How? – EDDC | Erie Downtown Development Corporation

Facilitating Transformational Change

The EDDC Team

Chief Executive Officer

John Persinger

Persinger previously worked at MacDonald, Illig, Jones & Britton law firm, where he focused on business and commercial transactions. He also provided legal assistance and guidance on local government and municipal law matters and counseled local, national and international clients on a variety of corporate governance and regulatory matters, such as labor and employment, anti-corruption and export issues.

Prior to obtaining his juris doctorate, Persinger served in a number of government positions, including as attaché to the U.S. ambassador to Australia at the U.S. Embassy in Canberra, Australia. In that role, he advised the ambassador on embassy and consulate issues, as well as on American and Australian domestic and foreign affairs. He also served as executive assistant to the White House deputy counsel, where he assisted in the nomination and confirmation processes of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito.

Persinger holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Harvard University and earned his juris doctorate from the University of Notre Dame.

Vice President, Finance & Development

Matthew B. Wachter

Wachter previously worked at MacDonald, Illig, Jones & Britton law firm as a transactional tax attorney with an emphasis on business and commercial transactions, mergers & acquisitions (M&A) and business succession matters.

Wachter is an Erie native and returned to his hometown in 2012. Prior to his return to Erie, he was a senior associate at the accounting firm KPMG, LLP in the M&A tax practice group in Philadelphia and New York City. At KPMG, Wachter undertook tax due diligence assistance services and tax structuring of domestic and cross-border acquisitions for private equity clients.

Wachter is Treasurer of the Erie County Bar Association and he also works with startup companies at the Erie Technology Incubator at Gannon University.

Wachter holds a masters of law in taxation (L.L.M. Tax) degree from Villanova University School of Law, a juris doctorate from Duquesne University School of Law, and a bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University – University Park.

VP of Community Engagement & Social Impact

Nicole Reitzell

Nicole has spent her career in the nonprofit sector, working to make the Erie community a safer, healthier, and more vibrant place.

Nicole first worked in public safety as a paramedic working with, and caring for, people from every walk of life and becoming intimately familiar with every part of the city. She found her passion in making a difference through fundraising at EmergyCare, and then joined Hamot Health Foundation where she was heavily involved in development of a School-Based Health Center in Erie’s lower east side. Nicole went on to lead the fundraising efforts at two of Erie’s favorite lead assets: the Erie Philharmonic and the Erie Zoo. In 2017, she earned her Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) designation, a certification held by only about 16% of professional fundraisers.

In her role as VP of Community Engagement & Social Impact at the EDDC, Nicole works to build a diverse and inclusive downtown with the help of many community members & organizations. While the EDDC’s mission is to revitalize downtown Erie through property development, the organization’s board and staff work hard to ensure that this work has both an economic and social impact on the community. 

She currently serves on the Nonprofit Partnership and the Erie Catholic School System boards. She’s also a member of the Hamot Health Foundation board of corporators.

Nicole grew up in Clymer, NY and has lived her adult life in Erie, PA and considers Erie home, with her husband and two young boys.

Experience Director

Ryan Hoover

Hello! My journey began right here in Erie Pennsylvania where I attended Penn State Behrend studying Operations Management. While there, I was also a student on the Walt Disney World College Program in Attractions at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. I moved to Orlando in May of 2013 after my graduation at Penn State Behrend where I continued to work for the Walt Disney Company.

While there, I performed various unique roles with Disney Campus Recruitment, Disney Youth Programs, Disney Vacation Club, Disney Guest Experience Services, and most recently the Disney Cruise Line.

In February of 2021, my wife and I decided to relocate back to Erie Pennsylvania to reestablish ourselves closer to family and get involved with progress of Downtown Erie. I am currently the Experience Director for the Erie Downtown Development Corporation.

In my free time, I run my own photography business, Ryan Hoover Photo, LLC.


Paula Gregory

Paula previously worked at the Erie County Bar Association.  For over 26 years, she served as an administrator overseeing their financial, referral, and publication departments.  As part of the ECBA’s mission, Paula also managed some of their public engagement activities, including their Mock Trial Program which, provided high school students an opportunity to compete as lawyers and witnesses in simulated trials before actual judges and juries, and their Foundation’s 5K which, raised funds to support the educational needs of students living in homeless situations.  She left the ECBA at the end of 2019 and joined the EDDC team as their Controller.

Paula currently serves as a board member for Erie Arts and Culture.  She is also active in the arts in Erie as a professional musician.  She held a position with the St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir from 2001 to 2018 and is also a member of the Lake Erie Choral Artists (formerly the Erie Renaissance Singers), joining the group in early 2006. 

Paula holds a bachelor’s degree from Gannon University.

Director of Operations & Logistics

Corey Cook

Corey spent the last sixteen years in a variety of roles with United Parcel Service (“UPS”). In addition to this experience, Corey is active in the Erie community and founded Lifethrumusic, (a Non-profit music mentoring program) which has taught drums, piano, bass guitar, and music production to more than 500 youth in Erie, PA Harrisburg, PA and Asbury Park, NJ.

As Director of Operations & Logistics, Corey will oversee the day-to-day operations for Flagship City Food Hall, Flagship City Market, the future parking garage, and the future EDDC Courtyard. Corey will work with both the Food Hall and Market vendors, as well as community partners, to program these spaces with different events, activities, live musical performances, and public art. Corey will also draw from his experience with UPS to develop a delivery network that will enable downtown residents and employees to have food from Flagship City Food Hall and groceries from Flagship City Public Market delivered directly to them.

Board of Directors

Tim NeCastro


Keith Taylor

Vice President

Dave Zimmer


Mike Batchelor


Board Members

Citizens Bank, Ed Kloecker
Custom Engineering, David Tullio
Erie Community Foundation, Mike Batchelor
Erie Insurance, Tim NeCastro
ERIEBANK, David Zimmer
Gannon University, Dr. Keith Taylor
Highmark/Allegheny Health Network, Dan Onoroto
Thomas Hagen
Marquette Savings Bank, Michael Edwards

McInnis Rolled Rings, Tim Hunter
Mercyhurst University, Michael Victor
National Fuel, Michael Colpoys
Northwest Savings Bank, Matt Zonno
Pierre McCormick
Plastek Group, Dennis Prischak
PNC, Jim Stevenson
Roger Richards
UPMC Hamot, David Gibbons


Transformational change simply would not be possible without private capital. The Erie Downtown Equity Fund (EDEF) is a private, for-profit entity funded for the purpose of supporting real estate purchases and redevelopment activities of the EDDC. This fund has raised approximately $27.5 million to-date to serve a “gap financing,” meaning its investors are willing to support projects that do not make financial sense in the near-term and could not attract other financing. Investors in the EDEF have made a long-term commitment to Erie’s transformation, pledging “patient capital” to acknowledge that this transformation will not occur overnight.

Investment opportunities are still available, although minimum contribution levels must be met to join the Erie Downtown Equity Fund. For more information on investments to the EDEF, please contact John Persinger.

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