GINA FORD, Agency Landscape + Planning

Session Title: Designing for Resilience, Equity and Democracy

Gina Ford is a Landscape Architect with Agency Landscape + Planning. After 20+ years with Sasaki, Gina left the firm in 2017 to create a mission-driven practice dedicated to addressing social equity, cultural vitality and environmental resilience through design excellence, strategic planning and community empowerment. Gina's work encompasses a wide range of scales and project types, from public parks and plazas to large-scale landscape planning and waterfront projects. She brings to each project a passion for the process of making vibrant landscape spaces—from the conceptual design to the details of implementation—with a particular focus on the life and use of urban, public environments. 

Gina's experience is additionally informed by extensive research, writing, travel, teaching, and competitions. Her teaching includes guest critic and studio instructor roles at the Harvard Design School, MIT, and RISD. She holds degrees in architecture from Wellesley College and landscape architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and was the recipient of Wellesley's Shaw Fellowship, the Janet Darling Webel Prize, the Hyde Chair at the University of Nebraska, and the Charles Eliot Travelling Fellowship. Gina also serves on the board of directors for The Cultural Landscape Foundation, and on the editorial board of Architecture Boston.

MIKYOUNG  KIM, Mikyoung Kim Design

Sponsored by: University of Tennessee School of Landscape Architecture

Session Title: Bridging the Art and Science of Landscape Architecture

Mikyoung Kim is an award-winning international designer who brings innovative ideas to the urban landscape. She is known for culturally significant designs that serve as a powerful tool to celebrate the beauty of the collective human experience.  A hallmark of her design work is the integration of sculptural innovation with the ecological systems that shape the city.  From carefully crafted stonework to complex metal fabrication, her firm’s unconventional artistic vision creates experiences that inhabit the intersection of art and science, beauty and innovation.  Their projects -large to small- solve challenging and persistent urban resiliency issues, while always considering the unique character of placemaking for each project.  

As the founder and design director of Mikyoung Kim Design, she has crafted an exceptional body of work that has been highlighted in numerous publications, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Landscape Architecture Magazine, Architectural Record, Dwell Magazine, and the Chicago Tribune.  She is a Professor Emerita at the Rhode Island School of Design and has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.   Mikyoung was named an AD innovator by Architectural Digest and has been awarded numerous design excellence honors from the American Architecture Prize, the ASLA, the AIA, and the GSA.  She is a fellow with the American Society of Landscape Architects and a recipient of the prestigious BSA’s Women in Design Award.  Her work and life story are featured in the Smithsonian Museum “American Voices” Collection.   

Mikyoung will be sharing the most recent work of her firm and focusing on the role that storm-water management plays in some of their most important projects.



ANDREW tenBRINK,  James Corner Field Operations

Session Title: Big Projects / Big Personalities


Andrew is a landscape and urban designer at James Corner Field Operations. Andrew is currently leading the design and project management of Seattle’s Central Waterfront, which he has been a part of since its beginning. His previous work includes the Qianhai Waterfront and Urban Design Competition, Uptown Plaza in Cleveland, OH, as well as Tongva Park and Ken Genser Square in Santa Monica, CA. Andrew’s work has been published in Landscape Architecture China (LAC), Environment & Landscape Architecture of Korea, Ecological Urbanism, GSD Platform 2, 3 and design blogs such as Mammoth and Disturbed Sites. He is the co-founder of ATLASlab, a design and research lab which focuses on facilitating art in the public realm.

Prior to joining Field Operations, Andrew was a designer with EDAW (now part of AECOM), where he worked on various high-profile projects including Washington D.C.’s Marvin Gaye Park, The National Museum of American History, the Moultrie Courthouse, Woodland Park, and the Potomac Yard Linear Park, as well as New York’s World Trade Center Streetscape.

Andrew earned his Master of Landscape Architecture degree with distinction from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture degree with honors from Purdue University.  


Session Title: All Ages, All Abilities, All the Time: How Socially Sustainable are your parks?

John McConkey, Landscape Structures

John McConkey serves as Market Research and Insights Manager at Landscape Structures.  He brings over 15 years of experience in the healthcare field, and offers a unique perspective on inclusion, health, fitness and children’s play on the playground. John researches and tracks societal and industry trends to help create innovative playground design solutions.  John develops and delivers IACET and LACES accredited continuing education programs throughout North America and internationally. The focus of his recent programs include playground universal design and inclusion with special emphasis on sensory-rich play environments, designing playgrounds to maximize physical activity, reconnecting children with nature, and designing literacy-rich play environments.


