The Grow Smart RI Land-Use Training Collaborative would not be able to offer the programs that it does without the assistance and dedication of our volunteer trainers. Our expert trainers generously donate their time and the unique skills necessary to develop and deliver these workshops.
Annette Mann Bourne
Grow Smart RI
Workshops: Creating Affordable Housing in Your Community: How to Build Support (2010), Creating Affordable Housing in Your Community: How to Finance (2010), Inclusionary Zoning: Developing a Program & Drafting an Ordinance (2005), What Municipalities Need to Know about the 2004 Rhode Island Housing Act and Affordable Housing Plans (2004), Zoning for Housing Affordability: Financial Considerations & Zoning Strategies (2004), Smart Growth & Community Planning (2015-), Making Mixed-Use Centers a Reality: Revitalizing for the Long-Term (2015)
Annette Bourne is the Training Manager for Grow Smart RI, a newly created position that fulfills the administrative and logistical responsibilities of Grow Smart’s training program, as well as development and planning of training programs. In this capacity, she also serves as the contact for the award-winning Land Use Training Collaborative. Annette spent 10 years at Rhode Island Housing in increasingly responsible positions, including Technical Assistance Coordinator, Assistant Director of the Policy Division and Manager of Grants and Research. Annette was the technical liaison to municipalities regarding the planning of low- and moderate-income housing and related housing research. She also oversaw the federal grants providing foreclosure assistance. Prior to moving to Rhode Island, Annette managed the home ownership program of a Vermont Community Land Trust, with offices in Springfield and Bellows Falls, Vermont, providing education and counseling to first-time home buyers. Annette also served as the program coordinator for Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies in Cambridge, MA. Annette graduated from Boston University with a degree in political science and earned a master of liberal arts with a concentration in government from the Harvard University Extension School. She is also an alumna of the 2007 Gamma II Class of Leadership Rhode Island.
Washington Trust Bank
Workshop: Basics of Housing Finance (2007)
Laurel joined the Bank in 2006 as a vice president of commercial real estate in our Providence office, bringing more than 23 years experience in commercial banking with her. She is responsible for commercial real estate lending for New England.
Laurel received her M.B.A. from the University of Rhode Island, and is a graduate of the Stonier School of Banking. She is a board member of the URI Alumni Association, treasurer of the Economic Development Foundation of Rhode Island, and a member of the URI Foundation. Laurel resides in East Greenwich, R.I.
Theodore B. Brovitz, AICP
Workshop: Achieving Healthy, Compact, Mixed Use Neighborhoods: Matching Regulatory & Incentive Tools with Your Community’s Needs (2011)
Ted Brovitz, Manager of Community Planning and Design for Howard/Stein-Hudson Associates, has 25 years of planning experience. He has spearheaded the development of dozens of community master plans, downtown revitalization and redevelopment plans, economic development and marketing strategies, land use regulations and design guidelines and corridor plans in the Northeast, Florida and Idaho. His Barrington NH New Town Center Plan received the 2007 APA Northern New England Outstanding Planning Award and his Downtown Buzzards Bay MA Vision Plan received the 2008 APA Southern New England Outstanding Planning Award and the 2009 Vermont Chapter of the ASLA Merit Award.
Prior to joining Howard/Stein-Hudson Associates in 2011, Ted formed TBB Inc. Community Planning & Design and entered into a collaborative partnership with the Cecil Group. He was the lead urban planner for the northeast offices of Stantec Planning & Landscape Architecture/ Dufresne-Henry for 10 years. He also held positions as Executive Director of the Hyannis Main Street Business Improvement District, Executive Director of Fitchburg By Design, Inc., and Director of Planning and Development for the Town of Brattleboro, Vermont. Ted holds a Master of Science in Environmental Management from Duke University.
Katherine Brown, PhD
Southside Community Land Trust
Workshop: Access to Healthy Food (2011)
After founding an urban agriculture project in Omaha NE, Katherine was inspired by the immediate, far-reaching effects achieved when people gather together to grow food in the city. The experience compelled her to leave a two-decade career as a tenured professor in health policy and ethics (UC Berkeley and Creighton University) to promote urban agriculture as a potent agent for positive community and environmental health and economic change. She has published several seminal articles about urban agriculture and speaks widely on the subject. Katherine’s PhD is from Columbia University in Socio-medical Sciences, specializing in public health policy and cultural anthropology.
The Cecil Group
Workshop: Achieving Healthy, Compact, Mixed Use Neighborhoods: Matching Regulatory & Incentive Tools with Your Community’s Needs (2011)
Steven Cecil is the President and founder of The Cecil Group, a multi-disciplinary planning and design firm in Boston. The firm is known for its ability to help clients “put the pieces together” in complex physical, regulatory and political settings. Steve is recognized for his skills in creative physical planning and redevelopment strategies that help his clients achieve positive change for their communities. Prior to forming The Cecil Group, he directed the urban design and landscape architecture groups at CBT Architects and Skidmore Owings & Merrill/Boston. Steve’s work includes an array of award winning work including the Aquidneck Island Master Plan, the Marlborough Economic Development Master Plan, the New London Revitalization Planning Study and the Oak Bluffs Ferry Terminal. In addition to his work, Steve has been a frequent speaker at conferences and trade events as well as a teacher in both the urban design and urban planning programs at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.
