Corporate Information

Public Engagement

Meet the “Answer People” for Canals
A woman points to a large map titled 'The Erie Canal & the New York State Canal System' while talking to a group of people at a booth. The map shows the canal routes stretching across New York State, including Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany.
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You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers!

NYS Canal Corporation's Public Engagement team is the point of contact for all inquiries—whether from elected officials, community residents, school children, local news reporters and anyone who has questions or needs information about the NYS Canal System. We work with our colleagues throughout the Canal Corporation to get you the best answer or information. The response may come in the form of a simple email, phone call or an in-person meeting where we often bring our subject matter experts to the table for further discussion.

Bottom line: We listen. We aim to be responsive. We want you to contact us with your Canals-related questions, ideas and issues.

Coverage Area and Contact Information

View Coverage Area Map
A map of New York State displays the coverage area of public engagement for the canal system. Various colored sections indicate different divisions and canal sections. Contact information for public engagement representatives is provided for different regions.

The NYS Canal Corporation operates and promotes the NYS Canal System including four canals (Erie, Champlain, Oswego, Cayuga – Seneca), hundreds of trail miles, approximately 3,000 structures-many of significant size, more than 100 vessels and about 500 dedicated full time professional and seasonal staff. We will commemorate our Bicentennial in 2025 and are preparing for our third century of operations by revitalizing the Canal System through commitments to increasing economic development opportunities and impact, addressing climate resiliency for safe and reliable operations and expanding and long-range capital planning to ensure structural integrity of our assets for future generations.

The NYS Canal Corporation is a subsidiary of the NY Power Authority.

Public Engagement Team

Shane Mahar

Director of Public Engagement

Shane brings together the Public Engagement team of regional specialists (East, Central, West) to ensure collaboration and consistency in how the Canal Corporation helps you. His reach and focus are on topics with strategic impact across the 524-miles of waterways, hundreds of miles of trails and 200 communities along the Canal System. He also directs our Media Relations efforts and serves as the primary spokesperson for the Canal Corporation. | 518-603-0791

Jackie Schillinger

Manager, Government & Community Affairs (East)

Jackie is our specialist from Sylvan Beach eastward along the Erie Canal to Whitehall at the top of the Champlain Canal. She thrives when connecting with the communities she covers. From playing a role in economic development projects in the Mohawk Valley to communicating the Canal Corporation's efforts to protect the Champlain Canal from the impact of aquatic invasive species, Jackie is passionate about the Canal System—especially the eastern division. | 518-281-5510

Joell Murney-Karsten

Manager, Government & Community Affairs (Central)

With her dedication to all things Central New York, Joell is involved with topics involving three canals: the Erie, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca. She enjoys boating and traveling throughout the region, keeping up to date on local economic development projects, and connecting with local municipalities, community groups and residents. Water management, water recreation and water-front development are high on her list of subjects of interest to her constituency. As a former teacher and Board of Education member, Joell believes in involving students in workshops and project planning as often as possible. | 315-525-9790

Nick Melson

Manager, Government & Community Affairs (West)

Nick has deep ties to Western New York and broad knowledge of the innovative economic development work the Canal Corporation is undertaking throughout the Western Division. Nick's area of focus is from Rochester to Buffalo as he supports several canal community revitalization efforts. Nick works with local governments and community members to grow recreational fishing opportunities in WNY to expand tourism revenue for small businesses through the Canal Fall Fishing Program. This includes increasing access for anglers to the Lake Ontario tributaries seasonally fed by canal waters through the Access and Conservation Easement (ACE) Program. | 716-277-2262

Public & Cultural Relations Coordinator and Legislative Affairs

On Jackie Schillinger’s team are Liz McAndrew, who is broadening our reach to diverse audiences and Mike Sullivan, our liaison to the NYS Legislature. You can reach them through Jackie’s contact info.

Elizabeth McAndrew

Public & Cultural Relations Coordinator

Michael “Sully” Sullivan

Legislative Affairs