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Commission members

Stephen Iachetta

Steve Iachetta is a 1985 graduate of Cornell University’s Master of Regional Planning Program. Mr. Iachetta worked in public transportation management 1991-2023 as the principal manager responsible for Federal and State capital project planning and regulatory compliance at Albany International Airport. In this role, he has served as planner and project manager for new Terminal construction, two runway extensions, air cargo development and comprehensive environmental management systems which received numerous awards including the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Environmental Quality Award.

Mr. Iachetta, He has been a member of the State Canal Recreationway Commission since 2014. He is certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners since 1986 and is Past-President of the American Planning Association 330-member, Capital District Planners Association. He is also a Trustee and Past-President of the Shaker Heritage Society overseeing America’s first Shaker settlement.

Prior to joining the Airport Authority staff, Mr. Iachetta was Senior Planner for the County of Albany from 1984 to 1991 with project management responsibilities for major capital facilities and transportation systems, including but not limited to the 18,000 seat Albany County Civic Center a.k.a. MVP Arena and Downtown Albany Pedestrian Way. Off airport, he can be found playing and rebuilding vintage violins at his home overlooking the Empire Trail and Crescent Lake of the Mohawk River, Erie Canal between Locks 6 and 7.

Doug Cole

Mr. Cole, a civil engineer with more than 31 years of experience and is the Senior Director of Engineering at the PRIME AE Group of NY Albany office. He is responsible for project planning, civil and environmental engineering design, and project management and administration. His areas of specialty include feasibility studies, environmental assessments under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), funding applications, wastewater treatment plant and sewage pumping station design, sewer collection system and water distribution system design, storm water and MS4 projects, coordinating the preparation of construction drawings and specifications, State and Federal permitting, project team oversight, bidding, construction phase administration, and quality assurance/quality control. Mr. Cole currently serves as the Town Designated Engineer for the planning boards in the Town of Princetown, the Town of Rotterdam, the Town of Glenville, the Town of Niskayuna, the Village of Scotia, the Town of Duanesburg, and the Town of Glen.

Kal Wysokowski; Canandaigua, NY

Kal Wysokowski recently served as Executive Director of the Finger Lakes Community College Foundation and Director of Grants Development in Canandaigua; she is the former Executive Director of Fairport’s Office of Community + Economic Development. Prior, her time was well spent in Ithaca as Vice President of Business Development at Tompkins County Area Development and Ithaca College.

She currently serves as Chairman and Commissioner of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and is a member of the Canal Recreationway Commission. Prior commitments include President of the Board of Directors of the Canal Society of NYS, Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council, Advisory Board for Canandaigua National Bank, Rochester Regional Community Design Center, Ithaca Community School of Music and Arts, grants panelist for NYSCA, and Finger Lakes REDC Community Development Committee.

Ms. Wysokowski graduated from Ithaca College’s Roy Park School of Communication with a bachelor’s degree and earned a master’s degree from Binghamton University. She lives and plays enjoying spectacular lake views from her home in Canandaigua, NY.

Ken DeRoller

Ken DeRoller is a resident of Orleans County Kendall, NY. He worked for 37 years at Kodak, retiring 19 years ago in the information technology department as a business analyst. He served in the United States Army 1965-1967 and joined the Fire Department and was an active firefighter for 18 years.

Mr. DeRoller served 25 years on the Town Planning Board, including 15 years as its chairman. Instrumental in putting in a revised Town of Kendall zoning Ordinance, and the first time comprehensive master plan. He has been a member of the Kendall Lions Club for 35+ years “We Serve”. Experience in Costal Polices Administration for 24 miles of Lake Ontario Shoreline and 22 Miles of the Erie Canal corridor. He has served on the Canal Recreationway Commissioner since 2018. Served on the Orleans Economic Development Agency since 2002-2021. Orleans County Legislator 2014-2021, representing District #4 (Kendall, Carlton, Murray, and Village of Holley) elected by the voters within that district. The Legislature is divided into ten Standing Committees to carry out the responsibilities of County government more efficiently. Presently on the executive board of Genesee, Livingston, Orleans & Wyoming (GLOW) workforce development and the Orleans County, United Way organization, housing task force.

Fra Putorti

Francis “Fra” Putorti is a businessman who has lived his entire life in Whitehall, New York. For nearly half a century, he and his wife, Cheryl, owned and operated Putorti’s Broadway Market—a small grocery store his great-grandmother opened in 1927. They sold that business in 2022, but they are still partners in the Railyard Taproom and Restaurant, also in Whitehall, and have residential rental properties in Whitehall and Lake George. Always an active member of his community, he previously served as Village mayor and trustee, Town councilperson, school board president, and Rotary member, and currently serves on the Planning Board and as a member of the Elks. He and Cheryl have two children, Matthew, and Sondra (married to Steven), and two grandchildren, Jaiden and Beckett.

Michele L. Vennard; Albany, NY

Michele Vennard has been in the hospitality industry for more than 30 years. She was the first Director of Sales for the Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau (now Discover Albany) and after several years returned to lead the CVB as President /CEO for 25 years. Michele also held the position of Deputy Commissioner for the NYS Department of Commerce, representing the tourism program and the I Love NY campaign. Other destination promotion positions have filled out her career.

Michele is currently the Chair of the Albany Capital Center Board of Directors, is a Board member of Hart Cluett Museum, Commissioner of the Canal Corporation Recreation Commission, Canal NY Board member.

Ms. Vennard is a graduate of Russel Sage College (Albany) and a former trustee and Board Chair of the college.

Natalie Stetson

Natalie Stetson has been the executive director of the Erie Canal Museum in downtown Syracuse, NY since 2016 and was appointed to the Canal Recreationway Commission in 2021. Natalie holds an MA in Museum Studies from Syracuse University. She has spent much of her career thinking about and finding ways to engage new audiences at history museums and connect museums to their community. She especially appreciates studying and sharing stories about the Erie Canal because it is like a microcosm of the larger story of America. Although not native to Central New York, she now calls it home and is energized by the revitalization of communities like Syracuse.

Natalie received a BA at the Honors College of Florida Atlantic University with concentrations in American Studies and Literature. She later attended Syracuse University to receive an MA in Museum Studies. Natalie grew up in museums and, in fact, followed in the footsteps of her father, who received his MFA in Museum Studies (then called Museology) from Syracuse University 30 years before she attended.