2016 Forecast

New Jersey CEOs Assess the Coming Year

New Jersey CEOs Assess the Coming Year

Filler img resizedTHE PACE OF CHANGE HAS FORCED BUSINESSES TO adapt quickly to tremors in the market and to the evolving needs of their clients. Looking to the future is no longer an exercise in critical thinking, as it has become essential for companies that want to plan for long-term success. Thus, COMMERCE asked many of New Jersey’s top CEOs to offer their predictions for 2016. Here are their insights, observations and analyses. Buckle your seat belts, as it is going to be a bumpy ride in some cases and a torrent of change in others. Are you ready for 2016?


alex serranoCitrin Cooperman
By Alex Serrano,
CPA, Co-Managing Partner

“As the economy grows stronger, so does leisure and business development spending, and investment in technology, infrastructure and human capital. While making these investments should increase profitability, tax benefits help to offset the expense. Citrin Cooperman will see growth in our Technology, Manufacturing, Hospitality, Health Care, Automotive and Construction industry practices.”

phil goldsteinGoldstein Lieberman & Company LLC

By Phillip E. Goldstein,
CPA, Co-Founder, Managing Partner

“Mergers and acquisitions will dominate the accounting industry in 2016. With our firm’s precision, skill and dexterity, we have merged and acquired several firms giving us more depth and expertise to help our clients in our many niches. With that said, Goldstein Lieberman & Company will partner with its clients to turn challenges into opportunities in 2016.”


corey templeKPMG LLP
By Corey Temple,
Managing Partner, Short Hills

“We expect to see increased demand for our services and expertise from organizations across industry sectors such as healthcare, life sciences and all facets of financial services who are facing challenges like cybersecurity and disruptive technologies. Additionally, organizations continue to seek guidance on how to best leverage data and analytics and adapt to changing regulation. Many companies are still focusing on accessing the capital markets to support their growth initiatives.”


rollinsKreinces Rollins & Shanker, LLC
By Maria Rollins,
CPA, MST, Partner

“KRS will increase staff to accommodate a moderate increase in marketplace growth. We’ll also work through more international issues as our clients continue to move into a global workspace. Increasing identity theft and fraudulent tax filings will impact how we represent clients, as the IRS works through solutions to combat theft. There will be more accounting practice acquisitions, as older proprietors look for exit strategies.”


michael karuLevine Jacobs & Co., LLC

By Michael H. Karu,
CPA/CFF, Member of the Fiirm

“Roughly two-thirds of all CPAs are expected to retire within the next 12 years, which creates a huge demand. Compounded with the constant need for financial and tax information and it becomes obvious why the profession is growing. In 2016, we expect steady growth and will be looking for quality people to join our firm.”


Ralph HeadshotNew Jersey Society of CPAs

By Ralph Thomas,

“The accounting sector will continue its consolidation due to demographic trends; an increasing number of accounting graduates will pursue corporate finance careers. The New Jersey Society of CPAs will experience flat membership growth in the short-term, and work with other pro-business groups to improve New Jersey’s business climate and oppose onerous regulations.”


alan sobelSobel & Co. LLC

By Alan D. Sobel,
CPA, CGMA, Managing Member

“I predict that Sobel & Co. will continue its transition to a third generation of leadership, and be well positioned for significant growth in the niche practice areas that we are strong. While I predict the CPA profession will continue its consolidation, Sobel & Co. will continue to remain independent.”


ed guttenplanWilkin & Guttenplan P.C.

