Vice President U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation
Tracey Gunn Lowell has served in several capacities for USBCDC since joining our team in 2005. Since 2013 she has been a business development officer on the NMTC and HTC production team in which she also leads the origination of state NMTC investments as well as small QLICI funds nationally. Before her current role, Lowell was responsible for sourcing RETC investment opportunities for two years. Lowell has previously originated and closed federal tax credit syndications with investors nationally, including banks, insurance companies and large corporations and also structured and closed investments as part of our NMTC and HTC divisions after joining USBCDC. Prior to working at USBCDC, Lowell worked in the strategy and operations group at Deloitte Consulting, primarily with health care clients. She majored in economics, political science and business at Washington University in St. Louis.
Associate Program Manager, Financial Strategies and Research CDFI Fund
Oscar Gonzales is a researcher and associate manager for the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund). Mr. Gonzales is associate manager for the CDFI Fund’s Office of Financial Strategy and Research. His research focuses on the evaluation and performance of the CDFI Fund’s national award and tax credit programs. Previously, he worked for the United States Congress at the U.S. Congressional Research Service (CRS) in the area of federal economic and community development programs, providing policy research support for members of Congress and Congressional Committees. His policy portfolio at CRS included federal programs such as the CDFI Fund, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Economic Development Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Community Development Block Grant program at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Prior to working at CRS, he worked in the Division of Insurance and Research at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, analyzing the financial performance of community banks and conducting research on the impact of national disasters on financial institutions and local communities. He is completing his PhD at the University of Maryland.
Amanda Read is a partner in the Cleveland office of Novogradac. She provides a wide range of services to community development entities, including transaction structuring, development and implementation of internal compliance policies and procedures, bookkeeping, monthly loan servicing and asset management, compliance review and Community Development Financial Institutions Fund reporting. She assists her clients in transaction structuring, financial modeling, new markets tax credit (NMTC) compliance and reporting. Ms. Read’s experience includes working with complex financing for community development real estate developments, including using NMTCs, historic tax credits, public/private partnerships, and other federal, state and local tax credits and incentives. She is also a frequent speaker at the preconference workshops at the company’s NMTC conferences. In addition to her NMTC practice, Ms. Read also focuses on the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC), providing accounting, auditing, forecasting and compliance of developments subject to the regulatory requirements of the LIHTC program and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Ms. Read received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Akron. She is licensed in Ohio as a certified public accountant.
Vice President of Capital Markets Lendistry
Nicole Boone has more than 14 years of experience in the banking, real estate and community development finance industry. At Lendistry, she is responsible for leading the capital strategy across all government program funding and other community capital products. Boone previously served as executive director, senior commercial banker within community development banking at JP Morgan Chase Bank, specializing in new markets tax credit (NMTC) equity. In her time there, she deployed more than $400 million in NMTC financing across nearly 40 deals. She also created and led the first-ever Community Development Banking Racial Equity Special Purpose Credit Program (SPCP) targeting Black Americans. SPCP resulted in the deployment of an additional $200 million of tax credit financing, across fifteen transactions supporting black businesses and nonprofits nationally. A graduate of Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, Boone also serves on the board of directors at Excellent Education Development (ExED), the Local Advisory Council of LISC LA, and is on the executive leadership team at The Way Los Angeles.
Miao Xue is a partner in the San Francisco office of Novogradac. She joined the company as a staff accountant in 2004. After leaving briefly for a position at a Big Four firm, she returned in 2009 as a manager. Ms. Xue has broad experience in tax compliance. She also provides extensive financial modeling and consulting services to members of the LIHTC, RETC, HTC, NMTC and commercial real estate industries. She is known for her strong technical skills in complicated partnership transactions in real estate and renewable energy areas. Ms. Xue received a master’s degree in accounting from San Francisco State University and is licensed in California as a certified public accountant.
Vice President Wells Fargo CDC
Lee Winslett is the senior vice president and division manager for Wells Fargo’s new markets tax credit group where he leads a team of specialized lenders that provides debt and tax credit equity to high-impact redevelopment projects and community facilities in underserved and emerging markets. Under his leadership, the group has completed more than $3 billion in transactions. The portfolio includes investments in mixed-use, transit-oriented developments, high-impact real estate projects, community facilities, and financial intermediaries that provide loans to small businesses. Prior to assuming this role, Mr. Winslett held a variety of positions at Wells Fargo in its commercial and real estate lending areas representing a span of 25-plus years in banking. Mr. Winslett is actively involved in civic affairs, having served as a board member on several housing and economic development related nonprofits. Currently, he serves on the board of directors for Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation, a nonprofit affordable housing developer, and Craft 3, a well-regarded Community Development Financial Institution operating principally in the Pacific Northwest. Mr. Winslett is also a trustee of the San Diego Library Foundation, and has served on the governance committee for the Wells Fargo Foundation, one of the top corporate donors in the nation with an annual gifting budget of $400-plus million. Mr. Winslett attended Stanford University and the University of California Los Angeles, earning degrees in applied mathematics and economics.
Founder & President Classic Lake Consulting
Kyle Walton has more than 15 years of experience in community and economic development finance and real estate development. Walton founded Classic Lake, a community development advisory and real estate development firm in 2014. The firms’ advisory practice was established with an emphasis on supporting women- and minority-owned or led businesses impacting marginalized communities and communities of color. The firms’ real estate development practice focuses on new construction and rehabilitation opportunities within low-income communities and emerging domestic markets, with an emphasis on developing and preserving affordable and workforce housing. Under Walton’s leadership the firm has facilitated the placement of more than $650 million of investment into low-income communities throughout the nation. Common advisory clients include real estate developers, municipalities and government entities, financial institutions, academic and healthcare organizations, small businesses, and non-profits. Prior to founding Classic Lake, Walton served as a vice president within JPMorgan Chase’s Community Development Banking group and as vice president with SDS Capital Group (formerly Strategic Development Solutions), a boutique private equity fund development and management firm. Walton serves on multiple advisory boards including Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Health Foundation, Casa Familiar, a San Diego based Community Development Agency, and De Novo Healthcare Inc., a Compton based community clinic. Walton earned his master’s in business administration from the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis and his bachelor's degree from Morehouse College.
