John E. McCormac began his career in public service in 1992 when he was appointed Chief Financial Officer for the Township of Woodbridge. While there Mr. McCormac used his background as a CPA (with an MBA in Finance) to help attract many warehouse projects to Woodbridge - including a 500,000 square foot facility for RPS (later FedEx) - which was the company’s largest building east of the Mississippi River and which was expanded upon four additional times. Wakefern and GreDel followed with major distribution facilities and the Township attracted numerous retail, office and other development projects. While CFO, Mr. McCormac oversaw the development of the Woodbridge Community Center (WCC), the crown jewel of the Township with an ice rink, roller rink, track, gymnasium, pool and wellness center which was expanded later to include batting cages and a miniature golf course.
In 2002, Mr. McCormac was named Treasurer of the State of New Jersey where he served a full four-year term until January of 2006. As Treasurer, Mr. McCormac was responsible for a $25 billion annual budget, $80 billion in pension investments, several multi-billion dollar debt issuances, individual and corporate income tax policies and over 3,000 employees. While Treasurer, Mr. McCormac continued his economic development interests by working with Verizon, Citigroup, Sanofi Aventis, Pfizer, Towers Perrin and other major international companies to locate or expand in the State of New Jersey and he worked intimately with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and its then Executive Director - Caren Franzini - on these projects to bring thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in ratables to New Jersey. Mr. McCormac is truly humbled to accept an award named in honor of a person he worked so closely with and for whom he had a great deal of respect.
Mr. McCormac was elected Mayor of Woodbridge on November 7, 2006 for a one-year term and was re-elected to four-year terms in 2007, 2011 and 2015. Woodbridge is the sixth-largest municipality in New Jersey with an annual budget of $180 million and over 1,200 employees. The Township quickly adopted a business-friendly environment and attracted nearly three million square feet of warehouse space by Prologis, two Amazon distribution facilities, a Preferred Freezer warehouse, a manufacturing facility for Arizona Iced Tea, and a nearly $1 billion investment by Competitive Power Ventures in a combined cycle natural gas power plant which also enhanced over 100 acres of wetlands into a recreation area with access to the Raritan River. PSEG is nearing completion of another power plant and CPV is taking steps to build the Township’s third plant next to the original plant. Under Mayor McCormac’s leadership the Township aggressively pursues these projects by taking advantage of Payment in Lieu of Taxes and other financial incentive agreements and in most cases contaminated brownfield sites were cleaned up.
Woodbridge recently attracted a 500-unit luxury housing complex with a performing arts center next to its Avenel train station and has approved similar developments around its MetroPark train station. Efforts are underway to attract similar projects near the downtown Woodbridge train station.
Perhaps most important, however, have been ‘Quality-of-Life’ initiatives which have benefitted the 100,000 residents of Woodbridge, including a crackdown on illegal housing and improper property maintenance; a $30 million investment in athletic facilities on school properties; an improved solid waste and recycling collection system that reduced manpower by 60 percent; expanded recreational opportunities for children, families and senior citizens; and an environmental record that resulted in being named the Sustainable Champion of the State of New Jersey eight times in the last nine years. Woodbridge is especially proud of its efforts with programs and housing for special needs children and adults and of its efforts to link victims of drug addiction and their families to proper treatment and counselling facilities. Mayor McCormac frequently refers to Woodbridge as “The Best Town Around.”
About the Award: Caren S. Franzini was one of New Jersey's greatest economic development advocates, evidenced by her incredibly effective leadership of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, and her work with Greater Trenton. In 2017, NAIOP New Jersey established the Caren S. Franzini Public Partner Award, to be presented in her memory and to honor local champions of development that inspires and transforms our communities.
All inquiries about the Gala and membership status should be directed to Bonnie Sovinee (732-729-9900).