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Updated as of 8/14/19

Sandra Albro, director of community partnerships at Holden Forests & Gardens in Cleveland, OH, is project manager for “Vacant to Vibrant”, a low-cost, low-maintenance urban greening project designed to manage stormwater and help revitalize communities in Gary, IN; Cleveland, OH; and Buffalo, NY. Ms. Albro also serves as co-chair for the Cleveland Tree Coalition, a group of businesses, organizations, and branches of local government that is working together to implement the Cleveland Tree Plan.

Parker Berry, II, CIC is the Executive Vice President and Partner of SeibertKeck Insurance Partners Agency. Our agency has 13 locations with over 150 employees in Ohio and Florida, and was ranked in the top 100 agencies in the country in 2018. We have been handling insurance needs for businesses and families since 1910. Parker has been with the agency since January 2000, focusing on commercial and professional liability insurance. He has recently been approved, by Central Insurance, to develop an exclusive insurance program for the land bank industry. Parker and his family reside in Copley, OH.

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 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.

Stephen D. Burcham is a graduate of THE Ohio State University with a Degree in Accounting and is a certified public accountant. He was first elected to office as the Lawrence County Treasurer in 2004 where he continues to serve it’s 65,000 residents. Stephen sits on the Lawrence County Land Bank board as its chairman.

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. He has developed and implemented land bank programming that is accountable to neighborhoods and accessible to residents.

Susan Considine joined the Montgomery County Land Bank early in 2015 as Program Manager for the DIY Renovation and Commercial Redevelopment programs. Susan has been responsible for repositioning over 60 blighted properties through these programs. She comes to the Land Bank with more than 30 years in the real estate management industry. In her previous positions Susan managed a wide variety of property types from single and multifamily housing to high-rise and suburban office buildings. She was also Vice President of Business Development for Turner Property Services Group directing the company’s efforts to secure new business. Prior to her work with Turner Susan held various positions during a 19 year tenure with Miller-Valentine Group. She earned a B.A. in Communications from Wright State University and the Certified Property Manager designation from the Institute of Real Estate Management, IREM. She has served as President of the local IREM chapter several times, and has served IREM at the national level as Education Committee Chair and Regional Vice President.

Susie Crabill is a Program Manager for the Montgomery County Land Bank. She manages the Neighborhood Initiative (NIP), Foreclosure Acquisition and the Land Banking programs. Under Susie’s direction and her team’s efforts Montgomery County Land Bank has demolished over 1,100 blighted properties. The sites of these demolitions are often given new life as urban forests through Susie’s reforestation program, Twigs to Trees. Susie is a graduate of Wright State University’s Urban Affairs program and also has a degree from The Ohio State University in horticulture. Her previous experience includes serving as township zoning inspector and as a member of the Board of Zoning Appeals in townships where she has lived.  She is licensed as a real estate salesperson with experience in residential and agricultural sales transactions and is also a certified arborist.

Giovanna DelGarbino is a highly motivated hybrid PR professional with proven experience in creating, activating and optimizing successful campaigns and media relations programs for regional and national btoc clients. She has expertise in planning and managing an array of events and tradeshows, and using strategic communication approaches for paid, owned, earned and shared media. She brings an in-depth knowledge of strategically telling a company’s story for a variety of audiences. She holds a bachelor’s degree in strategic communications from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism from Ohio University.

Elizabeth Ellis is an Urban Designer with the Toledo Design Center. She is currently serving as a LISC AmeriCorps, which allows her to connect to both neighborhood residents and organizations also engaging residents across Toledo. She holds a M. Arch and M.U.D. from Kent State University, and has been able to expand her Urban Design academic experience into her profession at the TDC. Through the Toledo Design Center Elizabeth has completed the neighborhood Master Plans of Junction, and UpTown. She has also worked on smaller scale project concepts like a Planter Plan for Summit Street, and the Junction SafeGrowth project of putting together a neighborhood asset map for community members to see within the neighborhood. Elizabeth says the most rewarding part of her job is “being able to work with so many different community partners within Toledo and to begin to see a real difference within Toledo’s urban fabric.” Elizabeth has gotten to know some of the community members personally which has only served to strengthen the TDC’s relationships with the neighborhoods they serve.

