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10 Ridgedale Avenue
Cedar Knolls, NJ 07927
(973) 538-8822

Interview with John Kennedy, Ph.D., CEO of NJMEP

John has spent over 30 years in the Engineering and Manufacturing Industry, both in Senior Management with larger firms such as Sandvik & Cofely-GDF-Suez and as the owner of several successful firms. One was the large-bore machine shop known as Barnett Industries in Irvington, before the firm was moved to Harrison as Barnett Machine Tool. It has continued to serve the United States and New Jersey marketplaces for over 150 years.

John held the position of President/COO of The Multitech Group (TMG)., an engineering firm that was sold to Thinkpath in 2007. This company was annually one of the top performers in the market as named by NJBIZ. TMG was also on the post 9/11 team that supported the deployment of scanning and screening machines in 429 U.S. airports. After selling the firm, John was the President of the US market for Cofely Services, a division of energy giant GDF-Suez, focusing on high-end operations and maintenance support for airports, government, and high-tech manufacturing firms.

 In 2012, John joined the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP) as the Chief Operating Officer and took over as Chief Executive Officer in 2014. This brought him full circle back to his manufacturing and New Jersey roots. The mission and the opportunity are solid fits. 

Lisa Montalbano, Director of Business Development, interviewed John to discuss the benefits of partnering with Employment Horizons, a Morris County non-profit. In addition to providing jobs for people with disabilities both in it's on-site fulfillment center and in the community, Employment Horizons also provides fulfillment services to businesses.

Program participant packaging items in the fulfillment center

LM: Which sectors within manufacturing could you see as the most likely to benefit from our fulfillment services?

JK: Many firms that are in growth mode or are seasonal could profit greatly by engaging with Employment Horizons and their fulfillment center as it reduces the need for expanding internal staff until the business can support it. However, once you work with Employment Horizons, it tends to be habit forming.

LM: Which specific needs do our fulfillment services meet for the business and manufacturing communities?

JK: To me, the key fuctionality and the best ROI for companies lies with the assembly and packaging areas, as they can be a drain on staff, but not the Employment Horizons fulfillment center team. They are well-supervised and trained to the task. Their attention to detail is rarely achieved by others. 

LM: NJBIZ recognized us on the Top 25 list for New Jersey based manufacturers in September 2016. We are enthusiastic about the credibility that’s building with industry professionals. How can we best contribute to NJMEP’s efforts to support others within the manufacturing community?

JK: Simply, I consider Employment Horizons to be a New Jersey manufacturer for a variety of reasons and one of the most important reasons is that is how the customers view the Employment Horizons team. Employment Horizons has an incredible track record when it comes to quality.

LM: How does using Employment Horizons’ fulfillment center benefit the manufacturing community?
JK: The focus of the fulfillment center is on the remanufacturing, assembly, and packaging sides of the industry. These are key activities that need to be done well and with the utmost quality. 

LM: If businesses are hesitant to use our fulfillment services, what professional advice would you give to help them discover the potential value added in working with us?
JK: Potential clients should visit the fulfillment center. From the entryway where products are displayed, to the offices, to the cafeteria, and the assembly floor...it is a place of business. 

LM: When you toured our fulfillment center, what in particular did you see that would help companies make a decision to use our fulfillment services?
JK: One only needs to visit the Cedar Knolls facility of Employment Horizons to understand that their business model is a serious one. The set-up for their fulfillment center floor is all business and the positive supervision is easily noticeable and effective. However, a break from the norm is seen in the mood of the team of workers that smile constantly and always say hello, but project a focus on the work at hand. To me, anyone that visits Employment Horizons is building a business relationship for the future. 

Thank you, John, for taking the time to speak with us! If you are interested in using our fulfillment services (and providing jobs to people with disabilities in our fulfillment center), contact Lisa Montalbano at 973.538.8822 x212 or lmontalbano@ehorizons.org.