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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Our Staff 

Facilitating excellence in regional cooperation since 1989. 

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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.

Dorothy Wittorff-Sandgren

Fiscal Officer

Dorothy Wittorff-Sandgren joined SMCOG in 2004 to work on the Hazard Mitigation Program. Later, she managed the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) projects and the new Homeland Security Regionalization Program. Today she is the SMCOG Fiscal Officer. She is responsible for the bookkeeping of the grants.

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Aishwarya Shrestha

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.

Thomas Cunningham

Planner

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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Lexi Mason 

Grants Administrator 

Lexi's responsibilities include grant writing, grant administration, and managing the managing Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) projects as well as state and federal grants. After earning their Bachelor’s Degree in Geography and Spanish from Missouri State University in 2018, they worked for local government and the non-profit sector administering state and federal grants.

Christopher Kempke

Recovery Coordinator

Chris joined SMCOG in 2021 as the Recovery Coordinator. His primary duties include leading regional economic development planning, COVID economic recovery planning, and working with SMCOG’s revolving loan fund.

He holds a master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from Missouri State University. Before joining SMCOG, Chris worked as a  Community/Economic Development Specialist for University of Missouri Extension. His specialties include community economic development, local government, and nonprofit organizational planning.

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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.

Courtney Pinkham

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.

 

 

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Kjella Acosta

In-House Graphic Designer

Kjella has been involved with SMCOG since 2018. As the sole member of the creative department, she specializes in taking care of SMCOG's branding/identity, print and web design, typography, infographics, illustration, and document layout.

 

Kjella is currently seeking a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Design, with an emphasis in design and illustration with the addition of a minor in art history with Missouri State University.

Interested in joining the team?