As President of Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership, Andrew is responsible for establishing the strategic vision and direction for the organization, working with the Board of Directors, staff, local businesses, residents, government, and institutions to build partnerships necessary to sustain effective, well-coordinated downtown growth and organizational effectiveness. Andrew leads program, policy, brand and fund development, working to build a best-in-class place management organization and a complete, 24-hour neighborhood. Andrew brings over 10 years of industry experience to his position, most recently serving as Associate Director of the Governor’s Office of Urban Initiatives, and prior to that, Executive Director of Downtown Muskegon Now. Andrew holds a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from Eastern Michigan University and completed a Bachelor of Arts in Public History at Western Michigan University. Andrew, his wife Allison, and their son Gerrit are proud residents of the City of Kalamazoo.
Andrew Lee came to the Capitol Hill BID as a trainee for the “Ready, Willing & Able” program in April 2004. Mr. Lee excelled as a trainee and was made the “leadman” within four months in the program and quickly moved up to site supervisor.
The Capitol Hill BID management saw potential in Mr. Lee and in September 2006 he was hired to oversee the Safety/Hospitality Ambassador program. A few short months later he was promoted to Operations Supervisor and subsequently to Operations Director. In 2018, Andrew was promoted to Vice President of Operations.
Mr. Lee has received “Block by Block” management training and is a certified CPR/First Aid instructor. Also, while working at the Capitol Hill BID, Andrew has received training in tree maintenance, landscaping, and team management.
DC Chamber of Commerce named Andrew Lee “Hometown Hero” and honored him at their annual luncheon in January 2017.
Ashley Kershner is the Executive Director of Downtown Lynchburg Association, where she works as a catalyst for downtown revitalization through business support, placemaking, marketing and promotion, cultural events, and more. Previously, she worked in many fields, including marketing, non-profit management, local government, and even food writing. Ashley holds a Masters degree in Integrated Marketing Communication from Florida State University. She lives in Lynchburg with her husband and three-year old son and loves her community.
Caitlin joined the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP) in 2017. In her current role as the Senior Manager of Economic Development, she is responsible for the implementation of the PDP’s economic development strategies, including research, data analysis, and business outreach.
Prior to joining the PDP, Caitlin worked for the Sports and Exhibition Authority of the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County (SEA). While working at the SEA, she served as a LEED Project Administrator for the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. She also worked for PPG Industries in research and development prior to earning her MBA and Master of Sustainability from Chatham University.
Chellie Longstreth came to Downtown Little Rock Partnership (DLRP) via Cozumel in the summer of 2012. In Mexico she owned and operated a successful dive and tourism company for 22 years, frequently mentioned in high-visibility publications like Fodor’s and Discovery Channel’s Top Five Latin America. She also served on the mayor’s Civil Protection Committee.
She brings to DLRP a bi-lingual experience in management, logistics and event planning with a focus on community engagement. She oversees DLRP’s numerous events, including the award- winning Main Street Food Truck Festival and represents DLRP on the Arkansas Festivals & Events Association Board of Directors.
Chloe Shipp is a non-profit professional in San Jose with experience in operations management, membership engagement, database management, advocacy and public relations. Shipp joined the San Jose Downtown Association in 2013 working in membership management. Since 2016, Shipp has been Operations Manager, focusing on clean & safe programming, homelessness & public safety advocacy, and management of SJDA’s PBID assessments. A graduate of the University of San Francisco’s Master of Nonprofit Administration program, Shipp has worked in the nonprofit sector since 2008. Shipp currently serves on the Board of Directors of City Lights Theater Company, the California Downtown Association and genARTS Silicon Valley.
David Barilla is the Assistant Director of the City of Orlando’s Downtown Development Board and Community Redevelopment Agency. Over the past ten years, David worked with local and national real estate developers to reenergize the development scene in downtown Orlando with over $1 billion dollars of residential, mixed use, retail, and hospitality development. He has been engaged in numerous market leading initiatives including chairing the City of Orlando’s Night Club Task force in the aftermath of the Pulse terror attack and the recruitment of EA Sports Tiburon studio which will bring nearly 1,000 high wage high value jobs to the city center. David also serves on the Minority Entrepreneurs Businesses Assistance Advisory Board and as the Florida P3 Public Chair for the International Council of Shopping Centers.
Devin Strecker is the Vice President for Communications. In this role, he oversees all communications, marketing, public relations, and events for the organization. He previously spent eight years working for the nearby Hollywood Media District BID, starting out as an administrative assistant and working up to operations coordinator. He has completed LAPD’s Citizen’s Police Academy, has been a presenter at the West Coast Urban District Forum, and received an International Downtown Association Merit Award for his work on the Sunset & Dine event. He graduated from Fort Hays State University, near his hometown of Paradise, Kansas, with a degree in information networking and telecommunications, emphasis in media studies. He is a musician, blogger, and podcast host.
