Director, Eastern Regional Conference
Wendell Hannaford has been the director of CSG East/Eastern Regional Conference since 2009. He previously served as the deputy director and as a senior policy analyst for international trade and economic development. In 1998, while serving as deputy director, he created the Eastern Trade Council, an affiliate organization of CSG-ERC. The Eastern Trade Council’s mission is to facilitate collaborative approaches to export promotion among state trade officials in the Northeast. He helped recruit the six Eastern Canadian Provinces to become international associate members of ERC and staffed the ERC Eastern Canadian Provinces Committee. He also created the ERC Tax and Budget Chairman’s Roundtable.
Prior to joining CSG, Hannaford worked for the New York State Senate Select Committee on Interstate Cooperation as a research analyst. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Drew University and an international trade specialist certificate from Thunderbird Graduate School of International Management.
Deputy Director, Eastern Regional Conference
David joined the The Council of State Governments/Eastern Regional Conference as deputy director in May 2017. He was founding director of both the Canada Institute and the Polar Initiative at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a think tank that serves as the United States’ memorial to the 28th president. Biette has served as executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States, and as a political-economic officer at the Consulate General of Canada in New York City, where he was responsible for relations with the states of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut on a variety of issues including energy, environment, and political affairs. He is the author of numerous chapters, policy briefs, and op-eds, and has appeared regularly in U.S., Canadian, and international media. Biette grew up in Massachusetts, and has an M.A. in international relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., and a B.A. from Bowdoin College in Maine.
Jack Aitken has been a Research Assistant with ERC since 2015. Throughout college he worked on several New York City campaigns and served as a communications assistant in the New York City Council. In 2014 he interned with the CSG, Washington, D.C office, where he helped assist the Overseas Voting Initiative as well as the CSG Justice Center.
Jack received his B.A in political science from the University of Rhode Island and immediately returned to New York to become a Research Assistant with ERC. In his current capacity he assists staff and consultants with blog writing, meeting planning, web design, and research support.
Meeting Logistics, Program Manager
AR Braver coordinates ERC’s Annual Meeting, administrative committee and task force meetings; staffs the ERC Annual Meeting Committee; and also works on fundraising and photography of ERC events. Previously she coordinated special events in Lincoln Center and was an account supervisor organizing the logistics, faculty and content for continuing medical education symposia in the US and Europe, primarily in the areas of chronic kidney disease, atherosclerosis, lysosomal storage disorders, HIV, transplantation, and diabetes.
Veronique M. Cavaillier
Director, Eastern Trade Council
Director, Leadership Training Programs
Véronique M. Cavaillier is responsible for developing and implementing regionally focused export promotion endeavours like trade missions and trade shows and has organized executive symposia and conferences on trade issues. She serves as liaison to senior public and private sector officials to enlist their support for CSG East/Eastern Regional Conference’s international export promotion programs. In addition, she speaks at various forums to promote the visibility of the Northeast trade capacity.
Cavaillier has worked in the finance industry, federal and state government and has an expertise in export credit financing, trade finance and international trade policy. She holds an M.B.A. in international business from Adelphi University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations and languages from Colgate University, speaks French fluently and has a working knowledge of Russian.
Senior Policy Analyst, Energy & Environment Program
Editor, Print & Multimedia Projects
Rona Cohen has provided research and analysis on energy and environmental policy for more than a decade at The Council of State Governments/Eastern Regional Conference, where she directs a committee of approximately 60 state officials, edits two blogs and a weekly newsletter, and produces multimedia content, including a recent mini-documentary on efforts among officials in Guilford, Connecticut to create a Community Coastal Resilience Plan. Under Rona’s guidance, the CSG/ERC Energy & Environment Committee organized task forces on offshore wind energy; grid-enabled electric vehicles; and collaborated with the Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. to develop model legislation governing electronic waste. She has testified before legislative committees in six states.
Earlier in her career, Rona spent nearly five years working as a newspaper and wire-service reporter in Buenos Aires, Argentina and New York City, where she reported for Knight Ridder, Time Magazine, The Miami Herald and The Buenos Aires Herald, among other publications. Rona holds a master’s degree in international economic policy from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs and a B.A. in history from Wesleyan University.
Research Associate, Military & Veterans Affairs Committee
Coordinator, ERC Quad Caucus
Director, Northeast High-Level Radioactive Waste Transportation Project
Uldis Vanags has a BA in Physics from the University of Maine and a MS in Radiological Sciences and Protection from the University of Lowell. He served as the State Nuclear Safety Advisor for the State of Maine overseeing the Maine Yankee Atomic Power Station and as the State Nuclear Engineer for the State of Vermont overseeing the Vermont Yankee Atomic Power Station. Since 2013 he has been working with CSG/ERC as the Project Director for the Northeast High-Level Radioactive Waste Transportation Task Force.
