EPIC-N Board of Directors

Joel Rogers, EPIC-N Chair and Secretary

Director – COWS – Faculty – University of Wisconsin-Madison

Joel Rogers is the Noam Chomsky Professor of Law, Political Science, Public Affairs, and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he also directs COWS, the national high-road strategy center. Rogers has written widely on American politics and democratic theory. Along with many articles, his books include The Hidden Election, On Democracy, Right Turn, Metro Futures, Associations and Democracy, Works Councils, Working Capital, What Workers Want, Cites at Work, and American Society. Joel is an active citizen as well as academic. He has worked with and advised many politicians and social movement leaders, initiated and helped operate several progressive NGOs (including the New Party, Economic Analysis Research Network, Apollo Alliance, Emerald Cities Collaborative, State Innovation Exchange, and the EPIC [Educational Partnership for Innovation in Communities] – Network). He is a contributing editor of The Nation and Boston Review, a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, and identified by Newsweek as one of the 100 living Americans most likely to shape U.S. politics and culture in the 21st century.

Marc Schlossberg, President

Co-Director – Sustainable Cities Institute – University of Oregon

Marc Schlossberg is a Professor of City and Regional Planning and co-director of the Sustainable Cities Initiative (SCI) at the University of Oregon where he has been since 2001. His teaching, research, and community engagement focuses on active transportation, livable community design, and the implementation of knowledge to policy and practice. A fun fact is that Marc has four times taught a study abroad course on designing cities for people on bikes, bringing students to Denmark and the Netherlands to learn first-hand from the best cycling cities in the world. Marc is a two-time Distinguished Fulbright Scholar serving in the United Kingdom from 2009-10 and Israel from 2015-16. Prior to academia, Marc worked in the nonprofit sector and was a U.S Peace Corps volunteer in Fiji.

Jessica Barlow, Vice President

Executive Director – The Sage Project – San Diego State University.

Barlow is a professor and director of the Center for Regional Sustainability (CRS) at San Diego State University. She teaches and conducts research on language acquisition and bilingualism and serves on her university’s climate action planning council and senate sustainability committee. Within CRS, Barlow oversees the Sage Project, a replication of the Educational Partnership for Innovation in Communities (EPIC) framework. Barlow also has led sustainability-focused study abroad programs for students and curricular workshops for faculty.

Mike James, Treasurer

Assistant City Manager / Public Works Director

Mike is the Assistant City Manager / Public Works Director for the City of Lemon Grove, California in San Diego County. In that role, he is responsible for leading a diverse staff providing all external city services including engineering, planning, risk management, right-of-way maintenance including all capital improvement projects facility/fleet maintenance, and sanitation district services. With a unique background that blends over 20 years of federal government, law enforcement and local government service he is able to synthesize laser focused solutions that take advantage of existing resources to address multiple issues facing the community.

He holds a Master’s in Public Administration from San Diego State University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo. He is also a full member of the International City/County Management Association, currently pursuing his candidacy as a Credentialed Manager, and he serves as a member of the Cal-ICMA Talent Initiative Program.

Kristin Baja

Climate Resilience Officer – Urban Sustainability Directors Network

Kristin Baja (‘Baja’) is USDN’s Climate Resilience Officer and is responsible for helping cities identify strategic ways to advance climate resilience planning and implementation and building their capacity to take proactive action. Baja focuses her time on supporting members and partners in working at the nexus of resilience, mitigation and equity while also helping center equity in their climate and sustainability work. She helps facilitate deeper relationships between local governments and stakeholders while helping to identify and shift focus to more collaborative and transformational action. Baja has over ten years of experience working on climate and equity with local governments and community-based organizations. She holds a Masters of Urban Planning and a Masters of Science from the University of Michigan. She is also an Aspen Global Change Institute Fellow  and serves on several local and international advisory committees. In 2016, she was recognized by the Obama Administration as a Champion of Change for her work on climate and equity.

Laura Bloch

Sustainability Adviser – Region 9 – U.S. EPA

Laura Bloch has worked in the environmental field for more than 20 years on projects and programs with all levels of government, academia, non-profits, and industry. She is currently the Sustainability Adviser for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9 where she works on both regional and national policies and initiatives to enhance sustainability and resiliency. She led U.S. EPA, Region 9 in the design and implementation of its ISO 14001 certified Environmental Management System (EMS), and champions visionary initiatives that minimize environmental impacts of internal operations and programs. For example, she helped develop the national Sustainable Grants Policy based on a successful policy she championed in Region 9.  She has also developed and implemented several training programs to enhance sustainability nationally and with other agencies. Laura has been recognized through several national awards including the James W. Craig Pollution Prevention Leadership Award. Dr. Bloch received her Doctorate degree in Environmental Science and Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Branden Born

Co-Director – Livable City Year – Faculty – University of Washington

Branden is associate professor of Urban Design and Planning and co-director of the Livable City Year program at the University of Washington. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees and in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Wisconsin. Branden studies planning process and regional governance using the food system as a lens for analysis. His interests include questions of democracy in societal decision-making and the role of the state and planning in a neoliberal context.

Steivan Defilla

Professor – Tianjin University – President Assistant – APEC Sustainable Energy Center

Since joining Tianjin University in June 2018, he has been professor at the School of Architecture and President Assistant of APEC Sustainable Energy Center. From September 2010-September 2016, Steivan served as director and executive head of the Energy Charter Secretariat; prepared and negotiated the International Energy Charter signed by 80 states in May 2015, spoke among others at the Ministerial meetings of the EU and the CIS Power Council.
January 2002-September 2010, served as Senior Energy Advisor to the Swiss Minister of Economic Affairs at the Swiss Federal Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO); co-authored government strategies, laws and decrees; attended the Governing Board of the International Energy Agency and the Energy Charter Conference.

