2017 Appalachian Ohio State of the Region Speaker Bios

Bret Allphin, Development Director, Buckeye Hills Regional Council

Bret Allphin has 16 years of experience with the Buckeye Hills Regional Council in Marietta Ohio, serving as GIS Manager and most recently as Development Director since 2012. Buckeye Hills is a Local Development District that serves as a liaison between local governments and public agencies at the State and Federal level.  Buckeye Hills acts behalf or residents of an eight county region in Southeastern Ohio to provide a range of community services on including grant administration, grant research, mapping and data research, transportation planning, small business development, and senior services through the Area Agency on Aging.  Mr. Allphin is a 2001 cum laude graduate of Marietta College where he majored in Political Science and minored in Leadership Studies.


Jay D BennettDirector, Community Development & Public Service, City of Zanesville

Jay Bennett is the Director of Community Development and Public Service Director for the City of Zanesville. Mr. Bennett re- joined the City in 2014. He served in the same role in 1999-2001.

In his current capacity, Mr. Bennett is responsible for leadership and direction of both the Community Development and Public Service teams. Functions within this position for the City include community revitalization, planning and zoning, management of the city’s utilities and infrastructure, and legislative affairs.

From 2001 – 2014, he lived and worked in Oregon and Washington State in various roles including City Administrator and as a Development Director for a regional Community Development Corporation.

Jay currently serves as the President of the Zanesville Community Improvement Corporation; as a member of the Zanesville Planning Commission, and as a board member for the South-East Area Transit and the Muskingum County Business Incubator.


Shawn Bennett, Executive Vice President, Ohio Oil and Gas Association

In his role, Bennett is responsible for leading OOGA’s advocacy efforts at the Ohio Statehouse, maintaining and establishing relationships with state officials and organizations and serving as the association’s media spokesperson. He also provides day-to-day leadership for the association and serves on the executive committee. He joined OOGA in August 2014 as Senior Vice President.

Prior to joining OOGA, Bennett served as director of Energy In Depth-Ohio (EID), a grassroots advocacy, research and education initiative organized in support of responsible oil and gas development, since 2011. In his role as EID director, Bennett worked with business leaders, elected officials and residents in eastern Ohio regarding the safety and economic benefits of oil and gas exploration.

A native and resident of Cambridge, Ohio, Bennett earned his bachelor’s degree in political communications from Ohio University.


Ron Coffey, City Manager, Greenfield, Ohio

Ron Coffey has been City Manager of Greenfield since 2013 and enjoys working for the benefit of his hometown and region. He has also been employed as a newspaper and magazine editor and court administrator. The Ohio University graduate is a member of the Adena Greenfield Medical Center Board of Trustees, the Greenfield Rotary Club, Greening Greater Greenfield, and the Greenfield Foundation. Coffey’s hobbies include playing lead guitar in a classic rock band, Dumbfounded.


Matt Cybulski, Director of Energy and Petrochemicals, JobsOhio

Matt joined JobsOhio in 2011 as project manager and site selection manager.  Matt managed major site selection and expansion projects across Ohio.  In January 2014, Matt was named Senior Project Manager, a position that allowed him to continue working on large-scale projects, as well as to focus on project management strategy for JobsOhio and the JobsOhio Regional Network.  In October 2014, Matt became Director of Project Management, a position responsible for leading the organization’s entire project team.  He was named the Director of the Energy and Petrochemicals industry sectors in February 2016.

Prior to joining JobsOhio, Matt served as the Ohio Sales Manager at the Ohio Business Development Coalition and also served as a Special Projects Manager in the Strategic Business Investment Division at the Ohio Department of Development.

Matt has over twelve years of economic development experience, starting with the Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce in Morgantown, West Virginia.  He also served for two years as the Vice President for Economic Development for the Will County Center for Economic Development based in Joliet, Illinois.

Matt is a native of Steubenville, OH. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and his Masters in Public Administration from West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV.  Matt and his wife Carolyn reside in Dublin, OH and have one son.


