Who We Are

People Dedicated to Supporting our Parks

The Somerset County Park Foundation is a 501(c)(3) created to preserve, support, and promote Somerset County Park Commission programs, facilities, and open space through advocacy and fundraising. The Park Foundation is managed by a 12-member Board of Trustees including one member of the Board of Chosen Freeholders. Foundation funds are used to sponsor, underwrite, support, and promote park activities, and expansion of programs, improvement of facilities, and capital expenditures to enhance access to active and passive recreation opportunities.

Board of Trustees

 
John KitchenJohn K. Kitchen, Chairman

John brings 35 years of government and local experience to the Park Foundation. He was the mayor of Branchburg, Somerset County Freeholder, and Somerset County Park Commissioner. Uniquely, John also served as a senior staff member of the Park Commission, as the Deputy Director in charge of Golf Operations. John was an Incorporator and former Chairman of the Board of Somerset Valley Bank and is a Trustee and member of the 200 Club of Somerset County. John is a Vietnam veteran and former 1st Lieutenant in the United States Army Infantry. John has been a member of the Park Foundation since 2010, and the Chairman of the Pro/Celebrity Golf Tournament for the past ten years.

 

Jason Dameo, Vice Chairman - Dameo Trucking Bridgewater, NJ

Jason Dameo has been working side by side with his brothers and family members at Dameo Trucking Company, a 3rd generation family run business, for more than 25 years. He has been an active member of the Somerville Bridgewater Rotary Club of 20 years, as well as a Past President. Jason is also an active Board Member for the People Care Center, as well as a Past President. He also serves time on the Executive Board of the Regional Center Partnership and is the Chairman of the Action Committee for the 200 Club of Somerset County. Jason also follows in his Grandfather’s footsteps like the current President of the New Jersey Motor Trucking Association. In his free time, Jason enjoys teaching the value of teamwork as an F Licensed Soccer Coach and Level 1 Certified Lacrosse Coach. Jason also works at fostering these philanthropic and team values, alongside his wife of 20 years and his three children.

 

Charles B. Rosen, PMP, Treasurer Vice President – Solutions Delivery GalaxESolutions Consulting, Somerset NJ

Chuck has been a Foundation trustee since 2008 and is the Treasurer for the Foundation. He began his involvement with Somerset County Park Commission at Lord Stirling Stable in 1976 and over the years has served as President, Treasurer, and Trustee for the Friends of Lord Stirling Stable, a non-profit organization supporting the activities of the Somerset County Park Commission. He has served as a Board Member of the Greater Somerset County Chapter, American Red Cross and is Vice President – Programs and a Board Member of the Project Management Institute – New Jersey Chapter (PMI-NJ). A graduate of the Rutgers University School of Management, he stays connected to the Rutgers Equine Science Center and area equestrian and trail associations. Chuck is a certified Project Management Professional and program management consultant to commercial, government, and non-profit organization.

 
Geoffrey D. Soriano (ex-officio) Secretary-Director, Somerset County Park Commission

Geoff has served as Secretary-Director of the Somerset County Park Commission since May 2018. He is an attorney at law of the State of New Jersey having graduated from Brown University in 1986 and Seton Hall University School of Law in 1989. After a judicial clerkship with the Honorable Wilfred P. Diana, Geoff practiced law privately as a partner with Soriano & Soriano from 1990 to 2010. He was appointed and served as Prosecutor for the County of Somerset from 2010 to 2016 and thereafter served as an Assistant Attorney General with the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice until joining the Park Commission. Geoff, his wife Kathy and their twin son and daughter are avid “outdoors people” who very much enjoy the parks and facilities that Somerset County has to offer.

 

Raymond A. Brown, AICP/PP Trustee at Large, Somerset, NJ

Raymond served as Secretary-Director of the Somerset County Park Commission from 1993 through May 2018. He is a licensed NJ Professional Planner with an undergraduate degree from the University of Miami and a Master of Urban Planning degree from New York University. Ray has spent most of his professional career in the public sector having spent 16 years with the Somerset County Planning Board, followed by eight years as Vice President of Planning and Development at Chubb & Son’s development subsidiary; the Bellemead Development Corporation, before joining the Somerset County Park Commission. During Ray’s tenure at the Park Commission, he has had the privilege of spearheading such major accomplishments as the Somerset County Ballpark, Neshanic Valley Golf Course, Natirar Park, and the Frank “Nap” Torpey Athletic Complex. Ray has also served on the Planning Committee of the Midland Run, was a Board Member of the US Bicycling Hall of Fame, and assisted with Jack’s Kids’ fundraising softball tournament.

