NFIB names new N.J. state director, as lobbying veteran Kean replaces Ehlbeck

The NFIB business association has named a new state director for New Jersey, it announced Monday.

Eileen Kean, a partner at governmental affairs firm Komjathy & Kean with decades of experience in Trneton, will take on the role, replacing longtime NFIB executive Laurie Ehlbeck.

In her new role with NFIB, formally the National Federation of Independent Business, Kean will work on behalf of small and independent businesses to promote their voice with state lawmakers.

Laurie Ehlbeck is transitioning into consulting work, she said.

“NFIB is elated to have Eileen Kean representing our New Jersey small business members, because she brings vast government relations and business experience to the table,” Tim Goodrich, NFIB’s executive director of state government relations, said in a prepared statement. “Small business owners can be negatively impacted by increased costs or rigid labor mandates, and any number of legislative proposals can threaten their very existence. Eileen will be able to explain to lawmakers the impact bills could have on a small business owner’s daily operation or their success in the marketplace.”

Kean also serves as a commissioner for the Monmouth County Board of Elections and a trustee for Drumthwacket, the governor’s official residence, as well as on the New Jersey Board of Pharmacy.

“I look forward to advocating for small business owners who are risk-takers, job creators and pillars of their communities,” she said in a statement. “These entrepreneurs are busy people working long hours to grow their businesses. I will ensure their voices are heard loud and clear by policymakers in Trenton, so they can focus on what they do best.”

Ehlbeck told ROI-NJ that she is transitioning into consulting work in the government affairs field, in part to spend more time with her family, including 10 grandchildren.

“My time working with small businesses with NFIB has been the most rewarding and challenging in my career,” she told ROI-NJ. “In a difficult environment for small business employers in New Jersey, I am looking forward to continue to advocate for them.”

She has more than 20 years of lobbying experience, including her full-time work with NFIB.