Laurence Downes, Michael Novak and Chaya Pamula were named Executive of the Year by the New Jersey Business & Industry Association at its annual Awards for Excellence competition at The Palace at Somerset Park in Somerset.
The three were part of 13 honorees at the event, which recognizes outstanding businesses that have helped improve the business climate and quality of life in New Jersey.
“The Awards for Excellence allow NJBIA to honor dynamic companies whose energy and vision make New Jersey a better place,” NJBIA CEO and President Michele Siekerka said. “We congratulate these companies on their outstanding achievements.”
Awards were presented in five categories. Other categories included NJBIA Members of the Year, Community Service, Outstanding Employers and Environmental Quality.
Executive of the Year
These awards are presented to executives who have demonstrated exemplary leadership and passion while achieving business success.
Laurence Downes, chairman & CEO, New Jersey Resources, Wall: Under his leadership, New Jersey Resources has grown into a Fortune 100 company with a market cap of $3.7 billion. As the longest-serving CEO in the company’s history, his successful approach to leadership includes empowering the more than 1,000 men and women at NJR in their own respective roles.
Michael Novak, president, Atlantic Environmental Solutions Inc., Hoboken: Since founding AESI, Novak has led a team that has completed $65 million in environmental projects at over 5,000 commercial and industrial sites nationwide. Under his strategic vision, AESI’s revenue increased fourfold in 10 years and many contaminated industrial properties have been returned to beneficial uses.
Chaya Pamula, CEO and president, PamTen Inc., Princeton: Pamula left a senior management position at a pharmaceutical giant to found her own information technology company, where she has successfully conceptualized innovative software products that have opened doors into new marketplaces. Pamula also puts her entrepreneurial skill to work for charity through a nonprofit organization that creates supportive homes in India for children in need.
NJBIA Member of the Year Awards
These awards were presented to a small, medium and large employer for their contributions to NJBIA and commitment to improve the state’s business climate.
Brody Business Development LLC, Ocean: The owner of this strategic marketing and sales consulting business, Fred Brody, has more than 30 years’ experience building dynamic relationships with state, county and municipal officials, high-level State Department heads, regulators and legislators. Brody leverages networking opportunities by attending nearly every NJBIA event and he has recently undertaken a more direct role at NJBIA as one of a handful of “ambassadors” who serve as a valuable resource to new members.
Domain Computer Services, Cranbury: This information technology and cybersecurity company has an impeccable reputation and its president, Rashaad Bajwa, generously shares his knowledge and expertise with NJBIA members by chairing NJBIA’s IT Network and participating in numerous NJBIA educational panels and events, including the NJBIA Cybersecurity Summit. Bajwa was recently named to NJBIA’s board of trustees.
RWJBarnabas Health, West Orange: As a leading health care provider in the state, RWJBarnabas Health is an active participant in NJBIA’s numerous policy committees, especially NJBIA’s Health Affairs Committee, where it provides valuable expertise in analyzing complex health legislation. RWJBarnabas Health Behavioral Health’s CEO and president, Deanna Sperling, is a tireless worker on behalf of NJBIA and recently joined NJBIA’s board of trustees.
Outstanding Employer Awards
These awards were presented to companies that have demonstrated creative and forward-looking approaches to managing human resources.
Aleon Phama International, Parsippany: Aleon assists pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in new product development and post-marketing regulatory compliance in the U.S. and other countries. Key to its success is the priority Aleon places on making sure every employee feels they are part of the team. To that end, Aleon offers numerous forward-thinking HR programs that encourage communication, learning, exercise and meditation, as well as an awards program that recognizes outstanding employee work.
Parker McCay P.A., Mount Laurel: This prestigious law firm has been serving New Jersey businesses and government for more than 100 years, but it still knows how to change with the times, especially when it comes to employee development. The firm has kept pace with the advancing technological legal environment with its in-house Development Institute, which offers employees opportunities for both personal and professional development during their normal work day so that all can participate. Workplace initiatives include free yoga classes, fresh fruit deliveries, women leadership programs and more.
William H. Connolly & Co., Montclair: This insurance and risk-management company believes that strong employee morale and interoffice relationships are essential for having an outstanding workplace. It invests significant time and capital in training and free continuing education courses. The firm encourages employees to take part in group activities, such as its walking club and book club, and also hosts ice cream trucks and picnics in summer.
Community Service Awards
These awards were presented to companies in recognition of committed leadership in finding solutions to pressing social or economic challenges.
Berkeley College, Woodland Park: Volunteering and charitable giving have been the college’s mission since its founding in 1931, and today those activities are undertaken by Berkeley Cares, a unifying identity for all of the college’s community service activities. In 2018, Berkeley’s Community Service Week involved pledges from Berkeley volunteers of more than 2,000 hours to 50 nonprofits and community agencies.
Delta Dental of New Jersey, Parsippany: The philanthropic arm of DDNJ, the Delta Dental of New Jersey Foundation, helps provide dental services and education to the underserved and the uninsured, including nearly 10,000 children, seniors and developmentally disabled individuals in 2017 alone. Since 1986, the DDNJ Foundation has awarded more than $17.7 million in grants for dental education programs for children and scholarships for students to pursue dental careers. DDNJ employees donate their time for food and clothing drives, building homes and walking to fight against oral cancer and breast cancer.
Pinnacle Commercial Development, Point Pleasant: As a general services contractor for retail, health care, self storage and light industrial sectors, Pinnacle knows how to dig into projects, including its philanthropic work. Pinnacle undertook a four-month project to renovate and retrofit Toms River East Little League fields to make them accessible to the more than 60 disabled athletes in Little League’s Challenger Division. Pinnacle’s hands-on approach is also demonstrated in its regular food drives, blood drives and the recent collection of $10,000 worth of sporting equipment for underfunded programs.
Environmental Quality Award
This award recognizes outstanding work to preserve and enhance the environment.
Express Scripts, Franklin Lakes: As the nation’s largest independent pharmacy benefits manager, Express Scripts processes millions of prescriptions each year, but it is also committed to recycling. Its Florence location recycles 10 tons of pill bottles every week, and 7 to 10 tons of cardboard, along with millions of pounds of other materials. The Franklin Lakes location has donated 86 acres of passive and active recreational parkland to the Borough of Franklin Lakes.