The basic framework for our nation to operate well relies heavily on the condition of our roads, buildings, power supply and communications, in essence – the Infrastructure. The 2017 Leadership Newark Summit will answer many questions on what some of the infrastructure needs are for a thriving nation and community.
On May 20th a Public Policy Summit entitled Destination Newark: People, Place and Progress will cover water, gas, electric, telecommunication, seaport, airport, highways, railways and leadership style & service in relation to infrastructure needs in urban centers, particularly Newark.
Take a look at the specific details and register for the workshops of interests! The keynoters and workshop leaders are experts in their respective fields and will be able to provide information on current trends and needs.
TOPIC: GET CLEAN AND CONNECTED
A holistic look at the importance of the interconnectivity of people in building a sustainable, thriving 21st-Century City through a triad of issues – infrastructure and its long term effects on health and wellness; energy efficient power; and immediate design and implementation of sustainable improvements in a growing urban metropolis.
(1A) Newark Unleaded: Improving Newark’s Water
What Newark and New Jersey leaders can do to improve our drinking, rain, fresh and storm water. Attendees can expect to walk away with an understanding of what it takes for Newark to be on track to maintaining a healthier sustainable water supply including the investment necessary to achieve that goal.
(1B) We’re Charged Up: Rewired & Ready
Learn about all the infrastructure changes that PSEG is doing on our gas and electric systems in Newark and throughout the State. PSEG is replacing thousands of miles of cast iron piping and increasing capacity and raising all of our switching stations in preparation for future storms.
(1C) Newark Decoded: Understanding Broadband, Connectivity and Coding
An interactive, working discussion on the digital future of the City of Newark, and how Newark residents can get connected where they live, work and play. Leading experts cover the future in fiber optics, broadband, and Wi-Fi at home and on the go and getting educated about coding. Attendees can expect to gain an understanding of Newark’s Broadband and how this digital future will help spur economic growth.
TOPIC: NEWARK ON THE MOVE
Join the think tank to discuss plans underway for Newark’s hidden economic gems and how to best prepare for the oncoming population and tourism boost by way of sea, airports, highways, roadways and neighborhoods. In this track, attendees can expect to participate in discussions about and recommendations for Newark’s Seaport, development of Newark’s Airport, and best practices around boosting tourism.
(2A) Newark By Sea: Port Newark
The Port of New York and New Jersey is the largest port on the East Coast of North America, third largest in the nation, and one of the most productive, high volume port operations in the world. How is Port Newark modernizing and utilizing assets? With the widening of the Panama Canal, the completion of the New York Harbor and Kill Van Kull deepening and the raising of the Bayonne Bridge – how will Ultra Large Container Vessels impact the ability to deliver increased freight? How will additional freight affect our local transportation infrastructure? Join us for a discussion about what’s next for Port Newark with support services for seafarers and crew members, Transportation, Logistics and Distribution stakeholders.
(2B) Newark By Air: Newark Liberty International Airport
In 2015, the Port Authority of NY & NJ’s Committee on Capital Planning, Execution & Asset Management released its Phase III redevelopment plan for Newark International Airport. Participants in this track will dig into the plan, assess the feasibility and develop actionable steps for Newark’s inclusion and benefit from this investment in our airport. Attendees leave with an understanding of how the boom in opportunities might benefit the City of Newark’s travel, tourism and hospitality industry, and most importantly, job creation for residents and begin to develop a plan for local inclusion.
(2C) Newark By Land: A 21st Century Vision
A convenient transportation system that meets the needs of a thriving community, thus enhancing the quality of life for its’ residents is necessary in the 21st century. Participants will gain insight into what it means to have a fast, safe, efficient and accessible transportation system. Learn what has been identified as best practices and gain a deeper understanding of important factors in regards to the physical components, safety & security concerns as well as the economic opportunity of robust transportation systems.
TOPIC: SERVANT LEADERSHIP
Here is your opportunity to get a glimpse into Leadership Newark and the types of programs/seminars offered. A great opportunity to decide whether its’ programs are for you. Learn how to be a change agent for social good by gaining an understanding of leadership, entrepreneurship, and collaboration. Be bold; Be enterprising! Let your actions inspire others to be motivated, to dream, and to soar.
(3A) Leadership 101: What’s Your Leadership Personality?
If you currently have a leadership role or are transitioning into a leadership position, this workshop is for you. Join us as we discuss leadership styles and how to choose the right approach for different situations. Attendees can expect to walk away with an understanding of the concept of “Servant Leadership”, what it takes to be an effective leader, analyze their own management style and leadership qualities.
(3B) Collective Impact 101: Leveraging Partnerships for Change
An introduction to the five key elements of collective impact and a framework for establishing and sustaining partnerships to address a common cause. Attendees will understand the key elements of collective impact and the key activities necessary for establishing, leveraging, and sustaining partnerships for lasting change.
