ASK A BUSY PERSON: Andrea Sussman

ASK A BUSY PERSON: Andrea Sussman

Fischer, Dorothy

Andrea Sussman, executive vice president of Nexus Properties Inc., boasts a history of voluntarism that stretches back to her childhood. She was spurred on by the example of her father Syd Sussman. “He’s the one who taught me about giving to those less fortunate than oneself. I learned it at home.”

Serving on her first board at age 22, the Cherry Hill native is currently involved in a volunteer capacity with the Greater Mercer County Chamber of Commerce, The College of New Jersey Foundation, Greenacres Country Club, the Jewish Federation and the Red Cross.

Of the latter, she says, “I feel very strongly about the Red Cross as the backbone of our neighborhoods, keeping us informed in time of trauma and terror, and our link to survival through terrorism.” A Yardley resident, Sussman has been active in the family businesses, Certified Steel Co. and Nexus since 1974, spending the last 20 years with Nexus, the real estate component, which owns or manages over two million square feet of space.

The company, founded by her father, continues to be involved in major real estate projects in Trenton, including construction of Park Place at Mill Hill townhouses and a mixed-use project, Park House at Mill Hill, which includes a combination of retail, office condos and underground parking. “It’s important to keep the inner city of Trenton going and to keep Mercer County strong,” says Sussman. “We as a family have a huge commitment to support the vitality and give back to the community.”

Another of her current projects is a commitment to introduce more cultural offerings to the city. “Trenton has office buildings, but we, as leaders need to go the next step and bring some night life back into town.”

Sussman notes that, while she attended college in Colorado as an economics major, she made an early decision to enter the business world, and credits her father for the training, negotiation skills, and business acumen that have spelled success for her.

Her professional background, she notes, is a big help in her voluntarism. “I always feel that I have something to contribute that’s important from a business point of view. I think that’s where nonprofits need volunteers the most, in how to manage their finances.”

For Sussman, variety has been the spice of her life as a volunteer. “What I’ve tried to do over the years is volunteer for different organizations at different points in my life so that I’m not with just one. I try to participate with as many different organizations as I possibly can.” Over the years, these have included the American Cancer Society, The Pennington School, Princeton Day School, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Womanspace and Adath Israel.

At Nexus, her brother, Jeffrey, also an active volunteer, is her partner. Her father remains involved, she notes, although now stepping aside somewhat. “It’s very fortunate that we all work together and do so well within the daily pressures of life.” As the second generation, she says that she and her brother feel very strongly about continuing the business their father developed. “We’re looking forward to the next generation.”

Her close-knit family also includes her daughter Elyse, – “the sunshine of my life” – now attending Goucher College in Maryland, and her mother Elaine. “Two things that really make me happy are watching my daughter play tennis and having lunch with my mother.”

She cites her mother as a major influence in the direction her life has taken. “She’s always been my cheerleader. She felt that I marched to a different drummer, and she always allowed me to follow my agenda. I like being controversial, such as being a female developer in a man’s world. I love coming to work every day and trying to make a difference, and my mother’s always been there for me. She allowed me to figure out what really makes me tick, and being at work and giving back is what makes me tick.”

Outside of work and voluntarism, Sussman’s interests include needlepoint, baking, collecting and antiques, but golf is her passion. “I love golfing with clients,” she says. “You can tell if someone’s really honest or not – by watching them play golf.”

Copyright Mercer County Chamber of Commerce Nov 01, 2003

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