Founded in 1915, CGR has been delivering expert support to the public, nonprofit and private sectors for a century. Originally, we were incorporated as the Rochester (NY) Bureau of Municipal Research, and were established by founder George Eastman with a mandate to “get things done for the community” we call home. Although our passion for delivering promising solutions has never changed, both the geographic area and clients we serve have broadened dramatically. Today we have a national reach and can be found working with a diverse range of agencies, organizations and communities.
In an arena served almost exclusively by for-profit consultancies, CGR stands apart. Since our founding, we have operated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, a status that insulates us from political bias and holds us accountable to our clients’ true shareholders – the communities they serve – positioning them as more desirable places to live and work.
Just like our clients, we’re in the business of making a difference.
Katherine Bell provides critical support for diverse projects, ranging from cost-of-government analyses to database design for public, private and nonprofit clients. She has played a key role in the development of every online community profile CGR has delivered to clients.
Her expertise also encompasses data collection; database analysis and management; technical support for program evaluations and needs assessments; data management for online community profiles; and GIS, including interactive mapping. Ms. Bell is our key contact for the U.S. Census, since CGR is an affiliate data center for New York. In addition, she manages in-house technology, overseeing all purchases, installations and innovations. She joined CGR in 2004, and was named manager in 2008. She earned her degree in management information systems from Rochester (NY) Institute of Technology.
Alice Carle has over 15 years of foundation and not-for-profit experience. Her experience in national and local philanthropy includes designing and implementing strategic giving programs, program evaluation, grant-making processes, non-profit management, and community development.
Ms. Carle served as a program director and program officer at The Kresge Foundation for 10 years. Earlier in her career, Ms. Carle worked for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, and Crisis Clinic of Seattle. Ms. Carle earned a master’s degree in Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. She holds an undergraduate degree from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.
Dr. Harris has spent the last 18 years using her policy analysis background, disciplinary training in education, and evaluation expertise to examine the implementation and impact of social programs in order to influence institutional change. Her research portfolio includes studies examining national school reform efforts in K-12 settings and racial disparities in educational outcomes.
Dr. Harris’ research contributions in Rochester include a community-based study that examined the experiences of Latina/o secondary students in local schools. Her research has been published in numerous academic journals and edited books and is the co-author of the Plight of Invisibility: A Community-Based Approach to Understanding the Educational Experiences of Urban Latina/os published by Peter Lang. This text examines the inequities confronted by Latina/o families as they negotiated Rochester schools.
At CGR, Dr. Harris contributes to project focusing on education, public safety, early child care, and organizational change. She leads evaluations of the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant at the Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter School and the Children First Scholarship program in Buffalo, New York.
Prior to joining CGR, Dr. Harris worked in a variety of research think tanks, higher education institutions, and non-profit organizations. She has been consultant research analyst for Latino Affairs and Bilingual Education at the Rochester City School District (RCSD); a faculty member at the University of Rochester, Wellesley College, and Lawrence University; a researcher at the Consortium for Policy Research in Education at the University of Pennsylvania; and a postdoctoral fellow at the RAND Corporation in Washington, DC. She is a member of the Latino Education Task Force and an advisory board member for Teen Empowerment.
Dr. Harris received her Ph.D. in educational policy studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; M.A. in sociology and education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and B.A. in sociology from Wesleyan University.
Zohar Perla joined CGR in September 2017 after the completion of her Master of Public Policy degree at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. Zohar brings with her extensive experience in quantitative and qualitative data analysis, social impact metrics, and the use of organizational data management to help drive program improvement.
Zohar has served as a consultant for the Sobrato Early Academic Learning model and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Other past projects include a fellowship with the Oakland Unified School District, and working to help craft program theory and impact metrics for the National Children's Cancer Society. Additionally, Zohar worked for two years as a Graduate Student Researcher at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Berkeley, modeling the public costs of low-wage work.
Previously, Zohar served as the Regional Data Analyst and National Data Systems Consultant for Reading Partners, a national literacy nonprofit. There she helped lead the reimagining of their Salesforce system and new data management practices as well as providing data-driven insights to help drive program improvement. Before that, she worked as a Senior Analyst at Cornerstone Research, where she led analyst project teams in data and document analyses to support expert testimonials in complex economic litigation. Zohar holds an undergraduate degree in Economics and Psychology from Amherst College in Amherst, MA.
Amelia Rickard provides research, cross-disciplinary analysis and data visualization techniques to CGR’s economic impact studies and community profiles projects.
Ms. Rickard joined CGR after a career at Paychex and the completion of her degree in managerial economics and public policy analysis from the Rochester (NY) Institute of Technology. Ms. Rickard is a member of the International Economic Society and past recipient of the RIT Women’s Council scholarship award. She has co-authored a peer-reviewed academic paper on the technology and economics of digital emissions that will be published in February 2017.
David A. Riley is a planner, researcher and former journalist. He offers a unique mix of experience in urban planning, data analysis, qualitative research and writing about public policy and government at the local, state and federal levels.