(3C) Social Entrepreneurship: From Social Problem to Business Venture
Do you have the drive to be an entrepreneur? Are you interested in addressing social needs? Learn how to turn your passion for social good into a scalable business. Discover resources to help you along the way as you gain an understanding on how to blend for-profit goals with generating a positive return to society. Whether you identify as a social/intra/tech/micro entrepreneur, this workshop is for you.
Ras J. Baraka is the 40th Mayor of the City of Newark. He was elected in May of 2014 and sworn in on July 1, 2014.
His progressive approach to governing has won him accolades from grassroots organizations to the White House. He was listed in The Nation’s 2015 “Most Valuable Progressives” as “Most Valuable Mayor,” Ebony Magazine’s “Power 100,” and on the front cover of the New York Times for “defying expectations” during his first year-and-half in office. President Barack Obama announced his sweeping plan for criminal justice reform with Mayor Baraka while visiting a Newark reentry center. Because of Mayor Baraka’s diplomatic skill and strong advocacy, Newark Public Schools can expect to be returned to the control of the City for the first time in more than two decades. Throughout the City’s five wards, he is beloved as an educator, former principal, basketball coach, neighbor, mentor and friend.
From the launch of a social impact venture fund to accelerate the development of technology and the opening of the nation’s largest vertical indoor farm, to the creation of the City’s first-ever police Civilian Complaint Review Board to mobilizing residents to combat violence in high-crime areas, Mayor Baraka’s leadership has married a profound vision with an unshakeable passion for the City where he has lived and worked for more than four decades.
Public safety is Mayor Ras Baraka’s highest priority. He has connected law enforcement agencies with the community, provided at risk youth with mentoring, education and job training and developed programs to help ex-offenders join the workforce, gain counseling and medical treatment, and reunite with their families.
At the close of 2015, Mayor Baraka unified the Police and Fire Departments under a single Department of Public Safety. This groundbreaking initiative streamlined the two departments, saved money, and put more police on the street. His other major public safety initiative, “Occupy the Block,” brings the Mayor and senior staffers together with local residents to disrupt criminal activities on high crime blocks and often collaborates with the Newark Alliance of My Brother’s Keeper, the local coalition which is based on President Obama’s program to repair the disconnect that many young men of color have with law enforcement, education, and government.
In his first 100 days in office, Mayor Baraka closed the City’s budget gap without laying off employees. His perspective on economic development has won him favor with Fortune 500© leaders, small business owners, and investors. His strong relationships with Newark’s clergy and higher education leaders has allowed him to foster new collaborations on downtown and neighborhood redevelopment, education initiatives and fighting crime.
A native of Newark, whose family has lived in the City for more than 70 years, Mayor Baraka was educated in the Newark Public Schools and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from Howard University in Washington, D.C. and a Master’s Degree in Education Supervision from St. Peter’s University in Jersey City. His father, the late Amiri Baraka, was a legendary poet and playwright. His mother, Amina Baraka, is herself a renowned poet.
The father of three daughters, Mayor Baraka is also a published author. His latest work, “Black Girls Learn Love Hard,” is dedicated to his late sister, Shani Baraka.
On October 16th, 2013, Cory Booker won a special election to represent New Jersey in the United States Senate. As a Senator, Booker has taken on some of the most difficult issues facing our country, such as reforming our broken criminal justice system, expanding economic opportunity for New Jerseyans, and improving our nation’s infrastructure. Prior to his time in the Senate, Booker served as the mayor of Newark, where he presided over the city’s greatest period of economic growth since the 1960’s. Throughout his seventeen years in public service, Booker has established himself as a creative problem solver who seeks bipartisan solutions.
Richard T. Thigpen was named Vice President – State Governmental Affairs of PSEG Services Corporation, in March 2007. He has been a Public Affairs Consultant since 1999 and was a Co-founding Partner of 1868 Public Affairs LLC, which provides lobbying, strategic planning, public relations and government relations services to clients in New Jersey, New York and Washington, D.C.
Previously, Mr. Thigpen served as an Associate at the New York law firm of Thacher Proffitt and Wood in the mortgage-backed securities practice group (1988 to 1990), was the District Director for Congressman Don Payne (NJ-10) (1990 to 1996), the Executive Director of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee (1996 to 1999) and also served as a Political Analyst for New Jersey Network Television News and as an Academic Associate for PublicMind, Fairleigh Dickinson University Polling and Survey Research Institute. Former assistant to the President of the NAACP State Conference for Public Affairs, currently part-time lecturer at Rutgers-Newark School of Public Affairs Administration, and a member of AABE’s National Board.
Mr. Thigpen holds a Doctor of Law degree from Columbia University School of Law in New York and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Brown University in Rhode Island.
