The Hoboken Business Alliance (HBA) announced its new leadership team headed by Steven Welliver as executive director and Natalie Chape as district manager effective Monday, Nov. 15.
Welliver is relocating to Hoboken from Los Angeles, where he has worked for the Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. business improvement district since 2013, most recently serving as deputy chief executive. Welliver brings extensive experience leading economic growth and development activities that include re-visioning commercial areas, creating successful attractions and events, partnering with community stakeholders on capital investments and advocating for business-supportive legislation.
“Hoboken’s strong sense of community and unique mix of urban character with small town charm makes an incredible foundation for growth,” said Welliver. “I am excited to partner with Hoboken’s commercial property and business owners and community leaders to help revitalize Hoboken’s local economy.”
Welliver takes the management reigns at HBA from Stuart Kopperweis who, through his firm Economic Development Strategists, helped establish the HBA and manage it during its first two years in operation.
Chape started her work consulting for the HBA in 2018 with Economic Development Strategists. She was instrumental in the HBA’s formation process, which led to its inception in 2020. She has provided district management services to the HBA ever since.
At its core, the HBA’s goal is to bring more people to live, work, shop, dine and visit Hoboken. Today, at 1,300 members strong, its mission is “to energize and enhance Hoboken’s business environment and to maximize consumer engagement through collaborative alliances with businesses, government and community to create a place where small businesses desire to be and thrive.”
“The HBA was founded on the basic principles of creating organized advocacy for our local commercial property and business owners, and to invest in and grow Hoboken’s economy,” said Gregory Dell’Aquila, CEO of JDA Group and president of the board for the HBA. “After two successful, foundational years putting the building blocks in place and supporting our businesses through the challenges of operating during a pandemic, bringing Steven and Natalie on board now puts us on a path for great successes.”
The HBA hired Cleveland-based executive recruiting firm Waverly Partners in the Spring of 2021 to conduct a nationwide search for an executive director. Waverly is a leading search firm for top positions in the areas of Economic Development Organizations and Chambers of Commerce, and is the only firm to receive the distinction as preferred provider of executive search services to the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.
“We wanted to find the best person who would bring the right experience and energy to take Hoboken’s local economy to the next level,” said Hoboken Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, HBA founding board member and chair of the search committee. “Steven stood out from the crowd of experienced candidates that Waverly sourced; he brings the exact experience Hoboken needs. I am thrilled for what the HBA’s next chapter will be under Steven’s direction.”
Welliver received dual Master’s Degrees in Urban Planning and Public Administration from the University of Southern California, where he was a City Management Fellow and focused his studies on local governance and economic development. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri.
A member of the American Planning Association (APA), he is a past president of the California Downtown Association and is highly involved in the International Downtown Association (IDA). In 2017, he was honored to be selected for an Emerging Leaders Fellowship by IDA. In 2021, he became a Certified Leader in Place Management, the professional credential awarded by IDA to leaders with demonstrated expertise in improvement district management.
Dell’Aquila noted that the HBA board of directors wishes to thank Kopperweis for all he has done for the organization. “We would not be here today were it not for Stuart’s efforts,” he said. “We thank him for helping us establish Hoboken’s first Special Improvement District, for navigating our first year of operations during a pandemic, and always pushing to provide real support to our local businesses during one of the most difficult periods. We owe a lot of gratitude to Stuart and wish him the best in all that lies ahead for him.”
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