2015 FOI Summit: Speakers & Presenters

2015 FOI Summit Home


Becky Boone
Senior fellow, Code for America
Panelist – Open Data: No Need to Ask, Saturday, October 10, 3:15pm 

Becky Boone is a software engineer focusing on civic tech. She’s a senior fellow at Code for America and an open data advocate. She enjoys volunteering her technical skills locally and biking all over her newly adopted town of Boulder, CO. The best way to reach her is on twitter: @boonrs.

Rick Brandt

Chief of Police, Evans, CO and president, Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police
Panelist – Policing the Police, Saturday, October 10, 10:15am

Rick has been Chief of Police in Evans since May 2007 after having retired from Aurora PD with 26 years of service. He has experience in patrol operations, investigations, internal affairs, vice and narcotics, policy writing, street crime, victim services, community policing, and crime analysis. Rick is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the Public Safety Leadership Institute from the University of Denver and has a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice. Rick’s goals for the Evans Police Department include the use of modern technology to address and reduce crime. Furthermore, his goals for the citizens of Evans are to maintain a transparent and accessible police department, provide a full range of police services, and to work with the community to make Evans a safe and desirable city in which to live, work and play.

Bryan Gryth

Civicdata.com senior product manager, Accela
Moderator – Open Data: No Need to Ask, Saturday, October 10, 3:15pm

Bryan is a passionate advocate for civic innovation and technology driven open government. Currently, Brian is a product manager for Accela, Inc. where he manages Accela’s open data portal, CivicData, as well as Accela’s Platform Services. Before joining Accela, Brian founded and led an open data, and a process improvement program for the State of Colorado, called Go Code Colorado and the Operational Support Team respectively. In addition to his government work, Brian co-founded OpenColorado, a nonprofit formed to help facilitate a transformation in government that will lead to a more useable and interactive government. Brian also co-organized multiple unconferences and community events, such as CityCamp Colorado and Denver Startup Week, and planned or advised several civic hackathons, including Colorado Code for Communities and Hack4Colorado. He is also a frequent presenter and panelist on Open Government, innovation, and social entrepreneurship. Brian earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Northern Colorado and a Juris Doctor, cum laude, and Certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution from Hamline University School of Law.

Jeremy Jojola

Investigative reporter, 9NEWS/KUSA Denver
Moderator – Policing the Police, Saturday, October 10, 10:15am


Jeremy began his journalism career as a high school senior, working with KRNV-TV in Reno, Nevada as a production assistant. While receiving his journalism degree at New Mexico State University, Jeremy worked as a weekend reporter at KTSM-TV in El Paso. After college, he moved to Albuquerque, N.M. to work at KOB-TV. During his nine years there, Jeremy earned recognition for his reporting receiving a New Mexico Broadcasters Association award for Best Investigative Reporting, Best Reporter in Albuquerque the Magazine, and a regional Emmy for his investigation into illegal dumping. Since joining 9News, Jeremy has received two more regional Emmys for his work and was recently received Best Investigative Report and Best Specialty Reporter from the Colorado Broadcasters Association.

John Kaehny

Executive director, Reinvent Albany
Panelist – Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, Saturday, October 10, 1:45pm

Kaehny_0.jpegJohn is the Executive Director and a founding board member, and is the Co-Chair and founder of the New York City Transparency Working Group. John is an authority on using technology to increase government transparency. At Reinvent Albany he has helped win the creation of the state’s “Open NY” open data initiative and open budget website and has contributed to major improvements at the Comptroller’s Open Book New York spending site and the Attorney General’s New York Open Government website. John also helped lead the campaign for a transit “lock-box” to end the diversion of transit dedicated funds. In New York City, John helped lead the campaign for the NYC Open Data Law, and the NYC Open FOIL bill, and is regularly consulted by city agencies on online transparency issues. Prior to co-founding Reinvent Albany, John was a transportation policy consultant for leading New York, national and international environmental groups, and was the longtime executive director of Transportation Alternatives in New York City. John is also the co-founder of the national Alliance for Bicycling and Walking and has served on numerous city and state governmental advisory boards. His writing has appeared in the NY Times, NY Daily News, Albany Times-Union, NY Post and NY Newsday, as well as technical and scholarly journals. 

Karen Kaiser

Senior vice president, general counsel, corporate secretary at the Associated Press
Keynote Speaker – Hall of Fame Luncheon, Saturday, October 10, 12pm

Karen Kasier Headshot 2013_0.jpegKaren was named General Counsel for The Associated Press in February 2014. Prior to that, she was Associate General Counsel for newsroom legal matters. She joined AP in early 2009. In her role as AP’s First Amendment lawyer, Karen counsels the AP newsroom globally on all editorial matters including subpoena defense, government investigations, reporter’s privilege, newsgathering and source issues, libel defense, prepublication review, and access issues. Following the seizure of AP’s phone records in May 2013, Karen advocated for AP’s interests in high-level Administration discussions that led to revisions to the Department of Justice guidelines for subpoenas to members of the press. As a result of these efforts, Karen has received recognition, including AP’s Oliver S. Gramling Achievement Award in 2013 and the Eugene Pulliam First Amendment Award from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2014. She was also honored by the National Law Journal in 2014 as one of “America’s 50 Outstanding General Counsel.” 

