- Alexandra Fischer
- Susie Garretson
- Claire Harper
- Izzy Madrid
- Chris Vasquez Pasterz
- Eric Peterson
- Skylar Zapernick
Alexandra (Alex) Fischer is the Senior Communications Manager for Coconino County. She is an Arizona native and graduate of Arizona State University where she studied Nonprofit Leadership and Management and Spanish. Alex’s professional experience began in the nonprofit sector as a development and marketing officer at organizations serving medically fragile children in Arizona which fulfilled her both personally and professionally. She moved to New York City and worked at a US Olympic Committee sports governing body, US Squash, where she did not develop any noteworthy squash skills, but did develop a love for the game, before shifting to the corporate world with Marriott International. While at Marriott, Alex led a team of six marketing professionals and developed the company’s newly formed destination marketing program. After four years in the city, Alex returned to her home state to raise her family in the shadow of Mount Humphrey’s Peak and is pleased to be a member of the Public Affairs team where she can continue her passion of serving the community.
Susie Garretson is the Coconino County Diversity Council Coordinator, which includes the African Diaspora Advisory Council (ADAC), the Coconino Hispanic Advisory Council (CHAC), and the Indigenous Peoples Advisory Council. These councils are appointed by the Board of Supervisors and serve as a liaison between the Board and their respective communities. Susie’s previous work experience includes teaching elementary school in southwest Colorado, founding and operating the Flagstaff Athletic Club, and serving as the Executive Assistant for Coconino County Supervisor, Mandy Metzger. Having a passion for Flagstaff and the Colorado Plateau, Susie does what she can to make it a better place. She has been involved in and served in leadership positions on boards, such as the Museum of Northern Arizona, Friends of Flagstaff’s Future, Soroptimist International of Flagstaff, The Arboretum of Flagstaff, the Coconino County Juvenile Justice Community Advisory Board, and the Coconino Community College Foundation Board. In addition to spending as much time exploring and hiking with friends and her two Border Collies, Susie is a fanatic about finding ways to live without plastic.
Claire Harper serves as the Management Analyst for Public Affairs. As the Management Analyst, Harper focuses on legislation for the County, among many other special projects. Harper joined the County team in September 2019 with more than twelve years of experience working in local government. Harper received her B.S. in Public Relations and Master of Public Administration from Northern Arizona University.
Harper has a strong background in Parks and Recreation and brings her creative and out of the box thinking to the team. Claire has also served in interim roles as Public Information Officer for both the City of Flagstaff and Coconino County. Harper was born and raised in the Phoenix area but has resided in Flagstaff since undergrad and considers Coconino County home. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the beauty in and around Coconino County.
Izzy Madrid is a Public Affairs Intern working predominantly on communications. Izzy is originally from Phoenix, Arizona and attends NAU, where she is a junior studying Strategic Communications- Public Relations and minoring in Political Science. In free time, Izzy enjoys being outside and hiking, as well as exploring Flagstaff and trying new food.
Chris Vasquez Pasterz, a citizen of both the United States and New Zealand, currently serves Coconino County as Economic Development Manager utilizing his executive level leadership experience from multi-national business operations, business development and commercial and residential community lending. Chris believes that “creating economic opportunity in rural areas takes equal parts knowledge and access to capital”. Delivering knowledge and financing with thousands of people and hundreds of businesses as the Director of a Community Development Financial Institution in eastern Washington, shaped his approach to economic development. “Respecting people, understanding their journey and honestly contributing when the opportunities present themselves brings about economic stability for the residents of Coconino and beyond”.
Having successfully navigated senior roles in multi-national corporations, partnerships in owning small-businesses and expanding the capacity of a non-profits have developed a diverse work background. In serving the residents of Coconino, Chris seamlessly draws from multiple and contrasting work experiences and cultures to creatively and collaboratively solve problems. Examples include pioneering work in developing Coconino’ 5 Year Economic Development Plana and multiple innovative programs supporting Small Businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. His ability to bring people, programs and resources together across multiple disciplines, multiple organizations and districts has created inter-connected solutions available across the country’s second largest county.
Creative problem solving can only be as effective as the human connections that are built amongst those involved. Chris’ leadership and involvement with community includes, Economic Development Committee Member of the Northern Arizona Council of Governments, member of Coconino’s Elected Officials and Leadership Team, and regular contributor for multiple economic task teams, including the Economic Collaborative of Northern Arizona and the Coconino Small Business Development Center. Chris’s outgoing, affable, driven and kind personality quickly enables him to make friends and positive impacts for people across diverse cultures and backgrounds.
Eric Peterson serves as the Public Affairs Director for Coconino County. Peterson has over 15 years of experience in state, federal and local government. Eric believes strongly in the power of the Public Affairs team to affect change and innovation across Coconino County. Together, the team takes on the government affairs, economic and workforce development, communications and community relations functions of the County. The team has been recognized as a change-leader and innovation agent in the County. As director, Eric often quotes President Franklin D. Roosevelt about the Public Affairs team, “I’m not the smartest fellow in the world, but I sure can pick smart colleagues.”
Previously, Eric served as the Government Affairs Liaison for the Milwaukee County (WI) Executive and as a Chief of Staff in the Wisconsin State Senate. Eric grew up in northwest Wisconsin on his family’s dairy and hog farm. He enjoys going back home for deer-hunting and enjoying the glacial creations of the Upper Midwest.
Skylar Zapernick is a Public Affairs Intern Skylar is currently a third year student at NAU studying Strategic Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations, and Visual Communication with an emphasis in Graphic Design. Besides serving in the Public Affairs Department, Skylar is a server in a popular Flagstaff food establishment. In free time Skylar enjoys spending time with loved ones and is passionate about the environment and art. Skylar is originally from North Phoenix / Anthem, Arizona.