Senior Staff Bios


James PatchettJames Patchett 
President & CEO

A proponent of affordable housing and a principal driver of Mayor de Blasio’s effort to create 100,000 jobs within ten years, James Patchett became President and CEO of NYCEDC in February 2017 after serving as Chief of Staff to Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen. Before his transition to NYCEDC, Mr. Patchett was pivotal in securing many of the Mayor’s signature affordable housing achievements and was one of the de Blasio administration’s chief negotiators on major land use matters, including:

  • The long-term preservation of six thousand affordable housing units at Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village and Harlem’s Riverton Houses – two of New York City’s most storied and important mixed-income communities;
  • The successful passage in 2016 of Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, which requires for the first time through zoning, that a share of new housing be permanently affordable; and
  • The $100 million sale by the Hudson River Park Trust of two-million-square-feet of air rights at Pier 40, which helped secure the financial future of Hudson River Park and facilitated the construction of five hundred new affordable homes.

As Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor, Mr. Patchett worked on some of the City's key economic development initiatives, which included:

  • Constructing one of Brooklyn’s largest tech hubs with a $100 million investment in Building 77 at Brooklyn Navy Yard, which will create over 3,000 new jobs;
  • Overhauling Citi Bike when the system was on the verge of failure by securing new ownership, infusion of new capital, and a promise to double the number of bikes on the road; and
  • Modernizing the City’s food distribution system through a $150 million investment in the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center – home to over eight thousand jobs.

Prior to joining the office of the Deputy Mayor, Mr. Patchett served as Vice President of the Urban Investment Group at Goldman Sachs where he helped finance a variety of real estate and economic development projects across the country. He previously worked as a consultant, assisting public and private organizations with economic development projects. He currently serves on the board of the Prospect Park Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to sustaining Brooklyn’s most famous park. Mr. Patchett holds a BA in Economics from Amherst College and an MBA from Stanford University. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and young son.

James N. Katz
Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff
James oversees NYCEDC's Strategic Investments Group, as well as its Government and Community Relations, Public Affairs, and Marketing departments. He is also chiefly responsible for day-to-day management of the President’s Office. James has served since the beginning of last year as NYCEDC’s Director of Policy and Planning, helping to manage NYCEDC’s transition to the de Blasio administration. Before this, he was a Senior Advisor and Special Counsel to New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, where he worked on enforcement and legislative matters related to nonprofit governance and public integrity. James holds a JD from Harvard Law School and a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Kim Vaccari
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Before joining NYCEDC, Kim served as the chief financial officer and treasurer for the New Jersey Transit Corporation. Before joining New Jersey Transit, she worked as a public finance banker for Banc of America Securities on P3 projects and transportation bond financings and as director of finance for the MTA, where she was responsible for all aspects of funding the MTA’s capital program funding and debt issuance. Kim holds a bachelor’s degree in government finance from Wheaton College.

Ana Ariño
Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer
Ana leads the Research, Strategy, Partnerships, and Industry Initiatives teams. She oversees the development and implementation of programs to grow good paying jobs across established and emerging sectors of the city’s economy, such as life sciences and cybersecurity, in close partnership with industry leaders. She was previously head of the Strategy team at NYCEDC where she advised the NYCEDC president & CEO and City Hall on a range of economic development issues. Before joining NYCEDC, Ana was a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, where she provided strategy and operational improvement services to clients in the financial services industry. Previously, she worked at Natsource, a carbon asset management firm. She holds an MA in International Economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a degree in Economics from the Universidad Autonóma de Madrid. She is fluent in English, Spanish, and French.

Meredith J. Jones
Executive Vice President and General Counsel 
Before joining NYCEDC, Meredith worked at corporate law firms and as counsel to a multi-national engineering and construction company. She also served as general counsel for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and as Chief of the Cable Services Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College and received her Juris Doctor from Yale Law School.
Seth Myers
Executive Vice President and Director of Project Implementation
Seth attended Columbia University and received a graduate degree in urban planning. Before joining NYCEDC, Seth worked in the Mayor’s Office of Capital Project Development where he was involved with key projects in Lower Manhattan and, in particular, at the World Trade Center site. Since 2006, he has managed the planning, design, and construction of large-scale capital and infrastructure projects, with a focus on coordination between multiple agencies or government entities.
Patrick Askew 
Executive Vice President, Capital Division
Patrick Askew leads the Capital Division at NYCEDC, managing the division’s $5 billion project portfolio, including 100+ projects in design/construction, as well as 30+ engineers, architects, landscape architects, and other technical and administrative project support staff. Before joining NYCEDC, Patrick worked with the MTA and served as the Deputy Director of the Independent Engineering Consulting Group where he helped oversee and monitor the MTA’s $32 billion capital program. Before that, he worked at the Port Authority overseeing design and construction at the newly developed World Trade Center site. Patrick is a graduate of Temple and New York University and holds a Masters in Civil Engineering and Business Administration (MBA).
Thomas McKnight
Executive Vice President and Head of Planning, Development, and Transportation
Thomas is a graduate of Fordham University and also has a graduate degree from New York University in urban planning. Before joining NYCEDC, Thomas worked at New York City Council.
Jeffrey Nelson
Executive Vice President for the Real Estate Transaction Services Group
Jeff is a graduate of Williams College, where he majored in political science. He received his MBA from the Wharton School of Business. At NYCEDC, Jeff oversees a portfolio of NYCEDC-led public-private development projects throughout New York City with a focus on the 125th Street corridor, Financial District, the St. George Waterfront, and Downtown Brooklyn. During his time at NYCEDC, Jeff has closed transactions that comprise over 1.5 million square feet of mixed-use development and have generated more than $400 million in proceeds for the City.
Spencer Hobson
Executive Vice President and Treasurer, Finance Group
Spencer oversees NYCEDC’s Finance Division, which includes the Accounting, Budget, and Grants Management departments. Previously, he assisted in managing NYCEDC’s Internal Audit group for many years. He is a life-long resident of Queens, NY and received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from CUNY at York College in Jamaica, Queens. He is a certified public accountant as well as a certified internal auditor. Before joining NYCEDC, Spencer spent several years conducting audits throughout the east coast for a hotel and restaurant employee’s union trust fund. 

Matthew Kwatinetz
Executive Vice President, Asset Management Revenue
Before NYCEDC, Mr. Kwatinetz was the Managing Partner of QBL Partners, a real estate advisory firm focused on multiple bottom line outcomes. QBL’s clients include City of Seattle, City of Austin, King County (WA), City of Surrey (BC), City of SeaTac, Penn’s Institute for Urban Research, City of Shoreline (WA) and the US Department of Energy. From 2010, he worked for Kinzer Real Estate Services, where he supported real estate investment decision-making and site selection for such clients as the University of Washington, Alaska Airlines, and Starbucks Corporation. For Starbucks, he led a team to negotiate the creation of a $150mm manufacturing plant in Augusta, GA. Following that project, he was recruited by the Mayor of Augusta to create Augusta Regional Collaboration Project, which worked with the City and State to consolidate a new research university into the downtown. He specializes in developing quantitative urban models to change the underlying economics of multiple bottom line development— he has presented these models for ICSC, Americans for the Arts, NAIOP, Net Impact, and the Centre for Policy Studies on Culture and Communities. Matthew received his MBA in Real Estate at The Wharton School. He is a graduate of Deep Springs College and Harvard University.