ULI’s Building Healthy Places Initiative is delighted to announce and congratulate the participants in the second cohort of the ULI/Randall Lewis Health Mentorship Program, which is generously supported by ULI Foundation Governor Randall Lewis. We received applications from many outstanding students and mentees were chosen based on a highly selective evaluation process.
This program supports learning and sharing about health and real estate among graduate students and ULI members. In addition to being matched with a ULI Full Member mentor based on professional interests, mentees earn the opportunity to attend the 2018 ULI Fall Meeting in Boston and the 2019 ULI Spring Meeting in Nashville, where they will experience Product Council meetings and the Building Healthy Places Interest Forum alongside their mentors.
Read more about the five 2018–2019 mentees and their ULI member mentors below.
Syed Agmal Ali is an urban planning graduate student at Harvard University. He is determined to use urban planning and policy to help grow communities that are better connected and defy the sociospatial determinants of health and wealth. Growing up in the Bronx, the unhealthiest county in the state of New York, he saw firsthand how the built environment determines health outcomes. This summer, Ali worked with the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to support comprehensive and housing-focused neighborhood planning studies. Before graduate school, he spent 3.5 years setting digital communications strategy for FoodCorps, a national nonprofit organization connecting kids to healthy food in school. Ali is a 2013 graduate of Wesleyan University.
James A. Moore is a principal with Jacobs, where he is helping expand the company’s international planning and urban design practice. Moore has a deep understanding of cities as complex “systems of systems” in which all component elements are integral to planning, design, development, and operations. He promotes a comprehensive and integrated process, balancing the physical development of the built and natural environments with sustainable economic growth and continual sociocultural advancement. He has significant experience with and expertise in organizing and managing complex urban redevelopment projects, including those focusing on urban revitalization and the creation of walkable, bike-friendly, transit-oriented mixed-use environments. Recent work has emphasized the integration of data-informed technologies into the planning and design process as well as a focus on the emerging fields of “smart” cities and urban resilience. At present, Moore is leading projects in the United States, Australia, and Saudi Arabia. A member of ULI for 25 years, he is the past chair of ULI Tampa Bay and the ULI Urban Revitalization Council.
Abby Bohannan received her bachelor of science degree in psychology and criminal justice from Portland State University. After her undergraduate studies, she spent seven years working with at-risk youth. Bohannan is now a healthy community design intern at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, where she integrates the built environment into community health assessments. In her personal and professional life, she strives to create safe, inclusive spaces where people can thrive. As part of the LGBTQ community, she also understands the importance of empowering marginalized communities to overcome systemic barriers to success and aims to do so in her work. In her career, Bohannan plans to address complex social issues facing communities and to tackle health disparities by collaborating with others to enhance the built environment in a socially responsible and equitable way. Her professional interests include food access, affordable housing, climate change, community engagement, equitable transportation, healthy eating, active living, and urban design.
Maryanne Speroni is a consultant at Linden View specializing in affordable housing and related programs that address health inequity. She currently serves as the interim chief operations officer for Project Eats, a not-for-profit organization that joins with low-income communities to operate urban farms and offers related programs to support resident health. Other clients have included the Center for Active Design, a not-for-profit organization that seeks to optimize health and wellness in the built environment, and an affordable housing real estate developer. Prior to forming Linden View, Speroni was fund manager at Vitus Group. There, she managed a private equity fundraising effort across a spectrum of impact investors. Speroni holds a bachelor of arts degree in applied mathematics from Brown University and a master of business administration degree from Harvard University.
Justin Brown is a civil engineer with six years of experience in the land development field. He currently works for David Evans and Associates Inc. and is pursuing a master’s degree in urban and regional planning at Cal Poly Pomona. Brown finds the land development field a fascinating array of professions, personalities, and skill sets, and he first became interested in sustainable and healthy development while studying for his Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) AP credential. This led him to study new urbanism and other alternatives to sprawl development that encourage community building and healthy living. By furthering his professional skills, Brown hopes to inform developers’ visions for land development by showing that one can turn a profit and care for people and the planet at the same time. He enjoys attending Urban Land Institute, Building Industry Association, and other industry meetings to better understand how we use our land resources and how we can better use them in the future.
