Young Alumni Award
Greg Townsend hasn’t had very long to make a difference in the world, but he’s doing it—in two fields, no less. He divides his attention between state government and music, and he’s having a blast.
When Greg arrived at Drew from Annandale, New Jersey, his main interests were history and music, and he soon realized that his real interest in history was statecraft. He accordingly majored in political science, and particularly enjoyed Professor Douglas Simon’s courses and the Semester at the United Nations. The quality of his work gained Greg a cum laude diploma, with honors in his French minor. He then specialized in foreign policy analysis at Seton Hall University’s John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy, completing a master’s in international relations in 2007.
Following his graduate degree, Greg gained experience in contracting at the municipal level. He is grateful for the several years he spent at Spectraserv, which was primarily involved in municipal construction contracts. Greg’s work as project administrator took him to wastewater treatment plants in Philadelphia and Parsippany-Troy Hills, where he acted as a liaison between plant operators, project engineers and the main office.
By 2010, Greg was ready to move to the state level, becoming director of briefings in the Office of Governor Chris Christie. His group coordinated with Governor Christie’s scheduling team and developed multifarious documents and policy summaries needed each day by the Governor and his Senior Staff—a demanding and rewarding endeavor. In 2014, Greg became more directly involved with policy, as a policy adviser. Through daily coordination with Cabinet officials and the Governor’s Office of Legal Counsel, he provides guidance to the Governor’s Senior Staff on a broad portfolio of issues involving transportation, motor vehicles, labor and workforce development, and the state treasury. He greatly enjoys being in the thick of significant issues, determining new policies and managing existing ones.
The other area of Greg’s life—you might say its counterpoint—is music, as it has been all his life. At Drew he was music director of the a cappella group All of the Above, and started teaching himself guitar. For the past 10 years, music has absorbed most of Greg’s free time. He has been a professional musician with several bands, including Running Red Lights and Desoto Jones, co-writing and recording several albums between 2008 and 2012. He has taken great satisfaction in playing with some of his musical heroes, most notably Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots.
Greg is married to Cristina Zozzaro, who also works with the State of New Jersey as a manager of large capital construction projects. They live in Flemington, where Greg plays soccer when work and music permit.