The Louisiana Smart Growth Summit convenes world-class experts, thought leaders, and practitioners from various disciplines around the country. Read below to learn more about this year’s speakers.
Co-founder and Senior Advisor, Center for Community Progress and Sam Nunn Professor of Law, emeritus, Emory Law
Frank S. Alexander is the Sam Nunn Professor of Law Emeritus at Emory University School of Law and Co-founder and Senior Advisor of the Center for Community Progress (www.communityprogress.net). He is the author of over sixty publications in the fields of real estate finance and community redevelopment including Georgia Real Estate Finance and Foreclosure Law 2018-2019 (14th ed., 2018) and Land Banks and Land Banking (2nd. ed. 2015). Professor Alexander's work has focused on homelessness and affordable housing, serving as a Fellow of the Carter Center of Emory University (1993-96), and as a Commissioner of the State Housing Trust Fund for the Homeless (1994-98). He has been directly or indirectly involved in the drafting and enactment of legislation in over a dozen different states on topics related to land banks and land banking, property tax enforcement, and vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties. He served as Interim Dean of Emory University School of Law (2005-2006), as Visiting Fellow at the Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University (2007), and has testified before Congress concerning the mortgage foreclosure crisis (2008, 2009). Professor Alexander received his J.D. from Harvard Law School, a Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, and his B.A. from the University of North Carolina.
Executive Director, ArtPlace America
Jamie Bennett is the executive director of ArtPlace America, a ten-year fund that supports enlisting artists as allies in building equitable, healthy, and sustainable communities.
To date, ArtPlace has invested over $100 million to support projects in rural, suburban, tribal, and urban communities of all sizes across the United States, as well as in sharing knowledge from that work in ways that are both useful and actually used by practitioners. ArtPlace convenes and connects people who are committed to this work in order to help build a strong and ongoing field of practice.
Previously, Jamie was Chief of Staff and Director of Public Affairs at the National Endowment for the Arts, where he worked on the national rollouts of the "Our Town" grant program and of partnerships with the US Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development.
Before the NEA, Jamie was Chief of Staff at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, where he worked on partnerships with the NYC Departments for the Aging, of Education, and of Youth and Community Development.
Jamie has also provided strategic counsel at the Agnes Gund Foundation, served as chief of staff to the President of Columbia University, and worked in fundraising at The Museum of Modern Art, the New York Philharmonic, and Columbia College.
He currently lives, works, worships, and plays in Brooklyn, NY, and has been sober since 2009.
Lisa Beyer, PLA, ASLA
Manager for Urban Water Infrastructure, World Resources Institute
Lisa Beyer is a landscape architect and urban planner, passionate about cities, design and community. Lisa is the Manager for Urban Water Infrastructure at the World Resources Institute. She is responsible for developing and scaling financially innovative, environmentally-sustainable municipal water management solutions in cities across the country. The goal of this work is to capture co benefits of urban greening by employing advance capital planning and integrated project delivery that can attract new investment.
For the last twenty years, Lisa has been designing and managing urban infrastructure projects in New York City, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Lisa is committed to design that advances sustainability, involves meaningful public engagement, placemaking, and long-term viability from project concept through operations and maintenance.
Stephanie Broyles, PHD
Associate Professor, Pennington Biomedical Research Center
Dr. Broyles is an Associate Professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. She earned her Ph.D. in Biostatistics from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana and has worked in public health for over 20 years. Her research focuses on learning how physical activity, obesity, and other related health conditions are related to the social, environmental, and policy aspects of our schools, neighborhoods and communities. Her research was featured in the 2012 HBO documentary series, “The Weight of the Nation.” In 2016, Dr. Broyles was awarded the Founder’s Award by the Louisiana Public Health Association, which honors significant achievement in research in public health by a Louisiana resident.
Preston J. Castille, Jr.
Partner, Taylor Porter
Preston J. Castille, Jr. is a partner and a member of the Taylor Porter Law Firm’s Executive Committee. He joined Taylor Porter in 1994 and is engaged primarily in business litigation and transactions. Prior to attending law school, Mr. Castille worked as an economist for the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. In addition to being an experienced litigator in both state and federal court, Mr. Castille assists clients with matters involving the Louisiana Legislature, the Louisiana Public Service Commission and other state and local governmental entities. Mr. Castille is ranked in Best Lawyers in America® in the fields of Administrative Law and Insurance Law. Mr. Castille is active in various education-related organizations including New Schools for Baton Rouge and several charter school organizations. He serves on the Greater Baton Rouge Area of Chamber of Commerce Business Advisory Committee.