Debora Flora, as executive director of Mahoning County Land Bank since July 2012, has guided the development of programs that contributed to neighborhood stabilization, business expansion, new construction projects and greener, cleaner corridors. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the new Ohio Land Bank Association.

Frank Ford is Senior Policy Advisor for the Thriving Communities Program of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy.  He also serves as the Chair of the Greater Cleveland Vacant and Abandoned Property Action Council (VAPAC).  He is a licensed attorney who has worked in the field of community development for 40 years.  Mr. Ford was admitted to the practice of law in Ohio in 1981 and in the State of Colorado in 1994.    His work with communities has included housing development, commercial retail development, organizational development, human capital development and applied research.  Mr. Ford graduated from Kenyon College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English, and received his Juris Doctor Degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

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.

Dave Gamstetter, former natural resource manager for the city of Cincinnati, joined the Davey Resource Group team in spring 2019. After 30 years in the public works sector, Gamstetter will be focusing on building partnerships to provide services for installing, maintaining, and inspecting green infrastructures and systems throughout the tri-state region.

Chris Garland is an urban community and economic development professional with over 15 years of experience in both Cleveland, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan.  Chris has a strong history in both cities of utilizing research-based methods, leveraging strong partnerships, and implementing creative solutions to deliver positive neighborhood and city-wide impact.  Chris currently serves as the NCST Community Development Manager for Ohio and Michigan which brings him in close contact with the diverse group of CDCs, governments and land banks, and mission-based for profit housing developers throughout both states.  Prior to joining NCST, Chris served as Assistant Director of the Cleveland City Planning Commission and previously the Commissioner of Neighborhood Development for the City of Cleveland.  Chris has also had direct CDC experience as Executive Director of the Tremont West Development Corporation (Cleveland) and Jefferson East, Inc. (Detroit). Chris holds a Masters of Urban Planning from Wayne State University and resides in Cleveland with his wife and four children and is an active resident in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood.

Alison Goebel is Executive Director of the Greater Ohio Policy Center (GOPC) and has been with GOPC since 2010.  Goebel is responsible for charting GOPC's strategic direction, directing the research, advocacy, and outreach teams, and securing resources for this work. She is the author of a number of research reports and policy briefs related to the revitalization of weak-market, legacy cities, transportation funding, and local governance structures in Ohio.  Goebel is a graduate and board member of Leadership Ohio and was elected by her class for the 2014 "Leader Among Leaders" award.  She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in anthropology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and received her B.A. from Miami University (Oxford, Ohio).

Nigel Griswold, an innovator in the field of spatial econometrics, studies the effects of distance and proximity on economic activity. Nigel’s urban policy work began in 2004, when he examined the relationship between blight abatement and housing values in Flint, Michigan, at the behest of Congressman Dan Kildee, who was then treasurer of Genesee County. Nigel’s subsequent research culminated in the decision of U.S. Treasury to allow Hardest Hit Fund money to be spent on demolition of blight. As cofounder at Dynamo Metrics, Nigel now focuses on building decision support tools for local government and furthering the use of spatial time series metrics in urban and regional social science research.

Bart Hamilton is a life long resident of Richland County. He has been with the Richland Treasurer's office for 27 years, 13 years as County Treasurer. Bart started the Richland County Land Bank in November 2013 and serves as its Chair.

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.

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 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 Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from Cleveland State and an Master of Arts in Environmental Studies from Cleveland State's Levin College of Urban Affairs. 

Steve McQuillin, founder of Vermillion Institute, is a preservation consultant based in Hayesville, Ohio with more than 40 years of experience in the field of historic preservation. A graduate of Oberlin College and Columbia University's Preservation Program, Mr. McQuillin first began working for the Ohio Historic Preservation Office and has worked on his own as a consultant for more than 34 years. Among his projects are the rehabilitation of Cleveland's Terminal Tower and adjacent Higbee Building plus numerous projects throughout Cleveland's Warehouse District, years of service as preservation consultant to GE Lighting at Nela Park in East Cleveland, plus work for numerous communities in northern Ohio.

