Texas HR services firm names N.J. exec

BenefitMall, a Texas-based provider of benefit and payroll services, has hired a payroll sales director for New Jersey, it announced this week.

The company, which has its New Jersey office in Somerset, said John Watson joins after more than a dozen years with Paychex in a variety of roles, including district sales manager. He has more than a decade of payroll, HR and employee benefits sales experience, BenefitMall noted.

“BenefitMall is thrilled to introduce John Watson to our payroll sales team,” Michael Garcia, vice president of Eastern payroll sales, said in a prepared statement. “His extensive experience in payroll and employee benefits sales with small to medium businesses will make him an excellent leader for our sales team in New Jersey.”

In his new role, Watson will over see BenefitMall’s New Jersey human capital management and payroll sales efforts, leading the Garden State teams.

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How success of Kearny Point project was key to $3M infrastructure grant for Kearny

The town of Kearny has received a $3 million federal grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Public Works program to redevelop and improve Hackensack Avenue into a high performing “green” street, seeing as the stretch of roadway serves as the primary entranceway to Kearny Point, a collection of more than 3 million anticipated square feet of coworking and flexible-use office space on 130 acres in South Kearny.

“To say that I am impressed with the local vision and the collaboration taking place here would be an understatement,” John Fleming, U.S. assistant secretary of commerce for economic development, said Thursday on site at Kearny Point. “Through your efforts, this land is being reborn as a center for the pioneering companies of the new economy, providing a flexible, modern workplace and home to a diverse community of today’s creators.”

The EDA’s investment also will be matched by $1.3 million in local funds, Fleming added.

Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos, from left, with John Fleming, assistant secretary of commerce, Hugo Neu CEO Wendy Kelman Neu and Hugo Neu Director of Development Mike Meyer.

“This is the type of true public-private partnership that the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Administration is eager to invest in,” he said.

Fleming attributed the success of one of the largest adaptive reuse projects in the country to Wendy Kelman Neu, chairman and CEO of New York City-based Hugo Neu Corp., with the ongoing redevelopment representing an expected $1 billion in public and private investment into the site over the next decade.

Hugo Neu Corp., a recognized global leader in recycling, is the owner and redeveloper of Kearny Point.

“It is through your commitment and wisdom that this former maritime facility is being transformed into a cutting-edge, world-class innovation district and manufacturing hub,” Fleming said.

Neu said the announcement Thursday marked the celebration of an incredible milestone not only for Kearny Point but also for the long-term economic development goals of Kearny, as the funding goes toward a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act-designated Opportunity Zone.

“We would not be here today without the hard work of the many stakeholders that understand that in addressing the infrastructural needs to support growing businesses at Kearny Point, we can take critical and meaningful steps to protect and enhance our natural environment,” she said.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said the federal grant was a wise investment in New Jersey infrastructure.

“The modernization of Hackensack Avenue will not only safeguard the area from future storm-related flooding, but will strengthen pedestrian and biker safety and lay the foundation for the economic revitalization and improved quality of life that this community deserves,” Booker said in a statement.

According to Mike Meyer, director of development at Hugo Neu Corp., the redevelopment of the roadway will include the planting of more than 20,000 square feet of grass, plants and trees; the creation of designated paths for both pedestrians and cyclists; new street light poles; and the implementation and improvement of overhead electric services and underground gas distribution system piping.

Designed by Bohler Engineering and Arterial Design Studio, the project also will reduce flooding and limit nonpoint pollution of the Hudson-Raritan watershed by rebuilding the roadway’s underground water distribution, stormwater and sewer systems.

Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos said the roadway improvements, which are expected to be completed within a year and a half, are just the beginning.

“We will be submitting more applications and we will be able to show you results,” Santos said. “Bringing old industrial centers back to life to create more jobs should be our collective goal irrespective of state or party.

“We should be about economic growth in a responsible way that creates jobs — and Kearny Point is meeting that challenge.”

Kearny Point is the modern answer to developing the new economy, Neu said, made possible by the scrap metal trading business her late husband, John Neu, started with his father, Hugo Neu, in 1947.

