Planning Commission Member Bios
Cumberland County Planning Commission Member Bios
James D. Ross, Chairman. A member of CCPC since 2016, Vice Chair 2018-2019, Chair since 2020 and member of the Cumberland County Blighted Property and Reinvestment Board.
Jim is an Associate Broker with NAI CIR (Commercial and Industrial brokerage) and part time Commercial Property Manager for NAICIR. He was a past Director for the PA REALTORS Association and a member of the Greater Harrisburg REALTORS Association. He serves on the Board of Directors of General Trade Corporation in McKeesport, PA. He was a former elected Susquehanna Township Commissioner.
Jim’s community interests include, children and youth welfare, drug and alcohol recovery, racial justice, climate change and community planning and development. Jim is a University of Pittsburgh graduate, 1787 Society member and Life Alumni Association member. Jim is Cofounder, Board member and former Chairman of Families United Network, a statewide nonprofit engaged in foster care, residential, adoption and child and senior day care services. He was Cofounder, Board member and President of DELTA Community, a nonprofit focused on housing and life skills development for homeless parents and children.
In his spare time he roots for the University of Pittsburgh and the Steelers and also enjoys jazz, yoga and traveling. Jim lives in Hampden Township with his wife, Sheila.
Heather Sweitzer, Vice Chairwoman. Heather is the Marketing Manager for NTM Engineering. She earned a B.A. in Political Science from Shippensburg University and also received a Community and Economic Development Graduate Certificate from Penn State University. She is a Past President of the Society for Marketing and Professional Services (SMPS) Central PA and has achieved the Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM) certification. Heather received the 2020 Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) Central PA Keystone Award that recognizes the accomplishments of a senior professional in the A/E/C industry service and service to the SMPS Central PA chapter.
Heather lives in Lower Allen Township with her husband and two girls. She likes to spend her free time running, watching sitcom reruns, and hanging out with my family and friends.
Matthew Fisher is the Vice-President of R.J. Fisher & Associates Inc., a family-owned Civil Engineering and Land Surveying company that specializes in land development, stormwater and subdivision projects. Matt prides himself on being able to produce large scale development projects while keeping the family business personal touch. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from The Pennsylvania State University he has received both his Professional Engineer (PE) and Professional Land Surveyor (PLS) certifications.
Outside of his professional career Matt enjoys many active hobbies including competing in triathlons and auto racing events.
Tracey Vernon, AICP, PP is principal of Vernon Land Use, a consulting firm providing economic development, energy, hazard mitigation and community planning services to public and private sector clients. Tracey is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), a licensed professional planner in the State of New Jersey, and a certified economic development finance professional from the National Development Council. A Cumberland County resident since 1996, she serves on the Cumberland County Blighted Property and Reinvestment Board, is a member of the Hampden Township Planning Commission, and a board member of the Central Section of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association. Tracey holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Thiel College and a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University.
Brenda Landis, graduated with a degree in Communications Media from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2001 and has been employed at Dickinson College as a Multimedia Specialist since 2003. She was elected to Carlisle Borough Council in 2018. Brenda is the volunteer coordinator for Carlisle West Side Neighbors since 2011, is a 2014 graduate of Leadership Cumberland, and served as spokesperson for Carlisle’s winning entry in the Strongest Town’s Competition. Councilor Landis has served as a volunteer on the coordinating committees for Hope Station’s Black History Festival and Neighbors Helping Neighbors community improvement initiative and has served on the Carlisle Neighborhood Alliance board. Brenda led the campaign to renovate and revitalize Heberlig Palmer Park, which was completed in 2016 and filmed and directed the Cumberlocal documentary in 2014. Councilor Landis currently serves as the Council Chair of the Parks and Recreation Committee and Vice-Chair of the Public Works Committee.
Edward A. Franco, Ph.D., Edward A. Franco, Ph.D. was born and raised in New York City, but always had a connection with central Pennsylvania due to spending summers on his grandfather's dairy farm. He graduated from Penn State University in 1971 with a B.A. in Psychology. He received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Maine in 1977.
Ed married his college sweetheart, Mary Vallance Franco R.N., CRNP in 1976. Ed accepted a job in Carlisle in 1980 at the newly funded Helen Stevens Mental Health Center. Ed and Mary purchased 20 acres of farmland in Lower Frankford Township and built a solar home where they raised their two sons. In 1987, due to funding cuts at the Mental Health Center, Ed founded a private practice, Franco Psychological Associates. He also was an adjunct professor at Shippensburg, University.