Gerren Price has over 15 years of experience in public and non-profit management. Price currently serves as the Director of Public Space Operations for the DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID), where he leads a team of 80+ staff to ensure that downtown D.C. is clean, safe, and economically viable. He previously served as Senior Associate for National Community Strategies at the Annie E. Casey Foundation and held several senior leadership positions within the District of Columbia government, including interim director and deputy director of the city’s workforce agency, director of programs for the city’s parks and recreation department, and senior program coordinator for the city’s public schools. Price resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife and two daughters and serves as a mentor to several young men in his community. He holds a B.A. in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a M.S./M.B.A. from the University of Maryland University College.
As Manager, Communications & Sustainability at the Strathcona Business Improvement Association (SBIA), Johanna develops sustainability, marketing, and public realm programming as it relates to the diverse business membership and community in Strathcona. She directly supports the SBIA Board of Directors with strategic development of the organization’s sustainability and marketing priorities and creates, implements, and manages programs based on those priorities. In September 2019 Johanna was appointed by the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation as one of seven members of a newly formed Granville Island Council. This is a local governing body that will guide Granville Island towards achieving its 2040 strategy, including it’s vision to be the most inspiring public place in the world. Johanna is an avid foodie and has worked as a culinary and city tour guide with Vancouver Foodie Tours.
As Chief Operating Officer, Julie leads internal and external efforts to ensure the strategic success of the Downtown Austin Alliance and to influence how the organization is viewed in the community. She works alongside community leaders, elected officials, staff and board members. She advises program and project teams to support strategic initiatives, as well as governance, brand strategy, public policy, research, advocacy and communication efforts. Before joining the Downtown Alliance team in 1999, Julie worked for the Texas House of Representatives and has a BA in Government from the University of Texas at Austin.
Karli has served as Downtown Rochester’s Senior Director of Placemaking for the past six years and is responsible for creation and development of innovative and collaborative placemaking projects within Downtown Rochester. She works closely with downtown businesses and partners to help the community envision how we see our downtown spaces differently. Additionally, she facilitates the Start-Up Event Grant and the Façade Improvement Grant programs and in 2020 she is launching a Clean and Safe Ambassador program for the 44-block downtown district.
Lindsey Parks brings over ten years of experience in membership relations, event planning, government relations and community affairs to her role as Director of Membership and Public Affairs for the Tampa Downtown Partnership.
Lindsey earned a Bachelor of Science in political science in addition to a second bachelor’s in criminology from Florida State University.
As a 2015 Leadership Tampa Bay graduate and member of Emerging Leaders of Tampa Bay, Lindsey is highly active in the Tampa community. She has been a member of the Junior League of Tampa for nine years.
Originally from Buffalo, NY, Matt Gladdek learned a love of unique urban spaces from a young age. He received his undergrad degree in political science and spent four years working as a policy analyst in the Massachusetts state legislature. After this, he came to UNC to do a dual Master’s degree in City & Regional Planning and Public Administration with a concentration in community development.
After graduating from UNC, Matt spent five years working for Downtown Durham, Inc. in multiple roles before accepting the Executive Director position at the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership at the beginning of 2019.
Matt Beard was born in Fort Worth and attended The University of Texas at Arlington, graduating with his Bachelor of Science in Architecture.
Since joining DFWI in January of 2015, Matt has managed the two Public Improvement Districts located Downtown. In October of 2015, Matt took on the role of TIF Administrator for the Downtown Tax Increment Financing District.
In addition to his responsibilities with DFWI, Matt is the President of the Fort Worth Police Bike Support Group and serves on the Keep Fort Worth Beautiful Board, Operation Partnership Emergency Network (OPEN), and the Downtown Security Group.
Matt has been married for 9 years to his wife Laura who is a teacher. Together they have two children a daughter named Collins and a son named Mason.
Melvin Eledge is an award-winning operations professional working as the Operations Manager for Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. Melvin oversees maintenance, beautification and project implementation throughout Grand Rapids’ downtown district. He follows the philosophy that city building is an infinite game where the goal is not creating “the best” downtown district but instead to create a healthy district that builds upon the successes of the past while making innovations that will carry it into the future. Melvin’s goal is to lead a downtown or place management organization focused on creating vibrant, compelling places that will endure for generations.
Meredith, originally from Pinehurst, NC, is a graduate from East Carolina University with a degree in Communications.
Post-college, she took a leap and applied for the Events and Branding Director position with Uptown Greenville planning over 60 events annually. In her time with Uptown, she has seen over half a billion dollars of public/private investment in the district.
Currently, she is their Interim Executive Director – transforming Greenville’s center city into the metropolitan of the East.
Michael leads the Alliance’s Business Development Center, the “go-to” resource for real estate professionals and business leaders seeking to attract people, jobs and investment to Downtown Cleveland. He previously served in economic development leadership roles for the Governor’s Office, Ohio Attorney General, and Ohio Senate. Michael served as Vice-Chair of the IDA Top Issues Council on Housing Attainability in 2019 and was a member of the Leadership Cleveland Class of 2019. He holds degrees from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, the University of Notre Dame, and Ohio University.
