Meet Sustainable Jersey's Staff 


Sustainable Jersey is managed under a long-term agreement with the Sustainability Institute at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) in Ewing.


Randall Solomon

Executive Director

 

Randall Solomon is the Director of The Sustainability Institute at The College of New Jersey and the Executive Director of Sustainable Jersey. He has over 25 years of experience working in government, academia, and the non-profit sector. He is one of the principals that founded and directs the Sustainable Jersey Certification program. Prior to his current position he was the founder and Executive Director of the New Jersey Sustainable State Institute at Rutgers where he worked to expand the capacity of public decision making to address sustainability. Mr. Solomon’s experience includes positions as a policy advisor on sustainable development for the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities integrating land use and energy policy, director of the States Campaign for the Resource Renewal Institute in San Francisco, and policy director for the non-profit New Jersey Future. Other jobs include a stint as a national Park Ranger and serving in the inaugural class of AmeriCorps volunteers. He has participated on advisory boards for federal and state government, civic organizations, and has advised major corporations. He writes and speaks frequently on sustainable development, energy, land use policy, using indicators in public decision making, and governance issues. Randy holds a B.S. in Biology from Stockton University and a M.S. in Public Policy from Rutgers University. 

Renee Haider

Deputy Director

 

Renee Haider serves as the Associate Director of The Sustainability Institute at The College of New Jersey and the Deputy Director of Sustainable Jersey. She oversees the day-to-day operations of the Sustainable Jersey certification programs, the grants program, communications and outreach, and the business office. Prior to joining the Sustainability Institute, she was a research associate at the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University and the Associate Director of the National Transit Institute at Rutgers University. In these capacities she worked with teams of professionals from operating agencies, departments of transportation, industry associations, academic research centers, and Federal government entities to conduct applied research and develop education and training materials related to surface transportation, particularly public transit. Renee holds a B.S. in Economics and Political Science from Rutgers University and an M.S. in Public Policy through the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University.  In her spare time, she serves as a member of the Environmental Commission and chair of the Green Team Advisory Committee in her hometown of Monroe Township (Middlesex County).

Joe Grillo

Development Director

As Director of Development, Joe is responsible for corporate and foundational gifts, government grants, and individual major gifts towards Sustainable Jersey’s program areas. Prior to joining our team, Joe was Director of Development for the New Jersey Audubon Society, focused primarily on individual philanthropic major gifts. Joe began his career in the private sector as sales director and principal owner of a national importing company for 15 years. After transitioning from business to the political arena, Joe was active in New Jersey politics and government, serving as executive director, fundraising professional and campaign manager for numerous campaigns and organizations in his home county of Monmouth.  Joe earned his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Rider University, and his M.S. in Global Affairs from Rutgers-Newark.  A lifelong Jersey shore resident, Joe enjoys spending time at the beach with his daughter and continues to be civically involved in his hometown of Asbury Park, NJ. 

Jennifer Sontupe

Business Manager

Ms. Sontupe plays many roles at the Sustainability Jersey. She is responsible for maintaining the programmatic budgets which includes tracking income and expenses for over a dozen grants and programs and maintaining financial records for staff.  As Office Manager, Ms. Sontupe facilitates the hiring of employees, student interns, consultants and subcontractors; keeps track of timesheets and coordinates meetings for staff.  In addition, she serves as executive assistant to Senior Staff, and serves as the liaison between the Program and various departments at The College of New Jersey including Finance and Business Services, Human Resources, and Grants and Sponsored Research.  Prior to working at Sustainable Jersey, Ms. Sontupe worked for the State of New Jersey Office of Economic Growth as a confidential secretary to the Deputy Chief of staff during the Corzine administration. Jen holds an A.A. in Graphic Design from Mercer County Community College.

 

Program Development


Lauren Skowronski

Program Director for Community Engagement

As Program Director for Community Engagement, Lauren supports our grassroots regional hubs across the state with leadership development, capacity building and technical assistance.  Lauren also heads our Public Information & Engagement initiative which provides strategies to improve municipal infrastructure through more accessible public information and increased community engagement.  Prior to joining our team, she served as State Campaign Director of The Citizens Campaign  for over ten years, where she focused on increasing civic engagement through education and grassroots organizing efforts, as well as collaborated with local, county and state officials on issues such as government reform, transparency and open government, environment, economic development, public safety and education.  Lauren assisted Green Teams and environmental advocates across the state with strategies to interface with government officials on policy development.   Lauren holds a Master’s degree from the School of Social Work at Monmouth University, where she concentrated in International and Community Development.