Steve holds a Master of Architecture and Urban Design from the University of Washington and is registered as an architect in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island and registered as a landscape architect in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
James W. Coogan, P.E.
Workshop: Access Management (2007)
Jim Coogan has been with Maguire Group for 33 years and serves as Highway & Traffic Project Manager & Project Engineer, on a variety of state, municipal, and private sector projects. For the a variety of traffic, roadway, and transportation planning projects, as well as sidewalk improvements under the State’s ADA compliance program, Jim serves as the principal transportation engineer and project manager. Jim holds a BS in Civil Engineering and Transportation from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Workshops: Making Mixed-Use Centers a Reality: Revitalizing for the Long-Term (2015)
Jeff Davis is a practicing professional planner of over 13 years, first in the greater Washington, DC area, and then in New England for the past seven years. Mr. Davis joined Horsley Witten as Principal Planner in December 2015. Prior to that, he served as a Principal Planner for Land Use at the Rhode Island Statewide Planning Program from February 2012 and at Rhode Island Housing from February 2010. He has worked on a variety of planning and community development projects, and is currently working on planning and zoning projects for public sector clients. His experience underscores the interrelation of land use, housing, economic development, and social issues in the creation of community assessments, neighborhood plans, comprehensive/master plans and other local, regional and statewide community planning efforts. Much of Mr. Davis’s work requires meaningful public input and community engagement. He has a long track record of assisting communities and organizations to develop and implement community engagement strategies that strengthen plans. Mr. Davis has a Masters of Community Planning from the University of Maryland.
Workshops: Affordable Housing Design (2005), Design Strategies for Mixed-Use Development (2007-08)
Elizabeth Debs has been involved in community development in various capacities for over twenty years. She started her professional life as an architect working for a luxury residential developer in NYC and become interested in affordable housing by designing prototype houses for a Habitat affiliate in Florida.
While in Florida, she was a board member, and, later, the Interim Executive Director of the T.E.D. Center, a housing/economic Community Development Corporation, in Delray Beach. She served on the town’s Affordable Housing Task Force and on the Visions 2000 Committee, which yielded a ground breaking, nationally respected community driven neighborhood plan.
In Rhode Island, Elisabeth has had a long term consulting relationship with the Housing Network of RI – the state association of non-profit affordable housing developers – where she has been involved in the creation of a statewide housing land trust and the Partnership for Community Development in conjunction with Roger Williams University. Additionally, she often consults for other housing organizations in the Northeast. She previously worked for Synthesis Partnership doing facilities based strategic planning for large academic and non-profit organizations.
Elizabeth has been involved with the Grow Smart RI Land-Use Training Collaborative since 2004 and took the lead in developing workshops on affordable housing design; housing land trusts/trust funds and strategies for mixed-use development. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Vassar College, and her Master of Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She is licensed as an architect in Florida and New York.
Ted DeSantos, P.E., P.T.O.E.
Principal, Fuss & O’Neill Inc.
Workshop: Complete Streets for Rhode Island (2011)
Mr. DeSantos is a Principal and member of the Board of Directors at Fuss & O’Neill Inc., a 300 employee consulting firm with seven offices in New England and the Carolinas providing multi-disciplined expertise including civil, environmental, transportation, and industrial engineering, community based planning, as well as energy, sustainability and design-build services.
As a licensed Professional Engineer in four states and Certified Professional Traffic Operations Engineer, Ted has 17 years experience in transportation planning, complete streets, traffic impact, intelligent transportation systems, and transit oriented urban development. Ted is a Board Member of the CT Main Street Center, Vice President of the Connecticut Chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers, Member of the Research Advisory Board at the UCONN Center for Transportation and Livable Systems, Board Member of St. Bridget’s School-Manchester, and is a member of the American Public Works Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, Intelligent Transportation Society, and the Congress for New Urbanism. Ted has a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth
Christine J. Engustian
Attorney at Law
Workshop: Conducting Effective Land Use Reviews (2011-2012, 2015), Making Good Land Use Decisions (2002-2011)
Attorney Christine J. Engustian has been in solo practice since 1995, with offices in East Providence. She focuses on land use and development law, and also maintains a general, civil practice. Prior to going into solo practice, Christine was a partner in the long–established Providence law firm of Gardner, Sawyer, Gates & Sloan. She specialized in real estate development projects covering a wide range of planning, zoning and land use issues. Christine also worked in the Westchester branch of the Manhattan firm of Wormser, Kiely, Galef and Jacobs, concentrating on real estate issues, including land use restrictions, transfer of development rights and eminent domain. From January 1999 to December 2008, Christine sat as Deputy Judge for the Probate Court of the City of East Providence and was appointed Judge of the same court in December 2008.
