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CFP Staff

Kris Kolluri,
Chief Executive Officer
Kris Kolluri has served as CEO of the Rowan University/Rutgers - Camden Board of Governors since
July 1, 2014. During his tenure, Kolluri succeeded in leveraging existing education, research and
medical assets in Camden to create new academic programs and build and sustain economic growth in
the city and broader South Jersey region.

Kolluri is an expert in economic development, infrastructure management and operations with
experience running multibillion-dollar public transportation/economic development agencies.
Kolluri served as CEO of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority (SDA), where he oversaw the
state's $5.3 billion school construction program. Prior to leading SDA, Kolluri served as Commissioner
of the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT). In that capacity, he oversaw 17,000
employees, more than $3.6 billion in capital funds and over $2 billion in operating funds.
Kolluri also championed the largest mass transit capital program in state history, and under his
leadership, NJDOT for the first time created a 10-year capital program that identified long-term
infrastructure needs and developed a sustained investment strategy.

Kolluri has been an attorney at Windels Marx Lane and Mittendorf in New Brunswick and Parker
McCay in Mount Laurel. He specialized in redevelopment and transportation law and worked with
clients to leverage regional infrastructure assets to maximize economic development opportunities.
Kolluri earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Rutgers University and a Juris Doctor degree from
Georgetown University. He was an adjunct faculty member at Rutgers University Law School, and has
served on the Advisory Board of RomAsia Bank and on the New Jersey Board of the Regional Plan

Joseph Myers, Vice President & COO
Joseph graduated with a Bachelor of Political Science from the College of New Jersey in 1998 and from the University of Pennsylvania with a Master of Governmental Affairs and a Master of Political Science in 2000. Joe began working at CFP as a graduate intern in 1999, became a full-time project manager upon graduation in the spring of 2000, and was promoted to COO/VP in October of 2009 and tasked with overseeing the development and neighborhood operations in the office. Joe has dedicated his time working on several downtown projects, which include the Camden Children's Garden, new infrastructure around Adventure Aquarium, and the Aquarium Fountain Park. Joe works closely with the private sector on planning the build out of the remaining downtown waterfront and also in North Camden with Save Our Waterfront on park design and neighborhood planning. He serves on the board of CAMConnect and Heritage Collaborative as well as volunteering with Sacred Heart Athletics. He is also a graduate of Leadership NJ and the Rutgers University's Center for Strategic Urban Leadership Institute.

Meishka L. Mitchell, AICP, PP, Vice President of Community Initiatives
Meishka has established herself as a leader in the community, equally respected by government officials, community partners, city residents, and her peers. Drawing on her background as a Camden native, as well as her education and experience, she brings a keen and unique perspective to her work in community planning and neighborhood revitalization at Cooper’s Ferry Partnership. Meishka joined the CFP staff as a graduate intern in 2003 and took the helm as the Vice President of Neighborhood Initiatives in 2010. Meishka has played a key role in broadening CFP's mission to address planning and redevelopment efforts in Camden's neighborhoods, overseeing the development of plans and implementation of key neighborhood projects with a high level of community input and participation. Meishka has managed the implementation of numerous critical infrastructure and park improvement projects, and is instrumental in Camden’s innovative sustainability and placemaking initiatives. Meishka has a Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. Meishka is also certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners and maintains a Professional Planners license with the State of New Jersey.

Shahid Rana, VP of Business Development

Shahid is a seasoned community development specialist with demonstrated experience in urban design, community planning, commercial corridor development and creative marketing and branding.

Before his role as VP of Business Development, Shahid served as a Project Manager in the Neighborhood Initiatives division at Cooper’s Ferry Partnership (CFP). His efforts with CFP have resulted in over $2.4 million in project funding secured and he managed a $17.3 million portfolio that included infrastructure improvements, neighborhood planning and development, and mixed-use development.

Shahid earned his Masters in Real Estate Development (MRED) from the University of Maryland's Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development. He also received a graduate certificate from Harvard's Graduate School of Design in Charrette Management. Shahid is also a proud alumnus of Morgan State University, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Environmental Design.

Caren Fishman, Executive Director, Camden Special Services District
Caren joined CFP in 2011 after retiring from the Camden County Parks Department where she worked for 35 years, serving as director since 2005. Her administrative background in grantsmanship, budget and finance, park design and grounds maintenance made for a seamless transition into CFP. Caren served as the Director of the CSSD from 2011-2014 and was promoted to Executive Director in 2015. Caren is responsible for complete management of the 501(c)(3) non-profit CSSD, which is a subsidiary of CFP. Her responsibilities include project, grant and proposal development, finance management, non-profit compliance and oversight of day-to-day CSSD operations. Caren works closely with the public and private sector stakeholders who support CSSD activities through contributions, grants and fee-for-service contracts. Caren Fishman holds a B.S. in Recreation and Leisure Services from Fairleigh Dickinson University, a M.Ed. in Public Recreation Administration from Temple University and certification as a Public Manager from Rutgers University.

