Staff

Leadership Team

Kristina Egan, Executive Director

Kristina provides a high-level vision and strategy for all GPCOG and PACTS regional initiatives.

She has worked abroad and in the U.S. on transportation, smart growth, energy, housing, and climate initiatives and public policy. As director of Transportation for Massachusetts, Kristina forged a diverse coalition of over 50 member organizations, which worked together to create safe, convenient, climate-friendly and affordable transportation.

Before joining the coalition in 2011, Kristina served as director of the South Coast Rail project for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.  She was also the first director of the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance. Kristina also served as a Freeport Town Councilor for over four years.

Kristina holds a master’s degree in international economics and international relations from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University.

 

Chris Hall, General Counsel and Director of Regional Initiatives 

Chris leads the agency’s economic and community development planning, overseeing GPCOG’s partnerships with public, private, social service and educational groups and implementing GPCOG’s        new strategic regional priorities. Chris brings to GPCOG more than two decades of experience in public policy and economic development planning.

Hall currently serves on several boards, including Educate Maine, Visit Portland and the USM Foundation.  He is deeply engaged in Thrive 2027, a regional collective impact project supported by the United Way of Greater Portland.  He was formerly CEO of the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce, where he also served as Senior Vice President of Governmental Relations.  Before joining the Portland Chamber, Hall worked at the Maine State Chamber of Commerce as Senior Vice President and General Counsel.

Chris earned his J.D. from Boston University School of Law and B.A. from Bowdoin College.

 

 

Stephanie Carver, Planning Director

Stephanie oversees the agency’s planning work, and helps set the strategic direction for the department.  She is responsible for overseeing a wide range of projects that aim to improve the quality of life in Cumberland County by conserving and enhancing the natural and built environment. Stephanie has worked extensively on zoning, and comprehensive and master planning projects across the region. She currently serves as the lead on several of the agency’s larger planning efforts such as developing regional priorities for improving public transportatio

Prior to joining GPCOG in 2010, Stephanie worked as a Senior Planner in Salem, Massachusetts and an Assistant Town Planner in Westford, Massachusetts.

Stephanie holds a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) from University of New Orleans, and a B.A.  from Wheaton College.

 

 

Sara Zografos, Transportation Director

Sara oversees all transportation initiatives for PACTS’ 18 member municipalities in the Portland region. Her team includes PACTS transportation planners and GPCOG land-  use planners. She also works directly with member municipal and transit officials, PACTS committees and the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT).

 

Sara worked most recently at the Maine Turnpike Authority (MTA), serving on the organization’s Executive Committee. She has facilitated public meetings, understands complex environmental permitting, and knows the transportation infrastructure of the region.  Sara worked directly with PACTS in her decade of work at the MTA.

Sara earned her Master’s in Community Planning and Development from the University of Southern Maine and a B.A. in Communications from the University of Maine.

 

Josh Kochis, CPA, Finance Director

Josh oversees the agency’s financial accounting and reporting, and manages the operations of the organization by implementing internal controls and procedures that ensure best practices are utilized.  As a key member of the leadership team, he directs the agency’s fiscal policies and oversees office operations to ensure the assets of the agency are being utilized effectively and efficiently.

Prior to being employed at GPCOG, Josh worked as a Supervisor for Runyon Kersteen Ouellette, a CPA firm based in South Portland.  At RKO, he oversaw the performance of external audits of governmental, quasi-governmental and not-for-profit organizations, as well as the preparation of individual and corporate tax returns.  He has extensive knowledge of governmental and financial accounting and reporting standards, as well as Federal and State compliance requirements related to grant awards.

Josh received his B.S. in Accounting from the University of Maine and achieved his CPA credentials shortly thereafter.

 

Tony Plante, Municipal Collaboration Director

Tony leads membership services and collaborative initiatives for and with GPCOG’s member communities, developing and delivering quality work in conjunction with other agency staff, managing      GPCOG’s cooperative purchasing program, and facilitating efforts to cooperate and collaborate across the region.

Prior to joining GPCOG, Tony served for more than 20 years as town manager in Windham, participating in numerous regional initiatives with GPCOG, ecomaine, Cumberland County and the City of Portland. As Windham town manager and throughout his more than 35 years in local government, Tony has worked to improve planning, budgeting, and performance improvement efforts.

Tony has done graduate study in public administration at the University of New Hampshire, coursework in performance management through UMass Boston, and earned a bachelor’s degree in public management from the University of Maine.

 

Staff

Jessa Berna, AICP, Senior Planner

Jessa manages a variety of state and municipal contracts focusing on long-range planning and environmental sustainability. She has focused her career around creating and implementing strong land use plans and policies designed to improve our built environment and, by extension, our collective and individual health and wellbeing.  Jessa’s expertise at GPCOG includes public engagement, GIS, land use and transportation planning, and writing and interpreting local codes and ordinances.

Prior to joining GPCOG in 2017, Jessa worked as a planner in the public and private sectors for over a decade.

Jessa holds a Master’s Degree in Community Planning and Development from the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Gettysburg College.

 

 

Abe Dailey, Data Analyst

   Abe provides geospatial and statistical analysis, economic modeling, data visualization and data management support to planning and transportation projects at GPCOG. His expertise is used in comprehensive planning, transportation assessment and regional assessments for land use and environmental policy.

Abe has worked as a volunteer with the Presumpscot River Watch, Presumpscot Regional Land Trust, and the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. He’s also served as a survey researcher for the New England Sustainability Consortium.