David Descutner, Interim President, Ohio University

Appointed as Dean of University College and Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education in 2001, David Descutner was a Professor in the School of Communication Studies where he started as a faculty member in 1979.  He served in the School as Director of Studies for the Honors Tutorial College, as Director of the Undergraduate Program, as Director of the Graduate Program, and as Interim Director of the School. He received local and national grants in support of his scholarship in rhetorical theory and criticism, political communication, and the philosophy of communication, and his work was published in scholarly books and in state, regional, and national journals.  He served two terms in Faculty Senate and was a member of the Senate’s Executive Committee during the administrations of President Ping and President Glidden.

Recognized as University Professor in 1986 and 1999, he also was named Outstanding Tutor by the Honors Tutorial College in 1996 and Outstanding Faculty Advocate by the Regional Campuses in 2005.  He received the L.J. Hortin award in 2000 for faculty excellence in student mentoring.  He directed 50 dissertations and served on more than 75 doctoral and master’s committees in four of the academic colleges.  As Dean he was responsible for first-year programs and academic support programs, including Bobcat Student Orientation, the Academic Advancement Center, the Allen Student Help Center, Student Accessiblity Services, as well as the Army and Air Force ROTC programs. As Dean he also managed the undergraduate learning part of the 1804 Fund, and he collaborated with the Ohio University Foundation to launch the Konneker Fund for Learning and Discovery in 2012.

He was the university’s representative to the Ohio Board of Regents on undergraduate issues from 2001-2015. From 2004-2007 he co-chaired the university’s enrollment planning initiatives, from 2007-08 he managed the Division of Diversity, Access, and Equity, and from 2007-09 he chaired the Vision Ohio Steering Committee.  He was named Executive Vice Provost in 2009.  From 2012-2014 he served as Interim Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion. In 2012 he was inducted into the Army ROTC Hall of Fame in honor of his support of that nationally recognized program, and from 2012-2014 he played a key role in establishing the Abraham and Greenfield Veterans and Military Student Services Center. After retiring in 2015, he was named Interim Chair of the Department of Social Medicine in the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. He currently is the Special Assistant to the Executive Dean in The Heritage College.

He and his spouse, Dr. DeLysa Burnier, a professor in Ohio University’s Department of Political Science since 1983, have been very active in philanthropic endeavors with Ohio University, the University of Illinois, Slippery Rock State University, and many local nonprofit entities. He is a member of the board for United Campus Ministry.


John Glazer, Director, TechGROWTH Ohio, Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs

After an early career as a university teacher, Mr. Glazer became the long-standing President and CEO of Little Professor Book Centers, Inc., the largest organization of independent bookstores in the U.S.  He took the franchising company through several rounds of angel financing, achieving successful exits for investors before acquiring the company in 2001.  Mr. Glazer served for six years on the Executive Committee of the Book Industry Study Group in New York.  He was also founder and CEO of four other startup companies: two lesson-rich failures, one modest exit, and another still operating in Ann Arbor, Germany, and South Africa.  He serves as President of New Work Enterprises, Director for Johannesburg-based Lift Africa Technologies, and as board member for several technology start-up companies and community non-profits.   Mr. Glazer has organized a number of technology-based economic development projects in the U.S. and internationally.   He has worked with inventors and entrepreneurs to start up enterprises, finance them, and execute the operational systems that help them succeed.   Currently, Mr. Glazer is the Director of TechGROWTH Ohio, the Third-Frontier Entrepreneurial Signature Program in Southeast Ohio and housed at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University.  TechGROWTH helps early-stage technology companies acquire resources to accelerate commercialization.  He has an ABD PhD and Master’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Michigan.


John Hemmings, Executive Director, Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission (OVRDC)

John Hemmings is the Executive Director (August 2008 to Present) of the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission (OVRDC), and has been with OVRDC since 1991.  The OVRDC, located in Waverly, Ohio, is a public regional planning commission that coordinates federal, state, and local economic and community development resources to encourage development in twelve southern Ohio counties:  Adams, Brown, Clermont, Fayette, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross, Scioto and Vinton.  OVRDC serves as a Local Development District (LDD) for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and as an Economic Development District (EDD) for the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA). In this capacity, OVRDC prioritizes development needs and sets priorities for projects to be funded by ARC and EDA.  Established in 1967, OVRDC has a 50-year history of fostering economic development and job creation in the region.