By Edward Guttenplan,
CPA, CGMA, MBA, Managing Shareholder

“The greatest trend I see in 2016 is successful firms engaging with their staff and embracing meaningful changes for the future. Those who don’t will continue to lose value, clients, sustainability and will be unable to attract and retain top talent. This will force many small and mid-sized firms to merge, sell, or pursue other succession strategies.”


bill hagamanWithumSmith+Brown, PC

By William R. Hagaman, Jr.,
CPA, CGMA, Managing Partner, CEO

“At Withum, we will continue our positive momentum, growing in staff, revenue and geographic reach while expanding our service offerings to benefit our clients. The accounting profession will continue to be forced to innovate in order to meet client demands, while still being challenged with a shortage of people within the profession.”


robert dohertyBank of America
By Bob Doherty,
NJ President

“Mobile and online banking have transformed the industry, making security more important. Bank of America recently released updates to our mobile and online platforms including the launch of fingerprint and Touch ID sign-in and a new security center. Enhanced security will continue to be important, as more customers bank virtually.”


tom sharaLakeland Bank

By Tom Shara,
President, CEO

“I believe there will be continued regulatory cost challenges for the industry along with lower interest rates for longer than most predictions. For Lakeland, we will focus on our commercial and consumer businesses who value our relationship approach to banking along with additional Loan Production Offices to expand our geographic reach and supplement organic growth.”


regal bankRegal Bank

By David Orbach,
Executive Chairman of the Board

“Regal Bank has had great success over the past eight years with its organic growth. We feel that this transaction [the merger of Community First into Regal Bank], and hopefully future ones, will greatly complement the successes we have had thus far.”


gerry lipkinValley National Bank
By Gerald H. Lipkin,
Chairman, President and CEO

“In 2016, Valley will expand its footprint throughout New Jersey, New York and Florida, the country’s premiere growth markets. To respond to customer demands, we will also focus on implementing our branch modernization initiative, which is designed to integrate new technology at many of our branch locations.”




bob mullenStructure Tone Organization
By Bob Mullen,

“Structure Tone expects continued strong growth in commercial construction as companies invest in their facilities to attract and support talent. We’re excited about the prospect of bringing new talent into our company, and supporting clients’ development of world-class hospitals; educational, retail, hospitality and R&D facilities; data centers and corporate work spaces.”



tyrone museVisions Federal Credit Union
By Tyrone E. Muse,
President, CEO

“We see 2016 as a growth year with an expansion into other services such as financial consulting. We also anticipate a greater focus and need for consumer deposit dollars. This will lead to an even greater emphasis on member acquisition and retention via enhanced service and improved mobile channels.”




eric cohenBenefit Quest
By Eric Cohen,
Managing Director

“The employee benefit insurance industry has gone through many changes because of the Affordable Care Act. There will be much more consolidation of services in order for companies to stay in compliance with ACA-mandated changes. New solutions and services provided by independent insurance agencies will have to be considered.”


david singerRisk Strategies Company
By David J. Singer,
Managing Director

“For 2016, we expect to grow substantially. One area of growth is employee benefits. The Affordable Care Act (also known as ACA or Obamacare) has caused tremendous disruption and increased cost for employers. We will expertly guide and support employers through these complexities so they can deliver optimal health insurance offerings to their employees.”




karlAccutest Laboratories
By Dr. Karl Schoene,
President, CEO

“After years of artificially low prices, the environmental testing industry has realized pricing must match our quality of service. In 2016, we expect more industry consolidation as business moves to larger labs with deep and broad talent pools. At Accutest, we see increased demand for our high-quality, high-service model.”


valerie montecalvoBayshore Recycling
By Valerie Montecalvo,
President and CEO

“We hope to develop an on-site biomass gasification technology. This will take engineered biofuel we generate through our materials recovery facility and convert the material to energy that will be used to power the balance of Bayshore’s and our tenants’ operations. Eventually, we want all Bayshore buildings to house rooftop solar operations as well.”


ray hartGEI Consultants, Inc.

By Raymond D. Hart,
P.E., G.E., President

“Two factors will influence our business sectors in 2016. NJDEP, with prodding from the legislature, will expand the self-implementing model of the LSRP program into other regulatory compliance areas, such as air and land use. Also, once the Transportation Trust Fund issues are resolved, new infrastructure projects will start to be designed and built.”

tory donnellySummit Drilling
By Tory Donnelly,

“I see an expansion of our sonic division, and I also hope to see more drillers evolve into project managers and division leaders; master driller John Coyle now runs our sonic division. Coming out of the field as a driller, he understands the other side of the business regarding how to service our clients.”




bgAtlantic Health System
By Brian A. Gragnolati,
FACHE, President, CEO

“We’ll continue to see more hospital partnerships, but the end goal won’t be the number of hospitals or doctors you own. As the industry moves toward a value-based model, the goal at Atlantic Health System will be building a trusted network of caring and delivering a continuum of care.”


