Board of Directors and Staff

Board of Directors

Stuart Appelbaum
Stuart Appelbaum is President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. In addition to having previously held the offices of RWDSU Secretary-Treasurer and an RWDSU Vice President, he has also served as Assistant to the President and Coordinator of Special Projects. He serves on the AFL-CIO Executive Council and is a Vice President of the United Food and Commerical Workers, with which the RWDSU is affiliated. Throughout his years working for the RWDSU, he has been involved in many of the union’s activities, including shaping the union’s health and safety program and serving as a trustee of the RWDSU’s health and benefit and pension funds. In addition to his posts at the RWDSU, he is a vice president of the New York City and New York State AFL-CIO, the AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees, and the Jewish Labor Committee.
 
Charles W. F. Bell
Charles Bell is Programs Director for Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine. He works closely with Consumers Union’s advocacy offices in California, New York, Texas, and Washington, D.C., on a wide range of consumer policy issues, including health care restructuring, financial services, energy, telecommunications, and the environment. He also engages in direct advocacy in the Northeastern states on Consumers Union’s priority campaign issues, and works with its external relations department to develop grants, organizational collaborations, and events. In addition, he manages the Colston E. Warne Program, which provides financial and technical support for U.S. and international consumer organizations, and serves as a member of the Board of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
 
Don Friedman, Esq. Don Friedman, Esq. is the managing attorney for the Empire Justice Center at the Public Advocacy Center of Touro Law School, and is part of its Public Benefits & Health Unit. Mr. Friedman’s primary focus is in public benefits policy advocacy. This work strives to ensure that benefits are adequate and accessible to those in need. He is a co-founder of Project FAIR, a member of the OTDA Legal Services Advisory Committee and a member of the Suffolk County Welfare to Work Commission. Mr. Friedman received his Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School.
 
Alfred Fuente, Esq. Alfred Fuente, Esq. currently works as a litigator at Fuente & Fuente. Prior to his current position, Alfred  worked at Jajan & Associates, and in the Storm Response Unit at the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG). Alfred obtained his J.D. from the American University Washington College of Law, and two Masters Degrees from the University of Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne and University of Paris III – La Sorbonne Nouvelle, respectively. Alfred is admitted to the bar of the State of New York. He is a member of the New York County Lawyers’ Association and is Secretary of the Committee on the Supreme Court. Alfred is a member of the New York City Bar Association, and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS). Alfred is fluent in English, Spanish, and French.
 
Jill A. Kupferberg, Esq. – Treasurer Jill A. Kupferberg, Esq. has served as a member of the Utility Project’s Board of Directors for more than 20 years.  Prior to her board position, she served as staff attorney for New York’s Utility Project during its early years, representing low income individuals and groups in rate setting cases and in disputes with utility companies. She helped draft the landmark Home Energy Fair Practices Act, which is now Article 2 of the New York Public Service Law. She also has extensive experience in landlord tenant law.Currently, Ms. Kupferberg is an attorney at Timothy P. Fisher, Esq., P.C. in New York City where she represent clients in estate planning, tax planning, wills, trusts, health care documents, and powers of attorney.  She has been a member of the New York State Bar Association since 1976, and is a graduate of the George Washington University Law School.
 
Keith Mestrich Keith Mestrich became President of Amalgamated Bank in April 2014 and its Chief Executive Officer in August 2014. Mr. Mestrich has 25 years of experience working with Amalgamated Bank’s core constituencies in the labor movement and nonprofit organizations. He joined Amalgamated in June 2012 and directed the Washington Region, where he coordinated its operations and previously served as the Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Chief of Staff for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). In his capacity at SEIU, he also served as a trustee on three separate Taft-Hartley funds and on the Investment Committee for the SEIU Master Trust. Mr. Mestrich is a 25-year veteran of the labor movement, beginning his career as a researcher at the AFL-CIO, where he gained experience assisting unions on hundreds of organizing, bargaining, and political campaigns. He now also serves as Director of the National Consumers League.
 