Erin Neff is a principal in the Dover, Ohio, office of Novogradac. Since beginning her career with Novogradac in 2007, Ms. Neff has gained an extensive background in real estate partnership audits, federal and state partnership taxation, and compliance matters related to the new market tax credit (NMTC), low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) and investment tax credit industries. Additionally, Ms. Neff works with nonprofit organizations, performing audits of such entities and their federal awards. Ms. Neff has participated as a panelist at Novogradac’s NMTC conference workshops and is a regular presenter for the company’s in-house training courses. She is a parttime accounting professor at Kent State University, her alma mater, where she holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in accounting. She is licensed as a CPA in Ohio.
Managing Director, Credit & Portfolio Management Reinvestment Fund
Kareem Thomas is the Head of Credit and Portfolio Management for the Reinvestment Fund. As Reinvestment Fund’s Credit Officer, he is directly responsible for the lending practices, credit culture, credit risk and credit approval functions across the Reinvestment Fund footprint. Thomas also has direct responsibility for Lending Portfolio Management, where he and his team manage the performance of Reinvestment Fund’s loan portfolio of over $700mm+ combined assets. The team also plays a critical role in Reinvestment Fund’s annual S&P, AERIS, and Risk Management Audits.
Prior to Reinvestment Fund, he served as Chief Financial Officer for a nationally recognized for-profit literacy solutions company, and led Small Business Banking, Commercial Lending, Portfolio Management, and Credit Underwriting regions across PA, NJ, and DE for Wells Fargo, Citizens Bank, and Citi. Passionate about civic engagement, he serves on the Board of the Urban Affairs Coalition, Self, Inc, Influencing Action Movement, and is a past board member of Philadelphia OIC, American Red Cross, People’s Emergency Center, and the Mastery Charter School Foundation.
In 2022, Thomas was appointed by Philadelphia Mayor James F. Kenney to the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations—the City’s Civil Rights and Social Justice Arm.
President and Principal Rapoza Associates
Bob Rapoza has more than four decades of experience as a professional lobbyist. He is an expert on the federal budget and appropriations process, with special expertise in federal housing and community development policy. His knowledge and desire to ensure programs for disadvantaged communities and populations are not only sustained, but are able to reach their goals, fueled his drive and success in securing and increasing funding for his clients’ work–even in a difficult budget environment. Mr. Rapoza is responsible for numerous legislative accomplishments, including saving federal rural housing and community development programs from budget cuts, establishing the Intermediary Re-lending Program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and securing funding for community development programs at the Department of Health and Human Services. At the Department of the Treasury, he effectively steered the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program to enactment. Mr. Rapoza also has earned recognition in the education and job training policy arena. He created a YouthBuild program at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and guided its more recent transfer to the Department of Labor. He became involved with community development issues while serving with the Massachusetts Department of Community Affairs. After moving to Washington, D.C., Mr. Rapoza held executive positions with the Rural Housing Alliance, the National Rural Housing Coalition (which he continues to serve as executive secretary and legislative director) and the Rural Coalition, before establishing Rapoza Associates in 1984. Mr. Rapoza has served on the boards of several housing and community development organizations and has been a featured speaker on legislative issues, government and politics at numerous governmental, industry and trade association conferences. He has been profiled in The Washington Post and in the authoritative Beacham’s Guide to Key Lobbyists. Mr. Rapoza is a graduate of Boston College and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Executive Director, Community Development Tax Credits JPMorgan Chase
James Simmons is a Vice President in the Community Development Tax Credit Group at Chase, where he is primarily responsible for the origination, deal structuring, and closing of NMTC investments throughout the bank’s Central Region.
Prior to joining the firm in 2016, Mr. Simmons worked for four years at SB Friedman Development Advisors in Chicago, where he provided NMTC consulting to Community Development Entities (CDEs) and Qualified Active Low-Income Community Businesses (QALICBs). This work included closing $230 million in NMTC allocation and managing a debt portfolio that leveraged over $500 million in total investment to support community healthcare organizations, youth enrichment facilities, and expanding manufacturers.
In addition to his work at SB Friedman, Mr. Simmons has also worked directly for two Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) active in the NMTC industry – Carver Federal Savings Bank and Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC).
Mr. Simmons has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Marquette University and a Master of Science in Urban Planning from Columbia University.
Executive Director Open Access
Rashida "Roz" Billups is a finacial advisor and the founder of Billups Financial. She has over a decade of experience in the finance industry including banking and technology, investment advisory, risk management, and stategic business planning. A recent graduate of Open Access, Billups made a significant impact at New Jersey Community Corporation as the the NJCC New Markets Tax Credit Lending and Compliance Fellow.
Managing Partner BWC Consulting
Bridget Chisholm brings over 35 years of experience of being a seasoned executive and serial entrepreneur, ecosystem building, private equity investment, and economic development to the organization. Since 1998, she has created and launched three high-performing companies and facilitated almost $2 billion in multi-layered specialty financing transactions and investments. Chisholm is known as an innovator who uses disruptive thinking to challenge systems, advance and build wealth in historically underserved sectors, including Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs), communities, people, and capital providers. Additionally, Chisholm leverages her 10 years of extensive experience in marketing and branding for Fortune 500 companies, including RJR Nabisco and General Mills, and top-ranked cosmetic company, Maybelline to activate unique perspectives. She meets SEC guidelines for audit committee financial expert (ACFE) designation and was the second woman to be appointed to the NC Banking Commission and serves on the Board of Trustees for Texas College (HBCU) and Chair’s the Links Economic Empowerment Platform (LEEP) and previously served on the Shelby County (TN) County Commissioners. She completed her education at Wake Forest University and the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.
