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CFP Staff


Anthony J. Perno III, Esq., CEO
Anthony Perno is the CEO of Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, a non-profit real estate development corporation based in Camden, NJ. Joining Cooper’s Ferry in 1999, Anthony developed and administered several major infrastructure initiatives throughout Camden, including the Interior Gateway Initiative, the extension of Wiggins Waterfront Promenade, and the Camden GreenWay. Other significant initiatives developed by Anthony included the historical rehabilitation of Johnson Park and the Camden Home Improvement Program (CHIP).

In 2005, Anthony was promoted to Vice-President and COO of Cooper’s Ferry, where he assisted in expanding the mission of the organization from a single purpose mixed-use development company focused on the development of the downtown waterfront into a city-wide economic and community development corporation. In 2009, the Board of Directors named Anthony the President & CEO to succeed Tom Corcoran, the founder of the organization. In his new role Anthony continued to lead the transformation of the company’s mission to include a focus on both community and downtown development as well as strategic programming.

In 2011 Anthony completed another major milestone for the company, when he along with Dave Foster completed the merger of Cooper’s Ferry Development Association, Inc. and the Greater Camden Partnership to create Cooper’s Ferry Partnership. The new corporation is focused on a city-wide development strategy that leverages Camden’s cultural, natural, and institutional anchors to create transformative change throughout the neighborhoods and downtown through a targeted development and civic programming strategy.

Recognizing the importance of community service, Anthony serves as a board member for the St. Joseph’s Carpenter Society and the Battleship New Jersey. Anthony was appointed in 2005 to the Camden County Open Space Commission. In 2011, Governor Chris Christie appointed Anthony to serve on the UMDNJ Advisory Committee to evaluate the medical education system in New Jersey. He is also the Assistant Director for both the Burlington and Camden County YMCA Model United Nations and New Jersey Youth & Government Programs. Anthony participated in both of these programs as a high school student and sees his continued involvement as an opportunity to give back to the next generation of leaders.

Admitted to the bars of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Anthony is a Truman Scholar who received a Law Degree from Rutgers University Camden Campus in 2005. He studied Economics and Political Science in the Honors program at The College of New Jersey and received a B.A. degree with Honors from the Political Science Department in 1998. He graduated valedictorian of Overbrook Regional High School in 1994.

A third generation New Jerseyan, Anthony grew up in the suburbs of Camden in the Borough of Lindenwold. In 2000 Anthony and his wife Jennifer moved to the City of Camden, where they lived in the Cooper Grant Neighborhood for the next six years. Today, Anthony and his wife Jennifer live in Merchantville with their sons A.J. and Nicholas, where he serves as a volunteer firefighter to the local Niagara Fire Department. In 2010, Anthony was re-elected to a three-year term on Merchantville’s Borough Council. During his term on Council, Anthony championed the adoption of the Abandoned Properties Act and supported investment in the Borough’s aging infrastructure.

Joseph Myers, Vice President & COO
Joseph graduated with a Bachelor of Political Science from the College of New Jersey in 1998 and from the University of Pennsylvania with a Master of Governmental Affairs and a Master of Political Science in 2000. Joe began working at CFP as a graduate intern in 1999, became a full-time project manager upon graduation in the spring of 2000, and was promoted to COO/VP in October of 2009 and tasked with overseeing the development and neighborhood operations in the office. Joe has dedicated his time working on several downtown projects, which include the Camden Children's Garden, new infrastructure around Adventure Aquarium, and the Aquarium Fountain Park. Joe works closely with the private sector on planning the build out of the remaining downtown waterfront and also in North Camden with Save Our Waterfront on park design and neighborhood planning. He serves on the board of CAMConnect and Heritage Collaborative as well as volunteering with Sacred Heart Athletics. He is also a graduate of Leadership NJ and the Rutgers University's Center for Strategic Urban Leadership Institute.


Meishka L. Mitchell, AICP, PP, Vice President of Neighborhood Initiatives
Meishka has established herself as a leader in the community, equally respected by government officials, community partners, city residents, and her peers. Drawing on her background as a Camden native, as well as her education and experience, she brings a keen and unique perspective to her work in community planning and neighborhood revitalization at Cooper’s Ferry Partnership. Meishka joined the CFP staff as a graduate intern in 2003 and took the helm as the Vice President of Neighborhood Initiatives in 2010. Meishka has played a key role in broadening CFP's mission to address planning and redevelopment efforts in Camden's neighborhoods, overseeing the development of plans and implementation of key neighborhood projects with a high level of community input and participation. Meishka has managed the implementation of numerous critical infrastructure and park improvement projects, and is instrumental in Camden’s innovative sustainability and placemaking initiatives. Meishka has a Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. Meishka is also certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners and maintains a Professional Planners license with the State of New Jersey. Meishka serves as a volunteer for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in Camden, is actively involved at First Nazarene Baptist Church, and is currently working towards a PhD in Public Affairs and Community Development at Rutgers University.

Shahid Rana, VP of Business Development

Shahid is a seasoned community development specialist with demonstrated experience in urban design, community planning, commercial corridor development and creative marketing and branding.

Before his role as VP of Business Development, Shahid served as a Project Manager in the Neighborhood Initiatives division at Cooper’s Ferry Partnership (CFP). His efforts with CFP have resulted in over $2.4 million in project funding secured and he managed a $17.3 million portfolio that included infrastructure improvements, neighborhood planning and development, and mixed-use development.