Founder and Executive Director, healthy community services
Angela M Chalk is a 4th generation 7th Ward resident. Currently, she is the Founder and Executive Director of Healthy Community Services, a non-profit organization, located in the 7th Ward of New Orleans, LA. The organization focuses on the social determinants of health which empower residents to live healthier lifestyles in a sustainable manner, focuses on stormwater management in communities of color; teaches residents how to increase food security by utilizing Green Infrastructure Agriculture; gets residents of urban areas to understand the effects of climate changes caused by sea level rise and land loss as well as serves as health resource repository. These goals are achieved by extensive community engagement, education and empowerment of others to advocate for behavioral and policy changes. She is a past president for the Louisiana Public Health Association; former Secretary of the 5th District Police Community Advisory Board, (PCAB); a Foundation for Louisiana LEAD the Coast Cohort and Curriculum Advisory Committee and; a retired Civil Service Employee with the Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals. Ms. Chalk received a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications; Minor: Public Health from Dillard University and holds a Master of Science Health Care Management from the University of New Orleans. She is recognized by the Water Environment Federation as a Nationally Green Infrastructure Certified Professional and is a certified Produce Safety Alliance Grower.
President/CEO, Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge
Renee Chatelain is a graduate of Louisiana State University, holding both a B.A. Degree in History and a Juris Doctor. She is President/CEO of the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge. Renee began her career as a professional dancer and has been a guest teacher for Iceland Dance Theater, Cornell University, among others. She has been a speaker at the Women in Dance Conference and at the Ballet Festival of India in Mumbai. She serves on the Advisory Board of the American Mural Project, supporting visual artist Ellen Griesedieck. She has served as Executive Director of Manship Theatre and founded dance programs for two independent schools in Baton Rouge.
Renee is a recipient of the John W. Barton, Sr. Award for Excellence in Non-profit Management, and has been recognized by the Louisiana State Senate for her contribution to African Americans in Louisiana through the Arts. Most recently, Renee received the Milestone Award from the National Guild for Community Arts Education.
Renee considers her passion project the creation and staging of The Fading Line: A Commemoration of the 1953 Baton Rouge Bus Boycott and is grateful to all of those who know the importance of supporting and advocating for the arts.
Design Research Director, Evolution Green
Chris Chopik is a sought after expert in real estate, sustainability and the impact of climate change has on the way we live around the world. With more than 15 years experience, Chopik has navigated difficult issues facing communities as they work to both grow their economies and become climate resilient in the face of rapid change. He holds a Masters degree in Strategic Foresight and Innovation from OCAD University, Canada's largest and oldest educational institution for art and design, conducting important research into how climate change is impacting property values. In his day to day work, he has counselled policy makers, community stakeholders and everyday house hunters on a range of related issues including: green infrastructure, renewable energy, building labelling, complete streets, and biophillic design. A passionate
Assistant Director, TULANE LAW SCHOOL
Christopher Dalbom is a Senior Research Fellow and Adjunct Lecturer of Law at Tulane University Law School and the Assistant Director of the Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy as well as the Tulane Center for Environmental Law. Christopher has done extensive work on legal and policy issues relating to interstate water compacts, Mississippi River management, the RESTORE Act and other revenue streams associated with the Deepwater Horizon disaster, community adaptation, and coastal and water management. He currently leads Institute efforts to draft a comprehensive water code for Louisiana.
President and ceo, Heartland Forward and a Fellow, Walton Family Foundation
Ross DeVol is President and CEO, Heartland Forward and a Fellow, Walton Family Foundation. Heartland Forward’s goal is to promote regional innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems that foster job creation, wage gains and economic growth for the American Heartland. Heartland Forward will pursue its mission through independent, data-driven research, action-oriented convenings, such as the Heartland Summit, and impactful policy recommendations. Heartland Forward works with universities, colleges, the business community, public policy leaders and philanthropy to analyze resources supporting the startup community and identify workforce and talent gaps. DeVol is former chief research officer for the Milken Institute where he spent nearly 20 years, an economic think tank headquartered in California. He oversaw research on international, national and comparative regional growth performance; access to capital and its role in economic growth and job creation; and health-related topics. He has been ranked among the “Superstars of Think Tank Scholars” by International Economy magazine.
Director of Business Development, Civil Solutions Consulting Group
Eric Dexter is the director of business development for Civil Solutions Consulting Group, a Baton Rouge-based civil engineering consulting firm. Eric joined the team in February of 2015 and has been instrumental in driving the firm’s growth and culture through his business development and marketing expertise.
