Speaker Carl Heastie today announced appointments to his administration. The following individuals will serve in the Speaker's Press Office:
Michael Whyland has been appointed to the role of director of communications for Press Operations. He has nearly 30 years of communications experience, serving in various roles for government officials as well as public and private organizations. He previously served as corporate communications director for Blasland, Bouck & Lee, Inc. in Syracuse, NY, communications director for 1199 SEIU in upstate New York, and as a spokesman for Governor Eliot Spitzer. Prior to joining the Assembly in 2011 as press secretary to former Speaker Sheldon Silver, he served as chief of staff to United States Congressman Daniel B. Maffei. He earned a bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Communications from the College at Brockport, State University of New York.
Kerri Biché has been appointed press secretary to the Speaker. She has more than 15 years of communications and government experience, most recently serving as deputy press secretary to former Speaker Sheldon Silver. She previously served as spokesperson for and advisor to Albany County Executive Michael Breslin. Prior to that, she was an account executive for Sawchuk, Brown Associates. She earned a master's degree in Public Administration from Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany and a bachelor's degree in Communications and Business from Russell Sage College in Troy, NY.
Najay Roache has been appointed deputy press secretary. Prior to joining the Speaker's Press Office as an assistant press secretary, she served as director of communications for Assemblymember Keith L.T. Wright. She began her career with Assembly Program and Counsel as a committee assistant for the Transportation Committee and later went on to serve as an analyst for the Committees on Racing and Wagering as well as Labor. She was a member of the Assembly's Intern Class of 2007 while completing her bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from Utica College.
Heriberto Gonzalez-Andino has been appointed deputy press secretary. He has more than 20 years of experience working as a bilingual journalist. He most recently served as a news editor for El Diario/Impremedia in New York City. Prior to that he has worked an assistant editor for POZ en Espanol and as general producer/host of HoMoVisiones, Inc. He also served as public relations and marketing coordinator for Thalia Spanish Theater, Inc., host/producer for HITN Network (Ch. 75), chief assignment editor for Univision Noticias 41, and reporter/producer for WSJN-Ch. 24. He earned a master's degree in Public Administration from Walden University in Minneapolis, MN and a bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Sacred Heart in San Juan, PR.
Ebony R. Meeks has been appointed deputy press secretary. She most recently served as a strategic field communications associate for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). She also served as an assistant press secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy and a press officer for the Office of New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson. She was a national urban fellow for the New York State Health Foundation while completing her master's degree in Public Administration from the Baruch School of Public Affairs, City University of New York. She earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism from Howard University in Washington D.C.