Mason Ailstock

Mason Ailstock

With extensive experience in innovation district planning, development and operations, Mason leads the firm’s growing Knowledge Economy Practice from Atlanta, GA.

 
Mason joins HR&A after serving as the Vice President of Operations at The University Financing Foundation (TUFF), a non-profit financing organization based in Atlanta, where he advised on a wide variety of local and international university projects managing assets in excess of $1.5 billion which include innovation districts such as Georgia Tech’s Tech Square in Midtown Atlanta and healthcare networks such as Northwell Health in Manhattan New York. Prior to TUFF, Mason was the Chief Operating Officer at the Research Triangle Park Foundation (RTP) and led the organization’s business development, marketing, real estate, and partnership efforts. Responsible for leading the convergence of higher education including three R1 universities, two community colleges, and a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), Mason championed the redevelopment of RTP as a multi-use innovation destination for the Triangle.
 
With an extensive international network, Mason traveled to Sweden and Saudi Arabia as an Eisenhower Fellow and studied the global evolution of innovation districts and the impacts of place-based design and public-private convergence on their success. Mason is the Past President of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP), Co-Chairman of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) University Development & Innovation Council, and member of the Atlanta ULI Center for Leadership.

Mason holds a BS in Architecture & Design and a Master’s of City & Regional Planning from Clemson University.
 

Jeff Hebert

Jeff is a pioneer of resilience planning and community revitalization. He works with cities around the world to develop strategies that mitigate future social, economic, and physical shocks and stresses.

 

Jeff Hebert is a national expert in the areas of resiliency, redevelopment, equitable and inclusionary growth, and economic development. A city planner by training, his forward-looking and holistic design approach helps urban communities better adapt to changing environments and economies.

For nearly a decade, Jeff served Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the City of New Orleans in many capacities, including as the First Deputy Mayor & Chief Administrative Officer, Chief Resilience Officer, Executive Director of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, and as the Mayor’s blight czar. In these roles he managed the day to day operations of City Hall, tackled the crippling blight issues plaguing New Orleans, refocused over $250M in place-based investments, and oversaw both the City’s development portfolio and the Office of Resilience and Sustainability. Some of Jeff’s most notable accomplishments include the City’s historic riverfront revitalization projects, the redevelopment of the former World Trade Center, the new terminal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans Airport, Lafitte Greenway linear park, the City’s Bike Share program, the City’s green infrastructure program, the City’s first climate action plan, the award-winning Resilient NOLA comprehensive resilience strategy, and the $141M National Disaster Resilience Competition award.

Previously, Jeff served as the Director of Planning for Concordia, where he directed community revitalization projects in the Bay area and Texas as well as the $2 Billion Schools Master Plan in New Orleans. Following the devastation from Hurricane Katrina, Jeff was appointed the Director of Community Planning for the Louisiana Recovery Authority, where he directed the state’s long-term recovery strategy. Jeff began his career working with community development organizations in New York City and Philadelphia.

Jeff joins HR&A from the Water Institute of the Gulf, where he served as Vice President. While at the Water Institute, Jeff led a transdisciplinary team to develop innovative adaptation solutions for the complex climate challenges confronting cities. In addition to his role as Partner at HR&A, Jeff is an adjunct faculty member at the Tulane University School of Architecture, where he teaches in the Graduate Sustainable Real Estate Development program, the incoming Vice Chairman of FUSE Corps in San Francisco, and a trustee of the Louisiana Children’s Museum in New Orleans.

Jeff holds a bachelor’s degree from New York University, a master’s degree in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is a graduate of the Achieving Excellence in Community Development program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where he was a Ford Foundation Fellow.

Jose Serrano-McClain

Jose Serrano-McClain brings expertise in urban innovation, technology policy, and community economic development.

 
As a leader in the HR&A’s Inclusive Cities and Urban Tech & Innovation practices, Jose works across the country with municipal governments, economic development organizations, technology companies and foundations that are seeking to play catalytic roles in regional economic transformations that are grounded in equity, sustainability, and next-generation public infrastructure. His work includes a rigorous focus on the roles that municipal governance, civic participation, and political transitions play in shaping economic transitions.
 
