Union County WORKS Business Summit

On behalf of the Union County Board of County Commissioners, Chairman Granados is happy to announce the first-ever Union County WORKS Business Summit 2023, taking place on September 12th at 10 a.m. at Kean University’s Liberty Hall, located at 1003 Morris Avenue in Union.

At this event, participants will have the opportunity to listen to expert panelists offering valuable guidance, while also discovering Union County’s diverse services and resources at no cost to employers. These resources include Workforce Information and Data Analysis, On-the Job-Training (OJT), Employer Support Services, Incumbent Worker Training, Recruitment Assistance, Training Services, and Customized Training.

At this event, participants will have the opportunity to listen to expert panelists offering valuable guidance, while also discovering Union County’s diverse services and resources at no cost to employers. These resources include Workforce Information and Data Analysis, On-the Job-Training (OJT), Employer Support Services, Incumbent Worker Training, Recruitment Assistance, Training Services, and Customized Training.

In addition, attendees can expect insights on the advantages of doing business in Union County, along with valuable demographic data, targeted development areas, and strategies for creating a stronger business environment.

The Union County WORKS Business Summit 2023 promises to be a day of innovation, collaboration, and growth, bringing together businesses of all sizes for a unique opportunity to tap into Union County’s immense potential and elevate your business even higher.

Robert Croom

With a dynamic career spanning 19 years as a dedicated Union County employee, Robert Croom is a visionary leader who has made significant contributions to the local community. Robert’s journey began within Union County’s public service landscape, where he embarked on his career as an agent of change, fostering growth and development across diverse sectors.

Robert’s early endeavors led him to Union County’s corrections department, where he took on the challenging responsibility of overseeing the Department of Social Services. This pivotal role allowed him to leverage his deep understanding of community dynamics to shape impactful programs that directly addressed the needs of Union County residents.

Robert holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Saint Peter’s University, which endowed him with a profound understanding of human behavior and the intricate threads that weave communities together. Eager to expand his knowledge and impact, Robert pursued a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Kean University, equipping himself with the skills necessary to navigate complex organizational landscapes and drive transformative change.

In 2022, Robert’s exceptional leadership qualities led him to a new horizon as the Division Director of the Union County American Job Center. In this role, he has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to fostering mutually beneficial relationships between businesses and job seekers throughout the county. With a keen focus on creating meaningful partnerships, Robert has initiated a paradigm shift in workforce development, driving impactful outcomes for both employers and those seeking employment opportunities.

Adam Farrah

Adam Farrah has been providing assistance to small businesses for over 35 years. After joining Union County Economic Development Corporation (now known as UCEDC) in 1987 as the Director of Financial Programs, he served as UCEDC’s Senior Vice President for 22 years, overseeing its financial programs as well as its government procurement assistance and business development divisions. Mr. Farrah became President of UCEDC in December of 2019.

In his role as President, Mr. Farrah is responsible for new product development, including SBA programs, as well as annual fundraising and management via donations, foundation support, and long-term state and federal contracts.

Mr. Farrah reports to a 19 member board of trustees representing small and large corporations across various industry sectors, maintains partnerships, and testifies on public issues and business initiatives before state and local legislative and regulatory bodies.

Prior to joining UCEDC, Mr. Farrah was the senior loan officer for the Elizabeth Development Company for several years. He is a graduate of Stockton State College, a resident of Mountainside, NJ and is the father of twin daughters.

Hilary McCarron

Hilary McCarron is Manager, Port Planning & Policy in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s Port Department. In that capacity, she is responsible for the development and management of strategic and business plans, federal legislative advocacy, risk management, workforce development, and grant advancement. She manages over $60 million in infrastructure grants. Under the leadership of the Council on Port Performance, she is charged with building a collaborative effort to bridge Port employers to the Port of NY & NJ’s host communities. Under her leadership, the workforce committee has:

  • Established the Maritime Community Engagement Center in Newark, NJ.
  • Launched a TLD Job Board and increased membership to 800+. 
  • Established a Logistics Technician Apprenticeship via NJMEP.
  • Launched a training app that upskills and prepares TLD talent. 

Each year the workforce committee partners with Port businesses and stakeholders to deliver collaborative events that bring awareness and demonstrate the importance of the Port of NY & NJ and the variety of good paying local jobs it offers within Union, Essex, Hudson, Richmond and Kings counties.

She has worked at The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for over 30 years in a variety of roles within Corporate Communications, Human Resources, Public Affairs, and Regional Development. 

Previously, she was the Manager B2B Marketing. In that capacity she was responsible for creating and implementing communications and media strategies to promote the Port of New York and New Jersey as well as the agency’s capital investments, police recruitment, supplier diversity, and environmental initiatives. In that capacity, she has a proven 15-year track record of producing award-winning communications campaigns. Among other accomplishments, she initiated and created a supplier diversity marketing program that supported a record $575 million in contract awards to minority, women-owned and small businesses.

Eager to share her talents and resources with others, Hilary collaborates with various nonprofit organizations including the Boy Scouts of America where she was a Cub Scout Master for two years and led the Scouting for Food Drive for New Providence, NJ. She is a recipient of the 2020 Good Scout Award. She actively leads the Council on Port Performance’s Workforce Development programs, is a member of the AAPA’s Ports United Infrastructure Task Force, and is a part of the Ports International Human Capital Working Group.

Hilary holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree Cum Laude in Economics and a minor in German from Wells College. She is a recipient of the Jean S. Davis Prize in Economics.

Carlos Medina

Carlos Medina, a graduate of Rutgers Newark and Rutgers Law School Newark, is the President of Robinson Aerial, Inc., a firm specializing in mapping and engineering with a long and rich history in New Jersey. As President and majority owner for Robinson Aerial Surveys, Inc., Carlos has developed a sustainable growth platform that has nearly doubled revenues for Robinson since his tenure began in 2009. He has added new services in construction management and related MEP services to his firm’s service portfolio. Additionally, Robinson is certified as 8a | DBE | MBE | SBE in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania and currently employees 30 professional staff members.

Starting in 2018, Carlos has acted as Executive Producer and Host for 2 PBS projects and is a regular contributor for Univision NY. These positions, and many previous ones (listed below), involving extensive presence in the media, helped Carlos build considerable Reputational Risk experience.

In January 2019, Carlos became President and CEO of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (SHCCNJ), having served as Chairman since 2012. The SHCCNJ represents 119,000 Hispanic-owned businesses in New Jersey that contribute over $20 billion annually to the State’s economy. To raise awareness and promote diversity in entrepreneurship, he regularly discusses issues important to the members of SHCCNJ and the business community during appearances on various TV Networks including ABC 7, WWOR 9 and NJTV. Carlos has had a long history with the Chamber dating back to 2005 when he became a member and later transitioning in 2012 to Chairman. As Chairman, Carlos took this organization that was $300,000 in Debt and brought them to over $750,000 in the bank. His tenure as Chairman would last seven years before becoming the current President and CEO of the Chamber.

Also in 2019, Carlos co-founded and became the Chairman of the Hispanic Chamber Fund, a loan program helping Hispanic Chamber member business owners and entrepreneurs across the U.S fairly and transparently gain access to capital to help them build, grow and expand their businesses.

Carlos serves as a Corporate Board Member of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ. With sales in excess 13 billion dollars annually, Horizon is one of the country’s premiere health insurance companies. Carlos serves as a member on the following subcommittees: Governance, Audit, Personnel and Compensation.

Carlos has been a Board member of New Jersey Economic Development Authority, where he served as chairman of the Real Estate Sub Committee for several years.

Mimi Nkwepo

In her role, Dr. Nkwepo oversees all Coach USA recruiting activities and work to ensure that the company attract and hire employees of the highest caliber that fit within Coach USA’s unique corporate culture. Dr. Nkwepo’s role is integral and vital to the continued growth and success of the company. Her goal is to recruit, train and retain great talents for Coach USA.

Dr. Nkwepo has over 20 years of HR, and recruiting experience in various industries including the hospitality, pharmaceutical, and energy industries. Prior to joining Coach USA, she held positions of increasing responsibilities at companies such as Atrium Staffing, Johnson & Johnson, Merck KGA, and PSEG.

In her most recent position, Dr. Nkwepo was responsible for streamlining the recruiting process at PSEG. During her tenure, she worked collaboratively with internal and external stakeholders to reduce redundancies, cut costs, improve process efficiency, and most importantly reduce employee turnover. 

Dr. Nkwepo received her Master of Human Resources Management, and Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) with a focus in Human Resources Management from Thomas Edison State University.

Dr. Nkwepo currently lives in Potomac, MD with her husband and two teenage sons.

Antonio Rivera

Antonio Rivera is an experienced professional currently serving as the Director of the Union County Workforce Development Board.

With a proven track record, he excels in strategic planning, policy-making, and leadership. Rivera’s effective collaboration with stakeholders addresses state and regional workforce needs, fostering partnerships and driving impactful employment and training initiatives.

Rivera’s dedication to workforce development is evidenced by his roles in prominent commissions and boards. He is a member of the Garden State Employment & Training Commission, the New Jersey Department of Labor’s Credential Review Board, and the Port Authority of NY & NJ’s Council on Port Performance, Workforce Development Implementation Team. Through these engagements,

Antonio Rivera actively contributes to shaping workforce opportunities and strategies at various levels.

For more information, please contact Carolina Marin by phone at 908-380-6237 or via email at astrid.marin@ucnj.org