staff

The Allegheny Conference staff works from the direction of board leadership on the day-to-day activities that move the Conference’s agenda forward.

If you are a smart, civic-minded individual who is invested in a bright future for the Pittsburgh region, why not join our team.

Senior Management Team

Cecelia Cagni

Meet Cecelia

What do you do?
I serve as the organization’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications. In this capacity, I oversee the development and delivery of marketing and communications strategies and products that support the Conference and its affiliated organizations.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
Pittsburghers are not afraid to do the work! Across our private, public and academic sectors – we tackle challenges, solve hard problems and pioneer solutions to make our region and world a better place.

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Cecelia Cagni

Senior Vice President, Marketing/Communications
412.392.4555 x3110

Bill Flanagan

Meet Bill

What do you do?
I guide the development of regional and organizational messaging strategy and supervise Investor Relations activities, including membership development and programming, as well as fundraising.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
My passion has been telling the story of the Pittsburgh region for more than 35 years.

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Bill Flanagan

Chief Corporate Relations Officer
412.281.4783 x3123

Vera Krekanova

Meet Vera

What do you do?
I am responsible for coordinating all quantitative and qualitative research, championing the use of data and information across the organization, and framing the messaging around the state of the Pittsburgh region’s economy.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
I am passionate about the Pittsburgh region because of its natural beauty, incredible resilience, strong commitment to a better future and amazing people.

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Vera Krekanova

Chief Research Officer
412.281.4783 x3136

Stefani Pashman

Meet Stefani

What do you do?
On October 2, 2017, I became the Chief Executive Officer of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and its affiliated organizations – the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, the Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh, LLC and the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
Frick Park.

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Stefani Pashman

Chief Executive Officer
412.281.4783 x3125

David Ruppersberger

Meet David

What do you do?
I work with a dedicated team at the PRA, colleagues at the Allegheny Conference, and partners across the 10 counties of SW PA to attract new business to the region and help existing companies grow.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
There are few places on the globe that offer the combination of economic vitality, quality of life, and affordability that we enjoy in the Pittsburgh region. And, while we do have our challenges, we are willing to acknowledge them; and we demonstrate a level of collaboration in addressing them, that most regions envy.

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David Ruppersberger

President, Pittsburgh Regional Alliance
412.392.4555 x3109

Janel M. Skelley

Meet Janel

What do you do?
I am the Chief Financial Officer overseeing the accounting, finance, human resources and information technology departments, as well as facets of operations including facilities management.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
Pittsburgh’s city landscape, the friendly people and the perfect place to raise a family. The sense of pride I feel when a visitor approaches the end of the Fort Pitt Tunnel and gasps at what is at the other side. It is the place I grew up and will always be my home.

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Janel M. Skelley

Chief Financial Officer
412.281.4783 x3113

Matt Smith

Meet Matt

What do you do?
I serve as president of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, an affiliate of
the Allegheny Conference on Community Development since June 2015.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
I am passionate about our city’s ability to collaborate and partner, across party lines, between labor and business, and across the region, on critical issues impacting our future.

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Matt Smith

President, Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce
412.281.4783 x2032

Jan Tagliaferi

Meet Jan

What do you do?
I joined the Allegheny Conference in 2007 and assisted with the Pittsburgh 250 celebration, and then returned in 2011 and currently serves as the Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer and as the Administrative Manager.

Jan Tagliaferi

Administrative Manager
412.281.4783 x1031

Staff

Karen Adkins

Meet Karen

What do you do?
Manage the day to day financial operations.

Karen Adkins

Controller
412.281.4783 x3111

Jennifer Baldwin

Meet Jenn

What do you like best about your position?
I enjoy providing a support system for our staff and the constant variety in my work.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
I’m fascinated by the growth and evolution that has taken place in my lifetime. And no matter where I’ve lived or traveled, this region is always home.

Jennifer Baldwin

HR/Payroll Analyst
412.281.4783 x3144

Jennifer Beer

Meet Jen

What do you do?
I work with public officials, primarily at the state level, to advance public policy that improves the economy & quality of life of our region.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
The people. (And the pierogies.)

Jennifer Beer

Vice President, Government Relations
412.281.4783 x3114

Eric Bitar

Meet Eric

What do you do?

I am the project manager for the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA), focusing on both business attraction and expansion opportunities within the 10-county, Pittsburgh region. I have been with the PRA for more than 17 years and worn various hats during that time.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
As a native to the Pittsburgh area, I have the opportunity to honor the legacy and heritage of the region, and proud to have a small part in shaping our innovative evolution.

Eric Bitar

Senior Director, Business Investment
412.392.4555 x4510

Lydia Blandford

Meet Lydia

What do you like best about your position?
The opportunity to see in the inner workings of an enduring, impactful organization.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
I fell in love with the city after moving here for college and I want other people to see how great it is.

