Team play: How Jersey companies are helping recruiting effort in East Asia

TOKYO — Gov. Phil Murphy always has called himself the “Head of Sales” for New Jersey.

He never said he goes it alone.

The 2023 New Jersey East Asian Economic Mission trip is providing examples of how a group of New Jersey representatives are helping make the case. And it’s not just economic development officials such as Economic Development Authority head Tim Sullivan and Choose New Jersey CEO Wes Mathews.

It’s New Jersey companies, too.

When Murphy met privately Monday morning with more than a dozen top leaders of Japanese-based companies that are either thinking of expanding their New Jersey presence or creating one, key leaders from Johnson & Johnson, RWJBarnabas Health and GCM Grosvenor also were there.

“That was really important,” Mathews said. “Not just hearing it straight from the governor or Tim Sullivan makes a difference. Having a few of our companies at the table that are testament to the new Jersey value proposition shows that there is buy-in around the state.”

Of course, Murphy still was the main attraction.

And, while the mission trip is about attracting more business, solidifying the connections New Jersey already has is important, too. (Companies such as Eisai, Daiichi Sankyo, Subaru and Panasonic had leaders at the meetings, too.)

“It’s rare for the governor to meet the CEOs or CFOs for companies that are in Tokyo,” Mathews said. “So, it’s important that those companies that have sizable presence in New Jersey get to meet the governor while he’s here.”

Attracting new companies counts, too.

Mathews said Choose works with partners at the U.S. Embassy and the Department of Commerce to vet companies that make sense for New Jersey — companies such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which is a manufacturer of the tunnel boring equipment.

Or … equipment that would come in handy for the Gateway Tunnel project.

Getting from meeting to moving is never easy. Mathews is hopeful the full-team effort will be effective.

“We really appreciate these companies willing to help us,” he said. “It not only helps in our efforts, it demonstrates the relationships we already have.”