Christine graduated from Boston University School of Law in 1984 and is admitted to practice law in the states of Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York and in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court (Mashantucket, CT) and Mohegan Gaming Disputes Court (Uncasville, CT).
A member of several bar associations, she is most active as a member of the House of Delegates and certain standing committees of the Rhode Island Bar Association, including Chair of the Legal Services Committee, and as a member of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Scholarship Committee of the national Armenian Bar Association. In addition, Christine volunteers as a member of the Rhode Island Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyer Program, which provides free legal representation to those who cannot afford to pay for services. In recognition of her efforts and devotion to the Program, the Rhode Island Bar Association awarded her the Pro Bono Publico Award in 2000 and the Continuing Service Award in 2009.
Peter Flinker received a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Massachusetts in 1987 and has been with Dodson Associates ever since, becoming a principal in 1999. As both a registered Landscape Architect and member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, the focus of his work has been projects that bridge the gap between site design and planning at the town and regional scale. Peter maintains an active portfolio of work that includes downtown revitalization, watershed protection, greenway planning and sustainable design for new communities. He is a frequent presenter to conservation groups, town boards and professional organizations on the topics of Smart Growth and Sustainable Development.
As an author and illustrator, Peter has prepared numerous publications designed to help both professionals and laypeople understand complex planning and design concepts. These projects include The South County Design Manual, winner of a 2002 national honor award from the American Society of Landscape Architects, and the Rhode Island Conservation Development Manual. Another recent publication, the Urban Environmental Design Manual, winner of a 2007 merit award from the Boston Society of Landscape Architects, applies the firm’s unique visual approach to explore how low impact development techniques can be combined with urban revitalization to build more sustainable communities. Each of these publications combine a general introduction to the topic with case studies and detailed instructions for implementing the techniques at the local level. For many of Dodson Associates’ municipal clients, Peter has applied these ideas to the development of illustrated design guidelines and form-based zoning codes that help communities move projects from vision to reality.
Peter has been a leader in developing approaches to watershed management and regional open space planning that give cultural, historic and recreational resources equal weight with natural resources in setting priorities for greenway planning and open space preservation. Exemplified by the Rhode Island Greenspace program, winner of a 2006 honor award from the Boston Society of Landscape Architects, this approach builds on extensive public participation on the local level to establish priorities for greenways and greenspaces that are then merged into regional plans at a watershed scale. Dodson Associates has applied this approach in many other areas, including Massachusett’s Deerfield River Watershed, the bi-state Blackstone River National Heritage Corridor and the Upper Housatonic River Valley in Connecticut. In each of these projects, an understanding of natural, cultural and recreational systems is tied to visionary plans for conservation and development that allow communities to grow and thrive while preserving both ecological health and historic character.
Joseph F. Garlick, Jr.
NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley
Workshops: Creating Affordable Housing in Your Community: How to Finance (2010), Basics of Housing Finance (2007)
Joe Garlick has served as the Executive Director of NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, a non-profit community development corporation formerly known as the Woonsocket Neighborhood Development Corporation, since 1994. In that capacity, he is responsible for creating and leading economic development, housing, community development and community building programs. He has developed 45 single family homes for first-time homebuyers and 153 affordable rental units. He has also developed 2,200 square feet of neighborhood office space, and 23,000 square feet of community and commercial space. Joe’s previous experience includes seven years administering the City of Woonsocket’s Community Development Block Grant Program, and two years as Director of South County Community Action’s Self Help Housing Program, a sweat equity, cooperative housing construction program for low income families.
Joe received his B.A. in Humanities from Providence College and a Master’s of City and Regional Planning with a specialization in Economics and Housing from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
The Economic Development Foundation of Rhode Island (EDFRI)
Workshop: Making Mixed-Use Centers a Reality: Revitalizing for the Long-Term (2015)
Scott Gibbs has 34 years in the economic development profession. He is the President of The Economic Development Foundation of Rhode Island (EDFRI), a nonprofit organization that has a core business of real estate based economic development strategies. EDFRI has been directly involved in the development of over 5 million square feet of commercial and industrial real estate. He is also President of New England Economic Development Services, Inc. (NEEDS), a for-profit affiliate of EDFRI that offers outsourced and flexible economic development advisory services to cities and towns and the private sector. NEEDS has been involved in the planning and execution of various local economic initiatives and facilitation of negotiations and entitlement process associated with Daniele Foods’ 300,000 square foot expansion in Burrillville’s Commerce Park. Mr. Gibbs has a Master’s Degree in Regional Planning from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Suffolk University, and is a Doctoral Candidate in Business Administration at the University of Phoenix. He is a Certified Economic Developer (International Economic Development Council).