Prior to joining HR&A, he was Program Director of NYCx for the NYC Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer, where he led the creation of an urban innovation R&D program that convenes community-based organizations, technology companies, academic partners, and city agencies to collaborate on design of smart infrastructure, new technologies and business models that help the city achieve its ambitious strategic goals for resilience, sustainability, and economic equity. Before joining City government, Jose worked on macroeconomic analysis and financial regulations at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Jose has also worked as a community organizer on behalf of vulnerable immigrant communities in Queens NY equitable public space and transportation policy reforms, and he co-founded a social enterprise to support the arts, creative development, and social innovation.
 
Jose earned his Master of Fine arts from Queens College and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Pennsylvania.

Danny Fuchs

Danny integrates technology with city building and specializes in managing complex and creative urban development initiatives.

 
Danny bridges the gap between urbanists and technologists when it comes to infrastructure, real estate, planning, and economic development. With deep experience in both the public and private sectors, he has shaped and managed large-scale capital investment programs and district development strategies; led the development of government data products and digital tools; and designed and implemented organizational changes that foster innovation and efficiency in government.

Most recently, Danny served as Founding Director of the Capital Planning Division of the New York City Department of City Planning (NYCDCP), where he was responsible for integrating new technologies and data-driven approaches into the City’s capital planning and budget-making process across nearly two dozen agencies. In this role, he:

  • Conceived and led the development of the Capital Planning Platform, a new civic technology and government efficiency initiative utilizing free and open source software. The platform includes the NYC Facilities Explorer, and its core mapping technology is increasingly being used for other applications.
  • Led the integration of capital planning into neighborhood planning, ensuring that the City complements changes to zoning with investments that can catalyze and accommodate growth, as with the $250+ million East New York Community Plan. Danny also led the creation, design, and management of a $1 billion Neighborhood Development Fund to support this work.
  • Jointly developed the City of New York’s $95.85 billion Ten-Year Capital Strategy, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget.
  • Supported the design and creation of NYC Planning Labs, a new division of the Department of City Planning that embraces open technology, agile development, and user-centered design to build impactful products with NYC’s urban planners.
  • Served as Co-Chair of the Core Infrastructure and Services Task Force for OneNYC, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan for a strong and just city.

 
Prior to NYCDCP, Danny was a Principal at HR&A Advisors, where he:

 
Working at the nexus of economics, public policy, technology, planning, and design has allowed Danny to serve as a trusted advisor to senior leaders in government, real estate, and nonprofits. As Managing Partner of HR&A’s New York Office, he is also working to grow HR&A as a place for brilliant professionals to shape the future of urban life.

Danny has been a guest lecturer at Columbia University, New York University, Yale University, and numerous conferences and community events across the country. He holds a Bachelor of Arts with distinction in Architecture and Urban Studies from Yale University.

Andrea Batista Schlesinger

Andrea Batista Schlesinger and her Inclusive Cities practice works to make cities more just and equitable. Working for visionary clients from grassroots activists to elected City and County leaders, Andrea designs strategies that center racial equity and economic justice. Her practice aims to be the bridge between intention and implementation, translating victories for justice into the systems change required to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.

 
As a former leader in government, think tanks, philanthropy and political campaigns, Andrea uniquely understands the capacity and role of government, advocacy, and philanthropy in making cities just and dynamic places. Since joining the firm in 2017, Andrea and her team have taken on projects that disrupt the traditional processes of economic development, lead to greater political power for marginalized communities, increase accountability of local governments, and institutionalize mechanisms for more just and equitable cities.
 

Equitable Economic Development

 
Andrea helps disrupt traditional approaches to economic development by centering equity as their goal, and equipping community members with the understanding to coopt the tools of economic development to advance a new vision for their cities.
 