Ingrid M. Kanics, OTR/L

Ingrid M. Kanics, OTR/L is an occupational therapist who has worked for 10 years helping communities create and run amazing places where all children can play together. She was senior consultant on the national advisory team for the Center for Creative Play, Pittsburgh, Pa. During that time she worked with numerous communities and children’s museums helping them expand their understanding of Universal Design and the importance of sensory play in every child's development. She continued this work as therapy director at Hattie Larlham, Mantua, Ohio, where she oversaw therapy and recreation programs for children of varying abilities. She now owns her own consulting business focusing on creating/developing great play spaces in communities. She has presented at local, state and national conferences on the topics play, sensory integration and Universal Design. Conferences include the Association of Children’s Museums, American Occupational Therapy Association, Parents As Teachers, and National Association of the Education of the Young Child (NAEYC).

She also holds a Masters of Interior Architecture degree with an emphasis on inclusive, sustainable design from Chatham University.

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Carol Ernst, Founder - Mary’s Magical Place

Carol Evans is the founder of Mary’s Magical Place in Hendersonville, TN. Mary's Magical Place is a $1.2 million, community funded, inclusive playground for people of all abilities and all ages. 

Session Title: The Comprehensive Green Roof: Beyond Extensive and Intensive. Learn how to maximize the environmental, social and financial benefit from green roofs.

Molly Meyer, CEO and Founder for Omni Ecosystems


Molly Meyer is the CEO and Founder of Omni Ecosystems™. She leads Omni’s strategy and business development and oversees Omni’s product innovation and field operations. She founded Omni with the mission to democratize access to natural spaces, and to create an organization that continuously engages in bold endeavors that elevate the triple bottom line: ecological, financial, and social. Molly is also the Co-Founder & CEO of The Roof Crop™, a commercial rooftop farming company in Chicago. Molly is adept at developing and actualizing creative solutions to needs across the field. Her background couples her work at Stanford University in systems problem-solving and in biogeochemical research with field experience in construction means and methods, gained working as a carpenter and green roof installer as a Robert Bosch Fellow in Germany. These experiences were foundational in redefining the American green roof industry with Omni’s groundbreaking Comprehensive green roof system. 



Jesse Rosenbluth, East Coast Regional Sales Manager for Omni Ecosystems

Jesse Rosenbluth is the East Coast Regional Sales Manager for Omni Ecosystems™. Jesse has spent 10 years working in applied ecology from Oregon to Massachusetts. He brings his expertise to bear when he is supporting clients as they apply Omni Living Infrastructure systems. Jesse wants every landscape to grow into the best version of itself and take full advantage of ecological principles possible through Omni's advanced technologies. His experience installing Omni's systems and managing vendor and subcontractor relationships allows him to assist clients in every stage of the process, from concept to construction through stewardship. With his career spanning wetland remediation in Ohio, riparian restoration management in Oregon, organic farm management focused on sustainability practices in Michigan, and green roof and green wall installation with Omni throughout the U.S., Jesse is an able partner for clients utilizing green infrastructures solutions.

Session Title: Reimagining the Civic Commons: Lessons from Memphis and Detroit in Revitalizing Public Space and Civic Assets

Alexa Bush, City of Detroit


Alexa Bush is a landscape architect and planner in the City of Detroit Planning & Development Department. She works in the West Region responsible for planning, neighborhood development and open space projects in Council Districts 1, 2 and 7. She is the project lead for the Livernois/McNichols Neighborhood Framework Plan, which includes the Fitzgerald Revitalization Project and the Reimagining the Civic Commons Grant, as well as several green infrastructure and renewable energy initiatives. Alexa received her bachelor’s degree in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard University and her master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Virginia.


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Maria Fuhrmann, City of Memphis

Maria Fuhrmann oversees Grants and Partnerships for the City of Memphis, managing special projects and serving as the Executive Team liaison and to the City’s philanthropic, quasigovernmental, and community partners. Maria came to city government in 2006 as a Research Analyst for the Memphis City Council and previously served as Special Assistant to the Mayor for Research and Innovation.

Maria is a graduate of the University of Memphis and has lived in her adopted hometown since 1991.  Maria is passionate about leveraging Memphis’ unique assets to create a vibrant and thriving urban core, encourage quality infill development in the inner city, and provide a range of safe, convenient, sustainable mobility choices.

Ron Yearwood, Design Director and Melody Gibson, Education Manager, Nashville Civic Design Center

Session Title: Connecting the Dots: An Exercise in Community Engaged Design"

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Ron is a Nashville native, urban designer and has been with the Nashville Civic Design Center (NCDC) since 2010. He is currently the NCDC's Design Director, coordinating the design studio, Young Urbanists group, PARK(ing) Day Nashville, and PechaKucha Night Nashville. He has a passion for creating and envisioning a more livable, better connected and healthier city. Ron co-authored the Center's recent publication Moving Tennessee Forward: Models for Connecting Communities. His recent initiatives have included coordinating the NCDC’s international design competition, Designing Action; completion of the NCDC’s project, Shaping The Healthy Community: The Nashville Plan; and helping expand NCDC’s Reclaiming Public Space initiative through Tactical Urbanism Organizers of Nashville (TURBO Nashville). He is also the President of Transit Now Nashville, a grass roots organization dedicated to promote a vibrant and efficient transit system for Nashville. Ron earned his Bachelors of Architecture from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and Masters of Urban Design from the ETH, Zurich, Switzerland.