Workshop: Access Management (2007)
Bob Gilstein retired in 2011 after serving as a municipal planner in Rhode Island for most of the past 36 years. Most recently, he was Town Planner in Portsmouth, a position he held for 19 years. In his municipal roles, he has handled the full range of work that a jack-of-all-trades municipal planner must do, including total re-writes and new land use regulations, writing and managing grants and project design and management. A major contributor to the Aquidneck Island West Side Master Plan, his recent projects included a redevelopment plan and zoning for 270 acres of excess Navy property, wastewater planning to be followed by a sewer bond referendum, and creation of a new town center with a series of roundabouts. Bob received his Masters of Community Planning from URI in 1975.
Kathleen Gorman, PhD
URI Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America
Workshop: Access to Healthy Food (2011)
Kathleen Gorman is a professor of psychology at URI and Director of the URI Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America. Since receiving her PhD in Human Development from the University of Maryland, Kathleen’s research has focused on how malnutrition, food insecurity and hunger affect children’s development. As the Center’s director, she not only administers the Hunger Studies minor and advises students on research and service learning experiences in the community, but also manages the State of RI’s SNAP Outreach Project and works with government and non-profit agencies to support policy initiatives to improve the quality of life for low-income families and children.
RI Statewide Planning Program
Workshops: Making Good Land-Use Decisions (2001-2009), Conducting Effective Land Use Reviews (2009-2015)
Nancy Hess is a graduate of the Universities of Rhode Island and Roger Williams with a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Planning and a Masters Degree in Community Planning with focus on Environmental Planning. She is able to bring many different viewpoints to land use planning. She has been employed with the Division of Planning’s Statewide Planning Program, since 2000 focusing on land use, conservation and land protection, facilities planning, energy and drinking water supply planning. She has been the Supervising Planner of the Land Use Unit since 2008 with her current responsibilities and focus on updating the State Guide Plan elements for solid waste, water quality, and energy. She lives in the Town of Richmond where she also has served as on the Planning Board for 12 years and is currently the Vice-Chair of the Board. She has also served on the Board of Trustees for the Hopkinton based Wood Pawcatuck Watershed Association. Prior to joining the Division of Planning she worked for the federal government, in the private consulting sector, and served more than a dozen years at 3 Rhode Island municipalities as Planning Director.
Ann-Marie L. Ignasher
Town of Killingly, CT
Workshop: Making Good Land-Use Decisions (2001-2009), Conducting Effective Land Use Reviews (2015)
Ann-Marie L. Ignasher received her Bachelor of Science Degree from Bryant College (now Bryant University) in 1981. She received her Juris Doctor Degree from Suffolk University Law School in 1997. After law school she went into private law practice where one of her concentrations was land use law. In 2007 she accepted the position as Town Planner for the Town of Foster, she worked for Foster for over seven (7) years. Recently, she accepted a position with the Town of Killingly, CT as a planning clerk, and she just completed her class work to become a Certified Zoning Technician, the first step in becoming a Certified Zoning Enforcement Officer.
Peregrine Group, LLC
Workshop: Basics of Housing Finance (2007), Inclusionary Zoning: Developing a Program & Drafting an Ordinance (2005)
Colin Kane is a principal in Peregrine Group, LLC, a real estate and investment company based in Rumford, Rhode Island. As Peregrine’s lead partner for project transactional activities, he is responsible for structured workouts, payment settlements, deal origination, project planning, asset acquisition and sales, leasing, financial analysis, workout analysis, and debt/equity capitalization. Prior to helping found Peregrine in 2001, Kane worked as a Development Manager for Gilbane Properties and as a naval officer serving as a Flag Lieutenant and division officer stationed aboard the guided missile destroyer USS KIDD.
Colin has broad experience in real estate development, having managed the successful procurement, planning, entitlement and capitalization of projects in Rhode Island, North Carolina, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Virginia, Maryland and Florida. Completed projects include mixed-use campuses, historic rehabilitations, multi-family housing, hospitality venues, planned residential communities, large-scale corporate and institutional build-to-suits (including medical facilities), and Brownfield redevelopment.
In 2011, Governor Lincoln Chafee appointed Colin to Chair the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission. He also serves as Admiral of the Rhode Island. Colin is a combat veteran of Operation Desert Storm, a graduate of Harvard Business School (MBA), Georgetown University (MA), and the US Naval Academy (BS, with distinction), and serves on the Executive Committee of the RI Builder’s Association.
Nathan Kelly, AICP
Horsley Witten Group
Workshops: Access to Healthy Food (2011), Tackling Your Community’s Parking Challenges (2008)
Nathan Kelly is Senior Planner for the Horsley Witten Group, Inc. and directs the firm’s Providence Office.
