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Our Staff 

Facilitating excellence in regional cooperation since 1989. 

Jason Ray, AICP

Executive Director

Jason brings many years of experience to SMCOG from his previous role as Deputy Director of the Harry S Truman Coordinating Council (HSTCC) in the Joplin area and as a Springfield Planning & Zoning Commissioner. Jason is experienced in managing regional transportation and economic development planning programs and has written several small-town comprehensive plans, managed land use studies, environmental planning programs, and disaster recovery projects. 

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Jane Hood

Associate Director

 Jane's responsibilities include administrative work for SMCOG Board Meetings, training sessions, etc. and Economic Development Administration activity. She has 23 years experience in Economic Development, retiring in 2004 from the Missouri Department of Economic Development. Jane is a 1000-hour/ year employee.

Aishwarya Shrestha, AICP

Associate Planner

 Aishwarya’s responsibilities include transportation planning and comprehensive planning. She holds a Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University, New Jersey.


Before joining SMCOG, she worked at the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center as a Graduate Research Assistant with a focus on bicycle and pedestrian projects.

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Jake Phillips

Associate Planner

Jake's responsibilities include comprehensive and land use planning with experience in plan review, staff reporting, and planning and zoning regulations. He received his BS from Missouri State University in Community and Regional Planning with a Certificate of Small Town Planning.


Before joining SMCOG as an Associate Planner, he interned with SMCOG in 2019, and later worked in a local city government as the Senior Planner.

Thomas Cunningham


Thomas's responsibilities include hazard mitigation, disaster recovery, and resiliency planning. After earning his degree in Community and Regional Planning from Missouri State University in 2014, he worked in the non-profit sector doing community development and fundraising.

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Kelsi Burton

Grants Administrator 

Kelsi's responsibilities at SMCOG include grant writing, grant administration, and project management.  She earned her Bachelor's degree in Environmental Geography from MSU in 2015 and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Natural Applied Sciences.  Prior to SMCOG, Kelsi worked at MSU as a Financial Aid Counselor, where they managed the disbursement of federal, state, local, and institutional financial aid to students.

Krissy Dickens

Fiscal Officer

Krissy joined the SMCOG team in 2022 as the Fiscal Officer. She has experience in several accounting roles and worked in the Financial Services department at Missouri State University before transferring to SMCOG. She is currently working toward her B.S. in Accounting with Missouri State University.

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Courtney Pinkham, CAP

Administrative Assistant

Courtney has been involved with SMCOG since 2019 when she was hired on as the 2020 Census Complete Count Coordinator. As the current Administrative Assistant she plays an important role in organizing, managing, and keeping the SMCOG office running.



Interested in joining the team? 

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