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NJMET feels it profits most from its philanthropy Company that finds counterfeit products is as real as they come

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Joseph Federico, the VP and director of operations at NJMET, feels giving back is a way to measure success.
Joseph Federico, the VP and director of operations at NJMET, feels giving back is a way to measure success. - ()

Joseph Federico sets his standards high with his business and his extensive charity work. And he feels both help make a better world for those around him.

“I think the formula for success is making your customers happy and giving back,” he said.

His success at work comes as the vice president and director of operations at NJ Metropolitan Laboratories (NJMET), a Clifton-based company that conducts state-of-the-art quality testing of electronic components used in the military, aerospace, industrial, medical and automotive fields.

In simple terms, its goal is to help prevent the distribution of counterfeit products.

While a flat-screen television built with cheaper components isn't going to kill anyone, counterfeit computer chips that are not manufactured to the same standards as those that go through a rigorous testing process can malfunction at any time. If this happens with a part used in an airplane or medical device, the results can be disastrous.

“The counterfeiters are always trying to pull the wool over our eyes,” Federico, a Wayne resident, said. “They are getting smarter and smarter by the day.”

But so is the industry. Federico, 51, said companies are required to follow a strict testing protocol before distributing a product since it could have changed hands several times, making it difficult to track down where it was manufactured.

About 50 employees work in the company's 35,000-square-foot testing stations and offices in Clifton, where the components are subjected to different stressors such as heat and cold to see if they meet the required standards. When a defect or a counterfeit product is found, an alert goes out in the industry.

“In the last 10 years, there have been great strides in containing this epidemic,” Federico said. “We have an industry worldwide that cares.”

Federico and his father Jim acquired the company in 1999 and since then have quadrupled its revenue. This is where the charitable side comes in.

“We've been very fortunate to grow the company, and with that growth we want to give back,” he said.

Federico and his workers have raised money and goods for the American Red Cross, March of Dimes and several local organizations in Paterson, including Oasis, a Haven for Women and Children; Eva's Village, a homeless shelter and soup kitchen; and the pediatric department at St. Joseph's Medical Center. He sponsors food drives, toy drives and charity walks throughout the year. He also sponsors an annual scholarship for one high school science or technical student.

“We try to spread the goodness around,” he said.

“It's good to have good things in life, but we don't drive around in Mercedes,” he said. “We're grateful for our work and our jobs so we can take care of our families. I feel if you put out good in the world, it will come back to you.”

Mary Ann Bourbeau is a freelance writer in South Plainfield.

The biz in brief
NAME: NJ Metropolitan Laboratories
Headquarters: Clifton
Founded: 1978
Director: Joe Federico
Employees: 50
Revenue: Not disclosed, but company says it has made money for 40 consecutive quarters.
One more thing: The company, which already has offices in Los Angeles, Denver, London and Toronto, is planning to expand to Tokyo and Tel Aviv.


Giving back ... around the world
Remember the 2004 tsunami that devastated Sri Lanka and other nations? Joe Federico does — and he’s still tyring to help. He has sent countless boxes of clothing, toys and candy to the children: “It’s something I love doing,” he said. “A lot of those children lost their parents and are still waiting to be adopted.”

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