Anne Heasly

Program Manager of Policy and Planning

 

In her role, Anne works with partners to develop policies and programs to assist local governments in implementing sustainable actions.  Anne comes to Sustainable Jersey with experience in land conservation, planning, design and funding and most recently served as non-profit consultant.  Prior to that, Anne worked on a range of planning and re-grant programs for Conservation Resources, Inc and was a conservation planner working primarily in the Delaware Bayshores and Pine Barrens for over 13 years for the New Jersey Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.  Anne has a BS in Natural Resources from Cornell University and a Master of Landscape Architecture with a Certificate in Urban Design from the University of Washington. Anne is a licensed landscape architect and a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Melanie McDermott

Senior Researcher

 

With degrees in interdisciplinary social science (PhD.) and forestry (MSc.), Melanie McDermott has over 20 years' experience in the U.S., Asia, Southern Africa, and the Caribbean in academic and applied research and consulting. Major topics of this work include community forestry, coastal resilience, and the impact of climate change mitigation policy on social equity. Prior to coming to TCNJ, she served at Rutgers University in various capacities, including as research faculty, lecturer, and Associate Director of the Climate and Society Initiative. At the Sustainability Institute, she is leading a collaborative effort to develop a vision, goals, and indicators for sustainability for New Jersey at the state level that will be promulgated in an annually updated report. It will further serve as a basis for creating the Gold level for certification for Sustainable Jersey.

 

Sustainable Jersey for Schools


Véronique Lambert

Program Manager, Schools Outreach, Training and Special Projects

 

Véronique supports the development and implementation of the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program, working with schools, government agencies, community organizations, businesses and municipalities to further sustainability practices and education in New Jersey schools.  A member of her town’s Environmental Commission and Green Team, Véronique has previously worked in sustainability education and community outreach in New York City, London, Providence and Ithaca.  She has also performed cropping systems research in Hawaii and Guyana.  She received a BSc and MSc in Agronomy from Cornell University and University of Hawaii, respectively, and a MSc in Geography from Brunel University, London.

JoAnna Contarino

Program Assistant

JoAnna supports the Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification program. Her responsibilities include answering questions about the program, reviewing certification applications, updating website content, and conducting outreach to schools. JoAnna has a B.A. in Environmental & Sustainability Studies from Rowan University. In her time as a student she was involved in environmental advocacy on campus, in her community, and at a state-wide level in New Jersey. Most notably she led the NJ Student Sustainability Coalition for two years. In this role she connected students across the state to share resources, build skills, and ultimately create student power to work on sustainability initiatives that benefit us all. She is currently the Alumni Advisor of this group as well as the Secretary of her hometown Environmental Commission.

 

Energy Team


Nancy Quirk

Senior Program Manager, Energy

 

Nancy Quirk serves as the Energy Program Manager with Sustainable Jersey providing guidance to local governments on energy efficiency and renewable energy.  Her background includes engagement with local efforts to address waste management, energy efficiency, and sustainability planning.  After Katrina, she worked with a university-community outreach program to assist homeowners in rebuilding with energy efficient and hazard resilient practices and materials.  Most recently her work focused on providing support to local governments in reducing the “soft costs” related to solar photovoltaic deployment.

Jodi Bettermann

Research & Project Specialist

Jodi works as part of the Sustainable Jersey Energy Team assisting schools and municipalities with energy-related actions with a focus on energy efficiency.  Her experience includes educating schools and municipalities in her county about the environmental impact of transportation choice and working in her local public school district implementing energy efficiency programs.  Jodi was named a Sustainability Hero for her work in October 2018.  Jodi’s professional experience includes ten years of work as a process engineer for a pharmaceutical company.  She holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Tufts University.  In her spare time, Jodi serves on her local Green Team, Board of Education, Board of Health, and various parent groups at her children’s schools.

