LIVINGSTON, NJ — Michael Karu, CPA/CFF/CGMA and member of Livingston-based accounting firm Levine, Jacobs & Company, LLC, was recently honored with NJBIZ’s inaugural ICON Award, presented to professionals over 60 years old who have been successful within their individual businesses, within their industry and also within their community.

NJBIZ, New Jersey’s leading business journal, honored its award recipients at a breakfast ceremony last month at the Palace at Somerset Park in Somerset. Karu, who attended the event with his wife and four colleagues, was one of two CPAs to be recognized alongside New Jersey-based doctors, attorneys and others from a variety of different professions.

“Each person is incredibly successful in their own business or in their own profession,” said Karu. “But they go past that because they’re trying to impact lives outside of just work and that’s what’s important. There were no egos…each person was driven to make a difference in this world.”

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In addition to being recognized for their experience, success, leadership and inspiration within their industries, awardees were also chosen based on their commitment to serving the communities in which they live or work.

“When I was younger, my father told me that I had to give back three ways: he said you have to give back to your profession, give back to your religion and give back to your community,” said Karu. “I’ve been able to do all three, so in that regard I consider myself successful.”

As an active member of the Rotary Club of West Orange, Karu said he has many opportunities to give back to the West Orange community and beyond. As a firm, Levine, Jacobs & Company is always looking for ways to give back to the Livingston community as well, Karu said.

He thanked partners Steven Levine, Richard Hoffman and Robert Blackwell for not only attending the event, but for always supporting Karu in these charitable endeavors as well.

“The work I’m able to do outside [of the firm] is because my partners support me in those efforts,” he said. “We’ve been partners for 30 years and their presence kind of acknowledged our partnership and understanding of what we’re doing outside.”

Karu also attributed much of his success to working with small businesses, which is something Levine, Jacobs has done since its inception in 1952, according to Karu.

“New Jersey is based on small business,” he said. “Sure, you have the big-box stores and the malls, but every town has small business and that’s really what helps the economy thrive. If you eliminated all those little businesses, they would account for far more people than any of the big-box stores or large retailers.”

Karu thanked NJBIZ for sponsoring the award and the judges for choosing him as one of the award recipients. He said he looks forward to seeing whom NJBIZ decides to recognize with ICON Awards in the upcoming years.