Networking at Noon, webinars keep Burlington Regional Chamber members informed

Networking at Noon, webinars keep Burlington Regional Chamber members informed

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read April 2020 — The novel coronavirus forced a global halt to major international, regional and local events. From the NBA season to networking conferences, all gatherings of any size stopped abruptly in an effort to flatten the curve and prevent COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, from spreading further. However, as the population at large becomes accustomed to social distancing, stay at home orders and self quarantining, many events went from a hard stop to full speed ahead virtually. As the business community adjusts to the challenges of the disruption caused by the coronavirus, many institutions are building value and maintaining relationships with patrons by maximizing the use of webinars, online classes, video conferences and even virtual happy hours.


In its “Staying Connected” series, Invest: is talking to leaders in various markets about their efforts to, well … stay connected.

South Jersey institutions like the Burlington Regional Chamber of Commerce are shifting to video meetings to stay connected and provide value to members and nonmembers alike in the current landscape. “We are providing as much digital content and opportunities as possible to both members and nonmembers. Our goal is to be a partner and resource for the business community at large,” President and CEO Kristi M. Howell told Invest: South Jersey. “We are offering several different options. Networking at Noon takes place every Monday and it is strictly a virtual business card exchange. We are providing webinars, both live and recorded, on issues and benefits around COVID-19. Most importantly, we are providing educational webinars to strengthen professional development. It’s important that we keep our eye on the future and continue to educate our members on essential business tools so that we all pull out of this stronger.”

For the chamber, it’s all about doing “what we do best for our members on a different platform. We have moved everything that we can online and it’s business as usual for most things, but remotely. We have modified communications and have suspended normal newsletters in favor of those that are pertinent to this ever changing situation. We are focusing on highlighting five to seven members a week in our Meet Our Members series and we continue to make introductions for those who are doing business or modifying their business model for today’s climate,” Howell said.  

The video conference platform, Zoom, has quickly become ubiquitous across the virtual events space. Across economic sectors, different institutions are taking advantage of Zoom and similar platforms. To host a successful virtual event, event planners must decide between hosting a virtual meeting or a webinar. “If you expect attendees to mostly just listen,” the best option is a webinar, Zoom advises as part of its digital event best practices. “When you need more back and forth between the audience and the host,” planners should choose a virtual meeting, the platform advises. 

Once the type of digital event has been narrowed down, hosts should hardwire the internet connection to prevent any Wi-Fi-related hiccups or virtual lag. In terms of audio, hosts should test speakers and audio prior to the meeting and minimize any background noise, according to Zoom. Additionally, hosts should dress to impress and make sure to start the virtual event on time. It is important to set the tone of the event and encourage Q&A’s during the virtual meeting or webinar. As a best practice, Zoom recommends the use of the Chat function to keep track of questions and comments. For larger webinars, Zoom offers a Paypal integration to charge the registration fees seamlessly. 

For the time being, social distancing will be part of the mainstream business landscape until at least May. However, many institutions are adjusting and pivoting more and more to the virtual hosting model to build value, share information and regain a sense of community in a time where residents are being asked to self-isolate as much as possible.  

To learn more visit:

Spotlight On: Carl H. Bagell, Managing Partner – Southern NJ,Friedman LLP

Spotlight On: Carl H. Bagell, Managing Partner – Southern NJ,Friedman LLP

By: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read February 2020 — Friedman LLP has been serving the accounting, tax and business consulting needs of numerous businesses in a wide variety of industries since 1924. Friedman’s South Jersey offices have more than tripled in size since they started doing business in the region. Southern NJ Managing Partner Carl H. Bagell discussed the firm’s main areas of growth and industry trends in an interview with Invest:


What services are seeing the most demand?


As a multidisciplinary firm with a growth mindset, we provide a wide variety of services and seek new opportunities to better serve our clients. In South Jersey, we focus on tax preparation, business valuation, forensic and matrimonial, international tax and tax controversy, and every area is expanding. For example, we expanded the number of our international tax practice partners in response to our clients’ growing needs in the face of ever-evolving global trends; the qualified Opportunity Zones segment of our real estate practice is seeing an increased demand for investment advisory; and our cybersecurity division is one of the fastest-growing areas in the region and abroad due to the cyber-threat landscape. 


Notably, SEC audits consistently play a major role in driving revenue for the firm and as such, we have offices in China with about 50 team members to address our clients’ needs. 


Not only has our client base expanded, but so have our employee numbers. To accommodate this growth, we almost doubled our size by relocating to a new office in Marlton. We have a lot of room for expansion and an amazing, flexible space where we can hold seminars, staff meetings and business events. We have a great collaborative working environment. 


What impact is technology having on the accounting and financial sectors?


Technology is a crucial part of our workflow. We have advanced technology at Friedman that allows us to leverage data to support our clients and attract new clients. Our cloud-based accounting software allows us to have faster, more effective internal communication. We also have a team specialized in cryptocurrency and blockchain, and we are now seeing more and more clients coming to us for advisory services. 


What are some trends in the region’s accounting sector?


A big trend is outsourcing a significant amount of our tax work. This helps reduce costs for clients and increases production. There is also a trend of clients looking for education and advisory services. Clients are looking for a customized experience and a trusted adviser. 


More broadly, a trend we continue to see is the impact of changes in tax law with each year and each administration. Our clients today need to be even more engaged with their accountants due to the ever-changing federal tax laws, especially when it comes to estate planning.  


What are your main areas of focus in South Jersey in 2020?


