We EMPOWER people with the knowledge and tools to TRANSFORM their public spaces from the ground up.

We believe that success comes from solutions crafted from consensus and opportunities taken together.

CDS started out as a two-person firm focused on downtown revitalization and organizing special assessment districts. Before placemaking was a cultural phenomenon, we were helping communities reimagine their commercial districts and public spaces—supporting both public and private stakeholders in the critical conversations and community planning needed to create real change.

Today, we’ve grown to more than one hundred employees and we’re proud to say that we’re achieving the impact that we always knew was possible; connecting place management with outdoor cleaning and public safety services to provide a unified, accessible, and effective suite of services for business improvement districts, private property owner associations, and municipalities.

We are Practitioners, rolling up our sleeves to get things done. You can always find us walking, making sure the litter is picked up, watching how public spaces are used, chatting with store owners and yes, stopping to smell the flowers. We are Listeners. We don’t come with predetermined solutions. We want to know your hopes and your challenges so that we can find the opportunities. We are Determined. You have goals and we want to help you achieve them. Sometimes the best route isn’t the quickest or even the easiest, but you will always get the best we can offer to guide you towards success.

In addition to being public space managers, our company’s principals also maintain the same sensibilities as the business and community interests we serve.

We are...

  • Downtown property owners that want to see our investments grow
  • Special assessment payers that want to see clean and safe streets
  • Current and former small business owners who know the work never stops
  • BID board members that want solid work plans and good governance
  • Evening and weekend warriors, volunteering in the communities that we serve

Chris Bernardo

President & Chief Executive Officer

Jerry Blankman

Vice President & Chief Operating Officer

Danielle Russell, PMP

Senior Project Manager

Daniel J. McGinley

Senior Strategist

Matt Christensen

Senior Operations Manager

Rudy Kucukyantiryan

Senior Operations Manager

Fred K. Harrington

Quality of Life Public Safety Manager

Paula Pinto

Administrative Assistant

Alison Tulli

Assistant Project Manager

German “Jerry” Rafalovich

Operations Manager & HR Lead

Chris Bernardo

President & Chief Executive Officer

Chris Bernardo, CDS’ President, and Founder, has worked in the downtown revitalization industry for nearly three decades. Chris works closely with BID board members, municipal staff, local law enforcement, elected officials, and district stakeholders to develop and implement a broad range of public space improvement programs, including:

  • Supplemental sanitation and maintenance
  • Streetscape beautification and amenities
  • Quality-of-life management
  • Placemaking and public events

Through CDS, Chris has been able to fully realize his devotion to “turning a place around” and working with stakeholders to co-create a vision that is grounded in the practical yet expansive enough to be transformative.

Chris resides in Verona, NJ with his wife and children. He currently serves on the Planning Board in his town and serves on the board of trustees for Downtown New Jersey.

Jerry Blankman

Vice President & Chief Operating Officer

Gerald (Jerry) Blankman, CDS Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, serves as our most senior Operations Manager and Human Resources specialist. Jerry’s 20-plus years of experience in serving as the President and Vice President of the Downtown Jersey City Special Improvement District, is amplified further by his 30 years of experience as a downtown retailer. In his current role, Jerry is the heart of CDS, managing the day to day resources and ensuring overall client satisfaction. Jerry works closely with the CDS management team to develop and implement plans for the operational infrastructure of systems, processes, and personnel to successfully meet the growing needs of clients. Jerry’s greatest sense of accomplishment at work comes from delivering operations and management expertise to every client on a consistent basis, no matter what the size of the project.

Danielle Russell, PMP

Senior Project Manager

Danielle Russell, PMP works as the Senior Project Manager at CDS. Danielle holds a Masters of Science in Urban Placemaking and Management, where she brings creative and innovative thinking to public space design and management. As a certified Project Manager, Danielle manages CDS’ public space project portfolio with expert management skills. Danielle understands the social and economic importance and impact of clean, safe and aesthetically pleasing public spaces. Her unique experience helps the organization bridge the gap between efficient public space management and urban economic development.

Daniel J. McGinley

Senior Strategist

Dan has a degree in Civil Engineering and over 40 years of not-for-profit corporation management experience including as Director of Education Activities for the American Society of Civil Engineers and Executive Director for the Institute for Professional Practice. Through his work, he has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico with specific exposure to architectural, civil and construction engineering projects. When not generating a lot of documentation requiring electronic and paper filing, Dan sits as Chair of the Zoning Board of Adjustment in Verona, keeping him current on issues of urban planning and development.

Matt Christensen

Senior Operations Manager

With a degree in psychology, Matt is an expert in customer service. His approach to work is to live by the “Golden Rule”, always treating people how he would want to be treated in any given situation. Whether training a new CDS ambassador, meeting clients to solve a problem or interacting with a member of the public, Matt knows that trust is built from a positive experience that leads to a positive association that grows into a strong relationship over time. Matt shares his love of the outdoors by tirelessly improving every public space project he manages. Most days he can be found leading his team in repairing public amenities, removing graffiti and coordinating sanitation efforts.

Rudy Kucukyantiryan

Senior Operations Manager

Rudy’s career began in the hospitality industry and it shows in everything he does. From analyzing data to designing a new flower installation or overseeing a maintenance program, Rudy’s goal in managing projects is to create a warm and friendly environment, working closely with stakeholders to ensure the vision comes to life through a spirit of collaboration. Rudy has a degree in International Business and has owned several businesses throughout his career, providing him a solid foundation in management and a talent for developing strong customer relationships. Rudy credits his dad’s entrepreneurial spirit, strong work ethic and devotion to family as significant influences in his own approach to life.

 

Fred K. Harrington

Quality of Life Public Safety Manager

In his role as Quality-of-Life Public Safety Manager, Fred offers his boundless positive energy and a quick smile to motivate his team no matter what challenges the day might bring. With a Master’s degree in Public Administration and deep experience working within the New Jersey prison system, Fred makes treating everyone with patience and dignity a cornerstone of his approach to working within the public space realm. He credits his parents with instilling within him an abiding legacy of love, morals, integrity and laughter that he shares with not only his own children and family but all those he encounters.

Paula Pinto

Administrative Assistant

With over 15 years as an office manager, Paula knows how to keep things organized even on the busiest of days. She is the cheerful voice on the phone answering questions and taking detailed messages and the friendly face greeting guests at the office. Her easy-going personality allows staff to stay focused and motivated when each day brings something new and sometimes unexpected.

Alison Tulli

Assistant Project Manager

Before transitioning to the public space management sector, Alison worked in the hospitality industry for over 15 years, enabling her to develop strong networking skills and finding creative solutions for her customers. She has a knack for anything related to the arts, with a focus on using photography to highlight the connection between people and public spaces. Alison graduated from Kean University with a B.S. in Sustainability Science with a concentration in Climate Data Analysis. Her passion for understanding today’s environmental justice issues provides a unique perspective and helps to inform CDS’s sanitation and environmental services. Alison manages the organization stakeholder outreach and community engagement efforts. Alison aides in the completion of community development and public space projects with knowledge of urban development and public art trends.

 

 

German “Jerry” Rafalovich

Operations Manager & HR Lead

German “Jerry” Rafalovich brings a wealth of experience in the public sector. His expertise spans the areas of horticulture, outdoor maintenance, commercial and residential facilities maintenance, operational management and human resources. Jerry holds an Associates degree in Business Administration and is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Urban and Community Studies. At CDS, Jerry focuses on managing daily operations in the Somerville and Montclair areas and leads the organization’s staffing operations. Jerry also works to bridge partnerships between CDS and local administrative department partners and expands CDS’ project management capacity.