Josh S. Weston
Born: December 22, 1928, in Brooklyn, New York
Lives in: Montclair, New Jersey
New Jersey Hall of Fame, Class of 2023: Enterprise
Josh Weston made his fortune in the tech-driven field of data processing, but when you process his life, it’s his humanity and generosity that shine through.
The son of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, Weston was born Josh Weisstein. In a 2023 interview with the Jewish Standard, he recalled living as a child in a cold-water flat in Brooklyn. The oldest of two children, he slept in the hallway. As a teen, he took a test for admission to Brooklyn Tech, an elite public high school. He passed the test—and graduated valedictorian.
Weston went on to earn a BA degree from the City College of New York and a Master of Arts in economics from the University of New Zealand, where he studied as a Fulbright Scholar. Next, he served in the U.S. Navy from 1952-53. While in the service he worked part-time as a management trainee for a small mail-order company (a predecessor to J. Crew); by the mid-1960s, he was the company’s COO.
This early success put Weston on the radar of Frank Lautenberg, the CEO of Automatic Data Processing, a New Jersey-based payroll-management company. Lautenberg personally recruited Weston to join ADP as COO. In 1982, when Lautenberg left ADP to serve as U.S. senator from New Jersey, Weston succeeded him as CEO.
Weston served as ADP’s top executive for 15 years, retiring in 1998. During his ADP leadership tenure, the company reported 164 consecutive quarters of double-digit growth in both revenue and earnings per share, an achievement believed to be unmatched by any other publicly reporting company.
Retirement allowed Weston and his wife, Judy, to dedicate themselves to philanthropy. Their generosity stretched from their adopted hometown of Montclair, where they supported local education initiatives, to the state, national, and international level, with a special focus on education, science, and the arts.
Over the years, Weston has actively engaged with and supported prominent organizations such as Liberty Science Center, American Museum of Natural History, and FIRST Robotics, and has championed respected institutions, including the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Mountainside Hospital, the Montclair Film Festival, and the National Dance Institute.
Always a hands-on leader, Weston has served on many non-profit boards, including Liberty Science Center, PBS NJ, NJPAC, New Jersey Community Food Bank, the International Rescue Committee, Tel Aviv Foundation, Safe Water Network, and the Seeing Eye. He also has served on government commissions, including the President’s Task Force to Improve Veterans’ Healthcare and the National Commission to Restructure the Internal Revenue Service. Weston also has designed and launched his own personal programs that support those in his local community, including students, educators, and refugees.
“If you are fortunate as I have been to achieve success in business, then it is my strong belief that giving back to help people who are less fortunate and working to improve society are important obligations,” says Weston. “By embracing a spirit of curiosity and generosity in life I am rewarded with a sense of accomplishment each time I see positive outcomes. And, I’m gratified that the next two generations of Westons have all adopted the spirit of giving that Judy and I shared.”