Hugh web

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 build our people and money power to win. 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 web

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.

Melissa web

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.

Adam Mason

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 web

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 web

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.


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.