Since 2008, Martin Sweeney has been the historian for the town and village of Homer, New York. As a recent article in the Cortland Standard explains, Sweeney brings his lifelong passion for history to his role as village and town historian. His goal is to make history come alive for residents of the Central New York community. “We’re such a socially mobile society that people have no idea [about local history]; they can say, ‘Hey I’ve lived here and raised my kids for the past six years, I had no idea Homer had a connection to Abraham Lincoln. It is my job to tell them.” To achieve this, Sweeney draws from his long and dedicated career as an educator. During his tenure as a junior high school social studies teacher in the Homer School District, Sweeney would frequently get into character, dress in era-specific costume, and play music from certain time periods to illustrate to his students that history is never as far away as it may seem. He brings this same dedication for educating people to his role as village historian. Currently, Sweeney is engaged in a project aimed at establishing a monument in Homer’s town hall, which would commemorate three men who played an integral role in Lincoln’s life.
More information about Martin Sweeney and his career can be found in the aforementioned Cortland Standard article.
Aaron Rogers is now major gifts officer with Rainforest Trust. Based out of Warrenton, Virginia, Rainforest Trust is a nonprofit organization that purchases large swathes of threatened rain forests with the goal of protecting and preserving endangered plant and animal life–with the help of local partnerships and community engagement. Before his position at Rainforest Trust, Rogers served as a nonprofit consultant at the Dreams Over Drugs Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping young adults live a life free from drug-use and addiction.
While large cities in the United States have long embraced the use of open data, most small to mid-sized do not share the same enthusiasm for universally accessible data, nor do they have the policy or technology infrastructure necessary to put in place such programs. However, city leaders in some mid-sized cities are beginning to emulate the successful open data programs of larger ones. This is the topic of a recent article by Mark J. Headd. In the article, Headd uses the example of Syracuse, N.Y, where city officials have adopted the data-driven innovation of larger cities like New York City, while participating in key strategic relationships–such as its involvement in the What Works Cities program–to utilize open data as a strategic asset to help foster innovation. Headd’s article draws from his long and successful career in the data and information technology and management fields. Currently, he is innovation specialist at Technology Transformation Service (18f). In previous positions he served as the chief data officer for the city of Philadelphia, and as a technical evangelist for the computer software firm Accela. His recent article can be found here.
Jessica Ernst has published a new book, So You Want to Save the World: A Guide to Pursuing a Career in International Development. Drawing form her career in government, nonprofits, and private companies, Ernst’s book aims to help aspiring development professionals begin their journeys into international development. Ernst has had works published in the International Affairs Review, leading industry websites, and influential donor reports, and she has traveled to 38 countries and counting. Currently, she is knowledge management and training manager with Dexis Consulting Group, working with USAID. More info about Ernst and her new book can be found at jessicakernst.wordpress.com.
Anne Kagi is now senior associate at MPP Associates, a Washington, D.C. based consulting firm specializing in nonprofit board development, strategic planning, and organizational development. Previously, she was liaison and youth program manager at the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress, also in D.C. In her new role, she guides staff and board members through agency growth, helps organizations develop implementation and evaluation plans, and supports partnerships between boards and chief executives. More info about her new position and MPP Associates can be found at: http://www.mmp-a.com/anne-kagi
Scott Morelli is now the city manager of South Portland, Maine — the state’s fourth-largest city and an important center for retail and industry. He brings over 12 years of municipal government experience to the role. Previously, he served as the city manger of Gardiner, Maine, and in other local government positions, including as executive assistant of Framingham, Massachusetts, and as selectmen’s assistant in Waterboro, Maine.