Rosana Da Silva, Program Associate, graduated in May 2011 from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey with a B.S. in Environmental Sciences and a minor in Education and graduated in January 2016 from the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey with an Education Masters (Ed.M.) in Science Education. Rosana interned with the Water Resources Program from May 2010 to August 2011. During her internship, Rosana developed and delivered educational outreach programs to urban communities throughout New Jersey. Rosana has participated in the construction and maintenance of rain gardens, assisted in rain barrel workshops, developed flyers, and developed evaluation tools to measure the impact of outreach programs delivered. As a Program Associate with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program, Rosana continues to develop, deliver, and evaluate educational programs to address water resources issues in New Jersey’s urban centers.
Kim develops and implements Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund's grassroots environmental justice campaigns and coalition building efforts. She is the Former Chair, Newark Environmental commission and former Chair of the Essex County Environmental Commission. Currently, she is the Vice-Chair of the NJDEP's Environmental Justice Advisory Council, Commissioner for Mayor Baraka's Port Oversight Commission, member of the Newark Green Team, Moving Forward Network, Regional Representative for New York and New Jersey, founding member of the NJ Environmental Justice Alliance, New Jersey President of the International Black Women's Congress and Newark School Board member. Previously, she worked in Municipal government in Newark for 12 years and served as the first female Chief of Staff for the Newark Municipal Council. Kim is a 2000 Neighborhood Leadership Fellow and a 2007 recipient of the Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 Environmental Community award for her fight for Environmental Justice in urban communities. She is a member of the First Baptist Church of Nutley and proud mother of Sonny Jr., Frankie Mo’Nay, and Julian.
Debbie Mans has been Baykeeper and Executive Director since April, 2008. Prior to joining NY/NJ Baykeeper, Debbie was the Environmental and Energy Policy Advisor for Governor Jon S. Corzine. She was also appointed by Governor Corzine to the New Jersey State Planning Commission. Prior to working for the Governor, Debbie was the Policy Director at Baykeeper, a position she held from 2002 through 2006. Debbie is a graduate of The University of Michigan and holds a J.D. from Vermont Law School. Debbie is the Chair of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters and on the Board of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Education Fund.
Nicole Miller, Principal of MnM Consulting, is a communications professional with more than a decade of experience creating targeted publicity and marketing campaigns for a range of clients in private industry and the non-profit sector. MnM Consulting specializes in media development, digital and print publishing, brand strategy, content creation, and clean energy/sustainability education for business and general audiences. MnM Consulting works with several small business, government and non-profit clients across a number of industries on brand development, project management, event coordination and product deployment. Ms. Miller has a BA in Arts, Media & Culture from the University of Washington and a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University in New York. Nicole Miller is a resident of Newark, NJ, a member of the Newark Environmental Commission advising the Mayor and City Council on sustainability issues, and a member of Newark DIG (Doing Infrastructure Green) dedicated to resilient and sustainable municipal storm water management. Learn more at MnMConsulting.biz.
In his capacity as Project Manager for PSEG, Rupert oversees several capital investment infrastructure commitments and private upgrades, totaling almost a quarter billion dollars within in the next two years. He also manages the new station currently under construction in Newark’s West Ward. This switching station will provide critical infrastructure upgrades to the city by improving reliability, providing needed capacity and providing diversification. Rupert also plays a pivotal role as the PSEG liaison to the Hudson County Office of Emergency Management, in which he is the direct line of contact between the county and the company. This role requires him to act as a key decision-maker in engineering, staffing and safety issues that impact all Hudson County residents & PSEG customers.
Mr. Pond holds an A.S. in Engineering Science, a Bachelor’s Degree with a double concentration in Physics and Economics, and a Master’s Degree in Business & Finance. At home, Rupert is a dedicated father to his four year old daughter and a budding entrepreneur who owns, manages, and runs a small investment company. He enjoys golf, cooking and continues to learn as much as possible with varied interests.
Thomas Motyka is Senior Executive Director of Infrastructure Innovation at the New Jersey Innovation Institute. He leads the Smart City iLab at the institute which is focused on applying technology & innovation in urban infrastructure and public services.
He comes to this role with over 28 years of experience in the information technology industry most recently as the Global Director of Mobility Services at the IBM Corporation.
His career included roles in engineering, development, product management and business development. He supported enterprise clients across multiple industries including: Communications (AT&T, Verizon), Utilities (HL&P, Keyspan) and Finance (Deutsche Bank, Bank of America).
Thomas holds an M.B.A from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a B.S. in electrical engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Kris is the Founder and CEO of GigXero Inc, which installs and services proprietary ultra high-speed (gigabit and above) Internet networks nationwide, offers high-density, residential, commercial, and mixed-use properties Internet access options that typically perform 20 to 100 times faster than incumbent cable companies. GigXero’s GigX(TM) Cloud platform is designed to support even the highest capacity Internet needs of scholars, innovators, entrepreneurs and millennials who desire to live, work and play all within one property.