Trefor A. Henry
Associate Program Manager CDFI Fund, Office of Compliance Monitoring & Evaluation
Trefor Henry is an associate program manager in Office of Compliance Monitoring & Evaluation at the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund. In this role, he is responsible for compliance monitoring and evaluation of the New Markets Tax Credit program. Prior to joining the CDFI Fund in 2004, Mr. Henry was a financial analyst with the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (NFCDCU), a certified CDFI. In this capacity, he was responsible for underwriting, portfolio management and compliance monitoring for NFCDCUs Capitalization Program–an investment and grant portfolio comprised of more than 125 community development credit union borrowers. Mr. Henry earned a master’s degree with a concentration in finance and marketing from New York University Leonard N. Stern School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Wesleyan University.
Partner Nixon Peabody LLP
Liz Young is a partner at Nixon Peabody and is based in their Washington, D.C., office. Young provides tax counsel to private and public real estate investors, private equity sponsors, real estate developers and tax-exempt organizations to finance community development projects across the United States. Young works with clients to structure complex community development transactions involving the federal new markets tax credits (NMTCs), historic rehabilitation tax credits (HTCs) and affordable housing. She works with colleagues to analyze financial models, draft and issue tax opinion letters, and craft letter ruling requests necessary to close these transactions. In addition to providing transactional income tax advice, Young guides tax-exempt organizations with the formation process, and helps these organizations obtain and maintain tax-exempt status.
Partner Akin Gump
Jeff McMillen advises clients on federal tax and pension policy matters. Before joining Akin Gump, Mr. McMillen was the staff director of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Select Revenue measures, where he served under Committee Chairman Bill Thomas, R-Calif., and Subcommittee Chairman Jim McCrery, R-La. During his tenure with the committee, Mr. McMillen assisted in drafting the Energy Tax Policy Act of 2003, developing the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief and Reconciliation Act of 2003 and crafting the American Competiveness Act of 2002 and the Community Solution Act of 2001. Previously, he served on the staff of the committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight. Before joining the government, Mr. McMillen was the tax counselor for the 3,000-member American Electronics Association. Mr. McMillen received his juris doctor in 1994 from the Washington University School of Law, where he was the articles editor of the Washington University Law Quarterly, and his master’s degree in taxation from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2000.
President & CEO Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF)
Aisha Benson is president and CEO of Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), a nonprofit lender, consultant, and advocate that has worked for more than 40 years to strengthen nonprofits and improve the way money flows to social good. As a leading community development financial institution (CDFI), NFF has invested more than $1.1 billion in financing and access to additional capital in support of over $3.6 billion in projects for thousands of organizations nationwide. Benson comes to us from TruFund Financial Services, a Black-led, nonprofit CDFI that provides affordable loan capital and business advisory services to historically disadvantaged small businesses and nonprofits. Prior to TruFund, Benson held community development finance roles at Carver Federal Savings, Banco Popular and JP Morgan Chase. She has deployed $130 million in New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) funding and $175 million of capital to low-income communities, including $75 million in loans to small businesses and nonprofits. Benson serves on several key industry boards, including Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the NMTC Coalition (Board President) and NY CDFI Coalition (founding member and Board VP). She also serves on the advisory boards of the Woodforest CEI-Boulos Opportunity Fund and the Community Development Entities of US Bank and Coastal Enterprises. Benson holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Columbia University, a certificate in Social Impact Management and Leadership from the Institute for Nonprofit Practice, and a certificate through a Citi/OFN Sponsored Leadership Training Program for CDFI Executives at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Partner Nixon Peabody
Sonia Nayak is a partner at Nixon Peabody. Her practice centers on real estate development and financing, including new markets tax credits, affordable housing and commercial lending. Ms. Nayak brings private capital to community and affordable housing development projects in California and nationwide. Ms. Nayak helps investors—large financial institutions, regional banks and funds—leverage unique financing structures and tools to infuse development projects with the capital needed to bring critical services to underserved neighborhoods and communities. These development projects use financing programs such as the federal low-income housing tax credit and new markets tax credit, and include affordable multifamily rental housing complexes, health care facilities, charter schools, cultural and community centers and research and technology incubator facilities. Ms. Nayak also works with developers, helping them to acquire, finance, develop and manage their real estate assets. These assets include office buildings, industrial/manufacturing sites and other commercial real estate properties, as well as multifamily housing developments. Much of Ms. Nayak’s work involves bringing capital—in the form of new markets tax credit financing—to new businesses looking to operate in low-income neighborhoods throughout the country. She also works with investors, financial institutions and developers on low-income housing tax credit transactions, the proceeds of which help finance affordable housing developments. Ms. Nayak received her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Irvine and her J.D. from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.
Partner Spencer Fane LLP
Nick Anderson is chair of the Spencer Fane tax credit finance and opportunity zones team. He advises real estate developers, lenders, and investors on tax credit financing and opportunity zone matters to efficiently structure and close real estate deals, helping them take advantage of opportunities ranging from simple to extremely complex incentives and programs. He is well-versed in tax credit transactions, including historic tax credits, low-income housing tax credits, new market tax credits, opportunity zones, renewable energy tax credits and a wide variety of state tax credit programs. Often, Anderson makes clients aware of development incentive opportunities that they might not have considered otherwise, frequently layering federal and state tax credits to provide maximum financial benefits. Combining highly technical knowledge, responsiveness, and a communicative approach Anderson strives to provide the highest level of client services regardless of the size of the project. With a strong background in general corporate, federal tax, real estate, and financing legal matters, Anderson focuses on understanding the goals and objectives of business clients and applying those when pursuing applicable development incentives. His broad-based tax experience includes corporate and partnership tax planning, taxation of financial products, private equity, lease financing, public finance and tax-exempt bonds, real estate, and exempt organizations. Additionally, he assists nonprofit organizations in receiving their tax-exempt status and advising them on governance and compliance matters. All of this allows Anderson to effectively and efficiently counsel clients, understand the financial and business operation impacts, and provide high-quality legal advice to clients.
