Ohio Land Bank Conference Presenters – 2017


Presenter biographies for the 2017 Ohio Land Bank Conference can be found below. 


Lisa Adkins, State Historic Preservation Office- Ohio History Connection

Lisa Adkins works as the Architecture Reviews Manager at the Ohio State Historic Preservation Office, a Division of the Ohio History Connection. A Cleveland native, her undergraduate focus was on American Studies with a B.A. in History and English from Oberlin College. Her graduate study was at Cornell University in a specialty program in Historic Preservation Planning. For more than twenty years, she has worked in West Virginia and Ohio to assist agencies to proactively consider measures to protect historic properties as part of their planning under the National Historic Preservation Act.


Barbara Anderson, Another Chance of Ohio

Barbara Anderson is a leader in the movement to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods across the country. Her survival as a victim of predatory lending equipped her to work to end that practice and keep families in their homes. Ms. Anderson is the President of Greater Cleveland Reinvestment Coalition. As the former President of Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People she assisted in negotiations with mortgage servicers and banks that resulted in millions of dollars being reinvested into low-income neighborhoods, forged agreements that returned money to the victims of predatory lending and helped those in foreclosure or bankruptcy to modify loans resulting from abusive practices.


Tony Bango, Detriot Shoreway Community Development ORganization

Tony Bango is a transplant to the City of Cleveland who has been living there for 7 years. He has a Masters Degree in Public Administration with a focus on Economic Development from Cleveland State University. Tony has been an employee of Detroit Shoreway for 4 years. While he is currently the Assistant Director for Detroit Shoreway’s Metro West Office, most of his time at Metro West has been spent managing the office’s Single Family Rehabilitation Program. During his tenure, he has overseen the acquisition of rehabilitation of 145+ homes in a community where 40% of all properties have experienced foreclosure in the past 10 years.


Ian Beniston, Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation

Ian Beniston, AICP, HDFP is the Executive Director of the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation. Ian brings twelve years of neighborhood planning, development, and finance experience in the private, non-profit, and public sectors. Ian holds a Master of City and Regional Planning from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Youngstown State University. He is a NDC Housing Development Finance Professional. He was a 40 under 40 award recipient in 2009, 25 under 35 award recipient in 2013, a Next City Vanguard in 2014, OCDCA CDC Staff Member of the Year in 2015, and BBB of the Mahoning Valley Torch Award for Nonprofit Excellence in 2017.


Nathan Bevil, State Historic Preservation Office

Nathan Bevil is the Community Planning & Preservation Manager for the State Historic Preservation Office of the Ohio History Connection. He holds a bachelor’s degree in History and Historic Preservation from Mary Washington College, and a Master of Historic Preservation degree from the University of Georgia. His current duties at the SHPO include administering the Certified Local Government program, reviewing historic rehabilitation tax credit applications, developing the State Historic Preservation Plan, managing the Building Doctor program, and providing technical assistance to communities on local historic preservation matters.


Carlie J. Boos, Ohio Housing Finance Agency

Carlie J. Boos, Esq. is the Program and Policy Manager at the Ohio Housing Finance Agency where she develops the Qualified Allocation Plan, oversees the Ohio and National Housing Trust Fund Allocation Plans, and creates other affordable housing tools.  Previously, she directed housing and economic recovery programming, including the Neighborhood Initiative Program and Save the Dream Ohio.  After graduating from the Ohio State University and Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Ms. Boos practiced as a consumer rights and housing attorney and consulted for The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law’s faculty on consumer rights issues.


Jacob Boswell, The Ohio State University

Jake Boswell is an assistant professor of landscape architecture at The Ohio State University’s Knowlton School. Jake’s work traces the social production of designed and vernacular landscapes, forwarding speculative environmental futures that stem from historical and contemporary discourses around medicine, climate, and the body. Jake’s writing has been published widely and his design work recognized in numerous national and international design competitions.


Patrick Bravo, Summit County Land Bank

Patrick Bravo is the first Executive Director for the Summit County Land Bank. Previously Patrick was the Deputy Director for Community & Economic Development for Summit County. Patrick is President of the Akron Public Schools Board of Education. He is a graduate of Leadership Akron’s Community Leadership Institute and a graduate of Class 32 of Leadership Akron. Patrick holds a Bachelor’s degree from Kent State University, a Master’s in Public Administration & Urban Studies and law degree from the University of Akron, and is currently working on completing his Ph.D. in Public Administration & Urban Affairs from the University of Akron.


