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The Edge for July 2017

An Exclusive Article for NJ ChamberEdge

An Exclusive Article for NJ ChamberEdge

Spring Lake

The most successful leaders know when it’s time to work and when it’s time to step away from business for a while. Since it's July, we asked New Jersey executives to tell us their favorite Garden State vacation spots. And we asked them why getting away makes them better business leaders. Here is what they said:


Listening to the Seagulls at the Jersey Shore Provides Perspective

Hagaman Bill

As a resident of Spring Lake, all I need to do to get away is to walk down the street to the beach. There’s nothing like a peaceful, early morning in a beach chair with a cup of coffee. Looking out over the vast, beautiful ocean and listening to the seagulls reminds me how blessed I am to live on the Jersey Shore. It helps to clear the mind and gain perspective.

– Bill Hagaman, Managing Partner and CEO of WithumSmith+Brown


Sunfish Pond is Good for Relaxing, Recharging and Remembering

Sunfish Pond

When I want to unwind, I hike Sunfish Pond along the Kittatinny Ridge portion of the Appalachian Trail. Sunfish Pond, the southernmost glacial lake along the Appalachian Trail, is one of New Jersey’s hidden treasures. It was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1970 after the site was nearly destroyed in the 1960’s as part of the Tocks Island Dam project that was ultimately cancelled.

My first trip to Sunfish Pond was as a 12 year old Boy Scout, hiking up the ridge from our scout camp on the Delaware. I still remember the sense of awe from seeing the frigidly cold 44 acre expanse once we reached the top.

Dennis ToftSince then, I have been back for day hikes and longer backpacking trips to explore many different trails up to the pond. Each time I learn and see something new. There is nothing like breathing in fresh air in a beautiful natural environment to clear one’s head and make one realize how important it is to preserve nature’s gems. This experience helps me relax, recharge and remember why I became an environmental attorney -- to help ensure there is a balance between the protection of our environment and the evolving needs of a modern society. At the end of these trips, I am energized to pursue my practice and help my clients.

– Dennis M. Toft, Chair of the Environmental Group at the law firm Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi


A Walk among Exquisite Sculptures Challenges the Senses

AmblerThe Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton Township provides an opportunity to get outside and take a refreshing walk among exquisite sculptures, a wide variety of foliage and meditation gardens. I particularly enjoy the Johnson sculptures that depict day-to-day life in a past, much slower century. When you are weighing options for a significant business investment or a work problem, a visit to the Grounds for Sculpture can challenge your senses and clear your head.

– Aldonna Ambler, President, Amber Growth Strategy Consultants


Time in the Sun, Sand and Ocean Paves the Way for Relationships

Paul MardenTo unwind, I go to Long Beach Island. The sun, sand and ocean can relax anyone. Plus, you can forge great memories of being with families and friends at the beach.

Having balance in your life between work and play helps you keep perspective. All of our colleagues, clients and business partners have varied interests outside of work that help them unwind. People who smell the roses and share their experiences (tend to) cultivate more interesting and deeper relationships and that helps them develop trust with those around them.

– Paul Marden, CEO, UnitedHealthcare of New Jersey


Cape May Keeps the Mind Open and Ready to Go

Swan Lighthouse New Jersey Cape May Wetlands 669209

Marjorie PerryThree or four times during the summer, I camp out at a bed and breakfast in Cape May. I look for new and interesting antiques, handmade jewelry, and taffy candy is a must. Then I bike to Sunset Beach to top off a wonderful, hot summer day. That means I get a hamburger with everything on it. It’s relaxing, and it keeps my mind open and ready to go when I return to the office.

– Marjorie Perry, President and CEO, MZM Construction & Management


Interviews and submissions are edited and condensed.



Bernie FlynnNJM Insurance Group President & CEO Bernie Flynn will retire on April 27 after a career at the company that spanned 25 years, including the past 10 as its leader. Mitch Livingston, NJM's COO & General Counsel, has been selected by the Company's Board of Directors to succeed Flynn, becoming only the ninth President in NJM's 104-year history. “Bernie Flynn, in the last decade, could be called the most committed CEO in the state of New Jersey,” said New Jersey Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Bracken. “He continually gave back to the state, personally and professionally, with the backing of his company.”

Amy Mansue Amy B. Mansue, president of the Southern Region of RWJBarnabas Health, was installed as chair of the Board of the New Jersey Hospital Association, the state’s oldest and largest hospital and healthcare advocacy organization. Mansue also serves as immediate past chair on the NJ Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors.

John ZimmermanJohn Zimmerman has been appointed Wells Fargo’s region bank president for the Southern New Jersey region, which includes 66 branches in parts of Ocean, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Atlantic counties. Zimmerman, who manages 640 bankers, is based in Moorestown and reports to Northeast Community Bank Lead Region President Larisa Perry.

David SantomDavid Santom was named senior vice president, head of asset management at Peapack Capital, a subsidiary of Peapack-Gladstone Bank. Santom is responsible for all aspects of Asset Management including equipment valuations and reviews, portfolio analyses, end of lease negotiations, equipment inspections and dispositions.

Dr Sandra StrothersDr. Sandra Strothers was named executive director of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation's 'Jobs for New Jersey's Graduates' program designed to help at-risk high school students develop the skills they need to flourish in college and in the workplace.

Xfinity StoreComcast announced that it has opened ten Xfinity Stores across the state of New Jersey in less than three years. This milestone is part of Comcast’s strategy to transform the customer experience through the opening of new Xfinity Stores, and create a culture focused on exceeding customers’ expectations. The first Xfinity Store in New Jersey, located in Mount Laurel, opened in March 2015. The tenth Xfinity Store in the state, located in Turnersville, opened in December 2017. Other Xfinity Stores in New Jersey include Cherry Hill, Lawrenceville, Mays Landing, Millville, Rio Grande, Toms River, Union and West Orange.

Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis LLP announced that Charles J. Wilkes has been named a partner in the firm. Wilkes concentrates his practice on commercial real estate and financing transactions.

Meryl Streep, Debbie Harry from Blondie, Steven Van Zandt of the E Street Band and Buddy "Cake Boss" Valastro are among the inductees for the 2017 class of the New Jersey Hall of Fame. To see full list, click here.