Vice President, Business Development AMCREF
As vice president business development for AMCREF Community Capital, Katie Frattaroli is responsible for sourcing investment opportunities, new business and community outreach. Ms. Frattaroli also leads AMCREF’s advisory services to help high-impact projects and businesses develop, secure, structure and close project financing. Ms. Frattaroli has nearly 10 years of experience working with community development and tax credit finance and has spent her career working with NMTCs. Prior to rejoining AMCREF in 2017, Ms. Frattaroli worked as an acquisitions manager for National Trust Community Investment Corporations (NTCIC) identifying, structuring and preliminarily underwriting prospective NMTC, historic tax credit, and private equity investments in the South. Prior to NTCIC, Ms. Frattaroli worked in triple bottom line real estate development as a project finance consultant and developer renovating and repositioning vacant and blighted properties in severely distressed Southern markets. In this capacity, Ms. Frattaroli successfully sourced and leveraged more than $150 million of public and private investment capital to redevelop 400,000 sq. ft. of real estate. Ms. Frattaroli began her career in 2008 at AMCREF as an associate, supporting the asset management and compliance functions. Ms. Frattaroli holds a Masters of Sustainable Real Estate Development from Tulane University and a BA in Communications from Loyola University New Orleans.
Senior Vice President Advantage Capital
Pete Byford is senior vice president of Advantage Capital’s partner service team, where he helps lead the growth of the overall line of business and focuses on origination of new markets tax credit financing transactions. Byford is a veteran attorney and former equity finance consultant. Over the past eight years, he has been involved in NMTC transactions delivering more than $1.1 billion in total investment to underserved areas. Before joining Advantage Capital, Byford was a director at one of the largest regional accounting firms in the U.S. Before that, he was executive vice president and general counsel, S.B. Phillips Co., Inc., and for more than 13 years, he led his own law firm, Byford Law LLC.
Monica Clark Petersen
Principal & CEO S.B. Clark Companies
Monica Clark Petersen joined her father and twin sister at S.B. Clark Companies in 2012, became a shareholder in 2018 and CEO in 2022. Petersen leads the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) side of the business representing clients’ projects and facilitating relationships with Community Development Entities (CDEs) and NMTC industry partners. Petersen works to structure and model the complex tax credit financings, works closely with clients to understand their businesses and community impacts, coordinates project and program requirements, timelines, and due diligences processes including managing financial partner solicitations and creating and delivering Board and conference presentations, all to assure that projects have the highest opportunity of receiving NMTC investment in a highly competitive program. S.B. Clark Companies is based in Denver, Colorado and works nationwide in serving as financial advisors for projects seeking to use NMTC financing.
Senior Vice President United Fund Advisors
Shelly Crowder is a senior vice president with United Fund Advisors and is responsible for underwriting, structuring and closing NMTC investments. Crowder has more than 30 years of real estate experience, with a focus on finance, compliance, reporting, commercial asset management and development, including accounting and construction management. Previously, she was the director of portfolio management for the NMTC program at Enterprise Community Investment Inc. Crowder serves on the NMTC Advisory Boards of Enterprise Financial CDE LLC and Community Impact Capital LLC. She is also on the Advisory Committee of the CEI Capital Management LLC Asset Management Roundtable.
Director Monge Capital
Yanderi Montano, director at Monge Capital has extensive experience in affordable housing and community development, including new markets tax credit (NMTC) and low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) transactions. Before joining Monge Capital, Montano was vice president asset manager with Citi Community Capital. There she asset managed $334 million of Citibank’s $340 million NMTC allocation, $1.1 billion in LIHTC investments and $261.9 million in structured lending commitments. Montano began her career at Novogradac & Company as an accountant. She graduated from the California State University, Long Beach with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Montano is licensed as a certified public accountant in California.
Partner Stinson LLP
Cody Rogers is a skilled transactional attorney who focuses his work on impact investment and community development projects throughout the country with particular experience in new markets tax credit (NMTC) and historic tax credit (HTC) transactions. From project structuring to the kick-off call to the preparation of final closing documents, Rogers uses his experience to help large scale institutional investors, community development financial institutions (CDFIs), community development entities (CDEs), nonprofits, developers and project sponsors navigate the complexities of these federal incentives programs. Despite the complexities, Rogers understands the end-goal of these programs are to assist communities in need and he works to ensure deals close efficiently and timely.
Senior Vice President | Director; NM/HTC Tax Equity U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation
Emily Rose is an attorney by education and a finance professional by trade. She’s been working in tax equity as an investor for U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation for nearly 13 years, and finds herself continually challenged, energized and rewarded by this work. Her team specializes in state NMTC transactions, particularly when funded in conjunction with federal NMTC, as well as the specialty products such as loan funds, equity investments and targeted population transactions. Rose is energized by the work of structuring financial solutions for impactful projects, and watching the benefit of the tax credits propel positive results.
Robert K. Jenkins, Jr.
Senior Managing Director Renaissance Equity Partners
Robert K. Jenkins, Jr. is founder and CEO of Renaissance Equity Partners (REP), an economic development finance advisory and private equity firm with a focus upon emerging domestic communities. REP creatively designs innovative public- private financing strategies that maximize investment efficacy while mitigating investment risk. REP’s leadership has accessed the New Markets Tax Credit program and a myriad of other economic development initiatives to help finance important community economic development projects across the country with aggregate development costs exceeding $3 billion. An experienced portfolio manager, REP assists two municipal government community development lenders manage real estate loan portfolios with an aggregate value exceeding $1 billion. REP also controls and manages the Renaissance New Markets Fund, a U.S. Department of Treasury designated Community Development Entity. An experienced real estate finance attorney, Jenkins is a graduate of Howard University and the George Washington University School of Law. He is licensed to practice before multiple tribunals including the U.S. Tax Court and the U.S. Supreme Court. Jenkins has successfully completed postgraduate studies in real estate development finance at the MIT Center for Real Estate.