B. Robert Piller, Esq. – Secretary B. Robert Piller, Esq. is a former Executive Director of the Utility Project. Currently, he is the president and founder of Isee Communications LLC in New York City. Mr. Piller has broad experience in all aspects of the Federal E-Rate Program that provides discounted telecommunications and IT services and equipment for school districts and library systems. He also provides strategic and legal consulting for carriers, manufacturers and service providers selling in the E-Rate marketplace. He received his Juris Doctorate from Brooklyn Law School.
 
Ann Toback Ann Toback is the Executive Director of the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring. Since June of 2009, she has led the Workmen’s Circle through a substantial revisioning process that resulted in a new community learning–based mission focused on celebrating cultural Jewish identity and transmitting the Workmen’s Circle’s heritage of progressive values and activism to today’s American Jewish community. A lifelong activist and trained attorney, Ann previously served as a trade union leader at the Writers Guild of America, East.
 
Richard D. Winsten, Esq. – Board Chairman Richard D. Winsten, Esq. is Chairman of the Utility Project’s Board of Directors. He is a also member of the law firm of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C., serving as co-chair of the firm’s Government Relations practice.  With his practice based in the Albany, New York’s Capital District, Mr. Winsten has significant and longstanding relationships with members of the state legislature, state agencies, and all levels of state government. He has been a registered and active New York State lobbyist since 1978, and is a graduate of the New York University Law School.
 

Staff 

Richard A. Berkley, Esq. is the Executive Director of New York’s Utility Project. Previously Mr. Berkley was Chief of Staff and Counsel to Senator Kevin Parker of the New York State Senate, and before that, he was Director of the Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications. He was Counsel to Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, Chair of the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, and served as Information Technology Attorney and Assistant Counsel for the State Office of Children and Family Services. He was also Telecommunications and Cable Franchise Counsel for the City of New York, and worked at the State of Wisconsin’s Public Service Commission while in law school. He is a member of the bar of the State of New York and the State of New Jersey. He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, master’s of arts from New York University, and bachelor’s of arts from Fordham University-College at Lincoln Center.
 
Rachel Burd is the Communications and Outreach Coordinator for New York’s Utility Project. Ms. Burd has worked for a wide variety of community and labor organizations, including Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, the Bread and Roses Cultural Project, the United Auto Workers Technical, Office, and Professional Staff division, the Labor Theatre, the Committee of Interns and Residents, and Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). She has also run, worked for, and helped create a number of coalitions, including New York Jobs with Justice, the New York State Paid Family Leave Coalition, the Metro Health Care for All Campaign, Save Our Services (with Utility Workers Local 1-2), and the Campaign to Save Our Public Hospitals. She holds a bachelor’s of science degree in English and Environmental Studies from the City University of New York Special Baccalaureate Degree program.
 
Rosa Maria Castillo-Kesper has a wealth of government and not-for-profit sector experience. Ms. Castillo-Kesper worked for the State Legislature, most notably in the Senate Finance Committee, and served in the Executive Branch under Governors Malcolm Wilson, Nelson Rockefeller, Hugh Carey, Mario Cuomo and George Pataki. Ms. Castillo-Kesper had a strong and sustained focus upon economic development, rural and affordable housing, state lands, human rights, historic preservation, and finance, which she implemented at the Department of State. The recipient of numerous awards for her work as a public servant, Ms. Castillo-Kesper is the creator of the Main Street Program and one of New York’s foremost authorities on housing. A published author, among her other work in the not-for-profit sector, Ms. Castillo-Kesper co-founded Entre Nosotras, an empowerment organization for Latinas, and was a key leader in innumerable New York City cultural arts organizations when she worked for the Mayor of the City of New York. She holds a degree from Ibero-American University in Mexico City.
 
