Our Board of Directors includes leaders from the design, planning, architecture, real estate, legal, transportation, visual arts, and communications fields.
Eve Klein is an architect and planner with expertise in the social and psychological impact of built environments in higher education and cultural institutions. Her research and teaching focuses on how the social sciences can contribute to design processes. She currently teaches Environmental Psychology and Urban Studies at Pratt Institute and she is doctoral candidate in the Environmental Psychology program at the Graduate Center, CUNY, where she is also a research associate of the Public Space Research Group, in the Center for Human Environments. She is the co-founder of the Social Science + Architecture Committee for the AIA NY Chapter. Previously, she was the AVP of Strategic Assessment, Planning & Design at NYU. She received her B.A. from Vassar College and her Master of Architecture from UCLA.
Dominic is a Senior Advisor to The Conduit, a collaborative community of people committed to scaling and accelerating solutions to the world’s greatest challenges. His current role builds upon nearly a decade of experience in the social impact space where he’s collaborated on cross-sector solutions to housing, food insecurity, climate adaptation, and financial inclusion. Dominic helped raise awareness to many of these types of solutions during his time on the New York Fed’s community development and impact investing team.
Alastair Elliott is a Principal and Director of Operations at Silman. His experience covers cultural, education, religious, and residential projects. Mr. Elliott is currently a Lecturer in Architecture at Yale School of Architecture and has previously been a guest lecturer and studio critic at Cornell University College of Architecture, Art and Planning. He is a Past President for the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY). He was also a member of the New York City Building Code revision committee from 2012-2013. Mr. Elliott received a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Miami and a M.Eng. in Civil Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Chair, Finance Committee
Katie Schwab is the Practice Director of Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies’ New York office, a full service government relations practice. Ms. Schwab provides advocacy, analysis and strategic advice to non-profit organizations, corporations, and trade associations that are working within the New York City and State regulatory, legislative and procurement systems. She also works with clients to develop and implement broad-based public and community outreach strategies. Ms. Schwab is a longtime member of the Celebrate Brooklyn Friends Council and serves on the Boards of 826 NYC and NYC Government Affairs Professionals (GAP).
Ellen Baer has spent the last four decades imagining, financing and executing public-private-real estate partnerships in New York City and around the country. Most recently, she served for twelve years as the founding CEO of the Hudson Square Business Improvement District. She currently advises developers and not-for-profit organizations on strategic partnerships for improving the public realm in order to improve quality of life and create value.
Karesia Batan is the Founding Executive Director of the Queensboro Dance Festival, an organization that provides free dance programming across Queens outdoor public spaces, presenting the diversity of dance companies from the borough. Serving both the Queens dance community and community audiences, Karesia's work has received recognitions from Queens Pride, assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, comptroller Thomas DeNapoli, public advocate Leticia James, and in the NYC Cultural Plan. Originally a dancer, Karesia most recently maintains her artistic practice in Filipino folk dances, and as a modern dancer for choreographer Craig Hoke Zarah.
Ted Berger is a leader in the New York arts community. He was the Executive Director of the New York Foundation for the Arts for over thirty years and is currently the Treasurer of the Joan Mitchell Foundation.
Chair, Audit Committee
Matthew Casper is a Managing Director at Park Hill Real Estate, a real estate advisory division of PJT Partners. Prior to joining Park Hill, Mr. Casper was an analyst in Credit Suisse's Real Estate Private Funds Group and was previously an investment banking analyst at Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin. He received a BBA from the University of Georgia, where he graduated summa cum laude with honors, and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
Chair, Development Committee
R. Darby Curtis is a founder and managing partner for Curtis + Ginsberg Architects LLP, an award-winning firm specializing in sustainable architectural services for residential, educational, institutional, commercial and urban design projects. Prior to founding Curtis + Ginsberg Architects LLP, Ms. Curtis worked for Croxton Collaborative, Cain Farrell & Bell, and Wybauw-van Halteren. She holds a Master of Architecture from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Washington University.
Co-Chair, Program Committee
Jerrod Delaine, is the Chief Executive Officer of The Delaine Companies. As a seasoned real estate developer with over a decade of experience, Jerrod has amassed a skill set that includes design, construction, finance, affordable housing, and asset management. Jerrod spent the first five years of his career at Forum Architecture and Interior Design, the majority of his efforts focused on project managing affordable housing projects in the southeast region of the United States. As an academic, Jerrod serves as an adjunct professor educating graduate and undergraduate students on development, public-private partnerships, urban economics, and portfolio management.
Paul Gangsei has recently retired from active practice as a real estate partner in the New York office of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, a leading national law firm. In his practice he developed particular expertise in representing not-for-profit educational, healthcare, social service and cultural institutions and public entities in real estate and development transactions. He continues to apply his experience to the projects and activities of The Design Trust. Paul holds a JD from New York University School of Law and studied urban planning at NYU's Wagner School.
Chair, Nominating Committee
Eric Gural is a third-generation leader of Newmark Holdings, which operates more than 8 million square feet of commercial property in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Virginia. Today he serves as Executive Managing Director, however, he began his career at the age of 15 working as a porter and freight operator in the portfolio buildings. Mr. Gural was instrumental in the founding of the first fashion incubator in New York City with the Council of Fashion Designers of America and New York Economic Development Corp. (NYEDC) in 2010, and participated in the Design Trust's Making Midtown stakeholder workshops in 2011-12.
