The Old Masonic Temple on Barack Street, the site of Greater Trenton’s office, is also the home of the Trenton Visitors Center. — Photo by Mary Iuvone for Real Estate NJ
By Joshua Burd
Three new board members have joined Greater Trenton, the nonprofit organization aimed at guiding and spurring economic development in New Jersey’s capital city.
The incoming board appointees include:
- Mike Van Wagner, vice president of public affairs for NJM Insurance Group;
- Merodie A. Hancock, president of Thomas Edison State University;
- Wanda I. Saez, senior vice president and associate manager of corporate responsibility at Wells Fargo
“We’re thrilled to welcome to our board, Mike Van Wagner from NJM Insurance Group, Merodie A. Hancock from Thomas Edison State University and Wanda I. Saez from Wells Fargo,” Anthony “Skip” Cimino, Greater Trenton’s board chair, said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to their energy and wise counsel as we continue our efforts to help invigorate and revitalize New Jersey’s Capital City.”
The new board members fill the seats previously held by Bernie Flynn, the recently retired CEO of NJM; Dr. George Pruitt, former president of Thomas Edison State University; and Brenda Ross-Dulan, former Wells Fargo executive vice president and regional president for southern New Jersey. Flynn, Pruitt and Ross-Dulan are transitioning off the board but will remain active on various Greater Trenton committees.
The moves follow the recent board appointment of David Perry, vice president at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. Greater Trenton, founded in 2015, has drawn support from many of the region’s leading corporations and business groups.
“I am delighted and honored to join the board of Greater Trenton,” Van Wagner said. “Trenton has always had a special place in my heart and I’m looking forward to working with my fellow board members and the organization’s talented and passionate staff to help continue moving our Capital City forward.”
According to a news release, Van Wagner is a 35-year veteran of NJM and served as executive director of New Jersey’s Business Action Center from May 2012 to October 2013.
Hancock, meantime, joined Thomas Edison State University as president in March 2018. Previously, she was president of SUNY Empire State College, where she was responsible for the operation of the school’s 35 locations throughout New York, the worldwide Center for Distance Learning and eight international sites, including the teaching and learning of 20,000 students, employing 1,700 faculty and staff and active engagement with 70,000 alumni.
“I am honored to join the Greater Trenton board and excited to combine my personal interests in urban renewal with the strengths of the university as an anchor institution, to help stimulate economic growth in this historic city,” Hancock said.
Before joining Wells Fargo, Saez has had affiliations with financial institutions including JPMorgan Chase, Summit Bank and PNC Bank. She has held various positions in retail banking and sales management and has spent the last 14 years of her career involved in community development, economic development and the promotion and teaching of financial education.
“It’s an honor to serve on Greater Trenton’s Board, particularly as we all work to bolster economic development in Downtown Trenton,” Saez said. “I look forward to continuing my active community development role to facilitate essential opportunities that have a positive impact on Trenton communities.”