Veronica joined TSTC in the summer of 2007 as a policy advocate to build support for New York City's congestion pricing plan. A year later, she was promoted to associate director. In June of 2012, she was appointed by the board of directors as executive director. Prior to joining the smart, dedicated staff at TSTC, Veronica worked at the Rainforest Alliance, an international conservation organization, and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection on its Waste Water Treatment Upgrade Program to protect New York City's watershed.
Coming from a strong academic and professional background in environmental science and policy, Veronica was drawn to the environmental root of TSTC's mission: reduce car dependency, and greenhouse gas emissions, by providing people with alternatives to driving. Her advocacy for sustainable transportation policy works towards communities that are designed to be walkable for people of all ages and abilities; public transportation that is affordable, reliable, and efficient; infrastructure that provides a safe streetscape for cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers; and government policies that support these goals on the local, state, and federal levels. Since joining TSTC, Veronica has helped win millions in transit funding, fought successfully against fare increases and service cuts, encouraged the passage of legislation such as bus lane enforcement in New York City, and elevated the importance of fiscal responsibility and government accountability in large infrastructure projects, such as the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement. She has helped grow TSTC's staff, programs, visibility, and reach.
Veronica was born and raised in the Bronx and holds an M.S. in Environmental Policy from the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark and a B.S. in Environmental Science and Political Science from Binghamton University in upstate New York. While at Binghamton University, she drove a bus and trained new bus drivers to meet state commercial driving requirements, foreshadowing her passion for public transportation. She is also on the board of the Bronx River Alliance, which works to protect, improve, and restore the Bronx River corridor and greenway.
Ryan Lynch has served as Tri-State's associate director since July 2012. In this capacity, Ryan assists in overall management, strategic planning and messaging, and key policy decisions. Ryan joined the Campaign in October 2007 as a senior planner, where he also served as its Long Island and Connecticut coordinator. In January 2012, Ryan was promoted to policy director, where his advocacy for sustainable transportation policy, better transit systems, and complete streets for all users broadened to the tri-state region. Prior to joining the campaign, Ryan worked along the Thai-Burma border as an alternative livelihoods specialist for Women's Education for Advancement and Empowerment. Ryan also worked as the associate forest planner for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and as a policy intern with Oxfam America. He began his career in community development and advocacy as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa. Ryan currently serves on Brooklyn Community Board 7 and is Chair of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz's Transportation, Traffic and Safety Committee for the Fourth Avenue Task Force. Although originally from Long Island, Ryan attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he earned a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning with a concentration in International Development Planning and foci in Economic and Environmental Development. Ryan also holds a B.S. in Psychology from Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
New Jersey Advocate
As TSTC’s New Jersey Advocate, Janna Chernetz focuses on pedestrian and bike safety improvements, and advocating for more responsible transportation spending and investment decisions as part of the state’s Transportation Trust Fund reauthorization. Janna is an attorney with a passion for environmental and equity issues, and a lifelong resident of New Jersey. She received her B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University in 1999, and her Juris Doctor from Vermont Law School in 2002 where she was an Environmental Dean’s Fellow. In addition to working as an attorney in both private practice and legal services, she was the Assistant Legislative Counsel for the New Jersey State Bar Association, where she acted as the voice of New Jersey attorneys in Trenton and Washington D.C. on a variety of issues.
Joseph joined the Campaign in 2012 and handles Mobilizing the Region, TSTC.org, online advocacy campaigns and social media while keeping tabs on the latest transportation news in the Tri-State area and beyond. Prior to joining TSTC, he was program coordinator with WalkBoston in his native Massachusetts. A passionate advocate for sustainable transportation with a background in communications and the arts, Joseph holds an M.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State University.
Steven Higashide is Tri-State's Connecticut coordinator and federal advocate. As Connecticut coordinator, he advocates for local and state policies which support complete streets, transit-oriented development, and sustainable transportation options. He also coordinates Tri-State's work with national transportation reform efforts and acts as the NY/NJ/CT field organizer for the Transportation for America campaign. He became senior planner in 2012, after one year as federal advocate and four years as Tri-State's communications associate. As communications associate, he was the managing editor of Mobilizing the Region and was responsible for the Campaign's first-ever electronic advocacy campaigns as well as its social media and online presence. He joined the Campaign full-time in September 2007 after working on advocacy and outreach in the Tappan Zee/I-287 corridor as an intern. Steven holds a Master's of Urban Planning and a B.A. in Metropolitan Studies from New York University, and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Kathi joined Tri-State in fall 2012 as Office Administrator after her summer internship, which focused on initiatives that build equitable transportation systems in the region. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Urban Planning at Hunter College in New York City. She has been actively involved in grassroots organizing for bicycling advocacy by hosting group rides, events, and basic mechanic classes, and is dedicated to raising visibility and empowerment for cyclists. Her work continues to focus on how to promote active transportation and support improvements to mass transit in the metropolitan region.
Albany Legislative Advocate
Nadine joined TSTC in March 2010 as the organization’s first Albany-based staffer. She is working to advance sustainable transportation policies at the state level to ensure safer streets, improved bus service, and adequate transit funding. Since 2001, Nadine has been involved in politics and land use advocacy in New York's Hudson Valley. As a two-term elected official in Gardiner, N.Y., Nadine worked to pass and implement smart growth zoning laws and she was the project manager for a $1.6M federally funded sidewalk improvement project. As a member of the Region 8 MPO, Ulster County Transportation Council, Nadine helped to oversee all federally funded transportation projects in the county, including ARRA-funded projects. Prior to getting involved in local politics, Nadine was an adjunct professor at City College in NYC and the Founder and Executive Director of The Gunk Foundation, an operating foundation which specialized in supporting and promoting public art projects internationally. Nadine recieved an BA in Economics from Duke University, an MFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts, and a Ph.D in Sociology from the CUNY Graduate Center.
South Jersey Advocate
Matthew Norris joined Tri-State in March 2011 as an advocate for healthier, safer and more equitable communities throughout southern New Jersey and the Greater Philadelphia area. Matt's work is focused on conducting outreach with a wide range of local stakeholder groups, and the media, centering on sustainable transportation policies and opportunities to improve access to safe, reliable modes of transportation within the region. Previously, Matt worked with the AARP New Jersey State Office on a range of quality of life issues that affect older Americans, including promoting national complete streets legislation. Matt is originally from Detroit, but grew up outside of Kansas City, Missouri and attended the University of Kansas, where he earned a B.A. in Sociology. For the past two years, Matt has been living in New Jersey, and in December 2010 earned his Masters in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University-New Brunswick.
Vincent focuses on the legal issues involved in Tri-State’s work. Vincent joined the Campaign in March 2011 after living in China, where he worked with the World Wildlife Fund on the 2010 China Ecological Footprint Report and Green Earth Volunteers editing environment-related news articles. Prior to living in China, Vincent spent several years working in private practice focusing on commercial and bankruptcy law. Vincent holds a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Manhattan College and a J.D. from The George Washington University Law School.
A native New Yorker, Renata joined TSTC in March 2011. As staff analyst, Renata uses federal and state data to interpret regional and national transportation trends, and is conducting an assessment to help advance state level transportation reform efforts across the country. Prior to her position at TSTC, Renata worked in the Urban East Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council and at Greenpeace. She has interned with TSTC and in the New York City Economic Development Corporation's Maritime Department. Renata received her B.A. in English from Oberlin College and holds a Masters in Urban Planning from New York University.