By Debbie Hart,
President, CEO

“Opportunities continue to build in New Jersey for and from our robust life sciences ecosystem. With the constant development of current companies, expected influx of new companies and enhanced strategies from our academic institutions, I expect 2016 to be a year of further development and success for New Jersey’s life sciences industry.”


john gribbinCentraState Healthcare System
By John T. Gribbin,
FACHE, President, CEO

“Healthcare is becoming more complex for providers and more confusing for consumers. We provide good quality care at relatively low costs, and we will continue to work with our physicians to focus on building out programs for wellness and coordinated care of our population, especially local employers.”


mike maronHoly Name Medical Center
By Michael Maron,
President, CEO

“Providing value—defined as quality plus low cost—is the key to success in healthcare, and is why Holy Name will remain strong both programmatically and financially, despite market volatility and errant insurance schemes. Value-driven hospitals will continue to thrive; those that are not will face difficulties not easily solved.”

robert garrettHackensack University Health Network
By Robert C. Garrett,
President, CEO

“The future of healthcare is all about patientcentered, streamlined care using tomorrow’s technology. Next year will be monumental for Hackensack University Health Network as we look forward to merging with Meridian Health. We will also work toward the completion of our school of medicine with Seton Hall University.”


sebastianNew Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII) An NJIT Corporation
By Dr. Donald H. Sebastian,
President, CEO

“Our national healthcare system is being transformed to an accountable care model whereby physicians will be reimbursed based on the outcomes of their patient population. Through a recently awarded $49.6 million federal grant, NJII is working with NJ physicians to use health information technology so they may achieve efficiencies that help them attain seemingly competing goals of affordability, accessibility and accountability.”

audrey meyersValley Health System and The Valley Hospital
By Audrey Meyers,
President, CEO

“Healthcare is evolving from caring for people who are ill to offering services that prevent illness and encourage wellness. Valley is committed to population health initiatives that will help the members of our community achieve their best health, and we have embraced the goal of offering the right care at the right time in the right setting.”

cse presidentCollege of Saint Elizabeth
By Dr. Helen J. Streubert,

“CSE will continue to work strategically with our business partners to ensure that our graduates meet all the competencies and more in order to transition into the workforce. I predict that analytical thinking that can be applied to many different careers will be the most important skill to be learned in 2016.”


priscoFelician University
By Dr. Anne Prisco,

“The future for Felician is very bright. Our recent name change to Felician University better reflects our range of academic programs. We will continue to help a diverse student population realize their potential by providing a first-rate, affordable education guided by the values-based framework of our Franciscan heritage.”


gcu prezGeorgian Court University
By Dr. Joseph R. Marbach,

“In 2016, Georgian Court’s enrollments will rebound due to new partnerships and program offerings. As the only Catholic university serving central and southern New Jersey, GCU is expanding our footprint throughout this portion of the state by meeting the needs of traditional and nontraditional learners.”


pres mercerRamapo College
By Dr. Peter P. Mercer,

“Higher education is at a pivotal point as the public’s interest in matters of affordability, quality and safety continues to mount. In response, Ramapo College will continue to steward our resources efficiently and thoughtfully to remain an affordable, high-quality, trusted institution; and we will persist in developing students’ critical thinking and analytical skills.”


wpu waldronWilliam Paterson University
By Dr. Kathleen Waldron,

“We will expand our School of Continuing and Professional Education to meet a growing demand for workforce training and professional development. Our new University Hall increases our capacity to serve students in the health sciences, one of our region’s fastest-growing industries. We will continue with $20 million in capital improvement projects.”




gilbert aAdaptation
By Allyson C. Gilbert,
CPA, President

“Change is changing and it is disruptive. The convergence of new technologies brings unprecedented changes to the ways in which we work. Companies will need to adapt to a new world where more of their workforce is populated by workers who are contingent and are employees of another organization.”