Mazi Ferguson

Interim Director – Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships – University of South Florida

Mazhab is a Doctoral Candidate in Educational Measurement and Evaluation. Mazhab’s areas of interest include the effect of student motivation, specifically attitude, on student success in mathematics, assessment and program evaluation. Mazhab manages the operations of the University of South Florida EPIC-N Member Program, the Community Sustainability Partnership Program.

Courtney Griesel

Economic Development Director – City of Springfield, Oregon

Courtney Griesel is the City of Springfield, OR Economic Development Director. She has a Masters of Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University and Bachelor of Science in Planning, Public Policy & Management from the University of Oregon. She manages two urban renewal areas, the community enterprise zone, transient room tax program and citywide economic development, including business retention, expansion, and recruitment. Her economic lens spans across the region and globe as she works as a global facilitator and trainer with the EPIC-Network and in partnership with the UN and EPA in European and South African communities. In March of 2017, Griesel was the keynote speaker at the Oregon Governor’s Mass Timber Summit, speaking to innovative use of secondary and mass timber products and the integration of these efforts and products into current development and traded sector opportunities.

Cindy Steinhauser

Deputy City Administrator of Development Services – City of Rochester, Minnesota

Cindy Steinhauser currently serves as Deputy City Administrator of Development Services for the city of Rochester, MN. Included in her work portfolio is Development & Construction Services including Public Works, Transit, Parking, Wastewater, Planning & Zoning, Housing & Neighborhood Services (including Rental Housing, Heritage Preservation & Urban Design and CDBG administration), Sustainability. She is part of a development services leadership team to drive economic growth and community investment including the $5.6 billion Destination Medical Center initiative. In 2019 she was selected by Mayor Norton to participate in the Bloomberg Harvard (BH) City Leadership and BH Collaboration programs. Prior to coming to Rochester, she served as the first female City Manager in Frankfort, KY and in Dubuque, Iowa from 1995 to 2017 where most recently serving as Assistant City Manager from 2001-2017. Cindy graduated with Degrees in Finance and Economics, holds an Executive Certificate in Public Leadership from the Harvard Kennedy School and is a Credentialed Manager through the International City/County Management Association.

Cindy is an active member of ICMA serving as Vice Chair of the International Committee, Creative Placemaking Committee, a member of the Editorial Board Research Committee and helped found the Sustainable Community Advisory Committee. She has also served on the board for the National Civic League, the EPA Brownfield Conference Regional Planning Committee, and the National Advisory Committee for the STAR Community Index program (now USGBC).

Throughout her career, Cindy has worked on numerous community transformation projects and served as a leading team member for over $500 million in downtown, riverfront and warehouse district transformation in the communities she served. She has lead arts & culture strategies, equity & inclusion, performance measurement, placemaking and sustainability initiatives. In 2017 she received the Women of Achievement Award.

Anne Reichman

Director – ASU Sustainable Cities Network and Project Cities Program

Anne is Director of Arizona State University’s (ASU) Sustainable Cities Network and Project Cities Program. Celebrating a decade of service and award-winning partnerships in 2019, SCN is a program within ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS) that convenes Arizona communities and tribes with the goal of providing educating and training opportunities; increasing information exchanges and collaborative opportunities; and increasing individual community and regional sustainability efforts.  Anne also directs SCN’s new Project Cities Program, a university-community partnership pairing ASU students with a local city to co-create innovative sustainability solutions to local problems and challenges. 

Prior to ASU, Anne served as Director of Earth911.com and 1-800-CLEANUP, and has over two decades of experience in the fields of recycling, solid waste and household hazardous waste management, and environmental education. Anne is a contributing author to the “Handbook on Household Hazardous Waste” which provides solid waste professionals and municipal officials with a comprehensive look at the state of household hazardous waste management.  Anne holds a Professional Certificate in Sustainability Strategy and is a Certified Sustainable Building Advisor (C.S.B.A.). 

Jane Rogan

Director – Sustaining Hoosiers Communities

Jane Rogan leads the Sustaining Hoosier Communities (SHC) at the Indiana University Center for Rural Engagement. SHC is an initiative, connecting communities to IU courses, students, and faculty to address community-identified needs and opportunities. A Hoosier by choice, Jane grew up in Cheshire—a rural area of the United Kingdom known for its dairy production and silk weaving arts. Prior to joining the center, Jane worked for the IU Kelley School of Business, the Liberal Arts and Management Program, and the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.
Jane holds a Bachelor of Arts in business studies from Birmingham City University and a Master of Science in higher education from Indiana University.

Gilbert Siame, EPIC Africa Leader

Director – Urban Regional Program – University of Zambia

Gilbert Siame holds a PhD and a MSc. in city and regional planning from the University of Cape Town in South Africa. He is a lecturer and researcher in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Zambia where he is also a co-founder and Director of the Centre for Urban Research and Planning (CURP). Dr. Siame teaches and co-teaches five courses in the Master of Science in Spatial Planning Programme. His research interests and projects include urban informality, urban sustainability, urban governance, planning education, transdisciplinary research methods, and the interface of planning theory and practice in the global South. He is the founding coordinator of EPIC Africa.