Lisabeth Jorgensen is a staff attorney for New York’s Utility Project. Ms. Jorgensen joins us from the Office of the Albany County Attorney, Department of Law. As Assistant County Attorney, she helped to represent the County in the prosecution and defense of civil actions and proceedings brought in local, New York State and federal courts. Prior to joining the service of the County of Albany, Ms. Jorgensen completed a Legislative Fellowship at the New York State Senate. In law school, Ms. Jorgensen completed externships at two NYC agencies and State supreme court, and was research assistant to Professor Nadine Strossen (President of the ACLU, 1991-2008). She also served as the President of her law school’s chapter of the Unemployment Action Center and was a member of the founding planning team of the Charter School for Law and Justice. She holds a B.F.A. from New York University Tisch School of the Arts, and a J.D. from New York Law School.
 
William Yates, CPA is the Senior Financial Analyst of New York’s Utility Project. Mr. Yates provides financial and data analysis, administrative assistance, and support of New York’s Utility Project’s advocacy work on behalf of residential utility and energy consumers. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), licensed to practice in New York State, and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Mr. Yates is a graduate of Colgate University where he received a bachelor’s of arts degree in history and New York University’s Stern School of Business Administration where he received a master’s of science in accounting.

 

Consultants & Expert Witnesses

Barbara Alexander, Esq.
Barbara R. Alexander is the former director of the Consumer Assistance Division at the Maine Public Utilities Commission, where she served from 1986-1996. She opened her own consulting practice in March 1996. Her special area of expertise has been the exploration of and recommendations for consumer protection, universal service programs, service quality, and consumer education policies to accompany the move to electric, natural gas, and telephone competition. She has authored “A Blueprint for Consumer Protection Issues in Retail Electric Competition,” as well as a series titled: “Default Service: Can Residential and Low-Income Customers Be Protected When the Experiment Goes Awry?” for the U.S. Department of Energy. A previous paper,”The Transition to Retail Competition in Energy Markets: How Have Residential Consumers Fared?” written by Ms. Alexander for NCAT and released in September 2002, documented the impacts of passing through short-term wholesale energy market rates to consumers in Massachusetts, Ohio, Texas, Georgia and New York. Her clients have included national consumer organizations, state public utility commissions, and state public advocates.
 
Nancy Brockway, Esq.
Nancy Brockway is an expert in utility and energy matters, with over 20 years in the field, and was a Commissioner on the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (1998-2003). Before joining the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC), Ms. Brockway served for nine years as a utility and energy expert with the National Consumer Law Center. After completing her service on the NHPUC, she began NBrockway & Associates. Ms. Brockway has consulted for state and provincial regulators, state consumer advocates, unions, energy providers, and low-income energy efficiency providers. Ms. Brockway served on numerous committees of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, including the Telecommunications Committee, and the Committee on Energy and the Environment. She was Vice-Chair of the NARUC Committee on Consumer Affairs, and Chair of the Committee on Consumer Affairs of the New England Conference of Public Utility Commissioners. She also served on the steering committee of the National Council on Competition in the Electric Industry. Ms. Brockway was a member of ISO-New England Advisory Committee, and of the Federal Communication Commission’s Joint Committee on Accounting, and the North American Numbering Council. She is a former member of the Massachusetts and New Hampshire energy facility siting committees, served on the staffs of the Massachusetts and Maine public utility commissions, spent two years as General Counsel of the Massachusetts Commission. and was Director of Multi-Utility Research and Analysis for the National Regulatory Research Institute.
 
Gerald A. Norlander, Esq. 
Gerald A. Norlander, Esq. served as Executive Director of New York’s Utility Project from 2000 to January 2015. Previously, Mr. Norlander was Deputy Director of the Utility Project, and before that he was Executive Director of Westchester Legal Services.   He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in India and he received a R.H. Smith Community Lawyer Fellowship.  He has published articles on matters relating to utility consumer protection, market-based rates, and legal assistance to low-income persons.  He served as Chair of the NASUCA Electricity Committee for six years. He is a member of the bar of the State of New York, three U.S. District Courts, the Courts of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the District of Columbia, and the United States Supreme Court. He served as a member of the Committee to Improve Availability of Legal Services appointed by the Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals.   He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Minnesota.
 

Leave a Reply