Well before Kristopher Pacunas’ role as CEO of GigXero, his success in technology began at a young age of 22 when Kristopher Pacunas was hired as the State of Massachusetts’ youngest ever municipal IT director. Kristopher Pacunas spent the next 13 years raising the bar with what’s possible for state and local government Internet access efforts earning countless state and national awards and accolades before starting a company where Kristopher Pacunas could focus on impacting even more people. In 2017 at age 37 Kristopher Pacunas was selected for BusinessWest 40 under Forty, http://businesswest.com/blog/kristopher-pacunas/.
In 2015 Pacunas took his passion for a better Internet when he founded GigXero Inc and began delivery of a next generation internet delivering hybrid fiber-optic wireless networks within cities to tenants within buildings that now offer unmatched internet speeds, reliability, security, and price.
“I think gigabit and above Internet is as important as electricity — people really can’t go without it — and I’m a highly driven geek who thinks he can make this caliber Internet available to more people.”
Jorge Santos is Vice President for Economic Development Policy at Newark Community Economic Development Corporation and has held the position since 2014. Jorge has worked in a variety of government offices and political campaigns including the Office of the Governor, an Assemblywoman's office, federal, state and local campaigns. He has experience with fundraising, budgeting, management, community organizing, policy analysis and research. At NCEDC, he focuses on the Riverfront Park expansion project, Newark Fiber and attracting real estate and business development to the city.
Jorge attended The Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy at Rutgers University where he received dual master's degrees in Public Policy and City & Regional Planning. Jorge also serves as a member of the Eagleton Institute of Politics Alumni Committee and New Leaders Council - NJ.
Darrin Sharif was born in Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey. He attended elementary school in Newark, and middle and high school in West Orange, New Jersey. After high school Darrin attended Rutgers University where he majored in Business Management (concentration in finance), graduating Magna Cum Laude. After college, Darrin held a number of positions in the public and private sector. He developed a detailed knowledge of computers and technology after holding positions at the Summit Medical Group as a Computer Network Specialist, and as a Microsoft Office User Specialist for New Horizons, a corporate computer software training firm catering to fortune 500 companies.
His knowledge of nonprofit management and program design came from serving as the Director of Operations for the Urban League of Essex County from 2004 - 2010. Darrin was introduced to local government serving as the Chief of Staff to United States Senator Cory A. Booker who from 1998 – 2002 served on the Newark Municipal Council representing the Central Ward. Darrin would later represent the Central Ward from 2010 – 2014. During Darrin’s time in office, the Central Ward led the State of New Jersey in commercial and multi-family development. Also, while in office, Darrin worked with many cross-sector institutional leaders and community based organizations to make important “Human Development” investments in the most challenging, but deserving neighborhoods in the Central Ward.
Darrin currently is the Chief Administrative Officer at the Urban League of Essex County, and the Director of Newark kids Code, an exciting initiative designed to create the next generation of software engineers and introduce at-risk and technologically underrepresented youth to coding, App development, and web design, and other forms of digital technology.
Michael grew up in Newark, NJ and attended Science High School. While in high school, he joined the Eagle Flight Pilot Training Squadron and this is where he was exposed to the wonderful world of aviation. Michael earned his pilot’s license at 18-years old while majoring in Aviation Management at Daniel Webster College in Nashua, NH. After graduating from college, Michael returned to NJ to begin his career and give back to the same community that had done so much for him.
Michael’s career spans over 15 years and several airports. He has held various positions at Teterboro and Trenton-Mercer airport. In 2006, he joined the Port Authority of NY & NJ as an operations services supervisor. He has held positions in parking operations, technical services, regulatory compliance, and landside operations. Currently, Michael manages the International Facility at Newark Airport. During his tenure, passenger traffic has increaseb by nearly 8% in just a year with the addition of seven new airlines and two others projected to join the airport over the next six-months.
While he is proud of his career accomplishments, Michael is equally passionate about using his experience to help others. Currently, he is the director of the same program he joined in the 1990s, the Eagle Flight Squadron. At this program, local youth are given flight training in one of the two program owned aircraft and in this flying classroom, students not only have to opportunity to earn their pilot’s license, they also get real life lessons in science, engineering and math. The program is currently expanding to more formally incorporate these STEM lessons through partnerships with local high schools and universities. Eagle Flight also hosts a summer Aviation Career Education (ACE) camp where students get access to air traffic control facilities, museums, corporate aviation departments, airports and are also given an “intro-flight” where they are able to be at the controls of an airplane for the first time.
Michael currently resides in Montclair, NJ with his wife Tsihai and son Orion.
Glenessa Gordon is the manager of business initiatives and planning analysis in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. She currently develops and implements strategies to develop the capacity of MWSBEs and help them obtain contracting opportunities within the Port Authority. She also collaborates with various departments in the agency to ensure that they provide meaningful participation for minority- and women-owned business participation. She also manages the agency’s MWDBE disparity study which will assess current policies and procedures to improve future MWBE and AC/DBE participation.
