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The New Jersey Business & Industry Association today revealed the 12 winners of its annual Awards for Excellence competition honoring companies that have done outstanding work to improve New Jersey’s business climate, environment, communities and employees’ lives.

A total of 13 awards will be presented on Wednesday, October 18, at the Bridgewater Marriott Hotel to 12 winners who are being recognized in four categories: Business Success, Environmental Quality, Community Service, and Outstanding Employer. This year, one of the 12 honorees—Crum & Forster—won awards in more than one category.

“The Awards for Excellence allow NJBIA to honor dynamic companies whose energy and vision make New Jersey a better place,” said NJBIA President & CEO Michele Siekerka. “We congratulate these companies on their outstanding achievements.”

Media interested in covering NJBIA’s Awards for Excellence presentation should contact Bob Considine at (609) 858-9502.

The 2017 AFE winners in the Business Success category are:

  • Advantage Career Institute Medical & Dental School, Eatontown. ACI’s success is the employment opportunities it creates for its students training to be medical and dental professionals, such as patient care technicians, and administrative assistants. This accredited post-secondary school has built strong relationships with the medical and dental community, allowing it to connect its students to excellent internship and job opportunities in the industry’s most in-demand programs. Learn more.
  • International Vitamin Corporation, Freehold. This vitamin manufacturer embarked on an ambitious plan a few years ago to increase its market share through the acquisition competitors—enabling it to expand product offerings to give customers a supply-chain advantage.  The moves have doubled IVC’s workforce to over 900 people (at all locations) and produced impressive growth. Gross sales increased 41 percent in 2014; 29 percent in 2015; and 44 percent in 2016.  Learn more.
  • Spectrum360, Verona. This nonprofit serves autistic people of all ages to help them develop the skills that will allow them to live independent, fulfilling lives. Spectrum360 has experienced impressive growth over the past five years, adding two new campuses in Livingston and Whippany, while in the midst of a rebranding campaign that reflects its services to people of all ages. While enrollment has grown 14 percent in the last two years, organization-wide staffing increased 17 percent to ensure optimal learning and working conditions for both clients and staff. Learn more.

The 2017 AFE winners in the Environmental Quality category are:

  • Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack. This Bergen County hospital, the state’s largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in New Jersey, has been a pioneer in environmental responsibility. HUMC is committed to reducing its carbon footprint, cutting water and energy consumption, lowering the amount of solid waste it produces, and improving energy efficiency. Other initiatives include converting to PVC-DEHP-free IV bags hospital-wide, opening a farm stand in the wellness center to promote healthy eating and locally grown foods, and serving antibiotic-free meat in the cafeteria. Learn more.
  • Kimmerle Group, Harding Township. This architecture and development company’s 8,500-square-foot headquarters at the site of an abandoned retail center embraces green building materials and energy-saving principles that make it an outstanding example of adaptive reuse. For example, the building has a geothermal heating, block turf permeable pavers in one-third of the parking area, and collects all rainwater from its gutters and downspouts for irrigation. Even the building’s furniture is made of 90 percent recycled materials. Learn more.

The 2017 AFE winners in the Outstanding Employer Award category are:

  • GENEWIZ, South Plainfield. This high-tech genomic (DNA) sequencing and gene synthesis provider whose discoveries support scientific researchers around the world has made the health of its 213 New Jersey employees a top priority. GENEWIZ helps employees live a healthier lifestyle by stocking all lunch rooms with free fresh fruit, and offering on-site biometric screenings, gym memberships and a walking club. Employees have shown a year-by-year improvement in cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose levels, and that’s led to a 5 to 10 percent per year drop in health insurance premiums due to lower utilization rates. Learn more.
  • KRS CPAs, Paramus. This accounting firm’s flexible work program allows exempt employees to create their own schedules, work remotely and take an unlimited amount of paid time off. Since tax preparation is a big part of KRS CPAs’ business, this model allows companies to spread out their work load during tax season by eliminating mandatory office hours that most tax firms require. The result has been less employee burnout and increased productivity and higher morale. Learn more.
  • Wedgewood Pharmacy, Swedesboro. After nearly doubling its workforce in five years, this business started searching for ways to boost employee engagement. In addition to all-staff meetings and monthly one-on-one meetings between employees and supervisors, the company is helping its many millennial employees with a new

$3,000 per person, $60,000 tuition-reimbursement program and has plans to expand up to $120,000 in 2018.  A recent company survey shows employees feel they are more involved and have better opportunities for career development. Learn more.

  • Crum & Forster, Morristown. This insurance company believes highly motivated, engaged employees who feel empowered are its best resources to grow and succeed. It offers its 743 full-time employees a robust corporate wellness program, as well as extensive training and education opportunities. Managers learn strategies to keep their staff motivated, and all staff members have the opportunity to take online learning courses and webinars at their convenience. Learn more.

The 2017 AFE award winners in the Community Service category are:

  • Crum & Forster, Morristown. This employer, which also won an AFE award in the Community Service category, is being recognized for its community service too. The company encourages employees to donate to their favorite charities and matches their contributions dollar for dollar. In 2017, employees have donated hundreds of hours to Habitat for Humanity and turned out in force for the Spring Lake 5K to raise money and awareness for Lou Gehrig’s disease. Employees have donated Easter baskets through the NJ Battered Women Service and raised funds for the Morris and Sussex Branch of CASA, supporting vulnerable children and families. Learn more.
  • Connell Foley LLP, Roseland. This law firm sponsors and supports “Rebuilding Together Jersey City,” the local chapter of a national nonprofit that rehabilitates the homes of low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled. Since 1991 the program has made $2.9 million in improvements to 313 homes and community facilities. The effort also extends to nonprofits located within the community, including the Boys and Girls Club, St. Lucy’s homeless shelter, Women Rising, the YMCA, Camp Liberty, and Mary’s Place. Learn more.
  • Medtronic, Eatontown. This global bio-medical manufacturing company is committed to improving people’s lives, both through its products and through being a good corporate citizen. Employees participate in blood drives, collect and distribute school supplies to under-served districts, and volunteer at the Popcorn Park Zoo animal rescue facility and the Lunch Break soup kitchen in Red Bank. For the past nine years, Medtronic has led a contingent of companies raising money and collecting donations for the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Learn more.
  • Nisivoccia LLP, Mt. Arlington. Last year, this accounting and audit firm supported approximately 130 charitable organizations through sponsorship or volunteering. Twenty-six of its partners and employees are on the boards of many charitable organizations including the 200 Club of Morris County, the Sussex YMCA, the Hackettstown Medical Center Foundation, the Community Soup Kitchen and Outreach Program of Morristown, and the Northern New Jersey American Red Cross. Company employees also pitch in at Community Food Bank and Habitat for Humanity, and their donations help many local charities. Learn more.