Get In Touch With Our Teams:

 

Community Broadband Networks Initiative

Michelle Andrews — GIS and Data Visualization Researcher

Michelle Andrews is a GIS and Data Visualization Researcher with the Community Broadband Initiative. She received her Masters of Science in GIS from Clark University and served for two years in CTEP AmeriCorps in the Twin Cities. She pairs her data analysis and mapping background with the on-the-ground digital equity work to make data both applicable and easily understandable to a wide range of audiences.

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Sean Gonsalves — Senior Reporter, Editor, and Researcher

Sean Gonsalves is a a senior reporter, editor and researcher for ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative. Sean was a longtime former reporter, columnist, and news editor with the Cape Cod Times. He is also a former nationally syndicated columnist in 22 newspapers, including the Oakland Tribune, Kansas City Star and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. His work has also appeared in the Boston Globe, USA Today, the Washington Post and the International Herald-Tribune.

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Ry Marcattilio-McCracken — Senior Researcher

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken is a Senior Researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative. He is interested in the democratizing power of technology, systems engineering, and the history of science, technology, and medicine. Previously, Ry worked as an Adjunct Professor of American History in Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Minnesota. Ry holds a PhD in American History from Oklahoma State University.

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Christopher Mitchell — Director, Community Broadband Networks Initiative

Christopher’s work focuses on telecommunications — helping communities ensure the networks upon which they depend, are accountable to the community.  He has published several reports, articles, and interviews while also offering technical assistance to communities around the country.

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H. Trostle — Project Manager

H. Trostle (they/them) is a project manager on the Community Broadband Networks team. They have a Master’s in Urban and Environmental Planning from Arizona State University and a B.A. in Political Science and Classical Languages from Macalester College. At Arizona State University, Trostle focused on Indigenous Planning: their final applied project was for the Office of Navajo Government Development. Between degree programs, Trostle worked on the Community Broadband Networks team as a researcher from 2015 to 2018. Trostle is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and grew up in a small town in northern Minnesota. They are especially interested in infrastructure issues and community development in rural areas.

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Sara Tohamy — Intern 

Sara is a GIS and Data Visualization intern with the Community Broadband Initiative. She is a current Master of Urban and Regional Planning student at UCLA where she’s focusing on advancing racially and environmentally equitable practices in planning, transportation, and design. Sara formerly worked on informing policy on broadband equity for an affordable housing non-profit, and hopes to continue to advocate for more equitable and affordable digital systems for lower-income and BIPOC communities.

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Composting for Community Initiative

lindabilsens

Linda Bilsens — Project Manager, Neighborhood Soil Rebuilders Program

Linda is the Project Manager for ILSR’s Composting for Community project and Neighborhood Soil Rebuilders community composter training program. Her role is dedicated to fostering a skilled, collaborative network of composters who are regenerating their communities, both socially and ecologically.

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Sophia Hosain Baltimore Project Lead

Sophia Hosain is the Baltimore Lead on ILSR’s Composting for Community project and Neighborhood Soil Rebuilders community composter training program. A graduate of the Neighborhood Soil Rebuilders program and part-time vegetable & flower farmer, Sophia now works in sustainability and is interested in alternative energy, permaculture and circular economies.

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Linda Knapp — Director, MACREDO Project

Linda Knapp is a Senior Program Manager for ILSR, overseeing the Mid-Atlantic Consortium of Recycling and Economic Development Officials, a recycling market development group funded by US EPA Region 3. Her current work focuses on increasing on-farm composting.

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Brenda Platt — Director, Composting for Community Initiative

Brenda Platt directs ILSR’s Composting for Community project, which is advancing local composting in order to create jobs, enhance soils, sequester carbon, reduce waste, and build healthy communities. She has worked 35 years fighting trash burners and promoting a zero waste economy. She is nationally known for her research documenting jobs through reuse, recycling, and composting.

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Ronaldo Reyes — Intern

Ronaldo is a Composting for Community Initiative Intern. His primary responsibilities are to provide support for the initiatives’s ongoing projects as well as researching and documenting policies and resources to advance composting. He recently completed majors in International Studies and French Language & Culture at Towson University.

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Energy Democracy Initiative

Drew Birschbach — Audio Engineer

Drew Birschbach is a former Energy Democracy Intern working as an audio engineer on the Local Energy Rules podcast. He is studying Professional Journalism with minors  in Sustainability Studies, Information Technology and Computer Science at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

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John Farrell — Co-Director of ILSR & Director, Energy Democracy Initiative

John Farrell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its work on energy democracy. John is best known for his vivid illustrations of the economic and environmental benefits of local ownership of decentralized renewable energy.

