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The Power 100 (No. 75 - 51)

By , - Last modified: February 6, 2017 at 6:56 AM
75. Ted Zangari (73)
75. Ted Zangari (73)
He’s one of the top real estate lawyers in the state, heading up the influential group at Sills Cummis. And it’s hard to find anyone in the state more knowledgeable and influential when it comes to incentive programs. The next governor is likely to change the rules around grants and awards; you can bet Zangari will be part of the discussion.
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He’s one of the top real estate lawyers in the state, heading up the influential group at Sills Cummis. And it’s hard to find anyone in the state more knowledgeable and influential when it comes to incentive programs. The next governor is likely to change the rules around grants and awards; you can bet Zangari will be part of the discussion. Hard to find a more tried-and-true development pro. That’s the reason he was No. 1 on the latest Real Estate Power List — and the reason he is a go-to source for so many business, legislative and municipal leaders. Said one insider: “Few people realize how much it takes to get anything done. Ron does — and does as well as anyone.” He makes the Real Estate Power List for his numerous holdings around the state. He makes the Power 100 for his role as the chair of RWJBarnabas Health, which hasn’t stopped making moves. “Not a lot of people know him, because he’s not out there, but the people who know him know how important he is,” one insider said. Another pro-business member of the state Senate. Some say his fortunes (and spot on this list) would be higher if Steve Sweeney were the top choice for governor, but do not discount the power he already has. “There aren’t enough people like Paul in Trenton,” the insider said. “He’s an engineer, not a lawyer, and his personality is that, unless proven otherwise, you’re a friend. Just about every other legislator assumes the opposite.” His latest project is a joint venture with Mack-Cali in Jersey City. But what makes this regular on our list so powerful is the potential he has to land the next big deal. Said one insider: “If a Fortune 500 company wanted to build a new headquarters in New Jersey, Pozycki is one of only a handful of developers who would get a call.” She’s the New Jersey head of PNC, which has more branches in the state than anyone. She’s also out and about as much as any leader in the state. “She’s always out there, and that makes a difference,” one insider does. “You know how she values the state. That’s what separates her.” Disruptors or dreamers. Rabble rousers or irrelevant. Both are giving up their seats and running for governor. Both are considered longshots. “They will either have the most powerful position in government or none; that’s an interesting situation,” one insider said. “But they are taking their shot.” Wisniewski is being taken very seriously by Phil Murphy, more than one person has said. Lesniak? Most feel he has little shot, but say so while recognizing his importance to the business community over the years will continue in 2017. “He’s still an idea a minute,” the insider said. “He still puts out some very forward-thinking stuff. He’s still pro-business.” The EDA funnel to Camden appears to be shut down — or at least slowed to a trickle. Now, it’s time to grow and govern. A lot of people get credit for the rebuilding of Camden. She’s the mayor; that means she’s doing as much as anyone. Pardon the pun, but the jury is still out on the once uber-powerful Menendez. He is facing an indictment, and while many feel he’ll be cleared (others, they say, have got off for more), others wonder where that will leave him. “His party doesn’t control the White House and seems to be in a bit of disarray,” one insider said. A number of the members of the New Jersey delegation in the U.S. House got a nomination (Leonard Lance, Bill Pascrell and Frank Pallone, among others), but none has as much power as Frelinghuysen. “He’s the head of the Appropriations Committee at a time when his party controls Congress and the White House; how do you get more powerful than that?” one insider asked. “Jersey has complained in the past that it doesn’t get its fair share in Washington; there’s nothing to complain about now.” The head of Rutgers-Newark continues to impress all who know her: “She just gets stuff done,” one insider said. “She doesn’t act like she’s an academic. She just wants to implement things. She is transforming that school and helping to transform the city. Everyone who is anyone in Newark knows her.” Bloom, the president, continues to make NJIT a shining example for higher education. A leader in STEM education before anyone understood how important STEM was. NJIT also has been a leader in collaborating with other New Jersey companies. Its New Jersey Innovation Institute, headed by another power player, Don Sebastian, is a model other schools should follow. Panasonic is not just a global company that has decided to make Newark the home of its North American