MORPC Leadership

    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 more than 75 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.

    Dr. Kerstin Carr, Chief Regional Strategy Officer and Senior Director of Planning

    Kerstin Carr is the Chief Regional Strategy Officer and Senior Director of Planning at MORPC. Her team provides and promotes collaboration, technical assistance, and regional planning initiatives related to active transportation, the natural and built environment, transportation safety, and energy to benefit MORPC members and communities in Central Ohio.

    Carr has nearly 20 years of experience in transportation and urban planning. She currently chairs the Scenario Planning Consortium of the National Association of Regional Councils, serves on the Neighborhood Design Center board, and is an advisory member to the OSU Center for Real Estate and of the Early Childhood Advisory Council. Carr is a 2019 graduate of Leadership Columbus, was part of the 2020 Future 50 class, and has a doctoral degree in geography from the University of Regensburg, Germany.

    Thea (Walsh) Ewing, Chief Regional Development Officer and Senior Director of Programming

    Thea (Walsh) Ewing leads the transportation planning efforts for both the agency’s Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Rural Planning Organization.

    She is an 18-year public servant focused on transportation, economic development, and community planning. She has worked at county, regional, and state levels of government. Thea has a BA in Public Administration and Urban and Regional Planning from Miami University and a Masters of Public Administration from Wright State University.

    Thea was selected by Columbus Business First as one of the Forty Under 40 Honorees for being a “mover and shaker” in the Central Ohio community –most notably for her role in Smart Columbus, the Hyperloop Midwest Connect proposal, and a Downtown Employee Bus “C-Pass” Program. She is in the American Institute of Certified Planners, in the Ohio Association of Commodores, and is the current president for Clean Fuels Ohio.

    Joseph Garrity, Senior Director of Government Affairs & Community Relations

    Joseph Garrity is the Senior Director of Government Affairs and Community Relations at MORPC. He oversees the execution of the agency’s state and federal government affairs strategies and promotes the active participation of MORPC members in public policy and advocacy. He also provides support throughout the agency and to local governments on related strategic initiatives and collaborative efforts.

    Garrity has worked at MORPC for five years, in varying capacities. Prior to that, Garrity served as a legislative aide in the Ohio General Assembly. He also served as a congressional intern in the U. S. Senate. In his free time, Garrity serves as a board member of the Central Ohio National Kidney Foundation and as the vice chair of the Columbus International Visitors Council.

    Garrity has a bachelor’s degree in specialized studies from Ohio University and a master’s degree in applied politics from The Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at The University of Akron.

    Shawn Hufstedler, Chief Operating Officer

    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, Senior Director of Communications & Engagement

    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 public information, engagement, diversity & inclusion, membership, and events programming.

    Níel’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 Níel’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 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.


    Robert Williams, Senior Director of Residential Services

    Robert Williams leads MORPC’s Residential Services Department. Robert’s 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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