Steven Allard MCRP ’79 entered Rutgers’ urban planning graduate program in 1977. He noted that at that time, “Edward Bloustein was living in the house on the hill near the football stadium, the planning school was located on the Livingston campus, and the program was well-established but did not have the reputation it has today.”
While he had other choices, he says he was attracted to the Rutgers urban planning program because of the work being done by the faculty at the time, including Jim Hughes, Michael Greenberg, Susan Feinstein, and George Sternlieb.
“The coursework I did here, combined with the work I did at the Center for Urban Policy Research, let me hone my analytical skills and their application on a cross-disciplinary basis,’ he said.
His career and personal successes led to his selection as the Bloustein School Dean’s Medal of Merit award, the school’s highest honor, at the 2022 Bloustein School Alumni Awards. It recognizes lifetime achievement in an honoree’s chosen field as well as exceptional service to the school and to the community at large.
In 2012, Steve and his wife Mary Ann (Cook ’80) established the Mary Ann and Steven Allard Fellowship in Planning and Public Health at the Bloustein School. As Rutgers alumni who were admitted as nontraditional students, they sought to convey their appreciation of the opportunities afforded them by Rutgers as non-traditional students and to offer opportunities to outstanding student candidates who are similarly situated.
More recently, they endowed the Graduate Fellowship for Social and Environmental Justice to support students whose courses of study have an emphasis on applied topics of social and/or environmental justice.
Steve began his career in the public sector, with stints at the New York City Legislative Office of Budget Review and the New Jersey Department of Energy Office of Planning and Policy Analysis.
In 1984, he moved to the private sector to take a position with a start-up municipal bond company – the Financial Guaranty Insurance Company – working in the Utility and Transportation Group as an analyst. Over 12 years at FGIC, Steven went from analyst to director, participating in over $20 billion of municipal bond issuances for infrastructure projects for over 200 states, municipalities and regional authorities.
“My career path transitioning towards financial analysis was not typical for someone with a Master’s in City and Regional Planning. Not having an MBA on my resume was seen as a negative, but I was able to demonstrate that I was well-qualified to do the work required of me,” Steve said at the Bloustein School Alumni Awards Celebration in late October. “While I may not have had an in-depth knowledge of balance sheets and income statements when I started, I could digest all of the elements that went into my analysis – the legal structure, engineering reports, the governmental structure, and relevant economic and demographic factors that were the basis of the financial projections upon which the assessment was based.”
In 1996 he joined the Credit Assessment Group in the New York office of Société Générale (SocGen) as the Managing Director. In this role, he was responsible for the credit risk function in the Americas for a nascent public finance debt portfolio that grew to $15 billion during his tenure, as well as smaller investor-owned utilities, power and infrastructure project finance, energy commodities, metals and mining, and corporate healthcare portfolios. While at SocGen, Steven also developed and led a training program for junior analysts.
“The foundation I finished at Rutgers gave me a strong basis for a long, successful and satisfying career. On it, I was confident of my abilities and able to face the challenges I would confront,” he continued.
Since his retirement from SocGen in 2013, Steve has channeled his energy toward a number of civic activities in and around New Brunswick. He is a member of the New Brunswick Area Branch of the NAACP and also served as Treasurer. He was engaged by the Lost Souls Public Memorial Project, a local grassroots organization, helping achieve incorporation and 501©3 status, and currently also serves as Treasurer. At the Bloustein School, he also serves on the Ralph W. Voorhees Center for Civic Engagement Advisory Board, and on the Middlesex County Strategic Investment Framework Technical Advisory Committee associated with the Middlesex County Destination 2040 plan.
“I am happy that my success has allowed me to look back as I neared the end of my career and to say “thank you” to the school by providing a little help to the next generation of Bloustein students,” Steve concluded. “And now, in my retirement, I get to use those skills working with my family and friends, hoping to make this a little better place for everyone. As Teddy Roosevelt suggested, let’s go out now and do what we can, with what we have, where we are.”
Steve offered his gratitude to his family–wife Mary Ann and children Ben and Kate-and friends that provided support and camaraderie throughout the years. He also took a moment to thank several people at the Bloustein School who help him reconnect with the school: former Bloustein School Dean Jim Hughes; retired Assistant to the Dean, Marcia Hannigan; retired Director of Development Don Sutton and former Director of Development Jennifer Senick; and current Development Assistant Madison Welch. This group, he said, guided him and his wife on the path that led to the very satisfying relationship he has with the school today.