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photo credit: Dylan Medici

2022 Plenary


N  J

Northwest New Jersey

Rivers Conference

Dorothy Guzzo
Executive Director
New Jersey Historic Trust
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Dorothy P. Guzzo is the Executive Director of the New Jersey Historic Trust, an agency affiliated with the Department of Community Affairs. Ms. Guzzo oversees the administration of the historic preservation matching grant and loan programs. The Historic Trust was created in 1967 to advance historic preservation in New Jersey for the benefit of future generations through education, stewardship and financial investment programs that save our heritage and strengthen our communities. Formerly, Ms. Guzzo served as the Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer having oversight of the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places program, implementation of the state’s cultural resource regulations, and certifying projects to qualify for the Investment Tax Credit. Ms. Guzzo served on the Governor’s Heritage Tourism Task Force advancing the development of the State’s Heritage Tourism Master Plan.
James Kern
Commissioner Deputy Director
Board of County Commissioners
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James R. Kern III is one of three at-large Commissioners for Warren County. Commissioner Kern is a liaison to many groups, including the departments of public safety , public health, and the County Planning Board. Kern was elected to the Commissioner Board in 2018 and reelected to a second term in 2021. During his first term in office, the county introduced a $91 million budget that reduced the County Purpose Tax by more than a half a million dollars. Also notable was the overall spending plan at its lowest since 2004. Commissioner Kern has been an advocate for regional planning and supportive of Warren County’s robust farmland preservation program. This past year, he spearheaded the creation of an Environmental Advisory Committee which will work with different stakeholders to protect and restore Warren County’s natural resources. Commissioner Kern believes this new group will help increase environmental awareness, ensuring that both residents and visitors alike can enjoy a health environment and improved quality of life. Prior to his time as Commissioner, Kern severed as Mayor and Councilman in Pohatcong Township. He was elected at age 22; the second youngest elected mayor in New Jersey history. As mayor, Kern had promoted a transparent and fiscally responsible municipal government. He helped craft statutes for voter approved bonding and pay-as-you-go spending. Kern was also active in working with the Musconetcong Watershed Association in their efforts for dam removal and achieving wild and scenic designation in the township. Commissioner Kern received his Associate of Arts Degree from Warren County Community College and his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Rutgers University. He works for CHUBB Insurance and is an avid fan of the New Jersey Devils.
Jeffrey Vasser
New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism
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Jeffrey Vasser was nominated by Governor Phil Murphy to serve as Executive Director of the New Jersey Division of Travel & Tourism in May 2018 and was confirmed by the New Jersey Senate the following September. Jeff brings significant experience to his current role. Before joining the Division, he served as CEO of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association where he was responsible for marketing the hotels, restaurants, and attractions in the region. Prior to that, Jeff served as president of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority for 11 years, overseeing the daily operations of the public authority responsible for two major convention and event facilities and marketing the destination that anchors the region's $8 billion tourism industry. Earlier in his career, Jeff served as a Senior Consultant with the Public Sector/Gaming and Entertainment Group of Deloitte & Touche having done feasibility studies for tourism, arts and culture, and sports-related clients. From there, Jeff was Chief Financial Officer of Cipriani International, a $60 million hotel, retail, and foodservice firm overseeing areas such as finance, human resources, facilities, and IT. Jeff began his career in hotel operations with Four Seasons Hotels. Jeff is a graduate of Cornell's School of Hotel Administration with a concentration in hospitality management. He also received his Master of Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and is a graduate of Atlantic City High School. He resides in Linwood with his wife Angie and two sons, Carson and Zachary.
Tom Drake
Skylands Visitor Magazine
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Tom has decades of experience promoting northwest New Jersey and all it has to offer. In 1990 he founded the Skylands Visitor magazine in partnership with the Skylands Tourism Council to promote tourism in Northwest New Jersey. The tourism council is long dissolved, but the publication has survived primarily to the overwhelming support that has come from a wide range of brilliant writers and photographers. The magazine has since presented over 800 independently researched articles pertaining to recreation, culture and history in the region, most of which are available on the publication’s website, Tom resides in Columbia and is active with the Knowlton Township Historic Commission and township Planning Board.
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