Student and Alumni Spotlights

Susan R. Grogan, PP, AICP, MCRP ’88, Appointed Pinelands Commission Executive Director

Susan R. Grogan, PP, AICP, MCRP ’88 was unanimously appointed the New Jersey Pinelands Commission Executive Director on February 10, it was announced in a recent press release.

The Pinelands Commission is an independent state agency that is charged with protecting the natural, cultural, and historic resources of the 938,000-acre state Pinelands Area, which includes parts or all of 53 municipalities in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Ocean counties. The Commission’s Executive Director is responsible for the daily operations of the Commission and its staff of 41 planners, scientists, environmental reviewers, computer programmers, educators, and others.

“The Pinelands Commission has greatly benefitted from Sue’s exceptional leadership for the past 18 months,” said Commission Chair Laura E. Matos. “Her wealth of experience, extraordinary knowledge, and tremendous work ethic are only a few of the reasons we are thrilled to officially appoint her Executive Director.”

“As Executive Director of the Pinelands Commission, Susan Grogan will build upon her decadeslong record of achievement protecting our state’s most treasured natural assets,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “Under Susan’s leadership, I am confident that the Commission will continue to implement innovative and forward-looking strategies to preserve our natural resources across more than 900,000 acres of state land.”

“Sue has served as an invaluable member of the Pinelands senior staff for nearly 35 years,” stated Commissioner Ed Lloyd, who has worked with Ms. Grogan for over 20 years. “She is a respected advocate for Pinelands protection. Her dedication to Pinelands preservation is unparalleled. Appointing her as Executive Director is one of the most important actions that the Commission has taken in years.”

“For more than 40 years, the Pinelands Commission has worked to preserve, protect and enhance the significant natural and cultural resources of the Pinelands. I’ve been fortunate to be part of that effort for the past 34 years and am truly honored to be appointed today as Executive Director of this agency,” Ms. Grogan said. “I thank Chair Matos, Vice Chair Avery, all Commissioners, and the staff for their support. I look forward to a continued strong partnership between the Commission and staff, and to working together with the Governor, Legislature, and all of our partners in carrying out our important mission.”

The position of Executive Director of the Pinelands Commission became vacant on June 24, 2021, following the passing of Nancy Wittenberg. In according with the Pinelands Commission’s By-Laws, then-Chairman Richard Prickett designated Ms. Grogan as the Commission’s Acting Executive Director.

Ms. Grogan has worked at the Pinelands Commission since August 1988. She served as the Commission’s longtime Chief Planner and was promoted to the Director of Planning in 2020. In her capacity as Chief Planner, Ms. Grogan authored many amendments to the Comprehensive Management Plan, reviewed thousands of municipal ordinances and master plans to ensure conformance with Pinelands regulations, implemented the Pinelands Conservation Fund land acquisition program that has preserved nearly 9,000 acres to date and supervised Planning Office staff and a wide variety of projects. Ms. Grogan has also served as the Executive Director of the Pinelands Development Credit Bank since 2011.

Ms. Grogan advanced numerous initiatives during her tenure as the Commission’s Acting Executive Director, including:

  • The adoption of amendments to the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP) that will better protect Pinelands resources by requiring the use of green infrastructure and other more stringent standards to manage stormwater;
  • Proposing rule changes pertaining to water management and the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer;
  • Working to prepare the Commission for future rule changes aimed at addressing climate change;
  • Recruiting and hiring several staff members to fill vacant positions;
  • Providing invaluable guidance to longtime and new Commission members;
  • Securing funding to help refurbish the historic Fenwick Manor farmhouse;
  • Overseeing the implementation of office-wide policies pertaining to COVID-19; and
  • Furthering efforts to reduce the Commission’s carbon footprint at its headquarters.

Prior to joining the Commission, Ms. Grogan was the Assistant Land Use Coordinator for Burlington County’s Office of Economic Development, where she was responsible for implementing the county’s farmland preservation program, among other responsibilities.

Ms. Grogan holds a Master of City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University’s Bloustein School and a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Sociology from the College of William and Mary. She is a licensed New Jersey Professional Planner and a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.