Meet our Executive Team
Shari Colburn is the Vice President for Real Estate. Overseeing all aspects of the University's real estate interests, she manages a portfolio which encompasses the Morningside Heights area, the Columbia University Medical Center and Manhattanville as well as University-owned and leased space in the greater New York area. Shari's team manages all real estate acquisitions for the University as well as dispositions of donated gifts of property. Real Estate is also responsible for lease management, negotiation and ongoing relationships where the University is a commercial landlord or tenant.
Prior to joining the University in 2003, Shari served as Assistant Vice President for Waterfront Assets at the New York City Economic Development Corporation where she managed and developed a diverse City-wide real estate portfolio, specializing in waterfront properties, ferry operations and shipping and rail terminals. Shari holds a BA in Community Studies from UCSC and an MBA from Columbia University.
Scott Wright is the Vice President for Campus Services, which includes many of the areas students experience outside of the classroom during their time at Columbia: Dining, Undergraduate Housing, Health, University Event Management, Lerner Hall, Transportation, Mail, Print and Environmental Stewardship.
A strong advocate for student interests, he enjoys the challenges of serving Columbia's diverse student community in the unique setting of New York City. Scott has been at Columbia since 1999. Prior to working at Columbia, Scott spent 15 years with ARAMARK, supervising food service and facility management for university clients in the western 11 states, including Alaska and Hawaii.
Scott is a native of Canada and grew up in Buffalo, New York. He graduated from Hobart College.
Marcelo Velez is the Vice President for Manhattanville Development at Columbia University. He serves as the University's point person on all aspects of development, design and construction of the University's 6.8 million sq. foot Manhattanville in West Harlem campus expansion.
Marcelo has been with Columbia since 1995 and has held a number of positions with increasing responsibilities. In a prior position as Associate Vice President for Capital Project Management for the Morningside Campus, Marcelo managed a design and construction staff of over 40 and was responsible for a portfolio of active projects budgeted at over half a billion dollars. He has been with Columbia's Manhattanville Development Group since 2007, first as Associate Vice President for Project Management and Construction before becoming Vice President in 2016. Over the years, he has managed, supervised, or otherwise presided over $1 billion worth of capital construction.
Marcelo holds a BS in civil engineering from Rutgers University, an MBA from Columbia, and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of New York. Marcelo currently serves on the advisor board for the ACE Mentorship Program, Columbia University’s School of Continuing Education’s new master’s degree program in Construction Administration, and as Vice Chair of the Greater New York Construction User Council.
La-Verna J. Fountain serves as the Vice President for Construction Business Services and Communications at Columbia University within the Facilities and Operations Department. In this senior management role, she reports to the Executive Vice President for Facilities and Operations and leads communications efforts regarding construction business opportunities while also managing the University's long-term commitments and obligations agreed to under the Declaration of Covenants with Empire State Development.
To meet many of the obligations under the Declaration, Fountain designed, implemented and manages several programs benefiting community members. She is responsible for the University's Construction Supplier Diversity program and managing the University's Minority Women and Local Advisory Council. She also oversees the internal and external communications initiatives for Facilities and Operations for nearly 2,000 employees and more than 30,000 students.
Since joining Columbia in 2006, La-Verna has received numerous city, state and national awards for her efforts in communications and business development. She was a columnist for Harlem Community News and Women-Connect, a quarterly women's magazine, served as a co-host on the radio program, Urbanology on WHCR 93.7 FM focusing on MWBE services and served as the Chairperson of New York City's Construction Mentorship Advisory Panel under Mayor Bloomberg.
A long-time member of the national and community service movement, La-Verna served as the Director of former U.S. Senator Harris Wofford's Pennsylvania office. While with Senator Wofford, La-Verna also founded several organizations dedicated to teaching others about nonviolence including the Teach Teens to Teach Teens Nonviolence Youth Institute, the Gandhi/King Peace Coalition and the Discover the Leader Within You Youth Group. Wofford, a co-founder of the Peace Corps and former head of the Corporation for National and Community Service once said, "La-Verna is like a walking Peace Corps in her attempts to bring peace to neighborhoods and communities throughout the country."
For the past 25 years, she has provided motivational speeches, training and facilitation on conflict resolution, cultural diversity, nonviolence as a way of life, working with teenagers, spirituality in the workplace and staff and organizational development.
Fountain has a Master's Degree in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from Columbia and serves as an instructor with the Columbia University School of Continuing Education where she teaches Introduction to Negotiation. She is a proud U.S. Army Veteran and has authored numerous publications including a book entitled The Alphabets of Life: A Simple Guide to Simply Living.
James F. McShane joined Columbia University as the Assistant Vice President for the Department of Public Safety in January 2004. He was promoted to Associate Vice President in January 2006 before now holding the position as Vice President. Jim is responsible for security and safety at the Morningside, Medical Center, and Manhattanville Campuses. He oversees all uniformed operations and investigations and is responsible for security technology and fire safety.
