Sylvia Allegretto is a labor economist and co-chair of the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics, which is housed at UC Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. Prior to working at CWED she was at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., where she coauthored several editions of The State of Working America. Allegretto’s research interests include minimum wages and sub-minimum wages received by tipped workers, along with long-term unemployment, teacher pay, public employee compensation, low-wage labor markets, and inequality. She closely tracks the economy, with particular interest in typical workers and how they are faring, and is frequently called upon by media outlets to provide commentary and contextualize economic data and trends.
Carrie Amann is Director of the Bureau of Workforce Partnership and Operations at the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry. She worked previously with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections as an executive policy and grants specialist.
Angela Antonelli is Executive Director of the Center for Retirement Initiatives, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University. She served as Director of Strategy and Operations at Deloitte Consulting, and Chief Financial Officer with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and has also worked with the Heritage Foundation, U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Government Accountability Office, and U.S. Senate.
Irwin Aronson is the partner in residence of Willig, Williams & Davidson’s Harrisburg office. A respected appellate advocate, he concentrates his practice in labor and employment law, employee benefit matters, governmental affairs and legislative drafting and analysis.
Charlie Bacas was Secretary for Policy and Planning under Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey, Sr. and co-founded Positive Access Corp., a software tool company focused on identity verification.
Rick Bloomingdale became the fourth President of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO in 2010, the organization’s 50th Anniversary, following 16 years as Secretary-Treasurer. He began his career in the labor movement with AFSCME, in 1977. From Project Staff Representative of Local 449, to AFSCME International to State Political/Legislative Director for AFSCME Council 13, Rick has worked tirelessly to ensure workers’ rights. He was a driving force in the enactment of agency shop legislation in Pennsylvania which was vital to workers and their families. He is currently serving on the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, the General Board of the AFL-CIO, President of the AFL-CIO Northeast Council, Director at Ameriserv Trust & Financial Services Bank, Vice President of the National Council Senior Citizens USA Housing-Development Corporation, and the AFL-CIO Appalachian Council as a Board Member.
Fernando Bribiesca is Lead organizer for AFSCME on the active Pennsylvania Child Care Campaign. SEIU and AFSCME joined forces to create Child Care Providers United and are building the membership to be strong and active.
Matthew Brokman is Chief Advisor and Policy Manager, Office of the Majority Leader, Connecticut House of Representatives.
Lois Campbell has served as Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network for nearly eight years. She is the co-chairperson of the Pittsburgh United Board and a key member of the Worker Organizing Table and Clean Ricers Campaign Table. Lois has a Masters in Applied Behavioral Science and brings more than 25 years experience in community organizing to her work.
Ashley Chambers is the Executive Director at United Community Services for Working Families in Reading, Pennsylvania, where she oversees the nationally based YouthBuild program, Home Care/Nurse Aide Training program, and is a member of the PA Rapid Response team for dislocated workers. She has held several positions at UCS including Pre-Apprenticeship Program Manager, Director of Workforce Training, and Director of Programs; positions that focused on creating and implementing workforce developing programs for In-school and out-of-school youth and adults. In addition, Chambers also served as a counselor/advocate at Berks Women In Crisis.
Bailey Childers is Executive Director of the National Public Pension Coalition (NPPC). Since 2007, the Coalition – representing millions of teachers, nurses, police, firefighters and other public sector employees – has worked to protect the financial security of working families who rely on public pensions. NPPC works with a national network of state and local coalition efforts to achieve this goal.
Roger Cohen has served as PennDOT Policy Director since July, 2015. A resident of Lancaster, Roger has had a diverse career in public service, law, politics, consulting and journalism. For eight years, Roger was at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, where he was a policy adviser to the agency’s Executive Director and Board Chairman, manager of the agency-wide business planning process, and Deputy Director of the Office of Policy Analysis and Planning. He was a public affairs and issue management consultant for nine years and the head of communications and media relations at one of the ten largest law firms in the world. Perviously he served as the NJ and district director for a member of the US House of Representatives, and before that was an award-winning reporter at the Bergen Record newspaper in New Jersey. He is a graduate of Columbia University.
