A group of people is standing on a bridge with the American flag and flags of New York and another state in the background. Among them are NYPA Board of Trustees Chairman John Koelmel, President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll, and NYPA Board of Trustees and Canal Corporation Director Brian Stratton. They are leading a tour of the Erie Canal aboard the Sam Patch boat from Pittsford to Fairport, followed by a tour of Fairport and Lock E32 in Pittsford.

Meet Our Leaders

Learn about our leadership at the Canal Corporation by reading bios for our Board of Directors and Executive Management team. Also, see the members of our Board as well as the members of our Audit, Governance, Finance, and Risk and Resiliency Committees.

Board of Directors

John R. Koelmel, Chair - Canal Corp
John R. Koelmel, Chair

John R. Koelmel, Chair

John R. Koelmel has served as Chairman of the NY Power Authority since June 2012, when he was nominated as a Trustee by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. He became a Board of Director when the NYS Canal Corporation became a subsidiary of the Power Authority in 2017.

Mr. Koelmel is currently an advisor for and investor in several early-stage businesses based in Western New York. He previously served as President of HARBORCENTER, LLC, and as President and Chief Executive Officer of First Niagara Financial Group, Inc. including its principal subsidiary, First Niagara Bank N.A.

He began his professional career with KPMG LLP in 1974 and was managing partner of KPMG's Buffalo office and Upstate New York Business Unit. Mr. Koelmel earned a B.A. degree in economics and accounting from The College of the Holy Cross in 1974. He has also assumed numerous and varied leadership roles in the Buffalo and Western New York community throughout his career.

Michael J. Cusick, Trustee - Canal Corp.
Michael J. Cusick, Trustee - Canal Corp.

Michael J. Cusick

Michael J. Cusick serves as President and CEO of the Staten Island Economic

Development Corporation (SIEDC), a non-profit organization where he brings a lifetime of experience leading economic policy and community leadership to enhance Staten Island's economy.

Prior to joining the SIEDC, Cusick represented Staten Island as a Member of the New York State Assembly for the past twenty years and has been credited with passing 120 pieces of legislation during his tenure. While in office, Cusick served as Chair of the Energy Committee and passed legislation that created strong cybersecurity protection for New York's energy grid, increased the adoption of electric-drive vehicles and supported efforts to bring the offshore-wind industry to New York.

Mr. Cusick serves as a member of the Empire State Development New York City Regional Economic Development Council and continues his public services as a member of the board for numerous organizations, including the Tunnel to Towers Foundation and the College of Staten Island Foundation.

A graduate of Monsignor Farrell High School and Villanova University, Cusick worked for the U.S. Senate and the New York City Council before joining the Assembly. He resides in Staten Island with his wife Yasmin and daughter Violet.

Dennis Trainor, Director
Dennis Trainor, Director - Canal Corp.

Dennis Trainor

Dennis G. Trainor is Vice President of CWA District 1.

Dennis Trainor was unanimously elected Vice President of CWA District One in June, 2015. His election to the CWA's top regional position capped a career dedicated to advancing the rights of working people. As regional Vice President, he leads 140,000 workers in telecommunications, public sector, media and broadcast, health care, airlines and manufacturing across New York, New Jersey and New England.

In April and May of 2016, Dennis led the successful 49-day strike of 40,000 Verizon workers up and down the East Coast, the largest strike in the country for the last five years. He also played a critical role in resolving the 17-week long IUE-CWA strike against Momentive Performance Materials in Waterford, NY in the winter of 2016-2017, including negotiating a back-to-work agreement that returned all the strikers to their jobs.

Prior to his election as Vice President, Dennis had served for ten years as Assistant to the Vice President of District One. In that role, Dennis had primary responsibility for collective bargaining throughout the region, which involved hundreds of collective bargaining agreements covering all members in District One. He served as the Verizon Regional Bargaining Chair for the 2008 and 2011 bargaining. He also chaired the AT&T East bargaining for the last five contracts and negotiated a new agreement with Frontier Communications when it purchased AT&T East.

Dennis was appointed the Downstate New York and Connecticut Area Director for CWA during bargaining with Verizon in 2003. As Area Director, Dennis supervised all of the CWA staff assigned to Local Unions in downstate New York and Connecticut and co-chaired the 2003 Verizon Regional Bargaining with the then Assistant to the Vice President Chris Shelton.

Dennis went to work for the New York Telephone Company in 1969 as a splicer's helper. He started his union career during the seven-month long strike against New York Telephone in 1971 when he was elected shop steward in CWA Local 1101. He was elected chief steward in 1975 and represented the Bronx Construction Department in NY Tel. He held that position for eleven years until he took over the chief steward's position in the Empire City Subway Company. He negotiated break out wages for many of the crafts in Empire City Subway during bargaining in 1991 and 1994.