Jim McShane is a 24 year veteran of the New York City Police Department. He began his career on patrol in the 52nd Precinct. He was promoted to Sergeant in October 1984 and served as a patrol supervisor in the 41st and 42nd Precincts. After graduating from St. John's University School of Law in 1986, Jim obtained a leave of absence to work as an Associate Attorney at the Law Firm of Rogers & Wells. Upon his return to the department in October 1987, he was assigned to the Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters and then to the Office of the Police Commissioner as Legal Advisor to Commissioner Benjamin Ward.
Promoted to Lieutenant in November 1989, Jim McShane was soon assigned to the staff of First Deputy Commissioner Ray Kelly. He was promoted to Captain in January 1992 while attending the Kennedy School of Government, where he received a master of public administration degree. In the fall of 1992, he returned to the Police Commissioner's Office as Legal Advisor to then Police Commissioner Kelly. In 1994, Deputy Inspector McShane commanded the 47th Precinct in the Bronx. Thereafter, he was assigned as Commanding Officer of the First Deputy Commissioner's Office under Commissioner John Timoney in January 1995.
In August 1996, he was assigned as Commanding Officer, Narcotics Borough Manhattan South, where he served until June 1997, when he was transferred to the Traffic Control Division. Jim served in Traffic for nearly six years, as both the Executive Officer and as Commanding Officer. He was promoted to Deputy Chief in January 2002. In March 2003, Chief McShane was appointed Executive Officer of the Narcotics Division, his final assignment in a 24-year career with the department.
Prior to joining the N.Y.P.D., Jim McShane taught mathematics in the South Bronx for five years--first at St. Angela Merici Elementary School and then at Morris High School, where he also served as Dean of Students.
Jim McShane holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Fordham University, a Juris Doctor from St. John's University School of Law, and a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University. He is also a 1994 graduate of the Police Management Institute at Columbia University and was awarded a Fulbright Grant as a lecturer at the Police College of Finland in Helsinki, Finland in 2000.
James Wang is Columbia University Facilities and Operations' Vice President for Finance & Administration. He is responsible for the planning and administration of an operating budget of over $270 million and a multi-year capital budget of over $1.7 billion. In addition to serving as Facilities and Operations' Chief Financial Officer, James is responsible for the administrative support to CUFO including capital project administration, human resources and labor relations, management information systems, accounts payable, business process analysis and parking administration.
Prior to joining Columbia University, James last served as Acting Vice President for Budget and Finance at Hunter College. At Hunter College, he oversaw the management of the fiscal affairs, capital projects and campus planning, and business office operations including bursar, payroll, procurement, accounts payable, and accounting. In this capacity, he was responsible for over $120 million annual operating budget.
James also has significant experience in New York City government. Prior to his work at Hunter College, he worked for the NYC Mayor's Office of Management and Budget for 14 years with progressive responsibilities. In his capacity as Assistant Budget Director he served as the principal liaison to five major agencies including Fire, Parks, and Sanitation, on all budgetary matters.
James holds a BS in Economics and Statistics and a Master of Science in Policy and Management from Stony Brook University.
Edward McArthur is Vice President, Capital Project Management. With over 20 years of experience which includes a diverse background in the areas of project management, design and construction, Edward has been involved in all phases of project development and management for new building construction, building additions and extensive interior renovations on a variety of program types including research, higher education, transportation, residential and retail.
For Columbia University, Edward has managed over $75 million worth of projects over ten years which include Knox Hall, renovation upgrades to Havemeyer & Chandler Hall and the award winning Brown Institute for Media Innovation at the Graduate School of Journalism among others.
Edward’s previous experience includes designing major transportation facilities and acting as a design manager for the owner’s representative for Harvard University’s Allston Development Group. He received his Bachelors of Architecture from the Cooper Union's Irwin S Chanin School of Architecture in 1994.
David Greenberg is the executive vice president for University Facilities and Operations, where he leads a team responsible for new building design and construction, campus public safety, campus services for students, building and grounds maintenance for academic and administrative departments, oversight of Manhattanville construction and the University's residential portfolio. With over 1,900 employees, Facilities and Operations manages more than 240 buildings and 15 million gross square feet and has an operating and capital budget in excess of $800 million per year.
Prior to joining Facilities and Operations, Greenberg served as the first executive director of Columbia's Zuckerman Institute, an interdisciplinary neuroscience research and discovery center that will bring together 1,000 scientists in a state-of-the-art engine of discovery based at the Jerome L. Greene Science Center. As the Institute's senior non-academic and chief operating officer, he was responsible for creating and managing the administrative infrastructure and overseeing finance, human resources, information technology, communications, and building operations while working closely with co-directors Thomas Jessell, Richard Axel and Eric Kandel, who are responsible for setting the Institute's scientific vision and mission. Greenberg continues to provide strategic and operational oversight of the Institute.
Greenberg, formerly vice president of finance and administration and chief administrative officer at Columbia Facilities, has worked at the University since 2006.
Before coming to Columbia, Greenberg worked as associate vice president and chief financial officer at the Georgetown University Law Center and served in several senior posts in New York City government, including the Department of Citywide Administrative Services and the Office of Management and Budget.
Greenberg holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Rochester; a master's of public administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University; and a master's of Construction Administration from Columbia University.