Ellen Andrews has spent the past 15 years as the Executive Director for the Connecticut Health Policy Project. In her capacity as director, she provides research and analysis of health policy issues for legislators and other key stakeholders including CSG-ERC, supervises student projects and as staff and later a member of the Medicaid Oversight Council, was instrumental in helping under served children and adults gain access to healthcare. The author of the CT Health Notes Blog, she has developed numerous online resources for the community. In the past she served on the legislative staff of the Public Health Committee for the Connecticut General Assembly, was a health policy consultant for several non-profit organizations, and served as Director of the Children’s program for the Domestic Violence Services of Greater New Haven. Andrews is also an assistant professor at Southern Connecticut State University. She has also held faculty positions at Trinity College and the Yale University School of Nursing. She earned a BS in Zoology from the University of Massachusetts and a Ph.D. in Human Genetics from Yale.
Earl Eisenhart is a consultant specializing in U.S./Canadian cross-border issues including trade, travel, transportation and security. Earl is responsible for CSG/ERC’s U.S. – Canada relations programs and staffs the Canada – U.S. Relations Committee. He has over 30 years experience in government relations and issues advocacy. He has worked as a trade association executive, journalist and congressional staffer. Since 1996 he has served as principal of Government Relations Services, a public policy consulting firm based in Washington D.C.
Prior to forming GRS in 1996, Eisenhart served as vice president of the National Private Truck Council, executive director of the Commission of Accredited Truck Driving Schools, and director of government relations for the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators where he worked on issues involving cross-border trucking. He holds a degree in political science from Coe College and studied law at Drake University.
Don Hannon served in the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) for over twenty-five years. His early years in transportation were in the areas of program auditing and budgeting. Later, he was appointed to lead NYSDOT’s Corporate Training organization and was subsequently invited by the State Commissioner of Transportation, Joseph Boardman, (current CEO and President of Amtrak) to serve as his Executive Assistant.
During the final four years of his NYSDOT career Don was the Director of Integrated Modal Services. He was responsible for the State’s Passenger and Freight Rail, Aviation, Public Transportation, Bicycle/Pedestrian, and Ports programs. He served as the State’s representative to the U.S. passenger rail Next Generation Equipment Committee’s Executive Board. Additionally, he was the Secretary-Treasurer of the States for Passenger Rail Coalition, a coalition of over 35 state transportation departments and passenger rail authorities that advocates for federal support of passenger rail initiatives. Don was at the forefront as a public spokesperson and speaker advocating for advancing freight and passenger rail investments in New York, Washington D.C., the Northeastern States, and Canada.
Since leaving public service he has worked to help cultivate ideas and relationships to advance improved transportation infrastructure within the U.S. and between Canada and the States. His clients include private investors, transportation advocacy organizations, and elected state and federal officials.
Steve Hewitt is an independent transportation consultant with over 20 years of experience in the field of federal, state and local transportation policy; governmental relations; and coalition building. Since January, 2009, Steve has been a consultant to CSG/ERC’s transportation policy committee. Steve is a former Director of the Office of External Relations with the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) where he served on the Executive Staff, and advised senior management on legislative advocacy strategies, and served as the department’s point of contact for stakeholder organizations, trade associations, and governmental entities at the state, regional, and national levels. Steve’s priority areas of focus include; advancing regional and national transportation policy initiatives, providing legislative analysis, advice, and counsel to elected officials; and, generally, promoting the importance of ensuring an adequately funded, safe, secure and reliable multi-modal national transportation system.
Agriculture and Rural Affairs
Bob has a Master’s Degree in Management from Lesley University and a B.S. in Business Administration from Hawthorne College, Magna Cum Laude. He served his military obligation in the USMC Reserve. He spent 36 years with fortune 500 companies in People, Process and Program Management. After retiring from HP, Bob ran for the NH House of Representatives and then spent ten years on the Committee on Environment and Agriculture. Four of those as Ranking Member and four as Chair. Bob is a fellow of the Eastern Leadership Academy and a member of the Farm Bureau Government Affairs Committee. Bob was active on the CSG/ERC Agriculture Policy Committee and a member of the Executive Committee and has been active in State Agriculture and Rural Leaders (SARL). He now joins the ERC consulting staff as one of the two Agriculture and Rural Policy advisors.
Agriculture and Rural Affairs