Mr. Hemmings is a native of Scioto County, Ohio and lives there with his wife, Crystal, and his son, Jonathan.  Majoring in Business Economics, John graduated summa cum laude from Ohio University in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration


Michael A. Hripko, Associate Vice President for Research, Youngstown State University

Michael Hripko was appointed Youngstown State University’s Associate Vice President for Research in June, 2015. He is responsible for management and compliance for all externally funded grants and sponsored programs. Additionally, he supports regional economic development initiatives.

Previously, Mike worked at America Makes as Deputy Director of Workforce and Educational Outreach, where he was responsible for developing and coalescing a national workforce and education strategy in additive manufacturing.

Prior to that, Mike served as Director for Research and Technology-based Economic Development for the Youngstown State University College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Mike’s responsibilities included establishing and supporting multiple industry, government, and academic collaborations resulting in new and expanded programs, technology-based research, and regional economic development.

Mike also enjoyed a 31 year career with Delphi Packard Electric Systems, in Warren, Ohio, where he led a team responsible for comprehensive product portfolio management, coordination and prioritization of new product development, and achievement of quality and profitability metrics

Throughout his Delphi career, Mike also managed Product Pricing, Product Management, Marketing, Sales, and Component Design Engineering.

Mike holds a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Dayton, an M.S. in Industrial Engineering (Operations Research) from the University of Iowa, and an M.B.A. from Kent State University.


Jason Jolley, Assistant Professor/Director EDA Center University, Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs

Dr. Jolley is an Assistant Professor of Economic Development and MPA Director at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University. At Ohio University, he also serves as a Research Fellow in the Center for Entrepreneurship and directs Ohio University’s portion of the US Economic Development Administration University Center (joint with Bowling Green State University).

Dr. Jolley previously worked at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as Senior Research Director for the Center for Competitive Economies, an applied economic development research center in the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise and as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Kenan-Flagler Business School.  His research has been published in Business Strategy and the Environment, Economic Development Quarterly, State and Local Government Review, Review of Policy Research, Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting, & Financial Management, and Economic Development Journal, among other scholarly outlets.


Gilbert Michaud, Adjunct Assistant Professor and Cluster Analyst, Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs

Dr. Gilbert Michaud is an Adjunct Assistant Professor and Cluster Analyst at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University. In this role, he conducts economic impact and feasibility studies, industry cluster analyses, program evaluations, and other research associated with Ohio University’s US Economic Development Administration University Center and the Consortium for Energy, Economics & the Environment. Overall, his research focuses on economic development and renewable energy policy.

Dr. Michaud has published numerous academic articles in journals such as Current Sustainable/Renewable Energy Reports, New Visions for Public Affairs, State Tax Notes, Public Administration Times, and Politics, Bureaucracy, and Justice, among others. Michaud has also written professional/technical reports on economic development and energy issues for Virginia SUN, the Richmond Region Energy Alliance, the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy, and the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth. Prior to his academic career, Dr. Michaud worked as an economics content author for Sapling Learning, Inc., as well as the lead researcher for the Energy & Power segment of U.S. Business Executive Journal. He holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy & Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.


John Molinaro, President/CEO, Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth

John Molinaro serves as President, CEO of the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth. Before joining APEG, Molinaro was co-director of the Community Strategies Group at the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C.

Molinaro has been recognized as a leader in growing the economies of rural areas through holistic, sustainable placed-based approaches, focused on economic and community development throughout his career.

Prior to joining the Aspen Institute, he spent nearly 20 years at the West Central Initiative in Minnesota. He launched the West Central Initiative as a start-up, leading efforts in the realm of business retention and expansion, workforce development, fundraising, assistance to manufacturers and regional planning.


Daniel L. Neff, Director of the Local Development District Program, Appalachian Regional Commission

Dan Neff has over 30 years of experience with community and economic development projects and activities in the Appalachian region of the country.  Since 2001 he has served as the director of the Local Development District (LDD) Program for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) in Washington, DC.  In that position, Mr. Neff acts as a liaison for ARC with the 73 LDDs that are located within the 13 states that make up Appalachia.

In previous positions, Mr. Neff has served as the Executive Director of the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association – a ten county regional development organization located in Cambridge, Ohio.  He has also served in state government as the Assistant Director and then Director of the Ohio Governor’s Office of Appalachia during the Voinovich Administration.  In these positions with the state of Ohio he was the Program Manager and then Governor’s Alternate to the Appalachian Regional Commission.

