Staff Profiles

In order to best serve Pennsylvania communities, our staff is comprised of individuals possessing varied skill sets. Need to contact a member of our staff? Please review the following list to determine which staff member can best assist you.

Bill Fontana, Executive Director

Bill took the reins as PDC Executive Director on May 1, 2000, ushering in an exciting period of renewal for the organization. Prior to joining PDC, Bill served for two and a half years as executive director of the Rahway Center Partnership, a New Jersey special improvement district. He also served as Chairman of the Rahway Historic Preservation Commission.

From 1979 to 1997, Bill worked on redevelopment efforts in western Pennsylvania, including time with the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County and the County Departments of Planning and Economic Development. His roles during those 17 years included Commercial Revitalization Coordinator, enterprise Zone Coordinator and Senior Planner. He was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the "Waterfront" project that stretches across the communities of West Homestead, Homestead and Munhall. Bill holds a bachelor's and master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Pittsburgh.

To contact, click here.

Julie Fitzpatrick, Assistant Director / Special Projects Coordinator

Julie's responsibilities include providing technical assistance to local communities for a wide range of economic development and planning services, and providing staff support on program development. Since she has been with PDC, Julie has been involved with a variety of projects in communities all over the commonwealth. She has facilitated a community visioning process in communities such as: Bloomsburg, Collegeville, Johnstown, Manheim, Vandergrift and Millersville. Other projects have involved developing Regional Downtown Revitalization Strategies in communities in Dauphin and Schuylkill counties, along with a Tourism Infrastructure Plan for the Route 6 Heritage Corridor. Lately, Julie has been working in communities that are outside of the DCED funding cycle to provide guidance and support in developing work plans and strategic planning activities.

Julie joined PDC in January 2005 as an intern and became the Special Projects Coordinator in March 2005. Julie has a master's degree in Community and Regional Planning and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History and Anthropology, all from Temple University. Her previous non-profit experience includes volunteering with WITF, Central Pennsylvania's public television and radio station, Mulberry Arts Studio in Lancaster, and the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County. She currently serves her community as the board president of the Susquehanna Sustainable Business Network (ssbn) and is on the board for the Pennsylvania Community Forests Council.

To Contact, click here.

Maria Wherley, Network Relations and Conference Coordinator

Maria joined the Pennsylvania Downtown Center in July 2014. She has worked in the nonprofit sector since 2002. Prior to that time, Maria worked in marketing and advertising at the corporate level while earning a degree in Business Administration at York College as a non-traditional student. Throughout the past 12 years, she has been involved with various civic organizations including Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Elizabethtown Rotary while serving on the Boards of Marietta Area Business Association, Marietta Community House and Susquehanna Waldorf School. 

With a passion for people and a high regard for "liberty and justice for all" Maria's role at PDC offers the experience of these very elements in her everyday life. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and walking her dogs on the trails along the banks of the Susquehanna River.

To contact, click here.

David Zellers, Field Services Specialist

A native of Berks County, Dave earned his bachelor’s degree from York College of Pennsylvania and went on to Miami University of Ohio where he earned a graduate degree, co-authored research on the American presidency, and interned at the Center for Public Management and Regional Affairs.  Upon returning to Pennsylvania, Dave interned with the Pennsylvania Department of State and also worked for a local workforce investment board.  In recent years, his professional development has included positions with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and the Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission.  These opportunities have allowed Dave to work with entrepreneurs, business owners, elected officials, and citizens as well as local and regional community, economic, and workforce development organizations.  Most recently before joining PDC, Dave was the coordinator for NW PREP and authored a report on regional economic and workforce development collaboration.

Having a strong love for all things Pennsylvania, Dave enjoys traveling throughout the state and working to make the Commonwealth stronger and more prosperous.  During his downtime, Dave enjoys exploring the outdoors, golfing, watching college football, going to minor league ice hockey and baseball games, and being back home with family and friends.

To contact, click here.

Stefan Klosowski, Field Outreach Specialist

Stefan was the Main Street Manager for Middletown and Executive Director of the GMEDC. Prior to his return to central PA he worked for thirteen years in Poland, Russia, Romania and Macedonia as a community planner, economic development specialist, and managed democracy and governance projects, as an independent consultant employed by USAID contractors.

He first became familiar with the 'Main Street' approach as the Senior Planner in Hagerstown in the 1980's and later as Urban Design Planner in Annapolis, took the four points to Eastern Europe. Educated at Mt. St. Mary's University studying history, sociology and the arts, and later urban design and the environment at Virginia Tech, he then earned his Masters of Planning and Certificate in Historic Preservation from the University of Virginia.

Stefan was raised in the Harrisburg area and lives in Linglestown, where his family had a small construction business. His favorite pastimes include, canoeing, bicycling and sailing. He currently sings German songs with the Lancaster Liederkranz. He has a passion for towns and cities and enjoys working on redesigning his house.

To contact, click here.
 

Rick Viglione, Field Outreach Specialist

Born and raised in Ridgway, PA in Elk County, Rick Viglione graduated from Slippery Rock with a degree in Planning, and went on to join the Elk County Planning Commission as their Assistant County Planner. He was later appointed as County Planner in 1977, and in 1983 joined the six-county Area Transportation Authority of North Central Pennsylvania (ATA) as its Planning Director, where he remained until July 2005. Most recently, Rick served as Ridgway's Main Street Manager.

Rick has been very active in his community, including the Ridgway Area School Board and the YMCA Board of Directors. He served as Chairman of the Ridgway Borough Zoning Hearing Board, assisted the Elk County Redevelopment Authority, and was instrumental in organizing Leadership Elk County. Rick has volunteered as a coach for a number of youth sports teams and is currently an assistant varsity football coach.

In his spare time, Rick enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, hunting, and mountain biking. He and his wife, Tanya, have a son, Andrew, and a granddaughter.

To contact, click here.

Emily Zebel, Graphic Designer

When Emily first came to PDC, her responsibilities included managing membership services, coordinating training sessions and conferences.stewarding the PDC brand and vision to extend to its print and online materials. Emily now provides sophisticated, professional graphic design services for PDC on a freelance/contract basis.

A graduate of the York College of Pennsylvania with a BA in Professional Writing, Emily possesses a wealth of creative talents and a passion for community. As a writer, she has received numerous publications and awards for her poetry and non-fiction, and founded York College's first Poetry Festival. As a young professional, she completed an internship in 2008 at American Rivers' Camp Hill field office, compiling a national database on dam removal and coordinating a state-wide conference on stormwater initiatives. She also served with AmeriCorps as a trail crew member in Arizona, working with a conservation group to rebuild trail systems and promote conscientious environmental practices.

Prior to her time with PDC, Emily served as Program Manager for the Perry County Council of the Arts, where she assisted in the opening of Newport's first regional Community Arts Center, Landis House, and worked as an assistant for the Council's Arts in Education program.

Emily currently lives in Wellsville and tempers her diligent work ethic with weekend forays as a whitewater canoeist, snowboarder, and general outdoor enthusiast.
 

PDC Committees

Our committees include: finance, legislative, governance, and the annual conference. They thrive on active participation by our members from across the commonwealth. Questions about PDC's board and committee structure? Interested in serving on a committee? Click here and let us know.