Nate has successfully managed projects for over ten years at Horsley Witten, providing professional planning and zoning services to more than 50 New England municipalities. His work has ranged from comprehensive zoning revision projects to developing affordable housing, open space, rural land preservation and economic development studies. Many of Nate’s projects require extensive public outreach in the form of charrettes, public forums and public hearings and he regularly provides technical training on a wide variety of innovative regulatory tools. Some of his most notable local projects include the North Kingstown Transfer of Development Rights program, the Massachusetts Smart Growth/Smart Energy Toolkit, KeepSpace facilitation, and re-writing the permitting process and performance standards for the Quonset Development Corporation. Nate’s project teams have received numerous awards from the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Planning Association and he regularly provides technical support to Grow Smart RI.
Nate is a member of the Rhode Island and Massachusetts Chapters of the American Planning Association and lives in Providence, where he is actively involved with the Vartan Gregorian Elementary School PTO. He received his Masters Degree in Urban and Environmental Policy from Tufts University.
Nancy E. Letendre, Esq., AICP
Principal Planner, Mason & Associates, Inc.
Workshops: Making Good Land-Use Decisions (2001-2009), Writing Sound Decisions (2009-2015),
Preserving Your Community’s Historic Character: Best Practices for Historic District Commissions (2010-2011), Conducting Effective Land Use Reviews (2011-2015)
Nancy E. Letendre, Esq., AICP is a Principal Planner with Mason & Associates, Inc. an environmental and planning consulting firm based in rural North Scituate, Rhode Island. Ms. Letendre’s consulting practice combines the skills of an experienced land use attorney with those of a professional planner. She has over 16 years of experience as an attorney focusing on municipal land use law and has been an AICP certified planner since 2007. She has experience in all aspects of the land development, subdivision and zoning approval processes with particular interest in planning for historical and cultural resource preservation. Ms. Letendre has been extensively involved with state land use policy including the land use review and comprehensive planning processes and rural and urban agriculture. A planning educator – she has worked with Grow Smart Rhode Island on the development and presentation of land use training programs since 2000. Ms. Letendre is the current President of the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Planning Association, a member of the APA Chapter President Council’s Professional Development Committee and the APA Law and Planning Division.
Mike Lydon, CNU-A
Street Plans Collaborative
Workshop: Making Your Community More Walkable and Bikeable (2011)
Mike Lydon is the founding Principal of The Street Plans Collaborative. Before launching the firm in 2009, Lydon worked for Smart Growth Vermont, the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, and Ann Arbor’s Get Downtown Program. From 2006 – 2009 Lydon worked for Duany Plater-Zyberk and Company (DPZ), an international leader in the practice of smart growth planning, design, and research techniques. At DPZ Mike worked extensively on Miami 21, the recipient of the American Planning Association’s 2011 National Planning Excellence Award, and contributed to several other research initiatives and smart growth projects.
Mike collaborated with Andres Duany and Jeff Speck in writing The Smart Growth Manual, published by McGraw-Hill in 2009, and honored by Planetizen as one of the top ten planning books of 2010. Mike is also the primary author of The Open Streets Project and Tactical Urbanism: Short-Term Action, Long-Term Change, two research efforts contributing to Pattern Cities, a project about cities and the ideas they incubate.
A founding member of the New England Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), a Board Member for CNU New York, and a steering committee member of the Next Generation of New Urbanists, Lydon remains active in both local and national planning, design, and smart growth advocacy issues. He also speaks regularly at trainings and conferences on the topics of smart growth, planning and social media, complete streets, tactical urbanism, and active transportation.
Mike received a B.A. in American Cultural Studies from Bates College and a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan. Mike is a CNU-Accredited Professional and encourages you to trade four wheels for two.
Grow Smart Rhode Island
Workshops: Design Strategies for Mixed-Use Development (2007-08), Smart Growth & Community Planning (2015-), RI Farms & Forests: Gateway to Sustainable Economic Development (2015-)
Scott Millar joined Grow Smart Rhode Island as Senior Policy Analyst in September 2015. He provides technical assistance and training to RI communities to encourage them to adopt smart growth land use techniques to accommodate growth that avoids impacts to natural resources, community character and encourages eco-friendly businesses. Mr. Millar is the former Administrator of the RI Department of Environmental Management’s Sustainable Watersheds Office, where he led DEM’s smart growth program. He has over 35 years of environmental management and policy experience. Mr. Millar graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a BS in Natural Resources Science and a MS in Wildlife Biology. Mr. Millar has written and/or edited eight guidance manuals to demonstrate how innovative land use techniques can work effectively in both rural and urban settings. He has earned numerous awards over his career, including Grow Smart Rhode Island : Outstanding Smart Growth Policies and Plans; US Environmental Protection Agency: Merit Award; RI Department of Environmental Management: Director’s Award; Southern Rhode Island Conservation District: Educator of the Year; Soil and Water Conservation Society: Merit Award; RI American Planners Association: Outstanding Project; RI Rivers Council: Leadership Award; RI Historic and Preservation Commission: Preservation Award; American Society of Landscape Architects: Presidents Award; and Northern RI Conservation District: Conservationist of the Year. Mr. Millar also has over 25 years of community experience as a planning board and conservation commission chair as well as coordinating the preparation of his community’s comprehensive plan.