He and his wife, Margie, reside in Jefferson County, West Virginia.


Roger Osborne, Vice President/Chief Engineer, B&N Coal, Inc.

Roger Osborne is Vice President/Chief Engineer of B&N Coal, Inc. in Dexter City, Ohio. He is a Professional Engineer and Professional Surveyor. Roger has worked in the coal industry for nearly 40 years, 38 of which have been with B&N Coal, Inc., where he is in charge of design, construction and regulatory compliance. Prior to working in the coal industry, he worked in highway design and construction for the Ohio Department of Transportation in Marietta, Ohio for 7 years and J. R. Coal Company in Gallipolis, Ohio for 1 1/2 years as Chief Engineer.

Roger is Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Ohio Coal Association and is Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Reclamation Forfeiture Fund Advisory Board. He has served on many committees with the regulatory agencies involved with regulating the coal industry.

B&N Coal, Inc. has received many awards, including national awards, the most recent of which was the receipt of the 2017 Interstate Mining Compact National Award for their remining operations and the environmental improvement the company has made. Remining is the reclamation of previously mined and unreclaimed mine areas by the mining of additional coal and using the coal to pay for the reclamation to approximate original contour. Just recently, B&N Coal, Inc. was notified that they have also been nominated to receive the Office of Surface Mining National Award for Excellence in Surface Coal Mining.

Roger is a 1970 graduate of Ohio University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering. He was born in Long Bottom, Ohio in Meigs County and is the son of Herald and Josephine Osborne. He has been a resident of Fleming, which is near Marietta, Ohio since 1974.


Jesse Roush, Senior Project Associate, Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth

Jesse Roush, Senior Project Associate, is leading the APEG Wood Forest and Wood Products team.  With his staff he is helping regional manufacturers add value to their operations and assist companies in evaluating and improving their processes and operations.  He is also developing the Ohio Wood Products database.

Jesse has experience in sales, customer relations, engineering and construction and worked in the gas and oil industry.   He is a graduate of Ohio University and native of Washington County.


Jennifer Simon, Executive Director, Regional Innovation Network

Recently, Jennifer Simon was named Executive Director of the Regional Innovation Network by the Vice President of Research at Ohio University. Ms. Simon served as the Director of the Ohio University Innovation Center (IC) since March 2009. During that time, the business incubator client base increased from 3 to 25.  She raised over $6.5 million USD in grants expanding services and facility improvements. Through her work, Ms. Simon facilitates client access to capital through angels, venture capital, and traditional lending institutions; business services such as planning, budgeting, and business model creation; and training opportunities.

Before the IC, Ms. Simon was the President of the Athens County Economic Development Council and held the position of Athens Area Chamber of Commerce CEO. Before these posts, as the Assistant Director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia, she managed over $60 million USD in grants.

She holds a BA in Political Science, an MA in Public Administration and an MBA from Ohio University. Jennifer grew up in Washington County, Ohio and currently resides in Athens, Ohio with her husband, David.


Jeannette P. Tamayo, Regional Director, Economic Development Administration -U.S. Department of Commerce

Jeannette P. Tamayo serves as the Regional Director of the Chicago Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (“EDA”).  The region encompasses the upper Midwestern states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin and two counties in Iowa.  She joined the EDA in 2009 as its Regional Counsel and assumed the helm as Regional Director in October 2011.

Ms. Tamayo has spearheaded a number of initiatives to increase EDA’s impact and visibility in the Midwest region.  She instituted a University Showcase program to make University Center reports available to the public and to coordinate efforts between the EDA-funded Economic Development District organizations and the University Centers to expand regional economic development delivery capacity.  Ms. Tamayo also established the Tri-State Federal Partners Network, which now includes 11 federal agencies and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, to exchange information and identify opportunities for regional collaboration.

Prior to joining the EDA, Ms. Tamayo held senior executive, legal and management positions in government and non-profit agencies.  In these roles, she helped revamp public aid programs to make them relevant, working with community colleges to design specialized curricula to help the long-term unemployed and teen parents to transition from public dependency to self-sufficiency through education and job training.  She helped organize an experiential educational tour and college lecture to highlight the economic and developmental challenges faced by low-income communities.  She worked with community non-profit organizations by assisting with matters ranging from new venture formation, to restructuring to avoid bankruptcy, to establishing new programs or expanding programs and diversifying revenues, working with some as an attorney and with others as a board member.  In these various roles, Ms. Tamayo identified opportunities for transformative change and both legal and programmatic strategies to make a difference.