Dan B. Brown, Partners, an Environmental, Safety, Engineering & Surveying Firm;

Dan B. Brown is President and Founder of Partners, an Environmental, Safety, Engineering & Surveying Firm. He is a Certified Professional and leader in Ohio Brownfields who has worked with the US EPA Brownfield Program, since its inception, directing brownfield projects, including the issuance of No Further Action letters and the receipt of Covenants-Not-To-Sue. He supported the original rule writing for Ohio’s Voluntary Action Program (VAP).  He also conducts regulatory negotiations regarding Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA Superfund), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Bureau of Underground Storage Tank Regulations (BUSTR), etc.


Lisa Brownell, Ohio Development Services Agency

Lisa Brownell works as the Program Manager for the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit at the Development Services Agency. She earned an MA and PhD in geography from the University of Kentucky with a focus on cultural landscapes, historic preservation, and community values for places. A constant theme throughout her research has been abandoned landscapes and she is thrilled to be working with communities to rehabilitate buildings for new uses.


Shantaé Brownlee, Lucas County Land Bank

Shantaé Brownlee is the Vice President & Director of Community Engagement of the Land Bank, serving since 2012.  At the Land Bank, she manages its complex demolition programs and contractor relationships, oversees homeowner investments through RISE, and works closely with neighborhood-based organizations and community members on Land Bank partnerships. Prior to the Land Bank, Shantaé served for more than a decade in leadership roles at various non-profit and community organizations in Toledo.  She loves the rich history of arts and diversity in our community, including its music, theatre, painting, sculpting, and glass work. Toledo is “just cool,” as Morris Day would say.


Shawn Carvin, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership

Shawn Carvin is a native of Warren, Ohio and has worked at Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership as the Land Bank Program Director since the program’s infancy. The Land Bank works diligently to return derelict, vacant properties back to productive use and increasing the quality of life in Trumbull County. Through his work he has helped develop the Trumbull County Land Bank into a high-impact and efficient revitalization entity. Shawn believes that community engagement is the most powerful way to build strong, lasting communities. Shawn has developed and implemented land bank programming that is accountable to neighborhoods and accessible to residents.


Katie Courtright, Ohio EPA

Within the Voluntary Action Program section of Ohio EPA, the Site Assessment and Brownfield Revitalization group provides brownfield assistance to communities and their partners through Targeted Brownfield Assessment (TBA) services, technical assistance, education and outreach.  Katie serves as the Brownfield Coordinator for the TBA program and a liaison with other state agencies for brownfield revitalization projects.


Catherine Crosby, City of Dayton Human Relations Council

Catherine “Katy” Crosby is the Executive Director of the City of Dayton’s Human Relations Council.  The Council conducts civil rights enforcement; provides business and technical assistance including certifying minority, women and small disadvantaged companies; and administers the Welcome Dayton initiative to build a supportive system to integrate immigrants and refugees, initiatives to improve community-police relations and reduce gun violence. She played a leadership role in advocating for bank public benefit agreements that support low-to-moderate income communities successfully assisting with negotiating multiple agreements totaling over $62 billion dollars combined.


Keymah Durden, Rid-All Green Partnership

Keymah Durden III has an eclectic background. While trained in avionic-mechanical engineering and construction, Keymah’s passion for sustainable living and environmental protection has taken him around the world. He has been involved in several international programs and activities. In Ghana, West Africa, he was involved with the African Hebrew Development Agency in their Fresh Well Water Initiative and Healthy Lifestyles Program. In Israel he helped plan an International Sustainability Summit and was involved with the Dimona Community Agricultural Project. His goal and vision is simple, “creating access to holistic, nutritional food for the development of communities around the world.”


Jonathan Duy, Ohio Housing Finance Agency

Jonathan Duy joined OHFA in 2011 and assumed his current position in 2014. Since 2006, Duy has served as a licensed real estate agent in central and northeastern Ohio and passionately believes in homeownership. Prior to joining OHFA’s Office of Homeownership, he worked on OHFA’s statewide foreclosure prevention effort and for a public housing consulting firm. He is accredited by the Division of Real Estate as a continuing education provider and has taught over 4,000 real estate agents. Duy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies with a concentration in Urban Planning and Geographical Information Systems from Cleveland State University.


