Proficiency, Integrity & Care
Among the many accolades we’ve earned, we’ve been described as diligent, perceptive, considerate, assertive and ethical.
We offer a broad range of services covering virtually every aspect of public finance, providing a package of proficiency, integrity and care that’s simply unmatched by any firm anywhere in the country.
Our professionals bring experience as investment bankers, government administrators, engineers, entrepreneurs, attorneys and municipal finance officers. Despite our varied backgrounds, we all share certain essential qualities, and that common ground fuels a mutual sense of respect and purpose.
Kim M. Whelan
Kim M. Whelan founded Acacia Financial Group, Inc. in 2006 as Co-President and is a member of the firm’s management committee bringing over twenty years of experience as a financial advisor. Prior to founding Acacia, Ms. Whelan was a partner with Public Financial Management, Inc., the president and sole owner of a New Jersey based regional financial advisory firm, and an investment banker in municipal finance on Wall Street. Ms. Whelan has extensive experience in the municipal financial advisory field.
She has developed a particular expertise in the design and implementation of alternative financing techniques. She has utilized this expertise in serving state and state-level entities throughout the nation to implement high level policy objectives and successful financial strategies.
Ms. Whelan has served on the Board for the New Jersey Building Authority and is a member of the Government Finance Officers Association (“GFOA”) and the Association of Environmental Authorities (“AEA”). Ms. Whelan earned a Bachelor’s degree from the Philadelphia University, with a concentration in finance.
Noreen P. White
Noreen P. White founded Acacia Financial Group, Inc. in 2006 as Co-President and is a member of the firm’s management committee. Prior to forming Acacia, Ms. White was the President, and founder, of Municipal Advisory Partners, Inc. For over 30 years, she has been involved in technical analysis and bond documentation for a wide variety of municipal issuers and has extensive experience with major state level and high profile clients. Ms. White has also worked with numerous higher education and health care issuers. She has lead the firm’s engagements for the States of Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin, the New York City Transitional Finance Authority and the New York City Municipal Water Finance Authority, New York State Housing Finance Agency, New York Thruway Authority, Chicago Public Schools and the cities of Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and the District of Columbia. She has spoken before numerous industry groups, including National Association of State Treasurers, New Jersey GFOA, State Debt Management Network and the New York Securities Coordinating Committee.
Ms. White served as a member of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board representing the Municipal Advisor community for a four year term. While on the MSRB, she chaired the Municipal Advisor Working Group.
Prior to entering the field of investment banking at Bear Stearns & Co. Inc., Ms. White was a protein chemist at the Rockefeller University, in the laboratory of the late Dr. Stanford Moore, Nobel Laureate. She published a scientific paper based upon her research. Ms. White is a graduate of Smith College and has completed graduate work in Information Processing and in Systems Analysis at the New School for Social Research. She received her M.B.A. in finance from New York University. She is a Certified Municipal Finance Officer and a Certified County Finance Officer in New Jersey.
Peter D. Nissen
Peter D. Nissen is a 19-year veteran of the public finance industry, having worked with other financial advisory firms before founding Acacia in 2006. Prior to this experience, Mr. Nissen gained four years of engineering experience with an internationally renowned engineering corporation. Mr. Nissen serves as day-to-day advisor to many of the firm’s high-profile accounts.
Mr. Nissen oversees all of the firm’s quantitative services including the evaluation of derivative products. He is expert in preparing financial models for the clients of the firm. These models enable our clients to evaluate multiple financing scenarios and the impact on their operations. Mr. Nissen has developed innovative computer analyses for the restructuring and optimization of existing escrows, the investment of new bond proceeds for construction funds and reserve funds, the utilization of various derivative instruments, forward purchase and repurchase agreements, swaption and warrant products, and synthetic rate and forward rate products. Mr. Nissen has extensive experience in the preparation and review of financing documentation and in the marketing and pricing negotiation of both taxable and tax-exempt debt on both a competitive and negotiated basis.
Mr. Nissen earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from Drexel University.
Joshua C. Nyikita
Joshua C. Nyikita founded Acacia in 2006 as a Managing Director. Prior to founding Acacia, Mr. Nyikita served as a Senior Managing Consultant with Public Financial Management, Inc. for five years and as an Assistant Vice President at regional financial advisory firm for four years. During his 17 year career, Mr. Nyikita has worked with numerous county and state-level issuers on a variety of transactions. Mr. Nyikita currently has day-to-day responsibility for the firm’s work with the States of Connecticut, Ohio, and Wisconsin along with multiple clients throughout the State of New Jersey.
