Meet the Commissioners

Meet the Commissioners

Trudy Bartley, Chair

Bartley currently serves as Associate Vice President of Local Government & Community Affairs for The Ohio State University, developing and strengthening local government and community relations.  Prior to coming to the Ohio State University, Ms. Bartley worked in the Ohio Department of Development, where she served as the Chief Operating Officer and she also held the positions of Interim Director of the Minority Business Enterprise Division and Federal Stimulus Coordinator.  She also previously served in the City of Columbus as Deputy Director for the Department of Development, responsible for the day to day operations, and serving as spokesperson for economic and community development activities and initiatives.  Ms. Bartley currently serves on the Board of Trustees for The United Way of Central Ohio, The Downtown Development Commission, Chair of the Rise Together Innovation Center, Central Ohio Transit Authority, ADAMH, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, PACT, KIPP Columbus, The Neighborhood Design Center and Gateway Film Center. In her past boards and commission service, she served as Chair of the New Albany Community Authority, The New Albany Planning Commission, WOSU, River South Community Authority, Columbus School for Girls, YWCA, COVA, the Community Shelter Board; Rebuilding Lives Funder Collaborative, and the YWCA, Racial Justice & Public Policy Committee. She was born and raised in Columbus, a graduate of Columbus School for Girls and has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from Wellesley College. 


Desmond “Dez” Bryant

Mr. Bryant serves as VP of Government Relations for the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, and provides Chamber members with practical guidance and constructive analysis related to important legislative issues and advocate on their behalf to legislators, committees, and other interested stakeholders.  An alumnus of the Ohio General Assembly, he previously served as Director of Government Affairs for Status Solutions—a company that specializes in situational awareness and risk management technology platforms.  An Akron native, Mr. Bryant is a graduate of Kent State University and the University of Dayton.


Keary McCarthy
Mr. McCarthy is the Executive Director of the Ohio Mayors Alliance. He helped form the Ohio Mayors Alliance in 2016 to build greater collaboration among Ohio’s mayors and stronger partnerships between local, state, and federal lawmakers. Mr. McCarthy brings over 20 years of experience in government and politics to his role. He previously served as the Minority Chief of Staff in the Ohio House of Representatives and as the Chief of Communications and Policy at the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. He has also worked on a variety of statewide campaigns in Ohio, including the 2008 presidential campaign. He received his bachelor’s degree in history from Wittenberg University and his master’s in urban affairs from Cleveland State University.


Norwood “Buzz” Thomas

Mr. Thomas is currently a licensed realtor with Coldwell Banker Realty.  He has held several positions with the Ohio Realtors Association, including Director and Chair of the Equal Opportunity & Diversity Committee. He has also served on multiple committees and as a Columbus Realtors Board, Director and as a Director of its foundation. He has twice been selected as Instructor of The Year. A long-time south end resident, he had been a partner with Community Development for All People in improving the condition of over 200 homes. He is the Lay Leader at the Livingston United Methodist Church.  He is also a veteran of the United States Navy and a graduate of The Ohio State University. 


Nana Watson

Ms. Watson is currently the President of the Columbus Branch of NAACP where she plays a vital role in seeking Social, Economic and Political Justice for the residents of Columbus, Ohio.  She is a lifelong resident of Columbus, Ohio.  Ms. Watson has a breath of professional experience in public relations, consumer and government affairs, marketing and communications.  Ms. Watson has served on various for and non-profit boards, civic, community and charity organizations, panels and community forums for her expertise in equity regarding community relations.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Franklin University and a Master of Arts in Philosophy from Ohio Dominican University.