In Dallas, TX Andrea advised the Trinity Park Conservancy on real estate investments and program strategies to leverage a $150M park investment to benefit neighboring communities where decades of discriminatory city policies hindered wealth creation and created conditions for high poverty and displacement. Our Equitable Development Toolkit recommends tactics to prevent involuntary displacement, create opportunity neighborhoods, protect cultural heritage, promote wealth creation and community ownership, and establish equitable policies and practices for park management and operations. The Conservancy’s early investments and partnerships with the City of Dallas and community groups are being guided by these recommendations.
 
In Pittsburgh, PA Andrea and her team advised a grassroots coalition, the Economic Justice Circle (EJC), on the development of a campaign to disrupt the status quo in economic development by demanding transparent, equitable and accountable City budgeting. Andrea’s team led an analysis of Pittsburgh’s existing and proposed capital and operating budgets and supported the EJC in raising concerns about the budget’s impacts on Black and Latinx Pittsburghers to Mayor Peduto, members of City Council, and civic leaders.
 

Systemic Change

 
Andrea’s work within criminal legal systems is predicated on the notion that in order for any locality to be serious about equitable economic development, it must grapple with the history of policy, program, and practice that built and continues to use oppressive physical structures and community supervision to target Black people and residents of color. Andrea’s work in criminal justice reform includes:

  • Leading a feasibility analysis and implementation strategy for the City of Philadelphia in deploying neighborhood resource centers (“NRCs”), which are neighborhood-based one-stop centers that will offer holistic education, workforce, and other social services for justice-involved populations.
  • Working with the philanthropy of Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City, Andrea is working to address the challenges presented by inadequate access to safe housing for those involved with the criminal legal system and who are being released from Rikers Island due to COVID-19.
  • Working with the NoVo Foundation in New York City to support the proposed conversion of a former women’s prison into The Women’s Building, an inclusive meeting and community space for women of all backgrounds.

Andrea advises cities and philanthropies on strategies for building the autonomy, creativity, and accountability of municipal governments through public banking. She led a public bank feasibility study for the City of Seattle, which was then seeking to divest itself from Wells Fargo. For the Open Society Foundations, Andrea led a series of industry conversations to understand how public banking could support shared ownership and economic democracy. She is currently working with the City of Philadelphia to evaluate the feasibility of establishing and operating a public bank to support small local businesses.
 
Economic development decisionmakers frequently use “workforce development” as a proxy for strategies that attract and retain new residents to fill jobs in high-growth sectors like tech. Andrea’s work challenges this assumption – she seeks to build workforce programs that tap into the skills and drive of existing residents, many of who face unemployment and poverty due to a lack of access to education and discrimination. She helped expand the Skillful Initiative for the Markle Foundation in the states of Colorado and Indiana, an effort to change how employers hire and career coaches advise so that jobseekers without college degrees can connect to quality jobs. For the Bronx-based non-profit, HERE to HERE, Andrea’s team conducted a feasibility study for the long-term operations of an employer coalition dedicated to the development of young talent in the Bronx. HR&A’s efforts for HERE to HERE led to the formal launch of the Bronx Private Industry Council in May 2019.
 

Visionary Leadership

 
Andrea helps visionary leaders fulfill their aspirations: Supporting the historic transition plan for Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo – the first woman and first Latina to hold this position in the largest county in Texas. Provided strategic guidance on Judge Hidalgo’s first 100 Days policy agenda, which included launching “Talking Transition,” one of the most expansive government-led public engagement initiatives in Harris County’s history. Over 11,000 people participated in the survey and over 1,600 attended events to provide their stories, ideas, and perspectives. Thousands of residents were engaged to inform the new administration’s policy priorities in its first year and, in doing so, the initiative has catalyzed a growing network of relationships between County government and hundreds of experts, activists, and community leaders throughout the region – in total 200+ organizations were involved.
 
