NJBIA Announces 16 Recipients of 2023 Awards for Excellence

NJBIA Announces 16 Recipients of 2023 Awards for Excellence




NJBIA and New Jersey Business Magazine on Monday announced the 16 recipients of the annual Awards for Excellence, which honor member companies and business leaders whose energy and vision have had a positive impact on their employees, their communities and the state’s economy.

Twelve businesses and organizations, as well as four executives, are being recognized with awards in 2023. Details about the winners can be found in the October issue of New Jersey Business Magazine.

“This year’s Awards for Excellence winners, all valued NJBIA members, have stepped up to do right for their employees, their communities and New Jersey’s economy,” said NJBIA President & CEO Michele Siekerka.  “We are truly proud to recognize their notable achievements.”

The winners are listed by category below.

2023 AFE Executives of the Year  

Karimah A. Hagans, Esq., Executive Director, Turning Point Community Services, Inc.

Turning Point Community Services is a nonprofit that provides housing and services to women and their families in northern New Jersey.  Thanks to Hagans’ leadership, the lives of nearly 400 women and children have been forever changed through the organization’s support, social services, and life-ready programs. While managing the operation, Hagans has also handled all federal, state and local grants as well as other revenue sources, seeing a 9% increase in revenue from $736,441 in 2019 to $991,169 in 2022.

Cynthia Hetherington, Founder & CEO, Hetherington Group

Hetherington leads national and international investigations into corporate due diligence and fraud, personal asset recovery, and background checks. Applying her specialized knowledge of the financial, pharmaceutical, and telecommunications industries, her cyber investigations have recovered millions of dollars in high profile corruption cases. A mentor to women and other underrepresented populations, Hetherington also shares her experiences and expertise as a keynote speaker and contributor at women-focused technology events and conferences.

Joseph Mauti, President, M&M Construction

Mauti has fostered a culture of collaboration and empowerment within his organization. He firmly believes in the potential of his team members and invests in their growth and development. Mauti also actively engages in philanthropic endeavors, giving back to the community that has supported M&M Construction’s success. He is passionate about creating positive change and has fostered a culture of corporate social responsibility initiatives, including supporting veterans and local family support agencies and foodbanks.

Brian Varela, CEO & Co-Founder, Growing Seeds Learning Academy

As a serial entrepreneur, Varela has founded, owned, and scaled numerous businesses, including six childcare centers, two marketing companies, and two medspas. His ability to not only launch, but also maintain and grow these businesses, even amid challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrates his resilience, strategic foresight, and adaptable leadership style. His interest in investing in B2B spaces such as IT and cybersecurity firms, office services, and bookkeeping firms signals his dedication to seeking out new challenges.

2023 AFE Members of the Year  

Skalli Events

Skalli Events is a family-owned and operated audio-visual production company that has been a long-time partner and ambassador of NJBIA, providing membership referrals and being the sound and video behind many association events.  From cutting-edge audio-visual technology to stunning lighting design, Skalli – which was founded in 1993 – brings together the elements needed to create unforgettable events. The Lodi-based company’s audio-visual services include: live in-person event production; hybrid and streaming events with multi-camera coverage, on screen graphics, and live Q&A sessions; and pre-recorded video production.


Founded in 1976, CGI is a global IT and business consulting firm with more than 400 locations worldwide. CGI delivers an end-to-end portfolio of capabilities, from strategic IT and business consulting systems integration to managed IT and business process services and intellectual property solutions.

CGI opened an 11,500-square-foot office in New Brunswick last year to meet growing client demand in the region and centralize operations in the state. The office includes collaborative space to foster mentorship programs, including work with STEM camps and the New Brunswick PTECH High School program.

Bergen New Bridge Medical Center

Bergen New Bridge Medical Center is an acute and long-term care hospital in Paramus. It is the largest hospital in the state and fourth largest publicly owned hospital in the nation. The 1,070-bed institution is also a clinical affiliate of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. Founded in 1916 as the Bergen County Isolation Hospital, Bergen New Bridge today provides comprehensive services, including acute and ambulatory care, mental health and substance use disorder treatment, long-term care, a 24/7 emergency department, surgical suites, physical rehabilitation, pharmacy, laboratory and radiologic services.