operations, it’s a major global company that is working on big projects with a number of New Jersey entities, including Hackensack Meridian Health and the N.J.I.T. And, as is pointed out every year, Taylor, the CEO of North America, is active in Newark, too. ADP is a national company that is committed to New Jersey and committed to inclusion and diversity as well as work-life balance. In other words, Rodriguez is the type of CEO we need more of in the state. “It’s a major company that has made a major commitment to the state,” one insider said. “Think about it, they don’t need to be headquartered here, but they are, and we’re a better state because of it.” Don’t overlook the other major utility in the state. Fakult has done wonders to rebuild Jersey Central Power & Light’s reputation and infrastructure since coming aboard. “Energy may not be hot right now, but our infrastructure is,” one insider said. “Or, at least it is every time there is a potential of another major event.” Said another: “He has JCP&L headed in the right direction.” It’s hard to get attention when your system is surrounded by the sector’s two behemoths, but Gragnolati is doing a lot to warrant attention at Atlantic Health. The question is, what’s the play? “He’s reorganized his team, now we have to see what he’s going to do,” one insider said. “Is there a merger or a partnership coming? If so, could either Barnabas or Hackensack be involved? Does he look out of state or just find a way to do what Atlantic does better?” Two Horizon execs on the list? This year, we didn’t hesitate. The company is that big and that influential in health care. “Kevin is just a top-notch individual, both professionally and personally,” one insider said. “Smart, straightforward, easy to deal with.” Recently elevated to chief operating officer, Conlin is the heir apparent to Robert Marino for the top job. There’s no indication that will come soon, but another insider said that doesn’t matter. Horizon has no issues at the top. “They form a great team.” Consider the irony: Florio is out in front in people’s minds when asked for nominations for the list, but he does his best work behind the scenes. “There’s a reason everyone mentions him,” one insider said. “He’s so good at what he does. There’s no one better when it comes to being connected to all the power players in Trenton.” The longtime political veteran on the Democratic side is lead counsel on Phil Murphy’s campaign for governor. And while some say that only equals potential power, one insider offered this: “Everyone wants to get in front of Murphy right now; Josephson is one of the people who can help you get there.” He figures to be in that role for some time; he is one to watch. If one of the biggest growth areas in our state is warehouse distribution off the Turnpike, it's hard to look past Matrix Development Group, which is leading the charge in so many areas. Taylor and the company have been regulars on this list. And if more money is headed to infrastructure improvements — and we think it is — Matrix's influence in the state should only grow. He’s got the name. But more than that, he’s got the talent. Said one insider: “If his name was Phil Smith, he’d still be one of the most effective advocates in New Jersey for his clients.” His clients know this, does everyone else. “He’s not given enough credit for his accomplishments because of his better-known brothers.” Woody Johnson is leaving the country — but that may only make his influence greater. An early and ardent supporter of President Donald Trump, he will become the ambassador to Great Britain. And while he will give up control of the New York Jets in doing so, his connections to Trump will ensure that his New Jersey interests are taken care of. As for Mara, ask yourself: Who in the state wouldn’t take his call? The head of Campbell Soup continues to be a leader in the promotion of women (see her board) and devotion to New Jersey (see its influence in Camden). The company is still trying to find its footing in a new food landscape, but in a state that has a growing food presence, there is no one larger than Campbell’s. The executive chairman of Celgene has not been out and about as much recently, but his power hasn’t diminished. Celgene is still one of the biggest and most important pharmaceutical companies in the state, if not the world. How important? Here’s another way of looking at it. “Imagine if Celgene decided to leave the state,” one insider said (and said it purely hypothetically; there’s no Grapevine scoop here). “How much would the state and Union County be devastated? That’s another way to judge power.” Normandy Real Estate Partners continues to be a huge player on the national scene both in business and in politics (see Wentworth’s role in the Christie campaign). Simply put, Normandy is a player wherever it wants to be. Wentworth gets a lot of credit for that. “He’s one of those guys that is hugely influential on a lot of things without seeking out the headlines,” one insider said.

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