As an experienced litigator now serving as Nixon Peabody’s firmwide diversity and inclusion director, Rekha Chiruvolu brings her career-spanning passion for diversity and inclusion in the legal profession to oversee the firm’s diversity initiatives. She develops trainings and other programming featuring inspiring thought leaders, and works with the firm’s practice groups and recruiting, professional development and business development teams to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into all aspects of the firm. Additionally, Ms. Chiruvolu frequently assists firm clients with the development of their own diversity and inclusion programming, trainings and related initiatives. Ms. Chiruvolu is an attorney who practiced litigation for almost 10 years. During this time, she was very active in various minority bar associations, advocating for greater diversity and inclusion in the profession. Prior to joining Nixon Peabody, Ms. Chiruvolu was the assistant director of the Office of Career Services at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law. In that role she worked closely with employers and various bar associations to implement programming and initiatives for diverse law students and graduates. Ms. Chiruvolu is also active in various diversity-related bar organizations. She is an active member of the South Asian Bar Association of North America, and has served on its executive committee for a number of years.
Nicolo Pinoli is a partner in the Portland, Ore., office of Novogradac, where he specializes in affordable housing and community development, including the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC), new markets tax credit (NMTC), historic rehabilitation tax credit (HTC) and opportunity zones (OZ). Mr. Pinoli has extensive experience in a wide range of services, including financial statement audits; tax return preparation; writing NMTC and LIHTC applications; LIHTC, NMTC, OZ and HTC transaction underwriting; consulting on LIHTC, NMTC, OZ and HTC transaction structuring; and LIHTC, NMTC and OZ compliance. A frequent speaker at industry conferences, Mr. Pinoli also delivers several webinars every year on topics such as NMTC exit strategies, NMTC allocation applications and LIHTC Year 15 strategies. He has published many articles on various technical issues confronting the affordable housing and community development industries, and serves as a technical editor of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Handbook and Novogradac’s Tax Reform Resource Guide. Mr. Pinoli received a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in professional accounting from Brigham Young University and is licensed in California, Oregon and Washington as a certified public accountant.
Retired Partner Novogradac
H. Blair Kincer is a recently retired partner in the metro Washington, D.C., office of Novogradac in the company’s government consulting and valuation advisory services (GoVal) group. Mr. Kincer specializes in four primary practice areas: market analysis and appraisal of various types of mixed-income and affordable housing properties, new markets tax credit (NMTC) industry consulting, historic tax credit (HTC) industry consulting, and market analysis and appraisal in the renewable energy industry. The real estate appraisal practice has specialized competencies in all value aspects surrounding Section 42 development, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) MAP program, HUD rent comparability studies and valuation of all tangible and intangible assets involved in affordable housing development. Further, Mr. Kincer has worked on many low-income housing tax credit Year 15 and disposition analyses, including GP and LP interest valuations and qualified contract analyses. In the HTC and NMTC arena, Mr. Kincer specializes in various analyses involving evaluating debt and real and financial asset value/appraisal questions. Further, the appraisal of commercial real estate assets involved in NMTC and or HTC redevelopment is an area of significant experience. His experience in the renewable energy industry includes solar and wind-generation facility appraisals and impact analyses of renewable energy services provided to affordable housing. Mr. Kincer, a certified LEED Green Associate, brings to his practice a broad understanding of green building technologies, best practices and the LEED Rating System. Mr. Kincer is also a member for the Counselors of Real Estate and of the Appraisal Institute. Before joining Novogradac, Mr. Kincer was vice president of acquisitions for a regional developer, where he specialized in financial and economic feasibility analysis. His responsibilities included finding and processing potential acquisitions for rehabilitation using tax credit and tax-exempt bond financing. Mr. Kincer served as a manager with Ernst & Young LLP, where he performed portfolio valuations, market analysis and loan pool performance reviews. His areas of specialization included portfolio review, retail and hospitality. Mr. Kincer received his bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University and his master’s degree from Duquesne University. He is a member of the Appraisal Institute and a certified general appraiser in approximately 15 states.
Executive Vice President Greenline Ventures
Kermit Billups is an executive president of Greenline and is involved in activities including transaction structuring, tax credit syndication, debt financing, origination, underwriting and new markets tax credits (NMTCs) compliance. Mr. Billups began his career at Capmark in 1999 and has been a member of the NMTC platform since 2004. He has been in investment banking since 1992, with an emphasis on developing solutions for deficiencies in low-income communities nationwide, including complex and innovative financings to benefit low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) and NMTC transactions. He has participated in more than $3.5 billion of development finance and affordable housing capital. He has successfully completed more than 50 taxable and tax-exempt revenue bond programs to serve low- and moderate-income individuals. Before joining Capmark, Mr. Billups worked for Honeywell, IBM, Legg Mason and Stephens Inc. Mr. Billups has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard College and a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.
AVP, Director of Employee Experience U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation
Claire Schell leads the employee experience team at U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, where she oversees strategy development and implementation for internal DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) efforts, employee engagement programming, and CDC training and development offerings. Prior to her work at the CDC, Ms. Schell spent several years creating customized diversity and inclusion strategies, training and resources for organizations throughout the St. Louis community. She serves as a board member and chair of the Anti-Bias/Anti-Racism board committee for City Garden Montessori School. She holds a master’s degree in the sociology of religion from the University of Chicago Divinity School and received her undergraduate degree in sociology and religion from Wellesley College.
Jodie Fish is a manager in the Portland, Ore., office of Novogradac, where he specializes in new markets tax credits (NMTCs), opportunity zones, low-income housing tax credits and historic rehabilitation tax credits. In addition to providing various consulting services, he works extensively on financial statement audits, tax return preparation, final cost certifications, financial forecasts and agreed-upon procedures engagements. Mr. Fish’s specialization with the NMTC includes experience with Community Development Financial Institution reporting requirements and NMTC allocation applications. Before joining Novogradac, he obtained several years of experience at other northwest CPA firms, where he provided audit, accounting, tax compliance and business advisory services to manufacturers, assisted living and skilled nursing facilities, contractors, real estate developers, property owners, employee benefit plans and nonprofit organizations. Mr. Fish also has tax and accounting experience with individuals, closely held partnerships, LLCs, S corporations and C corporations. Mr. Fish is a regular contributor to the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits and has presented on accounting and tax topics in various industry conferences. Mr. Fish received his bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting from Portland State University. He is licensed in Oregon as a certified public accountant.
