Rutgers lends expertise to Newark
The Newark CEDC plays a vital role in attracting business, guiding real estate development and helping to sustain small businesses across the city. Mayor Baraka wanted to know if Richardson could step into the chief executive role temporarily to ensure that the city’s progress continued without interruption.
Richardson was uniquely qualified to assist the city. Before coming to Rutgers Business School in 2014 to be executive director of the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, he led the CEDC when Baraka's predecessor, Cory Booker, was mayor. Booker is now a U.S. senator.
Richardson described the opportunity to work in Newark again – especially under a different administration – as “an act of service.”
“I’m honored to be of service to the city at this moment of economic energy,” he said.
Rutgers University-Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor and Rutgers Business School Dean Lei Lei quickly supported the idea of “loaning” Richardson to the city.
Rutgers University-Newark is also one of the founding anchor institutions working within the Newark Alliance, a nonprofit that focuses its work on Newark’s revitalization. “Rutgers is a committed stakeholder in the present and future of our great city – not just in Newark, but of Newark – and we are pleased to be able to assist during this critical transition,” Cantor said.
Cantor is an ardent advocate of publicly engaged scholarship.
For Richardson, there is no better example of publicly engaged scholarship than having an opportunity to share his knowledge and gain new insights by having a temporary role within the city.
In addition to serving as executive director of CUEED at Rutgers Business School, he teaches an MBA class on urban entrepreneurship. Newark, which he tours with each of his classes, provides rich material for his lessons.
His temporary role in the city “will bring new relevant examples to my teaching,” Richardson said.
He steps in at a time when the city has nearly 1,000 new units of housing being developed, including the redevelopment of the former Verizon building on Broad Street and a new condominium building near the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. At the same time, the city’s potential has been recognized by corporate giants such as Amazon, which shortlisted Newark as a potential site for its HQ2 project. And while Amazon eventually decided to go elsewhere, other companies like Mars and Broadridge Financial are moving into the city.
Richardson said his priority is to help lead the search for a new permanent CEO as well as to advise and provide guidance on current and new economic development projects. “I’ll use my network to help identify and recruit a skilled leader who has a passion for Newark, understand the nuance of the job and will drive the mayor’s vision,” he said.
Interested in learning more about the position as president and CEO of the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation? See the job description.
When Richardson came to Newark, he brought more than 15 years of economic development experience from Chicago, where he worked in real estate. He remains active in Chicago as CEO of Chicago TREND, a social enterprise funded by the MacArthur Foundation to strengthen underserved neighborhoods by investing in retail development and local entrepreneurs of color.
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