Family Business Awards Finalists: Revenue Over $10 Million

The finalists in our family business awards with a revenue over $10 million.


Patrick Conforti Sr. and John Conforti Sr. started Comfort Conditioning out of their garage in Whippany in 1965. In 1999, the company merged with Polar Air to become Air Group. Today, Air Group is the leading HVAC contractor in northern New Jersey, providing home comfort solutions to commercial and residential clients. Today, Patrick Sr. still serves as president of an enterprise that spans three generations. Throughout the years, Air Group has remained true to its credo: “To serve our customers to the best of our abilities.” Much attention is paid to details: Installers wear boot coverings and gloves to leave clients’ homes spotless. Air Group also fosters a great environment for its employees. “The most unique thing about us is the amount of time our employees stay here,” says Mary Ellen Conforti, marketing director and daughter of John Sr. Still, Air Group is open to change—evident in the solar panels on the Whippany facility’s roof and the rebates offered to customers for insulating their homes.

Judith Schumacher-Tilton was a stay-at-home mom when her father, Harold Schumacher, passed away in 1998. Three days later, her brother Kenneth, poised to take charge of the family business, Schumacher Chevrolet in Little Falls, was diagnosed with terminal cancer; he died in 2001. Determined to continue her family’s legacy—the dealership Harold founded in 1932—Judith stepped into the breach. Since then, the business has flourished under her guidance, acquiring Gearhart Chevrolet in 2008 to become the Tilton Automotive Group. Two of Judith’s children and her brother’s son now work for the business. Like her father, Judith has maintained the dealership’s active role in the community. In addition to hiring military veterans, the company is involved in the Vets-Cars program to offer veterans low- and haggle-free pricing. But arguably the highlight of Judith’s activities is Give the Kids Hope, which she started with son Stephen in 2008. The program benefits underprivileged children in northern New Jersey.

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