David Cooper is Senior Economic Analyst, Economic Policy Institute. He conducts national and state-level research, with a focus on the minimum wage, employment and unemployment, poverty, and wage and income trends. He also coordinates and provides technical support to the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN), a national network of over 60 state-level policy research and advocacy organizations.
Mark Critz is Executive Director of the Rural Development Council, where he advises Governor Wolf on policy as it impacts rural citizens and serves as the advocate for rural Pennsylvanians to the Governor. Mark spent more than a decade as a congressional staffer for Congressman John P. Murtha, first as his Director of Economic Development and then as District Director. After Congressman Murtha passed away, he ran for his seat and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in May 2010, serving until January 2013.
Tom Croft is the Executive Director of the Steel Valley Authority (SVA), the earliest and most innovative initiative fighting to restore manufacturing in Pittsburgh, the Commonwealth and the rust belt. He also serves as Managing Director of Heartland Capital Strategies (HCS), a responsible investment network in the U.S. and Canada. His “Responsible Investor Guidebook,” which will be published in July, will provide best practices and tools to invest in renewing cities, reviving the industrial commons, growing the clean economy and taking shareholder actions to make the “boss” accountable.
Katie Dalby is an organizer with the American Federation of Teachers and United Academics of Philadelphia. She played a key role in winning union recognition for the 1400 adjunct professors at Temple University.
Kimberly Davanzo is Subcontracting Compliance Manager, Grievance and Arbitration Department, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 13. She is a 25-year AFSCME member and a graduate of Youngstown State University.
Aidan Davis is a senior policy analyst with the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), a non-profit, non-partisan research organization that works on federal, state, and local tax policy issues. Her role involves analyzing the revenue and distributional impacts of state tax laws and proposals using ITEP’s microsimulation tax model. Prior to joining ITEP, Aidan worked as a senior analyst with The Pew Charitable Trusts where she focused on state and local budget policy. Aidan holds a Bachelors Degree from Kent State University and a Masters in Public Policy from George Washington University.
Steve D’Ettorre is the Policy Director at the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) where he focuses on issues such as business financing, tourism, community development, international business, and technology and innovation. Before joining DCED, he spent over a decade in the non-profit sector where he held several different positions including Director of Government Affairs and Deputy Director. Steve has extensive knowledge and experience in government relations on the state and federal level, as well as a background in management, finance, and fundraising. He began his career as a staff member in the U.S. Senate.
Denise Dowell directs the Civil Service Employees Union’s (CSEA) Early Learning and Care Programs. In 1998, she co-founded the Philadelphia Worthy Wage Campaign, the United Child Care Union, and the Philadelphia Area Jobs with Justice Coalition. As Coordinator of Child Care Providers Together, a project of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), she provided support and technical assistance to AFSCME affiliates and Child Care Providers United, a new union for family child care providers in Pennsylvania and California.
Nina Esposito-Visgitis has served as the President of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers since 2011. She has worked for the Pittsburgh Public Schools for more than 20 years and has been nationally recognized for her work as a speech language specialist. As president of PFT400, Nina has been instrumental in reshaping education in Pittsburgh. She was a leader in creating a new teacher evaluation system that has been nationally recognized for its innovative approach to problem solving in public education.
Janice Fine holds a Phd in Political Science from MIT and is Associate Professor of Labor Studies and Employment Relations at the School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University where sheteaches and writes about forms of collective action among low wage workers in the U.S., historical and contemporary debates within labor movements regarding immigration policy, dilemmas of labor standards oversight and enforcement, innovative union and community organizing strategies and privatization. She is the author of many scholarly articles and has also published in New Labor Forum, Boston Globe, the Nation, the Boston Review, and the Newark Star Ledger. Her research has been featured and she is frequently quoted in the New York Times and other national press outlets. Fine is the author of the book Worker Centers: Organizing Communities at the Edge of the Dream published by Cornell University Press and the Economic Policy Institute. Prior to becoming a professor at Rutgers, she worked as a community, labor, coalition and political organizer for over twenty years.
