3 prominent S. Jersey women named founding trustees for Ørsted’s $15M trust

Pro-NJ Grantor Trust will offer N.J.-based small, women- and minority-owned businesses support in retooling to enter offshore wind industry

Three prominent South Jersey women — Beverly McCall, Belinda Manning and Lori Pepenella — were named as the founding board of trustees for the Pro-NJ Grantor Trust, a $15 million fund established by Ørsted.

The trust, which will be formally launched this fall, will offer New Jersey-based small, women- and minority-owned businesses support in retooling to enter the offshore wind industry. It also will provide funding for infrastructure resiliency improvements to New Jersey Shore communities.

McCall, an attorney from Ocean City, will serve as board chair. Manning, a retired organizational development professional and community volunteer/activist from Pleasantville, and Lori Pepenella, the CEO of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce from Barnegat, will serve on the advisory committee. Additional community-based advisory committee members will be named later.

The trustees will meet regularly to oversee the development of the business plan and the building of a website. When the website is finished, a formal announcement of the application process and availability of funds for 2020 will be made.

Thomas Brostrøm, CEO of Ørsted North America, Offshore, said the announcement of the three leaders is a strong first step.

“Beverly, Belinda and Lori are highly-respected individuals who bring a blend of business acumen, community involvement and the entrepreneurial spirit needed to develop and introduce the trust to interested parties in New Jersey,” he said.

The fund was established by Ørsted following the selection of the company’s Ocean Wind project by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities in June 2019. Ørsted officials say the fund helps the company keep its commitment to help bolster and expand economic opportunities in New Jersey.

Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind delivers clean, renewable energy along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard. It operates the Block Island Wind Farm, America’s first offshore wind farm, and has been awarded over 2,900 megawatts of capacity through six projects. It is jointly headquartered in Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, and employs more than 150 people.

At 1,100 MW, the company’s Ocean Wind project will be the first commercial-scale offshore wind project in New Jersey and will provide clean energy for 500,000 New Jersey homes.

A look at the first three appointees:

  • McCall: As an attorney in Cape May County and of counsel to the Hornstine Law Group, McCall has been representing businesses and individuals in New Jersey for more than three decades. Her law practice includes family law, bankruptcy, probate, municipal court, domestic violence, real estate matters, corporate law, civil and criminal cases. Her bar admissions include New Jersey, the District Court of New Jersey, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Manning: A retired organizational development professional and a lifelong community volunteer and activist. She spent 17 years as an internal consultant in the private sector, responsible for the design and delivery of diversity initiatives, management training programs and strategic and goal-setting processes. She spent another five years as CEO and president of Phoenix Rising Inc., a management consulting firm providing services in both the public and private sector nationwide.
  • Pepenella: She is CEO of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce and has dedicated her career to advancing economic development and the positive promotion of small business and nonprofit organizations within the state. She was the first woman in New Jersey to earn the designation of Certified Destination Management Executive from Purdue University, with her thesis, “Complexities of Marketing the Jersey Shore,” published by DMAI for its international membership.