying racks for vans, pickups and larger trucks used by glaziers and marble/granite installers. DCI’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Glassboro covers 50,000 square feet over its 25-acre campus and employs 85 individuals.

Other finalists:

  • California Closets
  • Norwalt Design
  • NWL
  • UNEX

Manufacturer of the Year — Small (fewer than 50 employees)

Winner: ZaGO Manufacturing (Newark)

ZaGO Manufacturing Co. is a leading manufacturer in the self-sealing fastener industry — sealing screws, sealing nuts, switch boots and crystal switch seals that protect clients’ mission-critical equipment in more than 50 different industry sectors, including military contractors, aerospace, electronics, construction, medical, marine, motor vehicle and consumer product. The fasteners, for example, are designed with full metal-to-metal contact, sealing in liquids and gases and sealing out environmental contaminants such as water and dust.

ZaGO began in 1994 as a two-employee business in Newark’s New Jersey Institute of Technology Enterprise Development Center small business incubator. In 2002, it moved to a 100-year-old building in the South Ward, which it completely renovated to meet production and administrative needs. Over the last five years, ZaGO’s revenues and profits have grown by double digits and its staff to 25.

The other finalists:

  • Belleville Wire
  • eMachineShop
  • Alexian Pate
  • W. Tremont
  • Koba

Manufacturer of the Year — Young/Startup (in business fewer than 5 years)

Winner: Sock Gang (Newark)

Sock Gang was founded in 2012 by Khalif Thomas as a small Newark sock manufacturing operation, marketing its imaginative product line to Essex County universities, schools and small apparel shops. Thomas also realized that his quality socks could help meet a pressing social need: providing warm socks to Newark’s homeless. That concept became the hugely successful “Socks for the Homeless” campaign.

Then, with Sock Gang’s ability to produce high-quality socks and cotton-polyester, nonskid fall management slippers, Thomas envisioned meeting medical facility needs. In 2016, the company signed a contract with Newark Beth Israel Hospital to supply it.

Other finalists:

  • 3DMonstr
  • Jersey Girl Brewing
  • Raw Generation

Innovator of the Year

Winner: EasterSeals (New Brunswick)

The capabilities of Easterseals NJ Packaging and Fulfillment Services workers in New Brunswick are vastly different, depending on individual physical and mental disabilities. To ensure every participant enjoys the confidence, passion, commitment and pride in assembling and packaging quality products, NJPFS developed flexible, yet inexpensive, training and production methods that can be used for individuals with different aptitudes, thereby enabling every NJPFS program participant to contribute to the manufacturing process. The processes also can be adapted easily for different operations, based on the type of product on the lines.

Other finalists:

  • Employment Horizons
  • Productive Play

(READ MORE from ROI-NJ on Manufacturing Day.)

Raymond Hopp Award for Excellence

Winner: Jim Placa, CEO of Davion Inc. (North Brunswick)

Davion, founded in 1987, is one of the largest manufacturers of private-label personal care products in the U.S. and Canada. Its clients are primarily major retail and Consumer Packaged Goods companies, including Walmart, CVS, Walgreens and Kroger.

Other finalists:

  • Larry Taitel, Convertech Inc.
  • Lew Weiss, All Metals & Forge LLC

In addition, three people and two organizations were named to the Made in New Jersey honor roll for manufacturing and STEM:

  • Sivaraman Anbarasan, executive director and CEO of the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce & Economic Development;
  • Judy Savage, executive director of the New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools;
  • Ralph Tillinghast, lab director, Picatinny Arsenal Collaboration Innovation Lab, ARDEC, U.S. Army;
  • The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development Customized Training Team, including Patti Moran and Howard Miller;
  • Team members of the New Jersey Business Action Center.