Jason BradyJason Brady

Jason Brady is a Housing Program Organizer under CDI’s NEROC Program focusing on Eastern Massachusetts. Prior to joining CDI Jason was a founding member of the Nickel City Housing Cooperative in Buffalo, NY and a community organizer with the advocacy organizations Sierra Club, BlueGreen Alliance and the Florida AFL-CIO. His experience coordinating volunteer outreach, developing volunteer leadership, and managing administrative and legislative advocacy campaigns around environmental and energy policy has contributed to progressive victories for the environment and working families. Jason is a graduate of the University at Buffalo, SUNY with a BA in Environmental Studies. In his spare time he enjoys exploring the outdoors, cooking vegan treats and seeing the world through his son’s eyes.

Rob Brown, manager of the Business Ownership Solutions Program at CDI.Rob Brown

Rob Brown is a Cooperative Development Specialist and the Director of CDI’s Business Ownership Solutions (BOS) program.  BOS works with business owners to help them consider whether conversion to a co-op would meet their needs, and with employees and community members to facilitate conversions to worker and/or community-owned cooperatives. Formerly, he was the Maine Housing Program Specialist in CDI’s NEROC program.  He has a background in community organizing, communications, non-profit and for-profit business development, and public policy development and advocacy. Rob studied economics and public policy at the University of Maine and College of the Atlantic, specializing in rural and community economic development, and has completed the Maine Association of Nonprofits’ Executive Leadership Institute. He has founded several non-profit and for-profit business organizations in Maine, and, nationally, was a William Jefferson Clinton Distinguished Lecturer at the Clinton Presidential Library and School of Public Service, a founding member and Steering Committee member of United for a Fair Economy’s Tax Fairness Organizing Collaborative, and a member of the National Skills Coalition’s Leadership Council. Most recently, Rob was the founding Executive Director of Opportunity Maine, a statewide organizing, research, and advocacy nonprofit focused on education and workforce development, energy policy, and economic development.

Lynda Brushett, Cooperative Development Specialist at CDILynda Brushett

Dr. Lynda Brushett is a Senior Partner with the Cooperative Development Institute where she leads agricultural, fisheries and food systems initiatives. Lynda consults with start-up and established production, purchasing, equipment, distribution, marketing, processing and retail cooperatives, buying groups and farmers markets in the areas of market and business planning, conflict resolution, organizational development and feasibility analysis. Lynda is the author of Specialty Food Business Fundamentals and Show Me the {Grant} Money Guide and co-author of Market Planning for Value-Added Agricultural Products and Grants For Farmers. Over her 35-year career she has conducted numerous feasibility studies, marketing and business plans helping to launch new enterprises and strengthen existing ones.

Maureen CarrollMaureen Carroll

Maureen Carroll is a Housing Program Organizer under CDI’s NEROC Program and a Cooperative Development Specialist. Maureen received her B.S. from Worcester State University as a double major in Urban Studies and Geography. For her senior thesis, Maureen developed a training geared toward organizational strength, for a worker cooperative in Worcester. Maureen has presented her academic work at multiple conferences in Massachusetts. She interned with NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center of Worcester before working for RCAP Solutions as part of the HomeBase program. In 2012 Maureen went north and took a position with the NH Community Loan Fund, working as part of the ROC-NH team as an Organizational Development Specialist. Maureen facilitated training solo and as part of a team and provided technical assistance to manufactured housing cooperative boards across the state. In August of 2013, Maureen came back to Southern New England to be a part of the NEROC team and to continue to provide technical assistance and training for boards and residents of manufactured housing cooperatives.

Thomas ChoateThomas Choate

Thomas Choate is a Housing Program Specialist in CDI’s NEROC Program. Thomas’s background includes time as a research analyst, natural builder, carpenter, and a developer. This has included work with the Reinvestment Fund Development Partners, Dr. Susan Wachter, co-director of Penn Institute for Urban Research and Professor of Real Estate at Wharton, QBL Real Estate, a national consultancy for municipal and cultural development partnerships, and Carolina Common Enterprise. Most recently, he provided business planning, investor relations, project management, and “deep green” land planning as a consultant for community-minded real estate developments, large and small, and similar projects in Asheville, NC. Originally from Austin, Texas, Thomas studied Latin American Politics at Southwestern University and received a masters in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. He enjoys time with his family, cooking, fermenting, dancing, gardening, and music.

