Margaret (Peggy) Brennan-Tonetta
Director, Office of Administration and Strategic Development
Senior Associate Director, NJAES
Executive Director, Economic Development and Innovation
Peggy Brennan-Tonetta, Ph.D is Executive Director for Economic Development and Innovation at Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. Peggy is responsible for the leadership and strategic direction of broad based NJAES and university economic development initiatives, such as the Rutgers Food Innovation Center in which she led the development, organization, and strategic direction of this internationally recognized food business incubator, the Rutgers EcoComplex, an award-winning clean energy innovation center and supported the establishment of the Rutgers Discovery Informatics Institute (home of the most powerful supercomputer in the region). She led the creation of and is currently President of the New Jersey Big Data Alliance, an unprecedented partnership of New Jersey’s higher education institutions focused on advancing computing innovation and education.
Peggy led Rutgers involvement in the Big Ten Academic Alliance metrics program, IRIS. She is also responsible facilitating university-government-industry engagement and support. She serves on numerous boards including Choose New Jersey, Einstein’s Alley, and New Brunswick Tomorrow. Peggy is an economist with expertise in economic development strategies, impact assessment and bioenergy economics and policy. She received a B.S. in Economics, M.S. in Agricultural Economics and a Ph.D. in Public Policy all from Rutgers.
Associate Director, Economic Development and Innovation
Phone: (848) 932-4481
Lori Dars provides leadership and support for programs and resources that facilitate collaborations between the University, industry, and government. She is the Director of Rutgers NSF-funded I-Corp Site and is the founder and organizer of Rutgers Entrepreneurship Coalition. She works with stakeholder groups and regional networks.to identify programs that can build on current capabilities and resources to further develop entrepreneurship programs throughout the University, local community, and state.
Previously, she was a member of the Technology Commercialization Office as part of the New Ventures & Entrepreneurship team, providing guidance to faculty, staff and student entrepreneurs on funding programs and resources to encourage start-up company activity at Rutgers. She assisted internal groups and state organizations in growing Rutgers entrepreneurship ecosystem and was the marketing lead for numerous events and activities related to entrepreneurship at the university. Prior to joining Rutgers, Lori worked in various industry positions in marketing and corporate communications, overseeing activities for a variety of products and services. She holds a BA in Communications from the University of Delaware and an M.B.A. from Rutgers University.
Assistant Director, Economic Development and Innovation
Phone: (848) 932-3555
Jessica Paolini joined the Office of Economic Development and Innovation in 2016. She manages the office’s International Business Attraction program. She currently serves as a Vice President of the New Jersey Big Data Alliance, responsible for developing programs to enhance industry engagement, including an annual data sciences career fair and workforce forum. Previously, she was the Economic Development Manager for Choose New Jersey. In this role, Jessica supported domestic and international businesses in establishing or expanding operations in New Jersey. She specialized in global markets, having organized and participated in business attraction missions to Mexico, England, and Israel, among other locations.
Jessica is a member of the International Advisory Committee for the International Economic Development Council and is a past chair of the Young Professionals Advisory Committee. Jessica received an MA in Political Science from Villanova University and earned BA degrees in Environmental Studies and Political Science at East Stroudsburg University. Jessica is currently pursuing a PhD in Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.