Laura M. Spina, Director, Community Planning Division, Philadelphia City Planning Commission
Laura Spina is a transplanted Philadelphian who grew up “down the shore” in New Jersey. She has a BA in Art History from Rosemont College and an MA in American Studies–Historic Preservation Planning from The George Washington University, and she worked for the New Jersey Historic Trust before moving to Philadelphia.
Laura joined the Philadelphia City Planning Commission in 2006 after working as a planner with the City’s Historical Commission for ten years. As Director of the Community Planning Division, she oversees a staff of eleven community planners and manages Philadelphia2035, the City’s first comprehensive plan since 1960. She was previously the planner for Center City, working with various neighborhood groups and City agencies in shaping the development that occurs in the heart of Philadelphia. Laura was the project manager for the Philadelphia2035: Central District Plan, Market East Strategic Plan and the Callowhill-Chinatown North Plan.
Laura represents the PCPC on two city boards – the Mayor’s Historic Preservation Task Force and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority’s Art Committee – and works on multiple citywide planning efforts.
Kim Washington, Executive Director, Frankford CDC
Kimberly Washington, Esq. is Executive Director of Frankford Community Development Corporation, which is focused on providing residents with affordable housing resources, employment, and entrepreneurial opportunities. Prior to joining Frankford CDC, she served as Community Engagement Coordinator for the Northeast EPIC Stakeholder Group, where she worked to addressed quality of life issues in Frankford through prevention-based programing, and as a Consultant for the Frankford Neighborhood Advisory Committee. She has also served as attorney for children and families involved in the Philadelphia child welfare system and families involved in child custody and support matters. Kimberly was raised in the Frankford section of Philadelphia and is a proud graduate of Frankford High School. She graduated with honors from Temple University’s Fox School of Business & Management and obtained her Juris Doctorate degree from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law. She also serves as an at-large member of the PACDC Board and is a member of the Philadelphia Historical Commission.
Donna J. Carney, Citizens Planning Institute Director, Philadelphia City Planning Commission
Donna is the founding Director of the Philadelphia Citizens Planning Institute, the education and outreach arm of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. She brings to this role years of project management and design experience as an architect specializing in historic preservation and sustainable design. Her goal is to guide the development of educational tools to empower communities of people within Philadelphia to learn, grow, and improve the quality of their neighborhoods.
Donna is inspired to meet so many life-long learners who love where they live all across Philadelphia! She is a strategy designer and facilitator, aiming to engage all community stakeholders in creating a shared vision. She has developed educational and interpretive materials for municipalities (downtown façade programs), arts & historical non-profits and the National Park Service.
Donna is a graduate of Fielding University’s Organization Management & Development program (MA), Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation (MS Historic Preservation), New Jersey Institute of Technology College of Architecture & Design (MArch) and Iowa State University's College of Design (BA). She is a Certified Charrette Planner (National Charrette Institute, 2006) and a registered architect in the state of Pennsylvania. She was recognized by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) with its 2014 “Planning Leadership Award for Professional Planner”. Her position as Director became institutionalized within the City Planning Commission in 2015.
Andy Meloney, AICP, Senior Planner for Implementation, Philadelphia City Planning Commission
Andrew Meloney is the Senior Planner for Implementation at the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. Andrew joined the Planning Commission in 2008. While at PCPC he has managed plans for Walnut Hill, North 52nd Street, South 58th Street, and Station Square & 30th St Vicinity as well as the West Park and University Southwest District Plans as part of the comprehensive plan, Philadelphia 2035. He currently supervises a team of planners working to implement the recommendations of the comprehensive plan with policy, legislation, and grant writing. Prior to coming to the Planning Commission Andrew worked as a Planner and Real Estate Development Analyst at The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) and as the Mapping Unit Supervisor for the Philadelphia Department of Records.