Lydia Blandford

PULSE Fellow
412.281.4783 x3115

Brian Burley

Meet Brian

What do you like best about your position?
I am more than passionate about championing and supporting the work of making the Pittsburgh region the most livable and inclusive place for all people.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
Aside from it being home? Pittsburgh is a place for the leaders and the bridge builders to come and make this city exactly what we know it needs to be.

Brian Burley

Director, Economic Inclusion
412.392.4555 x3122

Eric Chaikowsky

Eric Chaikowsky

Art Director
412.392.4555 x4542

Carole Colalella

Carole Colalella

Assistant Controller
412.392.4555 x1034

Philip Cynar

Meet Phil

What do you do?
I’m part of a team that conveys the amazing stories and news of a Pittsburgh region-reborn to a broad audience including the Regional Investors who have kept our organization running for nearly 75 years, our many partners across the region to companies looking to grow, and talent seeking a “soft landing” loaded with opportunity. And there’s the media, too – another important communications vehicle with which I work closely to report on how Pittsburgh, and Pittsburghers, have been making the world a better place for 250+ years.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
Pittsburgh is right-sized for me. It’s a big, small city where I feel like I’ve found my place. My husband and I appreciate and value Pittsburgh’s rich history and unique character, its accessibility on so many levels and the diversity of people who make this a friendly, safe and welcoming place.

Philip Cynar

Senior Communications Specialist
412.392.4555 x4573

Katie DelVerne

Meet Katie

What do you like best about your position?
No two days are the same – I am constantly wearing different hats, working on a wide range of projects.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
The collaborative spirit, the strong work ethic, and the food is AMAZING.

Katie DelVerne

Marketing Associate
412.392.4555 x4525

Mickey Denner

Meet Mickey

What do you do?
Event planning.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
Why am I passionate about Pittsburgh? My family, friends and home.

Mickey Denner

Marketing Associate
412.392.4555 x3103

Kelly Dunbar Jones

Meet Kelly

What do you like best about your position?
What I like the most about my position is being able to interact on a daily basis with staff, clients, vendors and being the main contact person for the organization.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
I love all of the newly renovated shops, condos, restaurants that are currently in process or will be will complete with in the next few years. I also love how we all come together in good times and bad to help each other.

Kelly Dunbar Jones

Receptionist/Administrative Assistant
412.392.4555 x4531

Leslie Freeman

Meet Leslie

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
The Pittsburgh region is where I was born and raised. I’ve seen the city evolve from the old “steel town” to the emerging technology center that it is today.

Leslie Freeman

Financial Analyst
412.392.4555 x3119

James Futrell

Meet Jim

What do you do?
Serve as a regional resource for economic, demographic and business information.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
It’s the perfect combination of big city assets and small town values.

James Futrell, CCR

VP, Market Research & Analysis
412.392.4555 x1023

Sara Gaal

Meet Sara

What do you like best about your position?
I enjoy working with the members of the Regional Investors Council and learning about their goals for the region.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
I’m passionate about the Pittsburgh region because of the incredible food scene!

Sara Gaal

Director, Investor Relations
412.281.4783 x4572

Ellen Gaus

Meet Ellen

What do you do?
If Google were a girl, that would be me. I assemble data about people, jobs, industries and more in the Pittsburgh region and beyond to tell an impactful and meaningful story, as well as attract and retain businesses. I lead on manufacturing and other key sector requests as well as international requests.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
Pittsburgh and the people that live here are unlike any other in the world. Working for an organization that is so invested in the success of the region is a thrill and an honor.

Ellen Gaus

Market Research Analyst
412.392.4555 x1020

Katelyn Haas-Conrad

Meet Katelyn

What do you do?
I complete qualitative policy research related to the different parts of our Agenda. My favorite part of my position is getting to think about critical issues and how policy changes can improve our region.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
I am passionate about the Pittsburgh region because I love being part of a civically active community that is dedicated to making this place the best it can be.

Katelyn Haas-Conrad

Policy Analyst
412.392.4555 x1069

Debra Harshaw

Meet Deb

What do you like best about your position?
I enjoy working with the Business Investment and Investor Relations teams. I find the work interesting and as a group we make a great team.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
I love the Pittsburgh region mostly for its people. Having many hiking trails and beautiful lakes is just a bonus.

Debra Harshaw

Coordinator, Business Investment and Investor Relations
412.392.4555 x4539

Michael Henderson

Meet Mike

What do you do?
In my role with the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, I am responsible for client contact, information gathering, and project management for companies from around the region and around the world that are considering southwestern Pennsylvania for new and expanded facilities.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
I moved here from New Jersey to be part of the dramatic transformation of the Pittsburgh region, from one largely based on manufacturing to the diversified economy that it is today, and I want to do my part to accelerate that transformation.