Elizabeth Perkes

Electronic records archivist, Utah State Archives
Panelist – Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, Saturday, October 10, 1:45pm

Perkes_0.jpegElizabeth has worked in the archival field since 1987. She started out at the University of Utah Marriott Library in its Manuscripts Division as a student processor with various duties. In 1990 she completed her Masters in Library and Information Science from Brigham Young University. 
Upon graduation, she worked as a Records Analyst at the Utah State Archives, assisting state agencies with their records management needs. An ACA-Certified Archivist since 1992, Elizabeth focused her efforts on the Archives’ automated systems and became Electronic Records Archivist in 1997. In this capacity, she has developed procedures and guidelines that assist Utah government in the management and preservation of electronic records. 
In 2008, Elizabeth participated in an NDIIPP grant project with other states to identify how to preserve geospatial records. This grant opportunity provided Elizabeth and the Utah State Archives with an expanded understanding of the technical requirements needed to preserve electronic records, which prompted her to adapt their software to automate many tasks. One of Elizabeth’s primary duties is managing the programming and feature list of this software so that it may be an effective tool for all aspects of an archives’ workflow.

Peg Perl

Senior counsel, Ethics Watch Colorado
Panelist – Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, Saturday, October 10, 1:45pm

Perl_0.jpegPeg is Senior Counsel for Colorado Ethics Watch, a nonpartisan nonprofit 503(c)(3) organization focused on open and accountable government in Colorado. Before joining Ethics Watch, she practiced for over a decade in Washington D.C., including public service positions as counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Ethics Committee and as a policy attorney with the Federal Election Commission. She was selected as a 2012 Colorado Fellow by the Center for Progressive Leadership, a nonprofit organization dedicated to training individuals to effectuate social change through nonprofit and political policy advocacy. Her work at Ethics Watch combines advocating for policy reforms and litigating complaints in the areas of government ethics, campaign finance and open-records. Peg holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. from Arizona State University. Peg also teaches as an Adjunct Professor in the Law and Society program at the Colorado Women’s College of the University of Denver.

Hyde Post

Owner, Hyde.Post Communications
Panelist – Policing the Police, Saturday, October 10, 10:15am 

Hyde is a journalist who currently consults on digital product development, and on designing and executing communications strategies for business. Previously, he was vice president, media strategy, for News Distribution Network, a national digital video aggregation and distribution company based in Atlanta. He also served as Vice President, Internet for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and its web portfolio, including ajc.com, and accessatlanta.com until 2009. He was one of the original developers of ajc.com in 1998. Prior to focusing full-time on the web, he worked at the AJC as a reporter, special projects editor and assistant managing editor for local news. Projects he edited and/or directed garnered a number of awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes. He is a former board president for NFOIC and is a founder of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation (a member of NFOIC).

Kel McClanahan

Executive director, National Security Counselors
Panelist – Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, Saturday, October 10, 1:45pm

Kel is an attorney specializing in national security law and information and privacy law. He received his Master of Arts cum laude in Security Studies from the Georgetown University Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, his Juris Doctorate from the American University Washington College of Law, and his Master of Laws in National Security Law from the Georgetown University Law Center. Before chartering National Security Counselors with his fellow directors, he served as Director of FOIA Operations for the James Madison Project and Of Counsel to the Law Office of Mark S. Zaid, P.C. He has taught National Security Law at the University of the District of Columbia and Point Park University. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the National Military Intelligence Association and serves as Associate Editor for the American Intelligence Journal. He belongs to the bars of New York, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Supreme Court, and several other federal courts.

Denise Maes

Public policy director, ACLU of Colorado
Panelist – Policing the Police, Saturday, October 10, 10:15am

Denise is the Public Policy Director of the ACLU of Colorado. In that role, she oversees all legislative work that affects civil liberties at the State and local level. She is the primary person overseeing all legislatives initiatives at the state Capitol during the legislative session. Denise also sits on various municipal boards and commissions that review police and jail-related matters. She is a frequent panelist on civil liberties-related matters and a frequent guest on television programs on current events. Before joining the ACLU, Denise was Director of Operations for Vice President Joe Biden. In that role, she managed, the Vice President’s budget, travel, and personnel. She also served as General Counsel for the Office of Administration under President Barack Obama, where she managed White House contracts and personnel issues.

Todd Shepherd

Investigative reporter, The Independence Institute
Panelist – Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, Saturday, October 10, 1:45pm

ToddShepherd_0.jpegTodd works as the investigative reporter for the Independence Institute in Golden, Colorado. Mr. Shepherd is a graduate of the radio and TV journalism program from Oklahoma Baptist University. In his 10-year reporting career between Oklahoma City and Denver, Todd has broken numerous stories, and is a winner of three regional Edward R. Murrow awards, one of those for investigative reporting. Todd is also the founder and co-editor of the news website CompleteColorado.com.