Melody Gibson is the Education Manager at the Nashville Civic Design Center where she is developing and leading the Design Your Neighborhood education initiative. Melody came to NCDC in 2015 with a background in both architecture and teaching, and a passion for providing enriching educational experiences for youth centered around design. She has a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Tennessee and a Masters of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado - Denver. Prior to working at NCDC, Melody taught in urban schools for seven years. As the Education Manager at NCDC, Melody wrote NCDC’s Design Your Neighborhood curriculum that is being taught in Nashville schools and utilized as a youth community engagement tool for NCDC projects.

Session Title:  Envision Sudekum Napier : Transforming Public Housing into a Choice Neighborhood

Alisha Eley, Kimley-Horn 


Alisha Eley is dedicated to enhancing the landscapes in which we live, work, and play and has passion working with local municipalities across Tennessee on community enhancement projects. She has over 8 years of extensive experience in planning and design projects throughout the state working in Kimley-Horn’s Nashville LA+P studio where she was recently named an Associate. She is a registered landscape architect in Tennessee and Kentucky and is a LEED Accredited Professional.

She received her bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from Ball State University. Locally, she is an active member of the Tennessee Chapters of the American Society of Landscape Architects and American Planning Association as well as the Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association, WalkBike Nashville, Mt. Juliet Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, a board member of Tennessee Women in Green.


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Jeff Hall, Metropolitan Development and Housing Authority Jeff Hall serves as the Executive Program Manager for the Recapitalization Department of MDHA, primarily administering the envision processes at Napier and Sudekum, and Edgehill Apartments. Hall's career has primarily focused on the areas of community relations, fundraising and non-profit management.


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Curtis Thomas, Metropolitan Development and Housing Authority
Curtis Thomas serves as the Urban Planning Manager for the Recapitalization Department at MDHA working across all envision programs to provide technical planning and project finance analysis. His career has focused on the creation and implementation of resident-led holistic community revitalization strategies.


Session Title: Future VU - A Vision for the Future of Vanderbilt's Campus

Eric Kopstain, Vice Chancellor for Administration,Vanderbilt University

In July, 2014 Eric Kopstain became Vanderbilt’s Vice Chancellor for Administration and his portfolio includes human resources, business services, facilities, contract and grant accounting, public safety, title ix, student access services, and equal employment opportunity.  Eric came to Vanderbilt in 2012 as Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance.  In this previous role, Eric was responsible for financial reporting, tax, budget and capital planning, financial systems, procurement, disbursements, travel and payment cards and student accounts.  Before joining Vanderbilt, Eric served for 7 years at Harvard University where he began as Assistant Dean for Planning & Budgeting and was responsible for leading budgeting and planning activities across the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, a $1.2B enterprise and the largest division of Harvard.  In 2010 he assumed the role of Associate Dean for Finance and CFO at Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences and had responsibility for risk management, financial analysis and financial planning for the division.  His service at Harvard coincided with the global recession and his efforts focused on the stabilization of the FAS’ finances and operations in the wake of the financial crisis.  Prior to Harvard, Eric worked for three years as the Director of Budget and Fiscal Planning at Dartmouth College; and for twelve years at Northwestern University in various budget, planning and administrative capacities including Assistant Director for the Office of Budget and Planning, Analysis and Allocation, and Director of Planning and Special Projects in the Office of Administration and Planning.  Eric received a B.A. from Northwestern University, and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management. 


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Session Title: Building Social Resilience through Landscape: Lessons from Sardinia, Okinawa, and the TN Delta.

Harriet Brooks, Hawkins Partners, Inc.

Harriett Jameson Brooks, ASLA, is a landscape designer and cultural landscape researcher whose work seeks to understand the relationship between place and well-being. While pursuing dual masters degrees in Urban and Environmental Planning and Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia, she and a colleague embarked on a traveling fellowship to 3 cultural landscapes in the world with extraordinarily high longevity to understand how everyday landscapes influence life-long health.  Jameson Brooks was awarded multiple national awards for the project and resulting documentary film, Landscapes of Longevity, including the

2015 ASLA Student Award of Excellence in Communication and 2014 Finalist for the National Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) Olmsted Scholarship. In 2017, she was awarded the inaugural LAF Fellowship in Leadership & Innovation for Delta Terra, a project seeking to understand the opportunities for social resilience and ecological democracy through public space in the rural South.