A look at Peduto's new Cabinet members



KEVIN ACKLIN, chief of staff, chief development officer

Mr. Acklin, 37, is a partner at the Saul Ewing law firm Downtown, top adviser to the Peduto mayoral campaign and chairman of Peduto's transition team. The scion of a family of city firefighters, he previously ran for a Republican Allegheny County Council seat and as an independent mayoral candidate against Luke Ravenstahl in 2009, before becoming a Democratic committeeman in Squirrel Hill. He will be the mayor's top aide and chairman of the Urban Redevelopment Authority. He is married with three young children.

GUY COSTA, chief operations officer

Mr. Costa, 59, formerly the city's public works director and most recently manager of the Peduto mayoral campaign, will oversee his old department; the parking authority, which he also formerly directed; parks and recreation and the Pittsburgh Waterand Sewer Authority. Before heading the campaign, he was an Allegheny County economic development official. The Duquesne University graduate lives in Squirrel Hill with his wife and son.

VALERIE MCDONALD-ROBERTS, chief urban affairs officer

Ms. McDonald-Roberts, 58, formerly a District 9 city councilwoman and Allegheny County recorder of deeds, has served since 2008 as the appointed manager of the county's real estate division. The Homewood native and supporter of Mr. Peduto's mayoral bid will oversee nonprofit, faith-based and housing matters, including the city housing authority. The married mother of four grown children has 10 grandchildren.

DEBRA LAM, chief innovation and performance officer

Ms. Lam, 32, is an environmental sustainability expert at London-based consultants Arup, and has worked in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The daughter of Chinese emigrants graduated from North Hills High School and Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and received a master's in public policy from University of California, Berkeley. She will oversee the city's technology division and finance and will work with the state's two fiscal oversight boards. She is returning to the city from New York with her husband.

CURTISS E. PORTER, chief education and neighborhood reinvestment officer

Mr. Porter, 73, is chancellor of Penn State University Greater Allegheny in McKeesport, not far from where he grew up in Braddock. He called his resume "unique." He has served in the U.S. Air Force, holds a doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh and has worked for H.J. Heinz Co. and the Urban League.

DEBBIE LESTITIAN, chief administration officer

Ms. Lestitian, 48, of Brookline, is an attorney, accountant and an assistant treasurer at Carnegie Mellon University. She served alongside Mr. Peduto on the stadium authority after being appointed by Bob O'Connor in 2006 and was removed by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl three years later after she opposed development plans on the North Shore. She holds an accounting degree from Washington & Jefferson College and a law degree from Duquesne University.

LOURDES SANCHEZ RIDGE, solicitor and chief legal officer

Ms. Sanchez Ridge, 52, will leave her job as an attorney for Clark Hill Thorp Reed, where she focuses on white collar criminal defense, to join the Peduto administration. A native of Cuba who was raised in the United States, she holds an accounting degree from the University of Miami and a law degree from the University of Florida. She previously served as a state prosecutor in Florida and was an assistant U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C. She is the former president of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.


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