Mr. Nyikita has transaction experience in a wide range of industry sectors including general obligation, lease appropriation, higher education, transportation, water and wastewater utility and economic development. Mr. Nyikita has advised clients on the use of fixed and variable rate debt, private placement structures, and derivatives as well as the development of long-term capital planning models. Mr. Nyikita has developed presentations to ratings agencies and investors, negotiated with letter of credit banks and bond insurers and provided testimony before State level boards and committees.
Mr. Nyikita earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Delaware.
Jennifer G. Edwards
Jennifer G. Edwards joined Acacia Financial Group upon its formation in 2006. Ms. Edwards has fifteen years experience providing financial advisory services to numerous school districts, municipalities and authorities. Ms. Edwards has extensive experience structuring and managing general obligation bond, revenue bond, pooled bond and renewable energy transactions and has provided analytical and technical support for infrastructure and solid waste financing projects.
Ms. Edwards serves as project manager on county, municipal and school district financings and is responsible for quantitative analyses performed including the incorporation of investments of new bond proceeds and comprehensive tax impact analyses. In addition, Ms. Edwards is project manager for numerous improvement authority clients and is responsible for structuring and managing pooled bond financings for such clients.
Ms. Edwards earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
Phoebe S. Selden
Senior Vice President
Phoebe Selden is nationally recognized as a government finance, transportation and privatization (P3) expert, with over 27 years of public sector experience. She has focused her career on developing innovative plans of finance and rating agency strategies for large urban and complex infrastructure clients and has completed over $16 billion of bond financings. She has worked on over 20 P3 projects. Ms. Selden’s transportation clients span all sectors: airports, highways, parking, ports, rail, rental car facilities, toll roads and transit. Other industry focus areas include water / wastewater and economic development projects. Services include traditional financial advisor, P3 and budget / financial strategy development work.
Ms. Selden began her career at Ernst & Whinney, serving public sector clients and commercial and M&A assignments for seven years. She served the City of Chicago for 13 years, ultimately as City Comptroller, and launched and led the Chicago office of Moody’s Investors Service, before joining another independent financial advisory firm. Ms. Selden earned her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from DePaul University and passed the CPA exam in 1983.
Ms. Selden is an Advisor to the Government Finance Officers Association Debt Committee, a member of the Finance Committee Steering Group for Airports Council International and a prior member of the Metropolitan Planning Council.
Senior Project Advisor
Josh Cooperman has represented municipal issuers, primarily in California, for over 25 years, with emphasis on certificate of participation, lease revenue, water and sewer, and master lease programs, including the State of California, Regents of the University of California, numerous counties, and cities, school districts, county offices of education and community college issuers. He also specializes in private school and 501(c)(3) conduit financings.
Among his transactions are a long-term tax-exempt cashflow program for Trinity County, to avert potential insolvency, a tax-exempt FHLB-backed variable rate financing for a Bay Area aquarium, a private “direct placement” LOC-optional variable rate program for a private San Francisco Bay Area school, and a variable rate program for a policy institute’s urban center/museum.
He has been a speaker on emerging tax-exempt financing concepts for the California Assn. of County Treasurers-Tax Collectors and the California Assn. of School Business Officials, as well as serving on their boards and as section chair, and is co-author of Leasing: Their Form and Function, a sourcebook on municipal lease concepts and programs, published by the California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission, through the California State Treasurer’s Office.
He is a graduate of Stanford University and Stanford Law School, and attended the New York University LLM Program in Taxation. He is also a member of the California and New York bars.
Dara I. Melchionni
Ms. Melchionni joined Acacia Financial Group, Inc. in 2006. At Acacia, she specializes in providing high level technical and analytical support to all of Acacia’s clients and serves as project manager on New Jersey school district and municipal financings. Her primary responsibilities include preparation of preliminary official statements and official statements, tax impact analyses, structuring financing options, asset and liability analyses, identifying refunding opportunities, banking analyses and cash flow management. She has extensive experience assisting governmental entities with developing credit rating strategies and preparing rating presentations.
Prior to joining Acacia, Ms. Melchionni worked for a New Jersey Asset & Rebate Management Program. Her role was to support and market New Jersey funds and their services, such as NJ/ARM, by supplying technical analysis to all clients. Specifically, she was responsible for cash flow forecasting, fixed income portfolio structuring and management, and banking analyses.