Andrea also designed and executed a pioneering mayoral exchange program to support Puerto Rico’s recovery after Hurricane Maria, pairing 27 Puerto Rican mayors with U.S. mainland mayors to facilitate the exchange of disaster recovery best practices. The program not only equipped Puerto Rico’s mayors with an unprecedented direct line to counterparts for advice, consultation, and sharing of technical expertise to address fiscal, economic, and rebuilding challenges; but also leveraged the Exchange-matches to establish visibility and urgency behind support for Puerto Rico on the U.S. mainland. The Exchange led to the formation of La Liga de Ciudades de Puerto Rico, a first-of-its-kind nonpartisan platform for mayoral collaboration, launched in November 2018. La Liga is designed to unite mayors in creating a community-focused strategy for Puerto Rico’s long-term reconstruction and beyond.
 
Andrea regularly works with foundations to help devise strategies for impact, from the Ford Foundation’s efforts to advance a bold, progressive housing agenda at the national level in 2020, to the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation’s work to identify a grantmaking strategy for affordable and supportive housing in New York. Her work with Ford was rooted in a recognition of the significant role that federal housing policy and funding regimes have played in directly creating and reinforcing racial divides in this country—and the opportunity afforded by the 2020 elections to ensure that housing justice and equitable development are prioritized in national policy discussions. On behalf of Ford, she led a team in surfacing prevailing norms, emerging policy platforms, and existing power dynamics to inform strategy recommendations for Ford in 2020. As a direct result of this work, Ford is investing $1 million in a housing transition “playbook” that will leverage a potential turnover in administrations to advance housing reforms that center racial and economic justice. For the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation HR&A’s analysis and recommendations equipped the Cabrini Foundation with a newfound, nuanced understanding of the state of affordable and supportive housing in New York, which enabled them to thoughtfully select an ideal strategy based on evident need, the foundation’s own core capabilities/values, and the maximum potential for impact.
 
Andrea has led numerous executive searches, always for clients with whom we are trusted partners. Our team, led by Andrea, excels in our deep, targeted searches because we are not a search firm, which we view as our greatest strength. We only conduct searches for clients with whom we have a close and substantive relationship, and our searches are always an extension of these strategic relationships. We apply what we know about our clients to searches, rather than trying to get to know them through a search. We understand the landscape they operate in – not just the Board of an organization, but their funders, competitors, stakeholders, influencers, and their institutional challenges, vision, and goals. What this means in practice is that we have done our homework long before we have been engaged for a search. We know what candidates will have to implement because we played a role in helping shape it. We argue that this is why the searches that we have conducted have been so successful.
 
This was true for La Liga, a brand-new organization whose effectiveness would be entirely reliant on its credibility from “day one,” and an organization we had helped build. In the case of HERE to HERE (H2H), the deep knowledge of the organization that we had built in executing a feasibility study for a Bronx Private Industry Council (Bronx PIC), to be housed within it, led us to recruit a leader for the PIC over an intensive ten-week search period. Andrea applied her executive search experience to inject new and diverse voices into the federal housing policy landscape, conducting the search for a Senior Fellow to lead the housing transition playbook project on behalf of the Ford Foundation.
 

COVID-19 Pandemic

 
In response to communities grappling with the disparate impacts of COVID-19, Andrea and the Inclusive Cities practice have supported public and non-profit partners in advancing a just and resilient recovery from the pandemic:

  • For the City of New York City, HR&A is analyzing the most strategic potential market for and a fund to capitalize the conversion of small and mid-market businesses to worker owned cooperative enterprises. We are identifying which businesses would be best to target as we brace for the small business closings anticipated in the recovery from COVID-19, and see conversion as a chance to keep businesses serving communities, preserve jobs, and provide the opportunity for African-American and Latinx workers to build wealth.
  • HR&A is working with the philanthropy of Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City to address the challenges presented by inadequate access to safe housing for those involved with the criminal legal system and who are being released from Rikers Island due to COVID-19.
  • HR&A is working with the Economic Justice Circle in Pittsburgh, PA to support their advocacy for the equitable distribution of COVID recovery funds. HR&A is analyzing how stimulus funds have been distributed to date and which funding resources remain at the State, County, and City levels that can support minority-owned businesses, tenants at risk of eviction, universal COVID-19 testing, healthcare access, and re-entry services and housing for individuals recently released from jail.
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    City Government, Foundation, and Non-Profit Leadership