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Abby Hornberger — Intern

Abby Hornberger is an Energy Democracy Intern for the Spring Semester, 2021. She is currently pursuing a degree in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management with a minor in Sustainability Studies at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

Katie Kienbaum — Senior Researcher

Katie Kienbaum is a Senior Researcher with ILSR’s Energy Democracy initiative, where she researches and writes about equitable and decentralized clean energy and its impact on communities across the country. Before joining the Energy Democracy initiative, she was a Research Associate with the Community Broadband Networks initiative

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Maria McCoy — Research Associate

Maria McCoy is a Research Associate on the Energy Democracy initiative, where she contributes to blog posts, podcasts, video content, and interactive features. Her research focuses on how communities can transition to clean, decentralized energy systems that are both equitable and economically viable.

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Independent Business Initiative

Susan Holmberg Senior Editor and Researcher

Susan Holmberg is Senior Editor and Researcher on the Independent Business team. She manages the program research and publications, and helps shape the strategic direction of the initiative. She writes on corporate power, small business, inequality, and systemic racism. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from UMass, Amherst, and has been published in the New York Times, Time, The Atlantic, The Nation, and Democracy Journal.

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Zac Kaplan — Legal Policy Intern

Zac Kaplan is a third year student at Columbia Law School where he is a Managing Editor on the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, and works as a research assistant for Professor Lina Khan. Outside of school, Zac has completed internships with private law firms in New York and Mexico City, the New York Office of the Attorney General, and the Legal Aid Society’s Employment Law Unit. Zac has a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University.

Ron Knox — Senior Researcher and Writer

Ron Knox is the senior researcher and writer for the Independent Business Initiative. He has studied and written about antitrust and monopoly power for more than a decade. Before joining ILSR, he worked in various senior editorial roles at Global Competition Review, and his antimonopoly writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Slate, The American Prospect and elsewhere. He is based in Kansas City.

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Katy Milani — Senior Policy Advocate 

Katy is the Senior Policy Advocate for ILSR’s independent business program where she works closely with coalition partners and policymakers on antimonopoly and small business policy and advocacy. Previously she was Director of Advocacy and Policy at the Roosevelt Institute where she led strategic engagement with allies, partner organizations, and elected officials on a range of corporate power policy areas, including banking reform and corporate governance.

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Stacy Mitchell — Co-Director of ILSR & Director, Independent Business Initiative

Stacy is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its initiative to decentralize economic power and level the playing field for independent businesses. She has produced many influential reports and articles, designed local and federal policies, and collaborated to build effective coalitions and campaigns.

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Solomon Neuwirth — Legal Policy Intern

Solomon Neuwirth is the Legal Policy Intern with ILSR’s Independent Business initiative. He is currently pursuing a Juris Doctor degree at Fordham Law School. He is also a small business owner and hopes to use his law degree to fight corporate giants that destroy small businesses.

Kennedy Smith — Senior Researcher

Kennedy Smith is a Senior Researcher with ILSR’s Independent Business initiative. Kennedy is one of the nation’s foremost experts on commercial district revitalization and independent business development. Her work focuses on analyzing the factors threatening independent businesses and developing policy tools that communities can use to address these issues and build thriving, equitable local economies.

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Shaoul Sussman — Legal Fellow

Shaoul Sussman is a Legal Fellow at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. His research focuses on the intersection of antitrust law and big tech. Shaoul has published an academic paper and a number of articles about Amazon’s anticompetitive practices and the company’s negative influence on firms that rely on its e-commerce platform.
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Mary Timmel — Small Business and Consumer Organizer

Mary Timmel is ILSR’s Small Business and Consumer Organizer. She supports and develops the leadership of small businesses and consumers to win policy changes that check Amazon’s outsized power and address rising corporate concentration across the economy. She brings decades of small business, social justice, and community organizing and advocacy to the role. Prior to joining ILSR, Mary worked with Girls Who Code, Missouri Jobs With Justice, and the Small Business Majority.
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Waste to Wealth Initiative

Neil Seldman

Neil Seldman — Director, Waste to Wealth Initiative

Neil Seldman, Ph.D., co-founded the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and is Director of the Waste to Wealth Initiative. Seldman is a leading recycling and zero waste activists assisting citizen, environmental and small business organizations in stopping garbage incinerators in scores of US cities. Subsequently, he works with these cities to increase recovery of materials from the waste stream and grow the local economy by adding value to materials through local processing, manufacturing and job creation. Prior to founding ILSR Seldman was a manufacturer of consumer products and professor of political science.

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Communications, Development, and Operations

David Morris

David Morris — Distinguished Fellow

David Morris is co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and currently ILSR’s distinguished fellow. He writes the blog, From the Desk of David Morris. He has served as an adviser or consultant to local, state and national governments and to private businesses large and small.

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Jordan Ashby — Communications Intern

Jordan Ashby is the Communications Intern for the Institute of Local Self-Reliance. She assists in research for the communications team as well as content development for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and the Building Local Power podcast. She is currently a rising Junior at Yale University studying American Studies with a certificate in Education Studies.

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Jessica Del Fiacco — Communications Manager

Jessica Del Fiacco is the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Communications Manager. She works closely with all of our initiatives to build community power and combat monopolies, and she runs ILSR’s social media networks on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Jessica also produces the Institute’s Building Local Power podcast.

Contact Jessica for media inquiries.