Through various subsidiaries, Hugo Neu Corp. had developed more than 9 million square feet of industrial properties in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and California over its many decades in business, including the former Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. warehouse and distribution facilities in South Kearny.

Building 78 at Kearny Point.

When Hurricane Sandy left the site under four feet of water in 2012, the Neus decided to demolish and construct newer industrial buildings for distribution and logistics purposes. But with the passing of her husband in 2013, Wendy Kelman Neu, who had been working for Hugo Neu Corp. since 1980, unexpectedly assumed complete control of the historic riverfront site.

Neu ultimately decided to partner with Steve Nislick, former CEO of Edison Properties and now chief financial officer of Hugo Neu Corp., to reposition the company to invest, build and manage innovative businesses in recycling and real estate, starting in 2015 with the renovation and construction of four floors of flexible-use office space between 200 and 3,000 square feet at Building 78, a 200,000-square-foot building at Kearny Point.

Starting at nearly $500 per month, small to medium-sized businesses now have 24/7 access not only to high-quality, scalable office space in which to grow, but also coworking space, rooftop event space, a café and bar, internet technology services, printer, scanner and copier services and package delivery and receipt services for a fraction of the cost of what they would find in New York City, Newark, Hoboken or Jersey City, Nick Shears, director of leasing and marketing for Hugo Neu Realty Management, said.

Having reached more than 95 percent occupancy within a year and a half without the use of brokers in 2017, Building 78 at Kearny Point now hosts more than 200 businesses and nearly 500 employees, Shears added, with the majority of tenants being women- and minority-owned companies.

Building 78 has proven so successful, in fact, that an annex consisting of 90,000 square feet of small flexible-use office space is currently being constructed to expand the building’s footprint by the end of this year.

According to Hugo Neu Corp. representatives, subsequent phases of the project will also involve the renovation and demolishment of older buildings on-site to create more than 3 million square feet of WELL AP-certified flexible-use office space ranging from 200 to 10,000 square feet; the construction of a gathering hall with retail and dining components; a waterfront park and living shoreline at the confluence of the Hackensack and Passaic Rivers; an outdoor amphitheater; and more than 25 acres of open space for both the tenants and the public.

The goal, Neu said, is to create nearly 10,000 jobs on site.

“But this is much larger than 130 acres,” she said. “What we hope to do here is create a model in Kearny that then will be transferable to other locations.”

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Ørsted signs agreement to support Rutgers research on offshore wind power

Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind has signed a memorandum of understanding with Rutgers University to support academic research related to offshore wind power, the two announced this week.

The MOU was signed through Rutgers’ Corporate Engagement Center, a joint venture of the university’s Office of Research and Economic Development and the Rutgers University Foundation.

Under the agreement, Ørsted will make an initial contribution to the university, with additional funding contingent upon its being granted approval by the state Board of Public Utilities for its Ocean Wind project, which would be the state’s first offshore wind farm.

The BPU is expected to rule on the December 2018 application in the summer.

“Rutgers University is a premiere institution that can provide us with ongoing research that will help propel the New Jersey offshore wind industry forward,” Thomas Brostrøm, CEO of Ørsted, said in a prepared statement. “We are very happy to partner with them as we progress with our Ocean Wind project.”

The research being supported will be conducted at the Rutgers University Center for Ocean Observing Leadership, part of the Department of Marine and Coastal Science.

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Search firm ZRG adds exec in London office

ZRG, an executive search firm based in Rochelle Park, has expanded its presence in the European insurance sector with the addition of a managing director in the London office.

Zoe Campbell is an experienced search professional who joins an existing insurance team in the U.S. and Asia Pacific regions, helping ZRG react to a changing environment in the U.K. and Europe.

“Joining a truly global firm to support my tier one international and London Market insurance clients is of great benefit,” Campbell said in a prepared statement. “It allows me to leverage both ZRG’s global insurance knowledge and other practice areas such as blockchain, technology and private equity. Their Z Score, a data and analytics approach, is truly underwriting hiring decisions with more rigor and process.”

Added ZRG’s Global Practice head of insurance, David Greenfield: “London is an important market globally, and Zoe’s deep body of work, sector experience and client base add nicely to what we are doing around the world today with many top insurance clients.”