     
    Prior to joining HR&A, Andrea served as Deputy Director of the United States Program of the Open Society Foundations (OSF), George Soros’ global philanthropy, where she managed program operations and grant-making portfolios including investments to advance equitable economic development in Southern cities. Her projects included efforts to tackle state preemption of local laws, raise the minimum wage, improve the wages and working conditions of childcare workers, and support progressive local elected officials throughout the country. While at OSF, Andrea also launched the innovative civic engagement initiative, “Talking Transition.” Previously, Andrea also served as a Special Advisor to New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, where she coordinated the Young Men’s Initiative a $130 million comprehensive package of policy reform and programmatic initiatives designed to reduce the disparities challenging young African American and Latino males. In addition, Andrea led the process to prohibit City agencies from asking about an applicant’s criminal history on initial job application documents or in the initial interview, as well as limit criminal history considerations to felony convictions, unsealed misdemeanor convictions, and pending charges. Andrea’s work in this function led to New York City’s first Executive Order to “ban the box.” For nearly ten years, Andrea ran the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, a think tank founded during the civil rights movement by advisors to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
     
    Andrea received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy from the University of Chicago and holds Masters degrees in History from Columbia University and the London School of Economics, where she focused her studies on how global cities have constructed their responses to inequality during the latter half of the 20th century.

Jonathan Meyers

Returning to HR&A after ten years in the public sector, Jon brings a practical perspective to public-private development challenges.

 

Jon has deep experience advising public and private sector clients on the financing and implementation of complex real estate projects.  With a dedicated focus on economic impact measurement and analysis, he is able to develop sound and effective strategies for deploying public-private partnerships.

In 2016, Jon returned to HR&A after serving as the Chief Operating Officer of the Trust for Governors Island, where he was responsible for capital projects, operations, and finance for a complex redevelopment project in New York Harbor.

During his initial tenure at HR&A, Jon was instrumental in creating an economic rationale for the re-use of the High Line in New York City.  He led HR&A’s efforts to estimate the impact of saving the High Line as a public open space as an alternative to demolishing the historic structure. Jon also served as the project manager for HR&A’s work creating economic development strategies for downtown Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio.

Following September 11, 2001, Jon managed the firm’s work to support recovery efforts with the Alliance for Lower Manhattan. He surveyed residents and evaluated potential market demand for new retail uses, and worked with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to estimate the economic impact associated with a variety of proposed transportation and infrastructure investments.

Jon holds a Masters in Business Administration from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from Dartmouth College.

Bob Geolas

For over 20 years, Bob has worked with academic institutions, government and private industry to advance the missions of top research and technology campuses for greater public impact.

 

Bob Geolas is a nationally-recognized leader in the development of innovation districts, university campuses, and research parks. As the Partner in charge of our Raleigh office, Bob brings his vision of placemaking as a public service to HR&A, working with clients to deliver economic growth and real estate strategies that enhance assets and communities.

Prior to joining HR&A, Bob served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Research Triangle Foundation, the steward organization for the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. As President, he led the master planning effort to reshape Research Triangle Park, ensuring its place at the forefront of technology and applied science, while also serving its historic mission to support the universities and create opportunities for all North Carolinians. Previously, Bob helped to create one of the country’s most successful public-private research and development campuses as Executive Director of the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research.

Bob has received several awards for his work to further the missions of institutions, including the Vision Award from the International Association of University Research Parks, Alumni of the Year Award from North Carolina State University, College of Humanities and Social Science and the Triangle Top 20 CEO of the Year Award from the Triangle Business Journal.

Candace Damon

Candace Damon has devoted her 30-year career to crafting sustainable urban redevelopment strategies in cities across North America.

 

Her specific areas of expertise include supporting master planning efforts for large-scale revitalizations, ensuring the long-term viability of urban open space, leading organizational planning for non-profits and institutions, and addressing the financial challenges of making commercial and multifamily residential buildings energy efficient. Candace also specializes in engineering successful strategies for downtown and waterfront redevelopment across the country.

Candace creates innovative development strategies for signature open spaces, and devises funding frameworks to balance operations and maintenance requirements.

