Staff Bios

To reach the administrative staff, dial 215.243.0555 and the appropriate extension

Administrative Assistant

Dispatcher / Receptionist • X221

Matt Bergheiser

President • x224

Matt BergheiserMatt Bergheiser joined UCD as Executive Director in 2009 and was promoted to President in 2016. In his previous work as Philadelphia Regional Director of the Knight Foundation, he gave away money for a living. As a result - in stark contrast to his time at UCD – everyone treated him nicely and laughed at all his jokes. He is board chair of the Barra Foundation, and chair emeritus of Community College of Philadelphia. Matt believes passionately in cities and in creating opportunities for people and places to thrive. He holds a B.A. from Princeton University and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Click here for Matt Bergheiser’s full biography.

A.J. Adams

Manager of Partner Services, West Philadelphia Skills Initiative • He/Him • x310

Adrian “A.J.” Adams is the Manager, Partner Services and is responsible for developing and executing all workforce programming at the Navy Yard in addition to expanding WPSI’s regional impact within the Life Sciences, through business engagement and training efforts. 
Before supporting PIDC, A.J. worked for the City of Philadelphia, Office of Workforce Development administering the City’s first-ever municipal-focused workforce development program, which was designed to create viable pathways to permanent employment for under/unemployed Philadelphians. With over ten years of experience supporting adult job seekers, employers, and designing training, A.J. is an enthusiastic workforce professional dedicated to designing programs to help Philadelphians connect to high-quality employment. When not working, A.J enjoys time with his family, being outdoors, and cycling. 

Patrick Bayer

Senior Manager for Economic Mobility • He/Him • x306

As our Senior Manager for Economic Mobility, Patrick oversees UCD’s research agenda and data analysis, with a focus on our West Philadelphia Skills Initiative's Good Jobs Challenge portfolio and the start-up of UCD's research into residential affordability. Patrick previously worked on UCD’s initial business plan for our landscaping social venture Green City Works through a role with the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity and AmeriCorps VISTA. Before joining UCD, Patrick worked at Philadelphia Works, managing special projects and program oversight. Patrick holds a Bachelor's degree from Binghamton University, an MBA from Marywood University, and a graduate certificate in Social Impact Strategy from The University of Pennsylvania. In his free time, he enjoys restoring his 1913 rowhome in Cobbs Creek, looking at old maps, long distance train trips, and advocating for historic preservation initiatives. 

Vincent Better

Vice President, Partnerships • x226

Vincent serves as UCD's Vice President, Strategic Advancement. He has 20+ years of experience in digital media consulting, business strategy, organizational leadership, and team building and development. Vincent both attended undergrad at and earned his MBA in IT Management from Temple University’s Fox School of Business. He also serves as a volunteer with ManUp Philadelphia, an officer with a black-owned investment club, and on the advisory board for Temple’s Master of Science in Digital Marketing Program. Originally from and still very connected to his hometown of Baltimore, Vincent is a consistently engaged #GirlDad to his only child, Gabrielle, and an avid cyclist.

Lauren Bishop

Senior Manager of Employer Services, West Philadelphia Skills Initiative • She/Her

Lauren Bishop is the Senior Manager of Employer Services for the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative. Prior to joining the WPSI team, Lauren worked to bolster Workforce Development initiatives for over 12 years in roles ranging from Team Lead, and Program Management to Director of Site-Based Programs. She has experience with strategic partnerships, grant management, site-based programming, social services, and employment services. Lauren holds a Master’s degree in Industrial Relations and Human Resources from Penn State University. She is responsible for maintaining and growing WPSI’s employer relationships, supporting targeted recruitment efforts, and lending her expertise to grow our impact within our employer partners’ organizations. Lauren enjoys good coffee, spending time with family, strength training, and watching her son play volleyball.

Morris Burns

Manager of Applicant Experience, West Philadelphia Skills Initiative

Morris Burns is the Manager for Applicant Experience at the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative. With 10 years of experience in nonprofit management, Morris worked as a community builder, transitional manager, client conversion associate, and social services advocate prior to joining WPSI. He provides direct support to program applicants, guiding them through the application process, and identifying areas for improvement to make the process more efficient and equitable. Morris is currently pursuing a CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) certification to expand his knowledge of continuous improvement methodologies, which will further drive applicant and organizational success. Morris enjoys spending time with family, outdoor fitness, and baking cakes.