Marc Heiman is President and Chief Executive Officer of Richter+Ratner, a construction firm known for its ability to execute the most challenging projects. Prior to joining R+R, Mr.Heiman was the Vice President of Sciame Construction. During his 21-year career in the industry he has overseen a variety of projects, including educational institutions (Parsons The New School, Lycée Français), retail flagships (Uniqlo, Bulgari),religious institutions (Central Synagogue) and expansion projects (Harvard Club).
Thomas is a Principal at HR&A Advisors, an industry-leading real estate, economic development and public policy consulting firm. Thomas works with non-profit, institutional and public-sector clients and stakeholders to implement real estate projects that produce wide-ranging public benefits. Thomas’s experience includes developing master plans for large-scale development projects, leading and supporting developer selection processes, and negotiations for ground leases or public approvals. Prior to joining HR&A, Thomas was an architectural designer and owners’ representative for a wide range of projects in New York City, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Thomas is an active member of the Urban Land Institute and holds a Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.
Sloan Leo (they/he) is an artist and the Founder/CEO of FLOX Studio Inc. FLOX Studio is a community design and strategy studio that works with curious optimists who are committed to getting things done. FLOX is on a mission to increase the community design capacity of mission-driven enterprises so that the entire ecosystem is more brave, creative and resilient. Prior to founding FLOX Studio, Sloan Leo spent 15 years leading non-profit staff and volunteer teams at the Environmental Defense Fund, The Trust for Public Land, and other organizations at the intersection of community, justice, and design.
Grant Marani, AIA, FRAIA, Partner, joined Robert A.M. Stern Architects in 1984 and has been a Partner with the firm since 2000. His responsibilities have included the design and management of a broad range of projects: federal courthouses, institutional buildings, mixed-use and residential developments, resort hotels, golf clubhouses, a concert hall, a university recreational facility, and private residences in New York and across the globe. He is co-author of the monograph Designs for Living: Houses by Robert A.M. Stern Architects (2014). Currently, he is the Project Partner for the Georgia State Judicial Complex in Atlanta and for the master plan and design of a number of residential communities in China. Mr. Marani is a graduate of the University of Melbourne (B.Arch., 1979) and Cornell University (M.Arch., 1984).
Chair, Design Trust Council
Zack McKown is a founding partner of Tsao & McKown Architects. The firm has designed projects around the world ranging in scale from urban master plans to product designs, and building types including museums, educational facilities, corporate headquarters, hotels, residential towers, and private homes. Among his noteworthy projects is Suntec City in Singapore that created Southeast Asia’s first privately-developed public space of major significance. Recently he completed the design of a community for retired monks in Bhutan. In 2006 Mr. McKown was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and along with his partner, Calvin Tsao, he received a Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award in 2009.
Jean-Gabriel Neukomm has designed successful and innovative projects for a range of luxury residential, institutional, hospitality, urban planning, and retail projects for more than 20 years. Neukomm has been able to translate his keen eye for detail, cultivated in his work on luxury residential projects, to large-scale urban projects for leading national developers. His rich and sensitive designs include New York’s exclusive Core Club and numerous townhouses throughout New York. Retailers such as Calvin Klein Collection, Tiffany, Pringle of Scotland, and Marian Goodman Gallery have commissioned cutting-edge designs in locations ranging from New York to Shanghai to Prague. Neukomm holds a BA in Philosophy from Haverford College, and a MArch from Princeton University.
Suchi Reddy, architect and founding principal of Reddymade, established her firm in 2002. She recently exhibited the 2019 Times Square Valentine “X” as the 11th winner of the annual design competition. Reddymade specializes in diversity, with projects including large public installations, exhibit design, adaptive reuse of historic buildings, and large-scale commercial and residential projects. "Form follows feeling" is Reddy' s mantra, and her primary focus and passion is “neuroaesthetics”, the study of how the built environment affects us. Reddy has been awarded by NYCxDesign, AIA Brooklyn + Queens Award, AIA NYS Excelsior Award, Interior Design’s BOY/Best of Year awards to name a few.
Gustavo Rodriguez is a Partner and Design Director at FXCollaborative. He has designed notable projects of varying scales and typologies–residential, commercial, educational, mixed-use, and hospitality, in addition to some of the firm’s most ambitious LEED Platinum buildings. Gustavo is passionate about working collaboratively to craft innovative buildings that are defined by a conceptually driven design process, exploring ideas that rethink our relation to the built and natural environment. Mr. Rodriguez received a Bachelor of Architecture at Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña in the Dominican Republic, where he is a registered architect. In 2002, he earned his Master of Science in Design Technology from MIT.
Co-Chair, Program Committee
Andy Wiley-Schwartz is a consultant for Bloomberg Associates, an international firm established by Michael R. Bloomberg to help city governments improve the quality of life of their citizens. Prior to joining Bloomberg Associates, Mr. Wiley-Schwartz worked at the NYC Department of Transportation as the first Assistant Commissioner for Public Space. He received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Hampshire College.
Barbara Wilks, FAIA, FASLA, founded W Architecture and Landscape Architecture in 1999 to create a design-oriented, multidisciplinary practice focused on urban issues. As a leader in design and interdisciplinary thinking, with over 40 years of experience in urban design, public, and institutional projects, she practices as both an architect and landscape architect. “Seen as a whole, we can no longer distinguish ‘Nature’ as a place apart or separate from human endeavor and habitation. We are immersed in and shaped by it. Embracing this is essential to how we live and design.”