Dennis lives with his wife Kathy in Holbrook, NY. He has three married sons, Dennis, Jr., Greg and Brian and three daughters-in-law – Dina, Jill and Kate and six grandchildren – Jesse, Henry, Julian, Scarlett, Graham and Lucy.

Bethaida González, Director
Bethaida González - Director

Bethaida González

Bethaida "Bea" González, born in Cayey Puerto Rico, and a longtime resident of Syracuse, has more than 40 years of experience in higher education, as well as a distinguished record of public and community service.

In 2014 she was appointed Special Assistant to the chancellor at Syracuse University and then Vice President for Community Engagement in 2017, until her retirement in 2020.

González has been elected to public office three times. In 1991, she was the first Latina to be elected to the board of education in the city of Syracuse, and in 2001 she was the first Latina elected as president of the Common Council for the city of Syracuse.

In 2017, she was the recipient of the University Professional Continuing Education Association Julius M. Nolte Award for Extraordinary Leadership, given to an individual in recognition of unusual and extraordinary contributions to the cause of continuing education on the regional, national and/or international level.

In 2020, the Allyn Foundation, in partnership with Syracuse University, the COVID-19 Relief Fund, the Gifford Foundation, Reisman Foundation and the United Way, developed the Bea Gonzalez Summer Scholars program serving over 800 youth.

González earned a Master of Arts from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She received a Bachelor's of Arts degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton.

Cecily LaVigne Morris
Cecily L. Morris

Cecily L. Morris

Cecily LaVigne Morris retired as a New York State Family Court Judge and Acting Supreme Court Justice in December 2021. Judge Morris began working in the New York State Unified Court System in 1989, beginning as a law clerk and court attorney for the Hon. David S. Nelson. After Judge Nelson retired, she continued in the UCS, and was elected Family Court Judge, serving from January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2021. As an Acting Supreme Court Justice, Judge Morris, in part, presided over the Integrated Domestic Violence Court Part and the Youth Part of New York State Supreme Court.

Judge Morris is the current Chair of the New York State Economic Development Power Allocation Board and member of the New York State Bar Association and the St. Lawrence County Bar Association.

Judge Morris has lived most of her life in St. Lawrence County, primarily in Massena, and earned her undergraduate B.A. degree in history at LeMoyne College in Syracuse in 1980, and her J.D. degree at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia in 1983.

Lewis M. Warren, Jr.
Lewis M. Warren, Jr.

Lewis M. Warren, Jr.

Lewis M. Warren, Jr. is a Vice Chair of Commercial Banking of J.P. Morgan, responsible for managing banking relationships with state and municipal agencies and authorities nationally, and with developing strategic alliances and product innovation. He has more than 35 years of experience in commercial and investment banking and global transaction services. Before joining J.P. Morgan in 2012, Warren was President, Northeast Commercial Banking, Deputy Head of Global Investment Banking and on the Management Operating Committee at Bank of America.

In his community, Warren served as Vice Chairman of the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency from 2018 to 2022. He currently serves as Vice Chairman on the board of PENCIL—the New York City non-profit that partners public schools with businesses—and has recently joined the board of the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, Northwell Health, New York.

Warren has twice received the President's Volunteer Service Award and the "Black Achiever in Industry Award" from the YMCA of Greater New York. He has been named a "top 100 under 50 Diverse Executives and Emerging Leaders" by Diversity MBA magazine and honored as one of "75 Most Powerful Blacks on Wall Street" by Black Enterprise magazine. In 2019, Warren received the City of New York Mayoral Service Award for his volunteer leadership on behalf of New York City public school children.

He graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Old Dominion University and earned MBA and JD degrees from the University of Virginia. He lives on Long Island with his wife and two children.

Laurie Wheelock, Esq
Laurie Wheelock

Laurie Wheelock

Laurie Wheelock, Esq. is the Executive Director and General Counsel of the Public Utility Law Project. She began her career working for the New York Public Interest Research Group, where she fought for the rights of consumers across the state.

Wheelock went on to work for three different members of the New York State Assembly in both Albany and New York City, focusing on a wide variety of issue areas, including legislation to promote affordable housing, public access to insurance, nonprofit reform, and environmental protection.

Wheelock received her bachelor's degree in political science from Binghamton University and received her Juris Doctorate and Masters in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School.

Executive Management

Justin E. Driscoll, President and Chief Executive Officer

Justin E. Driscoll is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the NY Power Authority and the NYS Canal Corporation. He is responsible for developing and implementing the statewide utility's strategic vision and mission and for supervising its operations, legal and financial matters and relationships with external stakeholders.