Nick Epifano is a manager in the Cleveland office of Novogradac. He joined Novogradac in 2014
and specializes in the preparation of financial forecasts for new markets tax credit (NMTC) and
historic tax credit transactions. Mr. Epifano has consulted on and prepared financial models for
more than 80 transaction closings, many including twinning of tax credit programs and other
complex financing tax credit structures. His experience includes providing audit, tax, compliance
consulting and various attestation services within the tax credit real estate industry. He has also
presented client trainings on various NMTC technical areas. Mr. Epifano received a bachelor’s
degree in business administration with an emphasis in finance from Kent State University. He is
licensed in Ohio as a certified public accountant.
Associate Nixon Peabody LLP
Justin Fitzgerald is an associate in Nixon Peabody’s Community Development Finance group. He represents clients in community development financing, including tax credit financing involving new markets tax credits (NMTC) and low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC). Fitzgerald works with equity investors, syndicators, developers and community development entities to negotiate and structure transactions that qualify for tax credits and other tax benefits throughout the country. These transactions help finance the construction or rehabilitation of affordable housing, hospitals and schools to historically underserved communities. As part of his practice, Fitzgerald identifies and works with clients to develop creative solutions to potential concerns involving real estate issues, partnership tax issues, and financing.
Director of NMTC Operations River Gorge Capital
Monica Blanton is the new market tax credit team lead for BrightBridge Capital’s subsidiary CDE, River Gorge Capital. Brightbridge is a certified CDFI, nonprofit commercial lender focused on supporting economic development. Since 2005, Ms. Blanton has worked in all aspects of NMTC operations and plays a key role in BridgeBridge’s success in being awarded $132 million in NMTC allocations to date. In addition to closing financings using River Gorge’s NMTC allocation into projects that have positive community impact, Ms. Blanton provides consulting services to help borrowers obtain and close NMTC financing from other CDEs, a role for which she has been dubbed a NMTC “Sherpa”. She leads engagement of River Gorge’s Advisory Board and oversees internal policy development and implementation for investor and regulatory reporting for BrightBridge’s NMTC and CDFI programs. Ms. Blanton is a Certified Public Accountant. Her professional experience includes eight years in public accounting with international firms in the area of assurance services. Subsequently, she provided management and supervisory consulting services for a variety of businesses in the areas of general business, financial systems, policies and procedures, financial reporting, and analytical analysis.
General Counsel & Chief Risk Officer Novogradac
Stefanie A. Singer is the general counsel and chief risk officer of Novogradac. As head of the company’s Legal & Risk Department, Singer advises the company on all aspects of its business operations, including litigation, compliance, personnel, and internal governance issues. Singer is also responsible for the development and implementation of enterprise risk management policies and procedures, working in a consultative role with the company’s Executive Committee, business units, and operational departments to mitigate various business and operational risks. Singer lead the organization's COVID-19 response. Prior to joining Novogradac, Singer represented professionals and business organizations in various civil and regulatory matters. She presented on effective risk management practices for various licensed professionals across the United States, and has guest lectured at St. John’s University School of Law in New York. Singer is licensed to practice law in New York and California. She currently also sits on the Board of Directors for Literacy Nassau, a Long Island-based nonprofit which provides literacy programs to under-served populations, including adults, immigrants, and children with Dyslexia.
Director of Business Impact Integration U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation
The son of two Nigerian immigrants and a Baton Rouge, Louisiana native, Phillip Sangokoya is a racial equity champion, strategy consultant and banker with more than 10 years of experience in small business lending, economic development, and entrepreneurship support. Sangokoya graduated in 2011 with a double major in entrepreneurship and marketing and a minor in psychology from the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis. As director of business impact Integration at U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation (USBCDC), Sangokoya leads the team responsible for the cross-functional implementation of strategies across various business lines across U.S. Bank to advance its racial equity work. In this role, he collaborates with U.S. Bank business lines from ideation through execution to leverage and reimagine core products and services to drive greater access to capital and close persistent and historic gaps in economic outcomes with a specific focus on Black-owned/led entities (CDEs, CDFIs, MDIs, etc) and communities in alignment with U.S. Bank’s Access Commitment. Prior to this strategy role, Sangokoya has experience underwriting, deploying, and asset managing debt capital to CDFIs nationwide on the bank’s Specialty Finance team. He also managed a portfolio of New Market Tax Credit deals nationwide as a part of the bank’s Community Development Entity team. Before joining U.S. Bank, Sangokoya worked at PNC Bank as a relationship manager providing debt capital to small businesses in the St. Louis region.
Director of Business Development U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation
Laura Vowell is the director of business development for new markets and historic tax credit investments at U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation. Since joining USBCDC in 2005, she has been instrumental in originating and closing more than $3 billion of tax credit investments in hundreds of projects around the country. Since 2014, she has managed a national team of originators who invest in transactions by helping secure funding for a diverse array of projects; from food banks and performing arts centers, to grocery stores and historic hotels. Ms. Vowell is a regular speaker at national community development and historic preservation industry conferences and tax credit-related events. She is the treasurer of the NMTC Coalition, on the executive committee of the Partnership for Job Creation, and the board of the Historic Tax Credit Coalition. She served as the treasurer of the D.C. Preservation League prior to relocating to St. Louis, where she was also the treasurer of the Lafayette Square Restoration Committee and is currently on the board of Grand Center Inc. Ms. Vowell began her career in the Washington, D.C., area as a transportation engineer. Prior to joining USBCDC, Ms. Vowell worked with a private real estate developer, managing several redevelopment projects in the Los Angeles area. She holds a master’s degree from the Anderson School of Business at UCLA and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.
