Industry Trends and Predictions for 2018

Industry Trends and Predictions for 2018

THE PACE OF CHANGE IS MAKING success a moving target, and businesses are working hard to thrive in this environment. For 2018, agile companies will be put to the test as a new administration in Trenton and federal tax policy may change the rules of the game, making smart decisions key factors in performance metrics. Here are some industry trends and predictions for 2018.


Citrin Cooperman
By Alex Serrano, CPA, NJ Managing Partner

The accounting industry is continually evolving, where service providers have to be evermore progressive – to think beyond the numbers in order to provide true value. At Citrin Cooperman, our approach has always been client-focused and, as our clients’ needs evolve and shift, we have come to be more specialized in our offerings, to truly understand and bring value to our clients’ business.


EisnerAmper LLP
By Charles Weinstein, CEO

Change will be the hallmark of the accounting profession in 2018, driven by continued advances in technology based client solutions. EisnerAmper continues to embrace this technology and cultivate the top talent necessary to leverage those solutions. With, hopefully, a continued robust economy, we feel exciting times are in store for EisnerAmper and the firm is primed for solid growth in 2018.


By Ralph Albert Thomas, CEO and Executive Director

Technology continues to reshape the role of accountants and how we respond to clients and stakeholders. In turn, the future workforce will adapt with changing demographics and skillsets. The challenge for 2018 and beyond will be to maintain top talent while furthering the role of CPAs as trusted advisors.



WithumSmith+Brown, PC
By Bill Hagaman, CEO and Managing Partner

Tax reform will help large businesses and hopefully increase GDP. However, in New Jersey, business owners will be hurt by the loss of the state and local tax deductions. The stock market is at an all-time high, so returns will most likely flatten out. But as it is a leading indicator, I would expect 2018 to be a good growth year for New Jersey.



DMR Architects
By Lloyd A. Rosenberg, President and CEO
In 2018, DMR Architects is preparing its business for continued growth in each of the segments
it serves, including projects for real estate developers, healthcare institutions and the public sector. With a newly elected governor committed to growing the economy and investing in infrastructure, along with new initiatives inherent with any new administration, DMR projects measurable growth in the architecture and engineering industry, which may be tempered by the limited availability of experienced, skilled professionals.



Atlantic Stewardship Bank
By Paul Van Ostenbridge, President
Cyber attacks will become more sophisticated and common; according to the FBI, cyber victims lost $1.3 billion from Web-based scams in 2016. ASB recommends the following tips to help keep your information safe. Keep your computers and mobile devices up-to-date. Create complicated passwords. Watch out for phishing scams. Keep personal information personal. Secure your Internet connection. Before shopping online, make sure the Web site uses secure technology.


Capital Bank of New Jersey
By David J. Hanrahan, President and CEO
There are lots of things I don’t know about 2018, such as where interest rates are headed.
But this I know: There will be fewer and fewer community banks as time goes on. That’s not good public policy, but it does mean that the value proposition and competitive advantages of
local, friendly, responsive, flexible commercial lenders, such as Capital Bank of New Jersey, will only increase.



Fulton Bank of New Jersey
By George Robostello, Regional President, Southern Division
At Fulton Bank of New Jersey, we’re excited for the opportunities 2018 brings. Our focus next year will be on responsiveness and technology. We’ll continue to provide the level of dedicated service our customers expect, while also offering the convenience and accessibility of new digital solutions. We’ll also modernize the look and feel of some branches in the coming year.



Lakeland Bank
By Thomas J. Shara, President and CEO
We have a very positive outlook for 2018, as we are well-positioned to continue to grow the bank’s consumer and commercial bases within our core and adjacent markets. We also expect the financial services industry to have a solid year, although disruptive technology and cybersecurity risks will remain top challenges. Growth beyond 2018 will be influenced by tax reform, regulatory relief and the New Jersey and national economy.



New Jersey Bankers Association
By John E. McWeeney, Jr., President and CEO
The banking industry will continue to perform well in 2018, buoyed by a strengthening economy and rising interest rates. At some point, the current economic recovery will falter and that could be delayed or accelerated depending upon the ability of the administration and Congress to work together on tax reform and infrastructure spending. Nonetheless, the current cycle seems to have enough momentum to sustain itself well into next year, which should bode well for bank earnings.

Interest rates should continue their slow but steady rise as the Fed seems determined to move rates higher. That said, the increases should be modest as the Fed is cautious not to prematurely end the recovery. Major global socioeconomic events, of course, could always derail the economy.