Doug Clopp, Director of Development and CommunicationsDoug Clopp

Doug Clopp is the Director of Development and Communications at CDI. He has over two decades of experience working in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors focusing on developing advocacy campaigns, strategic partnerships, fundraising, communications, legislative advocacy, and grassroots organizing. Throughout much of Doug’s career, he has been engaged in advancing democracy reform efforts at the state and national level. Prior to joining CDI, Doug served as the national Director of Outreach for FairVote, responsible for advancing electoral systems change including Maine’s landmark effort to adopt ranked choice voting for all state and federal races. He is the former Director of Strategic Partnerships and Deputy Director for Program for Common Cause, where he was responsible for developing partnerships with national and state organizations to support the organization’s programmatic and campaign goals surrounding campaign finance reform, governmental ethics, and corporate accountability. Earlier, Doug served as State Communications Director for Repower Maine, the state affiliate of Al Gore’s national Alliance for Climate Protection focused on advancing comprehensive clean energy and climate change legislation. He has served as the Director of Governmental Affairs for the Consumers for Affordable Health Care Foundation dedicated to achieving access to quality, affordable health care for all. Doug worked for many years on campaign finance reform in Maine, including the passage of the Maine Clean Election Act, the nation’s first comprehensive public financing system, in his role as Democracy Program Director for the Maine Citizen Leadership Fund. His private sector experience includes serving as the Vice President for Strategic Partnerships at Union Atlantic Electricity, a competitive electricity provider devoted to advancing a labor economy. When not at work, Doug enjoys fly fishing for Maine’s native brook trout, sailing the Maine Coast with friends, organic gardening, cooking, ultimate frisbee, and playing a mean game of bocci on the beach.

Andy Danforth, Housing Program ManagerAndrew Danforth

Andy Danforth is Director of CDI’s NEROC Program, manages its cooperative housing programs, and serves CDI’s clients as its finance and valuation consultant. He has over thirty years of diverse experience in real estate, finance, systems, non-profit governance, and social outreach. He is a co-founder and Managing Director of Circinus Group, which is a portfolio social lender and commercial conduit and provides financial and systemic consulting services to the international residential finance community. During his career, he has been an executive of two public companies, worked with 10 of the 20 largest US banks and Wall Street brokerages, served as a Liquidating Officer of the FDIC, and has assisted local lenders, government agencies, Indian tribes and regional non-profits. Internationally, he has worked on projects in Canada, Australia, the UK, and in several South Asian countries. He spent over 10 years as an adviser to the Mexican National Workers Housing Fund, and to several international NGOs on the practical application of Shari’ah (Islamic law) to micro lending programs. Andy has a long history of non-profit involvement. He is former President and Secretary, and a continuing Trustee of The Cooperative Fund of New England (www.coopfund.coop), a unique revolving fund that lends to cooperative enterprises and community non-profits throughout New England. He is a founder of its sister fund, the Cooperative Capital Fund of New England, the first known venture capital fund targeted toward cooperative enterprises, as well as number of other non-profits in housing and education.

Jonah FertigJonah Fertig

Jonah Fertig is a cooperative food systems developer with the Cooperative Development Institute in the Cooperative Food Systems programs.  He works with farmers, food producers, cooks, distributors, and community members to develop democratic businesses. He is a co-founder and board member of the Maine Farm and Sea Cooperative and has served as a development coordinator for the nation’s first farm & sea-to-institution cooperative.  He also works with New American farmers, assisting them in developing cooperatives and helped Somali Bantu Farmers in Lewiston form New Roots Cooperative, the first New American owned cooperative and farm in Maine.  Previously, he co-founded Local Sprouts Cooperative in Portland, Maine and helped develop it into a successful worker-owned cafe. He has been involved in community gardening organizing in Portland and New York City and has taught gardening and cooking in schools and afterschool programs in the Portland area since 2003.  He also co-founded the Greater Portland Community Land Trust in Portland and was a founding member of the Mayor’s Initiative for a Healthy and Sustainable Food System, as well as the Cooperative Design Lab. He is a facilitator for the Sustainable Food Systems Leadership Institute, as well as a speaker at statewide, regional and national conferences about cooperatives in the food system.  He lives with his partner and two kids at Celebration Tree Farm in Durham, Maine.

Marcel Gagne portraitMarcel Gagne

Marcel Gagne is a Cooperative Development Specialist in the Business Ownership Solutions (BOS) program. BOS works with business owners to help them consider whether conversion to a co-op would meet their needs, and with employees and community members to facilitate conversions to worker and/or community-owned cooperatives. Formerly, he was with Western Maine Community Action doing workforce and business development under the Jobs Driven National Emergency Grant (JD-NEG) in Androscoggin, Oxford, Franklin, Kennebec, and Somerset counties of Maine. He has an extensive background in workforce development (WMCA/CareerCenter/DHHS), community and economic development (a decade with CEI), training and talent development for non-profit and for-profit business, and as an advocate for education and life-long learning in Androscoggin County. Marcel studies leadership and organizational development at the University of Southern Maine at Lewiston/Auburn College, and is currently involved in the creation and implementation of the Institute for Continuous Improvement (ICI), a community/economic development process, in partnership with the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, which is focusing on bringing the principles of LEAN to eliminate waste and foster productivity through the development and empowerment of the current workforce and to promote LEAN leadership. He serves as a board member on the Lewiston-Auburn (LA) Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, is a board member and treasurer of Community Credit Union, and is Chair of USM’s LA College Community Advisory Board.