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Executive Moves: InSight, EisnerAmper and more

Executive Moves is an occasional feature on describing some of the important personnel changes in the New Jersey business community. Reports are based on news releases, edited for content, clarity and style.

Shawn Ball, InSight Telepsychiatry

InSight Telepsychiatry has named telepsychiatry industry leader Shawn Ball to its chief operating officer position. Ball has served as the interim chief operating officer at InSight since August 2018.

Ball has extensive experience within the telepsychiatry industry, strategic planning, financial planning and analysis, change management and account management. He has a background in business consulting and has held leadership positions with organizations such as Dell, Motorola and JSA Health Telepsychiatry. He has a strong ability to lead strategic business development initiatives from conception to implementation and understands the technical aspects of business to develop models to drive key performance metrics.

At InSight, Ball oversees the talent, human resources, external operations and internal operations teams. He is responsible for aligning these departments to realize InSight’s mission of delivering quality behavioral health care through innovative applications of technology. Under Ball’s leadership, InSight will meet its goals of providing best of class, solution-oriented services to its partners, providers and consumers.

Stanley Barsky, EisnerAmper LLP

EisnerAmper LLP announced that Stanley Barsky has joined the firm as a principal in its Tax Group. He will specialize in federal income taxation, including issues relating to mergers and acquisitions, transaction advisory services, structuring inbound and outbound investments, and complex client matters.

Barsky’s broad-based experience also includes advising clients on tax issues relating to consolidated returns, bankruptcies, accounting methods, expenditure deductibility, tax treaty planning, tax equalization, earnings repatriation, tax residency and pre-immigration tax planning, qualified small business stock, subchapter S, subchapter C, subchapter K, the rules impacting cannabis businesses, and other areas. In addition, he represents clients who are under tax audits.

“Stan has deep experience in federal taxation issues. His background with respect to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, including Section 199A and the complex international GILTI provisions, will be an invaluable resource for the firm,” said Michael Laveman, co-leader of EisnerAmper’s Tax Practice. “We’re excited for Stan to start doing what he does best — advising clients on complex tax matters.”

Dan Chichester, Ogilvy Health

Ogilvy Health, part of The Ogilvy Group, announced Dan Chichester has rejoined the network following a five-year hiatus, returning in the newly-created position of chief experience officer.

As CXO, Chichester will be responsible for driving forward Parsippany-based Ogilvy Health’s innovation, digital strategy and brand engagement. Chichester will lead his team in working to create greater synergy between the agency’s digital offerings and the evolving needs of its client brands, with the ultimate directive of creating a seamless customer journey and an optimal brand experience. He will work with leaders across the Ogilvy network to create an atmosphere designed to foster innovative thinking and produce ground-breaking solutions for agency clients, all while helping to grow both Ogilvy Health’s digital team and its suite of offerings.

Andrew Schirmer, CEO of Ogilvy Health and the person to whom Chichester will report, shared his thoughts on the new role: “It’s become clear to all those who are paying attention that digital is no longer a separate offering, channel or tool. Today, everything in the marketing, communications and transformation business operates through a digitally enabled ecosystem. What we are building for our clients are brand experiences that reach health care providers, payers, caregivers and patients through a myriad of channels, touchpoints and platforms.”

Jessica Gillespie, Prudential Group 

Jessica Gillespie has been promoted to head of distribution for Prudential Group Insurance and Tim Weber has joined as vice president, voluntary benefits distribution and workplace markets, underscoring the group benefits carrier’s commitment to growing its core businesses and talent pipeline. Prudential Group Insurance is a unit of Prudential Financial Inc.

Additionally, Chuck Brousseau, previously Group Insurance’s head of distribution, has been named Prudential Group Insurance’s chief operations officer. Both Brousseau and Gillespie will report to Jamie Kalamarides, president of Prudential Group Insurance, and sit on the Group Insurance Strategic Leadership Team.

Weber, who joined Prudential on April 8, will report to Gillespie. In this newly created role, he will be responsible for the growth and retention of employee-paid insurance products within the group workplace and optimizing employee engagement with Group Insurance’s growing portfolio of financial wellness products and services.

