Our Team

Margaret (Peggy) Brennan-Tonetta
Associate Vice President for Economic Development

Email:  mbrennan@rutgers.edu
Phone:  848-932-3776

Margaret (Peggy) Brennan-Tonetta, Ph.D is responsible for the development and implementation of new university wide economic development initiatives.  In this role, she provides administrative leadership for the Rutgers Discovery Informatics Institute (RDI2), the Rutgers University Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Strategic Planning effort and the New Jersey Big Data Alliance, among other responsibilities. She also has administrative responsibility for the Rutgers EcoComplex, an award-winning alternative energy innovation center and the Rutgers Food Innovation Center, in which she led the development, organization, and strategic direction of this internationally recognized food business accelerator.   

Margaret also led the development of the Rutgers' Corporate Engagement Plan and the Innovation Park@Rutgers Strategic Plan. She represents Rutgers on the Association for Public and Land Grant Universities Council on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity and the CIC U-Metrics Committee.  Margaret is an economist with expertise in economic development strategies, energy economics, and industrial organization. She holds a BS in Economics, MS in Agricultural Economics and PhD in Planning and Public Policy, all from Rutgers University.


Lori Dars
Associate Director of Economic Development 

Email:  lori.dars@rutgers.edu
Phone:  (848) 932-4481

Lori Dars provides leadership and support for programs and resources that facilitate collaborations between the University, industry, and government and is an essential member of development team for Innovation Park at Rutgers.  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 both corporate communications and marketing, 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.


Jessica Paolini
Assistant Director of Economic Development

Email:  jessica.paolini@rutgers.edu
Phone:  (848) 932-3555

Jessica Paolini joined the Office of Economic Development in 2016. She will be a key member of the development team for Innovation Park at Rutgers, with a focus on international partnerships and business attraction. 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 trips to locations including Mexico, England, and Israel.

Jessica is the Chair of the Young Professionals Advisory Committee for the International Economic Development Council. She develops programs and resources to support young economic development professionals, and strategies to attract students to a career  in economic development. Jessica holds BA degrees in Environmental Studies and Political Science from East Stroudsburg University and an MA in Political Science from Villanova University.


Laura Readie
Program Coordinator

Email:  Laura.readie@rutgers.edu
Phone:  (848) 445-8414

Laura Readie is Program Coordinator for the Office of Economic Development and Rutgers Discovery Informatics Institute (RDI2). She has been a part of the team since April 2015, where she started out as a temporary employee. In September 2015, Laura came on board full time, bringing with her 20 plus years of administrative experience.  She has a passion for supporting OED & RDI2's staff, faculty, researchers, and students.  Her office is located on Busch Campus in the CoRE Building, room #626.


Sandy Bullard
Business Manager

Email:  sandy.bullard@rutgers.edu

Sandy Bullard joined the Office of Economic Development in 2013 after working in the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development and the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences. She has a background in administration, as well as grant and budget management. Sandy develops, implements and monitors the operating budgets for the Office of Economic Development and it's reporting centers, which currently include the Rutgers Discovery Informatics Institute, and also prepares and analyses monthly financial statements for the Associate Vice President, Directors, and PIs.   In addition to her budgetary responsibilities, she oversees all external grants, contracts and Human Resources recordkeeping for the Office and it's reporting centers. Finally, she is responsible for the planning and implementation of fiscal and administrative policies and procedures.