Board Of Directors
John R. Koelmel, Chair - Canal Corp.
John R. Koelmel
John R. Koelmel has served as Chairman of the Authority since June 2012, when he was nominated as a Trustee by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
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.
Eugene L. Nicandri, Vice Chair - Canal Corp.
Eugene L. Nicandri
Judge Eugene L. Nicandri of Massena, N.Y., was confirmed by the New York State Senate in June 2013 to a second five-year term on the New York Power Authority Board of Trustees following his reappointment by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. He became a trustee in August 2008 after being nominated by Governor David Paterson.
As a trustee, Judge Nicandri has been at the center of key NYPA decision making. This has included major endeavors under Governor Cuomo to modernize and upgrade the state’s electricity infrastructure, protect and create jobs through allocations of lower cost electricity to businesses and other enterprises, and bring about investments in energy efficiency and clean energy technologies.
Judge Nicandri, whose legal work contributed to the establishment of the Massena Electric Department in 1981, served as president of the New York State County Judges Association from 1999 to 2000, when he retired. Before becoming a county judge, he was a partner in the Massena law firm of Lavigne & Nicandri from 1966 to 1985 and served at various times as the attorney for the Towns of Massena, Brasher, Louisville and Lawrence and the Village of Massena. He also served as the attorney for Massena Memorial Hospital.
Judge Nicandri represented the Town of Massena in landmark litigation involving the establishment of the Massena Electric Department, a municipal electric system that benefits from low-cost hydropower from NYPA as a preference customer under federal law. He served as the Electric Department's attorney from 1981 to 1985
Judge Nicandri holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Rochester and has a J.D. from Albany Law School. Prior to law school, he served on active duty with the U.S. Navy as a commissioned officer.
Judge Nicandri is married to the former Lois Anne Moore. They have three sons and four grandchildren.
Dr. Anne M. Kress, Director - Canal Corp.
Dr. Anne M. Kress
Dr. Anne Kress was confirmed a trustee by the New York State Senate in June of 2014. Her background encompasses a broad range of knowledge, with specialties in workforce development, technology, global education and student access and success.
Since 2009, she has served as the President of Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York. Dr. Kress currently serves on Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council and has been involved in higher education policy in both New York and Florida.
She has been honored several times, including being named a Woman of Distinction by the New York Senate, as well as receiving the Athena award from the Women’s Council of the Rochester Business Alliance and the Empowering Women award from the Rochester YWCA. She presents frequently at national conferences and events.
Dr. Kress received her doctorate in higher education administration, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in English, and a bachelor’s degree with honors in finance, all from University of Florida. In 2012, she was named an outstanding alumna by the Institute of Higher Education at University of Florida.
Tracy B. McKibben, Director - Canal Corp.
Tracy B. McKibben
Tracy B. McKibben is an international energy and clean technology expert with more than 15 years of diverse experience in the energy sector. She is the founder and president of MAC Energy Advisors LLC, a consulting company that assists clients on alternative energy, renewable energy, water and clean technology investments. Previously, she was managing director and head of Environmental Banking Strategy for Citigroup Global Markets, and served on the National Security Council at the White House as director of European Economic Affairs and European Union Relations, as well as in various senior advisory roles within the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Prior to her work in the public sector, Ms. McKibben practiced law at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld LLP, representing and advising clients on commercial and complex litigation matters, as well as corporate and multinational energy clients on global strategic investments.
She is a member of the board of directors of Ecolab Inc. (ECL), ROI Acquisition Corp. II, (ROIQ) and Geosteller. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonpartisan organization exploring public policy and corporate interactions.
Ms. McKibben holds a B.A. from West Virginia State University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Anthony Picente, Jr., Director - Canal Corp.
Anthony Picente, Jr.
Anthony J. Picente, Jr. is the 10th Oneida County Executive and the longest serving in the county’s history. He was appointed to the position in 2006, followed by his election to full four-year terms in 2007, 2011 and 2015. Mr. Picente was named Regional Director of Empire State Development (ESD) in 2001 and, two years later, was promoted to ESD vice president, a position he held until 2006. He is the current president of the New York State Association of Counties.
During his tenure as Oneida County Executive, Mr. Picente has improved the county’s financial outlook and credit rating. He has focused on advancing economic development in the county in such high-tech areas as nanotechnology, cyber security and unmanned aerial systems.
