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Press Release


Leigh Whitaker Elected as Board Chair


Philadelphia, PA (November 9, 2020) – On October 22, 2020 the Philadelphia Facilities Management Corporation (PFMC) elected Leigh Whitaker as the new Chair of its Board of Directors. PFMC oversees the operations of the Philadelphia Gas Works.

Leigh Whitaker is the Director of City Relations for the University of Pennsylvania. In her role at the university, Whitaker serves as Penn’s liaison with the City of Philadelphia and City Council and advises the Penn community on matters relating to local government.


Prior to joining Penn, Whitaker served as the Vice President of Communications for SugarHouse Casino, Deputy Chief of Staff for the School District of Philadelphia, and as Chief Legislative Aide for Philadelphia City Council President (then Councilman) Darrell L. Clarke. Whitaker is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University and Temple University’s School of Law, and is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Welcome America, Inc., and KIPP Administrative Services Corporation (KASC).


In addition to Whitaker’s election as Chair on October 22, 2020, Lauren Gilchrist was recently appointed to the Board by the Honorable James F. Kenney, and elected Secretary. The Board also approved the appointment of Seth A. Shapiro as Chief Operating Officer for PGW, effective January 4, 2021, as well as to the position of President and CEO of PGW, effective December 2021.  Mr. Shapiro’s appointment is subject to the approval of the Gas Commission.


Lauren Gilchrist is Senior Vice President/Senior Director of Research for JLL in Philadelphia, where she directs JLL’s local market research platform for the region. Gilchrist’s specialties include urban and regional economics and demography.

Prior to joining JLL, she served as the Manager of Research & Analysis at the Center City District in Philadelphia and as a Research Analyst/Program Manager at the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness in Arlington, Virginia. Gilchrist is a graduate of Bucknell University and Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University with an M.S. in Public Policy and Management (Highest Distinction).

Shapiro is the immediate past chair of the PFMC, and has served in leadership positions with publicly and privately held development companies, including the Goldenberg Group, Toll Brothers, Inc. and Westrum Development Corporation.

Prior to serving as Chair of PFMC, Mr. Shapiro served for five years as Chair of its Finance and Audit Committee and five years as Vice Chairman before being appointed Chair in 2016. 

He is currently Chairman of the Board of the Chestnut Hill Business District, and has served in leadership positions on a variety of community based non-profits, including Mt. Airy USA and Operation Understanding. Mr. Shapiro graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. in Government.

Under a contract with the City, the Philadelphia Facilities Management Corporation, a non-profit corporation, oversees Philadelphia Gas Works, the largest municipally owned utility in the nation. The Board is appointed by the Mayor and its responsibilities, as set forth in a Management Agreement between the City and PFMC, make PFMC responsible for all operations of PGW through an executive management team including a chief executive officer, a chief operating officer, and a chief financial officer.


The members of the PFMC Board of Directors are appointed for two-year terms by the Mayor of the City of Philadelphia. More information on each Board member is listed below.


Philadelphia Facilities Management Corporation BOARD MEMBERS

Leigh Whitaker, Chair, is the Director of City Relations for the University of Pennsylvania.

Jim Engler, Vice-Chair, is Chief of Staff to Mayor James Kenney. He was previously Deputy Mayor for Policy and Legislation for the City of Philadelphia.

Catherine Paster, Treasurer, is recently retired as the City’s First Deputy Finance Director, having served in that role since 2008.  Previously, Paster spent almost eight years with Temple University.

Lauren Gilchrist, Secretary, is Senior Vice President, Senior Director of Research for JLL in Philadelphia.

Albert Mezzaroba is an attorney with Genova Burns. Mezzaroba has held executive positions at Lower Bucks Hospital, the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority, and the City Council of Philadelphia, where he served as Chief Counsel.

The Honorable Marian Tasco, first elected to Philadelphia City Council in 1987. Tasco previously served as Majority Leader and Councilwoman representing the Ninth District.


Photographs are available upon request.

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Learn more Leaks, Odors, Safety Tips

Also if you smell gas:

  • Do not use electrical devices including cell phones which may cause a spark and ignite the gas.
  • Do not use an open flame, matches or lighters.
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  • Do not re-enter the building or return to the area until a PGW employee or a qualified utility representative says it is safe to do so.
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