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.
Ms. Carle has over 15 years of foundation and not-for-profit experience. She worked in Southeast Michigan as program officer and managing director for the Kresge Foundation, and maintains relationships with many organizations and stakeholders in the community.
She has an extensive knowledge of the unique challenges facing Southeast Michigan, and adds a considerable amount of experience and knowledge to our project team. Earlier in her career, Ms. Carle worked for the Ann Arbor Community Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to joining the Kresge Foundation in 2004. 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.
Steve Hanmer joined CGR after serving as Managing Partner at a private finance and technology consulting firm, where he specialized in building the strategic planning, data management and performance measurement capabilities of governments. He has created several custom data analytics and reporting solutions to meet the financial and programmatic requirements at the local and federal level. His interests include integrating custom business processes with accurate data, facilitating the timely evaluation of programs, and analyzing information to drive decisions.
Prior to forming Mission Source Consulting, Mr. Hanmer served as Budget Officer for the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and worked in several capacities supporting the City Managers of Cambridge, MA and Glendale, AZ.
He has directed the efforts of several human service, community development, public safety and public works agencies in creating strategic goals and benchmarking metrics. On several occasions, he has integrated program outcomes with financial data to help senior management improve internal operations and demonstrate the public impact of government funds. Mr. Hanmer earned his masters of public administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, and his undergraduate degree in Environmental Geology and Policy Studies from Syracuse University.
Dr. Harris has spent the last sixteen 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.
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. Earlier in her career, Dr. Harris contributed to the development of a literacy for health program in Southeastern Nigeria and directed youth programs in Stamford, Connecticut. She is a member of the Latino Education Task Force and an advisory board member for Teen Empowerment.
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.
Michael Silva is an innovative researcher who not only provides project support but also designed and regularly updates our economic modeling platform, informANALYTICS.
InformANALYTICS is an economic and fiscal impact tool for economic development professionals and others interested in economic impact modeling. In addition, Mr. Silva supports web-based community profiles; completes data analyses; and utilizes his skills in web programming, website design and widget development. He joined CGR as an assistant in 2008 after working 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.
Barbara 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.
Hafiz Khalid Akram is serving as a SUNY Brockport Fellow at CGR for the 2017-18 academic year. He brings an extensive background in technology & service delivery within healthcare industry globally.
His experiences range from product development, documentation management, disaster recovery, service, planning, operations, team building, capacity building, curriculum development, technology utilization, and commercialization and project management.
In his pursuit for learning, Akram has done extensive traveling globally in more than a dozen countries and supported numerous teams in the USA and worldwide. He served more than 12 years in leading corporations delivering high standards of client engagement and satisfaction, developing and delivering innovative solutions.
Earlier in his career, he supported relief efforts in a disaster area which has a lasting impact on his career. Trained as an engineer, he focuses on sustainable and systems approaches, and practices a methodological and consultative style in solving problems.
His interests are government, policy, operational excellence, technology, implementation of best practices and serving humanity. Akram is currently pursuing a Master in Public Administration at SUNY College at Brockport. In his leisure time, he likes to read and spend time with family and friends.
Scott Sittig focuses on helping leaders identify measures that both save money and better allocate scarce resources. He is a former CGR senior staff member, and has a demonstrated ability to identify achievable solutions to fiscal, economic and local government challenges.
While at CGR (2007-2014) he managed more than 25 government management efficiency, shared service and/or consolidation studies in the Northeast and Midwest. He also played key roles in public safety, human services, tax assessment and economic impact projects. Prior to his years at CGR he served as an executive pastor focusing on strategic change; an executive director for a group of physicians serving the underserved; and vice president of finance operations for a Chicago-based mission, where he helped facilitate the organization's expansion to another state and overseas. Today, in addition to being a consultant, he is the pastor of a small congregation. Mr. Sittig earned his master of public policy from the University of Chicago, and his B.S. in business administration and sociology from Roberts Wesleyan College.
Steve Kroes brings 27 years of experience in public policy analysis, nonprofit leadership, and public-sector consulting. He has worked extensively with elected officials grappling with complicated policy issues, serving as a subject-matter expert on advisory boards and commissions, working as a trusted, nonpartisan advisor to governors, legislators, and regional and local officials. He has extensive experience working with print and broadcast news media to make complicated policy issues accessible to the public.
Steve most recently served 16 years as president of Utah Foundation, which focuses on economic, workforce, and quality-of-life issues in the Intermountain West. He has focused much of his work on public and higher education policy, public finance, economic issues, infrastructure, and voter engagement. His earlier experience included 10 years with California Taxpayers' Association, including serving as its vice president. There, his specialties were media outreach, legislative advocacy, local government finance, and developing unlikely collaborations with public agencies and other interest groups. He recently moved back to northern California and brings his network of western connections and policy experience to his work with CGR, providing a local connection to clients on the West Coast.
For eight years, Steve taught in the Master of Public Policy program at the University of Utah. Community volunteer positions have added important variety and interest to his career, serving on the Utah Governor's Commission on Education Excellence, Utah Economic Council, Olene S. Walker Institute of Politics and Public Service, Prosperity 2020 Founders Council (a business organization advocating for public education), Utah Health Data Commission, leadership of the Governmental Research Association, two chamber boards, his city planning commission, and other activities.
Steve is a dual national of the U.S. and the United Kingdom, and he just wishes he had the accent to prove it.
For over 25 years, Shari Gnolek has solved problems and developed solutions by using statistics to draw clear conclusions from complex data. She has extensive experience designing experiments, developing models, analyzing and visualizing data, and communicating results in a way that is understandable to all audiences. Her background in Engineering with a Masters degree in Statistics provide an ideal springboard to tackle tough problems across widely different industries and applications.
Her early work focused on predicting equipment reliability, and improving quality and production capability in industrial manufacturing environments. From there, she moved on to designing and analyzing studies to improve the image quality of space-based visible, infrared, and radar imaging systems. She has published research based on work she did for a local university (Modeling Change and Variation in U.S. News & World Report College Rankings: What would it really take to be in the Top 20?) that describes a model she built which accurately reproduces the outcomes from U.S. News college rankings. Shari currently serves as a Statistical Analyst for a Higher Education consulting company where she specializes in building models to predict student enrollment and retention.
Shari's community service interests are also diverse. She is actively involved with the Friends of Webster Trails and currently serves as the organization's President. Her good-natured therapy dog accompanies her on local nursing home visits, and she recently joined up with Big Brothers Big Sisters and serves as a youth mentor.
When she's not working you will find Shari outdoors camping, biking, kayaking, or hiking whenever possible, even through Rochester winters.