Economic Development


Meet the Team

Jeff Chapman

Project Director

Jeff Chapman directs the work of The Pew Charitable Trusts on economic development, which helps states shape economic strategies that are effective, accountable, and fiscally sound.

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Robert Zahradnik

Principal Officer

Robert Zahradnik works on state fiscal health and economic growth. He leads initiatives that help states improve the return on investment from economic development tax incentives and better manage revenue projections and volatility.

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Josh Goodman

Senior Officer

Josh Goodman is an expert on economic development tax incentives with Pew’s state fiscal health and economic growth project. He was the lead writer for Pew’s first two research reports on tax incentives, “Evidence Counts: Evaluating State Tax Incentives for Jobs and Growth” and “Avoiding Blank Checks: Creating Fiscally Sound State Tax Incentives.”

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Chaaron Pearson

Senior Manager

Chaaron Pearson is a senior manager with Pew’s economic development tax incentives project, which helps states advance policies that make their incentives effective, accountable, and fiscally sound. She works with policy leaders to identify ways to manage and assess economic development policies and practices, improve data collection and reporting, and develop national standards and best practices that states can adopt. Pearson also provides technical assistance to lawmakers working on tax incentive evaluation and state analysts charged with conducting those evaluations.

Before joining Pew, Pearson provided research and analysis on a variety of local and state public policy topics for the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. She also planned and coordinated education for its government relations division as well as for the Alliance for Regional Stewardship.

Pearson holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Nebraska and a master’s degree in public administration from George Mason University.

Alison Wakefield


Alison Wakefield leads Pew’s work on economic development tax incentives. Her team helps states establish processes to evaluate tax incentives, provides technical assistance to state evaluators tasked with assessing these programs, and works with policymakers to improve incentive performance. Wakefield has worked with state and city officials from across the country to implement strong evaluation practices and to use the results of evaluations to inform policy decisions on tax incentives.

Before joining Pew, Wakefield worked with local and state governments on various aspects of workforce and economic development policy and management.

Wakefield holds bachelor’s degrees in American studies and French and a master’s degree in community planning from the University of Maryland. 

Mark Robyn

Senior Officer

Mark Robyn is a senior officer with Pew’s state fiscal health and economic growth project. His current research focuses on economic methods and tools that can aid states in producing regular and rigorous evaluations of their tax incentive programs. His previous work at Pew included research on the intersection of federal and state tax policy and on state conformity to federal tax law.

Before coming to Pew in 2012, Robyn worked at the Tax Foundation, researching federal, state, and local tax policy issues.

Robyn holds a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics from Geneva College and a master’s degree in economics from George Mason University.

John Hamman

Principal Associate

John Hamman is a researcher for Pew’s state fiscal health project. He helps improve state economic and fiscal policy by providing policymakers with informed analysis and guidance on best practices from around the country.

Before joining Pew, Hamman worked for the Congressional House Committee on Education and Labor and for the speaker of the house of the Illinois House of Representatives.

Hamman holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southern Illinois University and a master’s degree in public administration from American University.

Khara Boender

Senior Associate

Khara Boender is a senior associate with Pew’s economic development tax incentives project. She researches and analyzes state efforts to evaluate tax incentive programs and provides technical assistance to states seeking to establish or improve evaluation processes.

Before joining Pew, Boender provided program management support and financial analysis as a federal government contractor. Previously, she supported state legislative issue monitoring at Stateside Associates.

Boender holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Loyola University Maryland.