Donald DiFrancesco

 

 

 

 

Walter C. Hansen Founder/President, ATON Computing, Inc. (Retired) Bridgewater, NJ

Walt joined the Foundation in 2014 after completing five years as a Somerset County Park Commissioner. Before his Commissioner appointment, he worked for many years as a member of the Somerset County Business Partnership and spent seven years as a member of the Board of Directors of the Cooperative Housing Corporation. Walt retired in 2019 as President and CEO of ATON Computing, a provider of Information Technology consulting services to the public and private sectors.

 

Karen Murphy Manager, Spook Hollow Farm Bedminster, NJ

Karen Murphy is the Secretary and Joint Master of the Esses Fox Hounds which hosts the Weekend in Gladstone’s Master’ Chase at Natirar. Karen currently manages her family’s Spook Hollow Farm in Bedminster where they have resided for over 40 years. Previously, she successfully competed in the equestrian sport of Show Jumping on the amateur and grand prix level; worked as a Financial Consultant with Merill Lynch; and managed Investor Relations for Technology Crossover Ventures in Palo Alto, CA. Karen is also an active supporter of the American Order of Malta and the Summit Speech School hosting the students each summer at Spook Hollow and serving on the annual benefit committees.

 

Ellen Nardoni

 

Peter Palmer

Peter’s public service is extensive. He has served on the Board of Chosen Freeholders since 1997, Mayor of Bernardsville Borough Council, Chair of the Bernardsville Board of Education, and a member of the Somerset County Planning Board. Peter served as President of the New Jersey Association of Counties Chairman of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, Founder and Chairman of the Freight Initiatives Committee, Chairman of the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition, on the Board of directors of the Somerset County Business Partnership, President of the Somerset County Governing Officials Association, and Co-Chair of the Somerset County Commission on Child Abuse and Missing Children. Peter served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, as a 1st Lieutenant. He is a retired actuary and was Vice President of Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Co. Peter has been a member of the Park Foundation since 2009.

 

Sara Sooy, Freeholder

 

Jeff Vanderbeek

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Cynthia A. Sullivan, CPRP (ex-officio) Assistant Director, Somerset County Park Commission Somerset, NJ

Cindie provides administration and management for the diverse recreation facilities of the Park Commission, as well as coordinates agency-wide corporate sponsorship/partnership programs. She coordinates public relation efforts, develops and implements agency marketing plans, annual and long-range strategic planning, grant applications, professional development, and labor management. Cindie has served on the National Recreation and Park Association’s Annual Congress Program Planning Committee, the Board of Directors of the American Park and Recreation Society, and Chair of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council/Network. For the past decade, she has served as a delegate in Washington DC to lobby federal legislators for park and recreation funding. Within NJ, Cindie has served as the Chair of Program Committee for the NJ Recreation and Park Association, Chair of Education and Professional Development Committee, Chair of the Professional Certification Board, and Chair of the Therapeutic Recreation Advisory Council. Cindie served as the Chairperson of the State of New Jersey Board of Recreation Examiners; Somerset County United Way Compass Steering Committee; a Board Member of Community Quest, an initiative of Somerset Medical Center Healthy Communities Program; and a member of the Somerset County Business Partnership Tourism Council. She served as a Consultant to the New Jersey Department of Personnel developing Civil Service Exams for the Department of Community Affairs & Developmental Disabilities Centers.

 
Pierce Frauenheim (ex-officio) Deputy Director, Park Operations Somerset County Park Commission

 

 
Robert Ransone (ex-officio) Deputy Director Somerset County Park Commission

Bob provides administration and management to the Park Commission’s five golf courses, three driving ranges, and a pitch and putt course. Neshanic Valley, the flagship course, has been awarded critical acclaim under Bob’s leadership, and recently hosted a USGA National Championship. The golf courses have hosted regional, state, and local events and have been named one of “Best of the Best” golf courses in Central Jersey. Neshanic Valley is ranked 31st in the country and 3rd in NJ among public golf courses. Park Commission golf courses have received certification as Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries and River-Friendly certification from the New Jersey Water Supply Authority. Neshanic Valley received an Environmental Stewardship Award from New Jersey DEP. Bob is retired from Wrigley Chewing Gum Company where he served as Vice President of Human Resources and served one year on the Board of Director of a Wholly Owned Subsidiary. Bob served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1969 spending the majority of his time overseas. Bob is a member of the 200 Club of Somerset County, has been actively involved with Hillsborough Athletics.

HELP US PRESERVE OUR PARKS...


When you support the Somerset County Park Foundation, you are making an investment in the quality of the life of the citizens of Somerset County to enjoy their parks and open spaces, promoting wellness through experiencing nature and the outdoors, and contributing to making a difference in improving programs and facilities offered to the community. We can’t do it without you!