In her more than 25 years with the agency, she has worked in the engineering department as a manager of operations analysis, a project manager and a construction engineer at the airports, tunnels and bridges, and PATH facilities. She has both a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology and a Masters of Business Administration from New York University and is a licensed Civil Engineer in the state of New Jersey.
Originally from Petersburg, Virginia, Glenessa currently lives in Newark and is the mother of a 13-year-old daughter. Glenessa volunteers is on the executive committee of one of the Port Authority’s Resource Group, Philip’s Academy Parent Organization, is active in planning youth events at her church, and has been active in Toastmasters for many years.
Sherri Smith is a champion for the customers, employees and stakeholders of Newark Liberty International Airport, bringing extensive experience to her role as Westfield General Manager, a position she’s held since 2013.
Smith oversees all of the retail, dining and duty-free stores at Newark Liberty Terminals A and B, partnering with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, the Transportation Security Administration and 21 airline carriers. Smith manages concessions operations such as quality control/assurance, billing/finances, and oversees the tenant RFP leasing process.
With a keen ability to think outside the box, Smith was the mastermind behind a cross-functional airport community task force that created effective communications between terminal employees and stakeholders. The task force supported, promoted and energized customer care initiatives, reinforced the elite operations standards, and was tasked with establishing goals and challenges throughout the airport. Her efforts helped earn her the Executives’ Association of New York City Deals of Distinction Award for innovative business leaders.
Smith has two decades of experience in the airport industry. She previously worked for Verified Identity Pass, which partnered with Homeland Security to create a more efficient TSA process. Smith also worked at Federal Express. Westfield hired Smith as an Assistant General Manager in 2008.
Outside of the office, Smith serves as secretary for the Newark Liberty Airport Airline Managers Committee, and started the Women’s Strategic Leadership Group for professional women.
Smith lives with her husband in Sayreville and has five children.
Andrew Vasey is the president and founder of Vasey Aviation Group LLC, providing strategic and infrastructure advisory services to private equity funds, airlines and airport operators since 2005. Mr. Vasey has over thirty years of experience with the financing, planning, design, construction and operation of airport facilities across the US, Europe and Russia. He most recently was the senior advisor for the Highstar Capital / Oaktree Infrastructure Fund for the P3’s of the South Terminal at Austin and the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan; and the Chief Development Officer for Aerostar on the $615 million acquisition of the airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he was responsible for transitioning all AIP grants and the PFC collection authority from public to private management.
Andrew’s additional P3 experience includes the New Branson Airport and Paine Field in Everett, Washington. He has managed over $2 billion of airport development programs for airport operators and airlines from the early inception of the program through the planning, design and construction. Prior to his advisory career, Andrew held management positions with TWA and USAirways in the corporate real estate departments
Nathaly Agosto Filión is deeply honored to serve under the leadership of Mayor Ras J. Baraka as Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Newark. In this role, Agosto Filión is the city’s leading sustainability strategist, convening interdepartmental teams to make Newark a healthier and greener city. She also serves as a bridge connecting a diverse network of community, nonprofit, academic, institutional, philanthropic and governmental partners advancing a variety of sustainability, greening, environmental health, and quality of life initiatives across Newark.
Prior to staffing Newark’s Office of Sustainability, Agosto Filión worked as a Resiliency Manager with Sustainable Jersey, connecting post-Sandy communities with recovery and resiliency resources. Before relocating to New Jersey, she worked as a Program Officer with the Institute for Sustainable Communities helping to develop, design and deliver national and regional capacity-building programs for local government climate and sustainability practitioners. Agosto Filión is deeply committed to building sustainable and resilient communities, and diversifying the environmental movement. Over the course of her career, she has worked as a municipal climate action planning consultant, community organizer, environmental educator, and is particularly proud to have co-founded and catalyzed the development of the Vermont Oxfam Action Corps, 350Vermont, 350Dominicana, and Justicia Migrante’s Junta de Apoyo.
Mrs. Agosto Filión earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont. She is co-leading the Urban Sustainability Directors Network Peer Learning Group on Sustainability Indicators, is outgoing chair of the American Society of Adaptation Professionals Projects & Evaluation Affinity Group, and a 2015 Environmental Leadership Fellow. She is moving to Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood (March 2017) with her husband, Ramiro, and 1 year-old daughter, Sophia.
Thomas G. Dallessio is President, CEO & Publisher of Next City, Inc. – a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire social, economic and environmental change in cities through journalism and events. Next City’s online posts are read widely around the world, and the annual Vanguard conference for young urban leaders is the premier program to advance city interests. Tom is a licensed professional planner with over three decades of urban planning and public policy experience on the local, regional, State, national and international levels. He teaches Land Use Planning and Infrastructure Planning at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and founded the Center for Resilient Design. Tom is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, and Honorary Council Member of the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization. He was one of 200 people selected by UN Habitat to participate in Expert Group Meetings, and presented findings and recommendations on national urban policies in cities around the world. Tom was elected for three terms to the Hopewell Borough, N.J. Common Council, serving 2 years as Council President. He has an undergraduate degree in Political Science/Urban Planning from Rutgers College; a Master of Arts degree from the Eagleton Institute of Politics; and a Master of City and Regional Planning degree from Rutgers University.
