The SMLR State Advisory Council (SAC) is a select group of advisors who provide the Dean and the executive leadership team with insights and perspectives on the goals & priorities of Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations.

Established by the statute that created the original Institute of Management and Labor Relations in 1947, the SAC is composed of representatives and leaders from management, labor and the public. Members are regionally or nationally prominent in their field with a strong background in public service and community engagement.  They are nominated by the Dean and appointed by the Rutgers Board of Governors.  Council members serve two to three-year terms, with the option to renew at the discretion of the Dean.  

The SAC serves a critical role in linking the School’s strategic objectives and activities with the interests of external constituents and stakeholders. The SAC’s primary goal is to provide advice to the school’s leadership on strategic direction and in the development of programs and curricula that will have a positive impact on management practice, union practice, public policy and society at large.

The SAC is convened and led by the Dean and typically meets twice a year.  Utilizing available technology, meetings can be in person or virtual.  Meetings are primarily to review and provide feedback on school activities with a particular focus on community engagement, the future of work as it relates to our fields of practice, opportunities for our students and, most recently, the school’s diversity, equity and inclusion work.

SMLR State Advisory Council FY 2024-2025 Members

Labor Representatives
  • Thomas P. Giblin, Business Manager, Local 68-68A-68B International Union of Operating Engineers
  • Denise Graff Policastro, Deputy Executive Director, New Jersey Education Association (NJEA)
  • Erica Smiley, Executive Director, Jobs with Justice
  • Chris Whalen, Executive Director, Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE)
  • Charles Wowkanech, President, NJ AFL-CIO
Management Representatives
  • Allison "Sonie" Barger, CFO, Mathematica
  • Kenneth Brahl, Senior Director of Labor Relations, Chief Compliance Officer, Ravitz Family Markets
  • Frank Giuliano, General Counsel, Okonite
  • Dianne LaRocca, Executive Director – HR People Strategy and Initiatives, Labor and Employee Relations & Nuclear Client Relations, PSEG
​Public Representatives
  • Robert Asaro-Angelo, Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development
  • Lisa C. Charles, Arbitrator & Mediator  
  • Aaron Fichtner, President, New Jersey Council of County Colleges
  • Lauren Jacobs, Executive Director, PowerSwitch Action
  • Brandon McKoy, President, The Fund for New Jersey