2010 Business Partners of the Year
Atlantic – ICON Hospitality
Michael Charlton is the President and CEO of ICON Hospitality, the parent company of Galloway Township’s Gourmet Italian Cuisine restaurant, Gourmet Liquors retail store, Luscious & Sweet gourmet bakery and the Carriage House, an upscale banquet facility. Mr. Charlton has been a tireless supporter of the Atlantic County Institute of Technology, opening the doors of the Carriage House to host the annual ACTI Daffodil Dinner, and many ACTl-graduates have worked in his businesses. Mr. Charlton took a risk in a part of Atlantic County where no restaurateur had ventured before on such a large scale and made it pay off in a way that changed the entire landscape of the area. In addition to his many charities and community participation, Mr. Charlton serves on the Board of the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. He is a former Kiwanis Man of the Year and received the Business Advocate for Education Award and the ACIT Award of Excellence.
Bergen – BMW of North America, LLC
Over the last four years under the guidance of Craig Czock, BMW North America has provided students and staff at the Bergen County Technical High School in Teterboro with access to state-of-the-art technology, training and internships at BMW’s corporate headquarters in Woodcliff Lake. The company has brought cutting-edge, green technology, including the H7 Hydrogen car and the fully electric MINI-E, to Bergen Tech’s campus for technical demonstrations. BMW of North America’s commitment to excellence and willingness to give students exposure to the best the automobile industry has to offer is unparalleled, and has been an asset to the development of Bergen Tech’s Automotive Engineering and Design program.
Burlington – Sodexo
Sodexo works collaboratively with the Burlington County Institute of Technology on multiple levels, including the employment of many culinary arts students at each campus, where they gain real-life workplace experience. Sodexo management also works with the district administration to maintain and upgrade the quality of food service and the physical plant/equipment. Sodexo is an extremely active presence on the BCIT Education Foundation; their generous contributions help bolster the foundation’s mission to provide scholarships, grants to teachers, support of student career organizations, and technology.
Camden – Camden County Board of Social Services
For more than ten years, thanks in large part to the work of Ronalda Dublin, the Camden County Board of Social Services has provided outstanding opportunities for banking and finance and legal assistant/administrative assistant students by mentoring and hiring them through the cooperative education program. Mrs. Dublin leads the group every year, providing the students with the guidance, direction and training to help them learn what is expected of them when they are working in a very busy office setting. Each student leaves with a better outlook on how the business world works and the various roles played by workers in the process, Mrs. Dublin is also a driving force on the district’s advisory council board and is actively involved in the Academic Business Connections Luncheon Lecture Series.
Cape May – Cape May County Board of Agriculture
The Cape May County Board of Agriculture has been a strong supporter of the Cape May County Technical School District, providing opportunities for FFA (Future Farmers of America) students in the Agriscience & Horticultural Technology program. Board of Agriculture members have been instrumental in fostering community partnerships between students and the Cape May County Beach Plum Association, the county’s Master Gardener’s Program, and the Garden Club of Cape May. All of those argarizations have made significant contributions to defray the costs of sending the FFA students to compete in state and national FFA conventions and competitions. The partnership with the Board of Agriculture has also provided scholarships for those pursuing an agricultural career path in college, donated materials and machinery to enhance instruction and learning, and invitations to attend meetings and events that promote leadership skills, public speaking, networking, and employment opportunities.
Cumberland – PSEG
PSEG has supported the Cumberland County Technical Education Center’s welding technology program for more than 10 years. As part of this support, PSEG has donated tens of thousands of pounds of excess steel for students to practice on and achieve mastery level in their welding proficiencies. The company has also supported the school community by employing graduates from both the welding and electrical technology programs. PSEG representatives often provide safety training to students, and they serve as judges for regional AWS competitions and State SkillsUSA competitions. During the summer, PSEG trains Cumberland TEC’s instructor on emerging trends in the industry and new code requirements. This business partnership benefits everyone involved: Students and staff work at their chosen trade while giving back to the community they live in. Students take pride in their work, and develop pride and appreciation in their community.
Essex – Peter Ielmini, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators, Local 32
Mr. Ielmini has been a partner of the Essex County Vocational Technical Schools for five years. As apprenticeship coordinator for the NJ Building Trades Council, he has worked very closely with the district’s apprenticeship coordinator to develop many relationships with local building trades unions. In addition, he has assisted in establishing a Young Technical Trades Workers association at all district high schools. He sits on the advisory committees of multiple building trades careers and technical education programs.