James Carter

Public Safety Account Manager • x327

James Carter currently holds the position of Security Operations Manager with Allied Universal here at University City District overseeing the Public Safety Ambassador Program. James began his career in Public Safety in 2009 at the Bucks County Fire Academy, earning Pro Board Certifications as a firefighter. James began working for Allied Universal as a Bike Patrol Officer and Supervisor for University of Pennsylvania before transferring to University City District as the first UCD Patrol Captain in 2012.

On June 4th, 2018, James was nominated and received the “Patriotic Employer” Award by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, for contributing to national security and protecting liberty by supporting employee participation in America’s National Guard and Reserve force. James also remains an Active Volunteer Firefighter/Rescue Technician holding multiple Certifications in Bucks County where he currently resides with his family.

Nick Edelman

Vice President, Finance and Operations • x225

Nick EdelmanNick Edelman joined UCD in May 2014. As the Vice President, Finance and Operations, Nick handles all of the accounting, budgeting, and financial needs for University City District as well as various HR and IT functions. If there’s a number, give it to Nick. Previously, Nick worked as the General Manager at Pig Iron Theatre Company for 6 years where he oversaw the budget, managed the accounting, and created the financial plan for the Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training. Nick attended Susquehanna University and graduated with a B.S. in Economics and dual minors in Theatre and Music-Vocal Performance.

Nick and his wife live in Elkins Park with their dog and two cats. He enjoys being outdoors, hiking, camping, grilling in his back yard, working on his pond, craft beer, listening to music, going to concerts of all varieties, playing board games, and seeing live theatre. While growing up in the Lehigh Valley, Nick became a diehard Philadelphia sports fan and has a dream of one day going to every Phillies home game in a season. 

Brian English

Vice President, Green City Works • x236

Brian English joined UCD in 2016 as the General Manager of Green City Works. Brian has worked in the landscaping industry for over 20 years. His experiences range from managing start-up and established design-build landscape firms to serving as Director of Property Management for a land trust. At the land trust, Brian was responsible for enacting environmentally focused initiatives on sites owned by the land trust, in addition to assisting regional land owners with productive and sustainable land management strategies. Brian has long been active in the promotion of native horticulture and urban greening and sees Philadelphia as the ideal place to express these interests. After spending time managing a company serving the New York City region, Brian recently returned home to the Philadelphia area, where he lives with his wife and two children.

Salimah Fields

Finance and Administrative Coordinator • x222

Salimah Fields serves as UCD’s Finance and Administrative Coordinator. In this role, Salimah helps UCD’s finance department with various capacities including AP, AR, payroll, banking, IT, and purchasing. She also works closely with UCD’s leadership team to provide scheduling support for meetings and is UCD's primary administrative liaison to the board of directors. Prior to joining UCD, Salimah spent time with the Police and Fire Federal Credit as a bank representative and with TruMark Financial Credit Union as a member service representative supervisor. Samilah grew up in University City and currently lives in West Philadelphia, where she enjoys reading, spending time with her children and family, and finding ways to help others.

Cait Garozzo

Executive Director, West Philadelphia Skills Initiative • x303

Cait Garozzo has been a part of Philadelphia workforce development since 2010, serving as a case manager, curriculum developer, trainer, and program director for several organizations. Her experience and passion are in designing holistic and responsive programs aimed at preparing people for the modern workforce and building sustainable partnerships across organizations and individuals. Prior to joining UCD in 2017, Cait was the program director for Career Wardrobe where she oversaw the organization's regional expansion. Cait holds a Bachelor’s degree from The College of New Jersey and a graduate certificate in Social Impact Strategy from The University of Pennsylvania. She is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Organizational Dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Cait most enjoys spending time in nature with her husband, two beautiful sons, and their family dog. She is always up for a good book recommendation and is slowly becoming a decent Times crossword solver.

Alan Garry

Senior Vice President, Public Safety and District Services • x233

alanAlan Garry heads University City’s Public Safety Ambassador and Public Space Maintenance program. He oversees the day-to-day deployments of safety ambassadors, acts as a liaison to the other major law enforcement agencies in the city, assists in the execution and safety of major events in University City, and leads our efforts around homelessness by partnering with Project Home and the Office of Homeless Services. In addition, he leads the Public Space Maintenance team that cleans and enhances more than 160 University City commercial and residential blocks and oversees our Small Business Services team, supporting business recruitment, retention, and growth in our commercial corridors. Alan attended Montgomery County Community College for Criminal Justice, and is currently enrolled at Notre Dame's  Mendoza College of Business studying Executive Leadership.