Andrew Johnson, NAI Mertz

NAI Mertz, a leading full-service commercial real estate firm conducting business throughout the United States, and globally, from its regional offices in New Jersey, greater Philadelphia and northeastern Pennsylvania, announced Andrew Johnson has joined its Mount Laurel team as a new sales associate.

Johnson will focus on sales and leasing in the commercial office and retail sectors, with a focus on restaurants. He will work alongside Fred Meyer, executive vice president and director of brokerage and corporate services; Barry Mertz, chairman; and Rick Gordon, vice president of retail, as they expand the firm’s retail client base.

“We are thrilled to have Andrew join our company,” said Mertz. “He brings deep knowledge, expertise, and a drive for client satisfaction, which will serve him extremely well in this industry. Our team of seasoned leaders is engaging Andrew and providing him with fresh perspectives, that when coupled with his own personal experiences, will greatly benefit his clients. We look forward to Andrew’s contributions in strengthening and growing our retail services division.”

Tyler J. Kandel, Sills Cummis & Gross

Sills Cummis & Gross is pleased to announce the addition of Tyler J. Kandel as a member in the firm’s Litigation Department.

Kandel brings more than 20 years’ experience in complex commercial litigation, in both federal and state courts in New Jersey and New York. His practice includes representation of financial institutions, public and private corporations, and other commercial clients in litigation involving a wide array of issues, including, but not limited to, contract disputes, financial transactions, consumer and business banking, Uniform Commercial Code Articles 3 and 4, safe deposit box disputes, real estate transactions, fiduciary obligations, corporate and personal trusts, commercial landlord-tenant disputes, commercial mortgage foreclosures, fraud, business torts, RICO and municipal building and fire code violations. Additionally, he advises clients regarding subpoena compliance, judgment enforcement and litigation avoidance, and regularly assists clients in the development of their internal strategies, policies and procedures.

Kandel received his J.D., cum laude, from New York Law School in 1995 and his B.A. from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1991. He is admitted to practice in New Jersey and New York. Prior to joining the firm, Kandel practiced at Emmet, Marvin & Martin LLP.

Dr. Franz Smith, Saint Barnabas Medical Center

Dr. Franz Smith has been named the director of graduate medical education and chief academic officer for Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston. He specializes in surgical oncology with expertise in cutaneous oncology and sarcoma surgery. “Since joining SBMC, Dr. Smith has distinguished himself as an outstanding surgeon and respected educator. In his new role, we look forward to his expertise and contributions to medical education throughout our organization,” said Stephen P. Zieniewicz, CEO and president, Saint Barnabas Medical Center.

“As a leader in our organization, Dr. Smith will continue to build upon the success of the multitude of our diverse health education programs, providing the highest quality education to medical and advanced practice provider students, resident physicians in training, postgraduate fellows, and also providing lifelong continuing medical education to practicing physicians,” said Dr. Gregory J. Rokosz, senior vice president for medical and academic affairs, Saint Barnabas Medical Center.

Smith received his medical degree from the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica, and completed his surgical residency at Saint Barnabas Medical Center. During his residency, he did a three-year clinical research fellowship in tumor immunotherapy and surgical oncology in the Surgery Branch at the NCI/NIH, Bethesda, Maryland. Upon graduation from residency, he did a two-year surgical oncology fellowship at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center/University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. Smith continued his professional education and received a Master’s in Academic Medicine from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and most recently, earned a Master’s in Medical Management from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Stro Cos.

The Stro Cos. added three key hires to help support and expand its rapidly growing portfolio. The Ridgewood-based company announced that is has hired Steven Matejek as its new senior controller, James Keenoy as its new director of capital markets and Rachel Dezio as its new executive assistant to the president.

“We are ecstatic to bring Steven, James and Rachel on board,” said Steven Millstein, president of the Stro Cos. “All three of our new hires will not only be instrumental in the growth and development of the company but will further establish Stro as a premier industrial buyer in the state of New Jersey.”

“This is an exciting time for Stro, as we add to both our footprint and our personnel count,” said Mitchel Kay, chief operating officer and general counsel at the company. “We believe we have assembled a team of all-stars and anticipate immediate results as we identify new opportunities for growth.”


