Hugh Espey – Executive Director
Hugh started as a CCI organizer in Council Bluffs in 1979. He did rural organizing with family farmers in the mid ’80s, and became our first ever Rural Project Director. In 2003, took over the reins as Executive Director. He grew up in Quincy, Illinois, where he still has family. Hugh is a life-long St. Louis Cardinals fan. He also likes the Chicago Bulls.
Katie Bryan – Development and Communications Director
Katie works with staff to execute top-notch fundraising and communication plans to elevate the value and scope of our work, and build our network of active, engaged members. She started as our first Membership & Communications Coordinator in 2002. Katie grew up on Des Moines’ south side, loves a good cheeseburger, the scenic route and hosting a huge backyard polka party…in February.
Matthew Covington – Organizer
Matthew focuses on banking and predatory lending issues, as well as leading our Strengthen Social Security campaign. He came to CCI in 2007 after working for nonprofits in Minneapolis and Albuquerque. Matthew is originally from the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area, but still has an insatiable craving for New Mexican food, most notably anything with green chile.
Evan Burger – Senior Organizer
Evan started at CCI as an intern in the summer of 2012, before working full-time on the Farming and Environment project. After a couple of years in the student organizing and electoral worlds, he’s returned to CCI to help drive forward our base-building efforts and candidate pipeline development. Evan grew up in rural Story County before attending Columbia University, where he helped start Student-Worker Solidarity, a direct-action student-labor alliance on campus. He currently lives in Slater with his fiancée Erica.
Bridget Fagan-Reidburn – Organizer
Bridget organizes members to fight for a fair economy for all. Specifically she works on payday lending issues and strengthening our vital social programs – Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Bridget joined CCI in December 2012 and is from Des Moines. When Bridget’s not in the office, she likes to travel (she lived in Cusco, Peru for eight months!), hang out with her friends and play tennis.
Melissa Grooters – Bookkeeper
Melissa keeps our books, investments, payroll, and gets us the most bang for our buck on health and dental insurance. Melissa was born and raised on Des Moines’ southside. For fun, Melissa enjoys amateur photography, digital scrapbooking, and raising her daughter.
Jess Mazour – Organizer
Jess Mazour is an organizer on CCI’s Farm and Environment team. She travels the state to help communities stop factory farms from being built, works to pass good laws and stop bad laws at the State House and pushes our state agencies to enforce the laws already on the books. Jess was born and raised in Des Moines and graduated from Iowa State in 2009 with a degree in Psychology.
Adam Mason – State Policy Director
Adam spearheads CCI’s political work from the statehouse to the voting booth, working with organizing staff and members so that CCI’s lobbying, voter engagement and mobilization strategies are forceful and effective. He has been with CCI since 2006. Adam grew up in rural northwest Iowa, and met his wife Anna, a former CCI Latino organizer, through the CCI family.
Sharon Zanders-Ackiss – Donor Relations Specialist
Sharon leads our work to make the organization financially sustainable by raising more of our budget from individual donors and members. She started as an organizer for Des Moines CCI in 1994. Sharon was born and raised in Waterloo. Outside of the office she leads her church choir and loves spending time with her family, including five grandkids.
Liz Blind – Membership and Database Coordinator
Liz started working at CCI in January of 2015, and as the Membership and Database Coordinator she ensures that members are getting the information they need in order to remain involved and connected with the organization. She also works to grow our number of members and supporters so that CCI can continue the work that we do and believe in. Liz grew up in the Cedar Rapids area and studied Anthropology at the University of Iowa. In her free time she likes to read, listen to podcasts, and cook.
Emily Schott – Organizer
Emily organizes around issues of worker and immigrant justice, such as wage theft and the minimum wage. She was born and raised in Des Moines before completing her undergrad at American University in Washington, D.C. Emily returned to the Midwest in February of 2015 to be on the Iowa CCI Team. In her free time she likes to knit, read, and cook delicious food.
Aaron Jorgensen-Briggs – Membership Assistant
Aaron has wicked attention to detail which ensures that our constantly growing membership database is functioning properly. After a long spell in New York City, where he worked at the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services and studied poetry at NYU, Aaron returned to Des Moines in 2011. He is a member of the Des Moines Catholic Worker community.
Madeline Cano – Organizer
Maddie works closely with minority communities for worker justice and seeks to unify these communities in order to break down social barriers and improve quality of life. Born and raised in Illinois, Maddie returned to Iowa to join the Iowa CCI team. A footloose traveler at heart, she has lived in and traveled to over 13 countries. When she’s not in the office you can find her at the latest restaurant wining and dining.
Erica Blair – Organizer
As an organizer on CCI’s Farming and Environment team, Erica works with communities across the state to lift up family farmers and stop corporate ag giants from polluting Iowa’s precious resources. She grew up in rural Iowa and first learned about agriculture by traipsing around her grandparents’ farm. When she’s not in the office, Erica loves being outside and playing with her newly adopted dog.
Matt Ohloff – Senior Campaign Organizer
Matt is leading the climate justice organizing work to stop the Dakota Access pipeline and to push for 100% renewable energy that benefits 100% of the people in Iowa. Matt was born in Humboldt, IA, grew up in Omaha, NE and Ankeny, IA and graduated with a degree in Political Science from the University of Iowa in 2006. In his free time he likes to watch the Iowa Hawkeyes win at sports, DJ dance parties, and is a fan of delicious craft beer.