Ex-government official takes on new role in South Jersey with architecture, engineering firm

Joshua Burd//August 2, 2016//

Ex-government official takes on new role in South Jersey with architecture, engineering firm

Joshua Burd//August 2, 2016//

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After more than 20 years in state and municipal government, Marge DellaVecchia turned to the county level in 2010, when she was hired as the deputy administrator in Camden County.That gave her a front row seat to the foundation that was laid in the county seat — giving way to the “real, live Camden expansion” and the development surge that’s now taking place there.

“It’s for real,” DellaVecchia said. “That was a project I worked on for six and a half years while I was in county government — we set the table and Camden is absolutely moving forward, and it’s moving forward respectfully and in a very strong way.”

The development boom in and around Camden is just one piece of the opportunity she sees in her newest role. Last month, DellaVecchia joined the Cherry Hill office of the architecture and engineering firm Paulus, Sokolowski and Sartor, or PS&S, where she will serve as a senior director and help boost its already growing presence in South Jersey.

“They have been in the region for quite some time,” DellaVecchia said, “and I think they are a hidden jewel because, when I tell people about PS&S, they’re not quite as well known in the southern area of the state and in our region as I think we should be.”

The Warren-based engineering firm has been growing in South Jersey since opening an office there in 2012. It currently has about 17 professionals there — including architects, engineers and environmental and surveying teams — and DellaVecchia said she is looking to grow that headcount immediately to around two dozen.

She will lead that effort after a distinguished career in the public sector. DellaVecchia’s resume includes about six years as executive director of the state Housing Mortgage and Finance Agency, followed by four years as deputy Camden County administrator and then a move to deputy director of the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority.

In southern New Jersey, she also sees opportunity for PS&S in the growing health care and higher education markets and in the public sector.

“Marge has decades of experience in southern New Jersey, working with both private companies and state and local governments,” John Sartor, CEO of the firm, said prepared statement. “Her knowledge of the area’s business climate and the respect she has from both the public and private sectors will greatly add to PS&S’s growing presence in the entire region.”

DellaVecchia, a city planner by trade, has been working closely with the engineering profession since the start of her career. After starting as a construction project coordinator at Bally’s Park Place and the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City, she was hired in 1989 as a project administrator in Cherry Hill.

The job came as the township was experiencing growth in both development and infrastructure, namely around the Route 70 corridor. She quickly found it to be a perfect fit, she said, as the town needed someone who could communicate those plans to local residents.

“Luckily for me, I was able to get a little bit of a background in engineering,” DellaVecchia said. “I couldn’t do all of the calculations for you, but I could translate it pretty well into what the improvements were going to be and how we were going to get there.”

She then rose to become director of the township’s engineering department before entering state government in 2002, first as chief of staff in the Department of Community Affairs and then as executive director of the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. She feels the latter post was helpful in building her network of developers and professionals, but also important on another level.

“That was also an extremely valuable and fulfilling part of my career,” DellaVecchia said. “There’s something really fantastic about helping people to find a home and find safe and decent housing that was really, really worthy.”

The move to PS&S allows her to stay involved with work she saw taking place during six years of working for Camden County. And she joins a Cherry Hill office that already had been trying to build its footprint in key sectors in South Jersey.

For instance, the firm last year hired the team of Charles Clauser, Harry Wright and Stephen Sgro, who specialize in providing architectural and interior design, project planning and graphics and rendering services, with a concentration in the health care sector.

The industry is part a broader wave of business growth in the Camden County area, fueled in part by infrastructure improvements. All that makes PS&S a good match for the region, DellaVecchia said, and she believes she can help take the Cherry Hill office to new heights.

“Having been in government for 27 years, I know what government is looking for, I know what the client wants and I know what they need, so sometimes that new eye is a real benefit,” she said. “I think that’s one of the benefits to the firm and a way that we can add value and make sure that we’re doing what our public clients need.”