Shahid earned his Masters in Real Estate Development (MRED) from the University of Maryland's Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development. He also received a graduate certificate from Harvard's Graduate School of Design in Charrette Management. Shahid is also a proud alumnus of Morgan State University, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Environmental Design.

Caren Fishman, Executive Director, Camden Special Services District
Caren joined CFP in 2011 after retiring from the Camden County Parks Department where she worked for 35 years, serving as director since 2005. Her administrative background in grantsmanship, budget and finance, park design and grounds maintenance made for a seamless transition into CFP. Caren served as the Director of the CSSD from 2011-2014 and was promoted to Executive Director in 2015. Caren is responsible for complete management of the 501(c)(3) non-profit CSSD, which is a subsidiary of CFP. Her responsibilities include project, grant and proposal development, finance management, non-profit compliance and oversight of day-to-day CSSD operations. Caren works closely with the public and private sector stakeholders who support CSSD activities through contributions, grants and fee-for-service contracts. Caren Fishman holds a B.S. in Recreation and Leisure Services from Fairleigh Dickinson University, a M.Ed. in Public Recreation Administration from Temple University and certification as a Public Manager from Rutgers University.

Sarah Bryant, AICP, Director of Community Initiatives 
Sarah Bryant joined CFP as a project manager in early 2010 following graduation from the Master of City Planning program at the University of Pennsylvania. In her current capacity as senior project manager, Sarah manages a diverse portfolio of planning, infrastructure development, and placemaking projects and initiatives throughout Camden, guiding projects from inception to completion. Her projects include neighborhood plans, park rehabilitation and new construction, adaptive reuses of historic structures, streetscape transformations, and activation of vacant or underutilized open spaces.

Additionally, Sarah co-manages several of CFP’s collaborative sustainability initiatives, including the Camden SMART (Stormwater Management And Resource Training) Initiative, the City’s stormwater management initiative. She co-convenes the City of Camden Green Team, which in 2013 helped the City become one of only 28 Sustainable Jersey silver certified municipalities.

Sarah holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Boston University. She is certified with the American Institute of Certified Planners and is a member of the American Planning Association.

Valaria Galarza, Senior Project Manager

Val graduated from Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, New Brunswick where she earned a bachelor’s in Public Health. Following undergrad in 2002, she was selected for New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Latino Fellowship Institute which placed her as an intern at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation where she gained her initial exposure to the public health field. She later earned her Master’s in Health Education from St. Joseph’s University.

Rudisha Beattie, Project Manager
Rudisha joined Cooper’s Ferry Partnership(CFP) as an intern in 2015 and became a project manager in 2016. She has earned a A.A.S. in Architectural and Civil Engineering Technology from the Pennsylvania Institute of Technology. Along with a B.S. in Planning from Rowan University. Prior to coming to CFP, Rudisha interned at Woodbury Economic Development Department performing research on the water systems within Woodbury to determine the probability of viable economic investments in the City of Woodbury. At CFP, she works on the Camden Greenways Website Development, Camden Business Façade Program, Camden Construction Careers Initiative (Residents Building Camden), Camden Colab, special events and other business development interests in the areas of programs, projects and policy.

Kathy Cullen, Project Manager
Kathy Cullen joined CFP in January 2012 as a graduate intern and became a full-time project manager in June 2012. She has a Master of Public Administration degree with a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Villanova University. She managed Residential POWER (Program Offering Widespread Energy Recovery) and the construction of Pyne Poynt Park in North Camden. Kathy is currently overseeing several projects throughout Camden, including the design and construction of active trails, infrastructure and streetscape improvements on Main Street, Cooper Street, 7th Street and River Road, neighborhood plans in East Camden and Cooper-Grant/Central Waterfront, and the preservation of the historic Benjamin Cooper House in North Camden. Kathy has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Boston College.

Caroline J. Gray, Project Manager
Caroline joined CFP as an intern in 2013. She became a full-time project manager upon receiving an undergraduate degree in Urban Studies from Rutgers-Camden University in the spring of 2015. Caroline is continuing her education by pursuing a Masters in Public Administration also from Rutgers-Camden. At CFP, she is working primarily on the Camden Collaborative Initiative, a solutions-oriented partnership between governmental, non-profit, private, and community-based agencies formed to plan and implement innovative strategies to improve the environment and the quality of life of Camden's residents (www.Camdencollaborative.com).

Enrique Rivera, Project Manager
Enrique joined Cooper’s Ferry in March of 2015. Enrique has a Bachelors in Geography and GIS from Rowan University and is currently finishing his Masters degree in Community and Regional Planning from Temple University. Enrique’s prior experience include working for private and non-proft planning firms, including Wallace, Roberts and Todd and PIDC. Enrique is currently working on the Connect the Lots Initiative, a community-driven initiative to activate Camden, New Jersey's vacant and underutilized spaces through the implementation of artistic, cultural, and recreational activities in these spaces to create safe and vibrant gathering places for the residents of the City of Camden at Cooper’s Ferry Partnership.

Allison Hawco, Project Manager,
Allison graduated from The College of New Jersey with a Business Management bachelor’s degree in May of 2016 while simultaneously starting her internship with CFP. In August 2016, she became a project manager in the Business Development department. Prior to CFP, Allison interned with the Delaware River Port Authority working in Strategic Initiatives department researching environmental policies and sustainability programs. Now with CFP, Allison works mainly with real estate and economic policies in the City of Camden. Allison also works closely with the CoLab, Camden’s first small business incubator and co-working space, providing technical support and assisting in small business capacity. 

Marilyn Santana-Martinez, Business Manager
Nakia Maxwell, Receptionist

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