Covenant House, New Jersey

Covenant House is the largest, primarily privately funded charity in North and Central America providing immediate and long-term support for youths ages 12-24 experiencing homelessness and human trafficking. Covenant House New Jersey served approximately 1,248 young people across its core programs and services in FY 2022 vs. 801 the prior year. Those services translated to 59,351 nights of housing. The organization also provided services to 149 survivors of human trafficking. Covenant House also has been an integral part of NJBIA’s Not-For-Profit leadership team and Council this past year.

2023 AFE Outstanding Employers  

C3 Workplace

Over the last 30 years, C3 Workplace has helped to start and develop thousands of companies that have created tens of thousands of jobs across the state. This Montclair-based company aims to help businesses successfully start and grow by providing workspace, business support services and educational services while connecting businesses with each other and showing them how to harness the power of collaboration with like-minded professionals. C3’s expertise has extended beyond providing physical space for companies, and now includes services such as business support and educational opportunities.

CW Solutions

CW Solutions is a New Brunswick-based, woman-owned real estate services firm established in 2002, providing assistance for utilities and wireless telecommunications, infrastructure, offshore wind, and groundbreaking renewable energy projects throughout the U.S. The team of highly skilled professionals leverages local resources to provide specialized services for each client, which range from small businesses to Fortune 500 firms. The firm is certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise, a Small Business Enterprise, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise.


CompoSecure Inc. is an award-winning leader in the design, development and manufacturing of multifactor authentication, payment and digital asset storage technology solutions. With more than 20 years of experience in material science and metal card innovations, CompoSecure is a trusted partner for governments, financial institutions, fintechs and retail, using proprietary production methods that meet the highest quality and security standards. Founded in 2000, CompoSecure has created the metal card market from scratch, building the industry to a growing trend that major financial institutions rely on.

2023 AFE Excellence in Disability Inclusion  

Spectrum Works

Spectrum Works is a nonprofit social enterprise that, for the past 10 years, has been successfully providing paid internships, on-the-job training, job readiness education, and employment support services to young autistic adults by partnering with companies and implementing sustainable and scalable autism employment programs into their workplace.

By training and educating autistic adults for meaningful employment, while also raising broader awareness that they can be valuable and productive employees, and educating companies on how to create more inclusive workplaces, Spectrum Works aims to increase integrated employment opportunities for autistic adults across New Jersey.

2023 AFE Community Service  

ABC Discount Appliances

Over the past 75 years, community initiatives have always been a focus of Pennsauken-based ABC Discount Appliances. Whether it has been its long-standing commitment to youth baseball or Rotary International, the company is a huge believer in giving back. Other community investments include – but are not limited to – the Camden Catholic Drama Club, Pennsauken Merchantville FOP, Winslow High School Football Team, The BBB of NJ and various youth sports programs throughout Southern New Jersey. Besides serving individual customers, ABC Discount Appliances also works with builders, developers, architects, designers and property managers.

Home Helpers Care Monmouth County

Home Helpers Care in Monmouth County has demonstrated exceptional care for its clients, most notably veterans. The organization has also supported not-for-profits, including the Jake’s Got This Foundation and veterans’ groups like Bridging the Gap and the Association of the United States Army. Further, Home Helpers recently provided Bayshore Hospital with an ice cream truck for National Hospital Week, as well as volunteering for a variety of organizations. Home Helpers President Howard Stein also was active on National Home Care Advocacy Day, speaking to state representatives about the current issues in healthcare facing our aging populations and veterans.

Slalom Consulting

Slalom is revered as one of the most impactful business and technology consulting companies in the U.S., but it also strives to positively impact its communities. The company’s hallmark program for employee engagement is its Partners for Good community group. Some notable community efforts by Slalom include professional workshops with the Association of Latino Professionals for America at Rutgers-Newark, where students are presented with business scenarios, and they present solutions to a Slalom panel. Slalom’s Women’s Leadership Network also supports several programs to develop female talent with EmpowHER, including an annual technology challenge.

South Jersey Industries

Through South Jersey Gas and Elizabethtown Gas, South Jersey Industries (SJI) provides energy to more than 725,000 homes and businesses across New Jersey.  For the communities it serves, SJI strives to make STEM-related educational and professional opportunities accessible to local youth. Since 2021, SJI has partnered with the Mark Cuban Foundation to host Artificial Intelligence (AI) Bootcamps at its Atlantic City and Union headquarters. SJI’s utilities also work closely with local high schools, community colleges, and universities to help advance future generations of students as they pursue degrees in New Jersey.


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