At the Mayor’s news conference this morning, they announced the candidates they chose to fill 13 vacant or expired terms on authorities, boards, and commissions.
The open positions were advertised on social media, to which they received 235 applications for 13 open volunteer positions. They say there were a lot of great applications, but they simply could not interview everyone.
Mayor Joe Schember says, “We look forward to finding ways to engage the others who stepped up and made us aware of their willingness to serve. The more people we can get around the table, the better.”
With the Erie Parking Authority, they say they wanted to add some fresh perspectives without losing historical context, expertise, and consistency.
Erie Parking Authority Volunteers:
Dr. Tony Snow
Dr. Snow is a Medical Director at the Erie County Dept of Health, is the President and Co-Founder of WellFit Incorporated, Medical Director and Co-Host of the Wellsville TV Show, remains as Chair of the Board. For Snow, he says, it’s all about putting people first. He says he is honored to continue on to lead the board into the next chapter. Snow grew up here and calls himself a “glass half-full kind of guy”. He sees this opportunity as an “exciting challenge with lots of opportunity and enthusiasm for collaborating on projects and implementing a broader vision”. He believes that if we are all doing a little, then together we’re doing a lot.
John Tretter has served on the Parking Authority for 14 years. He brings a wealth of expertise related to his 30+ years of construction experience in concrete and rebar reinforcement. For 16 years, he has served as Business Manager of Labors Local 603 with experience in budgeting, management of workforce, labor relations, and an extensive network of contacts in the construction industry as well as vendors to construct and maintain existing ramps. The mayor says Tretter is “an invaluable asset to the new Executive Director, Christopher Friday”.
Tom Chido has served 13 years and offers continuity. Chido is a downtown business owner and has “vast knowledge in terms of the business of the Parking Authority”. He has been involved in the budget process, management and blue-collar issues, bond issues, refinancing, safety, security, technology, and public relations. He says his mission is to “make sure Erie has plenty of safe, convenient, affordable parking”.
John Voli has 23 years of experience in government and politics, he holds a master’s degree in political management, and feels he’s called to serve the community in a volunteer capacity. Voli “sees the potential for Erie and is passionate and dedicated to being a part of making the transformation happen”.
Hannah Kirby holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a master’s degree in Business Administration. After graduating from Gannon, Hannah chose to live in Erie and is “passionate about her adopted home”. Kirby left her job as a quality engineer at Lord Corporation to open a coffee shop in downtown Erie, ‘Ember & Forge’. She also brings the perspective of a downtown business. She is very interested in the development of downtown and brings “a fresh set of eyes and wants to be a part of obtaining local grassroots input into policies and plans that impact development”.
Erie Events/Erie County Convention Center Authority
Dr. Matthew White
Dr. White is currently the Managing Director of Whitethorn Digital Media, and is a 10-year leader in video game entertainment. As a millennial, he has a unique, fresh perspective on changing trends, perspectives, and motivations. He has many ideas for how Erie can drive millennial and younger engagement and grow through its events and activities. He understands the importance of placemaking and attracting events and activities in all four seasons. He chose to move here with his family and make his home in Erie.
Erie Redevelopment Authority
Rosmari Graham has experience working on neighborhood revitalization and is committed to assisting with making positive changes in our region. She served as the Executive Director of the Sisters of St. Joseph Neighborhood Network for over 5 years with a mission to revitalize two Erie neighborhoods. She started the NPP and NAP tax credit programs which infused corporate commitment into neighborhood investment, allowing them to remove blight, create public art installations, and develop community gardens and farmers markets. She served on the Erie County Economic Development Corporation and the Enterprise Development Fund, was a Steering Committee Member for Erie Refocused, and has a background in marketing & communications.
Greg Dennis has design/engineering experience with a firm that served the City of Bradford Redevelopment Authority, the McKean County Redevelopment Authority, and McKean County’s Bradford and Foster Townships. He served on the Bradford Township Zoning Hearing Board for over 10 years and the City of Bradford’s Zoning Hearing Board. He has 34 years of experience as a Reliability Specialist for the American Refining Group, responsible for continuous and reliable operation of non-rotating equipment, building systems, bridges, and various infrastructure, including road/street design and underground utilities. Dennis has “fresh eyes and he chose to live here because he has a passion for Erie”.
Erie Land Bank
Jason Pero has 18 years of experience in property acquisition, rehabilitation, and redevelopment within the City of Erie. Pero manages a construction/maintenance team of 12 people working to improve properties in distressed areas in Erie. He’s served as a board member on the Apartment Association for 14 years (with 7 years as Vice President and 18 months as President).
Jason Wieczorek has 20+ years of experience in zoning, site planning, and development. He took urban planning courses throughout architecture school and studied urban planning in Europe. Wieczorek serves on the City of Erie’s Blighted Property Review Committee and works at Bostwick Design Partnership, managing projects from $10,000 to projects in excess of $100 million.
Erica Jenkins moved to Erie in 2013 and has served on the Erie County Bar Association Board and the Board of Our West Bayfront. She has been an attorney for over 18 years. Schember says, “With her legal experience and her perspective from living in other cities and understanding the needs of a city such as Erie, she will be a tremendous asset to the planning commission”.
Mary Rennie (Alernate)
Mary Rennie has a master’s degree in Library and Information Science. She was an employee of County Government for 35 years, mostly in management and administrative roles. Mary is “passionate about the Erie community… She recognizes the importance of planning and taking a holistic, long-term approach to neighborhood planning and historic preservation”.
Amanda Burlingham (Alternate)
Erie Water Works
At the request of the Harborcreek Township Supervisors, the City of Erie renewed the Harborcreek Representative, Attorney Brian Fife, “whose expertise has been invaluable”.
Dr. Varun Kasaraneni
The Schember Administration in terviewed Dr. Varun Kasaraneni, who has a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering, but we determined that he was a Millcreek resident. But, “given Varun’s expertise, his passion, his energy, and his knowledge of the water treatment plant, stormwater runoff, microplastics pollution, and his work with nanotechnology, we talked to Paul Vojtek, the CEO of Erie Water Works, and we agreed that Varun would be an incredible asset. We are proud to announce that the Erie Water Works has now created a Water Quality Advisory Committee of which Varun will be a part. We look forward to his input and guidance”.