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 Public Transportation Commission and 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 – Senior Financial Manager

Patty serves as WestCOG’s Senior Financial Manager 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.

img_1077Nicole Sullivan – Communications Assistant

Nicole supports the Planning staff on administrative, legislative, and transportation projects. She also assists with communications. Prior to joining WestCOG, Nicole worked at Joseph Merritt & Company, where she archived confidential 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.

Galen Wells – Regional Election Monitor

Galen Wells is WestCOG’s first Regional Election Monitor. This is a new position created by state statute to assist the Registrars of Voters in the region. Galen arranges training sessions for polling place moderators to help assure that there are trained and certified moderators available for each election and primary. She also provides other assistance as needed to assure the continuation of smooth, well run elections in the region.

Planning Staff

JonJonathan Chew – Senior Project Manager

Jon provides consultant management and other planning services within the transportation program. He undertakes short term projects assigned by the Director. Other responsibilities include meeting minutes, land use referrals, and coordination of Tick Illness Prevention. He has been employed by various regional planning councils in CT since 1973, and is a former member of the Beacon Falls Economic Development Commission and the Central Naugatuck Regional Planning Commission. Jon has a Master’s Degree in Community Planning from the University of Rhode Island.

RobRobert Sachnin – Senior Planner, AICP

Rob serves as a key senior adviser to WestCOG, SWRMPO, HVMPO, and area municipalities. He has extensive experience in transportation and environmental planning, hazard resilience, GIS, and grant writing. He served as a project manager on FEMA Hazard Mitigation Plans (HMPs) and organized Hazard Resilience Workshops; assessed the risk of critical area infrastructure to flooding, while also administering and maintaining portions of the regional transportation program. Rob’s work on the HMPs and transportation program keeps the region eligible for billions of dollars in federal and state funding. In addition, Rob spearheaded efforts to deliver Salt Marsh Advancement Zone assessments. Rob has a Masters in Urban Planning from CUNY Hunter College; a B.S. Environmental Science and a certificate in GIS & Spatial Analyses from SUNY Albany.

IMG_0952Robert Brinton, P.E. – Project Manager

Bob assists with the management and administration of LOTCIP projects and transportation planning studies for WestCOG. He has 15 years of experience as a town engineer for the towns of Hamden, Milford, and Bloomfield, and previously worked for several engineering consulting firms designing highway, railroad, and bridge projects. Bob has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Connecticut and a M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the University of New Haven.

LizElizabeth Esposito – Associate Planner

Liz works on economic and community development, as well as online content for WestCOG. Prior to joining WestCOG, she worked at the Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency, completing projects in food access and security, hazard resiliency, and educational opportunity. She also managed an award-winning Main Street Program in St. Helens, OR, and worked as an Assistant Planner for the Village of Port Chester, NY. Liz graduated from Smith College with a B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy. She also has a Graduate Certificate in GIS from the University of Connecticut.

34165_10150219459595368_5303757_nKristin Hadjastylianos – Associate Planner

Kristin assists the WestCOG team with transportation and community planning services. Prior to joining WestCOG, she worked as a Transportation Planner at AECOM and also as an Associate Planner at the Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency. Kristin graduated with a B.A. in Geography with a specialization in Planning from Central Connecticut State University.

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.

img_1080Michael Towle – Associate Planner

Mike heads up the environmental and hazard mitigation planning efforts for WestCOG. His professional interests include climate change and environmental science, GIS, data science and data visualization. Mike received a B.S. in Environmental Science from UMass Lowell and a M.S. in GIS for Development and the Environment from Clark University.

Jamie Bastian – Planning Aide

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 – Planning Aide

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.

Christian Schmidt – Summer Planning Intern

Christian will be working on the Federal Transfers and Tax Collection aspect of our Legislative Agenda. He will be investigating various paths by which WestCOG, can secure federal grants that equivalent county governments have access to in other states. His interests range from attending town council meetings, to closely following the effects autonomous vehicles and smart cities will have on future societies. Christian is a rising sophomore at Princeton University intending to concentrate in Politics as well as to receive certificates in Urban Studies and Linguistics.

GIS Staff

CarlCarl L. Zimmerman, PhD – Senior GIS Manager

Carl manages data analysis, distribution, and mapping for WestCOG and is involved in state-level GIS planning. He has over 10 years experience in geospatial technology and GIS while working in consulting, academia (e.g. Tufts and Coast Guard Academy), and state government (CT DEEP, Inland Wetlands Section). His professional practice areas include spatial analysis and remote sensing; transportation data and analysis; environmental planning; site planning and engineering, and water resource issues.  He has a PhD in Geomatics from the University of Connecticut, a Masters of Landscape Architecture from Kansas State University, and a B.S. in Geologic Sciences from the University of Michigan.

Mike S.Michael Sullivan –  GIS Analyst

Michael contributes to the development and implementation of regional transportation studies and other geospatial projects. Prior to joining WestCOG, he worked in GIS roles at public agencies ranging from New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications to the United Nation’s Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea. Michael has a M.S. in Geographic Information Science from CUNY Lehman College, and a B.A. in Geography and B.S. in Economics from SUNY Binghamton University.

IMG_0853James Dawson – GIS Analyst

Jamie assists the GIS Team and WestCOG’s municipalities in a variety of GIS tasks. Jamie is currently pursuing a M.S. in Geographic Information Systems from Pennsylvania State University. He graduated with a B.S. in Geology with a double minor in Economics and Mechanical Engineering from Union College.

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