EcoDistricts Faculty

We collaborate with industry practitioners and other NGOs to expand our impact and engage more deeply to help cities and projects advance district and neighborhood scale sustainability. EcoDistricts Faculty are a go-to group of experts for trainings, workshops, and consulting services. Faculty have deep expertise in core areas of EcoDistricts formation and support the EcoDistricts Accelerator.

Together, we bring a combined 50+ years of experience in advancing neighborhood scale sustainability projects with a focus on collaborative governance, community engagement, social equity, resiliency, green infrastructure, affordable housing, sustainable development, placemaking, urban planning and public policy.

Nwamaka Agbo, Nwamaka Agbo Consulting

Restorative Economics practitioner, Nwamaka Agbo, brings a solutions-oriented approach to her project management consulting. With a background in organizing, electoral campaigns, policy and advocacy on racial, social and environmental justice issues, Nwamaka supports projects that build resilient, healthy and self-determined communities rooted in shared prosperity. In addition to her consulting practice, Nwamaka is also a Senior Fellow at the Movement Strategy Center and a 2017 Fellow for the RSF Integrated Capital Fellowship Program. Nwamaka previously served as the Director of Programs at EcoDistricts leading Target Cities—a program to support 11 neighborhood-scale sustainable urban regeneration projects across North American committed to equitable economic development. She graduated from UC Davis with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and African American Studies and holds a Master’s of Public Administration specializing in Financial Management from San Francisco State University.

Eliot Allen, Principal, Criterion Planners

Eliot Allen is an urban planner and co-creator of the EcoDistricts Certified program. A principal of Criterion Planners of Portland Oregon, he specializes in using sustainability metrics and appraisal systems to advance neighborhood climate protection. In the past decade, Criterion-planned and implemented projects have saved over five billion pounds of GHG emissions. Eliot is a co-creator of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, low-carbon built environment advisor for the Sustainable SITES and STAR Community rating systems, indicator consultant for the Catalytic Communities Sustainable Favela project, and education provider for and Eliot’s urban sustainability indicators work has earned the EPA Climate Protection Award for the Chula Vista Climate Protection Plan, the CNU Charter Award for the SmartCode, and the APA Sustainable Communities Award for the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan.

Irwin Lowenstein, President, ReThink Advisors, Inc. RA, LEED AP, EcoDistricts AP

Irwin is the founder and President of ReThink Advisors, a Cleveland-based strategic, consultancy that lives at the intersection of purpose-driven urban design, planning, architecture, sustainability and resilience. A registered architect with over 35 years of professional experience, Irwin earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree at Carnegie Mellon University. Irwin has special expertise working with clients in the non-profit, government and institutional sectors and he closely collaborates with the leadership of anchor institutions, urban innovation districts, campuses, foundations and mayors who are planning, building and leveraging strategic investments. With a focus on legacy cities, Irwin brings cross-sector experience in urban design, planning, architecture and development to realize large-scale redevelopment projects on behalf of his clients, including Case Western Reserve University, MetroHealth Systems, and the City of Lakewood.

Christine Mondor, Principal, evolveEA

Christine has been active in shaping places, processes and organizations nationally and internationally through her work as an architect, educator, and activist. As strategic Principal of evolveEA and a registered architect, Christine brings creative and strategic solutions to diverse projects. Christine has taught architecture, landscape design and sustainability concepts at Carnegie Mellon University, Slippery Rock University, and Chatham College. She serves as Chair of the Pittsburgh Planning Commission, President for the Green Building Alliance Board of Directors, is a member of the Global Ecodistricts Protocol Advisory Committee, the Penn State University Stuckeman School Advisory Board, and is former Board Chair at the Design Center of Pittsburgh. She has been recognized by Pittsburgh Magazine with a Women in Business Award. She is a LEED Accredited Professional.

Pete Munoz, Senior Engineer, Biohabitats

Pete Munoz is a licensed engineer. Pete has been lucky enough to work with some of the most influential green built projects in the United States to create inspirational infrastructure and assist reconnecting our communities with what makes them work. With degrees in Biosystems, Civil and Environmental Engineering has been asked to speak around the country on a variety of topics including green infrastructure, regenerative design, and climate change solutions. Pete is a partner in the Alliance for Regeneration and he teaches several water related courses at Yestermorrow Design/Build in Warren, Vermont, and Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York.