Lisa Frank is an Organizing Coordinator with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and currently directs Hospital Workers Rising (hospitalworkersrising.com), Pittsburgh’s historic campaign to win living wages for tens of thousands of hospital workers and to hold the city’s largest industry accountable to caregivers, patients, and taxpayers. She helped thousands of Pennsylvania homecare attendants to form their union and to advocate alongside seniors and people with disabilities to create a stable and just homecare system for workers and consumers. Prior to joining SEIU, Lisa served as National Research Director for the United Electrical Workers (UE) and was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Philosophy at Carnegie Mellon, where she helped to found CMU’s Women’s Center. She serves on the Board of Pittsburgh United, a multi-organization coalition working to win social and environmental justice for everyone in our region, and is a member of the Action Council of Planned Parenthood of Western PA.
Jeff Garis is the Outreach and Engagement Director for the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC). Jeff received a BA in English from Messiah College, and has more than a decade and a half of experience working with advocacy organizations in Pennsylvania. Before joining PBPC in 2013, he worked with diverse coalitions for several years as the field director for Pennsylvania Voice and the state political director for America Votes. He spent four years as the executive director of Penn Action, and served as the director of a statewide death penalty reform organization for seven years.
Susan Gobreski was recently appointed Director of Community Schools in the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Education. The former Executive Director of Education Voters of Pennsylvania, she has worked in policy development, community outreach campaigns, and other initiatives in support of public education. She was Pennsylvania director and national campaign director of the League of Conservation Voters, and spent more than a decade working for Clean Water Action, an environmental advocacy group.
Jason Gottesman is Bureau Chief at the PLS Reporter, a news reporting website hosted by Pennsylvania Legislative Services and dedicated to covering the ins and outs of Pennsylvania’s state government. He was previously host of a news program on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN).
Nathan Greenawalt is the Director of Special Field Programs at PSEA, where he oversees the Education Support Professional (ESP) program and Conflict Resolution Through Collaboration. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Lebanon Valley College and a Master’s degree in Science Education for LVC. Prior to working at PSEA he spent five years as a teacher in the Northern Lebanon School District.
John Hanger is the former Pennsylvania Secretary of Planning and Policy under Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under Governor Ed Rendell. He was also Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and Of Counsel at law firm Eckert Seamans.
Art Haywood is a Pennsylvania State Senator serving the 4th District. He began his career offering legal services to low-income families, and later represented organizations focused on community revitalization through the improvement of education, affordable housing and business development. As a State Senator, he is especially concerned with public education, raising the minimum wage, retirement with dignity, affordable homeownership, inclusion, women’s health, criminal justice, and gun violence prevention.
Tom Herman is president and CEO of the Service Employees International Union, Local 668, a 22,000-member statewide union representing professional workers in the social service fields. Previously, he was an organizer and business agent with SEIU. He serves on the executive board of SEIU International, Vice President of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, and on the elected executive committee of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.
Stephen Herzenberg has been the Executive Director of Keystone Research Center since 1996. He holds a PhD in Economics from MIT. Before joining Keystone, Steve taught at Rutgers University and worked at the U.S. Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL). At USDOL, he served as assistant to the chief negotiator of the labor side agreement to the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Jeff Hunsicker is the founder and CEO of Hunsicker Strategies, a firm specializing in government affairs and innovative political strategies. Prior to founding Hunsicker Strategies he spent nearly thirty years with the Service Employees International Union in organizing and legislative affairs.
Jan Jarrett is a consultant with 25 years experience in environmental advocacy, most recently as head of PennFuture. She served as grassroots coordinator with the Pennsylvania Office of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and managed a coalition of consumers and environmental organizations in the Pennsylvania Campaign for Clean Affordable Energy.
Gabby Jones-Casey is a leader in Philadelphia’s Fight for $15 fast food workers campaign to raise wages and gain a union. She was an organizer with Get Covered America, which encourages the uninsured to sign up.
Charlotte Katzenmoyer has been the Director of Public Works for the City of Lancaster since May 2001. She graduated from the University of Akron; Akron, Ohio with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and graduated from Lehigh University; Bethlehem, PA with a Master of Science in Civil/Environmental Engineering. Ms. Katzenmoyer spent the first 10 years of her career working for an environmental consulting firm near Philadelphia. As the Director of Public Works with the City of Lancaster she has responsibility for approximately 210 employees with an annual operating budget of $50 million and capital budget of $50 million. The water and wastewater systems of the City serve not only the City proper, but nine municipalities surrounding the City with a population of over 140,000 residents. She is responsible for managing a new stormwater management fee program based on impervious area of each property and generates an annual budget of $5 million to meet the Chesapeake Bay pollution reduction program and other CSO efforts. The City’s stormwater efforts have been lauded by USEPA and has been selected as a model community in several EPA studies and reports on green infrastructure.