Over the past 40 years, Ed has volunteered his time as a Boy Scout Troop Leader, Trail steward for the Tuscarora Trail, served as a board member on the Cumberland/Perry MH/MR board, the Sadler Health Center Board and as a committee member with the Partnership for Better Health. In 2006 he was founding president of the Friends of Opossum Lake Conservancy committed to the restoration and maintenance of Opossum Lake. Ed has served on the Lower Frankford Township Planning Commission since 1996 and the Cumberland County Planning Commission since 2019.
Ed enjoys his horses, hiking, kayaking and traveling as well as home improvement projects on his small farm.
George Tyson is a 36 year resident of East Pennsboro township where he lives with his wife of 37 years. He sells IT System and Support for business, educational and professional organizations. George graduated from CPAVTS as a typewriter mechanic and has been in the office equipment/IT industry for 40 years. Since 2009 he has served as East Pennsboro School Director and the East Pennsboro BOC where he has been appointed since 2013 and is currently serving as President. George played a leadership role in the reestablishment of the East Pennsboro Township Authority and has served as the Chairmen since it's reestablishment. The Authority is responsible for the management of Storm Water per MS4 Requirements.
George enjoys camping and traveling in the family motorhome and especially in the Finger Lakes region of NY. He has a passion for antique and classic cars. He seeks out all unmodified Ford muscle cars for restoration and for 27 years has been a vendor at Carlisle Events’ car shows.
Dr. Joseph T. Zume is a professor in the department of Geography and Earth Science at Shippensburg University. He is a physicist-turned geographer, with expertise in groundwater hydrology and environmental geophysics. Born and raised in north-central Nigeria, Joseph now lives happily with his wife (Erdoo) and 3 daughters (Ngodoo, Nguveren, and Fashima) in Southampton Township, Shippensburg. He joined Shippensburg University in 2007 after completing his doctoral studies at the University of Oklahoma. During his last 2 years in Oklahoma, Joseph worked for the Oklahoma Water Resources Board as a Carl Albert Executive Fellow.
Joe grew up a farm boy, helping his late parents on the farm while going to school. His parents were peasant farmers with no western education, so farm work was prioritized over schoolwork. It is, therefore, not surprising that, to this day, Joseph remains an avid gardener. He is a good eater and cook, especially of things harvested from his garden. He has won several cooking awards including the Grand Chef medal, from his wife and children. In his youth, Joseph played soccer, but he now lifts light weights, kayaks, and rides bicycles.
Joe’s community involvement includes serving on the steering committee of the Summit Physician Services (now integrated into WellSpan Health) for several years. He is in his 2nd year on the CCPC and has recently been elected to the Parish Council of the Our Lady of the Visitation Parish, Shippensburg.
Timothy Johnson, P.E. is a Civil Engineer for KCI Technologies, Inc. in Mechanicsburg, primarily in the transportation realm. His career started in 2010, in PennDOT’s Central Permit Office as a manager of the statewide Highway Occupancy Permit (HOP) program. In 2016, Tim joined PennDOT’s executive offices as special assistant to the Deputy Secretary for Highway Administration. Changing to the private sector and joining KCI in 2018, Tim has continued to advise the public sector on a number of issues—particularly funding. Locally, he’s authored a master plan for future construction and maintenance needs for five major crossings of the Susquehanna River around Harrisburg.
Tim has worked with the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Highway Capacity and Quality of Service committee, and chaired Pennsylvania’s Utility Highway Liaison Committee. In addition to the Cumberland County Planning Commission, he chairs Lower Allen Township’s stormwater authority, serves on its sewer authority, and contributed to the development of its current Comprehensive Plan and Bicycle and Pedestrian plan.
In addition to his full-time work Tim works as a freelance sportswriter, primarily for the Harrisburg Patriot-News and PennLive.com. Tim is a 2005 graduate of Cedar Cliff High School and 2010 graduate of Penn State University, where he studied Civil Engineering and Geography. Tim was a state champion cross country runner at Cedar Cliff and national-qualifying and school record-holding runner on the track at Penn State. Nowadays, he’s happy just to go out for a long, quiet solo run, hike or bike ride to decompress. Tim lives in Lower Allen Township with his wife, Sarah, and their beloved border collie, Jackson.