The Atlantic County Economic Alliance board of trustees recently elected a new chairwoman and several officers who will serve three-year terms.
Brett Matik, president of Harrison Beverage, was elected chairwoman.
Matik, of Linwood, was serving as the interim vice chairwoman as the alliance established itself as a public/private partnership tasked with retaining, growing and attracting businesses to Atlantic County.
Michael Viscount of Fox Rothschild was elected vice chairman.
Rick Dovey, president of the Atlantic County Utilities Authority, and Joe Ingemi, principal consultant of Pinarus Technologies, will serve as treasurer and secretary, respectively.
Leo Schoffer, president of Schoffer Enterprises, who served as interim chairman since the organization was created in 2016, was unanimously named chairman emeritus.
“Leo has been instrumental in establishing this organization. We are extremely grateful for his outstanding leadership and commitment to our efforts to strengthen and diversify Atlantic County’s economy,” ACEA executive director Lauren Moore said. “We look forward to his continued input and guidance.”
The alliance is proceeding with the 2015 Atlantic County Economic Strategy and Action Plan, commonly referred to as the Angelou Report, with a focus on six target industries that include tourism and aviation, Moore said.
“Aviation is our primary focus at this time,” he said. “We are working to leverage our assets that include the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center, the Atlantic City International Airport, and the developing Stockton Aviation Research and Technology Park, as well as to establish an air cargo facility and aviation maintenance academy.”
In October, Atlantic County announced it will partner with Atlantic Cape Community College to create an aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul training institute at the airport that will train students to fix planes for small and major airlines around the country.
It will prepare students for FAA certification and provide a foundation for an associate of applied science degree in aviation maintenance with the ability to transfer to a variety of four-year programs. The program will take one to two years to be developed by Atlantic Cape with technical support from the county.
The goal is to create an entire aviation industry at the airport, which the Angelou Report pointed to as an asset that is underused. Officials involved with the county have also been working to attract tenants to lease space in the first building of the Stockton Aviation Research and Technology Park, which is expected to open next year.
The alliance has been working with the Greater Atlantic City Chamber and local legislators in pushing for the passage of Senate bill S-2872, which would establish a new Garden State Growth Zone within a 1-mile radius of the airport and the Hughes center, along with the Grow New Jersey tax incentives. The bill now heads to the Assembly for consideration.
“This is an exciting time for Atlantic County,” Matik said. “I am very proud to help bring positive changes to our economic future.”
Staff Writers John DeRosier and Nanette LoBiondo Galloway contributed to this report.