County hosts 14th annual Irish heritage celebration

Photo Courtesy of Essex County
From left are PSE&G President and COO David Daly with a Special Recognition Award, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVinvenzo Jr., Greater Newark Conservancy Executive Director Robin Dougherty as the 2018 Essex County Irishwoman of the Year, and Essex County Freeholder President Brendan Gill as the 2018 Essex County Irishman of the Year.

NEWARK, NJ — At the 14th annual Essex County Irish Heritage Celebration on Monday, March 26, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. recognized Essex County Freeholder President Brendan Gill as the 2018 Essex County Irishman of the Year and Robin Dougherty, executive director of the Greater Newark Conservancy, as the 2018 Essex County Irishwoman of the Year. In addition, a Special Recognition Award was presented to David Daly, president and chief operating officer of PSE&G. The Irish heritage event recognizes the impact Irish men and women have had on the cultural, civic, political, law enforcement and economic history of the county.

“I have always said that the strength of Essex County lies in the diversity of the people living and working within our borders. This diversity stems throughout every corner of the county, and highlighting the contributions that each ethnicity has had on our economy, culture and history are part of what creates our sense of community,” DiVincenzo said. “Brendan Gill, Robin Dougherty and David Daly have helped shape the quality of life in our county and the state through their government and civic work. We are proud to recognize their accomplishments and the positive impact they have had.”

Gill was first elected as a freeholder in 2011, becoming vice president in 2015 and president this year. He most recently managed New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s 2017 election campaign and has previously served as a senior aide and campaign manager for U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, state director for U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg from 2007 until his death in 2013, district director for U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell and Steve Rothman, and communications director for the New Jersey Department of Transportation. Gill chairs the Montclair Democratic Committee and is a former member of the Montclair Planning Board. He currently operates his own public affairs and political consulting firm.

“I have received recognition in other municipalities and from around the state, but to be honored by your home county gives me a feeling like no other,” Gill said.

Dougherty joined the Greater Newark Conservancy as senior program director in January 1999 and was promoted to executive director in May 2000. She has more than 20 years of experience in education, fundraising, management and programmatic development. She leads the effort to complete construction of the Judith L. Shipley Urban Environmental Center, which surrounds the former Oheb Shalom Synagogue on Prince Street in Newark. A former educator, Dougherty developed a curriculum and program for a residential school for special needs children. Furthermore, she is a founding member and two-term president of the board of trustees for the Environmental Fund for New Jersey, now DBA EarthShare New Jersey. For the past 30 years, she has been actively involved in advocacy for environmental and social issues.

“Although I was not born here, Essex County has become my home and there is no other place I’d rather be,” Dougherty said.