Stephanie Gidigbi champions public policy solutions that promote economic, social, and environmental benefits for communities. She directs the policy, capacity, and systems change function for the Strong, Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC), a $90 million initiative advancing equitable infrastructure investment. Stephanie previously served as a senior political appointee at the U.S. Department of Transportation, where she advanced the administration’s economic opportunity agenda. In 2013, Stephanie was appointed by President Obama as the New Jersey Director of Public Engagement for the Hurricane Sandy Task Force. She worked on Capitol Hill for the late Congressman Donald M Payne, Sr. and Chief of Staff for the City of Orange, NJ. Stephanie brings more than a decade of international, federal, state, and local government experience to NRDC's Urban Solutions team. She has a master’s degree from Seton Hall University and based in Washington, D.C.
Adam Giuliano (Class of 2002) is a partner in the New York office of Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell, a boutique law firm focusing on transportation law and infrastructure projects. Prior to joining his current firm, Adam worked for nearly 12 years in the New York office of a large international law based in London.
Adam’s practice focuses transportation and infrastructure projects and related transactions. He has experience advising state and federal agencies, investors, project sponsors, contractors, and lenders in connection with the procurement, project financing, concessioning, construction, operations, and maintenance of a variety of infrastructure, transportation, and energy facilities. His past projects have involved highways, roads and bridges, parking, transit, commuter rail and high speed rail, airports, ports, water and wastewater, schools, telecommunications, energy and power generation, renewables, and natural resources. Adam has advised on projects in the metropolitan region, elsewhere across the U.S., and in Canada, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia.
Adam has particular expertise advising on the use of public-private partnerships (P3s or PPPs) and related alternative project delivery methods, for which he has been recognized by The New York Law Journal as a “rising star” as well as by The Legal 500 and Chambers USA as a recognized authority in his field. Notably, he advised the public sector on the first commuter rail P3 project in the U.S., is current advising a state DOT on a P3 for the largest highway project in that state’s history, and is advising on of the five largest transit agencies in the U.S. on the highest value design-build project in that agency’s history.
In addition to his law practice, Adam is a board member for Next City, a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire social, economic and environmental change in cities through journalism and events around the world. Prior to pursuing a legal career, Adam worked at a nonprofit foundation concentrating on economic and community development in Newark, New Jersey, where he also lived (on Halsey Street). This included work on land use, school redevelopment, and workforce issues as well as the future Prudential Center project. In 1999 Adam founded GoNewark.com, the predecessor to NewarkHappening.
Adam is a graduate of Yale University and New York University School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in both New Jersey and New York. He can be reached on Twitter at @amgiuliano.
Upendra Sapkota is the Senior Planner with the Office of Planning, Zoning and Sustainability, City of Newark. He has over 10 years of professional experience in the field of urban planning, design and community development. As a Senior Planner with the City of Newark, he is actively involved in the formulation of neighborhood development and economic development strategies. He has co-authored several neighborhood revitalization plans in New Jersey and Maryland.
As a planner, Upendra is interested in placemaking, urban design and community development and social inclusion. He has worked in planning and development projects in Haiti and Nepal, sponsored by USAID, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the European Union.
Upendra received his Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Tribhuvan University, Nepal and Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from Ball State University, Indiana. Additionally, he is a USGBC LEED accredited professional and a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. Alongside his professional career as an Urban Planner, Upendra is also pursuing Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Design at the University of Maryland College Park. He has presented papers at several international symposiums and conferences and authored academic articles.
Zenobia L. Fields is Department Director of Planning with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA). She has over 15 years of diverse experience including capacity-building, asset planning, performance planning, urban design, transportation related design, data sharing, policy analysis and general community development. She has held positions with non-profits, government agencies, and private sector companies—including project work at the local, regional, state and federal level. At the NJTPA, she is specifically responsible for overseeing and integrating the technical analysis required to maintain an efficient planning process, or framework, for the organization's plans and programs. Among these plans and programs, Ms. Fields is leading the NJTPA's participation in the Together North Jersey (TNJ) initiative – funded by the five million dollar HUD Sustainable Communities Initiatives Grant. A component of the TNJ initiative will include the development of a Regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). Ms. Fields is managing the development of a consultant-supported CEDS, designed to foster public-private partnerships to lay the groundwork for an economic roadmap to diversify and strengthen Regional economies. Ms. Fields has a Bachelor’s of Architecture from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning with concentration in Community Development from Virginia Tech.