Reesa Kossoff is Executive Director, SEIU Pennsylvania State Council. She was previously Communications Director for the National Public Pension Coalition, where she devised the messaging strategy around the Detroit bankruptcy and worked with state coalitions to counteract legislative attacks on public pensions. In 2012, she served as Director of Regional Press for President Obama’s Ohio team.
Bernie Lynch is the CEO at Strategic Development Solutions LLC in Pittsburgh. She serves as project manager for The New App for Making It In America, a $3 million dollar U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Innovation Fund project, where she works with a diverse group of professionals to develop a systemic framework to enable start-up companies to manufacture their products in the U.S. competitively.
Senghor Manns is CEO/President and Agency Counsel, Harrisburg Housing Authority. He was previously CEO, Deputy Executive Director and Special Counsel with the Indianapolis Housing Agency.
Tammy Marcase is Director of Workforce Development and Training at The Manufacturers’ Association in York. She is an energetic advocate for manufacturing and workforce development, and has been active in developing innovative programs to educate today’s youth to enter the manufacturing environment.
Ken Mash is President of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF), which represents faculty members and coaches employed at Pennsylvania’s 14 publicly owned universities — the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
Beth McConnell is the Policy Director at the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC), where she works to advance policies that create a more supportive environment for Equitable Development in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. Ms. McConnell is the author of “Beyond Gentrification, Toward Equitable Neighborhoods: An Equitable Development Policy Platform for Philadelphia,” and was the Co-Chair of Mayor Jim Kenney’s transition team on Housing, Planning and Development where she advised the incoming Mayor on key policies and programs. Ms. McConnell joined PACDC in 2013 after a 20 year career in public interest and social justice advocacy and activism at state and national non-profits.
Patrick McDonnell is Acting Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Previously he was the director of policy for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, where he oversaw the agency’s regulation and policy development processes. He alsol ran the State Energy Office and was charged with coordination of renewable energy and energy efficiency issues. Prior to returning to DEP, Mr. McDonnell was executive policy manager for former Commissioner Pamela A. Witmer of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, focusing on electric, natural gas and water issues as well as cybersecurity and the impact of environmental regulation on energy markets.
John Micek is the Opinion Editor for PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years’ experience covering politics and government. He spent 12 years covering Pennsylvania government and politics for The Morning Call of Allentown, joining PennLive/The Patriot-News in January 2013.
Luc Miron serves as Chief of Staff to state Senator John P. Blake (D-Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe), Democratic chair of the Senate Finance Committee and Democratic Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Previously, he worked in the Governor’s Office of Administration (OA), Office for Information Technology and was responsible for programs related to the implementation of broadband and other technology-based initiatives undertaken by the Commonwealth. He was President and General Manager of the Pennsylvania Public Network Television Commission, an independent state commission providing technology services and funding assistance to public television broadcasters in Pennsylvania, and Director of Strategic Technology Initiatives at the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development.
Marty Molloy is Director of Vocational Programming and Partnerships, YouthBuild Philadelphia and a candidate for the Pennsylvania Senate in the 9th District. Previously, he was Director of the Community Action Center at the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, and Executive Director of Greater Philadelphia Cares.
Gabe Morgan is Vice President and 32BJ SEIU PA/DE State Director, which includes 18,500 workers throughout Pennsylvania and Delaware. The districts include: Mid-Atlantic, District 1201 and Western Pennsylvania. He represents hard-working men and women in property service, school districts, security, municipal, and water maintenance.
Ted Mowatt is Senior Associate with Wanner Associates, Inc. He also served as President of the Pennsylvania Association for Government Relations and is Chair of the Pennsylvania Alliance of Health Care Providers.