Chuck Schilke is a real estate developer, financier, lawyer, and educator based in Washington, D.C., where he is highly involved in the ULI D.C. district council. At the national ULI level, he is the program chair of the Public Development and Infrastructure Product Council and is a part of the ULI Health Leaders Network. Schilke has worked in a real estate capacity at industrial companies like Exxon Mobil, service companies like Marriott, and large nonprofit organizations like the American National Red Cross, as well as for real estate developers like Mobil Land Development Corporation, and has worked in real estate finance on Wall Street. He also teaches a course in health care real estate. Schilke is particularly interested in applying Building Healthy Places concepts to the health care industry itself, and to university medical centers.
Kim Miller is currently pursuing her master’s in real estate development at Auburn University. Her love and passion to serve others and improve the lives of all people are evident in her 20-plus years of involvement in the health and wellness arena. In 2015, she received her bachelor of science degree in social science with a minor in leadership, further demonstrating her commitment to the betterment of humanity. Miller has a future vision of uniting the real estate industry with empowering knowledge to create thriving communities across the globe. Her desire is to help make the connection between health/wellness and building design by researching and educating others in the field. She is excited about not only sustainability of excellent developments but also promoting added value by helping people achieve healthier and more prosperous lives through their built environments.
Susan Watts is president of Susan Watts Consulting, a firm that specializes in all aspects of master-planned community development. Watts uses her extensive experience to help clients in all aspects of community creation, including acquisition, entitlements, regulatory strategies, placemaking, branding, builder programs, land sales, design, engineering, homeowners associations, construction, and operations. Prior to the creation of Susan Watts Consulting, she was the vice president of real estate for WestRock in South Carolina, responsible for 80,000 acres (32,400 ha) of timberland. The land generated two master-planned communities and a 53,000-acre (21,400 ha) conservation area. Large master-planned communities in Arizona, Florida, and South Carolina have succeeded due to her creative abilities and leadership skills. An open, creative, team-oriented approach; a thorough understanding of the market; a sensitivity to the region; and a passion for solving complex issues are key to her success. In her free time, Watts enjoys traveling with her family and friends, teaching, mentoring, and volunteering through ULI and her local foodbank.
Elizabeth Van Horn is pursuing a dual master’s degree in urban and environmental planning and sustainability solutions at Arizona State University. During her graduate career thus far, Van Horn has conducted research on the social and environmental determinants of health in order to produce a health equity map for Arizona. Van Horn works as an environmental planner, a teaching assistant for the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, and serves as the Student Planning Association’s representative for APA Arizona. Her interest in the intersection of climate change, health, and the built environment was inspired by her undergraduate career at Trinity University, where she received a bachelor of science degree in biology, and her experience working abroad as the Environmental Science and Sustainability Programs Assistant at DIS–Copenhagen. Van Horn hopes to mitigate climate impacts and improve public health outcomes through thoughtful, sustainable planning.
With over 20 years’ experience in urban planning and real estate development, as well as international natural resource management and policy, Marja Williams has worked with a variety of private urban planning firms, public agencies, and international conservation nongovernmental organizations managing land use and environmental permitting and drafting land use policy on behalf of clients ranging from residential development companies to large public utilities. At present, Marja is managing an integrated team to deliver a 52-unit multifamily net-zero-positive project and is providing predevelopment, financial, and marketing consulting to a number of projects around the United States. Prior to her current work, Williams was a partner in Asani/PHC, and president of Asani Development Corporation, an integrated real estate development services company with interest in commercial and residential real estate, a green construction company, and clean-energy projects.