De'Wayne A. Drummond, President, Mantua Civic Association RCO, Citizen Planner
De'Wayne A. Drummond has been involved in family and community engagement and leadership for most of his adult life. He has served his community in a wide variety of roles. He has served as the Chairman of the 24th Ward Democratic Executive Committee from 2010 to the present, the President of the Mantua Civic Association since 2012, A Political Liaison for The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Union (PFT)and a member of the democratic State committee in the 7th Senatorial District since 2018.
His passion for serving the children and families of his community and the City of Philadelphia has been realized in his increased involvement in the development of the Mantua Transformation Plan, completing the Citizen’s Planning Institute and the completion of the Mayor’s Office of Community Services, Fatherhood Initiative. Furthermore, his ongoing participation in the Promise Zone Initiative Collaborative Engagement efforts has insured that his community and constituents remain current and involved.
Through his professional work, De'Wayne has had the opportunity to gain critical leadership skills; all the while continuing to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to our families and community. Over the last 14 years, De'Wayne worked his way from volunteer, to intern, to Head Start Policy Council and is currently a full-time employee in the Office of Head Start of the School District of Philadelphia. Here too, he made an indelible mark in his work with the Head Start families and conveys those commitments in all of his endeavors. De'Wayne believes that in order to improve the lives of our children and families, we must work to improve our communities.
Unit One: The Development Process- the Private Side
Ken Weinstein, President, Philly Office Retail
Ken is an active entrepreneur and real estate developer in the Philadelphia area. He serves as President of Philly Office Retail, which has renovated and restored more than 300 vacant and deteriorated commercial and residential units in the Philadelphia region during the past 30 years. Philly Office Retail currently owns and manages more than 800,000 square feet of commercial space in the Philadelphia region.
Ken founded and operated Cresheim Cottage Cafe from 1996 until 2004 and now owns Trolley Car Diner in Mt. Airy since 2000, Trolley Car Cafe in East Falls since 2010 and Trolley Car Station in University City since 2018.
Previously, Ken served as Chief of Staff for Philadelphia City Councilwoman Happy Fernandez from 1991-1995 and Organizer/Board Member of Valley Green Bank from 2007-2015. Ken founded the Mt. Airy Business Improvement District, the Trolley Car Teachers' Fund and the Trolley Car Table Tennis Club and continues to oversee all three.
In 2007-2008, Ken headed Mayor Michael Nutter’s economic development transition team and was appointed by Mayors Nutter and Kenney as President of the Board of the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation (PHDC).
Ken’s mission is to revitalize neighborhoods by renovating vacant, deteriorated properties along Philadelphia’s commercial corridors. He believes that you can do well by doing good. His newest initiative, Jumpstart Germantown, has already trained and mentored 625 aspiring developers and provided more than $13 million in loans to get them started with their first projects, over the past 4 years.
Maria N. Gonzalez , President, HACE
As President for HACE, Maria Nixa Gonzalez heads HACE’s development team managing over $100M of commercial and housing development projects that have contributed to the stabilization and revitalization of the Fairhill and St. Hugh Neighborhoods. Since 1996, she has been responsible for raising development capital from a broad base of private and public foundations and governmental bodies. Mrs. Gonzalez’ most notable achievement is the creation of a supportive community for elders through the development of affordable rental housing and the construction of a Life Center that provides frail elders with social and health services so that they can remain living at home for as long as possible.
Mrs. Gonzalez serves on the Philadelphia Planning Commission, is Chair of the Community Trust Board for the American Street Empowerment Zone, is Chair of the Oversight Board of the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity, serves in the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund and is President of the Board of the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations.
