Melissa Orsen Appointed CEO of the EDA
(Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen) Feb. 26th, 2015
The Board of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) today voted to approve Melissa Orsen as the authority’s next chief executive officer.
“Melissa is a highly regarded professional with a deep knowledge of our economic development efforts,” said Governor Chris Christie. “She will be a great asset to the EDA as it continues its work to create jobs and advance business growth in the state.”
With over 15 years of experience in the public sector, Ms. Orsen will bring considerable knowledge and insight to the EDA. Ms. Orsen is currently deputy commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), where she oversees a budget of more than $3.8 billion and a workforce of approximately 400 employees. In this capacity, Orsen’s duties and responsibilities were wide-ranging, including policy oversight, constituent relations, communications, and legal and procurement matters.
“Melissa’s background, education and work experience are varied and strong,” EDA Board Chairman Al Koeppe said. “She has a wide range of both experience-based and subject-matter knowledge and an established record of leadership that will serve the EDA well.”
Ms. Orsen previously served as chief of staff to Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, where her work focused on coordinating and implementing statewide economic growth and job creation strategies. During this time, she also served on the EDA Board as the Governor’s designee.
Ms. Orsen joined the Lieutenant Governor’s staff in March 2012 from DCA, where she held several key roles, including chief of staff and chief counsel for the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing within DCA. A graduate of the University of Delaware and Widener University School of Law, Ms. Orsen has also served as a deputy attorney general for the state.
In her role as CEO, Ms. Orsen will oversee the EDA’s strategic direction, leading policy and governance initiatives. She will join the authority on March 9. Ms. Orsen replaces Michele Brown, who led the EDA since October 2012 and is now serving as president and chief executive officer of Choose New Jersey, Inc., a privately funded and operated organization that works to grow investment and jobs in the Garden State.
Timothy Lizura will continue to serve as president and chief operating officer, where he provides leadership of the EDA’s business operations, including the Authority’s incentive and financing program portfolio, real estate development, and financial and accounting matters.
The EDA is part of the state’s results-driven Partnership for Action. Created by Governor Christie and led by Lieutenant Governor Guadagno, the Partnership is the hub for all economic development activity in New Jersey and is comprised of four interconnected and highly focused organizational elements: Choose New Jersey, the Business Action Center, the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education and the EDA.