Michael Neill is the Director of Training for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union 98 in Philadelphia, having previously served as Telecommunications Instructor and Training Director. He is a graduate of Apprentice Training for the Electrical Industry’s four-year Inside Wireman electrical Apprenticeship program and the National Training Institutes’ four-year Instructor Development Training Program. He also serves on the Apprenticeship & Training Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
John Neurohr is the Communications Director for PBPC. John holds a master’s degree in Political Management from the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management, where he was a University Fellow, and a bachelor’s degree in Television-Radio from Ithaca College, where he was a Leadership Scholar. Before joining PBPC, John was the Communications Director at Keystone Progress, a multi-issue statewide progressive organization, and the National Communications Director for ProgressNow, a network of 22 state-based communications organizations that conduct year-round, hard-hitting activities for progressive political and policy changes. Prior to joining the ProgressNow family, John was the Communications Director for America Votes and, before that, a Strategic Communications Manager and Deputy Press Secretary at DC’s leading progressive think tank, the Center for American Progress.
Jessica Noon is the Manager of Green Infrastructure Policy and Partnerships for Philadelphia Water, facilitating the implementation green infrastructure citywide as part of the City of Philadelphia’s 25-year, $2.4 billion investment in stormwater management. Her team develops public and private collaborations for cost-efficient stormwater management projects on parks, streets, city facilities, and other public properties to achieve Clean Water Act compliance.
Yetta Okoth is a member of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania and has worked as a Certifed Nurse Aide for more than 20 years in the Harrisburg area. She is a single mother of four children, including one in college. Yetta is a leader in the Fight For $15 among nursing home workers. Because of low wages for nursing home workers, Yetta relied on public assistance to help makes end meet. Recently, she has worked so much overtime that she was disqualifed from receiving food stamps. Yetta joined the Fight For $15 everyone deserves to sleep peacefully at night knowing their family will be OK. She is in this fight for this generation and the next.
Barney Oursler is Executive Director, Pittsburgh United, having been organizing and winning economic justice campaigns all his life. He became a local union officer at United Steelworkers Union Local 2227 and organized in the ‘Steelworkers Fight Back’ movement in the 1970s. He helped found the Mon Valley Unemployed Committee (MVUC) in the early 1980s which effectively mobilized thousands of workers to pass state and federal legislation over the next 25 years, including the only state law protecting unemployed people from mortgage foreclosure in the country.
Tom Palisin is Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Association, serving nearly 350 member companies and advocating for manufacturing, production and logistics in southcentral Pennsylvania and northcentral Maryland.
Emily Previti is WITF’s Keystone Crossroads reporter, a statewide public media collaboration among WITF, WHYY in Philadelphia, WESA in Pittsburgh and WPSU in State College, focused on issues facing Pennsylvania’s cities including poverty, aging infrastructure, financial distress and public worker pensions. Emily previously covered municipal dysfunction and state interventions as a city hall reporter in Harrisburg for the Patriot-News/PennLive, and in Atlantic City for The Press of Atlantic City. She twice won the New Jersey Press Association’s Art Weissman award for public service journalism.
Mark Price has been the Keystone Research Center’s labor economist since 2004, researching income inequality, trends in employment and compensation, the construction industry, and low-wage labor markets. Mark’s work for Keystone has included reports profiling the state of women in the Pennsylvania workforce, and a nationally recognized report tracking the educational qualifications of the early childhood workforce in the United States.
Jennifer Rafanan Kennedy is Director of the Clean Rivers Campaign, a project of Pittsburgh United. The campaign is designed to ensure that the federally-mandated solution to Pittsburgh’s sewer problem will bring maximum benefits to the community.
Carmen Rojas is the CEO of The Workers Lab in Oakland, California, a innovation lab that invests in entrepreneurs, community organizers, and technologists to create replicable and revenue generating solutions that improve conditions for low-wage workers. A first generation Latina, she holds a PhD in city and regional planning from the University of California.
David Rusk is a consultant on urban policy, the founding president of Building One America, and the author of Cities Without Suburbs, which the Congressional Quarterly has called “the Bible of the regionalism movement.” He is a former federal Labor Department official, New Mexico legislator, and mayor of Albuquerque.
Celeste Scott is the Affordable Housing Organizer for Pittsburgh United, a coalition of community, labor, faith, and environmental organizations committed to advancing the vision of a community and economy that work for all people. She previously served as a grassroots organizer in affected communities in Greater Pittsburgh with a focus on assisting women of color.