Betsy Figgie, Your CFO Resource

Betsy developed her financing expertise within one of the country’s largest corporate banks. Starting at National City Bank in 1993, Betsy was part of the Retail Management Training Program, later moving to Small Business Banking, then to Regional Corporate Banking. By 2002 Betsy had become the manager of Investor Relations and primary contact for Wall Street sell-side analysts, institutional investors and individual shareholders. Since 2005, Betsy helps non-profits and civic-minded developers present financing requests using conventional and tax-credit enhanced funding structures and terminology and draws on outside expertise that may be needed from her wide circle of industry contacts.


Justin Fleming, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress

Justin D. Fleming, Esq. is the Director of Real Estate at Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, where his primary duties are to ensure that CNP’s real estate and development agenda is aligned with the organization’s broader goal of fostering communities of choice and opportunity throughout Cleveland’s neighborhoods.    Since joining CNP in 2009, Mr. Fleming has focused on the development and implementation of stabilization and sustainable redevelopment strategies, and has been fortunate enough have shared his experience in Cleveland at conferences and panels around the country.


Debora Flora, Mahoning County Land Bank

Debora Flora is executive director of Mahoning County Land Bank (MCLB), the fourth county land bank incorporated in Ohio. MCLB assists residents, businesses, churches, local governments and nonprofits with the acquisition of vacant lots for business expansion, construction projects, greening and gardening. MCLB is managing $14.7 million of residential demolition and greening activities with an award from Ohio Housing Finance Agency. MCLB also assembled land for the inventor of a self-chilling beverage can who is building a state-of-the-art production facility in Youngstown, his home town. Debora is a lifelong resident of northeast Ohio and a graduate of Youngstown State University.


Frank Ford, Western Reserve Land Conservancy

Frank Ford is Senior Policy Advisor at Western Reserve Land Conservancy. He is an attorney who has worked in the field of community development for 40 years.


Gus Frangos, Cuyahoga Land Bank

Gus Frangos graduated with honors from Cleveland Marshall College of Law in 1982.  He worked at the law firm of Ulmer and Berne after law school, then went on to serve as a Cleveland City Councilman and later as a Municipal Court Magistrate-Judge.   He now also serves as President and General Counsel of the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation. Mr. Frangos was the primary drafter of Ohio’s House Bills 293, 294, S.B. 353 establishing enhanced county land banks and expedited tax foreclosure policy and the recently passed S.B. 172 expanding the reach of county land banks in the Community Development field.


Marc Gardner, Ohio Housing Finance Agency OHFA

Marc D Gardner is a Neighborhood Initiative Program (NIP) Liaison/Administrator with the Ohio Housing Finance Agency in Columbus Ohio. Marc’s current responsibilities includes site visits to the participating land banks around the state as well as assisting in the administrative functions of both NIP and Save the Dream programs.  Prior to working for OHFA Marc spent 20 plus years working in the private financial sector in commercial banking.  He attended Columbus Technical Institute majoring in computer science and is a certified network engineer through Babbage Simmel.


John Garvey, Partners

Mr. John T. Garvey, CP, PG, CPG, is the Vice President, Brownfield and Remediation Services for Partners. Mr. Garvey provides expertise in the areas of due diligence, site assessment, contaminant fate and transport, risk assessment and assisting clients in managing the difficulties unique to brownfield redevelopment projects. He has provided expert testimony and consulting for litigation related to chlorinated solvent and petroleum releases, Phase I ESA appropriate inquiry, and groundwater resources cases. Mr. Garvey was an invited participant in the VAP five year rule review/revision process and a member of the workgroup preparing the vapor intrusion guidance for the Ohio EPA.


Arne Goldman, Marous Brothers Construction

Mr. Goldman is a registered architect and graduate of Cornell University with over 36 years of experience in the planning, design and management of construction projects for Marous Brothers Construction. The Marous portfolio includes a wide variety of historic/adaptive reuse mixed-use, multifamily residential, hospitality, cultural arts, and higher education projects. Utilizing his particular expertise in development finance, he works with clients to structure and secure various financing vehicles, including historic and low income housing investment tax credit equity, New Markets Tax Credits, FHA-backed mortgages structures and equity sources.