By Karen Jacobsen,

“I think 2016 will look a lot like 2015 with continued job growth, business expansion, low interest rates, maybe not as low as they are today, and overall profitability. I don’t expect real estate prices to increase much; we are already experiencing that. I expect sales in the over $1 million market to remain weak. The background screening industry will remain strong with double-digit growth.”



michael mullinIntegrated Business Systems
By Michael Mullin,

“In the coming year, an increasing number of small- and mid-size companies will choose to outsource their IT functions to third-party managed services providers. Businesses are recognizing the benefits of involving a technology partner to keep their systems current and navigate complexities like network and customer data security.”



aaron straussA.Y. Strauss, LLC
By Aaron Strauss, Esq.,
Managing Partner

“Work-life balance will become an even bigger issue, not just for law firms but for virtually all industries. From millennials to seasoned industry veterans, it is evolving into a top priority. For us at A.Y. Strauss, helping all of our attorneys achieve that balance will remain a core value.”


sean callagyCallagy Law
By Sean Callagy, Esq.,

“Callagy Law’s legal practice is closely tied to events taking place in the medical industry, and, in the near term, that industry is wrought with uncertainty. The Affordable Care Act, significant regulatory changes to medical billing practices, and mergers among hospitals and health systems mean a wild ride in 2016.”


michael sirotaCole Schotz, P.C.
By Michael D. Sirota, Esq.,
Managing Partner

“The legal industry will continue to become more competitive as clients seek to retain law firms pursuant to value-added engagement terms. Law firms will invest in technology and improve internal processes to become more efficient. We will continue to improve our client partnerships, grow our core practices and expand in a few new areas.”


mcbrideConnell Foley LLP
By Michael X. McBride, Esq.,
Managing Partner

“Law firms will face a number of external challenges, given the flat growth in the economy, and will need to differentiate themselves in order to prosper. Connell Foley adapts to changing client needs; we will continue to look at improved process management, pricing and technology to ensure efficient and effective client representation.”


dunicanGibbons P.C.
By Patrick C. Dunican Jr.,
Chairman, Managing Director

“Overall, the legal industry has not rebounded after the Great Recession. Although transactional practices have bounced back, litigation has not returned to the level of the early 2000s. With the uncertainty that presidential politics brings to the economy, it is likely that 2016 will be a ‘wait-and-see’ year.”


david nachmanNPZ Law Group, P.C
By David H. Nachman. Esq.,
Managing Attorney

“The 2016 economy will be driven by increased globalization and value-added by the establishment of foreign subsidiaries in the United States, which will continue to enhance U.S. markets with foreign goods and services. International investors, international executives and outstanding researchers will continue to come to the United States.”



cliff lindholmFalstrom Company
By Clifford F. Lindholm, III,
President and CEO

“At Falstrom Company, we believe that 2016 will be a solid year. Early indications are that the level of activity will continue through most of the year. There is a great deal of activity in the defense industry at this time. However, Presidential elections tend to disrupt defense spending.”


david sugarmanManischewitz
By David Sugarman,
President, CEO

“We want to continue to grow in the kosher section of supermarkets and introduce cool, new items like we’ve been doing over the past few years, such as non-GMO foods and gluten-free matzo. We are currently evaluating items to see which ones will have broader appeal to take beyond the kosher aisles.”



caryl bixonCaryl Communications
By Caryl Bixon-Gordon,

“Smaller firms and businesses will pare down their social media presence to focus on a manageable outreach that targets their messages to a select audience. Strategy will play a bigger role in content creation for small businesses.”


marlene pissottInGroup, Inc.
By Marlene Pissott,

“InGroup will continue to maximize customer engagement for clients through integrated outreach and marketing initiatives that meet growing consumer demand for anytime, anywhere access to information and value-rich, contentbased messaging. We will leverage traditional, digital, social media and emerging platforms in high-impact, customized programs that resonate with clients’ target audiences.”


