Originally from Morris Plains, Chairman of First Night, Overseeing Morris County Economic Development |

MORRIS PLAINS – Among the many lessons Craig Schlosser has learned playing baseball is that you can’t win alone, and he says that’s the case with any nonprofit or business.

Now several years removed from his pitching mound at the Morris Plains Little League and Morristown High School, Schlosser rang in 2022 starting a new job as Vice President of Economic Development with the Morris County Economic Development Corporation, a division of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce.

In addition to overseeing economic development, Schlosser is also working to lead the Economic Development Alliance, a 501(c)(3) that the Economic Development Corporation is in the process of launching.

“When I looked at this position, I felt it was an opportunity where I could make an impact and give opportunities to others,” Schlosser said. “And that was really, really empowering for me, whether it’s a small business owner, a large business, or members of our community, getting better job prospects and working with the council. workforce to get more training opportunities and just work for a better future, and I think that’s what really attracted me to this opportunity and what excites me here.

Prior to working with Morris County, Schlosser served as Vice President of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce for about seven years and worked for Coca-Cola for about seven years prior.

Schlosser, who now lives in Bedminster, said he was an entrepreneur by nature and loved creating and making a difference in the community. He said he received a lot of support inside and outside the school system as a child and believed the community gave him the opportunity to succeed.

He originally wanted to be a teacher, but realized he could do more by getting involved in nonprofit organizations that are driving positive change.

He said he first connected with Morris County Economic Development Corporation executive director Meghan Hunscher through mutual connections, and the two made a virtual joint presentation in November 2020 with the Morris County Vocational School District.

The county and First Night have interns in the school district, and Hunscher has supported First Night, Schlosser said.

“The staff here are awesome,” Schlosser said. “I’m just grateful to work with the people I work with because you don’t do anything alone.”

Hunscher said she hired Schlosser because she was impressed with her experience working in Middlesex County, particularly the large economic development workforce.

Hunshcer also said Schlosser had boundless energy and was already active in the community as president of First Night.

“He can communicate with a lot of different constituency groups,” Hunscher said. “So he can talk to a business owner, to a CEO. He knows how to run an organization.

Schlosser’s father founded the Morris Plains 12-Year-Old Little League Tournament and started the Morris Plains Pitchers’ and Catchers’ Clinic.

Once Schlosser’s father left the clinic and retired from the Little League board, former board member and League vice president Joe Prestano asked him to take over the clinic. , and he agreed to do so.

Schlosser said that just as he taught children at the time, parents also encouraged him. He said that since he was in his mid to late teens and early twenties, he didn’t know what he wanted to do, and the parents would take the time to tell him he had done well. work with something or give him advice. on what to watch.

“You can’t put a price on that,” Schlosser said. “It’s a community. And as I get older, these people who gave me these opportunities, I just have the privilege of being able to do that more on a daily basis with stuff.

Prestano said Schlosser and his Morristown High School teammates will volunteer their time to instruct during clinics and officiate during the season.

Prestano also said he’s happy Schlosser is doing well and appreciates all the volunteer work he’s been doing with clinics and officiating.

“He was a great boy,” Prestano said.

In addition to playing baseball at Morristown High School, Schlosser also played quarterback for the Colonials football team.

He said baseball teaches a lot about life.

“More often than anything, it teaches you that you will fail more than you will succeed, but what you have to learn about it is that it’s not failure if you learn from it,” Schlosser said. .

Other lessons are that if you’re always working to get better, you can do it, and this is a game where you can’t use brute force to overpower people.

“It’s something that really helps you grow in terms of where you want to go and what you want to do, and I learned a lot from the game,” Schlosser said. “I probably learned more from the game when I was teaching it than when I was playing it.”

Regarding First Night, Schlosser said he first got involved while working with the Parsippany area chamber of commerce. Rob Peluso, a current Parsippany-Troy Hills councilman, said First Night needed someone to take over the marketing, and Peluso also introduced Schlosser to the Economic Development Corporation about a decade ago.

Schlosser started on the board as community relations officer about 12 years ago before becoming community relations director, director, and finally First Night’s first president.

“I love it because I can come back and work with different people,” Schlosser said. “I’m not a music inclined person, but I love its inclusive nature. I love how I can challenge myself and learn new things and stuff with that. I just think the community is a wonderful place, and there’s so much to highlight. And now part of my job is to showcase this amazing community and share it with other people. I think that’s a really cool thing.

Contact Brett Friedensohn at brettf@newjerseyhills.com.