Abe received his B.A. in Economics from the University of Southern Maine and Master’s Degree in Community Planning and Development from the Muskie School of Public Service.

 

Stephanie Dinsmore, Accountant

Stephanie plays a vital role in the daily financial dealings of the GPCOG office. Her work includes interactions with all contractors, project budgets and grant administration.   She also works with GPCOG loan recipients as part of the Revolving Loan Program and Food Fund.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rick Harbison, AICP, Senior Planner

Rick provides technical assistance in land use and transportation planning to GPCOG’s municipalities and the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System (PACTS), with special emphasis in GIS mapping and data services.  He is currently overseeing the development of GPCOG’s Data Center and Open Data Hub, both web portals for displaying and sharing community-based information.

Rick is also FAA certified to fly drones to capture aerial imagery and video for GPCOG municipalities.

Rick is a graduate of the Community Planning and Development Master’s Program from the Muskie School of Public Service, with a concentration in Economic Development. He also has a B.A. in Anthropology from Colby College. He holds a Certificate in Applied GIS from the University of Southern Maine, as well as a Certificate in GIS from Penn State University.

 

 

Ben Lake, Sustainability Program Manager

Ben focuses on improving the sustainability of transportation in the GPCOG region and statewide. He administers GPCOG’s Transit Planning program and the PACTS Transit Committee, supporting the seven transit agencies serving Greater Portland in their efforts to increase use of public transportation through improved service and coordination, as well as managing the programming of federal transit funding in the region.

 

Ben also leads Maine Clean Communities (MC2), Maine’s statewide DOE Clean Cities coalition, encouraging local fleets to adopt alternative fuel vehicles and advanced vehicle technologies.

Ben holds a B.A. in Biology from Bowdoin College.

 

 

Zoe Miller, MPH,  Senior Project Manager & Public Health Specialist

Zoe’s work focuses on integrating public health into GPCOG’s regional initiatives, including transportation planning.

Zoe is currently Chair of the Cumberland District Public Health Council, which she has served on for seven years. She has led public health initiatives in Cumberland County for 17 years and has extensive experience convening multi-sector partners. In her previous role as a Healthy Maine Partnership Director, she helped to launch and sustain Lakes Region Explorer bus service, and led community engagement efforts connected to numerous initiatives.

As a student at the Muskie School of Public Service from 2013-2017, Zoe partnered with GPCOG to conduct her Capstone research on promising practices for integrating public health into the work of regional planning councils.

 

 

Paul Niehoff, Senior Transportation Project Manager

Paul oversees development and management of the PACTS TIP (Transportation Improvement Program) which includes bicycle/pedestrian projects as well as roadway design, paving and construction work. He’s lead staff on assessments of regional road systems and condition ratings. He also works on health, safety and transportation initiatives at the state, regional and local levels to better balance our transportation system.

 

Paul began his career at Morrison Geotechnical Engineering in Winslow. He is a former Westbrook Planning Board member and also served on the engineering staffs of the cities of Portland and Auburn. He served as the state’s Safe Routes to School Coordinator prior to employment at PACTS.

Paul received a B.A. in Geology/Geography from the University of Maine, Farmington.

 

Tom Bell, Public Information Officer

Tom is responsible for creating and enabling communication between GPCOG and both the news media and the general public. Tom oversees the agency’s website, social media strategy and content. He also produces photography and videography.

Tom worked as a reporter at the Portland Press Herald between 1999 and 2016 and has written extensively about business and local and state government in Maine.

Tom earned a BA from Clark University in Worcester, Mass.

 

 

Aubrey Miller, Transportation Project Manager

Aubrey manages projects that aim to improve and increase the use of public transportation service in the region. Her current work focuses on collaborating with multiple fixed-route transit providers in the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System (PACTS) region to prioritize and fund improvements at approximately 150 bus stops.

Prior to joining GPCOG in 2018, Aubrey worked as a Senior Transportation Planner in Santa Barbara, CA.

Aubrey holds a Master of Environmental Science and Management degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a B.A. from St. Olaf College.

 

 

Ryan Neale, Transportation Program Manager

Ryan administers GPCOG’s Transit Planning program and the PACTS Transit Committee, supporting the efforts of the Greater Portland region’s seven transit agencies to increase the use of public transportation through improved service and coordination.  Ryan also helps to manage the programming of federal transit funding in the region.

Before joining GPCOG in 2018, Ryan served as program director for the Maine Development Foundation.  He holds a Master’s Degree in Community Planning and Development from the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine, and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Maine.

 

Harold Spetla, Planner

Harold works with the planning team to provide technical assistance to GPCOG’s 26 member municipalities and PACTS’ 18 member municipalities. He also manages contracts with the municipalities and several state agencies.

Prior to joining GPCOG in 2018, Harold worked as a community development specialist for the Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission, where his efforts shifted between transportation planning, economic data analysis, EPA Brownfields grant writing, and geospatial analysis.

Harold graduated from the Policy, Planning, and Management program at the University of Southern Maine, with a focus in Sustainability and Geospatial Technologies. He earned his B.A. in Geology at Alfred University.

 

Kaylei Coombs, Progam Associate

Kaylei supports our planning staff on land-use, transportation, and energy-related projects, assisting with policy research and data analysis. She also provides administrative support for technology and outreach activities.

Kaylei holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Southern Maine and an A.A.S. in Architectural and Engineering Design from Southern Maine Community College. She is pursuing a master’s degree in Policy Planning and Management with a concentration in Sustainable Development and Geospatial Technologies at the Muskie School of Public Service.