The ICA Staff
ICA’s Staff is made up of a diverse group of professionals. Our consultants have extensive experience in community economic development and business creation and have earned advanced degrees in related fields.
David Hammer, Executive Director
David Hammer joined the ICA Group in 2008 and served as a Senior Business Consultant until assuming the position of Executive Director in June 2013. He has spent his career working for organizations dedicated to empowering workers and the communities in which they live. David’s areas of expertise include market research, business planning, governance, policy analysis, data analysis, and financial modeling.
Prior to joining the ICA Group David served as Assistant Director of Research of 1199SEIU, a 300,000 member health care union with members in New York, Massachusetts, Maryland and Washington DC. Previously he conducted research for UNITE in New York City and the United Steelworkers of America in Pittsburgh. David has worked on a wide variety of projects throughout the country in industries as diverse as long term care, industrial laundries, apparel distribution, food retail, tire manufacturing, temporary staffing, hospitality, aluminum can manufacturing, as well as various small manufacturing settings.
He lives with his wife and two children outside of Boston. David earned a Master’s of Science from the Labor Relations and Research Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Bachelor’s degree in History from UMass, Amherst.
Camille Kerr, Associate Director
Camille joined the ICA Group as its Associate Director in June of 2016. Before joining ICA, Camille was the Director of Field Building at the Democracy at Work Institute, developing and directing Workers to Owners, a national collaborative of worker ownership consultants formed to make it easy and common for exiting business owners to sell to their workers. Previously, she served as the Director of Research at the National Center for Employee Ownership, launching the organization’s outreach initiative and managing its various research projects. Camille also serves as the chair of the board for Prospera, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting the economic and social wellbeing of low-income Latinas through cooperative business ownership.
Camille writes and speaks frequently on ESOPs, worker cooperatives, democratic governance, platform cooperatives, and other topics related to alternative ownership structures. She earned a J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College Of Law, where she was an Arthur Russell Morgan Fellow for Human Rights and graduated cum laude.
Janet Van Liere, Director Community Jobs Program
Janet Van Liere joined the ICA Group in 2000 as a Business Consultant and since 2006, has focused mainly on launching and managing the Alternative Staffing Alliance, a national association of social purpose staffing companies. In this role, she facilitates learning and networking, publishes sector and industry news, and develops resources to support alternative staffing operators and promote this growing workforce development enterprise strategy.
Prior to joining ICA, Janet worked as an Economic Development Specialist for the Burlington, Vermont Community and Economic Development Office, managing a revolving loan fund to provide gap financing to locally-owned businesses and nonprofits, and providing technical assistance to several cooperative projects. As a Peace Corp Small Business Advisor in Kenya, she conducted business training for social development workers and consulted with entrepreneurs and self-help groups to help them start and expand a variety of businesses, primarily agriculture-related. Janet’s Peace Corps service marked a shift in career focus to community economic development following a decade in hospitality and convention sales.
Janet earned a Masters of Science in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Grand Valley State University.
Jonathan Ward, Senior Business Consultant. Mr. Ward joined the ICA Group in 2014, where his focus is on financial models and business plans. Prior to joining the ICA Group, Jonathan worked with a number of nonprofits advocating for sustainable food and farming systems in western Massachusetts, including Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), and Pioneer Valley Grows (PVGrows). He also served as a Research Assistant for the Wellspring Collaborative while studying at the Center for Public Policy and Administration. Additionally, as a Senior Technical Training Specialist at a leading e-marketing company, Jonathan gained four years of experience in digital marketing, web technology, and learning and development.
Jonathan earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Master of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a Bachelor of Science in Information Design and Corporate Communication from Bentley University.
Christopher Michael, General Counsel. Mr. Michael has served as General Counsel since 2014. In addition to consulting with ICA clients, he directs ICA policy initiatives. Mr. Michael is completing a JD/PhD in political science at the City University of New York with a focus on employee ownership, labor history, and trust law. Over the past seven years, he founded the New York City and State business associations for employee-owned firms. He is also Associate Director of the NJ/NY Center for Employee Ownership at Rutgers University and a Rutgers Research Fellow. Mr. Michael is admitted to the bars of New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, North Dakota, and the District of Columbia; and is registered as in-house counsel in Massachusetts. He is a member of the ESOP Association and the National Center for Employee Ownership.
Chris has ten years of experience in a variety of fields. After undergraduate at Columbia University, he worked demolition in the South Bronx, Brownsville, and Harlem; and then advanced to the position of Carpenter’s Apprentice at a private construction firm. He moved to Berlin for three years, where he worked in independent film, advertising, and translation. Returning to New York, he drove yellow cab for two years. He lives in lower Manhattan with his wife and child.
John Schwarten, Special Advisor. Mr. Schwarten joined ICA in 2016 and brings over 40 years experience in banking, industry, and consulting. For the past nine years, he was a partner in a boutique investment banking firm, specializing in M&A and corporate re-structuring. Initially, he spent 15 years in commercial and merchant banking in New York City followed by positions in industry and management consulting. Mr. Schwarten holds a B.A. History from the University of Wisconsin and a Masters in Philosophy from the University of Chicago.
Katrina Kazda joined the ICA Group in January 2017 in the position of Senior Business Strategist. Katrina brings over 10 years of hands-on experience assisting businesses, non-profit organizations and academic institutions through strategic change processes. She has worked with a wide diversity of business sectors from banking to food service and with clients ranging in size from sole proprietorships to multi-national corporations.
Prior to joining ICA Group, Katrina served as Director of Programs at Sustainable America, a national non-profit organization working to make our nation’s food and fuel systems more efficient and resilient. Earlier, she served as Managing Director at Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts, a non-profit organization with the mission to build economies that are local, green and fair. At the beginning of her career Katrina focused on international development work in Asia, spending time in India, Bangladesh and South East Asia. Katrina earned a Master of Arts in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University and a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.