Gloucester – Tom Rainis, Sysco Foods
Tom Rainis has been a partner with Gloucester County Institute of Technology for the past 15 years, and has made numerous contributions to the school and its programs. Tom has made Serv-Safe Certification and recertification available to all staff members at no cost to the district. He serves as a judge for the NOCTI exit exam each year, taking a day off from work to do so. Mr. Rainis has provided the district with a variety of guest speakers and demonstrations to keep students up to date on the latest trends in the food service industry, and he continually keeps district staff informed of the latest time-saving and cost-effective techniques and products. He has provided students with opportunities to attend events such as the Sysco Annual Food Show, tours of the Sysco Plant in Philadelphia and holiday food shows, and he continually strives to provide the best quality products for the best price.
Hudson – Panasonic Corporation of North America
Hudson County Schoois of Technology formed its partnership with Panasonic Corporation of North America in 2010 to propel its schools further into the vanguard of 21st century education. Panasonic will provide HCST with a tailored system of equipment, connectivity, controls and supporl for use that will ultimately be featured in the district’s new and state-of-the-art leaming facility. Panasonic will also update 17 existing classrooms, incorporating cutting-edge technologies into the educational community. Dr. Larry Rosen, General Manager of Education Solutions, has been instrumental in fostering and expanding this partnership. The district has welcomed his wealth of experience, achievements and understanding of the total integration of technology into its learning community on both an abstract and practical level. Dr. Rosen also serves on the HCST Foundation’s Advisory Council, along with the Futuristic committee, a think tank designed to create a truly cutting-edge school.
Hunterdon – Chris Gacos, Sneakers Plus
Chris Gacos, the owner of Sneakers Plus on Rt. 202 in Flemington, has been actively involved with Hunterdon County Polytech since its inception. He began by working with the district’s marketing program and the Cooperative Marketing class by hiring students for co-op training. Over the past several years, he has been working with Graphics and Commercial Art classes and hiring students as graphic designers to design t-shirts and work at the company’s online store, which offers schools and universities garments for various sports teams. The online store is open during each sport season allowing the students to go online and order the garments. When the store front closes for that particular sport, the orders are compiled, printed and shipped to the school for distribution. Mr. Garcos hires three or four students each year, replacing the students who go onto college with new Polytech hopefuls. He is also a member of the Marketing Advisory Committee and the Visual Communications Advisory Committee. His daughter is a successful graduate of Polytech’s marketing program and is currently employed by MTV as an events coordinator.
Mercer – The Village Salon, Pennington
The Village Salon in Pennington has been honored as the Mercer County Technical Schools 2010 Business Partner of the Year. Karen Marino, a graduate of MCTS and the owner of the salon, and her husband, David Clark, the director of operations, are long-time supporters of the MCTS cosmetology program. Currently, 88 percent of the employees at The Village Salon are graduates of the Mercer County Technical Schools. Karen and David work closely with Christine Cardinale, Cosmetology Instructor at the Arthur R. Sypek Center, to ensure that the students are well-prepared to enter the workforce. In addition, the salon has provided product donations and equipment for Ms. Cardinale’s students.
Middlesex – Raymond McAnally
At the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools School of Performing Arts, Raymond McAnally has performed in Tarcraft, directed a Senior Showcase, shot and performed in educational videos and conducted yearly workshops on the business of acting, dialects and auditions. For the past six years, he has been a member of the Business Advisory Committee. Mr. McAnally is an award-winning professional actor working in television, film, theater and commercials. His television and film credits include 30 Rock, Nurse Jackie, Boardwalk Empire, The Guiding Light and Ghost Town. He has toured the country performing the Broadway one-man show Defending the Caveman and has appeared off-Broadway and at TONY award-winning regional theatres. He holds an MFA in Acting from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University and a BA from Sewanee, The University of the South, in Tennessee.
Monmouth – Monmouth County Parks System
The Monmouth County Parks System and the Monmouth County Vocational School District’s Career Center Landscaping Program worked together on developing and creating a par-3 golf hole. The project is a continuation of the long cooperative partnership between the County Parks Department and the school district. The administration of both agencies worked to accommodate joint scheduling. Equipment and instruments needed were shared or procured by the county and school agencies. Expertise was shared so that planning, and executing needed procedures took place at necessary times. The cooperating County employees and MCVSD teachers jointly supervised students. Business partners from both agencies were used and provided free or discounted materials.
