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Meet Our Staff

Donna Drewes, Co-Director

Donna_DrewesDonna Drewes is a professional planner with nearly 30 years’ experience in sustainable development and natural resource management planning. Ms. Drewes has worked as a professional planning consultant in the private sector and for both public agencies and non-governmental organizations. Her experience includes extensive work in the development of regional watershed plans, community sustainability planning, as well as rural and environmental resource management issues.  Since 2004, Ms. Drewes has been with the Municipal Land Use Center at The College of New Jersey. She currently serves as the Co-Director of the Sustainability Institute. Ms. Drewes is the co-creator of the Sustainable Jersey municipal certification program. Donna holds a B.S. in Soil Science from Rutgers University and a M.S. in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University. She can be reached at (609) 771-2833 or by email at drewes@tcnj.edu.

Randall Solomon, Co-Director

Randall Solomon has 20 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 The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and a M.S. in Public Policy from Rutgers University. He be reached at (609) 771-2290 or by email at solomonr@tcnj.edu.

Renee Haider, Associate Director

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Renee Haider is the Associate Director of The Sustainability Institute at  The College of New Jersey. The Institute administers the Sustainable  Jersey municipal certification program. Prior to joining The Sustainability  Institute, she was a research associate at the Mineta Transportation  Institute at San Jose State University for two years and the Associate Director of the National Transit Institute at Rutgers University for 18 years. 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. This included working with the Federal Transit Administration and the Federal Highway Administration to support intergovernmental sustainability initiatives and collaborating with local, state, and federal government representatives on transportation and land use and statewide transportation planning and programming efforts aimed at supporting the core value of sustainability. She can be reached at 609-771-2307 or by email at haiderr@tcnj.edu.

Heather McCall, Schools Director 

Heather McCallAs the Sustainable Schools Program Director at Sustainability Institute, Heather oversees Sustainable Jersey’s program development and management of the newly created schools initiative. Heather’s role with the Sustainable Schools program builds on over 10 years of work empowering community based nonprofits. Prior to joining the Sustainability Institute, Heather worked as the Assistant State Coordinator for the NJ Department of Community Affairs’ Main Street New Jersey & Improvement Districts Program, where she worked closely with volunteer driven downtown revitalization programs providing technical assistance and training throughout the state.  Heather received a B.A. from University of Alaska, a M.C.P. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, and holds a Charrette Facilitation & Management Certification from the National Charrette Institute.  Since 2007, she has been a Senior Fellow with the Washington D.C. based Environmental Leadership Program. Heather holds a M.A. in City & Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Sociology, University of Alaska Anchorage. She can be reached at 609-771-2469 and by email at mccallh@tcnj.edu.

Linda Weber, Resiliency Director, Sustainable Jersey Resiliency Program

LindaLinda Weber is a licensed, professional planner with 25 years of planning experience in the public and private sector. Linda’s work experience is in municipal planning where she specializes in master plans, urban design, historic preservation, economic development and disaster recovery and resiliency. Her recent work includes the development of a historic preservation policy for a community foundation, the evaluation of a town-to-gown master plan in Macon, GA, a public art master plan for Cary, NC, and numerous plans and ordinances for towns and cities in New Jersey and the Philadelphia region. Since Hurricane Sandy, Linda’s area of focus has turned to disaster recovery and resiliency planning issues. In 2013, she was a Community Recovery Specialist for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), assisting NJ communities in long-term disaster recovery. She also served as Chair of the Hazard Mitigation and Recovery Planning Committee of the American Planning Association – New Jersey Chapter, and was a member of the Urban Land Institute Sandy Task Force, New Jersey- Philadelphia Region.  Linda holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) in Urban Studies at Rutgers University, and a Master in City Planning degree (MCP) and Certificate in Urban Design at the University of Pennsylvania. She can be reached at 609-771-2865 or by email at weberl@tcnj.edu.

Lauren Skowronski, Program Director for Community Engagement

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Lauren’s expertise lies in community development and civic engagement.  As Program Director for Community Engagement, she supports our grassroots regional networks across the state with leadership development, capacity building and technical assistance.  Lauren also heads our Community Information & Citizen Engagement Initiative which facilitates online engagement between local governments and their citizens.  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.

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. She can be reached at (609) 771-2836, or by email at mcdermom@tcnj.edu.

 

Nathaly Agosto Filión, Resiliency Manager

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Nathaly Agosto Filión serves as a Resiliency Manager with the Sustainable Jersey Resiliency Program on a post-Sandy initiative that matches municipal recovery and resiliency needs with resources provided by government, private, non-profit and academic organizations. In this capacity, Nathaly will be working with Sandy-affected communities across North Jersey connecting municipal leaders with long-term recovery and resiliency planning resources and technical assistance. Prior to joining the Resiliency Team at the Sustainability Institute @TCNJ, Nathaly worked as a Program Officer with the U.S. Climate Adaptation Program at the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) where she supported the development, design and delivery of national and regional capacity building programs for and in partnership with municipal climate and sustainability practitioners, such as ISC’s flagship Climate Leadership Academy, the Urban Sustainability Leadership Academy, Gulf Coast Resilient Communities Program, Resilient Vermont Project, Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact and Western Adaptation Alliance. Nathaly has also worked as a local climate action planning consultant, community organizer and environmental educator.