A strong community advocate, Eric has been a leader in the development of several local nonprofits, ranging from business and education to the arts and social good. His activism has been noted by the Baton Rouge Business Report as a Forty Under 40 honoree in 2015; as LABI’s 2016 Young Businessperson-Free Enterprise Champion; and as a 2017 Boys & Girls Club of Greater Baton Rouge Great Futures Gala honoree. Eric received his undergraduate degree at Northwestern State University, where he majored in Business Administration and minored in Marketing.
president and ceo, smart growth america
Calvin Gladney, LEED AP, is President and CEO of Smart Growth America (SGA) and is a nationally recognized thought leader on the equitable and sustainable revitalization of communities. Prior to SGA, he was Managing Partner of Mosaic Urban Partners, a real estate advisory services and development firm. Over the last 15 year, Mr. Gladney has worked in the intersection of transportation, placemaking and economic development – all of which are important to helping cities and communities foster active and healthier lifestyles with safe and equitable mobility options. In 2017, Mr. Gladney was also the Urban Land Institute’s Senior Visiting Fellow for Equity. Before establishing Mosaic, he served as Vice President of the Anacostia Waterfront Corp. (AWC), a D.C. quasi-public real estate corporation, and he also served as the General Counsel and Transactions Manager of BRIDGE Housing Corporation, a private affordable housing developer in San Francisco, CA.
Mr. Gladney graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School, received his B.S. from Cornell University and is a LEED Accredited Professional. He is a Trustee of the Urban Land Institute and a Board member of the Center for Community Progress. He is also a member of ULI’s national Public/Private Partnership Council (Blue Flight). Mr. Gladney also serves as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University's Masters in Real Estate Program where he teaches real estate entrepreneurship and a real estate market analysis class. In his spare time Mr. Gladney…Mr. Gladney doesn’t have any spare time. But he will make time for you. You can connect with Calvin on Twitter and on Instagram @SmartGrowthCEO.
Editorial writer, The Times-Picayune | Advocate
Lanny Keller is an editorial writer for The Advocate and The Times-Picayune. He has written about economic and political topics for the newspapers. He is a graduate of LSU.
Director of implementation, center for planning excellence
Justin is the Director of Implementation for CPEX’s Statewide Planning initiative, dedicated to helping communities grow more sustainably by facilitating citizen-driven planning processes, building planning capacity, and working with them to implement projects from their plans. Justin was a community design lead on the Better Block BR demonstration on Government Street in Baton Rouge, which showed how the street could be reconfigured to accommodate all modes of transportation, street trees, pop-up businesses and urban parks.
Since 2006, Justin has been practicing landscape architecture at a variety of scales, from comprehensive planning to detailed site design. He has managed projects from small-scale residential design, to public park and plaza design and construction management, to community master planning in Texas, Colorado, Georgia, and Louisiana.
Justin holds a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He is a licensed Landscape Architect.
Justin is involved in the American Society of Landscape Architects, where he has held many leadership roles, including state chapter secretary and president. He is also an active board member of the Mid City Merchants Association, Baton Rouge Green, and a co-founder of the Mid City Makers Market. Prior to joining CPEX, Justin worked as a staff designer at SEC Planning Consultants in Austin, TX, served as Principal of Dana Brown & Associates Landscape Architects, and most recently ran his own design firm, ELS Landscape Architecture Studio.
President and CEO, Center for Planning Excellence
A native Louisianan, Camille Manning-Broome is internationally recognized for her expertise in resilience and adaptation planning. Her leadership on issues of land loss, coastal community sustainability, climate change resilience and adaptation as well as resident-led community planning has contributed to the transformation of cities, towns and parishes throughout Louisiana and has created knowledge of interest to peers throughout the U.S. and the globe.
As President and CEO, Camille oversees CPEX’s multidisciplinary team as they develop plans and provide technical assistance, data and research, policy guidance, communications support and thought leadership to communities seeking to make thoughtful decisions about how they develop and grow. Camille works closely with the CPEX Board of Directors to set the organization’s vision and advance CPEX’s mission to bring people and planning together to make great places.
In her previous role as Senior Vice President, Camille guided CPEX’s planning and implementation team in developing comprehensive plans, model land-use tools, and implementation strategies for more than 30 Louisiana communities. She built CPEX’s coastal resilience line of work by engaging coastal communities in creating a vision for the future of the working coast and developing the strategies, programs, and resources needed to make progress toward that vision. Camille managed CPEX’s business development activities and has cultivated strategic relationships with funders, project partners, clients, and stakeholders.
