Allegheny County Conservation District Names New Executive Director
Food Systems and Policy Expert Chosen as Executive Director of Allegheny County Conservation District

Heather Manzo was hired as Executive Director of the Allegheny County Conservation District after serving as Associate Director of the Northeast Center for Economic Development within The Pennsylvania State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

Allegheny County Conservation District (ACCD) named Ms. Heather Manzo as the new Executive Director. ACCD engages and leads through partnerships, innovation and implementation to conserve, promote and improve Allegheny County’s natural resources.
Ms. Manzo came to ACCD early this fall with a rich background that weaves together community and economic development, using agriculture and land use policies as a catalyst to mobilize diverse stakeholder groups.

Ms. Manzo comes from eleven years at The Pennsylvania State University. While there she served as Associate Director for the Northeast Center for Rural Development and Extension Educator and was a founding member of the transdisciplinary field of Food Systems. During this time, Ms. Manzo co-created and led development of several applied research and policy initiatives at the local, state and national levels.

She replaced Janet Lauer, who led ACCD as District Manager for five years and succeeded in growing and aligning the reach, relevance and contribution of the organization to that of the dynamic changes occurring in the region. She led the conception and implementation of ‘the Conservation Solution Center’ which provides technical assistance, resources, leadership and enforcement related to agriculture, soils, stormwater and watershed issues.

“With Ms. Manzo’s expertise, ACCD will continue to provide the support and service needed to meet the challenges of our county,” said Donald Newman, Chairman of the ACCD Board of Directors. “We are confident that we have the staff, resources and organization to support Heather and help her succeed in ACCD’s mission of environmental stewardship.”

In addition to her role at The Pennsylvania State University, Ms. Manzo is co-founder and steering committee member of Pittsburgh Food Policy Council and was the first Sustainability Coordinator at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. She was Farm Manager at Slippery Rock University’s Robert A. Macoskey Center for Sustainable Research and Education, and is active on several agriculture and land use advisory boards.

“Allegheny County is a dynamic social, environmental and economic engine in the region, existing at the confluence of three rivers,” Manzo said. “It is an honor to lead an organization with a unique mission, and I look forward to partnering with diverse stakeholders to ensure appropriate management of our region’s water and the land it touches for the benefit of those who live here now and in the future.”

Manzo holds a master’s degree in Sustainable Systems from Slippery Rock University and a bachelor’s degree from Robert Morris University.


About Allegheny County Conservation District: ACCD, an urban conservation district, provides specific programming aimed at reducing non-point source pollution through technical assistance, resources, leadership and enforcement.