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 is a skilled analyst with more than 15 years of experience across CGR’s portfolio of projects for local governments, nonprofits and foundations. Her expertise includes data collection, analysis and visualization; geographic information systems (GIS); web design; and database design and management.
Ms. Bell plays a central role in projects across CGR’s practice areas. Her portfolio of GIS work includes building GIS datasets, creating interactive online maps, and performing network analysis for various public safety and highway projects. For over a decade, Ms. Bell has played a pivotal role in CGR’s work on community indicators websites, managing nearly 300 indicators and about 200 data sources, improving site updates and functionality, and incorporating maps, dashboards and infographics into each website. She has created and maintained more than 40 websites informing the public about CGR’s projects with local governments.
In addition, Ms. Bell manages information technology for CGR and brings firsthand IT knowledge to our project work. She is CGR’s key contact for the U.S. Census, as we are an affiliate of the New York State Data Center and support its work to improve access to U.S. Census data for the public, local governments and businesses in our state.
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.
Kieran Bezila is a skilled researcher with experience in both quantitative and qualitative approaches, having taught classes and conducted individual and joint research work at the collegiate level for more than a decade. His research interests include government, politics and the social logic behind everyday decision-making.
Prior to joining CGR, he was an assistant professor of sociology and a teaching fellow at Beloit College in Wisconsin. Previously, he worked for the Center for Responsive Politics, managing and preparing federal campaign finance data for public view. His National Science Foundation-funded dissertation project enrolled 288 research subjects in a study of the logic underpinning altruistic behaviors such as tipping and gratuities.
Dr. Bezila is proficient in every phase of the research process, from conceptualization and design to data collection, management, and analysis and interpreting results. He has particular skills in research design, questionnaire and survey construction, interview techniques, conducting focus groups and statistical analysis.
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.
David A. Riley is a planner, researcher and former journalist focused on improving quality of life in the communities he serves. He offers a unique mix of experience in urban planning, studying state and local government, data and policy analysis, and qualitative research. His research interests include land use, housing and transportation policy, and community development.
At CGR, Mr. Riley works on a wide range of government projects. His portfolio of work includes studies of municipal operations and finances in the Cities of Syracuse, NY and Yonkers, NY; a potential town-village merger in Massena, NY; municipal facility and staffing needs in Grand Island, NY; regional approaches to public records retention in Broome County, NY; and fire district operations in Greece, NY
Mr. Riley also has worked on studies for several nonprofits and foundations. Recent work includes a stakeholder engagement process for a foundation in the MetroWest region of Massachusetts; a housing needs survey of employees for several nonprofit organizations in the Rochester, NY area; and a scan of collaborative efforts to improve early childhood services across Western New York.
Prior to joining CGR, Mr. Riley worked as an independent consultant on both planning and data analysis projects. Previously, he was a journalist with a decade of experience reporting on government and public policy, from town hall meetings to congressional elections. He holds a master’s degree in urban planning from the University at Buffalo, where he studied community development and innovative approaches to public engagement, and is a candidate for American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) certification.
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.
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.