Our Board of Directors includes leaders from the design, planning, architecture, real estate, legal, transportation, visual arts, and communications fields.
Eve Klein in 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.
Board Liaison, Design Trust Council
Dominic is the Director of Healthy Buildings at Green Generation - a global sustainability company at the intersection of energy, real estate, technology, and capital markets. He is also a Senior Policy Consultant to the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) - a public-benefit corporation whose mission is to improve human health through building and community design. As a consultant to IWBI, Dominic supports relationships with government agencies as well as non-profits and NGOs to encourage healthy building practices. Prior to consultancy, Dominic was a founding member of the market development team that helped expand WELL’s presence to 60 countries in just 5 years. It was in this role that Dominic was instrumental in advancing social equity initiatives with organizations such as the United Nations, Enterprise Community Partners, World Economic Forum, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Dominic was recognized by Crain's New York Business in July 2020 as a Rising Star in Real Estate.
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) and currently serves on its Codes and Standards committee. 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.
Co-Chair, Design Trust Council
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).
Rohit T. “Rit” Aggarwala is a Senior Fellow at the Urban Tech Hub at the Jacobs Cornell-Technion Institute at Cornell Tech. where he leads the company’s work on mobility and sustainability technology. He also teaches urban policy at Columbia University, acts as a Senior Advisor at Sidewalk Labs, and recently chaired the Regional Plan Association’s Fourth Regional Plan for the New York metropolitan area. Rit was a member of the founding team at Sidewalk Labs, where he was Head of Urban Systems and led its mobility and sustainability work. From 2006 to 2010, Rit served as Director of New York City’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability where he led the creation and implementation of “PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York.” PlaNYC has been hailed as one of the world’s best urban sustainability plans, leading New York City to a 19% reduction in its carbon footprint since 2005. Prior to joining City Hall, he was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company. Rit holds a BA, MBA, and PhD from Columbia University, and an MA from Queen’s University in Ontario. He was born in New York City, where he now lives.
David Baker is President of Baker New York, a boutique commercial real estate brokerage located in TriBeCa. In his professional capacity, Mr. Baker has represented numerous private investors as well as multinational corporations in the acquisition and disposition of prime real estate in New York’s most desirable retail corridors. The firm specializes in working with high-profile hospitality, retail and design-focused brands. Mr. Baker attended undergraduate and Law School at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill where he studied Urban Planning as well as Ocean and Coastal Law. As an angel investor with Golden Seeds, Mr. Baker invests in early-stage women-led businesses. Since 2017, David has been a Big Brother and a passionate advocate for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hudson County, New Jersey.
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.
Ms. Boylan is a congressional candidate for New York’s 10th District. She was most recently Deputy Secretary for Economic Development and Special Assistant to Governor Andrew Cuomo. In her role as Deputy Secretary she oversaw Empire State Development, the Department of State, Housing and Community Renewal, the Dormitory Authority, the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery and the New York State Council on the Arts. Prior to her appointment as Deputy Secretary, she served as Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff at Empire State Development. Before serving in New York State Government, Ms. Boylan was Vice President of Municipal Finance Client Strategy at RBC Capital Markets.
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-vanHalteren. She holds a Master of Architecture from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Washington University.
Johanna Flato is a Texas-born artist creating works across media — sculpture, painting, assemblage, installation—that function as object-networks of place, site, and self. She is currently pursuing a post-graduate diploma in contemporary art research and experimentation through the Institute des hautes études en arts plastiques (IHEAP). Meanwhile, Ms. Flato is consulting the art and technology startup ArtAdvisor, and interning with the cultural strategy agency LaPlaca Cohen. She graduated from Yale University in May 2014 with a B.A. in Studio Art and Humanities.
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.
Ann Harakawa is the Principal of Two Twelve, public information design firm that develops sustainable, user-centered designs to help people understand an increasingly complicated world. At Two Twelve, Ann has led projects for clients like the Office of the Mayor of New York, The Port Authority of NY & NJ, and Citigroup. Ms. Harakawa serves on the Board of the Art Directors Club and in 2011, was appointed to the Japanese American National Museum Board of Governors. In 2012, she received the prestigious Asian Women in Business Award.
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).
Chair, Finance Committee
Sloan Leo (they/them) 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).
Co-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.
Chair, Program Committee
Paula Mueller is Managing Director and General Counsel for Parkview International, an independent financial management firm. Prior to joining Parkview, Ms. Mueller was the Managing Director and Vice President, Secretary, and General Counsel of Rockefeller & Co., as well as the Director of Human Resources. Ms. Mueller was an attorney for 15 years with Willkie Farr &Gallagher, a leading New York law firm, where she was a litigation partner. She holds a B.A. in History from Cornell University and a J.D. from Cornell Law School.
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.
Eric Rothman is Chief Executive Officer of HR&A Advisors, Inc. (HR&A), an industry-leading real estate, economic development and energy efficiency consulting firm. He is a nationally-renowned expert in transportation planning, transit-oriented development, and economic development. Prior to joining the Board, Mr. Rothman was a Design Trust Fellow for Taxi 07 from 2006-2010, served on the Design Trust's project selection jury in 2009, and most recently, produced a comprehensive real estate analysis of the Garment District for Making Midtown. He is an active member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI).
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.”