Our Leadership Team

Francella Ochillo

Francella Ochillo

Executive Director

francella@nextcenturycities.org

@franochillo

Francella’s vision for Next Century Cities is simple – elevate the voices of local officials who are working to expand high-speed connectivity. An attorney and digital rights advocate, Francella has worked on a variety of technology and telecommunications issues with a specific focus on assessing the impact of policy proposals on unserved and underserved communities. Breaking through to various audiences in keynote speeches, agency filings, podcasts, and news outlets like Axios or The Washington Post, Francella helps policymakers and lawmakers recognize the importance of ubiquitous broadband. She is committed to creating opportunities for local leaders to participate in a national dialogue about how to connect every resident in every community. 

A member of the District of Columbia Bar and Federal Communications Bar Association, Francella represents Next Century Cities on the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee’s Disaster Response and Recovery Working Group. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, and her Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois.

Learn more about Francella and her favorite cities here

Brittany-Rae Gregory

Brittany-Rae Gregory

Communications Director

brittany-rae@nextcenturycities.org

Brittany-Rae is a communications professional with a passion for using communications, research, and advocacy to address issues plaguing urban communities. She has a wide range of experience in the communications field. Before joining the Next Century Cities team, Brittany-Rae served as a press secretary in the U.S. House of Representatives. Brittany-Rae has also held communications roles within the federal government, nonprofit organizations, corporate communications departments, and higher education. She previously taught in the communications departments at the University of Maryland and Howard University. 

Brittany-Rae completed her Ph.D. in Communications, Culture, and Media Studies at Howard University where she examined the intersection of urban development, community relations, and higher education. She received her M.S. in Mass Communications from Middle Tennessee State University and her  B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Wellesley College. 

As Communications Director, Brittany-Rae fields all media requests and communications-related inquiries. In addition to managing external communications and providing support for member programming, Brittany-Rae creates a bi-weekly newsletter for members.

Learn more about Brittany-Rae and her favorite cities here.

Ryan Johnston

Ryan Johnston

Policy Counsel, Federal Programs

ryan@nextcenturycities.org

Before coming to Next Century Cities, Ryan Johnston completed a legal fellowship with the Computer and  Communications Industry Association where he focused on a range of issues including telecommunications, intellectual property, and data privacy. Additionally, he has worked for the Competition and Infrastructure Division at the Federal Communications Commission and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Ryan, a member of the Pennsylvania Bar, received his Juris Doctor from American University Washington College of Law where he served on the editorial board of the National Security Law Brief. Ryan completed his undergraduate degree at Franklin & Marshall College where he studied Government and Business Management.

Ryan is responsible for NCC’s federal policy portfolio. He maintains relationships with Federal Commissions Commission officials, members of Congress and staff, and public interest allies. Working with the relevant federal agencies, Ryan submits filings on behalf of NCC members on a variety of tech and telecom related issues such as broadband data mapping, benchmark speeds, spectrum policy, content moderation, privacy, and others.
 

Learn more about Ryan and his favorite cities here.

Corian Zacher

Corian Zacher

Policy Counsel, State & Local Initiatives

corian@nextcenturycities.org

At a time when expanding broadband connectivity has become a central priority for local officials, Corian Zacher’s portfolio is focused on local and state initiatives aimed at increasing access and adoption. Corian creates resources for our members, tracks state and local broadband policy initiatives, and collaborates with local leaders, identifying policy needs and expanding NCC’s educational tools.

Before coming to NCCZacher researched and worked on telecommunications policy issues, most recently as an intern at Common Cause. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado Law School, where Zacher studied telecommunications law and policy, and has a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Oklahoma State University. At Colorado, Zacher served as Editor-in-Chief of the Colorado Technology Law Journal, which published her student note, Paving the Road to Fiber.

Lukas Pietrzak

Lukas Pietrzak

Policy Associate

lukas@nextcenturycities.org

@Ltpietrzak

With Next Century Cities, Lukas Pietrzak previously served as Membership Manager and has assumed a new role as Policy Associate. As Policy Associate, Lukas will continue to work with our members, elevating their voices in national connectivity discussions while connecting them to resources and opportunities that help achieve local connectivity goals.
 
Lukas has helped address technology policy issues for the last three years as a student, research assistant, and policy fellow. A recent graduate of the University of Virginia, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Studies and conducted research on local government solutions to the digital divide. Lukas is a Master of Public Policy student at Georgetown University where his work focuses on broadband policy, digital inclusion, and technology policy. At Georgetown, Lukas delivered a lecture at TEDxGeorgetown about the history of municipal networks from electric grids to fiber optic networks.
 
At Next Century Cities, Lukas manages member inquiries and works with local officials to develop resources tailored to their specific needs. Lukas also provides subject matter expertise on various topics including digital redlining, community broadband networks, 2020 census, civic engagement, and more.
 
Learn more about Lukas and his favorite cities here.
Medvis Jackson

Medvis Jackson

Fellow

medvis@nextcenturycities.org

The newest member of the New Century Cities team, Medvis Jackson is uncovering stories that highlight the impact of high-speed internet access in American cities. He is a social capital expert who specializes in connecting individual community members with critical resources. 

In addition to co-founding the music and technology content series, #TheDigilogue, his background in digital marketing, research and program management has, within two years, aided projects in Detroit to raise over $1.3 million of financial investment into local startups, as well as to administer over $50,000 of publicly-funded technical assistance to early-stage entrepreneurs. In his free time, he volunteers with brick-and-mortar business owners in Detroit’s Northwest side, helping them to strengthen their online presence and to access additional public resources.

Medvis completed his undergraduate studies at Colgate University and is an avid cricket player. 

Our Advisory Board

Our Advisory Board is comprised of policy leaders from member communities and organizations across the country. The Board offers valuable guidance on issues relating to Next Century Cities policies. Find our full Advisory Board here.