Mr. Riley earned his master's degree in urban planning at the University at Buffalo, where he focused on community development, neighborhood planning and public engagement. He contributed to research on reusing vacant land to produce solar power, revitalizing neighborhoods without displacing residents, and using neighborhood-based storytelling events as a method of public engagement. While completing his graduate education, Mr. Riley worked as an independent consultant and analyst on projects including a transportation corridor plan in Victor, N.Y. He also completed a graduate-level internship with the Community Design Center Rochester, where he worked on various public engagement and urban design projects.
Previously, Mr. Riley was an award-winning journalist with extensive experience reporting on government and public policy in upstate New York and Massachusetts, from town hall meetings to congressional elections. Most recently, he was a reporter at the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, N.Y., covering local government and politics. Before this, he produced data-driven reporting for a chain of suburban Boston newspapers, focusing on state policy and challenges facing municipal governments.
Michael Silva has been working with data for over a decade. From economic to public safety, demographic to public finance data, Mr. Silva has worked with it all.
His experience enables CGR to derive data-driven insights and support informed decision making. Not only does he provide project support but he also developed InformAnalytics, our economic and fiscal impact tool for economic development professionals. He joined CGR as an assistant in 2008 after collecting data for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and was named to his current position in 2012. He earned his degree in economics with honors from the University of Utah.
Patrick Smith directs business and project development activities at CGR and is responsible for the continued growth of the organization on a regional and national level.
Mr. Smith's primary focus is to build awareness about CGR's unique capabilities among prospective clients, and develop and maintain relationships with current and past clients as well as state and national associations. He has over 25 years of sales, marketing and business development experience at public and private companies as well as non-profit organizations.
Prior to joining CGR in 2015, Mr. Smith worked at General Code, LLC overseeing business development activities in the New England and Mid-Atlantic Region where he worked with hundreds of municipalities and county governments. He is well-versed in issues affecting municipalities and worked closely with municipal managers, clerks and governing bodies to develop codification solutions that made a municipality's laws, rules and regulations easily accessible to staff and residents. He has been a presenter at the New England Municipal Clerks Institute and Academy, International Institute of Municipal Clerks as well as many state league of municipality organizations and various state and local clerks associations. Prior to General Code, he worked at Westlaw-Thomson Reuters, the world's largest legal publishing and online research company as a sales consultant. Before that he was a Vice President of Business Development at the American Arbitration Association, where he was an expert in the field of alternative dispute resolution providing consulting services to attorneys and labor unions in the area of arbitration, mediation and conflict resolution. Early in his career he worked at Marriott Hotels International and National Car Rental in various sales positions. He has been a guest lecturer at the University of Rochester, University at Buffalo Law School, Rochester Institute of Technology, Cornell Corporative Exchange and SUNY Brockport. He earned his degree in Business Management from Niagara University.
Dr. Wang joined CGR in March 2017 after completion of his Ph.D. in Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University. His experience in quantitative analysis, applied econometrics and programming offer critical support to CGR's Data Science Team and economic impact projects.
Previously, Dr. Wang worked as a consultant for Municipal Analytics in Ann Arbor, Michigan, developing analytical models and decision-making tools for local government financial management. His dissertation research has focused on regulations and their impacts on the automobile industry and vehicle usage in the United States. A 3-year awardee of the Richard D. Aplin Teaching Excellence Fund at Cornell, Dr. Wang previously worked as a researcher and technical support specialist at Shanghai Foson Pharmaceutical Development Co. in China.
In addition to his Ph.D. in Applied Economics from Cornell, he holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and a Bachelor of Science from Fudan University in Shanghai.
Karen Yorks is skilled at planning, coordinating and assisting with managing the day-to-day running of our organization.
Prior to joining CGR in 2005 she was a membership manager for the Genesee Country Village & Museum in Mumford, New York for seven years. Her previous positions included serving as executive secretary at a Midland, Texas firm with responsibility for supporting top management, and as secretary for the City of Bryan (Texas) Development Foundation, where she provided administrative support for the city manager's office. She earned an associate's degree in accounting from Community College of the Finger Lakes, and has completed additional course work at Rochester Institute of Technology.
Dr. Zappia brings over 30 years of experience working in healthcare, philanthropy, and nonprofit organizations to CGR. For the past 11 years, Barbara worked as a senior program officer and chief learning officer at the Greater Rochester Health Foundation.
At the Health Foundation, Barbara directed grantmaking initiatives to create healthy neighborhood environments and to improve clinical healthcare services for older adults. Her research interests include the social determinants of health, neighborhood environmental influences on health, and asset based community development. In previous work, Barbara developed expertise in program planning and evaluation at a local, community-based agency. Earlier in her career, Barbara was a physical therapy clinician and department director in hospitals and long term care facilities in Rochester and the Finger Lakes region. Dr. Zappia holds a B.S. in physical therapy from Ithaca College and M.P.A from SUNY Brockport, and she earned her Ed.D. from the University of Rochester Warner School of Education in 2014.