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.

Vice President, Community Engagement

Nicole Reitzell

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

Reitzell first worked in public safety as a paramedic at EmergyCare, becoming familiar with every part of the city. She found her passion in making a difference through fundraising at EmergyCare. She then joined Hamot Health Foundation where she was heavily involved in development for the School-Based Health Center in Erie’s lower east side. Reitzell then led 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.

Reitzell is currently the President of the Nonprofit Partnership board. She serves on the PA State Police Camp Cadet and Rotary Club of Erie Scholarship Foundation boards. She is a member of the Hamot Health Foundation board of corporators.

Reitzell grew up in Clymer, NY and has lived her adult life in Erie, PA and considers Erie home.

Board of Directors

Tim NeCastro

President

Keith Taylor

Vice President

Dave Zimmer

Treasurer

Mike Batchelor

Secretary

Board Members

Michael Edwards, senior executive vice president and secretary chief executive officer, Marquette Savings Bank
Cal Pifer, vice president for university advancement, Mercyhurst University
David Gibbons, president, UPMC Hamot
Tom Hagen, chairman of the board, Erie Insurance; chairman, Custom Group Industries
Pierre McCormick, president, Wisconsin Distributors
Jeffrey Szumigale, senior vice president and managing director of wealth management greater Pennsylvania region, PNC Bank
Carl Wolfrom, senior vice president and district manager, Northwest Bank

Funding

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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