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NJBIA and New Jersey Business magazine announced 20 recipients for their annual Awards for Excellence today, honoring member companies and business leaders whose energy and vision have had a positive impact on their employees, their communities and the state’s economy.

Sixteen businesses and four executives received the awards, which can be found in the October issue of New Jersey Business magazine, found here.

“Extraordinary times have resulted in so many of our member companies making extraordinary efforts,” said NJBIA President & CEO Michele Siekerka.

“This year’s Awards for Excellence winners have stepped up to do right for their employees, their communities and New Jersey’s economy. We are truly proud to recognize their notable achievements.”

The winners are listed by category below.

Outstanding Employer

Awarded to companies celebrating creative and forward-looking approaches to managing HR.

Atlantic Health System

AHS’ commitment to quality care and service of its customers and patients is grounded in establishing and maintaining a workforce that has an open pathway to a long-lasting and enriching career. To that end, AHS encourages broad participation of staff in terms of influencing the direction of the company.

The company also places great emphasis in the well-being and emotional resilience of its team. It launched a #CaringTogether initiative at the onset of the pandemic with the goal of unifying all of its efforts to overcome COVID-19.


DSM began as a coal mining company nearly 120 years ago but has since transformed as a diamond leader in nutrition, health and sustainable living. DSM, now short for “Do Something Meaningful,” has prioritized social well-being in 2020 with its “People & Organization Strategy,” effectively launching a Culture Compass initiative that embraces a broader Inclusion & Diversity agenda – including pillars on generations, race, disability and LGBTQ+.

Manasquan Bank

For more than 147 years, Manasquan Bank has provided direct support to organizations seeking to make a positive difference in the community. Continuing to support those serving unmet local needs, the Manasquan Bank Charitable Foundation – established in 2014 – offers financial assistance to qualified nonprofits that create positive societal change. Additionally, Manasquan Bank’s CREW Cares program encourages employee volunteerism throughout its market area.

T&M Associates

A leading consulting, engineering, environmental, technical services and construction management company, T&M has provided an innovative wellness program that aims to create a healthy workforce through education, and support – including a wellness portal and outcome-based rewards. T&M has also focused efforts on attracting and retaining a diverse workforce, while fostering a culture of inclusion. Its active Diversity and Inclusion team meets regularly to support a culture that aligns with T&M’s core values.

Community Service

Awarded to companies for leadership in finding solutions to social or economic challenges.


Newark-based Audible launched Newark Working Kitchens (NWK) in April 2020 with the goal of supporting local restaurants in Newark to deliver free, nutritious meals to the city’s at-risk population. NWK has delivered more than one million meals to more than 10,000 low-income seniors and families, the homeless, and frontline medical workers across Newark. The program also helped 30 restaurants remain open and sustain hundreds of jobs during the pandemic.

Hopewell Theater

Forced to close for many months, Hopewell Theater President and CEO Sara Scully took the extraordinary measure to create the New Jersey Independent Venue Association (NJIVA). Banding together 20 different organizations and a petition signed by more than 800 New Jersey residents, she successfully lobbied the governor’s office and the state Legislature for $15 million in relief funds through the CARES Act. Those funds provide grants to live performance venues in New Jersey.

Studio Hillier

Princeton-based architectural firm Studio Hillier opened its doors for Mr. Rogers’ Neighbors Kindness Project to run a free food store out of its office. The firm also helped struggling area restaurants, asking patrons to add an extra meal to their phone or online orders. In return, donated meals were distributed to residents on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Studio Hillier’s office.

The design firm also partnered with Princeton University School of Architecture and STEAM Works Studio to establish the Princeton PPE Collective, a collaborative team that 3D printed and donated 2,800 face shields to 21 healthcare facilities and nonprofit organizations.

YMCA of Greater Monmouth County

In response to the pandemic, YMCA of Greater Monmouth County President & CEO Laurie Goganzer activated her YMCA Togetherhood® program, enlisting the help of 300 volunteers who transformed YMCA health and fitness centers into community centers for administering essential services. Partnering with a diverse collection of nonprofits, Goganzer was able to collect and distribute more than 35,000 meals to needy families; provide emergency child care services; and establish a baby pantry distributing more than 80,000 items.

Disability Inclusion

Awarded to companies focused on delivering equal opportunities to qualified people with disabilities.

Best Buddies

Best Buddies New Jersey, a nonprofit based in Clinton, is part of an international global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for intellectually and developmentally delayed individuals to benefit from one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development and inclusive living.

Best Buddies programs empower people with disabilities to form meaningful friendships with peers, secure successful jobs, live independently, improve their communication skills, advocate for themselves, and feel valued by society.

Career and Communities Studies Program at TCNJ

The College of New Jersey’s Career and Communities Studies program is a national leader in diversity and inclusion excellence. For more than a decade, it has worked with intellectually disabled individuals to provide a second-to-none college experience and prepare them for a productive future in the workforce. CNJ started its pioneering program in 2006 to give adults age 18 to 25 with intellectual disabilities the chance to attend college within a specialized course of study where they learn personal and job skills and gain some independence as they strive toward a focused career outcome.

Easterseals New Jersey

For 73 years, Easterseals New Jersey has been working to meet the needs of people with disabilities and their families by increasing opportunities for them to live, work and play in the Garden State. Its residential, employment and recreational programs serve thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism, physical disabilities, mental illness, and other special needs.

