Chris Paladino, president of New Brunswick Development Corp., speaks with Rutgers students.

Speaker Series: DEVCO president provides behind-the-scene look at changing New Brunswick

Chris Paladino, president of New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO), showed a number of "before" and "after" photographs of downtown New Brunswick to students in 100 Rock. "Every DEVCO project is developed to accomplish many goals, with each project having a component to serve the community and a greater public policy initiative," Paladino said.

Showing images of the Robert Wood Johnson Fitness & Wellness Center, Paladino said: "New Brunswick was a fresh food desert.  In a city of 60,000 people there were no swimming pools.  Now there is the SuperFresh marketplace and a Red Cross 'Learn to Swim Program' for the New Brunswick Public School students at no cost to the local Board of Education."

Associate Professor Can Uslay, organizer of the inaugural RBS Business Leader Speaker Series, said the goal is getting "inspirational speakers in front of our students and letting them share their stories in an intimate setting."

"Many of these distinguished business leaders from the C-suite are Rutgers alumni and they serve as great role models for our students," he said.

"Not only do the students learn about the latest trends in a variety of industries," Uslay said, "but they can also get to know the person behind the success story. The speakers have been amazingly forthright during Q&A and the student feedback is unanimously positive." The candid talks help students in a number of ways, from choosing the right elective to deciding on the right internship and career track, Uslay said.

The speaker series gives students a chance to question visiting executives.
The speaker events give students a chance to question visiting executives.

Mike Kavanagh of Rutgers' Real Estate Club said he was surprised to learn that DEVCO was a non-profit organization: "It was very interesting to hear Chris Paladino talk about the flexibility that gives the organization because they don't have to get an immediate return on investment."

Over lunch provided after the event, seniors Brooke Zindulka, Joe Nicoletti and Niko Dovlatyan were discussing how businesses were relocated and assisted. They liked putting a face to the large projects reshaping New Brunswick and learning the lengths DEVCO goes to support small businesses affected by these changes.

-Sean Ireland

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