Jennifer Nelson, AICP, EIT, LEED GA
Fuss & O’Neill Inc.
Workshop: Complete Streets for Rhode Island (2011)
Jennifer Nelson is a Transportation Planner with Fuss & O’Neill Inc. In her transportation planning and engineering work, Jennifer seeks to achieve both place making and sustainable transportation systems. She focuses on providing holistic solutions that integrate environmental, infrastructure, and community concerns. Her experience includes comprehensive transportation plans, studies related to Complete Streets design, travel behavior, multimodal accessibility, congestion pricing, travel demand management, parking supply and management, and traffic impact analyses.
Having worked in the green building industry prior to becoming a transportation “plangineer”, Jennifer views transportation through the framework of an energy system that can be made more efficient and less wasteful through a variety of means. In addition to having a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Jennifer holds dual Master’s Degrees in Urban Planning and in Civil Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
RI Department of Environmental Management
Workshop: Rhode Island’s Farms & Forests: Gateway to Sustainable Economic Development (2015)
Bruce Payton has served as the Deputy Chief/State Forester for RI’s Department of Environmental Management since the beginning of 2012. He has been with RIDEM since 1982 serving in numerous capacities around RI’s forests overseeing the health of the state’s forests He earned his Bachelor of Science in Forest Management at the University of New Hampshire. He was a Certified Forester and member of the Society of American Foresters from 2002-2013. He is active in his local community of Glocester, where he has held membership and leadership roles, including membership on the Rhode Island Land Trust Council, where he served as Chair from 2005-2006; Glocester Land Trust, which he chaired from 2004-2012; and the Glocester Conservation Commission, which he chaired, 1993-2004. He also served as Deputy and then Town Tree Warden from 1988-2012. Mr. Payton’s professional achievements include being the Founding Director of Rhode Island Urban & Community Forest Council, Inc (RITREE), where he also served as Treasurer, 1992 – 2000, as well as founding the Yankee Forest Cooperative Project, 1985-1991. He has also served on the Rhode Island Tree Farm Committee, serving as Chairman and Vice-Chairman, 1985-1989; Southern New England Forest Consortium, Inc., where he served as Director 1991-1995. Mr. Payton is a Licensed Arborist and Certified Pesticide Applicator, 1982-present. He served in the United States Coast Guard from 1970-1972.
Donald Powers, AIA, LEED AP, CNU
Workshops: Planning and Designing Successful Mixed Use Centers (2011), Design Strategies for Mixed-Use Development (2007-08)
Donald Powers, the founding Principal of Union Studio (formerly Donald Powers Architects), has over 20 years of experience in all aspects of architectural practice. His completed work includes urban and town planning, commercial and institutional buildings, affordable housing, historic restoration of landmark buildings and single-family residences. In recent years his work has concentrated on integrated, mixed-use planning and architectural design with the goal of creating truly diverse and vibrant places. A 13 year association with the Congress for the New Urbanism and frequent collaboration with some of the best firms in the country doing traditional urban design and architecture has honed an expertise in the technique and art of creating livable communities and cherished places.
For seven years he worked as a lead designer with The Gund Partnership of Cambridge, Massachusetts, before relocating to his native Rhode Island and founding Donald Powers Architects in 2001. He also worked with several internationally recognized architects and planners including Cooper Robertson + Partners of New York City.
Donald received his B.S. in Architecture from University of Virginia, where he was awarded the annual Design Prize, and his Masters in Architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He holds professional licenses in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and New York. He is an active member of the Congress for the New Urbanism, a founding board member of its New England Chapter, as well as a board member of Grow Smart Rhode Island. He is a longstanding member of the Institute for Classical Architecture and Art as well as a member of the venerated Providence Art Club. Donald regularly speaks at regional and national venues on the topic of restoring communities through best practices in neighborhood design, furthering his single-minded vision to save the world from sprawl.
Jonathan J. Reiner, AICP
Town of North Kingstown
Workshop: Basics of Housing Finance (2007)
Jonathan J. Reiner serves as the Director of Planning and Community Development for the Town of North Kingstown, a position he has held since 2006, and has been working as a municipal planner since 2001. Jon holds a Bachelors of Arts degree with a double major in Marine Affairs and Political Science from the University of Rhode Island. He also received a Masters of Community Planning from URI in 2004, and a Masters in Marine Affairs from URI in 2010.