Ms. Melchionni received a B.B.A. in finance from the University of Delaware.
- Edward H. Hynes SVP of Local Government Services
David P. Shields
SVP of Local Government Services
David P. Shields joined Acacia Financial Group in 2012 as a Senior Vice President of Local Government Services. Mr. Shields brings forty plus years in various public management positions including a township committeeman to West Deptford Township (New Jersey) from 1979 through 2002 as well as serving the mayoral seat for the township committee from 1983 through 2002. Mr. Shields served as West Deptford Township’s School Board President from 1976 to 1979. At the Gloucester County Utilities Authority he served as Commissioner from 1985 through 1989, and also as Chairman to that Authority from 1990 through 2011. Mr. Shields was a member of the Executive Board for the New Jersey League of Municipalities from 1992 to 1999.
He has gained extensive planning and construction management expertise through Bell Atlantic from 1968 to 1994 and the Delaware River Port Authority from 1994 to 1996. Mr. Shields served as the Executive Director of the Gloucester County Improvement Authority from 1996 through 2011, managing the financial sustainability and operational continuity of a solid waste disposal facility, nursing home, child development center and equestrian facility. Mr. Shields managed oversight of building projects including courthouse facilities, inner city parking garage, public library and other various structures as well as an equestrian center and initial development phases of a port on the Delaware River in Gloucester County. Mr. Shields if the CEO-CFO of his business and site development consulting company, EAGLE VI, LLC, which was founded in 1998. He currently holds a New Jersey Real Estate license. He has achieved several certifications including assessor certifications for appraisals, property tax administration and income approaches to valuation certification for real estate.
Mr. Shields brings to the firm his broad experience in financial and budget management as well as long-range planning and public management experience. Mr. Shields earned a BA in Political Science from Glassboro State College and has also completed a range of construction administration, management and engineering studies through Temple and Rutgers Universities.
- John C. Glidden Senior Project Advisor
Brittany M. Whelan
Assistant Vice President
Ms. Whelan joined Acacia in 2011. Prior to joining Acacia, she interned as a financial assistant since 2005, where she focused on supporting local entities within the State of New Jersey. Ms. Whelan has a broad area of expertise in connection with State level issuers, transportation clients, redevelopment entities, solid waste authorities, higher education institutions, water/wastewater agencies, as well as boards of education. Ms. Whelan advises these issuers on a broad array of services including capital planning and the implementation of financing structures. Ms. Whelan’s strengths include cash flow management and forecasting, new money project financings, refunding transactions, pooled financings, revenue-backed projects, and renewable energy initiatives.
Ms. Whelan earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics with a concentration in Finance from E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration at the University of Coastal Carolina.
Shelby L. Lobitz
Shelby L. Lobitz joined Acacia in October of 2014. Ms. Lobitz is currently responsible for providing technical and analytical support for governmental entities ranging from small local governments to the largest and most complex clients. She has a variety of experience in debt sizing, refunding analysis, pricing analytics and project scheduling.
Ms. Lobitz earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from the College of Business and Economics, Towson University in Towson, Maryland.
Stephanie A. Ozalis
Stephanie Ozalis joined Acacia in 2014. Ms. Ozalis is responsible for providing technical and analytical support for governmental entities ranging from small local governments to the largest bi-state authorities. Her experience includes working with the States of Ohio and Wisconsin as well as other State level issuers, higher education institutions and boards of education. She brings analytical experience in new money and refunding transactions including general obligation, project finance, lease appropriation and other special obligation issuances.
Ms. Ozalis earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, with a concentration in Actuarial Science and a Minor in Business from Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania.
Joseph A. Calogero
Joseph Calogero joined Acacia in October 2014. Mr. Calogero is currently responsible for providing analytical support to all of Acacia’s clients. Mr. Calogero is responsible for providing technical and analytical support for governmental entities ranging from small local governments to large state level Authorities. His experience includes working with the State of Alaska and the Massachusetts State College Building Authority as well as many other state level issuers, higher education institutions, and local Townships and Boroughs. He brings experience in New Money and Refunding Transactions including general obligation, project finance, revenue and other types of obligation issuances.
Mr. Calogero earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the College of Business Administration from Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.
- Michael Schimenti Analyst