Michelle Valeri is the Communications and Programs Director for the Colfax Ave BID in Denver, CO. Colfax is the “heartbeat” of Denver and one of the most storied streets in Colorado and the nation. Michelle is responsible for all marketing, communications, and event planning efforts, and helped create Colfax Ave’s innovative workforce development program, Colfax Works. Michelle joined Colfax Ave from Washington, DC, where she began her urban place management career as Marketing Director for the Capitol Hill BID. Originally from a rural town in southern New Jersey, Michelle is just as surprised by her passion for cities as you are.
Oliver Hierlihy is the Operations & Special Projects Manager for The Waterfront Business Improvement Area (BIA) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Prior to joining The Waterfront BIA, Oliver Hierlihy was the Manager of the Danforth Mosaic BIA in Toronto and currently sits on the board of directors for the Toronto Association of BIA’s (TABIA).
Rob manages the City Center Business Improvement District in downtown Birmingham, one of two BIDs in Alabama. Rob has led an assortment of campaigns from a homeless transportation pilot program to a retail revival project called Upswing. Currently, Rob is leading efforts to help downtown businesses recover through an initiative called Bring Bham Back, which will consist of promotional, place-making, and business programming.
Rob graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Urban & Regional Planning. In his free time, he loves traveling with his wife, Kelsea, cooking, running, and working around the house.
For the last 6 years, Ryan has led the Downtown Santa Ana (DTSA) improvement district in Orange County, California. In his leadership role, Ryan directs the Downtown BID’s event programming, public-private partnerships, economic development, strategy, management, organizational development and community relations.
Ryan has created and managed scores of community events, programs, marketing campaigns and technology initiatives including Savor Santa Ana, the historic Santa Ana Street Breakfast, Santa Ana Media Summit, Hack for Health, the Calliotree, Downtown annual gatherings, mixers and business lunches and production oversight of DTSA’s monthly Artwalk event.
Ryan is proud to continue to grow through his involvement with the International Downtown Association as an Emerging Leader Fellow, . Prior to this honor, Ryan won an IDA Merit Award for Marketing & Communication, Vice Chaired IDA Top Research Councils that wrote reports on great urban parks and municipal partnerships, participated in writing an IDA report on the night time economy, received an IDA Springboard for the Arts grant, and he attended and spoke at IDA regional and national conferences.
Ryan is also the initiator of PlacemakingUS, a network of US-based Placemakers working with placemaking networks across the globe. He is excited to collaborate with other place managers to diffuse knowledge, expertise and opportunities especially in the fields of local food/health/nature, arts/culture, history, social infrastructure/soft development, micro-enterprise/social entrepreneurship and community engagement, crowdsourcing and resilience.
As MarCom + Program Director for Downtown Saskatoon, Sarah cultivates Downtown experiences. Through painted crosswalks, over Le Burger, or with Santa, she motivates current and generates new Downtown fans regularly! With previous experience from teaching, to an MBA, and her role as a BID Executive Director, Sarah is passionate about getting the small details right. Her attention to brand, content, and member data is her sharpest tool when myth busting and sharing Downtown’s story. As a key member of a small administrative team, and a supportive local BID network, Sarah is recognized through her BID career for her creative and energized ways of getting done the work BIDs do.
Sherryl Muriente is the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Manager of Urban Placemaking. She oversees the programming of public spaces to further enhance the quality of life for Downtown residents and visitors. She has a strong background in urban acupuncture, design and grant writing, as well as six years of experience teaching urban design courses and workshops. She has collaborated on projects in Taiwan, Italy, Peru, Puerto Rico, and the USA. An advocate for common sense urbanism, incremental urban planning, and testing of demonstrations and pilot studies, Muriente brings an expertise in getting the community engaged in activating place through action.
Terri Takata-Smith is the Vice President of Marketing & Communications for the Downtown Boulder Partnership (DBP) – providing strategic leadership and management of the organization’s initiatives to market / brand downtown Boulder as a premier shopping/dining/entertainment destination. Terri joined the DBP team in 2008. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Advertising (with a minor in Sociology) from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. Her early career endeavors included positions as a regional publicist for Miramax Films, Artisan Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox, as well as marketing and communications roles at EvansGroup and Special Olympics Colorado.
Wesley Brown is the Director of Planning and Capital Projects at Central Atlanta Progress – Downtown Atlanta’s Community Improvement District. In this role, Wesley guides the delivery of Downtown Atlanta’s public infrastructure projects from plan to implementation.
Prior to his current position, Wesley worked for HDR, Inc., Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. and Alta Planning and Design (formerly known as Greenways, Inc.).
Wesley received a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from North Carolina State University and a Masters of Science in Urban Design from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He co-authored an essay published in Retrofitting Sprawl: Addressing Seventy Years of Failed Urban Form, and is an avid college football fan.
Will is the Director of Economic Development & Planning at Downtown Raleigh Alliance in Raleigh, NC. Will is a passionate place management professional who loves telling the story of downtown through data. He has over 5 years of experience in working in the economic development, planning and place management industries. Will’s skills include economic research, real estate development and government advocacy. Previously, Will worked for Live It Up! Hillsborough Street and the Blue Ridge Corridor Alliance as their Director of Economic Development.