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, a graduate of Goucher College (Baltimore) and CWRU Law School, 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 their college years.  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 an empty nest in Hudson, OH with her husband, Forrest, a lonely border collie, and an indifferent cat.

 

Jerry Paffendorf is an American mutt from the forested farmlands of New Jersey who's lived around the country in Portland, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Detroit, where he moved in 2009 and started building what's evolved into LOVELAND Technologies. Jerry dropped out of high school, got turned on by Ray Kurzweil's "The Age of Spiritual Machines" while in art school, and earned a Master of Science in Studies of the Future from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. He and the team at Loveland Technologies work with governments, developers, neighborhood groups, and passionate individuals to gather and present information about property in clear, actionable ways.

Hope Paxson is Vice President of Programs and Housing for the Central Ohio Community Improvement Corporation (COCIC)-The Franklin County Land Bank. Hope is responsible for the oversite of COCIC’s property portfolio and administers programs addressing blighted, tax delinquent properties. She has been instrumental in creating programs to support housing stabilization efforts in Franklin County and currently administers a Neighborhood Initiative Program provided by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. Hope is currently contributing to the creation of the Central Ohio Community Land Trust; a subsidiary of COCIC.

Jessica Powell joined the Port in 2017 to manage the Hamilton County Land Reutilization Corporation (“Landbank”) and its work in neighborhood revitalization. Managed by the Port since 2012, the Landbank is an important tool addressing vacant and abandoned properties. In this role, Jessica works closely with the neighborhood revitalization team and community development corporations so that she can effectively support and lead holistic, program-driven initiatives that restore properties to productive use. She also coordinates the Landbank's work with the City of Cincinnati, other Hamilton County jurisdictions, and community stakeholders to affect management and stewardship of Landbank-owned properties. Jessica brings to the position more than 15 years of legal experience in the areas of housing and neighborhood improvement. She served as a Chief Counsel at the City of Cincinnati’s Law Department, where she focused on improving neighborhood quality of life through affirmative litigation and other strategic advocacy. Before that, she served as Senior Attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, LLC. Jessica’s experience includes advocacy related to affordable housing and local and statewide legislative advocacy related to neighborhood blight. Jessica earned her juris doctorate from Case Western Reserve University School of Law and serves on the Hamilton County Foreclosure Policy Group, Vacant Properties Task Force, LISC Local Advisory Committee, City of Cincinnati’s Community Development Advisory Board, FC Community Coalition Board, and Greater Ohio Policy Center Board.

Isaac Robb is the Director of Urban Projects for Western Reserve Land Conservancy. Isaac is responsible for redevelopment scenario planning, structuring land transactions for urban open space projects, as well as assisting with the Land Conservancy’s property inventory program. A native Oregonian, Isaac holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Willamette University and his Master of Arts in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University. Isaac also has experience teaching English as a second language to students in China and South Korea.

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 54 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 nearly 30,000 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.

Josh Rubin founded The CJR Group after serving two years as vice-president of a Washington-based government relations firm. Prior to his work in the private sector, Josh worked for Senator Mike DeWine and then-Governor George Voinovich. Josh served as campaign manager for Senator DeWine’s successful re-election campaign in 2000. From 1995 to 1999, Josh served as a legislative aide and directed the Senator’s Northeast Ohio office. From 1991 to 1994, Josh served in the administration of Gov. Voinovich as a personal assistant to the Governor, and then as a member of the Governor’s legislative team. Josh earned an MBA. from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado. He has also studied at the London School of Economics.

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.

Scott Schell is the Administrator of the Erie County Land Bank. Scott joined the Erie County Land Bank shortly after its establishment in November of 2011, and has been the organization’s sole employee to date. Before this role Scott worked in City & County government in both Colorado and Ohio and in retail advertising in the New York, Tri-State market. Scott holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder with an emphasis in Psychology. In his spare time he enjoys golf, grilling & smoking on his Weber Kettle grills, and having his heart torn out annually by his beloved New York Mets.

