South Jersey

The construction sector, an essential industry during the coronavirus landscape, has seen activity throughout the current economic cycle. For Dumus, Inc, the construction company has different ongoing projects despite COVID-19 related challenges, Principal Scott Zuckerman told Invest: Insights. The real impact to the construction sector may be felt in 2021 as new projects are not being announced with much frequency. Currently, the discussion around hygienic buildings and touchless entry and exit points dominates the conversations but it comes with added costs, he said.

Wealth management services have seen an uptick in demand due to the shared feeling of uncertainty during this time, and firms have taken notice. In his conversation with Invest: Insights, Albert Fox, Executive Director at Fox, Penberthy & Dehn at Morgan Stanley, discussed that this is the proper time for people to reassess their investment strategies and plans for the future.

Since the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an encouraging movement of large companies in the United States enacting various wide-scale initiatives to assist and benefit their communities and customer base. UnitedHealthcare is one of those larger companies that has stepped up to make a real difference for their customers and community with a commitment of $1.5 billion of additional support towards tackling Coronavirus related challenges. Dan Tropeano, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Pennsylvania and Delaware, discussed this initiative with Abby Melone and how an additional $750,000 of support specifically for the state of Pennsylvania was just announced by his company.”

Telemedicine has been an up and coming technology within healthcare for the last few years, but now during this COVID-19 pandemic the technology’s true potential is being realized and put to the test. John DiAngelo, the President and CEO of Inspira Health, spoke to Abby Melone about how his healthcare system has always had virtual visits and have ramped up their push to encourage people to use this technology in light of the pandemic. He also spoke of their continuous work with the community to address and assist the disenfranchised and elderly population through this crisis.

Education in the United States had to quickly adapt and change in the wake of COVID-19, as did the student body at these schools. This has led to changes in student’s wants and needs which universities are now having to figure out how to accommodate. Dr. Ali Houshmand, President of Rowan University, discussed with Abby Melone how changes in students’ needs have resulted in changes to the university’s plans for expansion. He spoke on how the transition to online education during the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the question of how much meeting space is actually needed, which has led to plans for their buildings to be reassessed.

New York State’s geography is as diverse as its populations with urban, suburban, and rural communities. UnitedHealthcare had to take all of this into consideration when pivoting to tackle the onset of coronavirus-related challenges, UnitedHealthcare of New York CEO Michael McGuire told Invest: Insights. The healthcare provider had to rethink its approach to helping residents in densely populated New York City, as well as adapting to help residents in areas that saw less volume of COVID-19 patients. UnitedHealthcare waived different fees, including co-pays for telehealth visits, McGuire said. Telehealth saw a 900 percent uptick in New York City this year. Prior to the coronavirus, telehealth visits, telehealth visits were seeing single-digit growth.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced banks to pivot quickly in the midst of shelter in place and social distancing measures. In Greater Philadelphia, OceanFirst Bank has seen an uptick in digital activity. The bank has steadily been making investments in its digital offerings, and during the COVID-19 outbreak it has placed a keen focus on training its staff, Market President Susanne Svizeny told Invest:Insights. The bank is now preparing to begin advising clients on the recent loan forgiveness measures set to start in July, Svizeny said.

Healthcare providers around the nation differentiated in their levels of preparedness when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the United States. While some entities have been struggling to meet the increased demand, other systems like Jefferson Health were more than equipped to handle an influx in patients that still has yet to come to fruition. This was expressed to Abby Melone by Dr. Stephen Klasko, CEO of Jefferson Health, who spoke on their healthcare system sitting at about a 60% capacity, and that their work on telemedicine and the previous pandemic of ebola had Jefferson Health well prepared and positioned to handle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Communication from local community leaders and organizations is essential during a global pandemic like COVID-19. Janet Garraty, Interim Director for Gloucester County Chamber of Commerce, discussed with Abby Melone the early struggles of trying to formulate the correct messaging to send out to the community at the start of this crisis, and how the Chamber has now adapted by communicating with the community through the use of targeted and well intentioned conversation.

While there are many initiatives in place to help carry the economy through this pandemic, the key for all organizations and individuals is to try and keep as positive as possible. This was what Thomas Cavalieri, the Dean of the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, discussed with Abby Melone throughout their conversation. He also spoke on the variety of challenges this pandemic is creating for graduate programs as opposed to undergraduate programs.

In the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, the question on everyone’s mind is when will the social distancing and sheltering at home end? While there may not be a clear cut answer, a step in the right direction is the research and development of a vaccine for the virus. Dario Altieri, MD, the President and CEO of the Wistar Institute, spoke with Abby Melone about his organization’s research work towards developing a vaccine and what that has entailed.

They say preparation is key, and in the case of higher education currently facing a pandemic, this sentiment rings true. Dr. Michael Cioce, President of Rowan College at Burlington County, detailed to Abby Melone the steps his college took in order to try and get ahead of the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This included preemptively switching to online classes prior to the mandated order and deciding upon a virtual graduation in place of a traditional one.

In the current time we find ourselves in, healthcare professionals are of the utmost importance and so are the higher education institutions that educate them. Donna Nickitas, Dean of the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden, informed Abby Melone that even with the COVID-19 pandemic there has not been an effect on the school’s summer semester enrollment numbers, and it is yet to be determined how it could affect their Fall semester.

When a global crisis like COVID-19 happens, the effects are not always evenly distributed throughout the country nor are they immediately felt. In her discussion with CEO of Capital Analytics Abby Melone, Christina Renna the President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey, discusses the business community’s initial frustrations with the closing of non-essential businesses and how the Chamber is working to assist these businesses.