Meaningful banking legislative reform from Congress is unlikely, given the lack of bipartisanship and the approach of the mid-term elections. That said, the appointment of new regulatory heads by the Trump administration holds the promise of a different regulatory tone coming out of Washington, especially for community banks. This should lead to an improved regulatory environment.

We should see a continuation of recent trends regarding New Jersey banks. Those trends include rising earnings driven by increased lending activity and improving margins, as well as stronger capital levels due to the earnings and continued strong credit quality. At some point, the credit cycle should deteriorate, but that doesn’t seem imminent.

Despite these positive trends, we anticipate continued consolidation of the banking industry and New Jersey will not be immune from that. Smaller community banks continue to struggle with the cost of regulatory compliance and therefore mergers that achieve greater scale will still prevail. Of course, New Jersey’s economy and business climate will be potentially impacted by the new administration in Trenton.



NVE Bank
By Robert Rey, President and CEO
If tax reform occurs, reducing burdens on small business, this could play a significant
role in 2018 economic growth. Stronger balance sheets for small businesses make it more economically feasible for them to reinvest resources, hire more employees and secure less-costly financing for growth and expansion from community banks such as NVE Bank.



Provident Bank
By Christopher Martin, President and CEO
Preparing for 2018 is proving to be a challenge with the confluence of geopolitical events, extreme partisanship in Washington and New Jersey, and a lack of direction by same. Tax and healthcare reform and regulatory relief have been difficult to come by, as Congress digs in on their parties’ respective ideologies. Against this dismal backdrop, employment numbers are improving, and consumer confidence is high, along with market volatility being low. We are cautiously optimistic on the continued improvement in the economy and the overall business climate.



Galante Compliance Services, LLC
By Alena Galante, MBA, CHC, CSSBB, President
For 2018, Galante Compliance Services, LLC foresees a continued shift in our clients’ desire to use smaller consulting firms instead of larger ones. Our clients’ needs require more personal attention, more collaboration and meaningful results. It’s not about throwing bodies at a project, working from home, and delivering a room full of documents with little value. It is about being a trusted advisor—a mentor— to navigate the ever-changing regulations for our clients into risk-based practical solutions, through collaboration, balance with budgets, resources and timing of their projects.



ELEC 825
By Mark Longo, Director, Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative
As the new administration settles in and the projects funded by the groundbreaking TTF replenishment continue to move forward, we expect to see a shift in direction as it pertains to infrastructure investment. New Jersey’s future energy demand and aging water systems will need to be addressed, and we expect to play a leading role in those discussions.



March Associates Construction, Inc.
By Louis D. March, Jr., President
We believe we will see continued growth in our company and industry. The rate of the growth may be at a reduced pace in some market sectors, but I think the industrial and mixed-use markets have a strong backlog and we will start to see “new look” retail centers that will offer more than just a shopping experience.




Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters
By John Ballantyne, Executive Secretary-Treasurer
In 2018, we will continue to see a tremendous amount of growth in our carpenter membership and investment in our training facilities. There are plenty of work opportunities throughout New Jersey, including the development of the American Dream in East Rutherford, the Summit Medical GroupMD Anderson building in Florham Park and the Stockton University campus in Atlantic City.



Structure Tone
By John White, Jr., Regional COO, Woodbridge
Our market continues to grow, but at a slower pace than in previous years. Where we are seeing an uptick in activity, which we think will continue into 2018, is in adaptive reuse. Developers are revitalizing outdated corporate and pharmaceutical campuses—like Somerset Development’s Bell Works complex in Holmdel; the Center for Excellence being developed by Advance Realty on the former Sanofi Aventis site in Bridgewater; and Prism Capital Partners’ repositioning of the Roche campus in Nutley—as new mixed-use hubs with commercial, residential, and retail uses. We’re also seeing a wave of consolidations as large companies work to build spaces that bring their dispersed workforce together in a modern, amenity-rich workspace that better matches the way people work today, while helping to attract and retain talent.



LG Electronics North America
By William Cho, President and CEO
At LG, we’re looking ahead to a transformative year in our industry as 4K Ultra HD TVs continue to grow, expected to surpass sales of conventional HDTVs in 2018. LG will be leading the charge with our industry-leading LG OLED TVs. Similarly, 2018 will be a critical year in the home appliance industry as connected “smart” appliances take hold in the smart home ecosystem. LG will leverage its “Open Platform” leadership, offering more than 100 appliances with Google Home and/or Amazon Alexa compatibility. For LG in New Jersey, the year ahead is very promising, as work progresses on our world-class, sustainable, new, North American headquarters building in Bergen County, and as we gear up our new East Coast distribution center in Mercer County.



