Staffing a unique operation like the Smart Growth Partnership (SGP) requires a multi-disciplinary team approach. The SGP staff takes a holistic approach to community development and revitalization, engaging in all phases of development - education, visioning, planning, design and implementation. Beyond services provided by staff, the SGP leverages resources of partners, volunteers, collaborators, and sometimes utilizes the services of professional consultants. SGP university partner faculty members, through focused class projects and student internships, are frequently engaged in community project development and implementation.
John D. Turack, Executive Director/Community Development Assistant
In partnership with the Penn State Cooperative Extension of Westmoreland County, and as the region's Penn State Extension Economic and Community Development Educator, Mr. Turack oversees the development and delivery of curriculum to be utilized in school districts, institutions of higher education, and for citizen planner and community capacity building education. See http://extension.psu.edu/ecd for more about this role.
As Executive Director, Mr. Turack also has responsibility for managing the non-profit with its Board of Directors. To contact Mr. Turack call 724-837-1402 or e-mail email@example.com.
Leanne Griffith, Office Coordinator/Grant Writer
The office coordinator works to assist and support each of the specialized Smart Growth Partnership professionals (partner organizations, consultants, and educational outreach), manages the website, and is responsible for day-to-day accounting, scheduling and filing. To contact Ms. Griffith, call 724-837-1402 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Board of Directors
Since 2000, the Board of Directors has provided organizational and policy direction to the Smart Growth Partnership.
Allen G. Kukovich, President Founding Member (term ends June 30, 2016)
Mr. Kukovich is a Westmoreland County Attorney. He has served formerly as Executive Director of the Power of 32 Regional Visioning Project, a two-year process that provided an opportunity for every resident of the 32-county, four-state region to participate in creating a shared vision for the region's best future. Kukovich also formerly served as Director of the Southwest Regional Office of the Governor. Prior to this position, Kukovich served as State Senator, and represented the Southwest region in the General Assembly for 27 years, serving from 1977-1996 in the House of Representatives and from 1996-2004 as a State Senator. He received his B.A. in Political Science from Kent State and J.D. from Duquesne Law School. Kukovich has received more than 90 statewide awards and national recognition for his dedication on behalf of families and children. He and his wife, Nancy, have one daughter, Alexandra.
Gary L. Sheppard, Vice-President Appointed January 2002 (term ends June 30, 2016)
Mr. Sheppard serves as the Extension District Director for Penn State Cooperative Extension in Westmoreland County, Indiana County, and Armstrong County. Sheppard provides administrative support and leadership for those counties' Extension offices. He formerly developed and delivered educational programs for dairy producers in all aspects of farm management, and has also developed and delivered Extension's Marcellus shale gas educational programming for landowners. Sheppard is an ex-officio board member of the Westmoreland Fair and Recreation Association, member and past president of the Pennsylvania Association of County Agricultural Agents. He serves as the secretary/treasurer of the Westmoreland Agribusiness Council and was a charter director for the Ag Choice Farm Credit Association. Sheppard received a M.B.A. from Youngstown State University and a B.S. in Agricultural Mechanization from the Pennsylvania State University. He enjoys free time with his wife and three children on a small sheep farm in Westmorelands rolling hills.
Kim E. Miller, Treasurer Appointed September 2005 (term ends June 30, 2018)
Mr. Miller is the President of Wolf Lake, Inc. He is a developer and farmer with interest in livable & green communities and building and sustainable agriculture. Miller received a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Miller is the retired president for the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, serving from 2000 2007. He is a current board member of the Westmoreland Conservation District and Board President of GreenForge. Miller is married with four adult children.
Dr. Sharon P. Smith, Secretary Appointed September 2007 (term ends June 30, 2018)
Dr. Smith serves as the president of the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg and professor of economics. She formerly served at National University, LaJolla, California, first as provost and vice president for academic affairs, then as special advisor to the chancellor. Prior to this appointment, she served as dean of the schools of business and of the business faculty at Fordham University. Smith received her masters and doctoral degrees in Economics from Rutgers University. Smith serves as vice chair of the Excela board and also serves on the boards of the Economic Growth Connection, the FINRA Foundation, the Greensburg Community Development Corporation, and the Westmoreland Cultural Trust. Previously, she served on several national boards including NASD, and Security Traders Association Foundation. She resides in Greensburg.
Jeffrey A. Landy -- Appointed May 2012 (term ends June 30, 2017)
Mr. Landy is the Borough Manager of Mount Pleasant. He received a B.S. degree in Business Administration and Marketing from The Pennsylvania State University. He is on the Board of Directors of the Geyer Theater in Scottdale, PA. Mr. Landy created the successful Mt. Pleasant Glass & Ethnic Festival in 1986. The festival is the only festival in the state of Pennsylvania honored as a permanent addition in the Library of Congress Local Legacies. As the Borough Manager of Mount Pleasant, Jeff Landy has redefined the position. He has integrated his administrative, financial and marketing skills to lead Mount Pleasant and to continue making the borough a vibrant community.