Joyce Smith, Board VP, Centennial Parkside Community Development Corporation, Citizen Planner
Joyce is committed to housing preservation, eliminating blight and abandonment in the East Parkside community and a champion of “real” affordable housing. As a consumer housing paralegal at Philadelphia Legal Assistance, she represents homeowners who are facing mortgage, real estate tax and collection activity, and foreclosure. In addition to serving as a trustee for the Centennial Parkside CDC, Joyce is a board member of the Viola Street Residents Association (Community Development Officer), a member of the Citizens Planning Institute’s Advisory Board, and a member of the Parkside Historic District Coalition. In 2015 she received the “Community Leadership Award” from the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations for outstanding leadership by community members in advancing neighborhood improvement and revitalization. She continues to build on her knowledge by attending conferences and workshops through various community development entities such as NeighborWorks, the Center for Community Progress, the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Board, Citizen’s Planning Institute, and the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations.
Joyce holds a BA in Communications and Journalism from Temple University.
Sara Pevaroff Schuh, RLA, Principal, SALT Design Studio
Sara Pevaroff Schuh is a landscape architect, artist, teacher and founding principal of SALT Design Studio. She has 20 years of experience planning and designing high-performance landscapes in the Delaware Valley and across the country. Clients include non-profits, municipalities, secondary schools, colleges and universities, cultural institutions, and Fortune 500 corporations. Sara’s design work is about infusing environmental responsibility, meaningful social interaction and an artistic sensibility into our daily lives. Her practice is rooted in context and collaboration, and consistently fosters creation of engaging, public spaces. Sara is a recognized expert in community facilitation, and her work has garnered awards and been exhibited as models for sustainable design.
Sara is a long-time volunteer with the Community Design Collaborative, and currently serves on the Environmental Advisory Council for Lower Merion Township. She holds a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Science in Political Communication from The University of Texas at Austin. In her life before landscape architecture, she worked for Congress.
Kira Strong, Deputy Director of Design and Construction, Rebuild Philadelphia
Kira Strong joined the Rebuilding Community Infrastructure team of the City of Philadelphia as the Deputy Director of Design and Construction in 2016. Ms. Strong brings community transformation experience to this role, having served as the Vice President of Community and Economic Development for the People’s Emergency Center, a non-profit community development corporation in Philadelphia. Ms. Strong has served on several boards, including the Community Design Collaborative and the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations, and has been honored as a 40 Under 40 by The Philadelphia Business Journal and a Rising Star Award recipient from the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations. She currently serves on the Slought Foundation board as well as on the Advisory Committees of the Community Design Collaborative and the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations. She holds an undergraduate degree from Hampshire College and a master’s degree in urban planning from Temple University.
David Gould, Deputy Director for Community Engagement, Rebuild Philadelphia
David Gould is the Deputy Director of Community Engagement and Communications for the City of Philadelphia’s Rebuild initiative, an initiative to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to improve parks, recreation centers, and libraries across the city. David has been part of Rebuild since it was first conceived while in his previous role at the William Penn Foundation, which funded the planning process that resulted in Rebuild. In his current role, one of David’s primary responsibilities is to ensure community members have meaningful opportunities participate in the process of determining what changes are made to their community facility.
Aazim Muhammad, President and CEO, Sister Clara Muhammad Community Development Corporation
Aazim has over 35 years of experience as an accomplished community economic development professional. Mr. Muhammad has worked for the Mayor's Office of Community Services as well as the Mayor's Office of Reentry for Ex‐Offenders. He has also been a consultant to the Philadelphia Department of Commerce, Division of Housing and Community Development, Redevelopment Authority as well as the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation. He is most proud of his work in nonprofit management, with such organizations as Germantown Settlement, Strawberry Mansion Citizens Participation Council, Universal Companies, and the Brewerytown Community Development Corporation, of which he was founder and Director. Presently he is the President and CEO of the Sister Clara Muhammad Community Development Corporation. He has balanced business skills in real estate, development, marketing and finance with community politics and cross‐cultural communications.
