William Murdock, Executive Director

William Murdock serves as executive director of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC). MORPC is Central Ohio’s regional council for local governments that provides services, funding, tools, and resources to nearly 90 member communities comprised of counties, cities, villages, townships, and regional agencies. As the executive director, Murdock oversees innovative planning, services, and policies in transportation, planning, housing, land use, sustainability, and data.

Working with a board of over 140 local leaders and more than 20 community committees, Murdock reorganized MORPC to sharpen its focus on collaborative partnerships, proactive planning, and local government services. He is responsible for the development of MORPC’s long-range transportation plan that coordinates over $20 billion of transportation improvements across the region through 2050. Murdock spearheaded the major regional future scenarios effort known as insight2050 and the recently completed Regional Housing Strategy – both major public/private initiatives to prepare for Central Ohio’s significant growth and development – and innovative efforts such as the Smart Region Task Force and Midwest Connect Hyperloop effort.

Murdock also directed the creation of Central Ohio’s first regional sustainability and data agendas and strengthened MORPC’s advocacy efforts at the state and federal levels.  He prioritizes efforts to build inclusion and diversity into regional work whether rural, urban, or suburban communities and to provide opportunities for young people to enter public service. Prior to joining MORPC, Murdock worked for over 15 years in state and local government in planning and economic development.

Murdock is actively involved in a number of local, state, and national organizations. Notably, he is secretary/treasurer for the Ohio Association of Regional Councils, a governor’s appointee to the DriveOhio Government Advisory Board, past president of The Ohio State University Knowlton School Alumni Society, and past chair of the National Association of Regional Councils’ (NARC) Executive Directors Council (EDC).

Murdock is a longtime resident of Central Ohio and proud Buckeye with a Bachelor of Science in Economics, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Master of City & Regional Planning, and Master of Science in Parks, Recreation & Tourism Administration all from The Ohio State University.

Parag Agrawal is the Chief Mobility and Infrastructure Officer, and Senior Director of Programming at the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC). Mr. Agrawal’s leadership plays a pivotal role in advancing the region’s capital improvement plans, shaping a future marked by innovation and collaboration.

Mr. Agrawal has more than 20 years of experience leading high-performance, service-oriented work environments, promoting sustainable growth practices, and advancing economic development and multi-modal transportation networks.

Prior to working with MORPC, Mr. Agrawal was the Executive Director at the Polk Transportation Planning Organization in Bartow, Florida. Agrawal led various multi-jurisdictional and interagency planning efforts to extend SunRail commuter rail and Brightline high speed rail, the Vision Zero planning process, and Polk Transit Vision 2032. Mr. Agrawal also served as the Planning Director of Prince William County in Virginia and as the Community Development Director of the city of Milton, Georgia.

As a graduate student at The Ohio State University, he interned with MORPC. Upon graduation, Parag began his career with the City of Columbus’ Department of Development, serving as a representative for the Italian Village and German Village Architectural Review Commissions.

Agrawal holds a master’s degree in city and regional planning from The Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Aligarh University in India.

Joseph Garrity is the Senior Director of Government Affairs and Community Relations at MORPC. He serves as the chief intergovernmental affairs officer and leads MORPC’s government affairs, membership, and investment programs.

Leading the Columbus Region Coalition (CRC), a diverse group of 16 regional organizations, Garrity collaborates with elected officials, business leaders and non-profit sector representatives, to strengthen the region by developing policies that ensure MORPC effectively serves its diverse 85 local governments. The CRC consists of local governments, members of the business community, and other regional stakeholders that make up the collective interests of Central Ohio.

With over a decade of experience in public policy, Garrity has served at the state, federal, and regional levels of government. In his free time, he serves as the vice chair of the Columbus International Visitors Council. In 2022, Garrity was selected by Columbus Business First as a 40 under 40 honoree and participated in the 2023 Leadership Columbus Class.

Garrity has a Bachelor’s degree in Specialized Studies from Ohio University, a Master’s degree in Applied Politics from the University of Akron, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Leadership from The Ohio State University.

Shawn Hufstedler has been with MORPC since 2009. His duties include: providing internal support for the executive director; serving as executive director in his absence; and directing and coordinating the IT, finance, HR, and facility activities of the Operations department.

Previous to MORPC, Hufstedler served as the director of finance and grants at the Community Shelter Board and as an assurance manager for KPMG LLP. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Government Finance Manager (CGFM), and a Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA), he is a member of the Association of Governmental Accountants Central Ohio Chapter, the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), the Ohio GFOA, the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants, the Society for Human Resource Management, and the Human Resources Association of Central Ohio. Hufstedler serves on the Ohio GFOA Board where he co-chairs the Early Career Professionals Committee. He previously served on the First Night Columbus Board. Hufstedler is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a BS in business administration with finance and accounting majors.

Níel Jurist is the senior director of MORPC’s Communications & Engagement Department. In this role, she serves as the agency’s chief communications officer and oversees the agency’s marketing, communications, media relations, outreach & engagement, diversity, equity & inclusion, and creative direction for agency events.

Jurist’s career spans nearly 20 years of experience in marketing, public relations, DE&I, and communications. Prior to MORPC, she served as the spokesperson for the mayor’s office and public information manager for the police department for the City of Gahanna. Much of Jurist’s career has been devoted to public service, where she held similar positions at the Ohio Treasurer of State’s Office and the Ohio Senate. In addition to her tenure in government, she also held similar positions at the YMCA of Central Ohio, Franklin County Children Services, and served as the assistant director of diversity and inclusion for the United Way in Central Ohio. Níel Jurist received her Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Ashland University and is also a proud graduate of The Ohio State University, with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. She holds an Accreditation in Public Relations (APR), as well as certifications in crisis communication, media training, measurement and analysis, and risk reputation management.

Jurist is actively engaged in the community, where she currently serves as a member of the board of trustees and member of the programming committee for the Columbus Metropolitan Club (CMC), member of the curriculum committee for Leadership Columbus, and assembly delegate for the Columbus Chapter of the PRSA. Previously, she served as the communications chair for the Columbus Branch of the NAACP, vice chair for the Central Ohio Public Information Network (COPIN), and communications chair for the Columbus (OH) Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. 

Additionally, she enjoys mentoring young professionals in public relations. Jurist is also a proud graduate of the African American Leadership Academy (AALA) and Leadership Columbus (2021). She also received the 2021 Business First Outstanding Diversity Champion Award for her commitment to DEI, and was instrumental in MORPC and the Atlanta Regional Council (ARC) receiving the 2021 National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) Achievement Award for its Racial Equity Conversation Series.

Robert Williams leads MORPC’s Residential Services Department. Mr. Williams’ primary duties include providing support for the Home Repair, Energy Efficiency and Weatherization Programs. These grant programs are essential in providing assistance to county residents who have housing and weatherization needs that help stabilize their homes and reduce energy costs.

Prior to MORPC, Williams served as the executive director for Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s non-profit housing initiative, Healthy Homes, and as the sales coordinator at Homeport. He serves as a board co-chair for Resident Resources Network (RRN), a non-profit that connects residents of Wallick Communities to supportive services.

Williams is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a BA in English, as well as a master’s degree from Franklin University in marketing and communications.

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