Rob Scott is Senior Economist and Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Research with the Economic Policy Institute. His areas of research include international economics, trade and manufacturing policies and their impacts on working people in the United States and other countries, the economic impacts of foreign investment, and the macroeconomic effects of trade and capital flows. He has published widely in academic journals and the popular press, and provides economic commentary for a range of electronic media, including NPR, CNN, Bloomberg, and the BBC.
Kyle Serrette is Director of Education Justice Campaigns with the Center for Popular Democracy in Washington DC. He works with CPD partner organizations and education coalitions to develop strategy and coordinates national and regional campaigns that work to bolster our public education system.
Uri Shatten is a technology consultant and Program Manager at Made Right Here, a Pittsburgh-area crowdsourced framework that enables start-up companies to manufacture their.products in the U.S. competitively.
Anna Shipp is the Project Manager of the Sustainable Business Network’s GSI Partners, a business-informed initiative working to advance the green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) industry and innovation in the region, along with the local businesses whose services and products relate to GSI. She holds a Masters of Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, where her academic work focused on urban sustainability and sustainable stormwater management. Prior to joining SBN, Anna provided program coordination and project management for several non-profits in Philadelphia, each around the theme of making the city a better place — environmentally, economically, and socially.
Dennis Short is Research Director, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth’s largest union for healthcare workers unites 25,000 nurses, caregivers, dietary workers, lab technicians and housekeepers who work in Pennsylvania’s nursing homes, hospitals, home health care agencies, state health facilities and auxiliary health care services.
Erica Smiley is the Organizing Director for Jobs With Justice, which fights for workers’ rights and an economy that benefits everyone by combining innovative communications strategies and solid research and policy advocacy with grassroots action and mobilization. Erica also sits on the board of the Highlander Research and Education Center and the editorial board of the online publication Organizing Upgrade. In the past, she has organized with community groups such as Progressive Maryland, the Tenants and Workers Support Committee (now Tenants and Workers United) in Virginia, and SEIU Local 500, and served as national field director of Choice USA, a pro-choice organization focusing primarily on youth access to reproductive health care.
Bryan Smolock is an investigator and administrative officer at the Bureau of Labor Law Compliance, Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, overseeing five district offices.
Frank Snyder is Secretary-Treasurer of the 900,000 member Pennsylvania AFL-CIO. A third-generation Steelworker, he has fought all his life to protect and advance the social and economic rights of working families. As Pennsylvania State Director of the AFL-CIO, he helped move an array of successful political elections in 2008, as well as driving the Employee Free Choice Act campaign in the Keystone State and most recently, the national field operation for healthcare reform.
Robin Sowards is an organizer and researcher at the United Steelworkers, focusing on the higher education sector. He is Vice President of New Faculty Majority, a national advocacy organization for contingent faculty, and is Secretary-Treasurer of the Duquesne University chapter of the American Association of University Professors. He teaches linguistics as an adjunct lecturer at Chatham University.
Susan Spicka is the Interim Director for Education Voters of PA and a recently-elected school board member in Shippensburg. She became involved in education advocacy in 2011 after Governor Corbett announced his plan to cut more than $1 billion from public education funding. Susan joined together with members of her community to raise awareness of the impact these funding cuts would have on the education of children in area communities. She co-founded Education Matters in the Cumberland Valley, a grassroots organization that is dedicated to advocating for policies that support quality public education.
Marc Stier is Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, a project of Keystone Research Center. Stier served as the Executive Director of Penn ACTION, where he worked to protect funding for education and women’s health care and expand Social Security; the Pennsylvania Director of Health Care for American Now, which led the grassroots effort in support of what became the Affordable Care Act in the state; and the Health Care Campaign Manager for SEIU Pennsylvania State Council. His book Grassroots Advocacy and Healthcare Reform is the story of this campaign. Marc has a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and a doctorate from Harvard University, both in political science. He has taught at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks; City College of New York; the University of North Carolina, Charlotte; and Temple University, where he was the associate director and internet coordinator of the Intellectual Heritage Program.
Dan Surra is Co-chair of Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission, and a former State Representative from Clearfield and Elk Counties.The founder of Citizens Action for a Safe Environment, he also served as Senior Advisor to the Pennsylvania Wilds Initiative, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and Executive Director, Governor’s Advisory Board on Hunting, Fishing and Conservation.
