MEET OUR TEAM
KO Consulting has equipped their team with the best and brightest minds in the Mahoning Valley. Each consultant has a diverse and equitable background that enables KO to have the ability to help any client that is interested in our services.
A Team Of Professionals
Kristen Olmi, M.A.P., AAPC
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Kristen is a life-long Struthers resident who utilizes her background and experience to lead community and economic development projects across the Mahoning Valley. She founded KO Consulting in 2012 while working full-time as the Grants Coordinator for the Mahoning County Sanitary Engineering Department. In Fall 2020, Kristen left her job with the county to pursue serving her community full-time through KO Consulting.
Kristen is responsible for bringing millions of dollars to our community through her work at the county and through KO Consulting. She is actively developing multiple organizations aimed at bringing economic development and growth back to the Youngstown area.
In addition to KO Consulting, Kristen serves as Executive Director of Green Industrial Manufacturing, Inc (GIME), and is a Partner of Blue Phoenix Strategies. Kristen also serves as President of the Board for the YWCA, a board member of Youngstown Prosperity, and is a member of the Struthers Rotary Community Corps, among many other community serving roles.
VICTORIA (VICKI) RUSU-EBERT, MBA
Director, Nonprofit, Small Business & Operations
Vicki is KO Consulting’s Director of Nonprofit and Small Business Services & Operations. In this capacity, Vicki oversees the strategic direction of the Nonprofit and Small Business Divisions. She works side by side with clients, and provides guidance to our dedicated Nonprofit & Small Business team. Vicki also runs the backend operations of the organization, keeping the team, systems, and processes running smoothly.
Before joining the KO Consulting team, Vicki gained diverse experience as an entrepreneur and nonprofit professional. She was a member of the global corporate fundraising team at Operation Smile where she helped raise $6 million per year through partnerships with multi-national Fortune 500 companies. Prior to that, VIcki headed up the national community fundraising department where she raised $700k per year solo, and served as Executive Assistant to the CEO and Co-Founder for 3 years. She began her career as Office Manager (and wearer of many other hats) at the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (YNDC), owned and operated Big Day Little Booth – one of the Valley’s first photobooth companies, helped small businesses launch web and social presences, and has created marketing materials for a variety of companies.
Passionate about helping nonprofits and small businesses build capacity to grow, Vicki brings her expertise to the Mahoning Valley to assist organizations with strategic planning, financial projections, board governance, fundraising strategy, systems and operations improvements, grant writing, and fundraising event consulting. Vicki also uses her expertise to serve the community as co-chair of Youth Services for the Boardman Rotary Board of Directors.
Anthony (Tony) Stratis M.A.P., AAPC
Tony is a proud life long resident of Mahoning County. Being a first-generation American, he was instilled early on with the values of hard-work and resilience. He carries vast experience both in the private sector as well as state government. Having worked in Columbus in the legislature and for issue based organizations, he understands the importance of advocacy. Tony’s primary issue he focuses on is education. Whether it is in his capacity as Co-Founder of the non-profit Classroom2Capitol or working as a Partnerships Manager for Study.com, Tony is committed to making education accessible everywhere. Accessibility to basic services is critical to Tony. That is why he used his position on the Budget and Finance Committee as a Trustee member of the Western Reserve Transit Authority to ensure public transportation ridership would be free to all those who wish to utilize this service.
DAVID (dave) GRAGER
A Boardman native now residing in Austintown, Dave brings 14 years of Political Campaign experience serving in Campaign Management roles in Northeast Ohio, West Virginia, and Michigan. Dave has run campaigns with 6 figure budgets, and specializes in volunteer management and recruitment, database management, and fundraising.
Before joining the KO Consulting team in June 2022, Dave was also working as a substitute teacher in Mahoning County, and is very passionate about education policy. It’s why he’s proud to have his first grant proposal projects be ones that expand educational opportunities in our community.
A.J. is an Associate Consultant with KO Consulting. In this role, A.J. assists senior consultants in pursuing grant opportunities, researching public policy issues, and identifying holistic solutions for clients. A.J. is a senior at Youngstown State University pursuing a Bachelor degree in political science and economics.
Before joining KO Consulting in 2022, A.J. worked for 3 years in higher education in a variety of roles. In these roles, A.J. was responsible for mentoring and guiding first-year students on career development, educational advancement, and networking to help students navigate the high school to college transition.
A.J. is also active in the community. He is a part of the Mahoning County Democratic Party’s leadership team in his role as Communications Director and President of the Mahoning County Young Democrats.
These various experiences have equipped A.J. with the project development and leadership skills needed to successfully consultant government and non-profit organizations.
DANTE BASISTA, M.A. History
Dante is an Associate Consultant with KO Consulting, specializing in grant writing for our government clients. Dante works in a team that handles all aspects of grant writing, including research, project development, writing grant proposals, developing grant calendars, and reports.
Before joining the KO team, Dante received M.A.’s in History at Kent State University and Youngstown State University. His work as a published historian and educator, with a focus on the political dialogue around American Imperialism during the turn of the 20th century, resulted in a commitment to relaying meaningful and evidence-based stories.
Dante helps clients achieve their grant goals by being detail-oriented and prioritizing the ability for clients to build relationships with grant makers.
casey albitz, Ph.d
Casey Albitz is a sociologist with a demonstrated history of working within higher education, private industry, and government. Her areas of expertise include medical sociology, methodologies, law and society, social justice studies, social inequalities, and poverty research. Casey’s methodological approach as well as applied and public sociology experience is diverse. While her research portfolio is largely qualitative, she has ample experience utilizing quantitative methodologies and prefers to partner the two. She has successfully defended her dissertation and will graduate with her Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Sociology from Case Western Reserve University this year.
Prior to her work as a Consultant for KO, Casey founded and supervised a Social Service Program at Cleveland Municipal Court – Housing Division which assisted Clevelanders at risk for eviction. This initiative involved developing a collaborative network of partnerships with non-profit and local government service providers and garnered local and national recognition as a unique and effective diversion strategy to reduce the devastating impact of eviction in Cleveland, Ohio. In practice and in service, Casey has found that a sociological perspective, partnered with methodological training and commitment to continued evaluation and learning, is necessary to ensure that public and private service organizations successfully identify and locate underserved populations within their communities and develop equitable and inclusive services for these residents. Casey draws from her experience with government and non-profit program development as well as her knowledge of applied sociological research and best practice to work alongside clients in Mahoning Valley to create, implement, and sustain innovative solutions to social problems afflicting the region. Casey is a skilled writer who has successfully secured grant funds for several Mahoning Valley-based small business, non-profit, and government clients for organizational and programmatic growth.
Kelsey is a consultant in the nonprofit services department. She provides a variety of services to our nonprofit clients to help them reach their organizational and fundraising goals.
Kelsey has over a decade of experience working with nonprofit agencies across Northeast Ohio and Appalachia. Recently she was instrumental in growing a grassroots Latinx organization into a 501c3 nonprofit with a $2 million community center. She is also involved in the arts, serving as associate concertmaster and member of the board of directors for the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra. Kelsey draws upon her wealth of experience in nonprofit administration, fundraising and community organizing to assist clients.
Dylan’s bio is coming soon…
Pat’s bio is coming soon…
The Numbers Don’t Lie
In 2022, the team at KO Consulting secured over $2 million dollars in funding for our clients.
Percentage of Funds Received (of total grants applied for)