A new law renaming the state Economic Development Authority headquarters the “Caren Franzini Memorial Building” is a fitting tribute to the businesswoman who led EDA for nearly two decades and was renowned for her significant contributions toward improving the state’s business climate, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association said today.
“I can think of no better way to honor her legacy,” said NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka. “Caren’s leadership at EDA made a lasting impact, and the State of New Jersey is a better place because of her vision and leadership.”
The legislation to rename the EDA building at 36 West State St. in honor of Franzini, (A. 4713, Burzichelli, D-3, /Prieto, D-32), was signed into law today by Gov. Chris Christie.
While at EDA, Franzini worked closely with seven governors from 1994 to 2012 to promote entrepreneurial development and economic growth. Franzini had a large role in the resurgence of the cities of Camden, Trenton, and Newark and spearheaded efforts that produced a renewed state focus on the needs of small businesses and entrepreneurs.
After her tenure at EDA, Ms. Franzini started her own business, Franzini Consulting, LLC, and joined NJBIA’s Board of Trustees, on which she served until her death Jan. 25.
“Throughout the nearly 20 years I knew Caren, I found her to be a warm, caring person who took her responsibilities on behalf of business very seriously,” Siekerka said. “She was a tireless cheerleader for small business, and her advice as a member of NJBIA’s board was invaluable.”
Ms. Franzini graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in urban studies and gained a business degree from the Wharton School at Penn. Following a stint at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, she began working in Trenton as an assistant state treasurer under Gov. Thomas H. Kean. She joined EDA as its deputy director in 1991 and became the agency’s CEO three years later.
“Caren’s commitment to New Jersey business was unwavering and this new law renaming EDA’s headquarters in her honor will ensure that commitment will be forever remembered,” Siekerka said.