Nic Esposito, Director, Zero Waste & Litter Cabinet
Nic Esposito is the Zero Waste and Litter Director for the City of Philadelphia. After serving Philadelphia Parks and Recreation (PPR) for 4 years as the PowerCorpsPHL Project Manager and then PPR's Sustainability Manager, he was brought on by the Managing Director's Office to take on this challenge of creating a coordinated public and private sector plan to address Philadelphia's litter problem while setting Philadelphia on a path to Zero Waste by 2035. Nic is also a writer and founder of the non-profit independent publisher and writer's workshop The Head & The Hand. And he serves his community as the President of the East Kensington Neighbors Association and co-manager of Emerald Street Community Farm.
Josh Klaris, Executive Director, North10 Philadelphia and the Lenfest Center
Joshua Klaris is a dynamic, passionate experienced public school teacher, principal, and leadership coach with 20 years of experience doing this work. The opportunity to be lead North10 is a culmination of years of loving the work and a determination to continue doing his part in remedying systemic injustices so that all children, no matter their home zip code, can attain a quality of life of which they are proud.
Kelly Offner, Executive Director, Keep Philadelphia Beautiful
Kelly Offner is the Executive Director at Keep Philadelphia Beautiful. Keep Philadelphia Beautiful is committed to supporting the City's vibrant neighborhoods through community beautification, education, and public-private partnerships.
Before joining Keep Philadelphia Beautiful in January, Kelly was the Head of Cleanups at United By Blue, where she led the growth of UBB’s waterway cleanups program to 48 states and Europe, and organized the removal of 1.5 million pounds of trash from U.S. waterways over 5 years.
Kelly is a graduate of Temple University's School of Media and Communications and lives in Fishtown. In her free time Kelly enjoys rock climbing, exploring the city on-foot, and reading something from the ever-growing pile of books in her home.
Christi Clark, Organizing Director, Women’s Community Revitalization Project
The Women's Community Revitalization Project (WCRP) is a Philadelphia-based grassroots community development corporation committed to social and economic equity for low-income women and their families. Christi oversees WCRP's policy and community engagement work. She staffs the Philadelphia Coalition for Affordable Communities, a coalition of faith, labor, disability, community and urban agriculture organizations that is working to win more resources for affordable, accessible housing and green space. Christi also supports WCRP’s community land trust, dedicated to creating permanently affordable housing. She has an 18 year history as a labor and community organizer and oversees WCRP’s organizing and outreach staff who implements both neighborhood and city-wide campaigns.
Eboni Taggart, Organizer, Women's Community Revitalization Project
Eboni Taggart is an organizer with the Women’s Community Revitalization Project. In this role, she builds the leadership and advocacy skills of communities served by WCRP and also supports the organization’s coalition building and management. She has over 10 years of organizing and advocacy experience and has provided consultation services to various local non-profits in the areas of leadership development, campaign management and relationship building.
Brandy Bones is the Vice President and Treasurer of Bella Vista Neighbors Association, member of the Philadelphia Crosstown Coalition and Citizen Planner.
Randy Duque, M.A. K.R., Deputy Director, Community Relations Division, Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations
Randy Duque is the Deputy Director for the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (PCHR) where he oversees the the Community Relations Division. Duque has mediated hundreds of cases; conducts trainings in a multitude of conflict subject matters; and was also an adjunct professor at Temple University. As Deputy his responsibilities cover many areas including civil rights and race relations; immigrant/refugee issues; and conflict intervention. Through Duque’s work and leadership, PCHR was presented the 2016 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award; and in 2018; he received the PA Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs “Outstanding Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders” recognition; and was bestowed a knighthood by the Knights of Rizal – a prestigious organization recognized by the Philippine government with prominent members including several presidents in the Philippines' history and foreign recipients King Juan Carlos I of Spain and Henry Kissinger.
His experience in conflict theory and practice also includes holding a Master’s degree in communication science and conflict studies; instructing Kung Fu; and having served ten years in the infantry with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. In his spare time, he plays bass and other instruments for a blues based jam band, the 24th Street Band (a classic rock trio), and the Philippine Folk Arts Society, Inc. Rondalla Ensemble.