expertise

The Governors’ Institute brings together experts from a variety of fields, providing governors with access to a wealth of knowledge and experience. The Institute’s cadre of experts includes groundbreaking practitioners and researchers in government, economic development, planning, community design, transportation, and land use. The team of experts for each workshop is specifically tailored to the topic and to the priorities and needs of the host state.

Below are biographies of some of the experts who are available for assistance.

Douglas Foy
Former Super Secretary, Massachusetts Office of Commonwealth Development
President, Serrafix, Inc.

As the first secretary of the Massachusetts Office for Commonwealth Development under Governor Mitt Romney, Foy oversaw the transportation, housing and community development, environment, and energy agencies to encourage more sustainable development in Massachusetts. Foy led the creation of Commonwealth Capital, a new system for distributing $500 million in annual state funding for municipal infrastructure that rewards communities engaged in smart growth. Prior to his public service, Foy served for 25 years as President and CEO of the Conservation Law Foundation, New England’s premier environmental advocacy organization.


Jim Charlier
Owner & President, Charlier Associates, Inc.

Jim Charlier is a transportation planner based in Boulder, Colorado. For over four decades he has been at the forefront of efforts to deploy modern transportation systems in support of smart growth and sustainability objectives. Early in his career Charlier served in senior positions in state DOTs. For the past twenty-five years has helped public and private sector clients across the US plan, design and implement transportation projects and programs to achieve high value, healthy communities and neighborhoods.


Shari Wilson
Former Secretary, Maryland Department of Environment

Wilson builds on 20 years of public service in management and policy development at the state and local level, and practice as an attorney in environmental enforcement and land use, to implement reforms in management and environmental and public health policy. Wilson completed a four-year term as Maryland’s Secretary of Environment in December 2010. During her tenure, the agency developed the first comprehensive legally binding cleanup plan for the Chesapeake Bay.


Kennedy Lawson Smith
Co-founder & Principal, Community Land Use and Economics (CLUE) Group

Kennedy Smith is one of the nation’s foremost experts on downtown economic development and independent businesses. She launched the CLUE Group in 2004, after serving as director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Main Street Center for 13 years. At the CLUE Group, Kennedy helps civic leaders and developers craft dynamic downtown economic development strategies, cultivate locally owned businesses, strengthen community economic development programs and policies, and improve main street revitalization efforts.


Mitchell Silver
Chief Planning & Development Officer and Planning Director, City of Raleigh, North Carolina
President, American Planning Association

Mitchell Silver is the Chief Planning & Development Officer and Planning Director for Raleigh, North Carolina and president of the American Planning Association. Silver is an award-winning planner with over 27 years of planning experience, nationally recognized for his leadership in the planning profession and his contributions to contemporary planning issues. As planning director in Raleigh, he has led the comprehensive plan update process to create a vibrant 21st century city. He is now overseeing a rewrite of the City’s Development Code.


Christopher B. Leinberger
President, LOCUS, Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors
Professor and Distinguished Scholar, George Washington University School of Business
Nonresident Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution

Chris Leinberger is a land use strategist, teacher, developer, researcher and author. His expertise includes metropolitan development trends, real estate financing, and strategic planning and management for walkable urban places, both urban and suburban. His most recent book is The Option of Urbanism, Investing in a New American Dream. He is also the author of Strategic Planning for Real Estate Companies and has contributed chapters to 12 other books. He is an Op-Ed Contributor to The New York Times and writes regularly for The Atlantic Monthly and numerous other magazines.


Carol Whiteside
Partner, California Strategies; Founder & President Emeritus, Great Valley Center

With a focus on planning, land conservation and governance, Carol Whiteside has extensive knowledge in community and government relations, understands the complexity of conflicting interests in growth planning, and the value of finding balanced, and fair solutions for all. She has nearly three decades of experience in public policy, land use and local government, and has served in a number of elected and appointed positions, including the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs in Governor Pete Wilson’s Cabinet; Assistant Secretary of the California Resources Agency; and Mayor and City Council Member of Modesto. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, MA, and has served on several other Boards and commissions.