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Joe NeCastro to head Erie Innovation District board

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Erie Innovation District (EID), once merely an idea, has generated so much momentum in recent months that organizers are reconstituting its Board of Directors to reflect more broad-based representation.

At the helm is Erie native and Cleveland resident Joseph G. NeCastro. In assuming the chairmanship of the EID Board, NeCastro said, “Now that we are moving forward, it is important to ensure that we are representing the entire city and receiving strategic guidance from a diverse group of board members.”

NeCastro said the new directors represent entrepreneurship, philanthropy, higher education, business and industry and provide assorted pathways to innovate and grow a modern, digital economy focused on safety and security in the City of Erie.

NeCastro retired in February 2016 from Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. During his 13 years with the Scripps group of media companies, he served as chief financial & administrative officer and chief development officer.   

Prior to joining Scripps, NeCastro was chief financial officer for Penton Media, Inc., where he played a leading role in the execution of Penton's spin-off and initial stock offering, as well as more than 20 acquisitions. He previously held senior financial positions at Reader's Digest and U.S. News & World Report.

NeCastro earned a master’s degree in Business Administration from Harvard Business School and a bachelor's degree in Accounting from Mercyhurst University, where he is vice chair of the university’s Board of Trustees.

“I left Erie when I was 23 and was lucky enough to do well for myself,” NeCastro said. “This is an opportunity to give back at a time when I hope I can make a real contribution.”

The fact that his brother, Tim NeCastro, CEO of Erie Insurance and chair of the Erie Downtown Development Corp., is heavily involved in Erie’s transformation is definitely an incentive for him.

“Having him in such an important role and with the ability to elicit meaningful change gives me confidence in what we are all trying to accomplish,” he said.

Joe NeCastro replaces David Dausey as EID chair. Dausey, former provost of Mercyhurst University, has returned to his hometown of Pittsburgh to assume the provost post at Duquesne University.

The new EID board includes:

  1. Ann Beauchesne - Chief Executive Officer, Ridge Global Education

  2. Joel Deuterman – President and CEO, Velocity Network

  3. Michelle Griffith-Aresco – Vice President, Rick Griffith Properties

  4. Tal Heppenstall – Executive Vice President, Treasurer and President, UPMC Enterprises

  5. Keith Kennedy – Senior Vice President for Strategic and Integrated Services, Erie Insurance

  6. Matt Lechner – Region Vice President of Sales, MCPc

  7. Douglas Lieberman – Director of Global Alliances, Dell EMC

  8. Tim McNulty – Associate Vice President for Government Relations, Carnegie Mellon

  9. James Martin – Erie Region President, Northwest Bank

  10. Marco Monsalve – Chairman, McManis & Monsalve Associates

  11. Paul Kenny – President and CEO, McManis & Monsalve Associates

  12. Caleb Pifer – Vice President for External Relations and Advancement, Mercyhurst University

  13. Leanne Roberts – Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Mercyhurst University.

“Some of the original directors like Marco Monsalve and Joel Deuterman are remaining on the board, which will provide a smooth transition for our new members,” NeCastro said. “I’d also like to give credit to Erie Innovation District CEO Karl Sanchack for the tremendous role he has played in moving this important initiative forward.”

The newly organized board will hold its first meeting on Tuesday, May 29.