She created a development strategy for Brooklyn Bridge Park; an operations and maintenance plan for Shelby Farms in Memphis, and a revenue generation strategy for a renewed waterfront in Seattle following the removal of an expressway. Most recently, Candace evaluated the economic, environmental, and social benefits created by the Dallas Park System, one of the largest park systems in the United States.

Candace engineers successful strategies for downtown and waterfront redevelopment throughout the country.

In Philadelphia, Candace provided an award-winning phasing and parcelization plan to revitalize Penn’s Landing on the Delaware River Waterfront. She developed programs to attract, capture, and grow tech companies within the Brooklyn Tech Triangle by incentivizing commercial landlords to configure appropriate leases and spaces for tech tenants. Additionally, Candace advised the repositioning of Atlanta’s Tax Allocation District Program to support the City’s broader economic development goals and stimulate job creation. Candace has also developed successful strategies for Brooklyn, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Greensboro, Charlotte, Memphis, San Diego, and Toronto.

Candace helps clients realize the competitive advantage gained by investments in energy efficiency and creates strategies to protect communities from the destructive effects of climate change.

After convening the leaders of New York’s commercial real estate industry to discuss multiple stakeholder’s sustainability priorities, Candace developed standard green lease language designed to reward investments in energy efficiency, which is now used in all commercial office lease negotiations for space occupied by the City of New York. She has also designed programs and policy for the New York State Research and Development Authority, and directed the multi-disciplinary effort to develop the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Energy Efficiency Lease Guidance for commercial owners and tenants. Candace guided the development of New Orleans’ citywide resilience strategy, which leverages investments in resilient infrastructure to foster economic development and improve social equity.

Candace advises a variety of non-profit organizations on partnership opportunities, sustainable business planning, and real estate strategies to advance organizational mission and vision.

Candace prepared a real estate strategy for the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 600,000 square feet expansion of rehearsal, performance, gallery, and exhibition space.  She also planned for the revitalization of Peavey Plaza in Minneapolis on behalf of the Minnesota Orchestral Association. Ten years ago, Candace united six independent Brooklyn organizations – the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn Public Library, Prospect Park Alliance and Prospect Park Zoo – to create a new community partnership, the Heart of Brooklyn, for the purpose of collaborating on initiatives, and sharing resources. Candace designed its governance structure, framed its goals, and recommended an implementation strategy that drew immediate foundation interest and financial support. Since its formation, Heart of Brooklyn has undertaken a dynamic set of projects that have increased the vitality of Brooklyn’s central public institutions, strengthened local businesses and attracted new entrepreneurs.

Candace is a member of the Board of the City Parks Alliance and the Urban Green Council, a founding partner of G. Works. She is also a member of the New York City YMCA Real Estate Advisory Committee, and a member of the Advisory Board and President Emeritus of the Atlantic Avenue Local Development Corporation.  She received the Women of Influence Award from the Real Estate Forum in 2008. Prior to joining HR&A in 1988, Candace worked as a Real Estate Associate at Webster & Sheffield, a Research Associate at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, and as an analyst at the New York City Office of Management and Budget. Candace holds a Bachelor of Arts from Amherst College and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.

Phillip Kash

Phillip Kash is a nationally recognized practitioner and thought leader on housing affordability, and resilience and recovery.

 
A leading expert on urban policy, Phillip works across the country to address two of the most pressing challenges facing cities today: housing affordability and resilience and recovery. He works with local governments, community advocates and private stakeholders to develop strategic frameworks to establish priorities and approaches; designs programs and policies to achieve public policy goals; and advises on the implementation of projects.
 
As a leader of HR&A’s affordable housing practice, Phillip focuses on improving housing affordability in American cities through comprehensive strategies that integrate land use policy, public funding, and tenants’ rights. He has worked with dozens of local governments in the past four years to develop and implement affordable housing plans. This includes the development of comprehensive affordable housing plans to guide local governments as they grapple with the growing challenge of affordability. Recently he has worked with Detroit, MI on a Multifamily Housing Strategy, with El Paso, TX on a Regional Housing Plan and with Wake County, NC on an Affordable Housing Plan that dedicates $75M in local funding to affordable housing over the next five years.
 
