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.

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.

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.

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.

Ilona Ballreich

Program Manager- Sustainable Communities Collaborative

Ilona Ballreich is the program manager of the Sustainable Communities Collaborative (SCC), a program of the Sustainability Institute at Penn State. Ilona works closely with faculty, students, and community partners to ensure meaningful, experiential student projects focused on the sustainability needs of the community. The SCC facilitates over 50 projects in primarily rural and small urban communities annually.
Ilona brings two decades of experience in community development to her position, including as executive director of a non-profit arts organization. She developed festivals and venues, authored newsletters, and conceived and edited a book about central Pennsylvania.  She is trained in community development strategies and active in numerous community organizations. She holds a degree in industrial technology and architecture and is currently enrolled in the community and economic development masters of professional studies degree program at Penn State.

Travis Kraus

Director- Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities

Travis serves as Director of the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities, a community engagement partnership program housed in the School of  Planning and Public Affairs. Travis joined IISC in August 2016 and manages the day-to-day operations of the IISC and works with community partners and University of Iowa faculty, staff and students to facilitate engaged-learning projects that promote economic development, social justice, and sustainability. 

Travis holds an appointment as Faculty Fellow for Engaged Teaching and Scholarship with the UI Office of Community Engagement. He serves on the board of directors for EPIC-N, an international network of community engagement programs, and he also enjoys serving on the board of the local arts non-profit, Public Space One. 

Travis earned a Master’s degree in Urban & Regional Planning from the University of Iowa, where he also earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and a secondary teaching certificate. 

Dr. Wijitbusaba (Ann) Marome

Founder- Thammasat Urban Futures and Policy Research Unit

Dr Wijitbusaba (Ann) Marome is an associate professor in urban planning at Thammasat University. She is also a founder and a head of Thammasat Urban Futures and Policy Research Unit since  2014. She received a PhD in planning from University College London, Faculty of the Built  Environment, Development Planning Unit and a MSc in Gender and International Relations from University of Bristol, School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies, after her undergrad degree in Bachelor in Architecture from Chulalongkorn University. She is an expert in urban development planning, urban resilience, climate change adaptation, sustainable city, future cities and urban governance.. Her research experiences are world-wide with collaborations from the US, Germany, Canada, Japan and various institutions from Southeast Asia in order to build cities and  local capacities to manage future changes. She also works closely with Thai government to  promote sustainable and resilient cities including Geo-Informatics and Space Technology  Development Agency (GISTDA), Community Organizations Development Institute (CODI), Department of Public Works and Town & Country Planning, and local governments.

Forrest Williams

Community Development Director- City of Caldwell

Forrest Williams graduated from Texas A&M University with his bachelors in 2017 and then went to grad school at Texas A&M and graduated with a Master’s in Urban Planning in 2019. While in his masters program he worked at Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) as a graduate assistant researcher, where I assisted in various projects related to Local Emergency Planning Committees. Forrest had internships with the City of Dickinson, Spring Valley Village, and other projects within the program such as my final project on the Downtown Bryan Master Plan. In July 2019 Forrest began working for the Town of Flower Mound as the Comprehensive Planner and then in February 2020 began working for the City of Caldwell as the Community Development Director. In his current role Forrest advances many of the city community development programs and processes, while increasing transparency and communications to the public. Recently Forrest was promoted to Administrative Services Director.

Sean O’Donoghue

Director- Durban Adaptation Center

One of the EPIC Africa leaders and Head of Climate Change Adaptation Branch, eThekwini Municipality, Durban, South Africa. Dr Sean O’Donoghue has a doctorate in marine pelagic ecology obtained from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in 2010. In March 2011, Sean joined eThekwini Municipality, or Durban, where he manages the Climate Change Adaptation Branch. A key focus of the Branch is Community Ecosystem Based Adaptation, providing work opportunities for Durban’s indigent populations. Sean manages a number of research, inter-city and community partnership projects, and has led the development of the pilot EPIC programme at UKZN. (From Resilient Cities 2018 Website).