Stephen Lyman is the Director of The Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) International Seafarers’ Center in Port Newark, NJ, an 18,000-square-foot hospitality center for maritime workers located in the Port of New York and New Jersey. Stephen’s role includes port relations, facility management, and coordinating logistical services for the thousands of seafarers, truckers, and port workers who use SCI’s Center each year.
Stephen has over 15 years of experience in not-for-profit work. He holds Bachelor’s degrees from Montclair State University in both Operations Management and Sociology, and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a certificate in Non-Profit Management from Rutgers, Newark. Stephen describes his work as a crossroads of passions: an interest in business and the people doing business. This combination appropriately positions him at SCI’s International Seafarers’ Center, where the trillion-dollar industry of maritime commerce comes together with men and women from all over the world. Stephen works in a variety of capacities at the SCI Center—from one-on-one interactions with seafarers, to coordinating complex port relations, to responding to requests from those who frequent the port and liaising with external parties interested in Port activities in a timely manner.
Stephen has most recently assisted in developing a sexual abuse first responder training program for Chaplains and Ship Visitors in collaboration with other local seafarer welfare organizations. He also participates in the Port of New York and New Jersey Workforce Development Implementation Team, and coordinates Port representatives to talk about the maritime community with various school groups. Stephen has completed the Shipping 101 class offered through Old Dominion University, the Port Executive Certification from the MacDonnell group, and is a certified Ship Welfare Visitor from the Merchant Navy Welfare Board. Stephen also is a Leadership Newark Fellow, Class of 2018.
Bethann Rooney was named as Assistant Director in the Port Department of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in August 2014.
The Port Authority’s Port Department manages approximately 3,000 acres of maritime waterfront property dispersed throughout the New York Harbor and facilitates the transport of billions of dollars in cargo that move through those facilities. The Port of New York and New Jersey is the largest port on the East Coast of North America, third largest in the nation and a major creator of jobs and economic activity.
Ms. Rooney is the architect and coordinator of the Port’s Council on Port Performance; the first forum of its kind in the nation that was established as a framework for port constituents to identify challenges to port efficiency and service reliability and develop recommended solutions. She is responsible for managing and coordinating port wide efforts to ensure that performance management and quality improvement efforts are developed and managed using a data-driven focus that sets priorities for improvements aligned to ongoing strategic imperatives.
Prior to assuming this role, Ms. Rooney was the General Manager, Port Security for the Port Authority. A nearly 25-year veteran in the maritime industry, Ms. Rooney began her career as a port captain / vessel agent for General Steamship Corporation. Since joining the Port Authority in 1993, Ms. Rooney has held a series of progressively responsible management positions including stints in Operations, Property Management, Intermodal and Technology Planning.
Ms. Rooney is a graduate of the State University of New York Maritime College with a Masters Degree in International Transportation Management and a Bachelors Degree in Marine Transportation. She holds qualifications as a Third Mate and several professional certifications.
Thomas Saunders is Director of Government Affairs for Ports America, the country's largest marine terminal operator and stevedore. In this capacity, he has principal responsibility for managing Ports America relationships with federal, state and local elected governments.
Prior to setting sail for Ports America, from 2010 to 2017, Mr. Saunders served in increasingly senior positions on Capitol Hill, where he was responsible for facilitating federal, state, and local coordination on special projects, including major transportation projects of regional and national significance.
Mr. Saunders began his career on Capitol Hill working for former Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee and the late Rep. Donald M. Payne, Sr. (D-NJ). Prior to joining Ports America, Tom advised on and coordinated legislative efforts for Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ) on health care, transportation and infrastructure, labor, appropriations, veterans’ affairs, and military/defense. In this role, Mr. Saunders worked with local, state and national stakeholders to draft legislation and build coalition support. As the primary liaison to the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee, Mr. Saunders prepared Rep. Payne, Jr. for hearing, markups, and floor consideration of legislation. In the 114th Congress, he organized and executed a Surface Transportation Security field hearing in Jersey City, New Jersey. In addition, he served as the lead staffer for the Bipartisan Congressional Men’s Health Caucus and was a 2016 White House Dialogue on Men’s Health participant.
Originally from Monmouth County, New Jersey, Saunders is an avid sports fan and cook. He graduated with a political science degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He also serves on the Board of the New Jersey State Society and hosts an annual “Bring the Heat” chili-cook off.
Lindsey M. McDougle is an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) at Rutgers University-Newark. Prior to joining the SPAA faculty, she taught at Northern Illinois University in the School of Public and Global Affairs and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania in the School of Social Policy and Practice. Her research and teaching interests are in the areas of voluntarism, philanthropy, nonprofit management, and social inequality. Her research has been published in a number of scholarly outlets such as: Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Social Indicators Research, Nonprofit Management and Leadership, and Journal of Environmental Planning and Management.
Ronald Chaluisán Batlle joined Newark Trust for Education in October 2016 as Executive Director. Ronald is committed to developing, coordinating and focusing ideas, resources and expertise that expand opportunity and improve academic and socio-emotional outcomes for all children in Newark.
