Director, Sustainability Programs

Lisa connects and encourages stakeholders to use policy, environment and system change to create safer and healthier places to live, work, study, and play.  Serves as the regional Safe Routes to School Coordinator for Monmouth, Bergen, and the urban parts of Essex, Union, and Passaic Counties. Lisa assists communities to conduct Street Smart NJ pedestrian and driver safety campaigns, walk/bike audits, and writes travel plans for municipalities and schools to apply for New Jersey Department of Transportation grants.  Works on walking, biking and Complete Streets policies, infrastructure change, and tactical urbanism demo projects to support safe active transportation.  Helps promote walk and roll to school days, walking school busses/bike trains, wellness councils, community gardens, and healthy corner store/barbershop partnerships. Lisa developed Healthy Community initiatives/coalitions in Asbury Park, Long Branch, Farmingdale, Plainfield, Belmar and Fanwood-Scotch Plains.

Lisa is a League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructor and received a B.A. from Wellesley College, an executive M.P.A. from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and a Master of Divinity degree from Alliance Theological Seminary.  Currently studying Urban Planning at Rutgers University Bloustein School.

Assistant Commissioner                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Planning, MultiModel & Grant Administration                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT)

Michael Russo was appointed to the position of Assistant Commissioner in August 2017. Mike is responsible for managing approximately 230 employees in the Divisions of Statewide Planning, Multimodal Services, Local Aid and Economic Development, Environmental Resources, and the Bureau of Transportation Data and Safety.

Mike has 34 years with NJDOT beginning his career as a Civil Engineer Trainee in the Region 3 Design Office working primarily on projects along the Route 1 corridor. Most recently Mike served as Director of Local Aid and Economic Development leading a team of professional and administrative staff in five Local Aid offices responsible for the Department’s $530 million Local Aid program.

Earlier in his career Mike served in various capacities including Project Engineer of a Roadway Design Squad, District Engineer of the Freehold Local Aid Office, and Manager of the Bureau of Design Coordination and Geometric Design. Mike also served in the Division of Project Planning and Development managing Concept Development and Feasibility Assessment efforts on projects throughout the state including the I-295/Route 42/I- 76 Direct Connection Project.

Mike received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Miami in 1983 and resides in Columbus with his wife and two children.

President & CEO                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Meadowlands Chamber

After a 23 year career as a foodservice and hospitality entrepreneur, Jim has served as President & Chief Executive Officer of the Meadowlands Chamber since June of 2002. The Chamber’s mission is to accelerate economic, community and business development by providing its membership with networking & relationship building opportunities; destination & tourism marketing services; business education and leadership training; legislative and public affairs advocacy, and workforce development initiatives to business members throughout the greater Meadowlands region.
Jim initiated a strategic planning process that focused the organization’s activities on delivering membership value and an increased visible leadership position on critical advocacy initiatives. In 2004 Jim led the way for the establishment of the Meadowlands Liberty Convention & Visitors Bureau within the Chamber to address the economic impact that tourism and destination marketing could have on the Meadowlands regional economy. The Chamber and CVB play an integral part in bringing major events like the Super Bowl and WrestleMania to MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands.
Jim has served on the New Jersey Transit Advisory Council, the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority Stakeholders Committee and is currently serving the Bergen Leads Advisory Board, The Center for Excellence at FDU, and the Felician College Business Advisory Board. Jim was elected to the national board of Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) based in Washington DC in January of 2014
Jim attended Montclair State University and Fairleigh Dickinson University majoring in Business Administration and Accounting.

Director of Special Transportation Services                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Essex County Division of Training and Employment

Michael Vieira is the Director of Special Transportation Services for Essex County and has served in the position for more than 34 years. He is responsible for the county’s community transportation programs for senior citizens, the disabled and the economically disadvantaged.

Mr. Vieira is also involved in state and national community transportation organizations. Mr. Vieira is President of the New Jersey Council on Special Transportation  and a member of the Community Transportation Association of America based in Washington, DC where he shares his transportation expertise with other transportation agencies throughout the country.

Mr. Vieira is a member of the Livingston Township Council where he has served since 2019. He has also volunteered on the Livingston Transportation Advisory Committee, Vision 20/20, Complete Streets, Bi-Partisan Advisory Committee on Appointments and Livingston Zoning Board of Adjustment.  In addition, he is a member of the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs. He attended Rutgers University in Newark.