Fontaine A. Gutierrez

Manager of Communications, West Philadelphia Skills Initiative • She/Her • x308

A Philadelphia native, Fontaine Gutierrez serves the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative as the Manager of Communications. Before her current responsibilities, she played a key role in our recruiting, assessment, and selection process. Over her time at UCD, Fontaine has worked hard to refine the WPSI brand, making sure that our various audiences get the information that is relevant to them. Before joining UCD in 2018, the Drexel University graduate freelanced as a nonprofit digital media content creator, managed several nonprofit resalers, and worked on the security team at a legendary Philadelphia music venue. Currently, she is pursuing her Executive Certification in Digital Media for Social Impact Strategy at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Social Impact Strategy. In her free time, Fontaine likes to lift heavy weights, learn about war tax resistance, and go to live music events. 

Nathan F. Hommel

Director, Planning and Design • x245

Nate HommelNate joined UCD in 2012, and has served as the Director of Planning and Design since Summer 2015. Nate uses his urban design expertise and dedicated enthusiasm to further enhance urban quality of life issues throughout University City. Nate was instrumental in launching Green City Works, UCD’s new landscaping social venture, and serves as a quality and design consultant for all landscaping projects that the venture executes. Before UCD, Nate worked as a landscape architect/urban designer for two firms in Philadelphia, and from 2010-2015, he served as an adjunct professor of landscape architecture at Philadelphia University, heading the urban design and community design studios. Nate is also one of the founding members of Open Streets PHL and has served as the External Communications Director for the organization. Nate holds a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY. 

Mimi In

Data Quality & Relationship Manager, West Philadelphia Skills Initiative • She/Her

Mimi is the Data Quality & Relationship Manager will be responsible for supporting the Good Jobs Challenge EDA Grant Team and the Recruitment Team, serve as the primary data manager, and provide Salesforce support for the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative team. Mimi has over 20 years of recruitment and outreach experience throughout the Greater Philadelphia region. Prior to WPSI, Mimi was recruitment manager with Year Up and Girl Scouts of Eastern PA. She also was part of the launch of the Community Resource Corps, an AmeriCorps Program, with the Mayor’s Office. When not working, Mimi is an avid runner, and spends her free time participating in local races. She also enjoys exploring local hiking trails and traveling with her family. 

Erica Jorden

Director of Human Resources • x228

Erica serves as UCD's Director of Human Resources. She has extensive experience in HR Program Management & Implementation, People Leading, Performance Management, Payroll, Benefits, Absence Management, Change Management, Training Facilitation & Curriculum Creation, and Employee Relations. Erica holds a Master’s degree in Adult Education, and an Undergraduate Degree in Business Management, Human Resources Management. Erica was the 2019 recipient of the ESGR/Army National Guard Patriot Award for her dedicated service to Military Employees. She is also a published author, proud mother of her daughter Kendall, and a life-long Philadelphian.

Margaret Leidy Starke

Senior Manager, Events and Community Partnerships • x227

Margaret LeidyMargaret joined the UCD team in April of 2014. She has been instrumental in organizing signature UCD events including the Dollar Stroll and Dining Days, serving as a direct liaison to local businesses and partner organizations, and overseeing programs including food trucks at The Porch at 30th, our University City MIX networking series, and much more. Prior to joining UCD, Margaret worked at Tyler Arboretum as the Special Events Manager. She loves to deploy her event-planning skills in a vibrant city-landscape.  A graduate from Gettysburg College with a B.A. in Management, Margaret enjoys cooking, running, and color-coding everything possible.

Lt. Kevin Livewell

Commanding Officer, UCD / Philadelphia Police Substation • x241

Joshua Park

Senior Manager of Strategy & Partnerships, West Philadelphia Skills Initiative • He/Him • x301

Joshua joined University City District’s West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) in October 2015. In his role as Senior Manager of Strategy & Partnerships, he is responsible for fostering and expanding WPSI’s relationships with employers, funders, and other workforce organizations to open new career pathway opportunities for talent across Philadelphia. Previously, as the Executive Director of Sylvan Learning’s Philadelphia territory, Joshua passionately promoted educational programs and services to parents, schools, and the community, developing strategic partnerships to promote the Sylvan brand and build awareness of programmatic services. Prior to that, Joshua was a middle school and high school math teacher, beginning his teaching career here in West Philadelphia after earning his Master of Education from Saint Joseph’s University.