darren magarroThe DSM Group
By Darren Magarro,

“In 2016, we expect the advertising spending to continue to transition to digital marketing as companies focus more on generating new business online. Our agency has grown rapidly the past three years (our staff has tripled in that time) and we anticipate that trend to continue in 2016 and beyond.”



steve busselBussel Realty Corp.
By Steve Bussel,

“A continued reduction in existing inventory and an acceleration of new construction activity is to be expected as developers take advantage of market conditions. New Jersey’s industrial market is largely dependent on new construction as tenants are having difficulty locating quality space. The market will only get tighter and rents will rise.”


sanford herrickCase Real Estate Capital, LLC
By Sandy Herrick,
Founder, Managing Principal

“The CRE industry will continue its upswing; there is more liquidity although there are concerns about absorption. Owners of valueadd properties will still look to private investors for dependable financing as banks shy away from complex transactions. At Case, we will broaden our platform, concentrating on industrial and retail.”


andrew juddCushman & Wakefield

By Andrew Judd,
NJ Market Leader

“Cushman & Wakefield is well positioned for 2016 and beyond. In New Jersey, office market fundamentals should continue to improve in most areas, as both the national and state economies trend upward. And, with healthy projected e-commerce and bricksand- mortar retail sales, the industrial market should also remain on its positive trajectory.”


matthew hardingLevin Management
By Matthew K. Harding,

“The emerging supply/demand imbalance for Class A retail space will lead to an expanded construction pipeline in 2016. This will include stepped-up expansion of existing shopping center properties. And, for new projects, developers will focus on opportunities in established corridors and those that involve the strength of a grocery anchor.”


bill hansonNAI James E. Hanson
By William C. Hanson,

“We anticipate commercial real estate service firms to continue consolidating. As an independent, full-service firm, NAI Hanson is committed to growing and enhancing our services to provide the highest-quality client service, not consolidating them. We anticipate the marketplace will remain vibrant with all sectors showing signs of improvement. “


diazPrism Capital Partners
By Eugene Diaz,
Principal Partner

“A tangible change in suburban land-planning, in which balanced downtowns are the focus, is being driven by the convenience lifestyle philosophy of the millennial generation. Tuned-in municipalities are encouraging more housing options and amenities to make their commercial corridors attractive for millennials and the businesses looking to hire them.”


terrie oconnorTerrie O’Connor Realtors
By Terrie O’Connor,
Founder, President

“We have some towns with a small inventory, particularly in the lower price ranges for Bergen County. Our higher price ranges are softer. When you look at $2 million and above, you’re looking at a 48 month or so supply of inventory in the county. We are looking forward to a good, solid 2016.”


miles bergerThe Berger Organization
By Miles Berger,
Chairman, CEO

“For Newark, the trend toward urbanism and the emergence of creative solutions that position older properties to serve modern needs are creating strong momentum. It also is becoming clear that the city’s superior data capacity positions it to become a hub for tech start-ups and, ultimately, the larger tech sector.”


samVision Real Estate Partners
By Sam Morreale,
Founder, Managing Partner

“Suburban commercial property repositioning and redevelopment will continue to focus on the creation of settings that blend modern office space with comprehensive lifestyle amenities. In short, our industry is raising the bar for quality-of-life at multi-tenant properties by leveraging the second-generation potential of New Jersey’s aging office inventory.”



james fakultJCP&L
By Jim Fakult,

“At JCP&L, we do not predict, we deliver. We are going to continue our ‘Energizing the Future’ transmission system initiative to add resiliency and meet the future demand for electricity. Our industry will also continue to introduce and employ new technologies to better serve our customers.”


ralph izzoPSEG
By Dr. Ralph Izzo,
President, CEO and Chairman

“2016 will be the year when energy efficiency finally comes into its own as a national priority because of the drive for clean energy. New Jersey has a golden opportunity to lead the way by creating a model energy-efficient system that uses less, saves people money and reduces emissions.”

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