Greg Primm -- Appointed May 2012 (term ends June 30, 2017)
Mr. Primm is Township Manager for Allegheny Township in Westmoreland County. Prior to Allegheny Township, he served as Township Manager for Penn Township, Butler County for nineteen (19) years as well as Borough Manager for the Borough of Falls Creek, Jefferson County for 2 years. He has served as a municipal training instructor for the Department of Community and Economic Development in conjunction with the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors since 2001, teaching several different courses through the Governors Center for Local Government Services. Mr. Primm also serves as an instructor and course developer for the LTAP-Penndot program instructing public officials throughout the commonwealth, and as a Peer Consultant through DCEDs peer program. A dedicated public servant, he currently serves as President of the Apollo Ridge School Board as well as a Board Member for the Westmoreland Economic Development Initiative for Growth. Greg and his wife Beth have 2 children, Jared and Kirsten.
Virginia Stump - Appointed June 2013 (term ends June, 2016)
Virginia McCracken Stump is a General Certified Appraiser and Realtor. As an Appraisal Market Manager, she manages 9000 contracted appraisers for LSI-LPS, an appraisal management company in Moon Township. Virginia is also self-employed as an independent appraiser and as a sales agent with RE/MAX Realty Access, Irwin. Virginia previously worked for USDA, Rural Development, where she managed the Greensburg office and served as a commercial loan and grant underwriter and appraisal specialist. Virginia received her Bachelors and Masters of Business Administration from Seton Hill University; her Masters Certification in Renewable Energy from St. Francis University; and her appraisal education from Appraisal Institute and American Society of Farm Managers & Rural Appraisers. Virginia serves as the Secretary of the North Huntingdon Planning Commission and as the Treasurer of the Westmoreland Land Trust, a land conservation organization.
Joseph Szczur - Appointed June 2013 (term ends June, 2016)
PennDOT District 12 District Engineer
Michael A. Walsh Founding Member (term ends June 30, 2017)
Self-employed entrepreneur and consultant. Mr. Walsh has been the Chief of Staff at Harrisburg Area Community College. Previously, he served as Deputy Secretary for Administration for the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Prior to this position, Walsh served as Director of Administration at the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Before joining the Gaming Board, he was a Special Assistant to Governor Rendell, and also served as the Executive Assistant to then-Secretary of Administration Robert Barnett. Walsh formerly served as Director of Policy and Communications for then-Senator Allen Kukovich. He received the partnership's Distinguished Service Award in 2003. Walsh holds a Master of Public Management degree from the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and a B.S. in Political Science from St. Vincent College in Latrobe. He and his wife live in the Harrisburg area.
Dr. Whit Watts -- Appointed May 2012 (term ends June 30, 2017)
Professor Watts teaches in the department of Geography and Regional Planning at Indiana University of Pennsylvania where he teaches in the areas of site planning, urban design, land use policy and law. He received his undergraduate degree in urban studies from the University of Wisconsin and his graduate degrees in landscape architecture and environmental planning from the College of Architecture at Virginia Tech. Over the years he has worked in support of a number of community based organizations and local municipalities on a variety of recreation, housing, traffic management and land use initiatives. His current areas of research and practice include urban horticulture, civic engagement and urban design.
Past Board Members
Christopher J. Bova -- Served June 2012-June 2015
Jennings F. Womack Founding Member, Served from 2000 until his passing in early 2015
Gregory M. Phillips Founding Member, Served from 2000 to December, 2014
Julie Martin Served May 2012-June 2013
Brian Hill Served September 2009-June 2013
April Kopas Served September 2009 - June. 2012
Michael J. OBarto Served March 2002 - June, 2012
John A. Skiavo Founding member, Served from 2000 to June, 2012
Michael Langer Served March 2007 - June, 2011
David Cannon - Served February 2009 February 2011
Larry J. Larese Founding member, Served from 2000 to 2010
Rob Ritson Served from November 2006 2010
John A. Robertshaw, Jr. Founding Member (status changed to emeritus in 2010)
Scott D. Izzo Served from 2007 2009
Gene Zurawsky Served from 2007 2009
Dr. Frank A. Cassell Founding member, Served from 2000 to 2007
William Mitchell, II Founding member, Served from 2000 2007
Linda McKenna Boxx Founding member, Served from 2000 2006
Ronald A. Magnuson Founding member, Served from 2000 2006
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