Champions Council

The Coalition for Smarter Growth has assembled an accomplished team to advise us in carrying out our mission. This team is called our Champions Council, and is made up of experienced leaders in the business, development, housing, media, and academic fields.

Andrew Aurbach
Andrew Aurbach

Andrew Aurbach

Andrew Aurbach has over twenty-five years’ experience as a multimedia producer and strategic communications consultant for government and corporate clients. He has implemented comprehensive communications and outreach campaigns in the areas of planning, zoning, code enforcement, and standards and guidelines for clients such as Prince William County, Virginia, and the Federal Highway Administration. In addition, Aurbach consults on and develops sustainability solutions for clients across the Capital Region.

Mr. Aurbach has dual history and journalism degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Masters in City and Regional Planning with a focus on Sustainability from the Catholic University of America. He has previously served on the board of the Cleveland Park Historical Society, Connecticut Avenue Pedestrian Action, and the Rock Creek Conservancy. He serves on the District of Columbia Historic Preservation Review Board, and is a member of the steering committee of the community group Ward3Vision.

Jim Campbell
Jim Campbell

Jim Campbell

Mr. James D. Campbell, also known as Jim, serves as Founding Principal at Somerset Development Company, LLC. Mr. Campbell has special expertise in forging public-private partnerships and affordable housing development, including Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Historic and New Markets Tax Credits, and federal, state, and local housing finance.

Prior to starting Somerset, Mr. Campbell served for eight years at the AFL-CIO Investments Trusts, primarily as the Chief Investment Officer. The Investment Trusts consist of two-co-mingled real estate investment funds: the Housing Investment Trust and the Building Investment Trust. Together the Trusts invested approximately $1 billion of pension capital per year in new housing and commercial real estate projects. Prior to joining the Trusts, Mr. Campbell was Vice President for Development for Related Companies Northeast, a private developer of housing in the Boston area.

Mr. Campbell has managed economic and housing developments for city and state governments; among them, the highly successful $1 billion mixed-use redevelopment of the East Cambridge Riverfront. He has served as the Executive Director of a non-profit community development corporation. Mr. Campbell has a Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning from Harvard University.

Ali Davis
Allison Davis

Allison Davis

Allison Davis is the Director of Strategic Planning in Metro’s Office of Planning. She advances a vision for the Authority’s medium and long-range goals, needs, and plans for all modes within the Authority and to regional and local jurisdictional partners. She helped author Momentum, WMATA’s first strategic plan in a decade, and developed ConnectGreaterWashington, the regional transit plan for 2040, which outlined the need for transit expansion to meet expected demand.

Prior to Metro, she worked for Arup, a multinational engineering, design, and planning firm in New York City and PADECO, an international development consultancy in Tokyo, Japan. She received her Master degrees in Transportation and City Planning from MIT and her Bachelor of Science in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from Cornell University. She lives in the District and has been car-free since 2003.

Ron Eichner
Ron Eichner

Ron Eichner

Ronald Eichner is managing member of New Legacy Partners. He is a real estate professional with a long-standing commitment to the importance of urban design, sustainable planning, and responsible real estate development in the Washington, DC area.

Ron’s career began with management of the design and construction of the major open spaces and parks in the redevelopment of Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown DC. Subsequent private development work included management of high-profile projects including Washington Harbour in Georgetown and The Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA.

New Legacy Partners focuses on ‘Smart Growth’ projects including urban infill and adaptive re-use projects. New Legacy projects have included residential condominiums, townhouses, retail, and mixed-use, often in Historic Districts in Washington, DC.

In addition, Ron has been active in pro-bono work, particularly in the local Smart Growth movement. As a member of the Board of Directors of the Washington Regional Network for Livable Communities, he has been an advocate for Transit Oriented Development and social equity in housing and planning. Working with CSG staff, he has been engaged in efforts to revise the DC zoning and Comprehensive Plan. He is a member of the Steering Committee of Ward3Vision, a group of neighbors advocating responsible development in Upper Northwest DC.

Rodney Harrell
Rodney Harrell

Rodney Harrell, PHD

Dr. Rodney Harrell is a researcher, blogger, international speaker and solution creator for livable communities. He is currently Director of Livability Thought Leadership at AARP. In that position, he leads AARP Public Policy Institute’s Livable Communities work. His research on housing preferences, neighborhood choice and community livability are integral to the world-renowned Livability Index that measures the livability of every US neighborhood, which he and his team created. He also serves as AARP’s housing expert and leads the Future of Housing initiative.

Prior to joining AARP, he worked as a research and evaluation consultant, a researcher and instructor for the University of Maryland, and a Governor’s Fellow in the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and Maryland Heritage Areas Authority. He currently sits on the Largo Town Center Development Board and the Prince George’s Zoning Rewrite Technical Panel.

Dr. Harrell was born and raised in Washington, DC and Prince George’s County, Maryland, where he currently resides. He graduated summa cum laude from the honors program at Howard University; earned dual master’s degrees in public affairs and urban and regional planning from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University; and received a PhD in urban planning and design from the University of Maryland, where he was a Wylie Fellow. He is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies, and was named to the initial class of Top Influencers in Aging for his work.