Donzell Robinson, Chief Operating Officer Justice and Sustainability Associates

As COO of Justice and Sustainability Associates, Donzell provides day-to-day leadership and management of JSA’s daily operations. Donzell Robinson has established a distinguished career as a nationally recognized ADR professional. Donzell has designed, convened, and facilitated multi-party problem solving interactions to resolve public policy problems of mutual interest. Donzell has served as President, of the Association of Conflict Resolution, the leading organization for professionals in dispute resolution field. With this experience Donzell brings an encyclopedic knowledge of international best practices in mediation, facilitation and community engagement.

Meghan Venable-Thomas, Cultural Resilience Program Director, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.

Meghan is the Cultural Resilience Program Director managing the Climate and Cultural Resilience Program at Enterprise Community Partners. She has a background in public health focused on increasing health equity, strategies for community based participatory research, and tools for advancing creativity and culture. With over 10 years of military experience developing and implementing strategies, building programs, and leading teams, she is now focusing on ways to improve social determinants of health in the United States and abroad. She maintains her military service as a Major in the Massachusetts Army National Guard providing Sexual Assault Prevention Coordination, directing programs, training, and victim advocacy around Sexual Assault prevention. Meghan holds a master’s degree in Public Health Management from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree from United States Military Academy (USMA).

Naomi Cole, EcoDistricts AP, LEED AP

Naomi has a diverse background in urban sustainability and development in both the non-profit and private sectors. She is a skilled manager and facilitator and brings over 15 years of experience in delivering projects and programs to public, private and community clients. Naomi has a long history with all EcoDistricts programs, as EcoDistricts Program Director for the Portland Sustainability Institute and Vice President of Programs for EcoDistricts. Her professional experience includes roles at ZGF Architects, PECI/CLEAResult, and Konstrukt. She studied architecture, environmental studies and urban studies at the University of Pennsylvania and Real Estate at Portland State University. Naomi is a native Portlander and lives in a net zero energy home in which she makes jewelry, bakes cakes, and speaks to her toddler in Italian.

Steven Baumgartner, Principal, SMITHGROUP

Steven Baumgartner leads Urban Systems and Infrastructure Strategy for SmithGroup. He specializes in integrated infrastructure planning, energy strategy, and sustainability framework development and implementation. Steven has a rich history of creating unique solutions to assist his clients in meeting their high-performance, economic, and strategic missions across scales. He lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA and supports several local initiatives.  Steven is also on Van Alen Institute’s Climate Council and ULI’s Sustainable Development Council. Steven is a licensed professional engineer, an EcoDistricts Accredited Professional, and a Certified Energy Manager (CEM) by the Association of Energy Engineers. In addition, he is a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council and an ASHRAE High-Performance Building Design Professional (HBDP).

Walker Wells AICP, LEED AP and Green Rater, EcoDistricts AP Principal, Raimi + Associates

Mr. Wells is a Principal at Raimi+Associates, a mission-driven urban planning and sustainability consultancy. He works with cities, neighborhoods, and community development organizations across the country to further green building and sustainable development practices through technical guidance, stakeholder facilitation, and development of innovative policies and programs. Walker is a certified urban planner, a LEED Accredited Professional and a Green Rater and a lecturer in Green Urbanism at the Claremont Colleges and the UCLA Urban Planning Program. Mr. Wells is a 2013 Fulbright Fellow with the Royal Institute of Technology Urban Planning Program in Stockholm, a 2012 Pritzker Fellow at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, and co-author of the 2007 book Blueprint for Greening Affordable Housing. He served as an appointed member of the State of California Green Building Code Advisory Committee from 2010-2014.

Steve Brigham, Public Engagement Associates

Steve Brigham has been a leader in the public engagement field over the past eighteen years, first in his role as COO and then President of AmericaSpeaks, and now as one of three principals in Public Engagement Associates. In that time, he has led or managed more than 150 public and stakeholder engagement projects in project design, public meeting design, and large and small group facilitation.