Justin previously served as the chief legal officer of the Authority. He also supervised the activities of the Hydropower Licensing Group, the Regulatory/Energy Markets functions, Legislative and Community Affairs Group, Environmental Justice, the Corporate Secretary and the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer. He also served on the Enterprise Risk Management Committee and was management's liaison to the Cyber and Physical Security Committee of the Board of Trustees.

Before joining NYPA, Justin was engaged in the private practice of law and represented clients that included Fortune 500 companies, governmental entities and energy companies, in complex commercial litigation and regulatory matters.

Justin serves on several Boards including The Alliance to Save Energy, New York City's Urban Green Council, the Large Public Power Council, and the World Resources Institute's Global Energy Advisory Board in Washington, D.C.

Justin is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C. with a bachelor's degree from the School of Public Affairs. He received his law degree from the New York Law School and attended the New York University School of Law L.L.M. Program in trade regulation. He is a member of the New York City Bar Association, and the Energy Bar Association.

Justin E. Driscoll, President and Chief Executive Officer
Justin E. Driscoll, President and Chief Executive Officer

Brian U. Stratton, Director

Brian Stratton was appointed Director of the New York State Canal Corporation in April 2011. He was appointed at the recommendation of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, and serves as a member of the Governor's Cabinet. Prior to joining the Canal Corporation Mr. Stratton was elected Mayor of the City of Schenectady on November 7, 2003, and re-elected to a second term in 2007.

During his tenure, Mayor Stratton successfully identified and corrected the City's serious inherited financial problems, returning Schenectady's municipal credit rating from the lowest in New York State to investment grade, including a sustained A- rating by Standard & Poor's. During his seven years as mayor, he worked with local leaders to attract more than $300 million in new private investment in the City of Schenectady, creating and retaining more than 2,000 jobs.

As Mayor, Mr. Stratton also served from 2009-2011 as Co-Chair of the United States Conference of Mayors Water Council, leading mayors of more than 300 American cities in the discussion and national policy formation of issues impacting how cities provide safe and affordable water and wastewater services.

His numerous awards include the National Association of Government Accountants (AGA) Distinguished Local Government Leadership Award in 2009 and the AGA New York Chapter Outstanding Achievement Award in 2008.

Mr. Stratton received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from SUNY Oswego in 1980.

Brian U. Stratton, Director of Canal Corp
Brian U. Stratton, Director of Canal Corp. 

David R. Mellen, Regional Manager

David R. Mellen is a Senior Vice President for the NY Power Authority and serves as the Regional Manager of the New York State Canal Corporation. He is responsible for management of the 524-mile New York State Canal System.

Mr. Mellen previously served as the Director of Construction Management for the Canal Corporation, where he was responsible for overseeing all programmed construction work. Prior to joining the Canal Corporation in 2016, Mr. Mellen served in progressively responsible engineering and management positions at the New York State Department of Transportation and New York State Thruway Authority over a career that began in 1989. Mr. Mellen is also a visiting instructor at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, where he teaches construction management.

Mr. Mellen earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Clarkson University and his Masters in Construction Engineering and Management from the State University of New York University at Buffalo. Mr. Mellen is a licensed Professional Engineer in New York.

David R. Mellen, Regional Manager - Canal Corporation
David R. Mellen, Regional Manager - Canal Corp. 

Board Committees


  • Michael Cusick
  • John R. Koelmel
  • Dennis G. Trainor (Chair)
  • Lewis M. Warren Jr.
  • Laurie Wheelock


  • John R. Koelmel (Chair)
  • Michael Cusick
  • Bethaida Gonzalez
  • Cecily Morris
  • Dennis G. Trainor
  • Lewis M. Warren Jr.
  • Laurie Wheelock


  • Bethaida Gonzalez (Chair)
  • John R. Koelmel
  • Cecily Morris
  • Lewis M. Warren Jr.
  • Laurie Wheelock

Risk and Resiliency:

  • Cecily Morris (Chair)
  • Michael Cusick
  • Bethaida Gonzalez
  • John R. Koelmel
  • Dennis G. Trainor

Open Meeting Webcasts & Minutes – Board of Directors

A group of officials, including Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, stands together at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. They hold scissors poised to cut a blue ribbon that reads "Canal Corporation." This marks the opening of a new 2.1-mile section of the Erie Canalway Trail. The ceremony takes place outdoors, with trees and a road visible in the background.

Canal Recreationway Commission

Learn more about the New York State Canal Recreationway Commission.

An aerial view captures the grandeur of a lush, tree-lined waterway, with a historic green truss bridge spanning its width. The tranquil waters below reflect the vibrant greenery of the banks, illustrating a serene, navigable route for those uniting nature with engineering marvels in New York State.

Upstate Flood Mitigation & Task Force

Learn more about the Upstate Flood Mitigation & Task Force.