Prior to joining the Trust, Ronald was Vice President at New Visions for Public Schools (NVPS). In that capacity he led the Charter High Schools Initiative, successfully opening seven charter high schools serving high need students across New York City. As of August 2016, the charter high schools were functioning at a 90% four-year graduation rate as compared to 70.5% for New York City and 78% for New York State.
At NVPS, Ronald served as Vice President for Programs overseeing the development and assessment of school creation programs, teaching and learning support, and teacher and leadership certification partnerships. Ronald led the New Century High Schools Initiative, a city-wide school-creation process that resulted in the creation of ninety-nine small high schools across the city whose students consistently exceeded city-wide performance metrics.
Prior to joining NVPS, Ronald founded the NYC Museum School, a partnership between NYC Community School District 2 and four New York City museums. Over the years, the school has claimed its place as one of the best high schools in New York City.
Ronald is currently a Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Literature from Harvard University, a Master of Arts in Literature from Claremont Graduate University, and a Master of Education in Leadership from Bank Street College of Education.
Sunny Kancherla is a 15 year resident of the city of Newark and a graduate from Rutgers Business School. He leads Business Learning Tree which focuses on building bridges between academic institutions and the small business community locally, nationally and internationally. For over 19 years, Kancherla has been involved in business and digital marketing - and was recognized by NJBiZ in their list of New Jersey's Top Forty under 40. He was a recipient of the prestigious Small Business Success Award and is known as an Online/E-Business Expert for the State of New Jersey.
In 2015, Kancherla completed the Leadership Newark program, as a SIMSOC RED Team Leader. Among his carefully selected peer leaders, Kancherla made a dramatic splash by executing a precise and historic tactical leadership move during the program's annual simulated society training program, that's never before been attempted or executed by 500+ graduates in 15 years of the program's existence.
Kancherla believes in paying it forward, and is currently the President of "CUEED's Rutgers Entrepreneurship" Board.
Holly Kaplansky has owned Minuteman Press in Newark since 2005, which she purchased after a successful 30-year career holding corporate upper-management positions, including Brand Manager for Kraft Foods, Global Marketing Director for Ovid Technologies and Chief Operating Officer for Russ CandyBears, a licensee of Russ Berrie plush toys.
Minuteman Press of Newark is a high-quality business printer known for exceptional service and fast turn-around times. She is currently the President of the North Essex Chamber of Commerce. In addition, Holly is President Elect of the New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners (NJAWBO). She is also a Member of the Rutgers University CUEED EPI Alumni Board and an advisory Board Member of the Rutgers Small Business Development Center in Newark, NJ., a Past President of the New Jersey Chapter of Women in Communication and a Past President and Founding Board Member of the New Jersey LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Minuteman Press of Newark is certified M/WBE and DBE.
Dr. Tendai Ndoro has a PhD in Public Administration and is currently contracted as Regional Director for the NJSBDC at Rutgers-Newark/Rutgers Business School & NJSBDC statewide network. Dr. Ndoro has received numerous awards for her work as an economic development expert and business woman which include the 2014 ASBDC National State Star Award, 2013 Top Women in Power Impacting Diversity; 2012 NJ Garden State Woman of the Year – Global Impact Award, & the Minority Enterprise Advocate’s 50 Women of Power in Business. In 2011 she received the WEN Business Award for promoting women. In 2010 she received the US Commercial Services International Trade Award for promoting international trade in the City of Newark, NJ. Dr. Ndoro is a trained Baldrige Examiner.
As Regional Director, Dr. Ndoro has designed, developed & implemented innovative programs like the Women Entrepreneurs’ Networking (WEN) Breakfast, Business Bazaar & Procurement Expo-Pitch for Capital & Pitch for Contracts; Disaster Preparedness & Continuity of Operations Program, Business Scalability Series; RBS Entrepreneur Pioneer Initiative (EPI) Training Curriculum and the RBS/SBDC Student Experiential Learning Program where accounting, management and marketing business students gain experiential learning and consulting experience solving problems for small businesses in Northern NJ. In collaboration with various private/public entities she promotes small business (SMEs) development, young entrepreneurs’ programs community & economic development initiatives. Dr. Ndoro has participated as a focus group expert for the Obama Administration through the Small Business Administration, US Commercial Services, OPIC, MBDA and White House Entrepreneurship Summit.
Native of New Jersey and graduate of the University of Hartford, Jabari Sills is the CEO of the transportation startup Youii. Founded in 2016, Youii is revolutionizing ridesharing with their unique subscription based service exclusively for college students. Mr. Sills has a passion for innovation and impacting the lives of people in ways that revolutionize everyday tasks and services. His first company StartUp DevShop was founded to help startups develop and connect with technological tools and talent. Before starting StartUp DevShop, Mr. Sills worked with a bootstrap startup in New York, called Smacktive, where he was first introduced and fell in love with the tech startup world.