Noemi Giszpenc, Executive DirectorNoémi Giszpenc

Noémi Giszpenc, CDI’s Executive Director, manages the day-to-day activities of the organization. She began her career as an economics researcher at the World Bank, worked as an editor at the Nonprofit Quarterly, a magazine for nonprofit managers, and became a principal at Ownership Associates, Inc., a consulting firm in Cambridge, MA specializing in developing an ownership culture at employee-owned firms. As part of earning a Master’s in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University, she did a thesis on the creation of a cooperative economy in the Northeast, including the practical development of an interactive cooperative directory, which has now evolved into the Data Commons Cooperative (datacommons.coop). She has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

David-GowlerDavid Gowler

David Gowler is CDI’s virtual office manager. He has experience with buying clubs and retail food co-ops going back to the 1970s. David was a founding member and original Board member of River Valley Market in Northampton, Massachusetts and worked for 7 years as their database administrator. At River Valley Market, David was also one of the primary Union organizers and served as Union steward, representing fellow workers with UFCW local 1459. Other community work includes helping to found WXOJ-LP, Valley Free Radio in Northampton and for 15 years working as a program producer for community and student run radio station WMUA in Amherst, Massachusetts. David is currently serving on the steering committee for the Holyoke Community Market, a food co-op in development for the city in which he currently resides.

Sarah MartinSarah Martin

Sarah Martin is a Housing Program Organizer under CDI’s NEROC Program focusing on Western Massachusetts and Vermont. She went to college at Plattsburgh State, studying English with a concentration in writing. While in school, she worked with the Literacy Volunteers on campus, a group that assisted with teaching basic literacy and English as a second language. She is a member and regular volunteer for the ROTA Gallery and Studio cooperative in Plattsburgh. Sarah began working in the NEROC program as an intern doing primarily administrative and organizational tasks such as helping to create a universal online filing system for all of CDI’s ROC parks. Since becoming a CDI employee, she has continued to do administrative work, job shadow on the field and work on various projects, particularly those dealing with financial reporting, past due collections reports and in depth research.

Annik Paul portraitAnnik Paul

Annik Paul is a Housing Program Specialist under CDI’s NEROC Program focusing on Vermont. Annik obtained her M.A. in Sustainable Development from SIT Graduate Institute and wrote her thesis on planning and designing a volunteer-based organization. She spent a year volunteering with Transition Putney (Vermont) designing a framework for a sustainable, resilient, and socially just community. Her focus was on localizing the food system by supporting and creating community gardens, farmers’ markets, buying clubs, a low-income CSA, and a food pantry. She received her B.S. from Worcester State University as a double major in Accounting and Finance. Prior to joining CDI, she worked for the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity/Mobile Home Program as a Resident Organizer.

Colleen PrestonColleen Preston

Colleen Preston is a Housing Program Organizer under CDI’s NEROC Program and is a Cooperative Development Specialist. She is a past President of Cranberry Village, a ROC in Massachusetts, and has been elected to the ROC USA Board. She studied journalism at Virginia Tech and George Washington University, spent several years as a programmer and systems analyst for Honeywell, worked as a reporter for the Attleboro Sun Chronicle for 10 years, ran a rare and used bookstore for 18 years, and has served on numerous committees and boards.

Jeremiah WardJeremiah Ward

Jeremiah Ward serves as Housing Program Organizer under CDI’s NEROC Program and is a Cooperative Development Specialist. He has worked for a number of cooperatives in different sectors in the United States and has conducted extensive research on agricultural and worker cooperatives in Mexico. Jeremiah also has expertise in the field of urban development. He obtained his MA in Community Development and Planning from Clark University and specializes in HUD’s HOME and CDBG programs, as well as other urban development initiatives.

 

Jeanee WrightJeanee Wright

Jeanee Wright is a Housing Program Specialist in CDI’s NEROC Program, focusing in Maine. She has over 20 years of training experience and ten years of cooperative development experience. Prior to joining CDI, she spent 7 years serving on the Board of Directors in her cooperative, where she led a committee to plan and execute a project to replace failing water, sewer and electrical systems in the community. Her involvement and knowledge from that experience led her to a position as an Organizational Development Specialist with ROC-NH (ROC-NH provides assistance with funding, training and education to more than 120 resident-owned communities in New Hampshire) where she focused on developing leaders in other resident-owned communities to identify, plan, fund and construct projects that ultimately stabilized community infrastructure. She also collaborated on and facilitated boot camp curricula designed to strengthen tools and processes to manage the role of operations managers and other maintenance volunteers. Jeanee is also experienced in acquisition, financing and post-purchase technical assistance. She is passionate about leading others to solutions through good action planning and commitment.