GEI Consultants, Inc.
By Ron Palmieri, President and CEO
2018 business opportunities for GEI in New Jersey are strong, and we are well-positioned to continue to support new and brownfield site development throughout the state. Our geotechnical and environmental engineering capabilities provide innovative and cost-effective design and remedial solutions, especially for the types of challenging and complex urbanindustrial sites that will continue to be needed in this highly demanding market segment.



Next Generation Services LLC
By Jaime Raskulinecz, CEO
We’re expecting Millennials to take a lot more interest in their self-directed IRAs, 401(k)s and other retirement plans, compared to the Baby Boomers. We’re also cautiously optimistic that the tax benefits of retirement plans will not be seriously affected by the current discussions between the White House and Congress. Our firm, which opened in 2004, currently holds almost $600 million in assets for clients. In 2017, we formed a trust company, so all custody of clients’ assets is by our affiliated company, offering a more seamless experience for clients.



Delta Dental of New Jersey
By Dennis G. Wilson, President and CEO
Today’s consumers are expecting more individualized interaction with their healthcare
companies. Remaining at the forefront of ever-changing customer demands, improving our customer’s overall experience and expanding the digital education offerings in order to help the decision-making process is our prediction for the focus of the oral health industry in 2018.



Hackensack Meridian Health
By Robert C. Garrett, FACHE and John K. Lloyd, FACHE, Co-CEOs
We are adding JFK Health to our network, opening a new medical school with Seton Hall University and expanding more than 140 patientcare locations throughout New Jersey. Our partnerships with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the New Jersey Innovation Institute will continue to improve healthcare and support innovation. The industry will remain focused on developing more robust population health programs, while making healthcare more affordable.



Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation
By Sue Kida, President
As New Jersey’s only nationally ranked rehabilitation hospital, Kessler Institute remains
committed to expanding our programs, services and geographic reach to best address our patients’ dynamic and often complex needs. We will also be working closely with our referring hospitals across the state and throughout the region to ensure individuals have access to the most appropriate level of post-acute care.



Berkeley College
By Michael J. Smith, President
In a world of apps and technology, the skills that students need to be successful are core skills. They need to be able to read and think critically, communicate effectively and have the ability to analyze and understand data. Technologies may become obsolete over time, but these fundamentals are needed at the start of and throughout their careers.



Georgian Court University
By Dr. Joseph R. Marbach, President
With the election of a new governor and proposed changes in the federal tax code, this will be a year of great uncertainty for higher education. At Georgian Court, we have developed a strategic compass that provides the flexibility to respond to multiple scenarios in a timely and effective manner. New program development will be driven by market demands and position our students for continued success.



Montclair State University
By Dr. Susan A. Cole, President
Montclair State University predicts that 2018 will see long-overdue attention to affordability of public higher education through urgently needed reform of the state’s irrational approach to operating funding for the institutions and its inequitable financial aid to students through the TAG program. Our university will do its part for New Jersey students through our new Presidential Scholars program.



By Dr. Joel S. Bloom, President
The U.S. higher education sector will continue to face enrollment challenges because of
demographic shifts domestically as well as reductions in the number of international students. NJIT and other institutions that build partnerships with industry and prepare students for professional success in an economy driven by technology will buck that enrollment trend and remain very attractive to prospective students—especially at the undergraduate level.



Corporate Ladders
By Bill Taylor, CEO
The aphorism “a rising tide lifts all boats” has never been more apropos for attorneys, CPAs, and other professional service providers. While markets have been steadily rising, history tells us that they do not go straight up. For 2018, we believe service providers must focus on learning and improving business development skills to prepare themselves to find and secure new business when times are less robust.



Piro Zinna Cifelli Paris & Genitempo, LLC
By James Piro, Esq., Founding Principal
For 2018, our firm foresees continued growth in the legal services needed by our clients with resultant retention of our workforce and potential new hires. Projected low interest rates will create commercial real property acquisitions, sales and refinances. Corporate profits will generate excess cash to stimulate mergers and acquisitions. Low unemployment projections will create job movement and the need for employment agreements and relations, and residential real estate transactions.