During his time in North Kingstown, the Planning Department has initiated and completed the second 5-year update to the North Kingstown Comprehensive Plan, adopted the Town’s first Affordable Housing Plan and implemented the major goals of that Plan. Under his tenure, the Department was responsible for the adoption and implementation of the North Kingstown Post Road Corridor Plan, a plan to revitalize the main commercial corridor in North Kingstown, as well as adoption and implementation of the first transfer of development rights program in the State of Rhode Island. The Town of North Kingstown was awarded both the 2009 and the 2010 RI American Planning Association awards for best plan implementation for the adopted zoning and regulation efforts of the Post Road Corridor Plan (2009) and adoption and implementation of the first transfer of development rights program (2010). Under his leadership, the Planning Department also obtained over four million dollars in grant funds for open space preservation, affordable housing development, innovative ordinance development, and software upgrades.
Mr. Reiner is a member of the Rhode Island Statewide Planning Technical Committee and has presented at numerous professional conferences and workshops including the 2011 and 2007 American Planning Association National Planning Conferences, the 2008 and 2007 Southern New England Regional APA Conference and the 2006 Grow Smart Rhode Island Power of Place Summit.
Derwent Jean Riding (retired)
Rhode Island Statewide Planning Program
Workshop: Conducting Effective Land Use Reviews (2011-2012), Making Good Land Use Decisions (2002-2011)
Derry Riding served as a Principal Planner with Rhode Island’s Statewide Planning Program from 1989 until 2013. She started with the Local Planning Assistance program (since eliminated), which provided direct planning assistance to municipalities in reviewing development plans and drafting ordinances and regulations. Currently she is responsible for general assistance relating to Planning and Zoning, providing training and workshops and drafting and monitoring land-use legislation.
Derry received her A.B. degree from Oberlin College. She completed the Environmental Leadership Program at Tufts University and has undertaken course work at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate Program in Community Planning and Area Development.
Prior to joining Statewide Planning, Derry was appointed as an original member of the General Assembly’s Commission to Study the Entire Area of Land-Use, Preservation, Development and Regulation. As a member of the League of Women Voters of Rhode Island, she was appointed to the Commission as a public representative. The Commission wrote the RI Comprehensive Planning Act of 1988, the updated Zoning Enabling Act of 1991 and the Land Development and Subdivision Review Enabling Act of 1992.
Before she began delivering workshops for the Land Use Training Collaborative in 2001, Derry had collaborated with the University of Rhode Island’s Cooperative Extension program and with Andrew Teitz of Ursillo, Teitz, & Ritch, to provide training to Boards and Commissions, state and regional planning conferences, and twice at the National Conference of the American Planning Association. In 2001, the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Planning Association presented Ms. Riding its Distinguished Leadership Award.
Community Partnerships Center at Roger Williams University
Workshops: Design Strategies for Mixed-Use Development (2007), Preserving Your Community’s Historic Character: Best Practices for Historic District Commissions (2010-2011)
Arnold Robinson is the Director of the Community Partnerships Center at Roger Williams University, which assists non-profit organizations and government agencies to solve pressing community problems. Prior to assuming his current position, Arnold was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Historic Preservation at RWU. Arnold was a principal with Newport Collaborative Architects (now New England Collaborative Architects) from 1999-2009, and prior to that was Executive Director of the Providence Preservation Society from 1990-1999.
Arnold received his Masters in Preservation Studies from Boston University and his Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Bates College. He resides in the East Bay area of Rhode Island and fixes old houses.
Jason Schrieber, AICP
NelsonNygaard Consulting Associates
Workshop: Tackling Your Community’s Parking Challenges (2008)
Jason Schrieber, AICP, is a Principal with NelsonNygaard Consulting Associates, headquartered in San Francisco California. Out of their Boston office, he leads much of the firm’s east coast work in downtown planning, transit-orient-development, and parking management. Prior to joining NelsonNygaard in 2006, Jason led transportation planning for seven years at the City of Cambridge’s Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department. Previously, he was an Associate at Cambridge Systematics for seven years.
Jason has become a specialist in understanding how cities’ transportation infrastructure affects their economic prosperity, environmental impact, and health. Recent work includes the impacts of a new streetcar line in Lowell, MA; a multi-modal strategy to stimulate downtown development in Portland, ME; a land use and demand management program for a LEED-ND redevelopment of the massive US Steel brownfield in South Chicago; and a zoning and parking management framework to accommodate future growth in Abu Dhabi, UAE. His master planning work includes community-wide circulation and parking strategies for rural towns in Connecticut and California, multi-modal integration plans for new developments in Maryland and Colorado, and the integration of new transit lines into urban fabrics in Australia and the UAE. Jason works to carefully balance the often competing needs of local residents, developers, and local government, identifying opportunities to work in partnership for a greater mutual gain.
