NJBIA Welcomes New Directors – New Jersey Business Magazine
The Association’s board of directors corresponds to the fabric and diversity of its members.
By Michele N. Siekerka, President and CEO of NJBIA May 14, 2021
It is a very important moment in the history of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA). As we enter our 111th year still affected by a unique global pandemic, our tireless advocacy on behalf of New Jersey businesses of all sizes has never been more critical. At the same time, we continue to strive to offer more new and dynamic product offerings to our valued members in order to carry out our mission of advancing competitive excellence and financial success for our members.
We are extremely proud of our history, transforming since our early days of manufacturing representationexclusively to one of the largest business associations in the country. We embody a wide range of business interests, company size, geographic location, gender and ethnicity. And the NJBIA well represents the rich diversity of our great state. Likewise, Our 2021 NJBIA Board of Directors matches the fabric of our membership and displays the same diversity that our organization values.
The NJBIA is pleased to announce the election of Celestina S. Quintana as the new Chair of the NJBIA Board of Directors. Thislestina, with her daughter Jessica, owns and operates 11 McDonald’s restaurants. Celestina has been a member of the NJBIA Board of Directors since 2008. She follows Brian F. Neuwirth, who served as NJBIA President from 2018 to 2021. Brian is the President of UNEX Manufacturing, Inc., and has been a member of the NJBIA Board of Directors since 2005. We welcome Celestina and look forward to her leadership, while thanking Brian for her leadership at a very transformative time in our history.
NJBIA is pleased to welcome two new directorses who join our returning trustees to develop the association in the future. Here are their impressive biographies:
Jessica Gonzalez has been a lifelong entrepreneur and self-taught New Jersey entrepreneur. She founded her event technology companiony, In charge, 10 years ago by selling everything she owned, moving in with her parents and taking on three jobs – all while retaining 100% ownership of the business.
Over the past decade, Gonzalez has grown In charge in an event technology installation – partnering with brands like Google, Coca-Cola and T-Mobile to implement cutting-edge experiential marketing campaigns and events.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March 2020, event activity came to a halt. Gonzalez knew she needed to rotate not only to keep your business afloat, but above all to support a new economic landscape where businesses and organizations had entirely different operational needs. She channeled her in-depth knowledge of event operations and appliedThe research and development processes to start Lux Disinfect, a company offering a full suite of tools, products and services to help others reopen their businesses safely.
Gonzalez was never in the mold of a “typical” business leader, but she prefers him in this way. She brings a new, off-the-beaten-path approach to every problem she tackles and is ready to use her experience and perspective to help New Jersey families and communities grow and stay safe.
Richard T. Thigpen is Senior Vice President of Corporate Citizenship at PSEG and Chairman of the PSEG Foundation. He is responsible for areas of business that guide public policy through advocacy, including: federal, state and local government affairs; durability; charitable activities; and corporate social responsibility.
Thigpen joined PSEG in March 2007. He has been a public affairs consultant since 1999 and co-founder of 1868 Public Affairs. Previously he was associated with New York Law company of Thacher Proffitt and Wood and was District Director of U.S. Representative Donald Payne (NJ-10) (1990-1996) and Executive Director of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee (1996-1999).
Thigpen was also a former assistant to the president of the NAACP State Conference on Public Affairs. He is currently a board member of the Regional Plan Association, the New Jersey Climate Change Alliance, the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus Foundation, NJ PBS, New Jersey Public Television Network, the Brown University Alumni Association, and the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund. He is also a member of the national board of the American Association of Blacks in Energy and chair of the Legislative Affairs and Public Policy Committee. Thigpen holds a DLaw degree from Columbia University Law School and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Brown University.
These new admins join the following NJBIA admins:
- Celestina S. Quintana, President, owner / operator McDonald’s remainedurants
- Brian F. Neuwirth, Past President, President, UNEX Manufacturing, Inc.
- Rashaad Bajwa, President and CEO, Domain Technology Partners
- Marcy Bliss, President, Wedgewood Pharmacy
- Dr Joel S. Bloom, President, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)
- Dan Borok, Managing Partner, Newark Venture Partners
- Kevin cummings, President and Chief Executive Officer, Investor Bank
- Clifford F. Lindholm, III, President and CEO, Falstrom Company
- Catherine Milone, President, Junior Achievement of New Jersey
- Lori Roth, CPA / ABV, CFF, associate co-director, Prager Metis
- Deanna sperling, MAS, RN, NE-BC, President and CEO, Barnabas Health Behavioral Health Center
The NJBIA would like to thank our outgoing directors for their wise advice and leadership in helping NJBIA to be the mainstay of strength that it is today. These valued people include:
- Michael P. Luzio, founding partner and managing director, The LVE Group
- Robert J. Staudinger, retired President and CEO, National Manufacturing Co., Inc.
- Matthew wright, president, Piper Holdings, LLC.
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