John Tkach is Director of Projects with the Keystone Development Partnership, specializing in Pennsylvania Industry Partnership (IP) workforce development projects since 2005. He is currently working on the New App: Making It In America building an innovative multi-firm, labor-management manufacturing apprenticeship, training, and referral (or “21st century hiring hall”) system that provides a ready supply of qualified workers and production supervisors when companies need them.
Alex Wallach Hanson is an Organizer with Pittsburgh United. He was a Fellow with Coro Pittsburgh, which trains diverse, civically-minded people to lead across the business, government, and nonprofit sectors.
Liana Walters, Legislative Director for State Senator Art Haywood (D-Philadelphia and Montgomery), has worked in the State Senate for five years and is the Executive Director for the Senate Aging & Youth Committee. She graduated from Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg with a certificate in Legislation, concentrating on legislative drafting and intellectual property. Before working for Senator Haywood, Liana was previously Legislative Counsel to State Senator Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia and Delaware), where she led the effort to develop the College Access Plan, a package of bills by the Senate Democratic Caucus designed to make college more affordable and accessible. Other than her specific focus on aging and child protection issues for the Committee, currently Liana helps Senator Haywood to analyze the state budget and to develop policies like raising the minimum wage, preventing gun violence, and creating a fairer tax system. She is also an Associate of the James S. Bowman American Inn of Court and incoming co-chair of the Legislative Committee for the PA Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession.
Dave Wazeter has worked for PSEA for nearly 30 years and for the past 12 as Assistant Executive Director for Program Services, where he recently led PSEA’s efforts regarding secure pensions for public employees. Before joining PSEA, Wazeter was an Assistant Professor at the Michigan State University School of Labor and Industrial Relations and also a Visiting Assistant Professor at the State University of New York – Buffalo School of Management.He holds a Ph.D. in Labor and Industrial Relations from Cornell University.
Elaine Weiss is the National Coordinator for the Broader Bolder Approach to Education, which promotes a comprehensive, evidence-based set of policies to allow all children to thrive in school and life. In 2014, Elaine worked with educators from across the country to author a series of commentaries for Bill Moyers on the many links between poverty and education.
Howard Wial is Deputy Secretary for Policy and Planning in the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office and a former Senior Fellow of the Keystone Research Center. He has worked as an economist in other think tanks, federal agencies and universities. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a law degree from Yale University. He co-authored a book from Cornell University Press entitled New Rules for a New Economy: Employment and Opportunity in Post-industrial America, co-edited the Urban and Regional Policy and Its Effects Series from the Brookings Institution Press, and has published widely in law reviews, journals, and books on topics such as manufacturing, urban and regional economic development, job instability, labor and employment law, and new forms of labor organization.
Jesse Wilderman is the Assistant to the President/Director of Innovation for SEIU Health Care Pennsylvania, a 30,000-member health care workers union. He got his start in organizing in a metal factory where he joined his co-workers in standing up to form a union. In 2011, Jesse completed his Masters of Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. While there, he served as a Teaching Fellow for Marshall Ganz’s Organizing: People, Power and Change class. He was a Senior Fellow at the New Organizing Institute, providing organizing training to a range of social justice groups as well as participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement. Most recently, Jesse completed an Masters degree at the Global Labour University at Wits University while living in Johannesburg, South Africa. During almost three years in South Africa, Jesse served as a Fellow at the Chris Hani Institute, as well as providing organizing training and campaign support for trade unions and social movement organizations in several African countries.
Corinna Vecsey Wilson is the president of Wilson500, Inc., a creative solutions consulting firm offering strategic communications, government relations, project management and public relations services. She has more than 25 years experience as a corporate lawyer, lobbyist, trade association and not-for-profit senior manager, and media and communications professional. She was vice president for content at Pennsylvania Cable Network, co-founded the Pennsylvania Women’s Forum and currently sits on the Advisory Board of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts.
Jordan Yeager is a partner with Curtin & Heefner, LLP, where he advises public and private sector clients in all aspects of employment and labor law. As Chair of the firm’s Environmental & Public Sector Practice Group, he serves as solicitor and special counsel to local governments and assists property owners, community groups and non-profits in land use and environmental matters, including issues involving gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale.