Linden Chamber Presents Business Awards and Scholarships

(above, l-r) Sholarship winners Gabriella Czylek, Mariana Balladares, Heather Ford, and Hailey Elizabeth Birch with Linden Chamber of Commerce representatives Ingrid Andrade and Janet Miller. Not Pictures: Lukas and Marianne Da Fonseca

Linden Chamber 2022 Awards and Scholarships

The Linden Chamber of Commerce held their twenty-first annual scholarship and business awards dinner on June 10, 2022 at Ill Amici Ristorante in Linden, New Jersey. Six scholarships totaling $5,500 were awarded to Linden High School seniors Mariana Balladares, Hailey Elizabeth Birch, Gabriella Czylek, Marianne Da Fonseca, Heather Forde, and Lukas Mikulenas.

The Linden COC hosts several events during the year to raise scholarship monies. In addition to an ad journal, this event’s Host Sponsors were Samsel & Associates, Gordon Realty Management and Phillips 66 Bayway Refinery. Reception Sponsors were Quality Auto Care of Springfield, Dunkin Donuts on Edgar Rd., Northfield Bank, Infineum and KAD Associates.

A ‘Business of the Year’ award was given to Columbia Bank. Columbia Bank has been serving the community since nearly 100 years ago with the founding of a single branch in Fair Lawn. They’ve grown over the years with a large branch network that spans the state of New Jersey and three regional lending centers. They offer a full range of banking products, evenly spread between commercial and consumer. The Linden branch, located at 701 N Wood Ave., is managed by Ingrid Andread and her friendly staff.

A ‘Business of the Year’ award was given to the Housing Authority City of Linden. Led by Executive Director Ann Ferguson, the Authority manages three high-rise apartment buildings, Ann J. Ferguson Towers, Edward J. Murawski Towers and John T. Gregorio Towers. Amongst these buildings, there are a total of 430 apartments. In addition, the Housing Authority also manages 357 Section 8 vouchers that are found throughout Linden, Roselle and Roselle Park.

Along with housing, our senior/disabled residents are offered, free of charge, a medical doctor, an ophthalmologist, and podiatrist along with access to an on-site social worker to help with various needs. They are also given food boxes, breads, deserts and fresh fruits and vegetables at least once per month. 

A Person of the Year Award was given to Mary Phillips,the Community Relations Coordinator for Phillips 66 Bayway Refinery. Her responsibilities include managing the local charitable contributions budget, coordinating donations, facilitating/managing Bayway’s Community Advisory Panel (CAP) quarterly meetings, and planning numerous community outreach and employee programs/events for one of the largest oil refineries on the East Coast.  Since 2004 Mary has been the Community Relations Coordinator, working with and supporting over 75 charitable organizations surrounding the facility.  

Mary is also a member of the Planning/Steering Committees for Trinitas Hospital Foundation Gala; RWJU Hospital Rahway Foundation Rose Ball; Tribute to Women & Industry (TWIN) Awards benefitting the YCWA Union County; Kiwanis Club of Linden; Linden Industrial Association, Linden Chamber of Commerce, was an Advisory Board Member for Josephine’s Place for six years, and St. Joseph Social Service Center Business Council Ad Hoc Advisory Committee.

A Special Recognition of the Year Award was given to Pinho’s Bakery. Owners Raul and Julie Pinho, along with their family, were honored for their generous contributions to the community.

The Linden Chamber of Commerce is made up of volunteers and is actively involved in the community. The Chamber works to provide support for new and current businesses, advocates site development and promotes a forward thinking and carefully planned business environment in Linden. Their meetings are designed for sharing information and experiences. Representatives from the Linden Government are always in attendance at meetings, which allows for an open and communicative relationship between business owners and the municipality. Meetings take place at 8:30 a.m., on the fourth Tuesday of every month except July and August. For more information about the Linden Chamber visit or call (908) 352-0900.

(above) Linden Chamber of Commerce Chairperson Janet Miller presented a “Business of the Year” award to Columbia Bank representatives Libby Bajgerova and Ingrid Andrade.
(above) Ann Ferguson, Executive Director of the Housing Authority City of Linden (holding a ‘Business of the Year’ plaque), surrounded by members of the Board of Commissions of the Authority, and the Chamber of Commerce.
(above) Linden Mayor Derek Armstead, Person of the Year Mary Phillips, Linden Chamber members Janet Miller, Maria Castanheira, and Ingrid Andrade
(above) The Touring Troupe of the Linden High School Madrigals, under the direction of Mr. Cosby, entertained the audience.
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