NJIT News Room

Looking for something?
Search Newsroom
RSS Feed

NJIT Board of Trustees Revamps and Elects First Woman Chair

The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) Board of Trustees has elected its first female chairperson, Kathleen Wielkopolski, Chester. Wielkopolski is executive vice president and chief financial strategy officer of the Gale Company, Florham Park. Serving as co-vice chair will be attorney James M. Burns, Middletown.  Burns, a specialist in management labor law, is a founding partner of the Livingston law firm, Genova, Burns & Vernoia.  Serving as the other co-vice chair of the board will be Stephen DePalma, chief executive officer and chairman of Schoor DePalma Inc, Manalapan, and an alumnus of NJIT.  Attending his first meeting this November as a member of the Board was civil engineer David J. Samuel, Sayreville, an NJIT alumnus and a managing partner in the engineering firm CME Associates, Parlin, who joined the board Oct. 25, 2004.

"It is a great privilege to welcome Kathleen, Jim, and Steve to their new positions on the Board and David as a new member of the NJIT Board of Trustees,” said Robert A. Altenkirch, PhD, president of NJIT.  “I look forward to working with the board in meeting the challenges of the present and striving to realize our vision for the future. Each of our trustees represents the highest ideals of service to our home community of Newark, the State of New Jersey and the nation. Their wealth of experience and breadth of perspective are invaluable to the continuing success of NJIT's mission in education, research and economic development." 

The NJIT Board of Trustees is the legal governing body of the university appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state senate.


Wielkopolski, who has served on the board since December of 1998, previously served as co-vice chair of the board and a member of its audit and finance committee. 

Wielkopolski succeeds James Kennedy, Bernardsville, the former chief executive officer of National Starch and Chemical Company, Bridgewater.  Kennedy joined the board in 1996 and served as chair from 2000-2004.

Wielkpolski has been with the Gale Company since 1995.  Her key contributions include establishing debt and equity relationships, evaluating real estate opportunities, overseeing strategic planning and directing financial resources of the company in addition to overseeing accounting, financial reporting, tax and audit coordination functions. Wielkopolski, who is married with three children, has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Burns joined the NJIT Board in December of 2003.  He received his juris doctorate from Notre Dame Law School and his bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from Seton Hall University.  Based in the New York-New Jersey region, Genova, Burns & Vernoia practices private sector labor relations matters on a state, regional and nationwide basis. Their litigation practice is in the federal and state courts throughout the State of New Jersey, New York City and lower New York State, including Long Island. The firm also handles matters of election law, corporate compliance and corporate and governmental ethics.


DePalma has focused his energy driving DePalma’s organizational development from a localized smaller firm grossing $17 million in 1993 to its current standing as a 12-office, multi-state firm grossing $80 million in 2003.  In 2004, Engineering News Record ranked Schoor DePalma number 61 in the “Top 100 Pure Design Firms in the U.S.”

DePalma brings to the multidiscipline engineering and design consulting firm more than 30 years of progressive experience in the phases of civil engineering and planning, including the administration and design of projects for government, industry and private clients.  He represents clients in all areas of consulting including concept planning, design, budget analysis, project management and construction management.

DePalma was appointed to serve on the board in December of 2003.  He previously served on the NJIT Board of Overseers.

Since 1993, Samuel has received 17 engineering awards from the New Jersey Society of Municipal Engineers.  The most recent awards in November noted his design of a new water treatment plant in Sayreville and another award for the recreation management project in South River.  Samuels also has received awards for the Kennedy Park Skate Park also in Sayreville, the birth of the village town center in North Plainsboro and the water system management project in Aberdeen. 

Samuel’s professional affiliations include the American Society of Civil Engineers, New Jersey Society of Civil Engineers, the New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers and seven others.