Pete Earley is a storyteller who has penned 13 books including the New York Times bestseller The Hot House and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize finalist Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness.
After a 14-year career in journalism, including six years at The Washington Post, Pete became a full-time author with a commitment to expose the stories that entertain and surprise.
His honest reporting and compelling writing helped him garner success as one of few authors with “the power to introduce new ideas and give them currency,” according to Washingtonian magazine.
When Pete’s life was turned upside down by the events recounted in his book Crazy, he joined the National Alliance on Mental Illness to advocate for strong mental health reform on the public stage.
This new advocacy has taken him to 48 different states and multiple countries around the globe where he delivers speeches to rally against the troubled mental health systems and for the mentally ill.
Charles A. Richman
NJ Department of Community Affairs (DCA)
Charles A. Richman has worked at the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) for 29 years and has more than 40 years of experience in New Jersey state government.
Prior to joining the DCA in 1986, Acting Commissioner Richman served as Executive Director of the NJ State Energy Office, Assistant Commissioner and then Acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Energy. He was named Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs in 1986 and was promoted to Deputy Commissioner in 2005. He has held the title of Acting Commissioner at DCA three times, most recently from July 2009 to February 2010.
Throughout his DCA career, Mr. Richman has spearheaded effective policy development in areas ranging from affordable housing, fire safety, community planning and economic revitalization to budget development. He has been responsible for regulatory reform in a variety of building and housing codes, evaluations of municipal operations; formulation of legislative strategies; preparation of department budgets and priorities; contract management; and supervision of operating divisions.
Over the years he has also represented the Department on a number of prominent boards and commissions, including the Council on Affordable Housing; Casino Reinvestment Development Authority; the State Planning Commission, the NJ Historic Trust; and the Asbury Park Housing Authority among others.
In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, he helped lead efforts in providing Sandy-displaced families with housing options and in administering federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds to assist homeowners, renters and local governments in their Sandy recovery and rebuilding efforts.
Anthony L. Marchetta
New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA)
Anthony L. Marchetta became the Executive Director of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency in 2010 and has over 35 years of professional planning and development experience in the public and private sector. Under his tenure, the agency created new revenue generating programs, updated and reprioritized the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Qualified Allocation Plan, and implemented cost control measures and distressed asset management that are evident in improved Agency financial ratings and outlooks. Prior to joining the agency, Mr. Marchetta was vice president of LCOR Inc., where he developed multifamily and mixed-use projects within the Mid-Atlantic region. Most notably, he managed the development of Gaslight Commons, a 200-unit luxury rental project in the Transit Village of South Orange, NJ. This project won the first New Jersey Future Smart Growth Award in 2002. He also led the effort that resulted in LCOR's designation as the Master Redeveloper of the New Jersey Transit Hoboken Terminal and Yard project. Mr. Marchetta has also worked with other major developers such Matrix Development Group and Baker Residential Inc. In 2012, the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy of Rutgers University named him the Alum of the Year. Governor Whitman appointed Mr. Marchetta to serve on the New Jersey State Planning Commission in 1998. Some of his many affiliations include the Regional Plan Association (RPA), The Urban Land Institute, and The National Association of Industrial and Office Parks (NAIOP). He received his undergraduate degree from Rutgers College, and two Master's degrees, one in City and Regional Planning and the other in Business Administration from Rutgers University.
Chief Executive Officer
New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA)
Melissa Orsen was appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) in February 2015. The EDA is an independent State agency responsible for providing financing to small and mid-sized businesses, administering tax incentives to retain and grow jobs, revitalizing communities through redevelopment initiatives, and supporting entrepreneurial development by providing access to training and mentoring programs.
Ms. Orsen most recently served as the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), where she oversaw a budget of more than $3.8 billion and a workforce of approximately 400 employees. Prior to becoming Deputy Commissioner, she served as Chief of Staff to Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, where she was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Lieutenant Governor's office and the New Jersey Department of State. Her work was focused on coordinating and implementing statewide economic growth and job creation strategies.
Ms. Orsen joined the Lieutenant Governor's staff in March 2012 from DCA, where she served in several key roles, including Chief of Staff to the Department and Chief Counsel for the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing. Earlier in her professional career, she was a Deputy Attorney General for the State of New Jersey.
Ms. Orsen earned her Juris Doctor from Widener University School of Law and her Bachelor's Degree from the University of Delaware.
More speakers and bios coming soon!