Sarah Bryant, AICP, Director of Community Initiatives 
Sarah Bryant joined CFP as a project manager in early 2010 following graduation from the Master of City Planning program at the University of Pennsylvania. In her current capacity as senior project manager, Sarah manages a diverse portfolio of planning, infrastructure development, and placemaking projects and initiatives throughout Camden, guiding projects from inception to completion. Her projects include neighborhood plans, park rehabilitation and new construction, adaptive reuses of historic structures, streetscape transformations, and activation of vacant or underutilized open spaces.

Additionally, Sarah co-manages several of CFP’s collaborative sustainability initiatives, including the Camden SMART (Stormwater Management And Resource Training) Initiative, the City’s stormwater management initiative. She co-convenes the City of Camden Green Team, which in 2013 helped the City become one of only 28 Sustainable Jersey silver certified municipalities.

Sarah holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Boston University. She is certified with the American Institute of Certified Planners and is a member of the American Planning Association.

Valaria Galarza, Senior Project Manager

Val graduated from Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, New Brunswick where she earned a bachelor’s in Public Health. Following undergrad in 2002, she was selected for New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Latino Fellowship Institute which placed her as an intern at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation where she gained her initial exposure to the public health field. She later earned her Master’s in Health Education from St. Joseph’s University.

Rudisha Beattie, Project Manager
Rudisha joined Cooper’s Ferry Partnership(CFP) as an intern in 2015 and became a project manager in 2016. She has earned a A.A.S. in Architectural and Civil Engineering Technology from the Pennsylvania Institute of Technology. Along with a B.S. in Planning from Rowan University. Prior to coming to CFP, Rudisha interned at Woodbury Economic Development Department performing research on the water systems within Woodbury to determine the probability of viable economic investments in the City of Woodbury. At CFP, she works on the Camden Greenways Website Development, Camden Business Façade Program, Camden Construction Careers Initiative (Residents Building Camden), Camden Colab, special events and other business development interests in the areas of programs, projects and policy.

Kathy Cullen, Project Manager
Kathy Cullen joined CFP in January 2012 as a graduate intern and became a full-time project manager in June 2012. She has a Master of Public Administration degree with a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Villanova University. She managed Residential POWER (Program Offering Widespread Energy Recovery) and the construction of Pyne Poynt Park in North Camden. Kathy is currently overseeing several projects throughout Camden, including the design and construction of active trails, infrastructure and streetscape improvements on Main Street, Cooper Street, 7th Street and River Road, neighborhood plans in East Camden and Cooper-Grant/Central Waterfront, and the preservation of the historic Benjamin Cooper House in North Camden. Kathy has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Boston College.

Caroline J. Gray, Project Manager
Caroline joined CFP as an intern in 2013. She became a full-time project manager upon receiving an undergraduate degree in Urban Studies from Rutgers-Camden University in the spring of 2015. Caroline is continuing her education by pursuing a Masters in Public Administration also from Rutgers-Camden. At CFP, she is working primarily on the Camden Collaborative Initiative, a solutions-oriented partnership between governmental, non-profit, private, and community-based agencies formed to plan and implement innovative strategies to improve the environment and the quality of life of Camden's residents (www.Camdencollaborative.com).

Allison Hawco, Project Manager,
Allison graduated from The College of New Jersey with a Business Management bachelor’s degree in May of 2016 while simultaneously starting her internship with CFP. In August 2016, she became a project manager in the Business Development department. Prior to CFP, Allison interned with the Delaware River Port Authority working in Strategic Initiatives department researching environmental policies and sustainability programs. Now with CFP, Allison works mainly with real estate and economic policies in the City of Camden. Allison also works closely with the CoLab, Camden’s first small business incubator and co-working space, providing technical support and assisting in small business capacity. 

Vedra Chandler, Community Events Manager
Vedra Chandler is a singer and community advocate from Camden, New Jersey. After graduating from Harvard University with a degree in Government, Vedra pursued a career in business while dancing for Bon Jovi’s Philadelphia Soul arena football team.  In 2005 Vedra’s heart led her away from Corporate America and on to the open road when she joined the touring company of the hit Broadway musical Hairspray. From there she went on to perform in multiple theater projects around the world until in 2010 she ran away with the circus to perform the role of the Soul Singer on Kooza by Cirque Du Soleil. A few laps around the world with the circus led Vedra back to her hometown of Camden, where worked for two years as Associate Director of The Neighborhood Center, Inc. There she developed programs to cultivate creativity and stimulate critical thinking in young people before accepting the position of Community Events Manager at Cooper’s Ferry Partnership where she uses the arts as a vehicle to tap into the potential of Camden city and its residents, revitalize underutilized spaces through the Connect the Lots initiative and prepare us all for the resurgence of this “City Invincible.”

Lauren Weidner, Controller
Nakia Maxwell, Office Manager

Spark Creative Group