Flood-Prepared Communities

Flood-Prepared Communities


Meet the Team

Zach Bartscherer Senior Officer

Zach Bartscherer focuses on connecting state and federal policymaking processes on flood resilience and climate adaptation. In this role, he engages stakeholders throughout the country to secure commitments for mitigation funding and help states develop comprehensive resilience plans. Previously, Bartscherer worked with corporate and nonprofit clients to build advocacy and business development strategies around international technology, environmental, and health care priorities. Earlier in his career, he developed policy advocacy and communications campaigns in multiple industry sectors. Bartscherer holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from American University.

Jake Burns Senior Associate

Jake Burns partners with local experts and on-the-ground organizers to provide advocacy, outreach, and engagement support to projects within Pew’s environmental portfolio. Before joining Pew, Burns spent years as an organizer and manager on political and advocacy campaigns nationwide, including in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Texas, Illinois, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Georgia. Burns’ work has included historic electoral victories as well as coalition building and advocacy outreach campaigns related to investments in infrastructure and clean energy, the environment, equitable economic policies, and tax fairness. Burns holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Pittsburgh. 

Berenice Davila Gonzalez Program Associate

Berenice Davila Gonzalez works to advance flood resilience and climate mitigation policy solutions through her work with the field operations team. In this role, she collaborates with organizers on the ground to mobilize diverse stakeholders, engage policymakers, and build public support for flood mitigation policy efforts at the state and federal levels. Previously, Davila Gonzalez organized around immigrant and environmental justice issues on her college campus and with national issue advocacy organizations in defense of the migrant and coastal communities that molded her on Texas’ Gulf Coast. Davila Gonzalez holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Berea College.

Kristiane Huber Officer

Kristiane Huber provides technical assistance and research support to state and local governments for Pew’s flood-prepared communities project. In this role, she leads Pew’s state resilience planning group, a forum for collaboration among state officials as they develop and implement flood resilience plans. Before joining Pew, Huber led the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions’ program on resilience. She also consulted on flood risk management issues for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Huber holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and government from Connecticut College and a master’s degree in natural resources and environment planning from the University of Michigan.

Laura Lightbody Project Director

Laura Lightbody directs The Pew Charitable Trusts’ flood-prepared communities initiative, which is aimed at reducing the impact of flood-related disasters on taxpayers, communities, and the environment by reforming federal and state flood and disaster policies.

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Anna Marandi Officer

Anna Marandi works on state-level flood resilience planning and partnerships and federal flood policy initiatives. In this role, Marandi works to ensure that policies and programs effectively serve local governments and generate equitable outcomes for communities. Previously, Marandi worked on metro-regional climate collaboration efforts and, later, supported city officials through the National League of Cities on a broad array of climate resilience issues, including climate-induced migration. Marandi holds a bachelor’s degree in French and comparative literature from Boston University and a master’s in environmental policy from the Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment at The New School.

Yaron Miller Senior Officer

Yaron Miller leads the state policy and campaigns portfolio of Pew’s flood-prepared communities project. In this role, he oversees the development and implementation of initiatives to help states and communities mitigate flood risk and reduce recovery costs.

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Ian Prest Administrative Assistant

Ian Prest provides administrative support to the flood-prepared communities project, which works to reduce the impact of weather-related catastrophes on communities and the environment. Before joining Pew, Prest worked for 11 years at the nonprofit Winrock International, supporting its efforts to bring clean renewable energy to developing nations. Earlier in his career, he worked in patient education and outreach at the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Prest holds a bachelor’s degree in modern languages (French and Spanish) from Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom and a diploma in teaching English as a second language from International House.

Mathew Sanders Senior Manager

Mathew Sanders manages Pew’s state planning portfolio, which focuses on state-level efforts to plan for current and future flood risk.

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Forbes Tompkins Senior Manager

Forbes Tompkins leads the resilient infrastructure policy portfolio and stakeholder engagement strategies of Pew’s flood-prepared communities initiative, which aims to reform flood and disaster policy to better prepare people and property for future flooding.

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Brian Watts Principal Associate

Brian Watts focuses on federal policy that supports pre-disaster mitigation and resilience infrastructure investment with Pew’s flood-prepared communities project. He previously worked as a consultant for the Department of Homeland Security on policy supporting U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He has also taught English in South Korea as a Fulbright scholar and interned at George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication. Watts holds a bachelor’s degree in ecology from the University of Georgia and master’s degrees in public affairs and environmental science from Indiana University.