SOVCA Appoints Julie Doran as New Executive Director


SOUTH ORANGE, NJ (June 27, 2019) – The South Orange Village Center Alliance (SOVCA) has named Julie Doran as their new Executive Director, effective August 19. Doran joins SOVCA, the nonprofit organization that manages South Orange’s downtown special improvement district, after spending nearly a decade in Maplewood as Manager of the Springfield Avenue Partnership and the Maplewood Village Alliance. She will report to incoming board chair Mark Murphy, who replaces outgoing chair Steven Pedigo as he relocates out of state.

Doran said, “I am excited to take on a new set of challenges and responsibilities, and to continue my work in downtown development in this community which I feel a special connection to. I lived in South Orange for 20 years; I’ve raised my kids here. South Orange is a unique and special place and I am excited to work on our downtown initiatives.” 

Doran will continue the Board’s efforts to create a vibrant downtown through beautification, placemaking, business retention, recruitment, advocacy and events. She will build on the board’s recent achievements such as the Under Cover Music Fest, which raised considerable funds to put back into beautifying downtown South Orange, and other projects including the recent refresh of Spiotta Park, window coverings at the former Blockbuster space, fresh planters, and public art.

“Julie Doran is an accomplished professional with a proven track-record of success. We are so excited to collaborate with her and to have her working directly with our business community,” said Murphy. “We know that she will be a fierce advocate for our businesses and will work to bring significant positive change to our Village. This change will not only benefit our businesses but South Orange residents and visitors to our great town. The SOVCA board is thrilled.” 

Joining Murphy, owner of Mark Murphy’s Music, on the newly elected executive team are Deborah Engel, founder and owner of Work and Play as vice chair, Michael Maza, South Orange resident, as secretary, Mark Hartwyk, Executive Director of the South Orange Parking Authority, as treasurer and Trustee Steven Schnall, who will continue his role as the Board of Trustees liaison to SOVCA.

About South Orange Village Center Alliance

The South Orange Village Center Alliance (SOVCA) is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to making downtown South Orange a vibrant place to live, work and enjoy through events, beautification and advocacy for the downtown business district. SOVCA’s mission is to strengthen the vitality of the downtown business district by supporting existing businesses and attracting new ones to improve the Village’s retail mix; raising funds for improvement and public art projects; producing events that complement existing stores and services; maintaining a clean, safe, and pedestrian-friendly downtown; and helping our governing body manage new development while preserving the attractive architectural legacy of the downtown area. The organization is run by an Executive Director and a volunteer board of directors made up of property owners, business owners, residents and other stakeholders. The organization produces key downtown events, including Taste of South Orange Food Stroll, Downtown After Sundown, Under Cover Music Fest, PlayDay, the Farmers Market and more. For more information, visit