Jenna N. Shapiro has become a shareholder of Wilentz’s Family Law group. She is based in the firm’s Woodbridge and Eatontown offices.

Shapiro focuses her practice in matrimonial and family law. She handles matters involving family law, including all aspects of divorce, including spousal and child support, custody and parenting time, alimony, equitable distribution, valuation of assets and businesses, prenuptial agreements, matrimonial settlement agreements and domestic abuse issues. Shapiro is an experienced litigator and she is certified as a trained mediator.

In addition, Joshua S. Kincannon has joined Wilentz as counsel in the firm’s Mass Tort/Class Action group. A seasoned trial lawyer, Kincannon has a long record of success securing recoveries for victims of defective medical device implants throughout the country.

In 2018, Kincannon was appointed as lead counsel in the In re Physiomesh Flexible Composite Mesh Multi-County Litigation in New Jersey. He served as lead counsel to all of the plaintiffs in the Depuy ASR Hip Implant Multi-County Litigation in New Jersey, which settled with aggregate recoveries for plaintiffs valued at $2.5 billion. At Wilentz, Kincannon will continue to represent victims injured by defective medical devices and pharmaceutical drugs and in class actions.

Sal Catalano, Looney Advertising & Branding

Looney Advertising & Branding has named Sal Catalano as vice president, client service. Prior to joining Montclair-based Looney, Catalano was a founding partner and account manager of Catalano, Lellos and Silverstein for 20 years, working with clients including American Express, Porsche, Walmart, Disney, Realogy and Discovery Channel’s Animal Planet.

Catalano will work directly with the senior partners, including agency co-founders Sean and Debbie Looney. In addition to overseeing day-to-day account responsibilities for several new clients, he will play an integral role in the strategic division, new branded content studio and overall agency growth.

(Not pictured.)

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Panasonic hires chief compliance officer

Panasonic Corp. of North America has named a former Dun & Bradstreet executive as its new chief compliance officer, it announced Thursday.

Louis Sapirman will lead the Newark-based company’s North America ethics and compliance program, including dealing with antitrust, competition, customs and privacy issues, among other responsibilities. He has more than 25 years of experience in regulatory compliance and crisis management work.

“We are pleased to welcome Louis to our team,” Jessica Hodkinson, vice president, general counsel and secretary, said in a prepared statement. “His strategic thinking and industry recognition for establishing best-in-class compliance programming for global organizations will be critical to ensuring that compliance and ethics continue to be everyone’s job at Panasonic and that we continue to grow the business with the highest ethical standards.”

Before joining Panasonic, he was an executive with D&B, serving as vice president, associate general counsel, chief compliance officer and assistant corporate secretary. He has also worked at numerous law firms, focused on employment law.

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NJMEP, NJEDA sign MOU that includes pilot program on manufacturing resources

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority approved a memorandum of understanding with the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program at its regular board meeting Tuesday.

The MOU signifies the growing headway the manufacturers group has been able to make in the state.

The memorandum includes a $15,000 commitment from the EDA to help with a pilot program that aims to more widely broadcast resources the NJMEP has to connect manufacturing companies with a pipeline of new labor from community colleges and vocational schools in the state.

The resource guide created by the NJMEP also will be tweaked by a joint group from the NJMEP and EDA to make it a better tool for the industry and educational institutions.

NJMEP CEO John Kennedy has said the industry is a $50 billion-plus sector that employs at least 360,000 workers in the state.

In December, Gov. Phil Murphy also highlighted the work the NJMEP has done by signing a bill that would provide $250,000 from the state to match a federal grant awarded to the NJMEP for being a top-performing program in the state.

The funding was slated to be used in Newark, Paterson and Trenton to expand apprenticeship programs in various sectors related to manufacturing.

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N.J. manufacturer: ‘The belief that China pays these tariffs is totally inaccurate’

When he woke up this morning and saw the news — saw that President Donald Trump was increasing the Section 301 tariffs on a whole host of products coming out of China — Gary DuBoff had a simple reaction:

“This is going to hurt,” he thought to himself.

But DuBoff, the CEO and president of Arrow Fastener in Saddle Brook — a million-dollar manufacturer we tend to check in with during tariff decisions — said the pain will not go to the intended target.