Director, Health Services, Strategy and Workforce Partnerships                                                                                                                                                                                                                     New Jersey Council of County Colleges

Sandra Bleckman is Director Health Services, Strategy and Workforce Partnerships at the New Jersey Council of County Colleges. Before her recent appointment, Bleckman was previously the Senior Project Manager, Employer Outreach & Partnerships. She has worked with the council since August 2020.

Ms. Bleckman is an adjunct professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University and has taught there since 2014. She also worked as the Director of Leisure & Hospitality Industry Partnerships & Talent Development Center at FDU from 2013-19. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Clark University and an MA in Administrative Sciences from FDU.

In addition, Ms. Bleckman has earned a certification in Hotel Industry Analytics from FDU, Human Resources Management, also from FDU, and in Teaching Adult Learners from Camden County College. She also worked as Vice President of Foundation Development & Relations at Landmark Hospitality, as an alumni admissions interviewer for Clark University and a membership advisor at Equinox and Assistant Personnel Officer for the County of Bergen.

Sandra has served as a board member for the National Association for Catering & Events. She is also a member of the Essex County Disabilities Issues Committees as well as an advisory board member to Union City High School, Union County Vo Tech and Hudson County Community College. Sandra also sits on the Board of the NJ Tourism Industry Association, the Essex County Workforce Development Board as well as EZ Ride.

Executive Vice President                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hartz Mountain Industries, Inc.

Mr. Gentile joined Hartz Mountain Industries in 1989 rising to the position of Executive Vice-President of Operations. Currently oversees all design, engineering, construction, and property management functions within one of the country’s largest privately owned real estate organizations.  Prior to Hartz he was employed by Williams Real Estate from 1985-1989 within the Property Management Department.

Mr. Gentile is a graduate of Hofstra University and a graduate of NYU School of Continuing Education in Construction Management.

Mr. Gentile has been a member of EZ Ride’s board since 2015.

Principal Facilities Planner                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                NJ Transit

Hailey Graf is a Principal Facilities Planner in NJ TRANSIT’s Strategic Planning Program. Her work for the agency includes enhancing bicycle and pedestrian access to transit facilities, bus service redesigns, and rail planning projects. With experience in micro-mobility and transit service planning, she aims to improve transit access and mobility for all users. Hailey holds a Bachelor of Science in Urban Planning and Design, with a focus in Community Sustainability from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.


President & CEO – EZ Ride

Krishna Murthy has a multidisciplinary background in management, planning, engineering, and business. Krishna is a graduate of the National Defense Academy (NDA) and the Indian Military Academy (IMA) and served as an officer in the Indian Army. Before joining EZ Ride, he worked as a Research Assistant at the University Transportation Research Center (UTRC) at City College, New York. Krishna has an MBA from Columbia Business School, an MS in Civil Engineering (Transportation) from the City University of New York, and an MS in City & Regional Planning from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

COO & General Counsel – EZ Ride

Avnish Gupta is an attorney with diverse management and executive experience.  Prior to his current position, Avnish worked as an Associate with a law firm in Pennsylvania, managed law practice in India, and served in the Indian Army as a Commissioned Officer.  Avnish combines his legal and risk management skills with men and material management experience to bring a unique perspective to various business, legal and HR issues. Avnish also serves on the Board of Directors of Alliance of Nonprofits for Insurance. Avnish is a graduate of the National Defense Academy (Bachelor of Science), the Indian Military Academy, Delhi University Law Centre (Bachelor of Laws) and Georgetown University Law Center (Master of Laws).

Executive Director                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Center for Community Planning

Tom Schulze, is Lead Coordinator for the Urban Essex Coalition for Smart Growth, an effort in Newark, East Orange, and Orange.  He is also the Executive Director of the Center for Community Planning, a newly created non-profit community planning group providing planning services to communities throughout New Jersey and he directs the Community Planning Assistance Program for the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Mr. Schulze has been a City Planner in the NJ/NY area for almost 40 years.  He recently retired as Senior Director for Capital Planning at NJ TRANSIT.

Prior to working for NJ TRANSIT he was the Executive Director of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) in New York City.  He has also worked for local and regional governments, including the City of New York, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and NJ TRANSIT, where he did the planning for the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Line.  He has worked for private consulting firms, and consulted for local community development corporations and non-profit housing development groups in and around Newark, New Jersey.

Mr. Schulze is an adjunct professor at Hunter College and Rutgers University Graduate Planning Programs.  He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Rutgers University and Master’s Degree from Hunter College in New York City.