BY ANTHONY RUSSO
NEW JERSEY needs entrepreneurs—motivated men and women who want to bring their products or services to market. They are the foundation of economic development. They are the backbone of our economy. They use their vision and their courage to compete and win in business.
At CIANJ, we delight in working with entrepreneurs because we learn from them and pass along their knowledge to others. We’re in the business of helping business. What better way to accomplish our mission than to cast a spotlight on thriving companies. One of CIANJ’s newest members fits the bill perfectly—Fornazor International Inc., based in Hillsdale.
The firm derives its name from its CEO, John Fornazor Sr., who remade a picturesque church into the headquarters for his global export business. Fate led John Fornazor into exporting. As a young man, he was a linebacker for the now-defunct, New Jersey Rams, a semipro team. The club owner, Alan Roemer, offered him an opportunity.
They became partners and when Roemer died, John Fornazor moved the operation to Hillsdale. Over the past four decades, Fornazor has expanded his animal feed and grain business into one of the largest export operations in the nation with six affiliated firms—yet it remains a closely held family business. Its accomplishments earned Fornazor recognition as a 2015 recipient of the Presidential Award for Export Success by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
In simple terms, Fornazor specializes in the manufacture, sale, packaging and transportation of both animal feeds and agriculture products for human consumption. But what started with chicken feed has grown into a massive operation that shipped 20,000 containers last year to 40 countries around the world. The Middle East, South East Asia and South America are prime sales locations for the firm.
Its diverse portfolio includes shipping feed to dairy farms in Saudi Arabia and fish farms in Chile. Thoroughbred horses in Dubai are fed from Fornazor’s shipments. It also deals in specialty foods like Grade A table eggs from Pennsylvania that are shipped in refrigerated containers to the Middle East; Peter Rabbit Organics fruit and vegetable purees, and even Mrs. Fields Cookies.
A key to the success is its relationship with 13 carriers. Fornazor recruited two former Maersk executives for its massive logistics operations. One is Kevin Sinnott, who is now president of the company. He and John Fornazor keep a hectic schedule of conferences and trade shows across the globe and they thrive on it.
“While we are an international trading, freight and bulk processing company, we are first and foremost entrepreneurs,” says John Fornazor. “Every trade lane we have today was created through our vertically integrated trading model. The real thrill is to take a non-existing market and turn it into a vibrant international outlet for USA goods.”
Fornazor is proud of his story and gladly shares it. When Congressman Josh Gottenheimer wanted to focus attention on the issues confronting the federal Export-Import Bank, he also opened the company’s doors to host a press conference. As a leading exporter, Fornazor is ready to offer its support.
Since joining CIANJ earlier this year, Fornazor immersed itself into the association, attending a variety of programs and events. Fornazor participated in a human resources forum that delved into cybersecurity issues. Executives were quick to take advantage of a members only meeting with Kevin O’Toole, the new chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, who shared his vision for the massive agency.
Transportation will always be a paramount issue for Fornazor, and its executives made certain they spoke with State Senator Bob Gordon, the new chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, at a recent networking reception. The senator, in turn, will benefit from Fornazor’s insights and experience.
We are pleased to create the environments and the situations where our members can connect and network, and officials can hear first-hand from businesses what they need. At CIANJ, we applaud Fornazor and other savvy businesses, and we are eager to work with them.