Inside Newark’s Amazon bid: Glover offers some details of how city approached HQ2 effort

Here are two fair statements about Newark’s bid to land Amazon’s second headquarters:

  1. It was the biggest bid in city history, both in size of the potential award and number of people working on it;
  2. Aisha Glover was the point person.

ROI-NJ’s Tom Bergeron sat with Glover for our annual Interview Issue, discussing a variety of topics about Newark and her role in its economic development.

Glover, then the head of the Newark Community Economic Development Corp., was adamant about maintaining the city’s nondisclosure agreement during the process.

She finally was willing to discuss some of what went on. Here’s some of what she said about the bid for Amazon.

“I knew that we’d apply, but I didn’t understand how big a deal it could be until we really started digging in,” she said.

Glover, who now runs the Newark Alliance, said she was impressed by the support of the city’s power players.

Newark Alliance
Aisha Glover recently left the Newark CEDC to head up the Newark Alliance.

“There was such a frenzy and such an outpouring of energy here because of the supposed promise of this opportunity,” she said. “That was our driver. And as the community really started to come together in support of this, I started to understand what a game-changer it could be.”

How big was the energy? Glover said she felt it from those outside the city and state.

“I had people across the country, calling me, saying, ‘You guys need to apply for this, Newark needs to win,’” she said.

Glover, at the center of it all, was universally praised for her ability to handle both the bid plus all of the other things going on at the Newark CEDC.

As is her way, Glover deflected the credit, choosing instead to praise others.

“There were two reasons why this was possible,” she said. “One, we had an amazing committee of corporations and anchors who dedicated time, energy and resources. I had more than a dozen working groups. There was transportation, there was talent, there was lifestyle, quality of life. I had writers, people cranking out and doing several drafts.

“The committee structure worked well. That’s the only reason why you hear so many people giving us accolades. My job was just wrangling so many different groups.

“Let’s be clear; Aisha Glover did not do this proposal on the weekend and in her free time. This was a team effort. This was a community that really came together.”

Glover then singled out Jorge Santos and Carmelo Garcia personally.

“Everything that was in the pipeline, everything that was up in Newark CEDC purview already, stayed with Newark CEDC,” she said. “Other than Jorge Santos, who is my right hand, I did not pull on any Newark CEDC staff. That was intentional. It was critical that I was able to rely on Carmelo Garcia and the staff of Newark CEDC to kind of keep doing their jobs while I pulled on our committee structure.

“Again, a total team effort.”

To read the complete interview, click here.

The Interview Issue