Election 2017 Winner Bios

President Elect

Chris Berson, MBA, PMP

Chris Berson is Vice President of Information Systems at Home Properties, an affiliate of Lone Star Funds, a global private equity firm.  Home Properties owns and operates apartment communities in suburbs of major metropolitan areas in several states, from Illinois to Florida and the North East.  Chris is responsible for driving the evolution and execution of all aspects of Home Properties' technology strategy and for ensuring that the technology services provided support the company’s mission.    

Chris passionately supports and promotes Information Technology as a profession through his work with CIOs in Western NY and across the country.  He has been actively involved with national organizations that encourage collaboration and sharing of knowledge and practices as a means of improving overall IT capabilities.  Over the years, he has served on Governing Bodies of CIO Executive Summits in NYC and Rochester and was a founding member of the Western NY Chapter of the Society for Information Management (SIM) on whose Board he currently sits.  Chris is a certified Project Management Professional and a member and enthusiastic supporter of PMI Rochester, attending the Chapter's Executive Forum with other area Executives for several years.    

Chris's experience in Information Technology spans nearly 30 years and crosses several industries, including banking, finance, and property management.  His undergraduate studies were in Applied Physics at the University of Central Lancashire (formerly Preston Polytechnic’s School of Physics and Astronomy) in the United Kingdom and he earned his MBA from the University of Rochester’s Simon Business School.


Vice-President of Professional Development

Gary HeerkensPMP, CPM, MPM, CPC, CIPM, MMC, CBM, CIPA, PEng, MBA,   IAPPM Fellow, AAPM Fellow 

Gary is running for VP of Professional Development. Among his areas of focus for providing benefit to members of the PMI Rochester Chapter are the following:

          • Bring several prominent speakers to PMI Rochester chapter events
          • Arrange for several high-quality educational seminars
          • Provide tools that will assist interested members in developing their own individual professional development “road maps”
          • Provide resources to help clarify the roles/responsibilities of project managers


Gary is president of Management Solutions Group, a Rochester-based training and consulting firm. Previously, he managed projects for Eastman Kodak for more than 20 years and was the staff assistant to Kodak’s director of project management 

He’s a long-standing provider for Project Management Institute’s (PMI) SeminarsWorld program and was project management training provider for the Purchasing Management Association of Canada.  He is a frequent speaker and training provider at international PM conferences and more than 35 PMI chapters.  He’s been invited to speak at 17 PMI Global Congresses, as was an “encore presenter” at the 2007 and 2008 Global Congresses. In 2015, he was invited to be the speaker representing the United States at the IPMA World Congress.

Gary was a contributing editor of PMI’s PM Network magazine from 2009-2015, writing a column on “The Business of Projects”.  He has written two books: the Project Management title in McGraw-Hill’s Briefcase Books Series and The Business-Savvy Project Manager.

He’s a member of several professional societies—PMI, IPMA (International Project Management Association), IAPPM (International Association of Program and Project Management),  AAPM (American Academy of Project Management), and APBM (Association for Professionals in Business Management)—from which he holds several certifications, and has been honored as a Fellow of IAPPM and AAPM.  In 2012, Solutions Network of Canada named him one of the 25 best project managers in North America. He served three terms as president of the PMI Rochester (NY) Chapter, from 1998 to 2001, and from 2005-2006. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in New York State and holds an MBA from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Vice-President of Membership

Mitesh Parikh, MS, PMP

Mitesh is currently serving as the PMI Rochester Director of Membership. He earned his PMP certification in 2011. Mitesh has been a member of Rochester PMI chapter since 2011 and has been volunteering since 2011. Mitesh served as Director of Networking & Mentoring Program in 2014-2015. 

Mitesh is currently employed at Conduent, formally Xerox Business Services, where he is leading Automation & Analytics Program Management Office (PMO). Prior to joining Conduent, Mitesh worked at Harris Corporation where he held a variety of positions from Firmware Engineer to Senior Program Manager. Mitesh is an energetic, trusted and results-oriented leader with diverse experience in end-to-end Program Management, Business Development, Engineering Management and Manufacturing Operations. He has over 10 years of experience in leading technical teams domestically and internationally.

Mitesh is serving as a Board Member at Flower City Arts Center, a Rochester-based nonprofit organization promoting visual arts in the local community.  In addition to that, Mitesh is also part of the Marketing Committee at Code Platoon, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization supporting veterans.

Mitesh graduated from Rutgers University with a BS in Electrical & Computer Engineering. He has an MS in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Vice-President of Ithaca Branch

Paula Wedemeyer, BS, MSIM

Paula is an experienced Project and Project Portfolio Manager with a deep understanding of Information Technology including Accounting and Finance systems. She has led projects to help organizations comply with regulatory requirements such as those related to credit card processing and tax codes.

Paula earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona in Accounting and Management of Information Systems (Suma Cum Laude). Her Masters of Science was received from the University of Arizona in Information Management (MSIM). She was headed to Law School to practice in the areas of computer fraud and information protection but became enthralled with IT and Project Management.

She has worked in higher education, the private sector, with consulting groups, and governmental entities.

In 2008 she was hired by the ITS (now DIIS) Department at Ithaca College to establish their Project Management Office. She was responsible for project management methodology and oversight of the department’s project portfolio. This included implementing project management standards and processes, training and supporting implementation teams, and managing client relationships. Her area of responsibility was expanded to include the Service Desk and Campus Communication.

A member since 2007, Paula has relied on the PMI to help her keep her skills sharp. She is thoroughly enjoying being a part of the Ithaca Branch. Prior to the group becoming official, Paula assisted with recruiting speakers. Since then she has arranged venues for a few meetings and the first PDD.  She is committed to helping it grow so that others can gain the benefits of membership. 

Vice-President of Outreach

Linda Marshall, MS, MBA, PMP, ASQ, CQE, CCUI

Linda attended PMI meetings since 2013 and officially joined PMI when she received PMP certification in 2016.  Recently she was the project manager/chair for the United Way AALLDP (Asian American Leadership Development Program.)  where she spoke on “Total Leadership: Strategies for Managing Yourself”.  The goal of the AALDP program is to encourage Asians to serve on non-profit boards.  After looking for several years, PMI is the nonprofit where Linda would like to serve and the VP of Outreach position seems to be perfect for her passion of building social capital and helping others.  

Linda conducted several workshops on building social capital (how to build the right network to support your life mission) and is a returning speaker at IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) on professional networking.  She speaks at local colleges and is an active networker.  She is a senior member of  ASQ (American Society for Quality ), and active in TAG (The August Group), VPNG (Victor Power Networking Group), GTEN (Getting There Executive Network),  and WISTEE Connect (Women In Science, Technology, Engineering, and Enterprise).  She is also a member of the Asian Pacific Islander American Association (APAA) and Rochester Asian Network.

Linda Marshall is currently Product Development Competency Program Manager at Carestream Health Inc. where she is responsible for the corporate product development process across all businesses.  She was business development director, assistant controller, strategic planning director and technical unit operations director for ITT (Exelis Inc., now Harris Corporation) and Eastman Kodak. 

Linda holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from Lehigh University, an MS in Applied Mathematical Statistics from Rochester Institute of Technology and MBA in Finance from University of Rochester’s Simon Business School, with multiple certifications that include: Project Management Professional (PMI PMP), Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, American Society for Quality (ASQ) Quality Engineer (CQE) and Corporate Coach University (CCUI) Corporate Coaching.