Camille’s prior career experience includes work in nonprofit, private and government sectors. After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, she was among the first planners on the ground, working across 36 parishes to develop the Louisiana Speaks regional plan. She served as Assistant Deputy of Operations for FEMA’s Long-Term Community Recovery group and was later recruited to the Shaw Group where she co-authored Louisiana’s first Coastal Master Plan. She has attended Congressional delegation trips to the Netherlands and Japan to study water and disaster management.
Camille has a B.A. in Art History and an M.S. in Environmental Sciences from the College of the Coast and Environment at Louisiana State University. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate with her dissertation research focused on community adaptation to climate change.
Jessica McKelvie Kemp, PhD
VICE PRESIDENT, POLICY + ADVOCACY, Center for Planning Excellence
As Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, Jessica is responsible for advancing CPEX’s mission in public policy for the CONNECT coalition and issues related to housing, equity and planning throughout the state. Her work includes the development, monitoring, coordination, implementation and evaluation of policy and advocacy efforts at the municipal, state and national levels. Jessica is also responsible for assisting executive leadership with strategic planning and resource development at CPEX.
Jessica’s professional and academic career has been focused on research, communications, fund development and social justice philanthropy. Before coming to CPEX in 2013, Jessica served as Vice President of Communications for the Foundation for Louisiana where she led communications and outreach efforts as well as resource development strategies to advance program and policy objectives focused on economic development, affordable housing and equitable access to opportunity.
Jessica completed a Ph.D. in English at Louisiana State University, specializing in critical theory and consumerism; a M.A. in English from the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York; and a B.A. in English from Drury University in Springfield, Missouri. Jessica has served on the YWCA’s Public Policy Committee and participated in Habitat for Humanity’s Women’s Build. She currently sits on the boards of the Environment and Health Council of Louisiana and the Capital Area March of Dimes. She is a lifelong fellow of the Effective Leadership Program, a joint endeavor of Duke University, Southern University and the University of Cape Town to cultivate leaders committed to social justice in Louisiana and South Africa.
Principal, Street Plans
Mike Lydon is co-founder of Street Plans, an urban planning, design, and research-advocacy firm. He is an internationally recognized planner, writer, speaker, and advocate for livable cities. Having delivered more than 250 keynotes, workshops, trainings, and lectures since 2009, Mike has exerted a global influence on how people think about city transformation.
With Tony Garcia, Mike is the recipient of the 2017 Seaside Prize and co-author of the full-length book Tactical Urbanism, published by Island Press in March 2015, and honored by Planetizen as one of the top 10 planning books of the year. Mike also collaborated with Andres Duany and Jeff Speck in writing The Smart Growth Manual, published by McGraw-Hill in 2009.
He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and son, and encourages you to trade four wheels for two.
Director/President, Nunu Arts and Culture Collective
George Marks is an award-winning contemporary visual artist and social sculptor living and working in Arnaudville-Deux Bayous Cultural District in Louisiana. He attended Louisiana State University, where he received a bachelor's degree in fine art. Marks is a seminal member and outspoken advocate of Louisiana's culture and arts scene, residing as president and founder of numerous organizations such as the NUNU Arts and Culture Collective and Semaine de la Francophonie Creative Placemaking Summit, a five-day summit that helps to build French partnerships between Louisiana's culture and the francophone world. A reflection of his passion for the French community in and out of Louisiana, Mark's art revolves around the history and culture of southwest Louisiana, delving into topics such as slavery, human rights and cultural sustainability.
Bureau Chief, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection State Land Acquisition
With direct responsibility over the budget and negotiations to purchase lands for NJDEP’s Divisions of Park & Forestry and Fish & Wildlife, Fawn McGee oversees approximately 400 active purchases on an annual basis. Also, she operationalized and continues to direct the State’s Superstorm Sandy Blue Acres Buyout Program to purchase flood-prone properties from homeowners. These structures are then demolished to restore the land for natural recreation and conservation purposes. Since May 2013, Blue Acres has successfully secured more than $300 million in federal funding, enabling it to assist approximately 1,000 families. The program has been recognized by FEMA as a Best Practice in Disaster Mitigation.
project director, earth economics
Rebecca Page is a Project Director at Earth Economics, a non-profit organization that specializes in quantifying and valuing the benefits that nature provides. In her role, she supports local governments and community-based organizations to invest in environmental and social resilience through building access to economic knowledge and resources. Rebecca has worked on critical water resources and climate adaptation projects from Durango to Dhaka. She specializes in the development of usable tools and policy recommendations that she arrives at using a suite of mixed-method approaches, from ethnography to geospatial modeling. Before joining Earth Economics, she was a Princeton-in-Asia Fellow and a Fulbright Scholar.