EZ Payroll
By Imran Rana, President
We are looking forward to a great year because of the new and innovative services we have started offering. Businesses have become accustomed to letting us handle their payroll; we had discussions with our clients, and sent out surveys to find out what other bottlenecks and issues are bogging down HR departments. The overwhelming response was managing the employee benefits from enrollment to changes. In response, our company is offering to take over that part of clients’ work, while eliminating the paper enrollment process. We offer a customized portal for clients’ employees to enroll and select their benefits, and then we transmit all that information to the relevant carriers on our client’s behalf. That has saved tons of time for our clients.



Berger Organization
By Miles Berger, CEO
The Newark office market continues to improve through the 4th quarter 2017. The outlook for 2018 looks bright; with the possible Amazon HQ2 decision coming mid-year, interest in Newark for company relocations has never been higher. Of course, HQ2 would be a game-changer for Newark, Essex County and New Jersey.




Case Real Estate Capital, LLC
By Sanford Herrick, Founder and Managing Principal
At Case Real Estate Capital, we expect to continue our service line expansion in 2018 based on the needs of our clients and market conditions. We will continue to provide “nonconforming” first mortgage financing in the $5 million to $30 million range. Case recently expanded with a lower interest loan program, “bridge light,” to respond to needs in the $2 million to $8 million range for properties nearing stabilization. Our goal, with all of our lending, is to create additional profit opportunities for property owners and developers.



Cushman & Wakefield
By Andrew Judd, New Jersey Market Leader
After celebrating its 100-year anniversary, Cushman & Wakefield will continue to grow and evolve throughout 2018. Investment sales should remain strong with solid office leasing predicted in key submarkets. Combined with the progression of new commerce (the convergence of retail, logistics and e-commerce), record setting industrial activity will continue to bolster growth in those sectors as well.



Key Properties
By David Schlussel, Co-Managing Partner
The New Jersey market still has attractive infill redevelopment opportunities for commercial real estate investors specializing in complex issues. Many of our firm’s past and current initiatives involve underutilized and impaired properties requiring rezoning, environmental cleanup or both. We expect to see a continued trend toward creative second-generation solutions in 2018 and beyond.



Levin Management Corporation
By Matthew K. Harding, President
In 2017, Levin Management saw record business growth, which increased our portfolio
to 100 properties totaling 14 million square feet, along with robust tenant inquiries and transactional volume. The retail industry is in transition, yet the relevance of bricks-and-mortar remains clear. As this momentum continues in 2018, so will demand for experienced commercial real estate services providers.



Mountain Development Corp.
By Michael Seeve, President
2018 will bring together commercial property owners and tenants in new and powerful ways. This collaboration will include harnessing technology to make space usage more efficient and productive; marrying space needs with branding and marketing; and capitalizing on strong capital markets to fund exciting, ambitious projects. Transactions will favor creative thinking; players will work together to make buildings and spaces more integral to their operations and identity.


NAIOP New Jersey
By Michael G. McGuinness, CEO
New Jersey will continue to be one of the top two distribution and supply chain platforms for North America with 1 billion square feet of industrial space and more on the way. We anticipate a trend downward due to the lack of available land with access to the port. Office, mixed use and retail should grow along more urban rail markets.



Prism Capital Partners, LLC
By Edwin Cohen, Principal Partner
Walking Urbanism will dominate planning for new development and redevelopment in the coming year, with our 116-acre ON3 campus in Nutley and Clifton serving as a benchmark. Few places offer such an exciting opportunity to create a world-class, mixed-use setting integrating office and R&D facilities, housing, retail and recreational space, and hospitality and wellness options— within a single, pedestrian-friendly environment.





Integrated Business Systems
By Michael Mullin, President
Cybersecurity will continue to dominate headlines in 2018. More than 100,000 pieces of malware are being created on a daily basis and this incredible proliferation essentially guarantees that every person and every business will be impacted at some point. Constant vigilance and ongoing education must be a focus for everyone as threats—and solutions— constantly evolve.





Hainesport Transportation Group
By Darryl Caplan, Founder and Managing Director
Demand for transportation and solid waste disposal services continues to trend upward leading into 2018. This increased demand is attributable to continued growth in both the commercial and residential building sectors in Southern New Jersey. The increased pressure on local disposal capacity will likely result in a corresponding increase in disposal rates.





Garden State Wine Growers Association
By Tom Cosentino, Executive Director
The just-ended year was a standout for New Jersey wine growers, and 2018 should see continued growth. Producers in the state have done well in multiple competitions, and with greater public awareness, they’ve enjoyed more sales and increased production. In November 2017, the Garden State Wine Growers Association launched its first ever television commercial promoting New Jersey Wine Country, and in 2018, a billboard promoting beverage tourism in the state will go up near Newark Airport.

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