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Virgil McDill — Communications Director

Virgil McDill has more than 20 years of experience developing and executing media campaigns for government and non-profit organizations. Before joining ILSR in 2020, Virgil served as Associate Director of Public Affairs at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, where he led key national media campaigns focused on saving historic places and revitalizing communities.

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John Bailey — Development Director

John is the Director of Development and is responsible for coordinating fundraising and related outreach for ILSR.  He was a senior researcher at ILSR from 1992 until 2011, specializing in decentralized energy policy and analysis including topics of renewable energy, climate change, efficiency, tax policy and electric vehicles.

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India Gorden — Operations Manager

India Gorden is the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Operations Manager. India has managed day-to-day office operations for non-profit organizations since 2003 and maintains her professional relationship with various vendors. Her focus is in office management, finance and general human resources.

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Executive Directors

Stacy Mitchell — Co-Director of ILSR & Director, Independent Business Initiative

Stacy is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its initiative to decentralize economic power and level the playing field for independent businesses. She has produced many influential reports and articles, designed local and federal policies, and collaborated to build effective coalitions and campaigns.

Full BioContactRecent Posts – Twitter

John Farrell — Co-Director of ILSR & Director, Energy Democracy Initiative

John Farrell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its work on energy democracy. John is best known for his vivid illustrations of the economic and environmental benefits of local ownership of decentralized renewable energy.

Full BioContactRecent Posts – Twitter

 

Board of Directors

NoraGoldsteinNora Goldstein

Nora Goldstein is the Editor of BioCycle, the magazine and website authority on composting and anaerobic digestion, where she oversees such projects as “www.findacomposter.com” and manages conferences related to composting and zero waste. She received the U.S. Composting Council’s “Hi Kellogg Award” in January 2014, and the American Biogas Council’s “Biogas Visionary Award” in October 2013.

JolieJonesJolie Jones

Jolie Jones is the founder of the Take It Back Foundation, which has worked to encourage recycling efforts.  Her varied career spans art, modeling, and music.

Chris-LewisChris Lewis

Christopher Lewis is Vice President for Government Affairs at Public Knowledge and he leads their federal advocacy efforts. Prior to joining Public Knowledge in 2012, Chris served at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as Deputy Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs and advised the FCC Chairman on legislative and political strategy. He is a former U.S. Senate Staffer for the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and has over a decade of organizing and campaign experience. Chris graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelors degree in Government. He lives in Alexandria, VA where he loves working on local civic issues and is elected to the Alexandria City Public School Board.

KirkMarckwaldKirk Marckwald

Kirk Marckwald, the Chairman of the Board, helms California Environmental Associates, a consulting firm that works with a wide range of businesses, nonprofits, foundations, and public institutions to promote conservation. Marckwald has extensive experience with energy and environmental regulation, and prior to founding CEA in 1984, worked as the Under Secretary of California’s Natural Resources Agency, and as a consultant with the Environmental Defense Fund.

David MorrisDavid Morris

David Morris is co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and currently ILSR’s distinguished fellow. He writes the blog, From the Desk of David Morris. He has served as an adviser or consultant to local, state and national governments and to private businesses large and small.

RoyPriestPhotoRoy Priest

Roy Priest is a Commissioner on the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County (Md.) and retired Executive Director and CEO of the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority in Alexandria, Va.  Priest has worked in community economic development and finance over his 50-year career, and prior to his current position, served seven years as the President and CEO of the National Congress for Community Economic Development, and 17 years with the U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development, including as the Director of the Office of Economic Development.

AndyReicher

Andrew Reicher

Andrew Reicher is Executive Director of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, where he started in 1978 and which he has led since 1981. Over his tenure, UHAB’s base of tenant-run and tenant-owned housing cooperatives has grown from several dozen to more than 1,500 in New York City and beyond. He is the 2003 recipient of the National Association of Housing Cooperatives’ highest honor, the “Jerry Voorhis Award.”

Photo credit: Carol J. Ott

GinaSchaeferGina Schaefer

Gina Schaefer is the Founder & CEO of nine Ace Hardware stores in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Md. She manages operations for the $20 million company, oversees 210 employees, and chairs the Retail Committee for the Ace Hardware Corporation Board of Directors. Additionally, she is a member of the Board of Think Local First D.C., a group focused on transforming D.C.’s economy by strengthening the local business community, Vice Chair of the Board for House of Ruth, and a member of the Advisory Board of Jubilee Jobs.

Neil SeldmanNeil Seldman

Neil Seldman, Ph.D., co-founded the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and is Director of the Waste to Wealth Initiative. Seldman is a leading recycling and zero waste activists assisting citizen, environmental and small business organizations in stopping garbage incinerators in scores of US cities. Subsequently, he works with these cities to increase recovery of materials from the waste stream and grow the local economy by adding value to materials through local processing, manufacturing and job creation. Prior to founding ILSR, Seldman was a manufacturer of consumer products and professor of political science.

 

To reach ILSR staff members not listing an address, please e-mail info@ilsr.org