The ROI Influencers Power List 2020: Economic Development

Chris Paladino, Ommed Sathe, Lata Reddy appeared in our Top 30 rankings.

Leslie Anderson
New Jersey Redevelopment Authority
No one has done more to help bring investments to urban areas than Anderson, who has been a go-to star for decades.

Jay Biggins
Executive managing director
Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co.
It’s fair to say his firm will have an oversized influence with those looking to use any new tax incentives. It’s also fair to say his firm will have a strong influence in corporate relocations, whether any new incentives get passed at all.

Tai Cooper
Vice president of policy and communications
New Jersey Economic Development Authority
Cooper, who began her career in Newark and Essex County, has successfully transitioned to life in Trenton, where she is helping the EDA in its efforts to reshape the way it does business with business.

Dennis Drazin
Monmouth Park
Sports gambling continues to pay off big for the state of New Jersey. And, while so much of the news has been coming out of Atlantic City, Drazin — the man who helped start it all — deserves credit for what he is doing at Monmouth Park.

Joe Kelley
Deputy chief of staff for economic growth
Governor’s Office
Continues to be one of Gov. Phil Murphy’s most trusted advisers on all things economic development in the state. Plays a lead role in connecting business opportunities to government’s mission.

Kris Kolluri
Cooper’s Ferry Partnership
He’s one of the behind-the-scenes folks that are so important to the New Jersey ecosystem. In other words, he’s a trusted leader and adviser who makes things happen and gets things done.

Allison Ladd
Deputy mayor/Director, economic and housing development
City of Newark
Homeownership is one of the next big boxes to check in the growth of Newark. Ladd, who comes to the administration from Washington, D.C., will head up many of these initiatives.

Ray Lesniak
Founder and president
Lesniak Institute for American Leadership
Longtime legislator hasn’t slowed down a bit since his “retirement.” He deserves credit for the economic boom sports betting has brought — and he was handpicked by Sweeney to be on the task force on incentives and appointed to Waterfront Commission by Murphy.

Mike McGuinness
NAIOP New Jersey
The organization, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, is a force in all aspects of development in the state. McGuinness is the smart and steady hand at the top.

Kevin O’Toole
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
His recent reelection as chair of the port shows just how influential he is. Former Republican legislator had the backing of many key Democrats for the position.

Carmen Tavares
Chief of real estate
New Jersey Transit
Real estate veteran Tavares joined NJ Transit last fall with one goal in mind: To help the cash-strapped agency make money from its incredibly valuable pieces of real estate up and down the state.

Melanie Willoughby
Executive director
Business Action Center
An unsung hero in economic development world. She leads an organization that advocates for all businesses in the state, both in navigating government services and regulations, but also in assisting companies in ways to grow their companies and create jobs.

Ted Zangari
Chair, Real Estate Department
Sills Cummis & Gross
Zangari has become a leader in “making land” efforts, a way to assemble industrial sites in the wake of the state only having a few “shovel-ready” sites left near the port.

Jerry Zaro
Chair, Banking and Real Estate Service Department
Sills Cummis & Gross
Continues to serve as one of the three trustees for the Gateway Development Corp., which continues to push for the funding of arguably the most important project in the region in the past 100 years.

Click below to see who landed in the Top 30 spots on the ROI Influencers Power List 2020:

Here’s the most powerful people in 13 industries:

And to read how a political scientist made the call on who was named No. 1 on the list, click here.