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CIANJ Elects New Leadership to Carry Forward its Free Enterprise Mission

by: John Galandak

CIANJTHE COMMERCE and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ) selected new officers at its 89th Annual Meeting & Luncheon, held Oct. 21, 2016, at the Hilton Woodcliff Lake. New Leadership. As CIANJ approaches 90 years of fighting for free enterprise and advocating for the New Jersey business community, the torch has been passed to Chairman Andrew Silverstein, a member of the CPA firm Dorfman Abrams Music LLC; Vice Chairman Richard W. Abramson, Esq., a partner with the law firm Cole Schotz PC; and Treasurer Kathleen Alexander, a partner with CPA firm Sax LLP. XSolutions Consulting Services Partner Joseph Imperato, Jr. was re-elected as secretary.

In addition, the following new CIANJ board members were elected at the luncheon: Columbia Bank President and CEO Thomas J. Kemly; Opici Family Distributing President Dina Opici; and Triangle Manufacturing President Dax Strohmeyer.

Honors and Awards

CIANJ members were also honored for their service to the Association. The Chairman’s Outstanding Leadership Award was presented to Lakeland Bank President and CEO Thomas J. Shara, a member of CIANJ’s Board of Directors. Howard Dorman, a partner with CPA firm WeiserMazars LLP and a CIANJ board member, was awarded the Chairman’s Outstanding Volunteer Award. CIANJ’s Legacy Award was presented to J. Fletcher Creamer & Son President and CEO Fletch Creamer.

Keynote Speaker

As the founder, Chairman and CEO of Reebok International, Paul Fireman famously turned his idea for high-end running shoes into one of the best-known athletic footwear brands in the world. He later sold Reebok to Adidas in 2006. In 2008, Fireman started Fireman Capital Partners—where he is chairman— with his son.

Of course, Fireman discussed his success at Reebok during the luncheon. “I hired people with a thirst for opportunities and success,” said Fireman. “One of my best hires took a pay cut from $50,000 per year to $22,000 per year in order to get more experience and because he saw the potential of what we were doing. We soon after put 150,000 Reebok Pump Shoes on the market, and we sold $1.4 billion of these shoes in 18 months.”But being an entrepreneur at heart is no easy life, according to Fireman. “It means taking chances.”

Best known in New Jersey for Liberty National Golf Course, Fireman’s latest vision is what would be an adjoining development—Liberty Rising, a proposed $4.6 billion project on the Hudson River at the south end of Jersey City. The centerpiece of Liberty Rising is a 95-story skyscraper that would integrate a casino, a hotel and apartments, along with luxury shops and an entertainment complex. Fireman showed luncheon attendees a video showcasing the project and its potential to create jobs and economic growth in New Jersey. “This project is going to be revisited in the future,” explained Fireman, noting that it required voter approval of a November 2016 ballot question which is not expected to pass in its current form.

Annual Luncheon Sponsors

CIANJ thanks the following luncheon sponsors fortheir support: Speaker Sponsor— WeiserMazars LLP; Registration Sponsor— SUEZ; Reception Sponsors—Hackensack Meridian Health and United Airlines; Annual Luncheon Sponsors—Beattie Padovano, LLC; Berkeley College; CohnReznick LLP; Columbia Bank; COMMERCE; Connell Foley LLP; Dorfman Abrams Music LLC; Grant Thornton LLP; Holy Name Medical Center; Harwood Lloyd, LLC; ICA Risk Management Consultants; Inserra ShopRite Supermarkets; J. Fletcher Creamer & Son; Lakeland Bank; M&T Bank; Mack-Cali Realty Corporation; McCarter & English, LLP; MWWPR; NAI James E. Hanson; PNC Wealth Management; PSE&G; PwC; Santander; Stuyvesant Green Earth Press; TD Bank; UnitedHealthcare; Valley National Bank; Verizon; and Wells Fargo.


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