Tom Hale, Clark County Land Reutilization Corporation

Director of Community and Economic Development for Clark County. Executive Director of the Clark County Land Bank which contracts to Community and Economic Development. Serve as Building Official for Clark and Madison Counties as well as the City of London and the Village of West Jefferson Ohio. I also serve Clark County as Zoning Administrator for 7 townships along with Flood Plain Administrator. In my spare time if there is any I like to ride my bike, boat, or the occasional plane ride as the pilot in command.


Kris Harsh, Metro West

Kris Harsh is the Housing Director at Metro West.  He has over 12 years of experience working on housing related issues in the both the urban and suburban areas of Cleveland.


Lauren Johnson, Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber

Lauren grew up in Youngstown and attended Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia, graduating cum laude in May 2014 with a bachelor of arts degree in government. Lauren joined the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber in late 2015 to guide strategic implementation of the 422 Corridor Plan in the areas of aesthetics, jobs growth, business support, neighborhood stabilization and natural resources. As of June 2017, she also manages the Chamber’s Mahoning County Business Development activity, working with local companies to solve challenges, find opportunities for growth, and secure investment and jobs in the Mahoning Valley.


Alexis J Kim, Walter | Haverfield

Alexis is an attorney with Walter | Haverfield in the Tax and Wealth Management Group. She focuses her practice on federal, state and local tax planning, estate, and succession planning. She has broad experience helping set up and advise tax exempt organizations including private foundations, public charities, and government instrumentalities. Alexis earned her J.D. magna cum laude from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law where she served as an extern with both the Cuyahoga County Probate Court and the Ohio Supreme Court. Prior to her legal career, Alexis worked at the State of Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission.


Jacqui Knettel, Cuyahoga Land Bank

Jacqui Knettel is Executive Assistant to both the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s President and its Chief Operating Officer. Jacqui was instrumental in the creation of many of the systems currently in place at the Cuyahoga Land Bank including office management, Property Profile System, records management system and the tax foreclosure management and tracking systems. Jacqui expertly administers the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s HR affairs and Employee Manual for this growing staff. Jacqui schedules and manages the quarterly Board meetings of the Cuyahoga Land Bank, and serves as the Assistant Secretary to the Board.


Timothy Kobie, City of Cleveland – Department of Building and Housing 

Timothy currently works for the City of Cleveland in the Department of Building & Housing. He came to the department in 2012 as a Strong Cities, Strong Communities fellow and was hired full-time in December of 2014, working on projects related to demolition, code enforcement, and any others where data is involved. Prior to that, he worked for Social Compact Inc in Washington DC on their DrillDown and grocery gap analyses. Timothy earned his PhD in Urban Studies and Public Affairs from Cleveland State University in 2010.


Sam Lamancusa, Trumbull County Treasurer

Sam Lamancusa is the current Treasurer of Trumbull County and Chairman of the Trumbull County Land Reutilization Corporation. Sam joined the Treasurer’s office in 2001, first serving as Chief Deputy Treasurer before being elected to the office. Sam also served as the Girard City Auditor for thirteen years. As Treasurer and Land Bank Chairman, Sam is in a position to help and work with the public in a very unique Land Bank Program in Trumbull County


Jane Larson, Cuyahoga Land Bank

Jane Larson is the Financial Analyst for the department of Acquisition, Disposition, and Development. Jane began her career as a legal assistant and attained an A.B.A in Paralegal Studies at Lakeland Community College. Jane joined the Land Bank as a Disposition Assistant, specializing in demolition-related invoicing, and maximized departmental payables to over $13,000,000 annually. She has now specializes in troubleshooting contractor accounts, analyzing departmental workflow data and expenditures, and grant management. Jane is finishing work on her Bachelor of Arts in Nonprofit Administration from the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University.