Managing Partner Novogradac
Michael Novogradac is the managing partner of Novogradac, which has been in business since 1989. He specializes in affordable housing, community development, historic preservation and renewable energy. Mr. Novogradac’s focus is in real estate taxation and accounting. He is the author of numerous real estate-related tax and accounting articles and books, including the Novogradac Opportunity Zones Handbook, the New Markets Tax Credit Handbook and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Handbook. A frequent speaker at tax incentive conferences and forums throughout the country, Mr. Novogradac also broadcasts a weekly podcast, Tax Credit Tuesday. As a leading industry expert, he is frequently quoted in national media, such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Politico, Bloomberg, Forbes, CNBC News, NBC News, National Public Radio and Crain’s New York Business. Mr. Novogradac is active in advocating for the inclusion of affordable housing, historic preservation, community development and renewable energy incentives in federal and state tax policy, and serves as advisor on industry and governmental affairs for the NMTC Working Group, LIHTC Working Group and the Opportunity Zones Working Group. Mr. Novogradac provides input to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, and other federal and state agencies as well as members of Congress, including testimony before the United States House Committee on Ways and Means. Mr. Novogradac also serves on the executive committee of the Housing Advisory Group and the boards of directors of the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition, the National Housing Conference, the NMTC Coalition and Historic Tax Credit Coalition. In 2016, Mr. Novogradac was inducted into the Affordable Housing Hall of Fame. He also received The Affordable Housing Visionary Award from The NHP Foundation in 2018, in recognition of his contributions to the affordable housing community and in 2020 was honored as one of the top 25 OZ Influencers through Opportunity Zone Magazine. Mr. Novogradac graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He received an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley. He is licensed in California, Oregon, Maryland and Texas as a certified public accountant. You can follow Mr. Novogradac on twitter @novogradac and on his blog at www.novoco.com/blog or listen to his weekly podcast at www.novoco.com/podcast.
Chief Social Impact Officer Novogradac
Amy Hook is the chief social impact officer and leads the social impact office at Novogradac. The social impact office advises the firm’s executive committee on ways to deploy labor and capital consistent with Novogradac’s commitments to continuous improvement, positive change within the firm, the professions in which the firm works and within the communities Novogradac serves. The social impact office is responsible for defining environmental and social risks and opportunities and creating a living social impact strategy to address those risks and opportunities. Hook also works with clients to build out their social impact programming including strategy creation and goal setting, impact measurement and evaluation, and reporting.
With over 15 years of experience in the social impact realm, Hook has worked in different market sectors including public, non-profit and private organizations. Prior to joining Novogradac, Hook led environmental, social and governance (ESG) at Regions Bank where she worked on impact reporting; stakeholder engagement; diversity, equity and inclusion; environmental sustainability and environmental and social risk management. Prior to leading ESG efforts for Regions Bank, she worked on environmental sustainability at SunTrust as the first corporate sustainability leader the company hired.
Before leading social impact programming in the banking industry, Hook focused on the capacity building of community development organizations throughout the United States, including affordable housing developers, community development service providers and government entities. Working in this arena for over 7 years at both ICF International and Enterprise Community Partners, she led initiatives partnering with HUD, DOE and others to create strategies, trainings, tool(kit)s, communications, and policies and procedures to improve affordable housing and community development delivery. Most notably, Hook led the multifamily sector of the Better Buildings Challenge and HUD’s first renewable energy technical assistance program, Renew300.
Attorney Ginsberg Jacobs LLC
Darryl P. Jacobs, co-founder of the Chicago-based law firm, Ginsberg Jacobs LLC, has more than 20 years of experience in tax and corporate law. His practice focuses on international, state and federal tax matters, with a primary concentration on tax credit financing transactions. Jacobs regularly counsels developers, investors, syndicators, and lenders on new markets tax credits, historic tax credits, rehabilitation credits, low-income housing tax credits and preservation easements. Additionally, Jacobs is frequently featured as a speaker at local and national tax conferences. His corporate experience includes mergers and acquisitions, complex corporate transactions and private placements. Jacobs is also adept in the structuring of joint ventures, limited liability companies, and partnerships. Jacobs also sits on the board of two nonprofit corporations: Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives and Anshe Tikvah.
Elaine Chang is a partner in the San Francisco office of Novogradac. Chang has experience in affordable housing and community development, including new markets tax credit (NMTC) and low-income housing tax credit transactions. She has worked extensively on financial statement audits, tax return preparation, final cost certification audits and NMTC allocation applications. Additionally, she is experienced in providing attestation services via issuance of agreed-upon procedure reports to ascertain whether a qualified active low-income community business meets the requirements pursuant to the NMTC incentive, whether a NMTC allocatee meets the operating income distribution test to its owners and whether a NMTC allocatee meets the substantially all test. Chang has contributed articles to various publications, including the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits. She received a bachelor’s degree in finance from Walsh College in Michigan. Chang is licensed in California as a certified public accountant.
Training Program Manager US Bank CDC
Najah Adams has been employed at U.S. Bancorp for 27 years with 13 of those years being a team member of U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation (USBCDC). Adams is an assistant vice president and senior program manager of our employee experience team. Adams is responsible for onboarding all new employees and supporting them throughout their career. Adams develops content for and facilitates the diversity, equity and inclusion programming for employees. Adams is also a brand creator and owner of The Najah Experience. Adams’ brand also includes a nonprofit component named Stand TALL, which focuses on increasing confidence in people from all walks of life all around the world.
Matt Meeker is a partner in the Dover, Ohio, office of Novogradac, where he specializes in federal and state new markets tax credits (NMTCs), renewable energy tax credits (RETCs), historic rehabilitation tax credits (HTCs), low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) and opportunity zones (OZ) investments. Mr. Meeker has consulted on hundreds of tax credit transactions. He provides transaction advisory services to real estate and renewable energy developers, community development entities, lenders, consultants and investors on the structuring and financing of federal and state NMTCs, RETCs, HTCs and LIHTCs. Mr. Meeker also has extensive experience working with syndicators regarding the various tax and accounting issues involved in NMTCs, RETCs, HTCs, LIHTCs and OZs. He also advises on accounting, tax, compliance and regulatory matters in addition to providing traditional audit and tax services. Mr. Meeker frequently speaks at industry conferences and seminars on topics related to the new markets, historic rehabilitation, renewable energy tax credits and opportunity zone industries. He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Miami University of Ohio and is licensed in Ohio as a certified public accountant.