Editor, Baton Rouge Business Report
Former Deputy Secretary of United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
Ron Sims served as Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama.
Sims served for 12 years as the elected Executive of King County and was nationally recognized for his integration of environmental, social equity and public health policies that produced groundbreaking work on climate change, health care reform, affordable housing, mass transit, environmental protection, land use, equity and social justice.
Sims chairs the governing board of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. The Exchange seeks to improve how Washington residents secure affordable health plans.
Sims serves on the Board of the nonprofit Washington Health Alliance, where employers, physicians, hospitals, patients, and health plan providers come together to improve health care quality.
Sims is a Regent of Washington State University.
Principal, Community Land Use + Economics, LLC
Kennedy Smith helps create innovative downtown economic development strategies. As a principal with the Community Land Use and Economics Group for the past 15 years, and as director of the National Main Street Center for 14 years before that, she has worked with hundreds of communities of all sizes throughout the US and abroad. Her work focuses particular attention on cultivating locally owned businesses, creating effective business and property development incentives, finding new uses for key historic buildings, creating dynamic retail development plans, and strengthening the organizational infrastructure needed to create vibrant town centers. Kennedy has been honored by Planetizen as one of the “100 Most Influential Urbanists of All Time” (2017) and one of the “100 Top Urban Thinkers” (2009).
Torbjörn E. Törnqvist,PhD
Vokes Geology Professor, Tulane university
Torbjörn E. Törnqvist received his degrees in Physical Geography from Utrecht University (PhD, 1993). He is currently the Vokes Geology Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Tulane University, where he was Department Chair from 2012 to 2017. From 2006 to 2013, he served as the Director of the National Institute for Climatic Change Research Coastal Center, a US Department of Energy funding agency supporting basic research that aims to reduce the uncertainty about the future of coastal ecosystems nationwide due to climate and sea-level change. His research interests revolve around the evolution of rivers, deltas, coasts, and shallow oceans in response to climate and sea-level change over timescales ranging from the past decade to the past few hundred thousand years. Current field studies by Törnqvist’s research group are focused on the Mississippi Delta and the adjacent US Gulf Coast
DIRECTOR, NEW urban mobility alliance
Harriet Tregoning is the director of NUMO, the New Urban Mobility Alliance, a collaborative effort aimed at harnessing tech-based disruptions in urban transportation to make cities more sustainable, livable and just.
Harriet has served as an advisor to corporations, cities, states, foundations and others. She served in the Obama Administration as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Community Planning and Development at the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development. She initiated the first ever $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition. Her work at HUD included helping states, regions, cities, counties and towns across the U.S. build strong foundations for economic and disaster resilience. She was the Director of the District of Columbia Office of Planning for the last two Mayors, where she worked to make DC a walkable, bikeable, eminently livable, globally competitive and thriving city. She is the former Secretary of Planning in Maryland. She was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Managing Director Urban Resilience, Center for Neighborhood Technology
Drew Williams-Clark joined CNT to help focus and amplify the organization’s impact on water resilience as a tool for climate equity. Drew manages the strategic direction of water resilience initiatives at CNT including the award winning RainReady program. He is also the implementor of CNT Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (eTOD) initiatives, including the Elevated Chicago coalition working to advance development without displacement around transit centers. Previously, he provided leadership and strategic insight at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and the Village of Oak Park. Drew is a trained ScrumMaster, member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and certified property maintenance inspector. He holds a Master of Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
National Technical Leader, EMM Consulting
Allan Young is an urban planner, specializing in coastal management, with a career background spanning the public and private sector, locally and internationally.
He is currently the National Technical Leader for EMM Consulting and previously held senior government roles focused on coastal and marine management in Australia. He has prepared a range of government policy and legislative reforms for coastal planning.
His work has been recognized through a Fulbright Scholarship (NYC Mayor's Office; Harvard; MIT) and more recently a Churchill Fellowship (various US and UK locations).
His recent paper “How to retreat” is the culmination of several years’ engagement with coastal managers, academics, governments and communities across the US, UK, Australia, and the Pacific and Caribbean regions.