More than 150 investment strategists, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and commercial real estate experts met on June 1 in the Luciano Center at Cumberland County College in Vineland, N.J. for the Cumberland County Improvement Authority’s Annual Bankers and Realtors Roundtable.
After networking and complimentary breakfast, Cumberland County Freeholder Darlene Barber welcomed the enthusiastic group which then heard a panel discussion on the national and regional economic outlook featuring the U.S. Chief Investment Strategist for TD Bank National, Sid Vaidya, and the Philadelphia Region Manager for the Federal Reserve Bank, Paul Flora. Each analyzed the current positive trends in business and other economic indicators.
An update of the current CCIA projects was featured with Gerard Velazquez, President and CEO of the Authority, presenting some of the more than $200 million worth of projects underway in the county. He explained the strong partnerships the CCIA has forged with municipalities and other entities to move forward on the featured projects.
Interest in Cumberland County from manufacturers has ramped up significantly over the last six to eight months, with food-based industries leading the way.
Throughout the day, international economists and state officials demonstrated how Cumberland County is out-producing the state and nation in economic development activity.
Kim Ayres, Ph.D, CCIA’s Acting Economic Development Director, introduced the panel on growth in the technology sector here, joined by Greg McGraw, principal of the Cumberland County Technical Education Center and Richard McArdle, Ph.D, of the Rutgers Food Innovation Center. John Kennedy, PhD of the NJ Manufacturing Extension and Beth Kujan of the New Jersey Institute of Technology followed with an information-packed outlook for the tech workforce in Cumberland County.
Also reviewed were the N.J. state incentives for growth available right now, including the N.J. Economic Development Authority’s (NJEDA) Grow NJ grants and tax credits program for new and existing business. Three local businesses, supported by the CCIA Economic Development Office and the City of Vineland’s Economic Development Office, were recently awarded $44.5 million in Grow NJ tax incentives. Since 2013, the Grow NJ program has awarded more than $100 million in assistance to Cumberland County businesses.
The CCIA recently endorsed the official designation by the United States Department of the Treasury and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy that qualified census tracts in Vineland, Millville, and Bridgeton be included in the new Opportunity Zones (OZ) program. The initiative was passed as part of last year’s Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Leah Sandback, Esq. of McManimon, Scotland, and Bauman, presented the state incentive workshop.
Joseph Derella, Cumberland County Freeholder, gave closing remarks summarizing the positive outlook and trend-setting economic activity in the county.
The Bankers & Realtors Roundtable event’s main sponsors were Capital Bank, Century Bank, and TD Bank.