Vice President and New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Originator PNC Bank
Kelly Clements joined PNC in 2005 and is a Vice President and New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Originator. Since 2013, she has led PNC’s efforts to build out its NMTC originations in the Southeast and has been responsible for the origination and closing of NMTC investment opportunities involving the allocation of PNC Community Partners Inc. and its Community Development Entity (CDE) partners, with $600 million in closed Qualified Equity Investments (QEIs) to date. In addition, she is responsible for providing Historic Tax Credit equity solutions for her NMTC clients.
She joined PNC’s NMTC team in 2011 as an NMTC Asset Manager, where her responsibilities included assisting in the closing process of new deals, monitoring construction progress and draw requests, cash management, compliance reporting, and asset quality monitoring for a portfolio of investments. In addition to her portfolio of NMTC assets, Clements was the lead underwriter and closing coordinator for new transactions.
Clements has substantial experience with complex financing and portfolio management. Prior to joining PNC’s NMTC team in 2011, Clements was a loan and investment originator for PNC’s Community Development Banking group for more than five years. In this role, she was responsible for lending and investment activities in the Kentucky-Southern Indiana territory, providing construction and permanent loan financing for commercial real estate; affordable housing and community facilities; investments in financial intermediaries, including Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs); and business credit lines.
Senior VP Wells Fargo
William Turner serves as a new markets tax credit (NMTC) deal team manager for Wells Fargo. In his role, Turner is tasked with guiding NMTC origination and asset management efforts throughout the southeast and southwest. Turner has more than 30 years of experience in the banking industry, with the past 20 years focused in community and economic development. Turner’s areas of expertise include low-income housing tax credits, NMTCs and Community Development Financial Intermediaries (CDFIs). Turner is active in his local community, typically choosing initiatives that impact youth. Turner currently serves on the board of the James City county Economic Development Authority, WJCC Schools Foundation, Let Freedom Ring Foundation and volunteers as assistant track coach at Jamestown High School. Turner is a 1990 graduate of North Carolina State University with a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics.
Kyle A. Koupal
Vice President of Investments Dudley Ventures
Kyle A. Koupal is the vice president of investments at Dudley Ventures and is responsible for sourcing investments, the underwriting and analysis of potential transactions and coordination of legal documentation, including communication with various transaction parties to facilitate closing and the management of due diligence review in relation to investment transactions. Before joining Dudley Ventures, Koupal had eight years of banking experience, with a primary focus on commercial real estate and was an assistant vice president with Enterprise Bank & Trust. At Enterprise, Koupal worked on the commercial real estate team and was responsible for managing all aspects of a loan portfolio including originating new relationships, underwriting and analysis of potential new loans and closings and post-closing construction and lease monitoring. In addition, Koupal managed lending for new markets tax credit and historic tax credit loans in Kansas City and Phoenix. Mr. Koupal is a graduate of the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and has a bachelor’s degree from Southern Methodist University.
President & CEO National Community Investment Fund
Saurabh Narain is president and CEO of National Community Investment Fund (NCIF), an impact investor and CDFI focused on mission-oriented financial institutions including minority and CDFI banks. He is a banking executive with almost 35 years of global experience building highly profitable businesses both in the for-profit and nonprofit environments. Under his leadership, NCIF has increased its AUM to $200 million, created more than 10,000 jobs and is the largest investor in CDFI and minority banks. NCIF seeks to generate impact in underserved markets nationally using its three lines of businesses–equity investing into mission-oriented financial institutions, deployment of new markets tax credits and lending. In 2019, NCIF launched a $35 million credit strategies fund to increase co-lending with its network banks.Impact measurement is foundational to all activities of NCIF. Narainis a member of the investors council of the Global Impact Investing Network, the board of the CDFI Coalition, advisory board of Wells Fargo Community Development Entity and Community Development Venture Capital Alliance. He was a past member of the Federal Reserve Board’s Consumer Advisory Council chaired by Chairman Ben Bernanke and advisory board of Ripple. Prior to NCIF, Narain has had extensive experience in capital markets and risk management having worked at Bank of America for almost 17 years based in Asia and the United States. Narain is a graduate of the ABA Graduate Stonier School of Banking, and hold an MBA from Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, India.
Senior Public Policy Manager Novogradac
Bob Ibanez is a senior manager in Novogradac’s public policy group in Washington, D.C. Mr. Ibanez works with new markets tax credit (NMTC) clients and is part of the NMTC Working Group. He is focused on expanding Novogradac’s work with community development financial institutions (CDFIs) around the country. Mr. Ibanez spent 13 years at the CDFI Fund, the final six as program manager of the NMTC and Bank Enterprise Award programs. Before that, Mr. Ibanez had a private consulting practice. He has also worked in the financial and community development industries. Mr. Ibanez has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a master’s degree from The American College of Financial Services.
Program Manager for New Markets Tax Credit Program CDFI Fund
Christopher Allison is the program manager for the new markets tax credit (NMTC) program at the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. Mr. Allison previously served as associate program manager for the NMTC program. He oversaw the development of NMTC application materials, led the implementation of the NMTC evaluation process in the CDFI Fund’s new Awards Management Information System, and made recommendations for tax credit allocations. Prior to joining the CDFI Fund, Mr. Allison was a program manager at Single Stop USA, where he oversaw grant and performance management for a national portfolio of community-based organizations related to income supports. He worked on several innovative workforce development and asset building projects at Seedco, a national economic development intermediary. Mr. Allison has also held positions with Self-Help Ventures Fund and the Center for Community Capital in North Carolina. Mr. Allison holds a Master of City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with an emphasis on economic development, and a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Eugene Lang College at The New School in New York.