Currently, Joshua lives in Fishtown with his 8-year-old son and a 6-toed cat. He enjoys listening to local music, writing songs, and finding new adventures with his son.

Jazzmin Prosper

Manager of Alumni Development and Continuing Education, West Philadelphia Skills Initiative • She/Her • x304

Jazzmin Prosper is the Manager of Continuing Development at West Philadelphia Skills Initiative. She will be managing the Pathway to Promotion program along with WPSI Scholars. Jazzmin moved to Philadelphia from Ohio in 2016 and arrives with 8 years of experience in youth development and programming including Americorps, K-12 and higher education teaching, and public health policy and partnership management. She has a Bachelor's degree in Counseling with a concentration in Chemical Dependency counseling and Behavioral Health and is currently receiving a Leadership in Social/Emotional Learning and Character Development certification from Saint Elizabeth University. In her spare time, Jazzmin enjoys traveling, trying new restaurants, and selling her apparel line at local pop-up shops.

Chris Richman

Director, Marketing and Communications • x229

Chris Richman

Chris Richman leads University City District's marketing and communications efforts. As the Director of Marketing and Communications, he oversees UCD's print and online publications, social media accounts, email communications, video production, and writes or edits content for the UCD blog. Prior to joining UCD in 2014, Chris spent time writing jokes, acting in a dinner theater, working in children's publishing, and at Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum. Chris holds a BA in English from Elizabethtown College and an MA in Writing from Rowan University. Chris is an avid reader, a big sports fan, a pretty good dart player, and enjoys traveling, listening to live music, and theater. He lives in Passyunk Square with his wife and two cats. 

Alvin Rios

Landscape Operations Manager, Green City Works

Alvin Rios is the Landscape Operations Manager at UCD/Green City Works. He joined UCD in 2022 with over twenty years of experience. Alvin considers himself a team player with a wide range of supervisorial experience, and he understands the importance of effective communication while exemplifying great leadership for his team. His experience ranges from landscape design to irrigation startups to building relationships with reputable brands including Urban Outfitters, and he has a vast knowledge in hardscaping and construction management. Alvin is responsible for continuing to develop and oversee the GCW field team in the landscape division. Alvin enjoys golf, swimming, salsa dancing, and discovering new restaurants. He lives in the Burholme section of the city with his family.

Morgan Rogers Burns

Development Director • x247

As University City District’s Development Director, Morgan Rogers Burns crafts narratives to foster funder and stakeholder investments into the tremendous work her colleagues undertake in support of this neighborhood. In this capacity, she develops and maintains relationships with funders, local businesses, and individuals dedicated to ensuring University City’s ongoing vitality. She joined UCD in October 2017 as a Development Associate. Prior to that, she worked at the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePAC), first as Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator and then as External Relations Manager. It was there that her passion for fundraising and development emerged. In those roles, Morgan took on the mission-critical tasks of growing volunteer infrastructure, developing relationships with partner organizations, expanding individual giving, and redesigning the donor database for the literacy nonprofit.

Morgan graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009 with a B.A. in Liberal Arts and double minors in English and Jazz Studies. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with her husband, Morris, and their young daughter, driving to new places without GPS, and painting with light through photography.

Sarah Steltz

Senior Vice President of Strategy

Sarah Steltz is UCD’s Senior Vice President of Strategy. In this role, she helps shape, communicate, and advance the strategic growth of the organization, and the strategic positioning of the neighborhood as a powerhouse for economic dynamism and opportunity. Sarah previously worked for ten years in HR and workforce development at Drexel University before joining our staff as the Executive Director of the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative from 2018 through 2021. She departed in 2021 to take the position of Deputy Director and Chief of Staff for the City of Philadelphia’s Commerce Department. From there she spent time as the Vice President, Economic Competitiveness for the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia before rejoining UCD early in 2024. Sarah lives in South Philadelphia with her husband, daughter, and way too many pets.

Shawn Ryan

Senior Designer • He/Him • x230

Shawn lives on a steady diet of design, finding inspiration everywhere from the streets of Philadelphia to the aisles of the grocery store. He joined University City District as the Senior Designer in January 2015. Prior to working at UCD, he was Graphic Designer for World Cafe Live in University City. Shawn graduated from Millersville University with a BA in Design.

Aside from pushing pixels and crafting compositions, Shawn also enjoys traveling, bicycling, exploring Philadelphia, endlessly searching for rare records and black coffee.

