Board & Executive Staff
Brian U. Stratton, Director of Canals
Brian U. Stratton
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.
Edward Welz, Chief Operating Officer of Canals
Officer of Canals
Edward Welz is Chief Operating Officer of the New York State Canal Corporation. He is responsible for managing and monitoring the day-to-day activities of the Canal Corporation, which operates and maintains the 524-mile New York State Canal System, including the historic Erie Canal.
Mr. Welz previously served as Chief Operating Officer for the New York Power Authority, overseeing 16 power plants and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines in various parts of New York State. During his tenure as Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Welz was responsible for reducing the cost and schedule of an ongoing Life Extension and Modernization Program at NYPA’s St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project, a large hydroelectric facility in Northern New York. He also managed the funding, design and construction of the St. Lawrence project’s visitors center.
Mr. Welz served in progressively responsible management positions at the Power Authority over a career which began in 1982, including a promotion to executive vice president and chief engineer, power supply in 2008.
Prior to joining NYPA, Welz worked as an assistant electrical engineer for the American Electric Power Service Corp., where he was assigned to the Donald C. Cook Nuclear Power Plant in Bridgman, Michigan, to perform design modifications. He graduated from Pratt Institute in 1979.
John C. Callaghan, Acting Executive Deputy Director of Canals
John C. Callaghan
John Callaghan serves as Acting Executive Deputy Director of the NYS Canal Corporation under Director Brian U. Stratton. A veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard, Mr. Callaghan joined the Canal Corporation in 1997 and has held various positions including Tender Captain, Tug Captain, Canal Traffic Agent, Special Assistant, Director of Policy Implementation and Planning, and Deputy Director.
Mr. Callaghan’s career in state government has also included service with the Legislative Bill Drafting Commission, and the New York State Museum. He has also worked in the maritime industry assisting clients with maritime logistics and planning, as well as vessel operation.
Mr. Callaghan graduated from Southern Vermont College in Bennington, VT with a B.A. in Creative Writing and Literature. He is a recipient of the Canal Society of New York State’s “Spirit of the Canal” award and has served on the boards of Canal New York, the Waterford Maritime Historical Society, and the Empire State Maritime Alliance. He resides in Waterford, NY with his wife Jennifer and their five children.
Howard M. Goebel, Deputy Director of Canals
Director of Canals
Howard M. Goebel
Howard Goebel has served as the Deputy Director, Canal Engineering, Construction, and Maintenance of the New York State Canal Corporation since January 2017. In this capacity, Mr. Goebel oversees the operations of Canal Corporation’s Engineering, Construction, Maintenance, Environmental Compliance, and Safety programs throughout the 524-mile New York State Canal System.
Prior to rejoining the Canal Corporation, Mr. Goebel served as the Operations Engineer for the Central Region of the New York Power Authority. From 2001 to 2015, Mr. Goebel served as the Canal Hydrologist for the New York State Canal Corporation where he was responsible for all facets of the Canal Corporation’s water management program, including navigation, water supply, hydropower generation, invasive species management, and emergency management. Prior to joining the Canal Corporation, Mr. Goebel worked as a Professional Engineer for several private-sector consulting engineering firms specializing in water resources management.
Mr. Goebel earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Engineering and his Master of Science degree in Environmental and Resource Engineering from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Mr. Goebel is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of New York and a licensed Professional Hydrologist with the American Institute of Hydrology.