Morris County Chamber of Commerce Hosts 102nd Annual Meeting
Morris County Director Krickus Delivers State of the County Address
The Morris County Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) celebrated its 102nd Anniversary by hosting their annual luncheon today, drawing a a crowd of more than 400 attendees to the Hanover Marriot Hotel in Whippany to celebrate the achievements of individuals and businesses from throughout the county.
Morris County Commissioner Director John Krickus delivered some remarks on the 2023 State of Morris County, touting one of the lowest crime rates in the state, low property taxes, low unemployment, the largest county park system in New Jersey and reminding everyone of the Governor’s remarks during a 2021 visit – “Morris County runs like a top.”
“Morris County and towns are recognized as the safest, healthiest and quietist,” he said, noting the latter ranking of quietest was a recent designation bestowed on his hometown of Washington Township.
He also proudly pointed out that Morris County has maintained a AAA bond rating for 47 years – a higher bond rating than the United States as a whole – and that the 2023 Morris County budget will include no tax increase for the fourth year in a row.
“In contrast, county taxes are 70 percent higher in neighboring counties to the east. This is a value proposition everyone can stand behind,” said Director Krickus.
Meghan Hunscher, President and CEO of the MCCC and Economic Development Committee (EDC) delivered her State of the Chamber address, acknowledging many of the local business and community leaders making an impact in Morris County. She congratulated the work of outgoing Chair Tom Serluco, a partner of KPMG, and introduced incoming Chair Deirdre Wheatley-Liss, a principal of Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, who spoke on the 2023-2026 Strategic Plan for the Chamber with three pillars at its core: Innovation, Growth and Community.
This year’s keynote address was delivered by Michael Geraghty, Acting Deputy Director the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security, as well as Chief Information Security Officer for the State of NJ and Director of NJ Cybersecurity & Communications Integration.
His remarks, entitled “Navigating the Year Ahead - What Business Leaders Need to Know to Prepare,” focused on the changing landscape of terrorism in the United States, in a shift towards what he referred to as “homegrown terrorism” brought about by the pandemic and tendency for society to be online. As the world becomes more connected technologically, cybersecurity becomes harder to control due to the threat environment increasing, said Geraghty.
Hacking usually isn’t a technology issue itself, he warned, but instead human vulnerability: 85% of security breaches have a human nexus.
“With ransomware, everyone is a target. It’s not necessarily how valuable you are, but how vulnerable you are,” said Geraghty.
The most vulnerable target for a ransomware attack by a wide margin: school systems. One of the biggest challenges for combatting these attacks has been the lack of reporting. He compared the effort to neighborhood watch: if someone is breaking into a neighbor’s house and it’s reported, it’s more likely they criminal will be caught.
Likewise, if incidents of cyber-attacks are reported, it limits the number of attacks as the cybercriminals hacking one system are usually repeat offenders. As the convergence of everything physical into a cyber world continues and we have “smart cities”, everything will be connected but not necessarily secured.
To combat this growing problem, government alone will not be enough; a collective defense amongst citizens is needed. He encouraged everyone to report suspicious cyber activities to the New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell to support their effort to identify cybercriminals.
The event began with a flag salute led by the Picatinny Arsenal Color Guard as the Morris County Academy for Performing Arts Choir sang the national anthem.
The Saint Clare's Health William P. Huber Award for Outstanding Community Leadership was presented to Marc Adee, Chairman and CEO of Crum & Forster (C&F). Under Mr. Adee’s leadership, C&F employees are given the ability to participate in company-wide giving via a number of programs, donations and local events. In addition to monetary donations, employees contributed to more than 200 volunteer hours to organizations in the Morris County are in 2022.