Opening Session, Keynote Speakers & Awards

Tuesday, June 1, 12:00PM – 1:30PM


Debra Kagan – Executive Director, New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition

Debra is an experienced leader and advocate in areas of active transportation, bicycle and pedestrian safety, and access to natural spaces. She currently serves as Executive Director of the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition and leads advocacy and community outreach for the proposed Essex-Hudson Greenway project. She comes to the Executive Director position after serving as Director of Programs for NJBWC, where her role included producing the 2020 NJ Bike & Walk Summit. Until recently, she served as President of Bike & Walk Montclair, where she expanded the board and volunteer base and led a renewed focus on advocacy for the Montclair Streets are For Everyone (SAFE) Plan, as well as collaborating with business owners and community organizations to produce local based projects, including the iconic Tour De Montclair, and the parklet project, “The Porch on Walnut”. She currently serves as a member of the Bike & Walk Montclair Board and the Montclair Pedestrian Advisory Committee.


Brendan Gill – Essex County Commissioner, New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition Board of Directors Member

Brendan W. Gill of Montclair was first elected District 5 Commissioner in 2011 and Commissioner At-Large in 2014. He is now serving his fourth term. He was appointed Commissioner Vice President in 2015 and Commissioner President since 2018. He was sworn-in as President of the New Jersey Association of Counties (NJAC) in 2019. He is a life-long resident of Essex County, attended Montclair Public Schools, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Seton Hall University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. Commissioner Gill most recently managed New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s 2017 election campaign and served as a Senior Aide and Campaign Manager for U.S. Senator Cory Booker. He served as State Director for U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg from 2007 until his passing in 2013. Previously, he was District Director for U.S. Congressmen Bill Pascrell and Steve Rothman and Communications Director for the New Jersey Department of Transportation. Commissioner Gill chairs the Democratic Committee of Montclair where he previously served on the Planning Board and currently operates his own public affairs and political consulting firm, The BGill Group, LLC. He is an active member of his community and has been recognized for his leadership and public service. In 2017, he was named to the NJBIZ Power 100 list and named Political Operative of the Year for 2016 and 2017 by Insider NJ. In 2014 and 2015, he was named New Jersey’s Most Powerful Elected Official by PolitickerNJ. Commissioner Gill resides in Montclair with his wife and two young children.

Keynote Speakers

Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver

Lieutenant Governor Oliver is a self-described “Jersey Girl,” born and raised in an ethnically diverse Newark neighborhood. Lieutenant Governor Oliver was inspired as a young girl to be a fighter for the voiceless when her eyes were opened to societal injustices and inequities around her, often citing “A Tale of Two Cities” as her youth awakening. She has since pioneered a successful career in public service advocating for social justice, women’s equality, and education, ultimately becoming the first woman of color to serve in a statewide elected office in New Jersey history.

In addition to her role as Lieutenant Governor, she serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, where she has led efforts to strengthen and expand initiatives for fair and affordable housing, community revitalization, homelessness prevention, and local government services that support New Jersey’s 565 municipalities.

A trailblazer in every sense of the word, in 2010 she became the first African-American woman in state history to serve as Assembly Speaker, and just the second in the nation’s history to lead a state legislative house. A proud alumna of the Newark public school system, Lieutenant Governor Oliver graduated cum laude from Lincoln University, and received her Master of Science Degree in Community Organization, Planning and Administration from Columbia University.

She is a proud 40-plus-year resident of East Orange, New Jersey where she treasures her time with her 93-year-old mother, who has always encouraged her to be a critical thinker while fostering her passion for helping people through effective public policy.

In her keynote speech, the Lt. Governor addresses the importance of shifting our focus to designing “complete streets” that are safe for all bikers and walkers of all ages, abilities, and income levels. She shares the many DCA services and programs available to municipalities to build safer, stronger, and more bike/ped-friendly communities.

U.S. Representative Mikie Sherrill

Rep. Mikie Sherrill graduated from the Naval Academy and served in the Navy for almost 10 years as a Sea King helicopter pilot and Russian policy officer. She went on to attend Georgetown University Law School and serve as a federal prosecutor at the US Attorney’s Office in Newark, NJ. Sherrill was first elected to the House in 2018. She serves on the House Armed Services; Science, Space and Technology; and Education and Labor Committees. She is the mother of four children.

Rep. Sherrill proudly owns the title of the “tunnel-obsessed Congresswoman” due to her tireless advocacy for infrastructure investments crucial to Northern New Jersey and the entire country like the Gateway Tunnel Project. In May 2020, Sherrill helped secure $91 million in funding for the Portal Bridge portion of the project through the Federal Railroad Administration and $248 million in August through the Capital Investment Program. Rep. Sherrill has also fought for initiatives to combat the climate crisis, expand renewable energy initiatives like wind power in New Jersey, and increase resiliency in our communities. Additionally, in her time in Congress, Rep. Sherrill has positioned herself as a leading voice on national security issues, veterans issues, tackling sexual assault in the military, instituting common-sense gun safety legislation, and addressing the harmful SALT deduction cap.

In her address, Rep. Sherrill will focus on the importance of prioritizing these investments to reimagine how our communities can work better for all people and ensure we’re paving the way for the future in a sustainable manner.

In her address, Rep. Sherrill will focus on the importance of prioritizing these investments to reimagine how our communities can work better for all people and ensure we’re paving the way for the future in a sustainable manner.

Presentation of the Marty Epstein Advocate of the Year Award

Marty Epstein was New Jersey’s advocate for safe roads for bike riders for more than 40 years. He was a former NJBWC board member, the owner of Marty’s Reliable Cycle Shops in Morristown, Hackettstown and Randolph and founder of the Garden State Fondo. Marty was awarded the NJBWC Advocate of the Year Award in February 2019 and passed away in May of that year. His efforts inspired thousands of people to take up the sport and activity of cycling, and to work for safer riding conditions.


Steven Fulop, Mayor of Jersey City

Cyndi Steiner, NJBWC Advisory Board Member and Former Executive Director

Princeton Pedestrian & Bicycle Advisory Committee

Trenton Cycling Revolution