Our Staff

Executive Staff

FrancisFrancis Pickering – Executive Director

Francis directs WestCOG’s staff and represents the region to partners, including state and federal agencies. Prior to joining WestCOG, he served as Deputy Director at the Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency (CCRPA). Under his leadership, CCRPA worked to improve transportation and integrate of multimodal transportation into community planning. These efforts won CCAPA’s Innovative Plan of the Year in 2013 and NADO’s Innovation Award in 2014. Francis is also active in the development of major regional transportation initiatives and serves on the  Connecticut Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board. Francis holds an M.A. in Environmental Management from the Free University of Berlin (Germany) in addition to a B.A. from Princeton University and an M.A. in Geography from the University of Connecticut.

Administrative Staff

Patricia Payne – Finance Director

Patty serves as WestCOG’s Finance Director and is responsible for financial reporting, grant tracking and compliance, audit preparation, record keeping, and financial analysis. Patty has a degree in business along with over 25 years of experience in bookkeeping, office management, grant tracking, purchasing, and HR responsibilities.

JoJosephine Harvey – Financial Manager

Jo’s responsibilities include payroll, grant funding, employee benefits, and office management. She started working for HVCEO 25 years ago as the Financial Manager. Jo also worked in a financial capacity for the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority (HRRA) and Housatonic Valley Economic Development Partnership (HVEDP). She worked for CPAs and Comptrollers for 20 years in Texas, Florida, and Connecticut. Jo has an Executive Degree in Business from Berkley College in White Plains, NY.

Planning & Analytics Staff

Michael Towle – GIS Manager

Mike oversees the environmental and hazard mitigation planning efforts. He works with municipalities and various environmental organizations on matters of land, water, and energy sustainability. Additionally, Mike provides support in GIS and data analytics. He received a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell and a M.S. in GIS for Development and the Environment from Clark University.

Kristin Hadjastylianos – Senior Planner

Kristin assists with transportation planning services at WestCOG, including management of corridor studies and development of the region’s Long-Range Transportation Plan. Prior to joining WestCOG, she worked in transportation planning at AECOM and the Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency assisting with road safety audits, transit and rail studies, and data analysis. Kristin graduated with a B.A. in Geography with a specialization in Planning from Central Connecticut State University.

Jamie Bastian – Associate Planner

Jamie assists the planning staff on transportation projects, including the regional freight plan. Jamie has worked in natural resource management for the Town of Old Lyme, CT, the US National Park Service, and the US Army Corps of Engineers. He received a B.A. in the Environment from the University of Michigan.

Kristin Floberg – Associate Planner

Kristin assists both the Transportation and GIS staff on projects, including the regional snow removal optimization. She graduated with a M.S. in Transportation and Urban Engineering as well as a B.S in Civil Engineering from the University of Connecticut. Prior to joining WestCOG, she worked as a Junior Planner at Fitzgerald & Halliday and as a Graduate Assistant at the University of Connecticut. She is passionate about the relationship between the built urban fabric and its effects on walkability.

William Kenny – Associate Planner

Will assists the Planning staff with a variety of tasks related to public health, including the Tick Illness and Drug Task Forces as well as emergency management. Before joining WestCOG, Will worked in politics, with people who are homeless, as well as on projects to tackle issues related to food accessibility. He earned his B.S. in Public Health Sciences from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with a focus on health equity and economics.

Nicole Sullivan – Associate Planner

Nicole supports the Planning staff on administrative, legislative, and transportation projects. Prior to joining WestCOG, Nicole worked at Joseph Merritt & Company, where she archived cases on behalf of the State of Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families. Nicole graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Connecticut in Storrs and studied abroad in Ireland at University College Dublin.

Ariana  Vera – Associate Planner

Ariana supports transportation planning services at WestCOG. Prior to joining WestCOG, she worked in the insurance industry and in human resources. She also managed routing and schedules for a paving company and as a Product Specialist. She graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology from Princeton University.

Summer Interns

Leonardo Abreu – Sustainable CT Fellow

This summer, Leo is working to assist WestCOG municipalities with Sustainable CT initiatives. He works to recruit municipalities into the Sustainable CT Certification Program and assists towns that are already registered with their current projects. He is a rising junior at the University of Connecticut, majoring in Environmental Engineering.

Eli Egan-Anderson – Planning/GIS Intern

Eli assists the GIS staff with the expansion of the regional FEMA Community Rating System (CRS) and helps towns with enrollment in the program. He is also working on development and implementation of a regional Natural Floodplain Functions Plan. The Planning/CRS Internship is funded in partnership with The Nature Conservancy. Eli graduated Cornell University with a B.S. in Natural Resources, and he is currently pursuing an M.A. in Geography at the University of Connecticut.

Collin Donovan – Sustainable CT Fellow

Collin is joining WestCOG as a Sustainable CT Fellow this summer. He works to recruit municipalities into the Sustainable CT Certification Program and assists towns that are already registered with their current projects. Collin will be entering his senior year at Fairfield University in the fall, where he will continue to study Environmental Studies and Politics.

Michael Wang – Economic Development Intern

Michael assists with economic development projects. Michael is currently pursuing an A.B. in Mathematics at Princeton University. He has also worked as an intern at Fore Research & Management and the UC San Diego Department of Economics. Princeton is sponsoring his time with WestCOG.


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