Ms. Tamayo started her career as a legal aid attorney representing low income families and children in class action litigation against state and federal agencies to improve policies, programs and services.  She worked in a high poverty area, representing among other clients, Spanish-speaking and immigrant clients, in state and federal court as well as before administrative tribunals.  She has experience serving as both in-house counsel and litigation counsel, handling litigation and transactional matters for her government and non-profit clients.  Ms. Tamayo’s government experience includes employment and training, child welfare and protection, public benefits, legislation, agency regulations, and industry licensing.


Mark Weinberg, Founding Dean, Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs

Mark Weinberg is a Founding Dean and a Professor of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University specializing in the areas of organizational strategy and public sector value creation. He is the Founding Dean of Ohio University’s George V. Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. In 2002, he was named the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Whisman Scholar and served in that capacity for three years. Professor Weinberg received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Maryland and his doctorate from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He has taught a range of management courses including the capstone seminar in Public Administration, Public Budgeting, Financial Management, and Public Policy Analysis and published in these areas.


Jeannette M. Wierzbicki, Executive Director, Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association

Ms. Jeannette M. Wierzbicki, P.E. is the Executive Director of the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association (OMEGA), a local development district that serves Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Coshocton, Guernsey, Harrison, Holmes, Jefferson, Muskingum, and Tuscarawas Counties.  OMEGA is also a Regional Transportation Planning Organization and Ms. Wierzbicki manages the transportation planning activities for OMEGA.  She is a professional engineer, registered in the State of Ohio and has over 30 years of engineering experience in the field of public works. Ms. Wierzbicki has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University and has spent most of her career working with small and medium sized communities in eastern and southeastern Ohio focusing on improvements and investments needed to make that community more competitive in today’s economy and to improve the quality of life for the residents of that community.


Jason Wilson, Director, Governor’s Office of Appalachia, Ohio Development Services Agency

In November of 2011, Governor John R. Kasich appointed Jason Wilson (D-Columbiana) director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia, Ohio’s lead agency for fostering job creation and development in Ohio’s 32-county Appalachian region.

Under the direction of Wilson, the Governor’s Office of Appalachia is focusing aggressively on economic development and workforce development.

Prior to his appointment, Wilson represented Ohio’s 30th Senate district, which includes Columbiana, Belmont, Jefferson, Harrison, and part of Tuscarawas counties. In the Senate, he served as Assistant Minority Whip and as a member of the Senate Finance Committee.

Born and raised in Belmont County, Wilson is the Senior Vice President of Wilson Funeral and Furniture Company, received his Bachelor of Arts degree from The Ohio State University, and earned a Master of Business Administration from Wheeling Jesuit University. He lives in Columbiana with his wife Leah and their three children.

As an advocate for Ohio’s Appalachian region, the Governor’s Office of Appalachia works with the Appalachian Regional Commission in Washington, D.C. to promote the region’s assets and support local, regional, state, and federal initiatives.


Kathy Zook, Appalachian Regional Commission Program Manager, Eastgate Regional Council of Governments

Kathy Zook has been the ARC Program Manager for Eastgate Regional Council of Governments since 2009. Kathy is a graduate of the University of Akron and has worked in public service for over 19 years managing various programs such as the Eastgate ARC program, 5310 Specialized Transportation Program and OhioRideshare.

As a Council of Governments in Youngstown, Ohio, Eastgate represents the three counties of Ashtabula, Mahoning, and Trumbull.  Eastgate serves as a regional forum to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern, and to develop recommendations and plans to address those issues. Eastgate is committed to promoting cooperative regional efforts in the planning, programming, and implementation of public sector activities. Eastgate serves its member communities through its many state and federal designations such as being an, Economic Development District, ARC Local Development District, Ohio Public Works Commission District, Metropolitan Planning Organization, and Water Quality Planning agency.

Her interest include rock climbing, animal advocacy, gardening (vegetables, flowers, wildflowers, herbs), nature explorer, and health/fitness.