Deidre Lightning-Whitted, Cuyahoga Land Bank

Deidre Lightning-Whitted is the Senior Demolition Inspector for the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation (CCLRC). She began working for the CCLRC as a private contractor performing Level 1 Assessments and vacant lot inspections in 2012. She currently coordinates the scheduling of residential demolition activity with contractors, troubleshoots issues that occur before, during or after demolition has been completed and organizes follow up inspections with staff and outside contractors. Prior to working for the CCLRC Deidre held various positions with the East Cleveland Municipal Court, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, and with her family’s business Board Em Up/Clean Em Out.


Jim Maher, Cuyahoga Land Bank

Jim Maher is the Commercial Demolition Officer for the Cuyahoga County Land Bank. His work focuses on growing commercial demolition activities. Jim grew up in Akron and graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in in Urban Planning. For over 30 years, Jim has worked in the Cleveland area in construction management and community development. Initially with Zaremba Communities of Ohio, and later with community development corporations such as Slavic Village Development, Neighborhood Progress Incorporated and Glenville Development, Jim managed the construction and renovation of residential developments from single-family homes to multi acre apartment and condominium sites


David Mann, Lucas County Land Bank

David Mann is the President of the Lucas County Land Bank where he manages a talented staff of 10, an annual budget of $7 million, and property acquisition and disposition of over 1500 parcels of land annually.  He is also an accomplished attorney.  Like you, he hates long and boring bios.


Matt Martin, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership

Matt Martin has been the Executive Director of Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership since its launch in 2010 and has directed the organizations management of the Trumbull County Land Bank since 2013 . Prior to joining TNP, he was a Land Re-utilization Manager for Stockyard Redevelopment Organization, a Cleveland CDC. He has a BA in Liberal Studies from Cleveland State and an MA in Environmental Studies from Cleveland State’s Levin College of Urban Affairs.


Jessie Masters, Cuyahoga Land Bank

Jessie Masters is the Information and Planning Specialist with the Cuyahoga Land Bank, where she spends her days using public data for research and mapping. A Columbus native, Jessie came back to Ohio after earning her graduate degree in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. She is happy to have made Cleveland her permanent home.


James McGuire, Cuyahoga Land Bank

James McGuire is the GIS and Research Technician at the Cuyahoga Land Bank. Born in Youngstown, James moved to Cleveland 12 years ago. With an acute fascination with maps and urban life, he decided to enhance those skills in college. He studied at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban affairs at Cleveland State University where he earned a B.A. in Urban Studies with a focus on GIS, and earned a GIS certificate. James utilizes big data and transforms it into a wide variety of maps to assist the Land Bank in making informed, data-driven decisions on acquisitions and projects.


Wayne Mortensen, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress

Wayne and his wife Jill live in Cleveland, where he works on behalf of urban neighborhoods as the Director of Design and Development for Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, a not-for-profit community development finance intermediary. With graduate degrees in Architecture, Urban Design, and Social Work, the Nebraska native is a licensed architect in the State of Ohio and has lectured broadly on the creation of equitable housing and just communities.


Josh Murnen, Lucas County Land Bank

Josh Murnen is the Vice President and General Counsel of the Lucas County Land Bank.  Josh coordinates many of the day-to-day operations of the Land Bank, including the marketing and disposition of residential and commercial properties.  An accomplished attorney, he is involved locally with the Toledo Bar Association, the Advisory Board of the Toledo Design Center, and the Welcome Toledo-Lucas County Steering Committee. He lives with his wife Shelley and their sons Oliver and Owen in Toledo’s Old Orchard neighborhood.


Sarah Norman, Cuyahoga Land Bank

A graduate of Goucher College (Baltimore) and CWRU Law School, Sarah is admitted to the practice of law in Ohio and her home state of Indiana. After nearly a decade as a solo practitioner focused on historic preservation, she went into “recovery” for her litigating habits and spent time nurturing 4 children into teenhood. The Cuyahoga Land Bank hired Sarah in 2013 as its first “Document Support Specialist”—a job that has grown with the times to encompass both document management and public records compliance. Sarah lives in Hudson, OH with the teens, a border collie, and her husband, Forrest.


Nicholas Rajkovich, University at Buffalo

Nicholas B. Rajkovich, PhD, AIA is an Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture and Planning at the State University of New York at Buffalo. His research investigates the intersection of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and adaptation to climate change. Prior to earning a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Michigan, he was a Senior Program Engineer in the Pacific Gas & Electric Company Customer Energy Efficiency Department responsible for coordinating their Zero Net Energy Pilot Program. He was also chair of the San Francisco American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment.