“The U.S. consumer will, at some point very soon, pay these tariffs,” he told ROI-NJ. “The belief that China pays these tariffs is totally incorrect. China does not pay these tariffs.

“China will not pay 5 cents more.”

The reason, he said, is simple.

Arrow is the owner of the products coming out of China — and, thus, Arrow is the one who will be hit with the tariff.

“Everything is FOB (freight on board) in China,” DuBoff said. “As soon as the Chinese vendor sends it to the port and our freight forwarder signs for it, we own it.

“So, I fail to understand how the administration feels that China is paying this tariff.”

It’s the same reaction that DuBoff — and so many other New Jersey manufacturers — have had during Trump’s trade war with China.

This one, however, may be different.

Last summer, when the Section 301 tariff was set at 10 percent, most consumers didn’t know it.

“To be frank, because we really thought this was not going to last,” he said. “We can no longer eat that. So, we’re in the process of executing a price increase.”

DuBoff estimated his company manufacturers 65 percent of its products here. Some items — he specifically noted rivet tools — are far easier to manufacture in China. Because of it, DuBoff expects to see a jump in the cost of them from approximately $20 to approximately $25.

Finding a solution, he said, will not be easy.

And it’s certainly not as easy as simply going to a different country for the product.

“If you go to other countries, lower-cost countries like Vietnam, they’re not prepared,” he said. “They don’t have the same internal structures set up that China has.

“There aren’t even enough vendors.”

There will be soon, however. And DuBoff knows exactly where they will come from: China.

“I think you’ll see some of the Chinese vendors go in and set up factories in other countries,” he said. “You’re not going to hurt the Chinese. They’re very smart people. They’re going to get around this.

“They’re not going to be put out of business. They’re businessmen just like we are. They woke up today and said to themselves, ‘What are we going to do?’

“So, it might start trying to (affect China) short term. But, long term, I don’t think (there will be) any real effect on China.”

Arrow Fastener, best known for its staple gun, employs more than 300 in New Jersey, which it has called home for more than 50 years.

Like everyone else impacted by tariffs, DuBoff said he’ll try to find a way to make it forward.

But don’t expect any wild proclamations. He knows opinions on this issue are mixed, even in the manufacturing sector.

“I just got back from the national hardware show,” he said. “This is all we talked about.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people who support this 100 percent, even though it’s going to hurt, because they feel that we have been bullied by China for so long that somebody has to stand up and say, ‘Enough is enough.’

“And there are other people that say, ‘We just can’t afford to do this.’”

DuBoff respects both opinions.

There’s only one viewpoint he doesn’t agree with.

“The Chinese are not going to pay this tariff,” he said.

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EZ still does it: Longtime public-private partnership, EZ Ride, is still helping N.J. with transportation needs

To really appreciate how public-private partnerships have shaped transportation services in New Jersey, it’s worth remembering how these arrangements are used in a jam.

Entire street block-long lines once trailed out of Garden State gas stations; that was amid the nationwide rationing of motor fuels during the oil crises in the 1970s.

Not everyone remembers it, but it fueled a public-private partnership that’s still around today.

EZ Ride, spearheaded by transportation business executive Krishna Murthy, was formed in the aftermath of that turmoil to expand available carpooling services to brace for more motor fuel woes.

“We were basically set up just to help businesses get their employees to work during that time,” Murthy said. “Everyone was having the same issue — there were major commuting challenges.”

Still one of the state’s top examples of a public-private partnership focused on transportation, EZ Ride, started as the Meadowlands Transportation Brokerage Corp. The name, tied to the geographic area it once solely served, was changed as the organization’s reach expanded throughout Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Monmouth, Passaic and Union counties.

The organization, which now facilitates carpools, vanpools, shuttles and other programs in those counties, was the first in the state of what’s referred to as a Transportation Management Association.

“There are many other associations now, each one with a different flavor of transportation offerings,” Murthy said. “But all these entities are working to promote mobility in some shape or form and partnering with private and public agencies for that.”

With its fleet of minibuses and sedans, EZ Ride is manages of the largest carpool, vanpool and shuttle service for businesses and other entities. The shuttle program ferries around about 2,000 Jerseyans each day.