Steve Sharpe is Of Counsel for the National Consumer Law Center half-time focusing on foreclosures and mortgage lending, and works half-time as a Senior Attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, LLC. Steve started his career in 2005 at Indiana Legal Services with a Skadden fellowship focused on representing borrowers with predatory loans.  Steve is a contributing author of the National Consumer Law Center’s Mortgage Servicing and Loan Modifications, Home Foreclosures, and Truth in Lending legal treatises.  He is a cohort member of the Shriver Center’s Racial Justice Institute and a Consumer Fellow with the American Bar Associates Consumer Financial Services Committee. He received his B.A. from the University of Michigan and his J.D. from the Indiana University School of Law in Bloomington.

Dr. Andrew Shepherd serves as the Executive Director and Chief Scientist for Unmanned Aerial Systems at Sinclair College in Dayton, Ohio. With experience in the defense industry and academia focused on modeling and simulation, research, course development, accreditation, instruction, and mentorship, Shepherd offers extensive knowledge in many areas of technology, higher education, and workforce training and development. He serves as the Managing Editor for the Journal of Unmanned Aerial Systems, an Editorial Advisory Board Member for the Two Cultures Journal, the Vice Chairperson of the National Science Foundation Center for UAS Industry Advisory Board, and as a Board Member for the Aviation Trail, a non-profit corporation in partnership with the National Park Service to promote Aviation Heritage in the Dayton region. Named to both Dayton’s top 40 Under 40 in 2014 and top 100 Defense and Aerospace Professionals by the Dayton Business Journal in 2014, 2017, and 2018 Shepherd is an active member of his community and broader aerospace industry.

Tiffany Sokol, HDFP is the Housing Director for the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (YNDC) where she has served in various capacities for the past 7 years. At YNDC, Tiffany leads a team in the development and implementation of all of the organization's housing programming. Tiffany holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Youngstown State University. She is an NCHEC-Certified Housing Counselor and National Development Council Housing Development Finance Professional. In addition to revitalization, Tiffany enjoys long walks in Mill Creek Park with her dog Fiona, kayaking, mentoring neighborhood youth, and making renovations to her historic residence in Youngstown.

Anne Delano Steinert has spent three decades as an educator, preservationist, and historian using buildings to connect the past and present as a path to a better future. She believes that buildings can bring communities together through story-telling and placemaking, and works to help communities uncover and celebrate stories embedded in physical space. Steinert is an urban historian and historic preservationist. She holds a Masters degree in historic preservation from Columbia University and a Masters in urban American history from the University of Cincinnati, where she is currently a doctoral candidate. She is the board chair of Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine Museum and she recently curated the award winning exhibition, Finding Kenyon Barr: Photographs of Cincinnati's Lost Lower West End. Steinert currently teaches local history courses at the University of Cincinnati and The History of Housing in America at Xavier University.

Michelle Venorsky has over 18 years of hybrid social and PR experience, mainly focusing on moms, CPG, OPE and Housewares. Prior to founding Hello, she launched the social marketing practice at Rosetta Publicis, one of the top 5 digital agencies according to AdAge and named #2 customer engagement agency in the world by Forrester. Prior to Rosetta, she spent 10 years at Marcus Thomas in the PR group and helped launch that agency’s social media practice. She once authored the largest food blog in Ohio, is a freelance writer for Forbes Travel, an accredited member of PRSA and a fellow for The Society for New Communications Research.

Curtiss Williams is currently serving as President/CEO of COCIC, The Land Reutilization Corporation of Franklin County (The Franklin County Land Bank). For the past five years Curtiss served as 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 served on the Board of Directors of national, statewide, regional and local organizations. He has a BA from Ohio State University and has completed the curriculum for a Master’s in City and Regional Planning from OSU. He has received his certification as a Housing Development Finance Professional (HDFP) from the National Development Council.

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Western Reserve Land Conservancy works to transform some of the areas hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis by revitalizing and restoring safe, green, vibrant communities. These efforts include our work to support county land banks. Learn more by visiting our website.