Writer: Max Crampton-Thomas
2 min read June 2021 — Joe Jingoli, CEO of JINGOLI, a general contractor, construction manager and developer, is looking forward to a bright future for the construction sector in South Jersey. From the recovery of the Atlantic City entertainment and gaming industry to the new winds blowing in the energy sector, there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of, he told Invest:.
What were some of the challenges during the pandemic and how did you address them?
While the JINGOLI companies worked through and tackled many of the same challenges faced by countless other businesses, it is in my role as co-owner of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City where I feel the pandemic presented the most significant challenges. The three-month closure left many of our team members facing severe hardships and food insecurities. Recognizing the severity of the situation, we aligned with local government representatives, the Murphy Administration, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and members of organized labor to create a program that offered food to thousands of out-of-work casino workers. With the help and support of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey – Southern Branch, we were able to take some of the weight off the local food pantries that were overwhelmed trying to fulfill the needs of the community as a whole. In addition to food pick-up sites, Hard Rock Atlantic City also supplied employees with gift cards to be used to buy food.
The owners and management at Hard Rock faced many challenges and, together, we did our best to figure out how to operate in this new world. The changes that were made that allowed us to re-open proved to be innovative, making us one of the safest properties anywhere. We offered bonuses to all our team members when they returned to work, not because we were making money, but rather to demonstrate how grateful we were to have them back. Looking back at those early reopening days to where we stand today is a testament to our commitment to guest service and overall customer experiences, even during the most trying of times.
There is clearly pent-up demand out there to re-engage and partake in some fun and entertaining experiences. With the introduction of Hard Rock’s industry-leading Safe + Sound protocols and the health and safety of our guests top-of-mind, we know we will come out of the pandemic learning many valuable lessons. We have and will always operate within all state regulations and guidelines, and we know as guests return, they will feel comfortable having a good time. Looking back and through today, we know the work we have to do in the hospitality and gaming business is a little harder, but I think we all have adjusted and gotten used to the new normal. Hard Rock Atlantic City will continue to strive to be the venue that provides a good, safe and fun experience for its guests or, as we like to call it, good, clean fun.
What are the most promising opportunities for JINGOLI in the coming years?
I am hopeful the Atlantic City International Airport, a South Jersey jewel, will evolve into a major hub of activity. Where other airports have space constraints and may have to sacrifice certain services to handle increased passenger numbers going forward, that is not the case for this airport. We’re hoping that as a major, New Jersey-based construction company, we can be part of the plans to expand Atlantic City Airport. In the long and short term, development of that airport would create a source of new jobs.
There is also opportunity within the state’s cannabis sector. Take Atlantic City as an example. I think the cannabis sector could be a part of the Atlantic City experience, but how the opportunity is presented and introduced is critically important. Access to cannabis, when done right, can be a redevelopment tool and a way to entice more visitors to Atlantic City. In addition, the expansion of eds and meds in Atlantic City is also presenting great opportunities for growth and jobs. Also, we can’t underestimate the importance of the e-gaming sector. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement’s e-gaming lab, one of the best in the country and the world, is located in Atlantic City, highlighting the state’s commitment to providing key resources needed to fuel the growth of that industry.
I feel very strongly that by working together, the hospitality industry, government and labor can spark and maintain opportunities in Atlantic City, so that jobs open up here rather than in other areas of the state and the country.
The offshore wind industry is also coming to New Jersey, right off the southern coastline. There is a lot of capacity in our construction industry to support the onshore segments of offshore wind, which are significant.
Finally, in the nuclear field we are working on the decommissioning of Unit 2 at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, as well as providing services needed to keep the working nuclear plants running at peak capacity.
How are you developing and training the workforce you need?
The JINGOLI companies stand firm and focused on developing and maintaining a workforce by applying the doctrines set forth by our Competitive Edge programs. On any given day, we have hundreds of young people from urban areas working for us. They start as summer workers, and when I say summer jobs, I mean jobs that pay $15 an hour and that’s just the first step. Then comes job training that includes specific training for specific jobs within a variety of our business sectors. We are fortunate that we have a high degree of success in recruiting young people to work for us because we also provide the necessary support for them to have long-term careers with us. If transportation is an issue, we address that; if childcare is the issue, we address that as well.
What is your outlook for the South Jersey economy for the next 18 months?
We’re going to have a lot of infrastructure work with the onshore offerings related to offshore wind energy, including building substations, transmission and manufacturing facilities. Our medical sector is going to continue to grow and expand and that is very positive. The gaming industry is going to have some challenges, but there is pent-up demand, so I think it’s going to be great for the next 18 months. One challenge is that downstate gaming in New York will probably take a bite out of us in Atlantic City, so we have to continue to focus on providing the best experience possible for our guests. That will continue to require a lot of coordination and cooperation with government entities, the NGOs and the industry as a whole to face these challenges and come out ahead.
For more information, visit: