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ParenteBeard - NJ Chamber Survey

NJCC-ParenteBeard survey

Sinatra, Streep, Berra, and Edison
are Winners in the ParenteBeard - N.J. Chamber 'Best of New Jersey' Survey


Business Leaders Chose their Favorite Singers, Movie Stars, Athletes and More

This summer, New Jersey business leaders – presidents, CEOs and senior executives – took on some of the state's prime pop culture questions, and named the Garden State's best native and adopted sons and daughters in entertainment and sports.

Here are their findings: Frank Sinatra is the best-ever singer from New Jersey, Meryl Streep is the best actor from the Garden State, and Yankee catcher Yogi Berra is the state's best athlete. That's according to a ParenteBeard-New Jersey Chamber of Commerce survey of business leaders in the state.

For this summer survey, ParenteBeard and the New Jersey Chamber suspended their traditional economy-related questions and addressed lighter, yet still compelling questions.


Business Leaders Prefer Thinkers to Entertainers as Dinner Companions

When asked what New Jersey personality they would most like to have dinner with, the business leaders eschewed actors and musicians, preferring instead the company of thinkers. Most respondents selected either Thomas Edison (29 percent) or Albert Einstein (24.5 percent) to dine with. Sinatra (11.5 percent) of Hoboken was a distant third place, followed by Jon Stewart (10.5 percent) of Lawrenceville; Bruce Springsteen (8.5 percent) of Freehold Boro; Streep (8.5 percent), of Bernardsville; and Jack Nicholson (7.5 percent), of Neptune City.

"It should come as no surprise that business leaders would relish sitting down with two of history's most exceptional and innovative minds," said Thomas Bracken, president and CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. "Edison and Einstein have inspired leaders for decades. Their reputations helped attract the best minds and talent to New Jersey for generations, which is a big reason New Jersey is one of the nation's premier research centers today."

Which of the following New Jersey personalities would you most like to have dinner with?


"The Chairman of the Board" beats "The Boss"

Sinatra famously known as "The Chairman of the Board" was chosen by business leaders as the state's best ever "singer/musician," giving him 47 percent of the votes. Sinatra, whose sales of 150 million records makes him one of the best-selling artists of all time, comfortably beat Springsteen (27 percent); Whitney Houston (10 percent) of Newark; Count Basie (8 percent) of Red Bank; Jon Bon Jovi (6 percent) of Sayreville; and Dionne Warwick (2 percent) of East Orange.

Best Singer/Musician from New Jersey:


Streep Edges Nicholson

Streep, nominated for a record 18 Academy Awards and winner of three, was voted top New Jersey actor, capturing 42.5 percent of the votes. That was enough to beat Nicholson (33 percent), whose 12 Academy Award nominations ranks second among male actors (he won two). He was followed by Michael Douglas (12.5 percent) of New Brunswick; James Gandolfini (5 percent) of Park Ridge; Susan Sarandon (4 percent) of Edison; and John Travolta (3 percent) of Englewood.

Best Actor from New Jersey:


Yogi Top Athlete

Montclair's Berra – named Most Valuable Player of the American League three times and winner of 13 World Series as either a player, manager or coach – was easily selected top New Jersey athlete with 39 percent of the votes. Tied for second with 15.5 percent of the votes each were track star Carl Lewis, the Willingboro product who was named Olympian of the 20th Century by Sports Illustrated, and Newark native Shaquille O'Neal, who won four NBA titles, two scoring titles and was named to the all-NBA team 14 times. Also garnering votes were quarterback Joe Theismann (9 percent) of South River; outfielder extraordinaire Mike Trout (9 percent) of Millville; Yankee great Phil Rizzuto (5.5 percent) of Hillside; running back Franco Harris (4.5 percent) of Mount Holly; and tennis and golf player Althea Gibson (2 percent) of East Orange.

Best Athlete from New Jersey:


Pork Roll, Tomatoes

New Jersey's trademark food is pork roll, garnering 39.5 percent of the votes, ahead of salt water taffy, (21.5 percent) and pizza (18 percent), according to the survey. The Garden State's best produce is tomatoes, which garnered a whopping 60.5 percent of the survey votes, ahead of corn (20.5 percent) and blueberries (17.5 percent).


Jersey Still Loves The Shore

When it came to business leaders' favorite New Jersey vacation activities, "sunning and swimming at the Shore" was the survey's landslide winner, with 71 percent of the votes. It came in ahead of shopping at one of New Jersey's downtown districts (9 percent), hiking and camping in the mountains (8 percent), gaming in Atlantic City (6.5 percent) and canoeing down the Delaware River (5.5 percent).

There was one economic question in the survey: How do you think Jersey Shore businesses will fare this summer season? And the results were optimistic. More than eight out of 10 respondents said business will fare much better (31 percent) or somewhat better (50 percent) than last season. Meanwhile, 14.5 percent of the respondents believe business will be the "same as last year," and only 4.5 percent answered it would be "worse than last year."

"The Jersey Shore is a gem of our state, so it's not a surprise that New Jerseyans are flocking there and are bullish on its prospects this season," said Walter Brasch, managing partner for ParenteBeard's New Jersey Metro Region. "It's a very good sign, considering Sandy is still fresh in many peoples' minds."


Giants and Yankees Hold Fans' Allegiances

New Jersey business leaders' favorite football team is the Giants, who captured a shade over half the votes (50.5 percent). The Eagles (17.5 percent) and the Jets (13 percent) came in second and third. In a surprise, more respondents chose "another team" – a football team from another part of the country (19 percent) – than those who chose either the Eagles or Jets.

The favorite baseball team of New Jersey business leaders is the Yankees, who captured 52 percent of the votes. The other votes were split between the Phillies (17 percent), the Mets (16.5 percent) and a baseball team from another part of the country (14.5 percent).


Survey Details

The ParenteBeard - New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Summer Survey is designed to measure the outlook of the state's business leaders, ranging from single entrepreneurs to CEOs of Fortune 500 companies in a wide array of fields. A total of 200 business leaders participated in the survey between July 24 to Aug. 8. Most are presidents and CEOs, or senior level executives.

Complete results can be found here.


About the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce

The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce is a business advocacy organization that represents its members on a wide range of business and education issues. Based in Trenton, the organization also links the state's local and regional chambers on issues of importance through its grassroots legislative network.


About ParenteBeard

ParenteBeard is ranked among the top 25 accounting firms in the U.S. With 800 professionals, the firm is a leader in providing CPA and business advisory services to small businesses, middle market companies, nonprofits and SEC registrants. As an independent member of Baker Tilly International, ParenteBeard is proud to provide the highest level of service to clients nationally and internationally. For more information, visit