Nationally and internationally, his client projects have included World Economic Forum, The Belgian Biodiversity Platform, Clinton Global Initiative, the National Summit to Defend Democracy, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the Center for Advancing Social Entrepreneurship, and a national youth obesity initiative.  In the Washington, DC area, he has led engagement projects with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, the Washington D.C. Mayor’s Office, WMATA, Prince George’s County, Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and the NoMa Parks Foundation. Steve is the author of Prince George’s Rising: Strategies for Equitable Prosperity and Development.

Jo Danko, Managing Director, City Solutions, Jacobs

Jo Danko is a chemical and environmental engineer with extensive experience in waste minimization, energy efficiency, by-product synergy and extensive water treatment and reuse. He works to integrate social values into infrastructure projects. One of the best approaches is implementing workforce development proactively and inclusively at the start of all projects. The approach is grounded in working with local non-profits and other minority led firms that represent the culture and voice of communities, combined with integrating a proactive and proven workforce development process that delivers accountable performance demonstrating employing previously unemployed and under-employed members of communities with long term sustainable employment. Jo currently leads City Solutions for Jacobs, where he leads development and implementation of projects and programs in resilience, urban development and smart cities for cities and communities around the world. He was instrumental in creating Jacob’s approach to helping cities attract business and investment, integrate technology to drive efficiencies and create accessible, vibrant communities where people want to live and work.

Edward Hill, Principal, Urban Civic Group West

Edward is co-founder and Principal at Urban Civic Group West and has served as EcoDistricts Incubator faculty since 2015. With a strong background in local, regional, national  land use, placemaking, environmental justice, and equity-based community development, Hill works with range of clients that includes municipal offices, neighborhood-centered private sector, not-for-profit organizations, and international NGOs. His experience includes leadership and staffing in regional non-profit and for-profit offices which provides a keen and creative ability to navigate within and between a diversity of development entities, community-based organizations, community stakeholders, and government agencies. Hill completed work at The Evergreen State College-Tacoma, course work at the University of Washington’s College of Built Environment for graduate studies in Urban Planning and Design, and is currently EcoDistricts AP Certified.

Carrie Niemy, Program Officer, Enterprise Community Partners

Carrie Dancy Niemy is the Program Officer for the National Design Team at Enter­prise Community Partners. She directs the award-winning Affordable Housing Design Leadership Institute and is responsible for scaling the adoption of human-centered design in the affordable housing ecosystem through the development of simple, user-driven tools and programs. Prior to joining the Enterprise team, Carrie served as the Executive Director of East Somerville Main Streets where she established their cultural economic development and placemaking strategy. Carrie holds an MBA focused in marketing and strategy from Boston University and a BS from Union College.

May So, Senior Associate, Mithun

May is a mission-driven architect with 21 years’ experience leading urban mixed-use projects connecting people with each other and their environments to create sustainable, socially equitable cities. She brings extensive experience as a leader of multidisciplinary teams delivering complex, large-scale, civically significant and sustainable mixed-use office, high-rise residential and higher education projects from design through construction. She is inspired by the transformative power of design to address urban challenges with a human-centered lens. She speaks on urban topics including affordable housing, cross-sector collaboration and inclusive cities, and has been active on social welfare non-profit boards. She is a registered architect in British Columbia, Canada and a Senior Associate at Mithun, a national multidisciplinary design firm dedicated to creating positive change in people’s lives with offices in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. She sits on the board of the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict Steering Committee.

Anna Rosenblum, Senior Project Manager, EvolveEA

As senior project manager at evolveEA, Anna’s contributions to design and consulting projects have drawn from her diverse skill set and thorough knowledge, developed through a remarkable mix of project experience and academic research. Anna brings a holistic perspective to evolveEA’s WELL and LEED consulting, as well as technical knowledge of sustainable operating systems. She specializes in sustainability consulting for existing buildings, stakeholder engagement design and urban design, including high-performing communities such as Ecodistricts. Several projects for which Anna served as project manager have won planning and design awards. Anna earned her Master of Science in Sustainable Design from Carnegie Mellon University, and a Bachelor of Architecture from Carnegie Mellon. She is a LEED Accredited Professional, is certified in building performance benchmarking, is SEED Accredited (Social, Economic, and Environmental Design), is Living Futures Accredited (ILFI), and is also an EcoDistricts Accredited Professional.