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.

Patrick Bayer

Senior Manager for Economic Development and Analysis, West Philadelphia Skills Initiative • x306

As our Senior Manager for Economic Development and Analysis, Patrick oversees UCD’s research agenda and data analysis, with a focus on transportation patterns, economic activity, development, housing, and investment within the district and the surrounding community. He also oversees our West Philadelphia Skills Initiative's data systems. 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. Prior to 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, playing tennis, and making music in basements with friends.

Lauren Bishop

Manager of Employer Services, West Philadelphia Skills Initiative

Lauren Bishop is the 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, spin class, and watching her son play basketball.

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.

Lt. Sean Cobette

Commanding Officer, UCD / Philadelphia Police Substation • x241

Ned Darragh

Production Supervisor, Green City Works • x220

Ned Darragh serves as Green City Work's Production Supervisor. He oversees the daily operation of the landscaping crew, including supervising job sites, scheduling the crews, and handling inventory of equipment and plants. Ned has over fifteen years of operation experience, most recently with JHL Landscaping in West Chester, PA. Outside of work, Ned enjoys spending time with family and cooking.  

Nick Edelman

Finance Director • x225

Nick EdelmanNick Edelman joined UCD in May 2014. As the Finance Director, 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.

Cait Garozzo

Managing Director, West Philadelphia Skills Initiative • x303

Cait Garozzo has been a part of Philadelphia workforce development for the past 8 years. She started as a case manager for the EARN program, then wrote and implemented case management training programs, and eventually served as the program director of an area non-profit focused on providing professional support. Her experience and passion is in designing holistic and responsive programs aimed at preparing people for the modern workforce. Creating sustainable partnerships across organizations and individuals as well as constantly seeking new opportunities for collaboration are cornerstones of her professional philosophy. Cait holds a Bachelor’s degree from The College of New Jersey and recently completed the Executive Program for Social Impact Strategy at Penn.
Cait spends her early mornings weightlifting and drinking serious coffee. The rest of her free time is spent collecting and reading literary fiction, taking her perfect dog swimming and hiking, listening to podcasts, cooking with her husband, and eating lots of ice cream.

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 Outreach and Communications, West Philadelphia Skills Initiative • x308

A Philadelphia native, Fontaine Gutierrez serves the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative as Manager of Outreach and Communications. Fontaine has long played a key role in our recruiting, assessment, and selection process, and now leads that function for WPSI. 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 traveled and trained teams for an international retailer, spent a year in New England as an online communications fellow with a reproductive justice nonprofit, waded through Philadelphia's donated goods in the name of all that is just, and even managed to fall wildly in love and elope. Go Birds.

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. 

Mariya Khandros

Senior Manager, Civic Strategies • x310

Mariya Khandros serves as a Senior Manager, Civic Strategies, where she works to export successful UCD ideas to other communities, and import impactful ideas from other places to try to embed within our work to help our place-shaping initiatives. Before joining UCD, Mariya was the Director of Shared Solutions at the Economy League. Her primary responsibility was to oversee the development and implementation of Philadelphia Anchors for Growth and Equity, a project focused on increasing local purchasing by Philadelphia’s hospitals and universities with the goal of creating jobs and reducing poverty. She previously served as an Economic Policy Analyst at the Office of the Philadelphia City Controller and held positions with the Urban Affairs Committee at the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, NorthEast Treatment Centers, the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT), and A.T. Kearney (a management consulting firm). Mariya holds a Master of Public Administration from the Fels Institute of Government, a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of Businesses, and a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Pennsylvania’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Mariya is an avid science fiction reader and aspiring writer, proud dog owner and failed (but persistent) gardener. She needs tea, coffee and muay thai to be happy. Mariya has traveled to many countries, but remains unshaken in her belief that West Philadelphia is the best place to live!

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.

Joshua Park

Senior Manager of Strategy & Partnerships, West Philadelphia Skills Initiative • 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.

Tom Patterson

ABM Operations Manager, x239

Tom Patterson has been with UCD since 2007, and currently serves as our ABM Operations Manager overseeing our Public Space Maintenance program. Tom manages a crew of women and men throughout the district responsible for cleaning and enhancing the neighborhood, preforming services such as street sweeping, graffiti removal, and participating in community cleanup events.
Tom is a South Philadelphia resident and longtime Washington Redskins fan.

Natasha Pratt

Manager of Participant & Alumni Engagement, West Philadelphia Skills Initiative

 Natasha Pratt is the Manager of Participant & Alumni Engagement for the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative.  Prior to joining WPSI, Natasha worked in career development and employer relations at several colleges, universities, and trade schools. Natasha brings 15+ years of training, advising and career coaching to the organization, and is passionate about personal and professional development, community empowerment, and is a natural relationship builder. Natasha holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration & Human Resource Management from Peirce College, a master’s degree in Management & Health Care Administration from Wilmington University, and a master’s degree in Non-Profit Leadership from La Salle University. Natasha is a native of Brooklyn, NY, and holds a special place in her heart for supporting underserved communities. She is also passionate about youth development and volunteers by providing early career exploration workshops to inner city teens and young adults. In her spare time, Natasha enjoys vacationing, writing poetry, social outings, and spending quality time with her family.

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 books, 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. In 2021, he joined the Board of Directors for Shakespeare in Clark Park to help advance their mission to providing free and surprising performances in a community-based environment. He lives in Passyunk Square with his wife and two cats. 

Morgan Rogers Burns

Development Manager • x247

Although she joined University City District as Development Associate in October of 2017, Morgan Rogers Burns has been a part of the neighborhood for nearly two decades. Prior to joining UCD, 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 vending her handcrafted wares at festivals around the city.

Shawn Ryan

Senior Designer • 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.

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

Senior Manager of Training Programs, West Philadelphia Skills Initiative • x309

West Philadelphia native Romaine Thrower is the Senior Manager of Training 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 two children.

Jennine White

Coordinator of Operations and Administration • x221

Jennine White joined UCD in April of 2019, and has taken an ever-increasing role in the operations of both the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative and University City District. Jennine initially supported the WPSI team on interview days, ensuring a smooth flow of candidates, but she has shown tremendous initiative in expanding her role, making her indispensable to the recruitment and selection process. In addition to her expanded role in recruiting operations, Jennine will now be conducting interviews and working closely with participants as they complete the onboarding steps for our employer partners.  And she will continue to build on her foundational work of offering administrative and receptionist support at UCD, managing communications and logistics with the UCD board, and managing various office and purchasing functions. Jennine received her bachelor’s degree in Business Management in May 2019 from Bloomsburg University. She enjoys vacations, whether it being on a cruise or road trip, binge-watching tv shows, playing sports (although she’s no good), cookouts under the sun with family and friends, and relaxing with her boyfriend and their dog and cat.