Morris – Arden Courts
The Morris County School of Technology began its affiliation with Arden Courts, an assisted living facility for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, in 2006 in order to provide practical clinical experience for 1lth grade high school students from the Academy for Health Care Sciences. During weekly visits, students learn how to interact with the residents at the facility who are in the early, middle or late stages of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Diane Jarmond works with patients providing diversified programs for all levels of care and with the students teaching them such things as how to deal with patients and recreational therapy.
Ocean – Dawn Food Products
Dawn Foods has a longstanding partnership with Ocean County Vocational Technical Schools. The company, along with the New Jersey Bakers Board of Trade, has stored and transported the equipment culinary arts students need for SkillsUSA competitions for more than 20 years. Dawn Foods also donates all the food products needed for students’ entry in the SkillsUSA commercial baking and wedding cake competition every year. The company also donates the outstanding student award to the bakery and pastry program every year, and supports the Pastry Arts program with demonstrations by their baking technicians, sales representatives and Manager Joe Soboti. The company’s commitment to the education of district students and baking industry is exemplary.
Passaic – F3 Engineering
F3 Engineering is a Paterson-based aerospace engineering and manufacturing firm that designs, develops and produces products for military and commercial applications. F3 Engineering plans to add 100 jobs to its payroll over the next five years with many of those new positions targeted to be filled by graduates of Passaic County Technical Institute. Through its partnership with PCTI, F3 Engineering is investing in resources and training for PCTI students. The recent presentation of a $5,000 scholarship to PCTI to establish internships and work-based leaming opportunities to foster skill development for engineering and manufacturing technology students affirms F3’s commitment to PCTI students, enabling them to compete in the global workplace.
Somerset – Philip A. Brown III, Somerset County United Way
As President and CEO of Somerset County United Way, Philip A. Brown III, has been an active member of the Somerset County Vocational and Technical Schools Student Management Team, working with board members, teachers, and administrators to promote career-readiness among students through the school’s Office of Career and Technical Education. He is also active in the Internship Initiative at the school. One example of a student who benefited from his efforts is Evangeline Petez, a 20l0 SCVTS graduate who worked as an intern for the United Way prior to her graduation. She is currently a full-time employee in the organization’s Finance Department. “Phil has helped all of us succeed,” Evangeline said.
Sussex – McGuire Chevrolet Cadillac (Jim Swistack)
Jim Swistack is the general service manager for McGuire Chevrolet Cadillac. He has donated tools, information, and personal time to meet with Sussex County Technical Schools students to demonstrate General Motors processes and to personally help students complete projects. He has shown students that businesses need career and technical education schools and students as much as the schools and students need employers, and he has provided work opportunities to students who demonstrate the characteristics GM and McGuire seek in future employees. Mr. Swistack has served as a liaison between the students and the manufacturer of GM products for repair information. He has provided insight into dealer responsibilities, service schedules, technological information, and repair processes. He never hesitates to answer questions and calls often to check students’ progress in the auto shop to see if he can lend a hand.
Union – Grotto Engineering, LLC
Since 2002, Grotto Engineering has served the Union County Magnet High School by agreeing to place internship students in positions within the company and acting as mentors to many district students. The opportunity gives students the experience of engineering in a real job setting. A recent example of a student work opportunity was the mapping of storm water collection svstems in Clark and Kenilworth. As a result, students were able to assist the municipalities in saving money while providing a record of lasting value for the communities. Last spring Grotto Engineering provided two exceptional students with stipends to assist in their continued studies, documenting the students’ achievements in a letter of recognition. Through their commitment to career and technical education, companies like Grotto assist in students’ successes.
Warren – Dr. Will Austin, President of Warrren County Community College
Dr. Will Austin, the president of Warren County Community College, has worked to create a partnership between the college and Warren County Vocational Technical School. His vision for county residents is to provide a pathway to higher education and career enhancement. He has aligned high school career programs with degrees at WCCC, making it possible for students to earn college credits while still in high school, providing them with the ease of transition and cost savings so desperately needed in this economy. Plans are to offer a degree program in automotive technology, with programs in hospitality/culinary arts, law and public safety and health sciences soon to follow.