Isaac Robb, Western Reserve Land Conservancy

Isaac Robb is Manager of Urban Projects for Western Reserve Land Conservancy. Isaac is responsible for redevelopment scenario planning, supporting urban open space projects, as well as assisting with the Land Conservancy’s property inventory program. A native Oregonian, Isaac holds a BA in Economics from Willamette University and his MA in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University. His planning experience includes consulting for the Town of Caroline, New York as well as working as a policy and planning intern for the City of Seattle. Before dedicating himself as an urbanist, Isaac taught English as a second language to students in China and South Korea.


Jim Rokakis, Western Reserve Land Conservancy

Jim Rokakis is Vice President of Western Reserve Land Conservancy and Director of its Thriving Communities Program. He is involved in a number of activities, including the establishment of 46 County Land Banks throughout Ohio and working to raise funds for Ohio communities to deal with distressed properties. Rokakis has raised almost $450 million for the demolition of over 23,000 blighted structures in Ohio. Rokakis helped to write HB 294, which streamlined the foreclosure process for abandoned properties. Additionally, Rokakis was the driving force behind a bill that allowed for the creation of the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation, also known as the Cuyahoga Land Bank.


Douglas Sawyer, Cuyahoga Land Bank

Douglas Sawyer is Assistant General Counsel for the Cuyahoga Land Bank. Doug graduated with dual degrees from Cleveland State University by simultaneously earning a Masters of Arts degree in Environmental Studies from the Maxine Levin College of Urban Affairs and a Juris Doctor degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.


Michael Schramm, Cuyahoga Land Bank

Michael Schramm is the Director of IT and Research at the Cuyahoga Land Bank and Researcher at Case Western Reserve University. Michael develops tools that use data to make acquisition decisions and has also developed the Property Profile System, a property management system used by numerous land banks to manage their portfolios. Recognized as a national expert, he is also involved in the development of the NEO CANDO neighborhood data system. He is active in the local vacant property dialogue through VAPAC and has presented national meetings and conferences. Michael has B.S. degrees in Geography and Meteorology from Penn State University and a M.A. in Geography from Syracuse University.


Laura Schuch, CWRU – Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development

Laura Schuch, MPH from Kent State University, is a Research Associate at the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at CWRU. Prior to joining the Center, Laura worked as a GIS Specialist, and as a Research Assistant at Kent State University and Akron Children’s Hospital. She is completing a PhD in Geography from Kent State University concentrating on the effects of the environment, both physical and social, on a child’s health and well-being. Her research combines data analysis and geospatial technologies to provide context to health challenges at multiple scales, such as childhood lead exposure, and to enhance the development of data-supported interventions.


Terry Schwarz, Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative

Terry Schwarz, FAICP, is the director of Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative. Her work at the CUDC includes neighborhood and campus planning, commercial and residential design guidelines, and ecological strategies for vacant land reuse.


Jason Segedy, City of Akron

Jason Segedy is the Director of Planning and Urban Development for the City of Akron, Ohio. He has worked in the urban planning field for the past 22 years, and previously served as the Director of the Metropolitan Planning Organization serving Greater Akron. He is an avid writer on urban planning and development issues, blogging at Notes from the Underground. His work has been published by Planetizen, Streetsblog, Rustwire, Wise Economy, Real Clear Policy, and New Geography.

A lifelong resident of Akron’s west side, Jason is committed to the city, its people, and its neighborhoods. His passion is creating great places and spaces where residents can live, work, and play.


Roger Smith, Mahoning County Land Bank

Roger G. Smith is director of Planning, Acquisition & Disposition at the Mahoning County Land Bank. He oversees vacant land acquisition projects and manages the day-to-day activities of the land bank’s demolition and housing rehabilitation programs. He has been with the Mahoning Land Bank since its 2013 inception after joining the land bank’s predecessor organization in 2008. He began his community development career in 2005 with a neighborhood CDC following 13 years as a newspaper reporter.


