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Bergen County kicks off biz enhancement program.

Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) along with the New Jersey Department of Commerce and the Department of Labor, has announced the expansion of the Business Enhancement Program (BEP) to Bergen County. BEP, a public/private initiative to assist the New Jersey business community in maximizing their competitive advantage, began last year in Passaic County.

The program's goal is to maximize the effectiveness of field service and sales representatives of both government and industry, by providing them with information on available business assistance programs to address their clients' concerns. A communication network has been established to respond to a business inquiry in a professional and timely manner.

Stephen J. Kukan, General Manager-Area Development for PSE&G stated, "the program is designed to retain and promote growth of New Jersey's existing businesses and industries to preserve our existing jobs and foster new jobs." The Area Development Department has conducted business attraction and retention programs for PSE&G for well over 60 years.

Although BEP was only established in eight counties for a portion of 1991, over 120 companies requested and received assistance. Kukan stated that, "over 93 percent of the companies concerns were resolved to the satisfaction of the companies and over 90 percent were resolved within 45 working days of the initial contact." A majority of inquiries were financial, labor and environmental issues.

An example of a business helped through a cooperative effort between business and government is Tetley Inc. of Palisades Park. Tetley manufactures Martinson, Savarin, Brown Gold, Bustelo, El PiCo and Medaglia D'oro coffees in its 150,000-square-foot plant of 190 employees. About a year ago, the company determined that the plant needed a major capital investment. The investment included the installation of new state-of-the-art coffee roasters that required environmental approvals. Because of the magnitude of the investment, Tetley felt it needed the full cooperation of all levels of government as well as its union employees before it could decide to remain in New Jersey. Tetley was also faced with the same market conditions which led to other major coffee roasters leaving the state. These issues caused the company to consider a relocation as they had been sought after by other states economic development groups.

PSE&G's Terry Moran, marketing engineer, had established a good working relationship with Tetley, became aware of their concerns. After a series of meetings with various departments within local and state government, Tetley's concerns were resolved. The N.J. Department of Labor along with a federal mediator were instrumental in fostering an agreement between the company and its labor unions. The efforts of all those involved in the Business Enhancement Program helped Tetley remain in New Jersey and commit to a multi-million dollar retooling of the plant. This effort saved at least 190 jobs. Tetley management was very pleased with the response of the organizations involved. This exemplifies the successful relationships that can be established between private business and government.
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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Feb 19, 1992
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