Steven Jones
Steven Jones

Steven E. Jones, CPA, MSOD

Dr. Rodney Harrell is a researcher, blogger, international speaker and solution creator for livable communities. He is currently Director of Livability Thought Leadership at AARP. In that position, he leads AARP Public Policy Institute’s Livable Communities work. His research on housing preferences, neighborhood choice and community livability are integral to the world-renowned Livability Index that measures the livability of every US neighborhood, which he and his team created. He also serves as AARP’s housing expert and leads the Future of Housing initiative.

Prior to joining AARP, he worked as a research and evaluation consultant, a researcher and instructor for the University of Maryland, and a Governor’s Fellow in the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and Maryland Heritage Areas Authority. He currently sits on the Largo Town Center Development Board and the Prince George’s Zoning Rewrite Technical Panel.

Dr. Harrell was born and raised in Washington, DC and Prince George’s County, Maryland, where he currently resides. He graduated summa cum laude from the honors program at Howard University; earned dual master’s degrees in public affairs and urban and regional planning from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University; and received a PhD in urban planning and design from the University of Maryland, where he was a Wylie Fellow. He is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies, and was named to the initial class of Top Influencers in Aging for his work.

Chris Miller
Chris Miller

Chris Miller

Christopher G. Miller has served as The Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) President since 1996. Mr. Miller is responsible for overall management and strategic planning for PEC, including its land conservation program, habitat restoration, rural economics, energy policy, land use policy, smart growth and transportation policies. He is a founding member of the Coalition for Smarter Growth and and a founding Co-Chair and Steering Committee member of the Choose Clean Water Coalition. Mr. Miller also serves on the boards of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, the Virginia Conservation Network, the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership, and the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership. He also is a member of the Land Trust Alliance Leadership Council.

In 2004, Mr. Miller received the Virginia Conservation Network’s Blue Ridge Award for outstanding conservation leadership in the Piedmont. He also received, on behalf of PEC, the Quarter Century of Service Award from the Partners for Livable Communities.

He earned his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and B.A. with honors in Environmental Studies from Williams College.

Dan Reed
Dan Reed

Dan Reed

Dan Reed represents the smart, creative next generation of smart growth leader. He began the blog Just Up the Pike in 2006, chronicling his experiences as an urbanist in eastern Montgomery County. In addition to his blog, he is a senior editor at Greater Greater Washington, writes for Washingtonian magazine, and is a professional urban planner at Toole Design Group, and is a real estate agent for Living in Style Homes.

Dan’s family came to the Washington area from Guyana and North Carolina. This native of Montgomery County has brought a fresh perspective to smart growth, urbanism, transportation and education in our changing suburbs. He uses his writing and speaking talents to explain issues to a broad audience, to engage the community, and to persuasively advocate for sustainable and inclusive urban communities. Among his achievements as an activist, Dan has helped advocate for the Purple Line and Bus Rapid Transit on Route 29; highlighted issues of segregation and inequality in Montgomery County Public Schools; and led a community effort to reuse a vacant Art Deco movie theatre. Dan sits on the board of the Action Committee for Transit, and lives with his partner in downtown Silver Spring.

Robert Puentes

Robert Puentes

Robert Puentes is President and CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation a non-profit think tank with the mission of improving transportation policy and leadership.

Prior to joining Eno, he was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program where he also directed the program’s Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative. He is currently a non-resident senior fellow with Brookings. Before that Robert was the director of infrastructure programs at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America.

Robert has worked extensively on a variety of transportation issues, infrastructure funding and finance, and city and urban planning. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Virginia where he served on the Alumni Advisory Board, and was an affiliated professor with Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute.

Robert serves on a variety of boards and committees including, most recently, the Federal Advisory Committee on Transportation Equity; the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies Advisory Board; the Shared Use Mobility Center Board of Directors; New York State’s 2100 Infrastructure Commission; the District of Columbia’s Streetcar Financing and Governance Task Force; the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority’s Technical Advisory Committee.

He is a frequent speaker to a variety of groups, a regular contributor in newspapers and other media, and has testified before Congressional committees.

Douglas Stewart

Douglas Stewart

Douglas Stewart is the Development Specialist at the Piedmont Environmental Council. Douglas has been raising money from foundations and individuals for progressive nonprofit organizations since 1999. His experience includes being a program officer at the Turner Foundation, director of development and communications with 1000 Friends of Maryland and director of program communications with the Atlanta pedestrian advocacy organization PEDS.

An avid bicyclist, Douglas also served as president of the board of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and is one of the founders of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling.

Robert Puentes

Lee Farmer

Lee Farmer, AICP is an urban planner focused on planning and implementing transportation solutions in support of local and regional urban development goals. Lee is currently Senior Project Planner with VHB, where she is serving as Deputy Project Manager on the Long Bridge Project EIS.

Prior to joining VHB, Lee was the Transit Capital Program Manager with the City of Alexandria, Virginia. While at the City, she ensured the successful implementation of the Metroway service, the first bus rapid transit service in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area. She also managed the planning process for the Potomac Yard Metrorail Station, which will be the second infill Metro station in the region and will anchor the redevelopment of the former rail yard into a major mixed-use activity center.

Lee holds a Master’s in City and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.Phil in Irish Studies from the National University of Ireland, Galway, and a BA in History from Rice University.