One of the organization’s new programs is one that gives a company’s employees free rides home in the event of a personal emergency so that they aren’t stranded at work.

“Businesses appreciate the fact they have these options for employees year-round,” Murthy said.

It might not have a lot of visibility as far as transportation issues go, but EZ Ride is also addressing the problem of older individuals struggling to keep up with new ride-hailing technologies. One of its newest programs is a partnership with Lyft to launch Ryde4Life, a statewide program to facilitate rides for seniors.

“Folks who are older may not have a smart phone or comfortability with technology to use Lyft or Uber,” Murthy said. “With this program, all people have to do is call us to set up a ride. It’s something that about 1,000 riders are participating in so far.”

While transportation challenges are changing character all of the time, companies and public entities continue to pair up today to make sure that there’s no roadblock to Jerseyans getting around.

“It’s important to have organizations working together to get people where they need to be,” Murthy said.

Sharing is caring

If there is a crisis in transportation that public-private partnerships are looking to address today, it’s the access low income individuals have to the rising costs of transit. EZ Ride has, for many years, been carefully monitoring how it can ease costs for this population.

Private sector companies, such as Uber, are pitching their own solutions and looking to forge partnerships with the public sector in the process.

Uber’s bike-share service Jump is making a play at parking itself in Jersey City, which would be the service’s first New Jersey city. Uber spokesman Harry Hartfield said Jump has come up with plans to subsidize the cost of traveling on its dockless e-bikes through a cheaper subscription plan for some individuals.

“And in other parts of country where we do have a presence already, such as Washington, D.C., we’ve found that these dockless bikes tend to be more popular in low-income and diverse communities than alternative systems,” he said, adding that he wanted to see Jersey City served in an equitable manner.

The company has made that pitch alongside an appeal to how the bikes could alleviate any trouble caused by an upcoming suspension of light rail service at three stations on the West Side Avenue spur of the Hudson-Bergen light rail line.

It made a proposal to Mayor Steven Fulop to allow the bikes to be deployed locally. But the hurdle for the company is that right now, Citi Bike, New York City’s bike share system, has an exclusive agreement with the city.

“Our view is that these systems could complement each other well,” Hartfield said. “We’re not changing the way Citi Bike operates. We just want to come in and offer these bikes in order to supplement some of the mass transit holes in Jersey City. Citi Bike itself promised to serve parts of the city it’s no longer serving.

“We need the city and mayor’s approval; we’re hopeful we can get there.”

Conversation Starter

Reach Krishna Murthy of EZ Ride at: or 201-939-4242.

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ProSight names new executive chairman and CEO

ProSight Specialty Insurance, a specialty insurance provider, announced Joe Beneducci has been name its executive chairman.

Larry Hannon, who’s been serving as ProSight’s chief operating officer, will succeed Beneducci as CEO, effective immediately.

Beneducci will remain as chairman until May 2020, the Morristown-based firm said.

“Ten years ago, Larry Hannon, Bob Bailey and I formed ProSight,” Beneducci said. “As a result of determination, hard work and commitment to our customers, we have built ProSight into a leading and innovative specialty property and casualty franchise. We could not have achieved what we have thus far without the great talent we have across all of our employees in the organization.”

“I have decided that this is the right time for a new leader to step in as the company enters the next phase of its journey. While I look forward to exploring new professional opportunities and pursuing other personal interests, I have full confidence in Larry taking over as CEO. I have known Larry for over 30 years and could not think of a better person to lead the company. I look forward to working with Larry and the rest of the management team to ensure a seamless transition.”

Hannon, who is a founding member of ProSight, has more than 28 years of experience in the insurance industry, most recently serving in senior underwriting, marketing and operational roles at Cubb and Fireman’s Fund.

“I am grateful to have spent the last ten years with Joe at ProSight and want to thank him for his leadership and vision in developing the Company into what it is today. He has been instrumental in building an impressive franchise from the ground up and has overseen a period of strong growth, culminating in 2018 being the most profitable year since our founding. I am excited to take over an outstanding specialty insurance franchise and work with our employees as we continue to build a truly unique experience for our customers,” Hannon said.

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