Below are speaker bios for the 2017 State Planning Conference, generally listed in order of their appearance on the conference agenda. Additions and revisions are actively being made to this list as available.

Marianne Cufone
Director of Recirculating Farms Coalition

Marianne is an environmental attorney and long time conservation and healthy affordable food advocate. She works in natural resources management, focused on threatened species, oceans, fisheries, food and farming. Over the past 17 years she has challenged and helped write and pass many significant federal, state and local policies and laws. As founder and Executive Director of the Recirculating Farms Coalition, Marianne promotes innovative, eco-efficient farms USING naturally-cleaned water to grow accessible, affordable, fresh food.

Brooke Boudreaux
Circle Food Store

Brooke serves as the Operating and Business Development Manager of her family's business, the Circle Food Store. Established in 1938 as the first African-American owned full service grocery store in New Orleans, the Circle Food Store is dedicated to providing fresh food and service at reasonable prices. Located in the meeting of Treme and Gentilly neighborhoods, Circle knows the “old” New Orleans and, though closed for eight years by Katrina, has reopened and is embracing the “new” New Orleans like no other grocer in town. Ms Boudreaux has a BA in Media Studies and a MA in Integrated Marketing Communications.

Mike Kantor
Grow Dat Youth Farm

A native of New York’s Hudson Valley, Mike grew up with a single growing season and a pair of ice skates. Mike is a fundraiser, marketer, and most importantly, an anti-poverty and food justice advocate. At Grow Dat, he works to build a community of participants and investors in a vision for youth leadership development grounded in the meaningful work of growing food.

Traci BirchTraci Birch, PhD, AICP
Assistant Professor - Research, Coastal Sustainability Studio

Traci works with the Coastal Sustainability Studio (CSS) at LSU as an Assistant Research Professor, and leads projects related to strengthening coastal and environmental planning. Her particular focus is ecosystem management and facilitating local implementation of regional planning efforts. Traci completed her Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning and her Ph.D. in Urban Studies and Environmental Management, both from the University of New Orleans. She also holds a Bachelor’s of Arts degree with concentrations in graphic design and media production from Baldwin-Wallace University. Before joining CSS, Traci spent 10-years+ in the private sector as a practicing planner in Louisiana and the Gulf South. Her teaching experience includes graduate and undergraduate studios and seminars in coastal, sustainability, and environmental planning.

Bob RiversRobert D. Rivers​, J.D.
Executive Director, New Orleans City Planning Commission

Bob Rivers has been the Executive Director of the New Orleans City Planning Commission since 2013.  During this time, Mr. Rivers has overseen the completion, approval and implementation of the City’s new Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, including new storm water management regulations, as well as various planning studies on such topics as Main Street Resiliency, Short Term Rentals, Inclusionary Zoning, Riverfront Development, Alternative Street Naming, Neighborhood Participation, and Adult Live Entertainment.  He is currently managing overhauls of the City’s Master Plan, Subdivision Regulations, Administrative Rules and Procedures, and Design Review processes.  Mr. Rivers also served as Chief Deputy City Attorney in the City’s Law Department, overseeing transactional and regulatory matters, was a Special Counsel in the Real Estate Section of Jones Walker’s New Orleans office, and was the Administrator of the Nantucket Historic District Commission. Mr. Rivers has also held  planning positions in New Orleans, Washington, DC, Virginia and Maryland, and has taught Urban Planning and Historic Preservation courses at the University of New Orleans. Mr. Rivers holds an undergraduate degree in Architecture from Princeton University, a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from George Washington University, and a JD with honors from the Tulane University School of Law.

Kelly RabalaisKelly Rabalais
Executive Counsel, St. Tammany Parish

Ms. Rabalais is Executive Counsel and Director of the Legal Department for St. Tammany Parish where she serves as chief legal advisor and provides legal representation to the Parish President, Parish Administration and other departments. Since she began working in St. Tammany Parish in 2007, Kelly has endeavored to rethink government structures, improve processes and help grow the parish. Facilitating the parish’s purchase of the state-owned Southeast Louisiana Hospital is one of Ms. Rabalais’ most significant accomplishments. She is currently leading the parish’s efforts to ensure there is an on-campus crisis center, known as Safe Haven.

Beverly HaydelBeverly Moore Haydel
Director of Civic Initiatives, The Bridge Center

As director of Civic Leadership Initiatives for the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, Ms. Haydel is overseeing development of The Water Campus, a 30-acre gathering place for scientists and engineers working on deltaic issues; spearheading an effort to create a treatment center for people with mental illnesses and substance abuse problems; and leading an initiative to introduce new mobility and transportation options such as bike share in Baton Rouge. Beverly served as Special Counsel for Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, was a lead attorney for the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, worked for a top Washington, D.C. law firm, and also for Goldman Sachs. Ms. Haydel has degrees from Harvard and from Stanford Law School.