Nathaly holds a master’s degree in Natural Resources from the Rubenstein School for Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont, where she concentrated in ecological planning and completed coursework for a graduate certificate in ecological economics from the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics. She can be reached by email at nathaly.agostofilion@tcnj.edu.

Winnie Fatton, Program Manager

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMs. Fatton has been an educator for over 30 years. Her experience ranges from teaching 4th grade to high school English.  She held a variety of jobs, from writer’s assistant to private tutor, during the years when her main focus was raising her 2 children. Ms. Fatton was formerly the Director of Education for the South Branch Watershed Association, Inc. in Flemington, NJ where she helped to develop “The Waterways Stewardship Group” program which teaches students how to conduct biological monitoring of waterways in order to assess water quality. Ms. Fatton has been a Project Manager at the Sustainability Institute at The College of New Jersey (formerly known as the Municipal Land Use Center at TCNJ) for 6 years. She has worked on “Green Jobs for NJ,” a project to infuse sustainability into the curricula of Career and Technical Schools. She currently organizes trainings and workshops for the Sustainable Jersey program, which allows her to combine her interests in education, the environment and sustainability. Winnie holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Missouri. She can be reached at (609) 771-2855 or by email at fatton@tcnj.edu.

Anthony O’Donnell, Economist

Tony O'DonnellSJwebsiteMr. O’Donnell is an Economist and Project Specialist at the Sustainability Institute. Mr. O’Donnell is currently the project coordinator for the EPA Climate Showcase Communities program and deals with highly specialized technical, economic, and policy topics associated with research and outreach on energy and sustainable development. He also lends support to the Sustainable Jersey program at the Institute as the co-chair of several task forces.  From 2004 to 2010, Mr. O’Donnell was employed as the staff economist at the New Jersey Pinelands Commission, where he was responsible for managing the Long Term Economic Monitoring Program. In addition to compiling, maintaining, and analyzing a large and diverse database for more than 50 municipalities covering over 900,000 acres in South Jersey, Mr. O’Donnell also published an annual report on the regional economy. Prior to that, he worked as the State Plan Director at the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC) coordinating strategies for local Environmental Commissions during the cross-acceptance process. Tony holds a B.S. in Environmental & Business Economics from Cook College-Rutgers University, a M.S. in Food & Business Economics from Rutgers University and a M.S. in City & Regional Studies fromBloustein School of Planning. He can be reached at (609) 771-2921 or by email at odonnela@tcnj.edu.

Andrew Fau, Project Coordinator

Andrew plays dual roles at the Sustainability Institute. As the program coordinator for Sustainable Jersey’s Small Grants Program, he is responsible for developing grant application systems and working with municipalities and educational throughout the grant application and award process. Andrew has his BA in Environmental Sustainability from Stockton University and has volunteered on several Latin American farms helping to implement sustainable agriculture practices with the local population. In his other role, Andrew is responsible for handling all of the design and production of advertising collateral for both the Institute and Sustainable Jersey. Andrew was trained at the Art Institute of Philadelphia and possesses nearly 20 years of advertising and marketing experience. He can be reached at 609-771- 2271 and by email at faua@tcnj.edu.

Véronique Lambert, Project Coordinator, Sustainable Jersey for Schools

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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.  Véronique can be reached at (609) 771- 3427 and by email at lambertv@tcnj.edu.

 

Emma Melvin, Green Infrastructure Coordinator

Emma MelvinEmma Melvin currently serves as the Green Infrastructure Coordinator at Sustainability Institute at The College of NJ as part of the Resiliency Team. She recently worked with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society as the Plant One Million Regional Project Manager overseeing restoration grants, stormwater projects and green stormwater infrastructure training programs. Emma has worked in the water and natural resource protection field for the last 12 years, starting with the US Geological Survey as a hydrologist in the New Jersey Water Resource Center and continuing on to the University of Vermont Lake Champlain Sea Grant, where she educated municipalities on natural resource planning and low impact development.

Samantha McGraw, Project Coordinator

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Ms. McGraw assists New Jersey municipalities with the Sustainable Jersey certification process. She answers questions from outside organizations about the Sustainable Jersey program, and conducts research and policy development with a variety of task forces. Samantha brings both a science and policy background to the Sustainable Jersey team, along with experience working in local government as an intern with the City of Fort Collins Environmental Services Department. Her graduate thesis analyzed the role Sustainable Jersey plays in municipal sustainability action, and she is excited to bring these research and practical experiences to the Sustainable Jersey organization. Sam holds an M.A. Political Science from Colorado State University and a B.S. Meteorology from Millersville University. Sam has also been selected as a Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program’s 2014 Eastern Regional Network. She can be reached at (609) 771-2938 or by email at mcgraws@tcnj.edu. 

Jennifer Sontupe, Office Manager

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Ms. Sontupe plays many roles at the Sustainability Institute at the College of New Jersey. She is responsible for maintaining the Institute’s 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, maintains the Institute website, and serves as the liaison between the Institute 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 the Institute, 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. She can be reached at (609) 771-2832 or by email at sontupe@tcnj.edu.