Michael Henderson

Senior Director, Business Investment + International Investment Inquiries
412.392.4555 x4536

Kaitlyn Hendrickson

Meet Kaitlyn

What do you do?
I build support to advance legislation that betters the quality of life for those in our region.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
I love the sense of community and friendliness that the people project, how the city has stayed on the cutting edge, and the food!

Kaitlyn Hendrickson

Advocacy Intern

Patty Horvatich

Meet Patty

What do you do?
With the help of my colleagues and partners, I promote the 10-county Pittsburgh region for the purpose of creating jobs and capital investment through business attraction and expansion.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
The people.

Pittsburghers have a ‘roll up your sleeves, get it done’ attitude that helps to cope with current times and plan for the future, all while respecting our strong heritage.

Patty Horvatich

Vice President, Business Investment
412.392.4555 x4543

Diane Hughley

Meet Diane

What do you like best about your position?
What I like best about my position is witnessing first-hand how an issue moves through the public policy process: from original idea/problem to bill formation and advocacy to final passage.

Diane Hughley

Government Affairs Coordinator
412.281.4783 x4516

Brian Jensen

Meet Brian

What do you do?
Public policy research and development. Much focus on local governance, finance and taxation and waste/stormwater management.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
Moved to Pittsburgh in 1988 because of its rich industrial history. Have seen and to some extent have helped shape Pittsburgh’s rebound from economic desolation to resurgence and strength.

Brian Jensen

Senior Director, Policy & Advocacy
412.281.4783 x3134

Miranda Knee

Meet Miranda

What do you do?
I build all of the websites that are related to the Conference.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
I like that it’s not too far but far enough away from my small hometown. Mostly, I am a big fan of the many places to try buffalo chicken pizza.

Miranda Knee

Web Developer
412.281.4783 x1082

Johna K Lingelbach

Meet Johna

What do you like best about your position?
Challenges. Life never gets boring with technology always changing.

Johna K. Lingelbach, MCSE, MCP, A+

Senior Director, Information Technology
412.281.4783 x2028

Matt Minczeski

Meet Matt

What do you do?
I help make the Allegheny Conference’s work and people sound and look awesome to our audiences inside and outside the region.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
I’m passionate about many aspects of the Pittsburgh region, but I’m most passionate about the authentic and diverse pizza options throughout the 10 counties.

Matt Minczeski

Marketing Director
412.392.4555 x4511

Nova Rubio

Meet Nova

What do you do?
Provides administrative support to management and staff.

What do you like best about your position?
Meeting talented people and knowing I am a part of making our region “Great!”

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
Pittsburgh has a nice city feeling. Not too little and not too big.

Nova Rubio

Administrative Coordinator
412.281.4783 x3101

Jess Scott
Jess Scott

Advocacy Intern

Becky Thatcher

Meet Becky

What do you like best about your position? I love that my data is the foundation for telling the story of our region, our industries, and most importantly the people in our communities.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
I am always impressed by the hard work and passion the residents and businesses have to improving their communities, as well as the overall wonderful small town feel with big city attractions.

Becky Thatcher

Market Research Analyst
412.281.4783 x4570

Patriece Thompson

Meet Patriece

What do you like best about your position?
Building relationships with different groups and RIC to execute and drive the ACCD mission.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
I am passionate about uplifting the next generation and making Pittsburgh culturally diverse.

Patriece Thompson

Investor Relations Manager
412.281.4783 x3108

Linda Topoleski

Meet Linda

What do you like best about your position?
Working with so many of our investors to help the region grow through talent.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
There’s never been a better time to be in the Pittsburgh region. We are on the leading edge of so many developments that are changing the world in technology, health and humankind.

Linda Topoleski

VP, Workforce Operations & Programs
412.392.4555 x3116

Keith Trageser

Meet Keith

What do you do?
I lead the Allegheny Conference’s digital efforts highlighting the amazing work done by the Conference and its Affiliates in the 10-county Pittsburgh region.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
I’m passionate about the 5-time Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

Keith Trageser

Senior Director, Website & Social Media Development
412.281.4783 x4507

Alison Treaster

Meet Alison

What do you do?
I manage employer relations and engagement in talent retention and attraction, including qualitative research and programming with human resources directors, college students and career services.

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
I was admittedly not sure about Pittsburgh when we first moved here, but I think the blending of old and new Pittsburgh is a charming dichotomy that gives us a lot of character and builds on our historical strengths, while leaving space for new ideas and innovation.

Alison Treaster

Director of Workforce Business Engagement
412.281.4783 x1035

Rhonda Walters

Meet Rhonda

What do you like best about your position?
I love that I get the opportunity to lead, support, and serve amazing & talented employees each day!

Why are you passionate about the Pittsburgh region?
The “sense of community”, the feeling of belonging and that what happens to one happens to us all!

Rhonda Walters

Vice President of Talent Management
412.281.4783 x2029