Hogan Dwyer

Research & Project Specialist

Hogan is a graduate of St. Lawrence University, where he majored in Environmental Studies & Philosophy. At St. Lawrence, Hogan ran cross country and track, successfully advocated to reduce waste in campus dining facilities, and lobbied elected officials to support state and federal carbon pricing legislation. His senior thesis extrapolated the libertarian perspective on climate change from writings by influential libertarian theorists and illustrated how government mitigation solutions conform to it. As a Research & Project Specialist, he directly supports municipal energy efficiency, electrification of transportation, and renewable energy projects as well as writing clean energy guides.

Zenon Tech-Czarny

Research & Project Specialist

 

Zenon is an Environmental and Urban Planner passionate about creating more sustainable and resilient communities. His primary focus at the Sustainability Institute is energy and climate change related research, but he also investigates, land use, transportation, water, waste, economic development, and other topics. His work is used to update and develop new sustainability policies, guidance, tools, and actions for local governments. Zenon has over ten years of professional experience working with private firms, public sector clients, non-profit organizations and academic institutions. In addition to his professional work, has taught courses at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy and the Rutgers School of Environmental & Biological Sciences. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Planning from Rutgers University and a Master of Urban Planning from the City University of New York.

Tracey Woods

Research & Project Specialist

Tracey Woods works with the Sustainable Jersey Energy Team as a Project Research Specialist. Her responsibilities include assisting municipal leadership and green team members in completing Sustainable Jersey’s energy actions and helping create guidance documents to aid municipalities in completing sustainability projects. In addition to a professional background in project management, Tracey is a long-time green team leader. Her public service experience guides her work helping local governments move forward on sustainability projects.  Tracey has been awarded the New Jersey Governor’s Jefferson Award for Public Service.

Operations Team


Samantha A. McGraw

Senior Program Manager, Core Operations

Samantha manages the core operations of Sustainable Jersey, including the municipal and school certification programs, the grants program, the support center, and website.  She serves as the primary point of contact for New Jersey municipalities participating in Sustainable Jersey as they work toward certification.  She also serves as staff support to the Waste Management Task Force.  Samantha holds a B.S. in Meteorology from Millersville University, a M.A. in Political Science from Colorado State University, and interned with the City of Fort Collins, Colorado, Environmental Services Department.  Samantha is a Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program, and former co-president of the YWCA Princeton NEXT GEN Board, as well as the former chair of the YWCA Princeton NEXT GEN Board's Nomination and Communication Committees.  Samantha currently serves on The College of New Jersey's Women's Professional Network Committee.

Kaitlyn Vollmer

Grants Program Manager

Kaitlyn coordinates the Sustainable Jersey grants program, a valuable resource available to municipalities and schools that are registered in the Sustainable Jersey program. Her responsibilities include in-taking and reviewing grant applications and reports, providing program and technical assistance, and updating the Sustainable Jersey website's grants portal. Kaitlyn earned B.A. degrees in English Writing and Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh and also holds a Public and Professional Writing certificate. Kaitlyn has experience working at the local level, including assisting the grant writer of the Human Rights City Alliance, a grassroots organization in Pittsburgh, to promote human rights education, action, and policies.

Kristy Ranieri

Communications Consultant

 

Kristy Ranieri brings more than 20 years of strategic-level communications experience working in the sustainability arena. Using all communication channels – from print outlets to digital media – Kristy implements strategies to advance communication goals. Her responsibilities include promotion of Sustainable Jersey’s mission and policy initiatives and creating opportunities for Sustainable Jersey to build stronger ties with its participants and stakeholders. Kristy’s experience includes leading full-scale national and local marketing and educational awareness campaigns for public agencies, coalitions, non-profits and private companies. Kristy is a founding and active member of the Maplewood Township Green Team, the South Orange and Maplewood School District Green Team, and Sustainable Jersey’s Essex County Hub. Kristy has a BA in Government from Connecticut College and a Master in Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania, Fels Institute of Government.

Sabrina Arauz

Program Assistant

 

Sabrina supports the marketing and communications of the Sustainable Jersey programs. Her responsibilities include the weekly program update emails, creating and updating website content, social media content creation, video editing, and maintenance of the program's YouTube channels. Sabrina has a B.A. in Visual Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design from The College of New Jersey.

Maureen Jones

Program Assistant

Maureen supports the daily operations of the Sustainable Jersey programs. Her responsibilities include updating content on website and social media, reviewing certification applications from municipalities and school districts, and providing administrative support for the certification programs, grants program, conferences, events and trainings. Maureen has a B.A. in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations from Marist College.