Bicentennial Conference Speakers

Tom Grasso

President emeritus of the Canal Society of New York State

Tom Grasso is President Emeritus of the Canal Society of New York State. He is well-recognized internationally for his scholarship of the Erie Canal and historic European canals. He is a past President of Inland Waterways International. He taught at Monroe Community College in Rochester and retired as chair of its Geosciences Department in 1999.

Devin Lander

New York State Historian

As New York State Historian, Devin’s duties are twofold; to help provide support and coordination to the historical field, including local historians, academic historians, and historical societies and museums; as well as to conduct research on various topics relevant to New York State history and the New York State Museum.

During his previous time as Executive Director of the Museum Association of New York (MANY) he worked with historical organizations from across the State and was constantly amazed by the work being done by local historians of all kinds. His current position enables him to seek ways to compliment and assist these local historians.

Before working with MANY he spent several years working in the New York State Assembly for the Chair of the Tourism, Arts, Parks and Sports Development Committee. In this position, he was heavily involved in several policy areas related to the historical field and was Staff Coordinator for the Historic-Hudson Hoosic Rivers Partnership, a public benefit organization created by an act of the Legislature in 2006 with the purpose of protecting and promoting the historical resources in the region around the Saratoga National Historical Park.

As State Historian he will be working on a broad range of New York State historical topics, including public policy, social, labor, and cultural history. He is currently researching the historical and political genesis of the New York State Board of Regents, among other projects.

Christine O’Neil

Chris has served as the Executive Director of Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum since 2012. A founding member of the Old Erie Canal Community Working Group and creator of the interpretive, guided bike ride series, Tuesdays on the Towpath, Chris remains focused collaborations and connections between cultural heritage sites and communities. Chris graduated from Cornell University with a History of Art degree. She resides in Fayetteville, New York, with her husband, Scott, where they raised three children who cycled along the Old Erie Canalway Trail. She enjoys reading, visiting museums and many outdoor activities.

Dr. Andrew Wolfe

Dr. Andrew Wolfe is the Interim Dean of the College of Engineering at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica. He received his BS (Civil Engineering), MS Environmental Engineering), and Ph.D. (Transportation Engineering) from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Wolfe is also the Executive Director of the Lewis Henry Morgan Institute, which has conducted archeological field work in the Capital District of New York to recover Erie Canal sites. Prior to arriving in Utica, Dr. Wolfe was part of the faculty of Union College, where he was active in the restoration of Enlarged Erie Canal Lock 23. He also oversaw student project, which were focused on the Erie Canal, at Lock 23 and at the NYS Museum and Archives. Dr. Wolfe has developed and taught a course which looks at the interactions between engineering and society using the Erie Canal, railroads and the interstate highway system as case studies. He has been invited to speak on various Erie Canal topics and was a talking head on the Modern Marvels Erie Canal episode. Dr. Wolfe lives in Marcy with his wife Lisa.

Brad Utter

Brad’s areas of research revolve around the development of industry and transportation in the State of New York and how that development impacted the lives of New Yorkers. Currently, he is focusing on the New York State canal system as part of preparation for an exhibit on the Erie Canal that will open in September of 2017. The exhibit will mark the 200th anniversary of the beginning of construction of the canal. As an offshoot of that work, he is also working on the story of the Waterford Flight of locks. The “Waterford Flight” as it is known, is a set of 5 locks located at the entrance to the New York State Barge Canal System. 2015 marked the 100th year that the National Civil Engineering Landmark has been in service. His focus has been on the impact on the community both physical and social from the construction to today.

Dana Krueger

Dana L. Krueger, a.k.a the Director of Fun, is the Director of DanaEvents, a business specializing in cultural event planning. She has experience planning and organizing for statewide associations, cultural institutions, tourism networks, museums and public festivals. She has helped direct the Museum Association of New York, teaches for the Graduate Program in Museum Studies at Syracuse University, and has worked in various museums and art centers. Dana has served on statewide boards for two museum associations, and a network of cultural and tourism-related organizations. Along with that, she has years of practical experience in the hospitality business. Her clients include the Museum Association of New York, The Wild Center, The Rockwell Museum, and the Corning Museum of Glass. She is the event planner for the 2017 World Canals Conference in Syracuse, NY.

Craig Williams, Canal Society of NYS