He also created The Vision 2020 Initiative, bringing together stakeholders from across Oneida County for promoting job opportunities, as well as education, training and housing alternatives.
Mr. Picente was instrumental in the state and county’s reaching of an historic settlement in 2013 with the Oneida Indian Nation.
Mr. Picente, who attended Utica public schools, holds an associate degree from Mohawk Valley Community College and a bachelor’s degree from Utica College.
Michael Balboni, Director - Canal Corp.
Michael Balboni is the founder and Managing Partner of Redland Strategies Inc., a consulting firm that aids companies and government agencies. Michael also serves on several homeland security think tanks, charitable boards dealing with public health and is a regular contributor as a terrorism expert on national and local television and print media.
Before starting Redland Strategies, Michael had been a leader in New York security, politics and government. He served as New York State Senator from 1998-2007. Following September 11, 2001, Balboni was appointed as the first Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. During his tenure, he wrote nearly all of the major laws relating to Homeland Security for New York State, many of which became models for national legislation.
In 2007, he left the Senate to become Deputy Secretary for Public Safety and Homeland Security Advisor for New York State and served in this position until January 2009. In this role, Mr. Balboni was the Senior Homeland Security and Law Enforcement official for the State of New York. Mr. Balboni oversaw the creation of many innovative programs, the first of their kind in the nation.
These include: "New York alert," a multimedia, cyber-based emergency notification system that currently has 1.5 million subscribers; "CI-SAR," which overlays suspicious activity tip information upon critical infrastructure to provide threat context and trend analysis capability; and "Empire Shield Reconfiguration“, which redeploys National Guard units so as to form a rapid response and a "surge" patrol capability for the region's airports, train terminals, tunnels, bridges, and nuclear power plants.
Dennis Trainor, Director - Canal Corp.
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.
Brian U. Stratton, Director of Canal Corp.
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.
Jeffrey Cohen, Deputy Director of Canal Corp.
Director of Canal Corp.
Jeffrey Cohen is Deputy Director of the Canal Corporation, responsible for administrative and technical services, policy and programs, intergovernmental affairs, community relations and press and media. Mr. Cohen reports to Philip Toia, New York Power Authority Senior Vice President.
Mr. Cohen joined the New York Power Authority in 2014 as Director of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs. In 2017, he was promoted to Vice President, with additional responsibilities of providing guidance and direction to senior management of the Canal Corporation in areas including real property, new operating programs and policies, and the “Reimagine the Canals” initiative.
Before joining NYPA, Cohen served as Deputy for Policy and Legal Affairs for six years in the New York State Public Service Commission, New York’s utility regulatory body. In that role, he served as senior advisor to the Commission Chair, providing analysis and recommendations in areas including rate regulation, energy efficiency and renewable resource initiatives, and service quality and reliability.
Before that, Cohen was a principal in Cohen & Dax, an Albany-based law firm with a practice devoted primarily to serving as regulatory counsel to developers of large electric transmission and generation projects.
Earlier in his career, Cohen was the first acting commissioner of the New York State Energy Office, and Special Counsel – Air Resources for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Cohen received his BA from Brandeis University and an LL.B. from Yale Law School.
David R. Mellen, Deputy Director of Canal Corp.
Director of Canal Corp.
David R. Mellen
David R. Mellen is the Deputy Director of the New York State Canal Corporation. He is responsible for all engineering, construction, and maintenance activities throughout 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.
- Audit Committee: Chair, Eugene L. Nicandri; John R. Koelmel; Anthony Picente, Jr.; Tracy B. McKibben; Dennis G. Trainor
- Governance Committee: Chair, Dr. Anne M. Kress; John R. Koelmel; Eugene L. Nicandri; Dennis Trainor; Michael A.L. Balboni
- Finance Committee: Chair, Tracy B. McKibben; John R. Koelmel; Dr. Anne M. Kress; Michael Balboni; Dennis G. Trainor
- Strategic Planning and Energy Committee: Chair, Anthony Picente, Jr.; John R. Koelmel; Dr. Anne M. Kress; Tracy B. McKibben; Eugene L. Nicandri
- Cyber & Physical Security Committee: Chair, Michael A.L. Balboni; John R. Koelmel; Eugene L. Nicandri; Tracy B. McKibben; Anthony Picente, Jr.