We have more than tripled our size since we started doing business in South Jersey. Our goal is to continue that growth and keep informing our clients and the community about all of our divisions and services. We provide support to numerous industries and types of businesses. We are also focusing on attracting top talent to support our expansion. 


To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

Friedman LLP: 


Survey highlights Camden’s economic progress

Survey highlights Camden’s economic progress

By: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read January 2020 — What once was the poorest city in the nation is now showing significant advances as a result of its renaissance efforts. Camden City is showing positive trends in key economic areas, according to a recent survey from the U.S. Census Bureau,  using data derived from the American Community Survey (ACS).   


The survey data showed significant improvements in areas such as poverty, educational attainment, employment and unemployment. 

“Change doesn’t happen overnight, but in findings like these we are seeing the very real snowballing effect of progressive policies put into place to better the lives of residents in the City,” said Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr in a press release.

The surge in educational attainment among 18-24-year olds is one of the significant trends Camden has seen during the last decade. The most recent estimate shows the population achieving high school or higher levels of education is now at 83.3 percent. From 2006 to 2010, approximately 68 percent of young adults in the city had graduated high school, earned their G.E.D., attended some college, or received an associate’s, bachelor’s or advanced degree. 

“Ensuring all of our students and families are attaining a quality education and gaining access to advanced educational opportunities is our objective. This report underscores the progress being made in the classroom and throughout our district,” Superintendent Katrina McCombs said in a press release.

The survey also showed that the number of residents employed has increased by more than 2,500 and the number of unemployed residents dropped from over 7,700 to less than 3,900.  According to city data, the unemployment rate over the five years ending in 2018 was 12.6%, which represents a big decline from the 24.4 percent reported from 2009 to 2013.   

Camden’s “eds and meds” sector, which employs almost 40% of the Camden workforce, has also been key to the city’s revitalization. Over $1 billion has been invested in the “eds and meds” sector, with an additional $175 million planned. Camden is home to five eds and meds institutions, leading research and innovative efforts throughout the region and the national and international community. 

To support local businesses and residents, workforce initiatives like private initiative Camden Works, launched in 2019, have been forged to ensure Camden continues its growth path. The employment training and placement program is designed to leverage resources from local entities to provide training, education and placement.

“Unparalleled collaboration and a holistic approach to revitalization is resulting in real progress in Camden,” said Camden Mayor Francisco Moran in a press release. “The data indicates that Camden is making substantial gains as it relates to reducing poverty, improving academic outcomes and increasing employment prospects. This kind of sustained progress has not been witnessed in decades.  These are all positive signs for our residents and indicators that the quality of life continues to improve.” 

The ACS produces estimates of selected population characteristics for one- and five-year periods. Five-year estimates include data aggregated over a 60-month period and attempt to show the characteristics of the city over that entire stretch.  

To learn more, visit: 


Public and Private Collaboration Key to Camden’s Eds and Meds Corridor

Public and Private Collaboration Key to Camden’s Eds and Meds Corridor

By: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read December 2019 — The life sciences industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in New Jersey, with the largest concentration of scientists and engineers per square mile in the world. The southern New Jersey region is no exception, with Camden’s “eds and meds” corridor boasting numerous healthcare, educational and research institutions.

The city’s eds and meds corridor has been experiencing steady growth over the last few years, thanks to the commitment of anchor institutions and the city’s leadership. According to Cooper’s Ferry Partnership statistics, the corridor employs almost 40% of the Camden workforce and over $1 billion has been invested in the “eds and meds” sector, with an additional $175 million planned. 

Created in 2012 by the New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act, the Rowan University / Rutgers – Camden Board of Governors has been a catalyst in the corridor’s extension and economic development. In October, the board reached a milestone with the opening of the new Joint Health and Sciences Center, which provides lab and training spaces for Rowan University, Rutgers-Camden and Camden County College. 

“By leveraging the power of these institutions, the Center is poised to become the research and innovation hub of South Jersey. This campus will be the beating heart of Camden’s eds and meds corridor, injecting opportunity, growth, and innovation throughout the entire region,” said  Joint Board CEO Dana Redd in a press release. 

The center houses research laboratory spaces for both Rowan and Rutgers-Camden, simulation rooms for medical students at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, instructional space and additional simulation labs for Camden County College, and office space for the Joint Board, according to the press release. The center will help expand the city’s transformation into a hub for medical research and innovation and attract top talent into the region. 

Camden’s “eds and meds” corridor growth is also due to the numerous partnerships between healthcare and education organizations in the area. These community collaborations and initiatives have helped combat social determinants and support local residents. For example, Camden residents now have expanded access to care as a result of efforts by institutions such as Cooper University Health Care, Virtua Health System, CAMcare Health Corporation and Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers.  

The Coriell Institute for Medical Research, an independent, nonprofit biomedical research center, has been a leader in Camden’s health sciences sector. The institute hosts one of the world’s leading biobanks, distributing biological samples and offering research and biobanking services to scientists in 85 countries around the globe. By conducting groundbreaking research in biobanking, personalized medicine and stem cell biology, the Coriell Institute has been and continues to be a main driver of the corridor’s growth.

Another example is the MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper, which has also significantly contributed to Camden’s eds and meds corridor since its opening in 2013. The center not only brought a new option for cancer patients across the region, but its innovative clinical trials and research has helped Camden’s reputation as a hub for groundbreaking healthcare research and education.


To learn more, visit:

Cooper’s Ferry Partnership:  

Rowan University / Rutgers – Camden Board of Governors: 

Coriell Institute for Medical Research: 

MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper: