The day included the fourth annual Metro-NJ Real Estate Conference and Awards Luncheon and a floor exhibit showcase with 45 exhibitors from Hudson County. The booths were manned by representatives from financial, health care, educational, banking, development and media companies. They handed out pamphlets on topics ranging from the rise of Jersey City development to the procedures for obtaining a business loan.
"We have been involved in the showcase since its inception," said Hudson City Savings Bank Vice President Dennis Valentovic from his exhibition booth. "It's an outstanding place to not only attract new clients from outside of the county but also to network with companies already in Hudson County."
The METRO-NJ Real Estate Conference and Excellence Award Luncheon consisted of three paneled discussions and a lunch honoring the 2000 Excellence Award winner, Developer Richard Lefrak of the LeFrak Organization. Lefrak was honored for his achievement in Hudson County development. Already one of the largest owners of apartment buildings in the nation, Lefrak is currently directing the development of 400-acre Newport area in Jersey City, a $10 billion mixed use community on the Hudson River waterfront.
The panel discussions covered issues such as "Making sense of changing markets" and "Finding funding in a fluctuating market." Casey McKenna of NORTEL communications, who was on the panel of for a discussion on "Keeping up with rapidly developing technologies," said he believes that Hudson County is an excellent place for developing businesses.
"The time to act is now," said McKenna after the panel discussion. "Hudson County is in a unique position to take advantage of the newest 'bleeding edge' technology." McKenna defined "bleeding edge" technology as the hottest and most recently proven technology, advancements that are more on the apex of what is going on than even leading edge technology. McKenna went on to say that because of all the different networking and telecommunications firms that already exist in Hudson County, such as Knight Securities, Verizon and ATX Telecommunications, new businesses in this region have a leg up on others around the nation.
McKenna said that while Hudson County is ready to use the newest in technologies, others are a couple of years away because they don't have the networking capabilities.
Joseph Regan, a Loan Coordinator for the HCEDC, said the purpose of "Showcase: Hudson County" was two-pronged. On one level it was an opportunity for businesses and corporations to come to the real estate conference and learn about what is happening in the marketplace. But after attendees listened to the lecture, they then could wander over to the showcase floor and see all that Hudson County has to offer. And the HCEDC hopes they decide to bring their corporations and new jobs to Hudson County.
On the other hand, Regan noted, the event was an opportunity for businesses that are already here in Hudson County to network. "All of these companies are here to sell themselves," said Regan. "But in the process they walk around to all of the booths. It's an opportunity to contact businesses inside the county that they might not have any other way to find."
The HCEDC, which sponsors the event, is a resource for information about the county and the county's businesses. It provides facts about business loan programs and locations of available commercial and industrial properties.