Every year since its founding in 1960, the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce spends an evening honoring some of its most distinguished members, giving out awards for business leader, entrepreneur, innovator, and community leader of the year.

The Business Leadership Awards Gala takes place Wednesday, November 28, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at TPC Jasna Polana in Princeton. Tickets are $250. For more information, visit www.princetonchamber.org or call 609-924-1776.

Business Leader: Barry D. Szaferman is the managing partner of law firm Szaferman Lakind, headquartered on Grovers Mill Road in Lawrenceville. He founded the firm together with fellow founding shareholders Arnold Lakind and Jeff Blumstein in 1977. He has managed the firm ever since.

Szaferman has served as Mercer County Counsel and as general counsel to the Mercer County Improvement Authority. A leader in the Mercer County Bar, he was president of the MCBA and the Mercer County Bar Foundation.

Szaferman has effectively represented numerous clients in complex matrimonial litigation and business transactions. His matrimonial cases often address substantial valuation and financial issues. His business practice includes significant commercial real estate acquisitions and financings, loan workouts, and land use applications for real estate developers.

Paula Troy

Community Leader: Paula Troy is founder and president of RWK Consulting, a business management consultancy on Route 1 in Lawrenceville. She started the company in 2001, naming it in memory of her father, Raymond. She has held leadership roles in the Mercer County Improvement Authority and the New Jersey Business Incubator Network.

Previously she was senior director of operations and finance for Allies Inc. and director of business development for Burlington County College, which included oversight of its technology and science incubators, where she supervised 40 companies.

Prior to her position with Burlington County College, she was executive director of business development for the Trenton Business and Technology Center.

In addition to her business accomplishments, Paula has served her community in a variety of ways, including volunteer work with the Mercer County community group, Prodigal Sons & Daughters Redirection Services. She also participated in the Mercer County Improvement Authority, the Robbinsville Township Planning Board, Redevelopment Committee. Hamilton Township Economic Development Council and the YMCA of Hamilton.

Entrepreneur: David DeMuth, co-founder of CFO Consulting Partners, a consulting company on Nassau Street, is co-head of the firm’s transaction/M&A and private equity practices, and he heads the firm’s real estate, manufacturing, and healthcare industry practices.

Prior to co-founding CFO Consulting Partners, DeMuth served as the interim co-CFO and treasurer at Kodak Polychrome Graphics (a $2 billion global manufacturer of graphic arts materials), CFO of Troy Corporation (a $150 million global specialty chemical manufacturer), division vice president of Continental Grain Company (a multi-billion provider of commodities and financial services), treasurer of National Starch and Chemical Company (a $3 billion global specialty chemical manufacturer), and director of tax services at PepsiCo Inc. Prior to his corporate career, he was with KPMG.

DeMuth is a member of Financial Executives International (FEI), Turn Around Management Association (TMA), XPX (Exit Planning) Association, Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) and the Princeton Chamber of Commerce.

Princeton University provost Deborah Prentice accepted the award on behalf of Princeton Innovaction Center BioLabs, which is a collaboration between Princeton University and BioLabs.

Innovator: Princeton Innovation Center BioLabs, an incubator facility on College Road East, which opened in May, provides space for two dozen startup companies to run experiments, build prototypes, and do all the things that technology and biotech startups need to do (U.S. 1, May 9, 2018.)

Any startup company, whether an academic spinoff or not, is welcome to apply to join the BioLabs, which is sponsored by and affiliated with Princeton University. The university led the effort to build the lab so that faculty and student-led startup companies would have a place to get off the ground, but it is open to outside companies too.

The university collaborated with BioLabs, a company that operates incubators in New York, North Carolina, San Diego, Boston, Princeton, Cambridge, and San Francisco. Princeton paid for the facility’s construction, and Bio­Labs operates it.

The building was formerly occupied by Dr. Reddy, a generic pharmaceutical maker. The space, next to Evotec, a German pharmaceutical company, is custom built for early-stage science startups with relatively small teams.

Nishta Rao, director of Biolabs, said companies can rent a lab bench in either the wet or dry lab, and that bench comes along with a desk in the open co-working area. Larger private offices are also available. Dry lab benches start at $1,500 per month and are scalable as the company grows, while wet lab benches are $2,500.

Coincidentally, the workbenches and fume hoods at the BioLabs were left over from the previous tenant. Before Dr. Reddy, the building was occupied by Pharmasset, which was a developer of antiviral drugs. The company developed sofosbuvir, a treatment for chronic hepatitis C, at the lab, before being bought out by Gilead Sciences for $11.2 billion in 2012.

Rao has a startup background, both in research and business. She was most recently senior director of science operations at Kadmon, a New York-based biotech startup, and before that studied biochemistry at Columbia, where she did research under James L. Manley.

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