Caitlyn Shauger

Outreach Services Manager • x250

Caitlyn Shauger is UCD’s Homeless Outreach Services Manager. She works within UCD's District Services team to build personal relationships and provide innovative and compassionate solutions that address each individual's needs. Her responsibilities as outreach program manager are to incorporate a compassionate, individualized, and research-driven approach to outreach and case management, in an effort to work against cyclical and situational constraints. Caitlyn graduated from Jefferson University in 2022 with a bachelor's degree in interior design. For her senior thesis project, she spent a year researching and developing a restorative outreach facility called PHASEUP. This project ignited her passion for outreach, and she recognized her social responsibility to use her design knowledge to help under-supported communities. Caitlyn lives in Fishtown with her 2 roommates, 3 fish, and 2 cats. She likes to go out for breakfast and take care of her plants in her free time.

Ryan Spak

Project Rehab Manager, Planning and Economic Development • x201

Ryan SpakBorn in Philadelphia, Ryan has a passion for its neighborhoods, its history and its real estate. Prior to joining UCD in 2010, Ryan was active in construction management. He used that experienced in 2007 to help start and now operate a real estate investment group known as the Spak Group. The Spak Group specializes in rehabilitating and maximizing the value of distressed and under-utilized properties. Ryan has a firm belief that no distressed property should ever remain in an inhabitable condition.

Ryan graduated from Temple University with a degree in Political Science and American Studies. Prior to his construction experience, Ryan worked as a Disc Jockey, a Clerk in Philadelphia Municipal Court, a Paralegal, and a Janitor. Ryan is known in the Janitorial world for his ability to stripping and waxing a floor!

Ryan loves being a resident of University City and loves even more being married to his wife, Jessica. When not engrossed in matters of brick, Ryan is a fanatical basketball enthusiast, bleeds “Flyers” orange, loves saving animals from a cold Philly night and is quite nuts over anything that is related to the decade of the 1980’s – especially movies and television shows!

Dr. Romaine Thrower, Ed.D

Director of Programs, West Philadelphia Skills Initiative • She/Her • x309

West Philadelphia native Romaine Thrower is the Director of Programs for the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative. Prior to joining the WPSI team, Romaine served as a Senior Learning and Development Specialist at a Veteran-based organization. With over seven years of experience within major healthcare organizations, Romaine understands the importance of making connections and building strong relationships between employees and employers. Romaine holds a B.A degree in English and Philosophy from Millersville University, a Masters degree in Adult Education and Leadership (M.Ed.) from Strayer University, and a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership and Management from Capella University. 
Romaine is a lifelong learner and is passionate about finding new ways of learning to improve work performances and outcomes. Outside of work she loves to read, educate youth on the power of excellent credit, socialize with friends, and create memories with her husband and three children. 

Giftie Umo

Program Manager, West Philadelphia Skills Initiative • She/Her

Giftie Umo is the Program Manager at WPSI, leveraging over 10 years of experience in workforce development. In her role, Giftie is responsible for implementing WPSI's signature cohort-based program, demonstrating a deep commitment to empowering individuals through skill enhancement. 
Giftie is passionate about the professional development of young people, and her dedication extends beyond her role. She founded an organization in rural Nigeria providing economic opportunities for teenage girls and young women. Her grassroots initiative reflects her belief in the transformative power of education and skills training. Giftie brings a wealth of experience teaching students across all levels and is pursuing a doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership and Strategic Management at Eastern University. 
Resident in Philadelphia, Giftie finds joy in various pursuits. From indulging in her passion for cooking to cheering for soccer games, dancing, and reading storybooks, Giftie embodies a multifaceted and dedicated professional with a profound impact on workforce development and community empowerment. 

Hanchao Zhang

Landscape Designer and Sales Representative, Green City Works

Hanchao Zhang serves as the resident Landscape Designer and Sales Representative for Green City Works (GCW). In this role, he uses his experience in landscape and urban design to create design schemes and connect with clients and GCW crew to ensure high quality and satisfactory outcomes for projects. He joined UCD in the summer of 2023 after spending six years in urban planning in design, most recently with Groundswell Design Group in Philadelphia. Hanchao was born in Shanghai, China, earned a 3-year degree in landscape architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design, and now lives in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia, where he enjoys ball games, movies, outdoor sports, and exploring local culture. He is passionate about landscape architecture and believes it bears the opportunity to solve many social and environmental issues.