Seth KnudsenSeth Knudsen
Director of Real Estate Development at the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority

Seth Knudsen is the Director of Real Estate Development & Planning at the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA).  Previously, Mr. Knudsen served as a planner and project manager at the Housing Authority of New Orleans, the City of New Orleans City Planning Commission, Office of Recovery Management, and Chief Administrative Office, as well as the non-profit City-Works. Mr. Knudsen currently directs NORA’s Commercial Corridor Gap Financing Program which has invested in catalytic economic development projects across the city, including the South Broad Community Health Center. The clinic is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) located at the intersection of Washington Avenue and South Broad Street and is owned by the non-profit South Broad Community Health and operated by Access Health Louisiana.

Dr. Andrew DannenbergDr. Andrew Dannenberg, MD, MPH
Professor, University of Washington

Our Keynote Speaker is an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences and in the Department of Urban Design and Planning at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he teaches courses on healthy community design and on health impact assessment. Before coming to Seattle, he served as Team Leader of the Healthy Community Design Initiative in the National Center for Environmental Health, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. For the past decade, his research and teaching has focused on examining the health aspects of community design including land use, transportation, urban planning, and other issues related to the built environment.

Sean DalySean Daly, AICP
Senior Transportation Planner, Iteris

Mr. Daly is a senior transportation planner in Iteris, Inc.’s Mobility Services division.  He has over 15 years of public sector and professional consulting experience in a range of planning activities at the local, regional, state and federal level. He presently serves as Professional Development Officer for the Louisiana Chapter, organizing AICP test prep opportunities for exam candidates, coordinating certification maintenance sessions, and presenting professional ethics sessions at Chapter conferences.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of California at Los Angeles and a Master of City and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and is a certified with the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and is a Professional Transportation Planner (PTP).

Warren KronWarren Kron, GISP
GIS Manager, EBR City-Parish

Warren's 18 years of public service experience has been focused on the development of an enterprise GIS program. This effort has involved being part of multi-disciplinary projects, developing the data model, building web applications, and playing a key role in East Baton Rouge City-Parish's shift to Open Data. He earned a bachelor's degree of landscape architecture from the Louisiana State University Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture and serves as chairman of the Louisiana GIS Council.

Lael HoltonLael Holton, AICP
Planning Manager

Mr. Holton, currently the Planning Manager with AECOM's Baton Rouge, LA office, has over 15 years of professional experience in the areas of affordable housing, grant administration, growth management, long range planning, neighborhood planning and disaster recovery. In his professional career, he has managed several programs ensuring the successful development and implementation of comprehensive plans, as well as the management of multiple affordable housing programs such as the HOPE VI Redevelopment program, State Housing Initiatives Partnerships (SHIP) programs, Homeowner Down-payment Assistance Programs and CDBG Disaster Recovery.Most recently, Lael served as the Public Outreach and Information Officer for the Louisiana Shelter at Home Program, a GOHSEP disaster recovery program for temporary housing assistance in the wake of the August 2016 Flood.

Chris SwilinskiChris Swilinski, AICP, GISP
Dewberry, LA MapMod Project

Mr. Sliwinski works on FEMA flood studies for the National Flood Insurance Program, watershed restoration and management plans, community engagement and outreach initiatives, and disaster response efforts. Mr. Sliwinski has 20 years of experience with GIS and holds a Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) from the University of New Orleans.





Tonia PenceTonia Pence
FEMA Community Planning and Recovery

Ms. Pence is a Community Planner with FEMA’s National Disaster Recovery Support division, who leads planning teams that work with municipalities and community leaders in disaster recovery mode. Her role provides unique opportunities to build coalitions and partnerships with the ultimate goal of successfully leveraging Federal, State, Private and NGO resources to strengthen social infrastructure and build resiliency at the local, state and national level. Ms. Pence is also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, skilled cultural dialogist and storyteller, and was named Louisiana's "Money Hero" by Money Magazine for community organizing and activism work in New Orleans. She earned her MS in Sustainable Development and Organizational Management from the School for International Training in Vermont.

Mathew SandersMathew Sanders, AICP
Resilience Policy & Program Administrator, OCD-DRU

Mathew is the resilience program and policy administrator for the State of Louisiana’s Office of Community Development. The state has received a $92.6M award in conjunction with the HUD-funded National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC), including a $40M award to support its resilience policy framework, Louisiana’s Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments (LA SAFE), and a $48.3M award to resettle the Isle de Jean Charles community in Terrebonne Parish. Mathew was the state’s project team lead for the NDRC application and currently leads the development of the two awarded projects.

Mark SweeneyMark Sweeney, AICP
Director, Shreveport-Caddo MPC

Mr. Sweeney became the Executive Director of the Shreveport / Caddo Metropolitan Planning Commission in 2014. His previous professional experience is in Texas, where he served as Director of Regional Services for the Capital Area Council of Governments in Austin, Chairman of the Planning & Zoning Commission for the City of Whitehouse, Director of Regional Development & Services for the East Texas Council of Governments, and others. In Shreveport, Mark has guided the creation of a mixed-use PUD, paving the way for Camp Forbing Market Place. He has also streamlined the site plan review process and is seeking to have the revised Unified Development Code adopted soon.