Tiffany Sokol, Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation

Tiffany Sokol is the Housing Director for the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (YNDC). Tiffany brings more than five years of experience in housing and neighborhood development and diverse experience in business administration prior to YNDC. Tiffany holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from Youngstown State University in Marketing Management, Advertising, and Public Relations and has obtained Housing Development Finance Professional certification from the National Development Council. Tiffany received the OCDCA Stephanie J. Bevens Award in 2015 and was selected as a 25 under 35 honoree by the Mahoning Valley Young Professionals in 2016.


Cheryl Stephens, Cuyahoga Land Bank

Cheryl Stephens is the Director of Acquisition, Disposition and Development. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree and later a Master’s degree in Public Administration from The University of Dayton, Cheryl began her career in public administration and fell in love with development. She has held staff and leadership positions with cities, counties, and the state of Ohio as well as two large nonprofits. Cheryl has been a key player in ushering more than $100,000,000 of investment to growing businesses and real estate developments in Ohio. In 2009 Cheryl was elected to the City of Cleveland Heights’ City Council where she currently serves as one of seven members of Council.


April Stevens, Ohio Development Services Agency

April Stevens joined the Ohio Development Services Agency in June 2011.  In her current role, she administers the Abandoned Gas Station Cleanup Grant Program which helps communities revitalize vacant contaminated properties and readies them for redevelopment.  She is a graduate of The Ohio State University, and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science.


April Urban, Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development, Case Western Reserve University

April Urban, MSSA from Case Western Reserve University, is a research associate specializing in property research and consultation, focusing on code enforcement, foreclosure and REO properties and works closely with the community development industry to provide data and technical assistance in neighborhood stabilization. She most enjoys projects where she can work to aid communities in building their capacity to work with data, helping teach them how to use information to improve their practices and better the lives of people impacted by their work. She currently serves on the board of FutureHeights and volunteers with Open Cleveland, Cleveland’s Code for America brigade.


Mattijs Van Maasakkers, Ohio State University – City and Regional Planning

Mattijs van Maasakkers is an assistant professor in the City and Regional Planning Section at the Knowlton School. Van Maasakkers’ research and teaching focus on the role of science in environmental decision-making, specifically in the context of complex public disputes. His recent book, titled The Creation of Markets for Ecosystem Services in the United States: The Challenge of Trading Places, provides an in-depth analysis of the development of these new institutions in the Midwest, Pacific Northwest and Chesapeake Bay watershed. Van Maasakkers currently conducts research on the role of measurement systems in decision-making on land use in shrinking cities.


Curtiss Williams, Sr, COCIC: The Franklin County Land Bank

Curtiss is President/CEO of COCIC: The Franklin County Land Bank. For the past five years he was COCIC’s Vice President. Curtiss is a highly respected economic development/development practitioner with over thirty years of experience. His professional work history in the private, public and quasi-public sectors has given him insights into the many issues facing communities and development organizations as they consider their planning, development and economic development agendas. He has a BA from The Ohio State University and has completed the curriculum for a Master’s in City and Regional Planning from OSU.


Anne Wistow, Lucas County Land Bank

Anne Wistow is the Projects Manager and Board Secretary of the Lucas County Land Bank.  Anne is responsible for managing the Land Bank’s tax foreclosure systems and property acquisition, coordinating efforts on property maintenance, and directs the renovation effort for the Land Bank’s targeted neighborhood investment program called RISE.  Anne contributes her specialized expertise in the areas of urban planning and place-making in all areas of the Land Bank’s work.  She is an urban & regional planning graduate of Michigan State University (Go Sparty!) and holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Toledo.  She lives in downtown Detroit.


Rosemary Woodruff, Cuyahoga Land Bank

Rosemary Woodruff is the Senior Environmental Property Specialist. She handles asbestos surveys and abatement, as well as projects requiring environmental assessments. A graduate of Oberlin College, Rosemary holds a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Cal Poly Pomona. She previously managed the Housing Preservation Office and CDBG Program for the City of Cleveland Heights, and earned her field work stripes as a rehab spec writer for Cleveland Action to Support Housing, a local non-profit. During her stint as a stay-at-home mom, Rosemary co-chaired the West Nile Virus Community Task Force of Shaker Heights and championed the creation of the Doan Brook Watershed Partnership.