Staff partners with local businesses in all 21 counties to secure employment and full-community integration for program participants.

Rangam Consultants

One of the fastest-growing professional staffing agencies attracting both neurotypical and neurodiverse talent globally, Rangam Consultants is renowned for its work helping people with autism find employment.

Based in Somerset, Rangam delivers an integrated recruitment solution combining technology, training and education to candidates while providing clients with a large, diverse network of qualified personnel options. With a philosophy of “Empathy Drives Innovation,” Rangam advances both mainstream and autism employment in IT, engineering, scientific, clinical, healthcare, administrative, finance and business professional sectors.

Executive of the Year

Awarded to individuals who demonstrate leadership and passion while achieving business success.

Mary Pat Angelini, CEO, Preferred Behavioral Health Group

Angelini has always been about helping New Jersey’s most vulnerable – whether it be sponsoring an Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights during her eight-year term in the New Jersey General Assembly, leading a staff that trained Monmouth County first responders to de-escalate encounters with the mentally ill, or urging New Jersey lawmakers to study the impact of recreational marijuana use before legalizing it.

During the pandemic, she inspired her team of 450 professionals to provide critical services through virtual telehealth and telepsychiatry, “drive-bys” with children and teenagers sheltered at home, and delivery of food and clothing to senior shut-ins and others.

Zina Hassel, Founder and CEO, ZLH Enterprises

Founder of the full-service technology company ZLH Enterprises, Hassel helped clients migrate to a work-from-home model, facilitated COVID-19 hotlines, and procured thermal touchless scanners at a reasonable price for end-user companies during the pandemic.

This type of “spring into action” attitude is nothing new for Hassel, whose company is known for outside-the-box solutions, as well as providing white-glove customer service to businesses of all sizes for all things technology.

Clelia Pergola, COO, NJ Elder Law Center at Goldberg Law Group

A leading voice in the Morris County Chamber of Commerce Women in Business Program and a working mother of two boys, Pergola’s mission is to personally show women they can “juggle life’s challenges” and “achieve spectacular results while raising a family.” Pergola’s other passion is the elderly. She used her knowledge of challenges in the long-term care system to implement a streamlined, procedures-based model for elder care in her role as chief operating officer of the NJ Elder Law Center at Goldberg Law Group.

Vincent Vicari, Regional Director, New Jersey Small Business Development Center

After working in such industries as retail management, sales, food service, higher education, and consulting, Vicari joined the NJSBDC in 2008, helping New Jersey business owners bounce back from the financial crash, Superstorm Sandy, and the COVID-19 pandemic through his organization’s Economic Recovery Task Force Initiative. Vicari is also known for his work with veterans, women and minorities, but perhaps his strongest passion lies in helping immigrants.

Member of the Year

Awarded to companies for their contributions to NJBIA and efforts to improve the state’s business climate.

Delta Dental

As the nation’s leading provider of dental insurance, Delta Dental’s core purpose is the advancement of the oral health of its customers, partners and consumers through dental insurance and philanthropic efforts. Delta Dental invested more than $102.5 million in communities in 2020, supporting more than 2,400 programs, impacting 24.7 million lives, and volunteering 20,000 hours. Separately, Delta Dental companies across the country also committed $1.1 billion in COVID-19 response relief.

The company allocated significant dollars in its very first year partnering with NJBIA, and as a member, it has committed a designated person to NJBIA’s Diversity Equity & Inclusion Leadership Team, and has committed numerous speakers and coaches to the Women Business Leaders Forum.

New Jersey Institute of Technology

The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) acts as a launching pad for its students, preparing them to excel in the fields and jobs that are in high demand and that are at the core of today’s technology-driven economy. NJIT is a catalyst for economic growth, and its New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII), VentureLink, and Makerspace at NJIT provide direct linkages to industry and foster innovative partnerships.

Dr. Joel Bloom, NJIT president and chairman of the NJII Board of Directors, provides valuable leadership and guidance to the New Jersey Business & Industry Association as a board member.

Northfield Bank

For more than a century, Northfield Bank has been providing exceptional financial service and a deep commitment to its customers. As an NJBIA member, the company has committed $10,000 across a spectrum of events and initiatives. Additionally, it has allocated speakers to some of NJBIA’s most popular events such as the annual Women Business Leaders Forum.

Northfield Bank has been the Featured Partner at the Table for Four virtual networking initiative, and has become active in NJBIA’s councils, adding both attendees and leadership. The Northfield Bank Foundation actively supports community organizations that are working to make local neighborhoods a better place to live and work.


Annandale-based Paradigm is an award-winning, turnkey marketing agency committed to providing individualized marketing and design services to clients ranging from startups and nonprofits, to large, multifaceted companies with revenues in excess of $50 million.

The Marketing Minute partner at NJBIA’s monthly Women Business Leaders Council (WBLC) meetings, Paradigm regularly spends its own money marketing NJBIA events to businesses.

Continually coming up with unique ideas to help businesses grow their brand and spread awareness, Paradigm helped NJBIA partner on the Table for Four virtual networking initiative, and also pitched the idea to launch a Sales & Marketing Roundtable, which has spotlighted NJBIA to an audience of 75-100 attendees per month who are introduced to the organization for the first time.