Frank DukeFrank Duke, FAICP
Director, EBR City-Parish Planning Dept.

Mr. Duke has more than 30 years of experience, including serving as the Planning Director in Norfolk, Virginia; Durham, North Carolina; and Palm Beach and Bay counties in Florida. In each of these local governments, Frank was responsible for the development of a new comprehensive plan and major revisions to land development regulations. He was named by three Florida governors as their representative on the Federal Working Group on Everglades restoration. In 2014 Mr. Duke was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners where he was described as “one of the most effective planning directors in the Southeast.”.

Lydia JemisonLydia Z. Jemison, AICP, CFM
President, Jemison & Partners

Lydia Z. Jemison is a native of the New Orleans area with three decades of experience in planning.  She owns Jemison & Partners, Inc., a small, certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise in which the clients operate as partners.  The firm specializes in transportation and port planning, environmental assessments, stakeholder outreach and expert witness services in land use and zoning. Lydia is Chairman of the APA National Planning Conference Local Host Committee for the upcoming planning conference to be held in New Orleans, LA in 2018. Lydia served as APA LA President from 2014-2016, and as New Orleans Metro Section Director, VP of Public Information and Co-Chair of the Planning Commissioner’s Council.  Lydia was also the Chairman of the Jefferson Parish Planning Advisory Board for 5 years of her tenure on the board.

Dana BrownDana Brown, ASLA, AICP, LEED AP
Dana Brown & Associates

A New Orleans resident, Dana has practiced landscape architecture and planning for 37 years with firms in Boston, Orange County, California, and now back home in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. She holds a BLA from LSU and an MLA from Harvard School of Design. As President of Dana Brown & Associates, she pioneered design of green infrastructure throughout Louisiana, focusing on best management practices for stormwater and revisions to municipal and parish development codes. Dana is the author of “Using Plants for Stormwater Management: A Green Infrastructure Guide for the Gulf South,” LSU Press, April 2014.

Walter BrooksWalter Brooks
Director, New Orleans Regional Planning Commission

After working for the City of Boston as a transportation planner in the early 1970’s, Mr. Brooks returned to his native New Orleans and was hired as a senior planner with the Regional Planning Commission for Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes (RPC). He was eventually named RPC deputy director and became executive director in 2004. He has worked for the RPC for approximately 40 years. In his position as RPC’s chief executive Mr. Brooks serves as the point person and public face of a 44-member board consisting of elected officials and citizen members from eight member parishes. He also directs a staff of planners that supports the RPC board.

Meg Adams, P.E.
New Orleans City Park

Meg Adams is the Chief Construction and Resilience Officer at New Orleans City Park, joining after Hurricane Katrina. Meg holds a degree in Civil Engineering from Tulane University. In 2013 she founded the Green Team and has instituted a number of environmental programs including recycling, composting, energy assessments and conservation, an annual Earth Day celebration, and was awarded a Sustainable Sites Pilot Project certification for her coordination of the Festival Grounds project. Previous experience includes project management at the Audubon Zoo, the NOMA Sculpture Garden, Riverwalk Marketplace, Port of New Orleans cruise ship terminal, Harrah’s Casino, and the Clearview Mall.

Jennifer RobertsJenifer Roberts
Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans

Jennifer Roberts is a leader in water quality planning with expertise in research, environmental monitoring and assessment, and community outreach and engagement with water resources. Mrs. Roberts holds a BS in Ecology and a MS in Earth & Environmental Sciences, is a certified EPA QA/QC Manager, a Water Environment Federation Leadership Fellow and serves on the Louisiana Environmental Education Commission. Jennifer specializes in stormwater management, watershed planning, community engagement, vegetative restoration, nonpoint source pollution prevention and monitoring. Jennifer’s currently employed as a Sr. City Planner at the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans.

Tim JacksonTim Jackson, AICP
New Orleans City Planning Commission

Tim is a Planning Administrator with the New Orleans City Planning Commission and previously has worked as a planner for the City of Kenner and was Planning Director in Mandeville and Slidell, Louisiana. He has served as a Research Associate with the Department of Planning and Urban Studies at the University of New Orleans. Tim has spent 14 years in private practice as a planning, land use and zoning consultant. In 2001 Tim was appointed by the Mayor of New Orleans to the New Orleans City Planning Commission and served eight years, including three years as Chairman. Tim is very active in the American Planning Association (APA) and is a Past President of the Louisiana Chapter.

Kelsy HeargainKelsy Yeargain
Tulane/ Canal Neighborhood Development Corp.

Ms. Yeargain is the Executive Director of the Tulane/ Canal Neighborhood Development Corporation, a non-profit organization providing affordable housing and community development in the Tulane Gravier Neighborhood. Kelsy currently co-chairs the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance’s Disaster Preparedness and Outreach and Advocacy committees, and is part of the New Orleans Evacuteer leadership team.

Brent Yantis
NASA RAC Lafayette
Ava Himes
Common Ground Health Clinic
Dr. Nana Anoa Nantambu
Common Ground Health Clinic