Ken Snyder

CEO, Place Matters
Panelist – Open Data: No need to Ask, Saturday, October 10, 3:15pm

Snyder_0.jpegSnyder is the founder and CEO of PlaceMatters, a national non-profit empowering communities with knowledge and tools to create thriving neighborhoods and streets, resilient places, and opportunity for all. Throughout a career focused on integrating civic engagement, technology, sustainability, and active design, Ken works on improving the decision mechanics of communities to create great places.

Sean Whitcomb

Public affairs director, Seattle Police Department
Panelist – Policing the Police, Saturday, October 10, 10:15am


Sergeant Sean Whitcomb graduated from the University of Washington in 1994, earning a B.A. in Speech Communication. He has been with the Seattle Police Department since 1995. Sean’s previous assignments include working proactive bicycle patrol in the University District, acting as Drug Court Liaison to King County’s Juvenile and Adult Drug Court programs and supervising a squad of 3rd Watch patrol officers downtown.  Sean has been a department spokesperson for over ten years and currently serves as the SPD Public Affairs Director. During this time, Sean has worked to improve access to department information by engaging the public over a variety of social media channels, from an application that tweets real-time crime data to a standalone Youtube page that hosts body worn video. These efforts have received recognition both locally and nationally, including coverage in the New York Times, Rolling Stone and the Poynter Institute. More importantly, these digital engagement strategies are making a real difference in Seattle’s neighborhoods, fostering better communication between residents and the police officers who serve them.

Pete Weitzel

Founder, Florida First Amendment Foundation
2015 Hall of Fame Hero Inductee

P. Weitzel pic_0.jpegPete is the 2015 State Government Hall of Fame Inductee. He is a former managing editor of the Miami Herald, where he worked as a reporter and editor for nearly 40 years. When he was president of the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors in 1984, he established the Florida First Amendment Foundation (1984) to serve as government transparency watchdog and served as its president until 1995. In that role, he helped draft an amendment to the Florida Constitution guaranteeing citizens a right of access and served on a Florida Supreme Court commission that modified the court’s rules on court records. He remains on the board of the Florida foundation. He also helped launch the National Freedom of Information Coalition and served as its second president. After retiring from The Herald in 1995, he taught at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies and then at the University of North Carolina journalism school and Duke Law School and served as executive director of the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence, an organization that investigates cases of possible wrongful conviction. In January, 2004, he moved to Washington D.C. and started the Coalition of Journalists for Open Government, an alliance of 32 journalism-related organizations working on open government issues. Working with the American Society of News Editors, he helped launch the first Sunshine Week. The Coalition was subsequently merged into the Sunshine in Government Initiative, which he also helped start. In 1997, he was selected as one of the initial inductees in Florida’s Freedom of Information Hall of Fame. In 2007, he received the John Aubuchon Freedom of the Press Award from the National Press Club for his efforts in support of the public’s right to know.

Steve Zansberg

President, Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition
Moderator – Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, Saturday, October 10, 1:45pm

Zansberg_0.jpegSteve is the President of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition. For the past twenty years, as an attorney in private practice, Steve has represented newspapers, television stations, networks, book publishers, internet-based companies, and individuals in defending claims based on content, fighting subpoenas, and seeking access to government information and proceedings. He represented the national news media in connection with coverage of the Aurora Theater shooting case, the Oklahoma City bombing trials, and the Kobe Bryant rape prosecution. Steve secured access to public records related to the murder of JonBenet Ramsey and the shooting at Columbine High School. Steve is the immediate past-Chair of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Communications Law. Steve has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America as one of the preeminent First Amendment lawyers in Denver and as the 2016 Denver First Amendment Law Lawyer of the Year. He is a prolific writer, and earlier this year his article, Cloud-based Public Records Pose New Challenges for Access, and was published by the American Bar Association. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Steve was a freelance documentary producer at the public television station in San Francisco.

Corinna Zarek

Senior advisor, Open Government at the White House and vice president, DC Open Government
Panelist – Open Data: No need to Ask, Saturday, October 10, 3:15pm

Cori is the Vice President of the D.C. Open Government Coalition. She joined the coalition at its founding in 2009 and has led the organization’s community engagement efforts including a large Sunshine Week event each year examining open government in Washington, D.C. In her day job, Cori is the Senior Advisor for Open Government in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, working with federal agencies on open government policies and priorities, including open data efforts. Previously, she was the staff attorney for the federal Office of Government Information Services at the National Archives, the office that serves as the federal Freedom of Information Act Ombudsman. Before joining the federal government, Cori was the Freedom of Information Director at The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press where she assisted journalists with legal issues. Cori also practiced for a law firm in Washington specializing in administrative law and previously wrote for The Des Moines Register. She received her B.A. and J.D. from the University of Iowa and teaches a communication law class at American University.

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