As part of his work, Phillip also advises on the development of specific affordable housing programs and policies. This includes an inclusionary zoning policy and short-term rental affordability policy in New Orleans, LA, as well as the design of single-family rehabilitation, multifamily gap financing and emergency rental assistance programs for the Housing Opportunity Fund on behalf of the Urban Redevelopment Authority. He lead the development of a housing affordability calculator that evaluates the impact of local policies on housing affordability and production for Seattle, Portland, and Charlotte. He advised on Norfolk, VA’s successful Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant application to redevelop Saint Paul’s Area and undertake a People First strategy that focused on the needs of public housing residents.
 
Phillip’s work on resilience and recovery began in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina and has continued in other cities across the country. He advised the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority on the development of disaster recovery programs that successfully revitalized neighborhoods and commercial corridors throughout the city. Phillip joined HR&A in 2015 to help lead the delivery of technical assistance to states and local governments throughout the country as part of the National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC). From 2015-2016, he led a multidisciplinary team of engineers, climate scientists, and landscape architects to develop Climate Ready Boston, a comprehensive climate adaptation plan for the city and its regional systems that won the Gold National Planning Achievement Award from APA. He advised on financing, development, and governance strategies for the Ohio Creek Watershed Transformation project in Norfolk, VA, and the Gentilly Resilience District in New Orleans, and the Ilse de Jean Resettlement Project effort in Southern Louisiana. Following Hurricane Michael, he lead the development of an Economic Recovery Plan for Panama City, FL that lead to reinvestment in the city’s urban core, historic neighborhoods and commercial corridors.
 
Prior to joining HR&A, Phillip worked at Enterprise Community Partners where he advised on affordable housing, nonprofit business planning, neighborhood revitalization and resilient recovery programs. As a Director, he provided technical assistance to local governments and nonprofits nationwide; designed and implemented programs; and advised on affordable housing development projects. Several of his technical assistance engagements were part of HUD’s One Community Planning and Development program and the National Resource Network.
 
Phillip volunteers with All Souls Housing Corporation to support and preserve the affordability of Columbia Heights Village, a 400-unit development in the heart of DC. He holds a Master’s in City and Regional Planning and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
 

Kate Wittels

Kate focuses on how to best shape places, train people, and deliver infrastructure to prepare today’s cities for tomorrow’s opportunities.

 

Kate advises governments, developers, and businesses on leveraging technology and forging connections to create districts, workforces, and economies that are ready for the future. From New York to Sydney, she has structured strategic plans, public-private partnerships, policies, and programs to help her clients grow tech and innovation ecosystems in cities around the world.

Working at the company, district, and city scales, Kate helps her clients leverage technology for economic development.  At the company scale, Kate’s clients include some of the leading tech and creative companies including Airbnb, WeWork, LinkNYC, and the Motion Picture Association of America. Kate authored the seminal study on the New York City Tech Ecosystem, which demonstrated the size and depth of New York’s tech talent pool and supported many of the city’s tech-focused economic development initiatives.  At the district scale, Kate guided the development of the Brooklyn Tech Triangle Strategic Plan which is credited with fueling Brooklyn’s growth as a tech hub and established the development framework for the Providence  Innovation and Design District Framework. At the city scale, Kate supported the City University of New York’s efforts to expand the number of students working in the tech ecosystem.

Kate has also managed many of HR&A’s most complex projects including the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s 200-acre Sunnyside Yard Overbuild Feasibility study; MTA and Westfield’s public-private management partnership of the $1.4 billion Fulton Center; and David Beckham’s efforts to develop an MLS soccer stadium in Miami.

Prior to joining HR&A, Kate served as a Director of Corporate Real Estate for Sony where she managed real estate acquisitions, dispositions, and lease activity for various business groups for a portfolio that included 20 million square feet of retail, office, industrial and manufacturing. Kate earned a Master of Science in Real Estate Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.