Lakewood start-up seeks job applicants

Magnatronix will
compete for government
defense contracts

Staff Writer

Lakewood start-up
seeks job applicants
Magnatronix will
compete for government
defense contracts
Staff Writer

LAKEWOOD — Magnatronix is not a word found in the dictionary, but if it were it would mean jobs for Lakewood.

The start-up company is expected to provide employment and training in the highly specialized technology industry to many residents who are either unemployed or employed at minimum wage.

The promise of better jobs at higher salaries was reason enough for many people to brave the battering winds and gathering storm clouds of Tropical Storm Isabel as she moved into the Lakewood area on Sept. 18.

Curiosity and hope brought higher-than-usual attendance at the Township Committee’s meeting in the smaller upstairs room of the municipal building, where Larry Hahn of Wall Township, Magnatronix vice president of marketing and new business, made a brief presentation before the committee and a rapt audience.

On Sept. 23, the four members of the company’s management team met at their office in downtown Lakewood with a reporter from the Tri-Town News to discuss their company and how it will work hand in hand with the community for the benefit of all.

Sandra Hurley, Wall Township, is president; Mike McNeil, Lakewood, is vice president of human resources and public relations; Ben Amato, Toms River, is vice president of manufacturing operations, and Lynne Liotino, Toms River, is manager of administration.

McNeil is also the local president of STEPS (Solutions To End Poverty Soon), a statewide advocacy group, and Liotino is its secretary/treasurer.

All four individuals have resumes that include experience working for companies with government contracts in the defense industry. As friends and former associates, their diversity is their strength, much like the Lakewood community they chose for their company headquarters, they said.

"There are a whole lot of discriminators [that set us apart]," Amato said. "[We represent] minorities, women and we are located in a hub zone."

"We’re also a small business," Hurley said.

That distinction is particularly important since hub zones are a component of a federal program under the Small Business Administration.

The offices of Magnatronix were deliberately located on Main Street in Lakewood, rather than in its Industrial Park, which is part of the township’s Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ).

"By federal mandate, anybody that does prime contracts with the government must place a certain amount of work in a hub zone," said Amato. "That’s the federal government’s version of the UEZ."

The Urban Enterprise Zone program is a state-run program.

"The problem with the industrial park is that it is not located in the hub zone," McNeil said. "The lines were drawn way back when. We’re going to work with Sen. (Robert W.) Singer and the Township Committee to redraw the lines."

Singer is also a member of the Township Committee.

Like the diversity of its management team, Magnatronix will reach out to the various communities of Lakewood to fill its employment needs once it has secured the government defense and aerospace contracts for which it is currently bidding.

"There has to be diversity in the workplace, too," Hurley said of her privately owned company.

To accomplish that goal, Magnatronix will reach out to Lakewood’s senior community that has experience in the high-tech industry, as well as youths enrolled in its high schools.

"The seniors will act as mentors," Amato said.

The company also will work with James Waters, president of the Lakewood branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, whose Second Chance program will give residents who have been incarcerated another opportunity to re-enter society through meaningful employment.

However, McNeil stressed that there were certain government security clearances that might prohibit such individuals from working in classified areas. In those instances, the company must conform to government regulations.

"It’s got to be a win-win situation for all of us," Amato said.

"If you have a person who comes in at $7 an hour, they can receive training that will enable them to be compensated at a higher rate through a customized training program," McNeil said.

"The more you know, the more you earn," Amato said. "We’re tired of seeing jobs go out of state."

"We want to make a difference," Hurley said.

"And this is our way of fighting back," McNeil said.

Magnatronix executives are encouraging anyone with expertise working in the technical industry to send their resume to Mike McNeil, Magnatronix Inc., P.O. Box 900, Lakewood 08701, or by e-mail at For further information, call (732) 730-9040.