NelsonNygaard leads some of the most progressive downtown master planning efforts today, including exploring the relationship of density, use mix, and connectivity to trip generation, parking demand, and CO2 emissions; demonstrating the effectiveness of revealing parking cost for reducing housing cost, reducing travel demand, and increasing revenues for transit and streetscape improvements; and restructuring performance indicators to assess the quality, safety, social impact and cost-effectiveness of downtown transportation strategies, as opposed to simple vehicle throughput.
Boston has become NelsonNygaard’s primary parking planning office. Jason regularly conducts parking planning workshops for organizations such as the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development’s Downtown Initiative, Boston’s Metropolitan Area Planning Council, Washington’s Smart Growth Coalition, and Grow Smart Rhode Island.
Pamela Sherrill, AICP
Town of Johnston
Workshop: Access Management (2007)
Pamela Sherrill, AICP, is the Town Planner in Johnston, Rhode Island. Over the past two years she has been instrumental in amendment to the Zoning Ordinance to facilitate Conservation Development, Compassion Centers, Planned and Mixed Use Districts, and Wireless Telecommunications, and has revised parking standards with realistic maximum parking requirements that include electric charging stations. She has been directly involved in the permitting for many large “green” recycling projects including a major construction-demolition facility, a 35 mw landfill gas generation plant, and major metal processing operations. Ms. Sherrill is a member of the board of directors of Grow Smart RI, the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Planning Association, and the Northeastern Economic Developers Association. She was inaugural president of WTS-Rhode Island, the local chapter of the Women’s Transportation Seminar. She holds a BS in Environmental Design from UMASS-Amherst.
Ross A. Speer, AIA
Davis Square Architects
Workshop: Design Strategies for Mixed-Use Development (2007-08)
With 28 years of experience with residential and mixed-use facilities for public and private clients, Ross A. Speer, AIA, principal with Davis Square Architects Inc., advocates for quality design reflective of its community and surroundings. His work also incorporates sustainable practices, green technologies, and “smart growth” principles. Ross works with state and local agencies, communities, and non-profit corporations to help develop and promote practical guidelines and methods for implementing these elements into areas of affordable housing and community design.
Ross was principal-in-charge of recently completed Trolley Square, a 40-unit mixed use development in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A model for green affordable housing, Trolley Square has received numerous awards including the American Institute of Architect’s Show You’re Green Award, the Home Depot Foundation’s Award of Excellence, the Boston Society of Architect’s John M. Clancy Award for Social Responsibility, and the Enterprise Foundation’s first in the nation Green Communities Award.
FHWA, Office of Operations
Workshop: Access Management (2007)
Neil Spiller has been with FHWA Headquarters, Office of Operations (HOP) in Washington D.C, since 2003. He is the program manager for Localized Congestion and Bottleneck Reduction, a program that disseminates best practices and endorsement for agencies to adopt an annual or recurring program to identify local chokepoint problem areas in the same vein they might have an annual top-10 safety mitigation program. He is also co-manager of the HOV and HOT federal guidance program. He is also HOP’s expert in access management issues and principles, and HOP’s liaison to the AM community. Prior to coming to FHWA, Mr. Spiller was the Traffic Engineer and Transportation Planner for Frederick County, MD., for 11 years, and prior to that, he worked for eight years for a private consulting firm in Washington D.C., as a traffic engineer and planner on projects in multiple states. He has a Civil Engineering degree from the University of Maryland.
Andrew M. Teitz, AICP
Ursillo, Teitz & Ritch, Ltd.
Workshops: Inclusionary Zoning: Developing a Program & Drafting an Ordinance (2005), Making Good Land Use Decisions (2001-2009)
Andrew M. Teitz is a partner in the law firm of Ursillo, Teitz & Ritch, Ltd. He has been recognized by his peers as one of the Best Lawyers in America in Land Use and Zoning Law by Woodward/White Inc and as one of the country’s Top Lawyers by Corporate Counsel. His firm currently represents five towns in Rhode Island (Bristol, Barrington, Tiverton, West Greenwich and South Kingstown) as Town Solicitor. Andy also serves several other municipalities, community organizations, and state agencies for specific tasks, including Training, Historic Preservation Law, Litigation, Affordable Housing, Design Review and Smart Growth studies and ordinances.
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Trinity College, in Hartford, Connecticut, Andy received his J.D. from Columbia Law School in New York, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone scholar. He is certified as a Professional Planner by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), and as a Certified Low Impact Development Master Designer by the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council.
Mr. Teitz was instrumental in drafting new state enabling legislation on zoning and land development and has drafted dozens of municipal land use ordinances. He has also been appointed as a Special Master by the Rhode Island Superior Court.
Mr. Teitz represents a wide range of clients including Fortune100 corporations, developers, universities, municipalities, family-owned businesses, and individuals. He practices before town councils, zoning and planning boards, historic commissions, coastal zone agencies, and the like, throughout southern New England. He litigates cases in all Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and federal courts, and is also admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States.