The People

EPIC-N Board of Directors

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.

Joel Rogers, EPIC-N Chair and Secretary/Treasurer

Organizational Director – Center on Wisconsin Strategy – Faculty – University of Wisconsin-Madison

Joel Rogers is the Sewell-Bascom 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. (From COWS website)

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

Assistant Program 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.

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.

Jessica Johnston

Program Director for Sustainability and Climate Change – ICMA

Jessica serves as ICMA’s Program Director for Sustainability and Climate Change. Jessica joined ICMA in early 2013 to manage the USAID funded CityLinks program. Based on the premise that cities learn best from each other, Jessica has been working with community leaders from across the globe to facilitate dialogues and record promising practices around climate resilience. As a strong believer in the power of locally led action, Jessica has worked with communities across the US, Australia, Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean to facilitate tailored solutions to pressing climate related challenges. Since joining ICMA Jessica has also directed knowledge management and communications efforts for USAID related to sustainable urbanization. Prior to ICMA, Jessica worked with several nonprofits to support a wide range of international and domestic projects focused on supporting local service delivery. Jessica has a Masters of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, where she was named a fellow with the Council of Women World Leaders. Jessica also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Jordan and has a BA from Chapman University in Peace and Conflict Studies. (From National Resource Network website)

Emily Robbins

Program Manager – Boston University

Emily Robbins is the Program Manager for MetroBridge, a new program under the Initiative on Cities and the College of Arts & Sciences designed to bring real-world work into undergraduate and graduate classrooms. Within MetroBridge, municipalities  serve as clients of classes at the University and students receive hands-on experience in solving real-world urban problems. Prior to joining Boston University, Emily was the Principal Associate for Economic Development at the National League of Cities (NLC) in Washington, D.C. Emily’s work at NLC helped city leaders create stronger and more equitable local economies through research and technical assistance. She managed a national peer network of local governments on best practices for supporting small business development and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems. Her NLC publications include policy briefs on supporting inclusive economic development, maker economies, food-based business incubators, local business development, and performance management. Emily was also previously the Assistant Director of Partnerships for the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education, and a legislative aide for the Boston City Council. Emily earned a master’s degree in public policy from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University in Boston. (From Initiative on Cities website)

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. 

EPIC-N Advisory Board

Andrea Fox

Town Manager – Town of Garrett Park, Maryland

Andrea Fox is the Town Manager of Garrett Park, Maryland, a tight-knit community outside Washington, DC that is on the National Register of Historic Places and is also an arboretum. As Town Manager, Andrea manages the administration of the town. Since 2005 Andrea has worked in and with local and state governments, including the City of Omaha, Nebraska; the Nebraska State Legislature; the City of Napa, California; and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). As local government staff, she implemented numerous sustainability strategies and policies and developed a sustainability plan. As an aide in the Nebraska Legislature, she assisted with the passage of laws that assess and reduce energy consumption. At ICMA, Andrea used her first-hand knowledge of local government to increase the capacity of local governments to create more sustainable and resilient communities. She has a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Denver and is AICP certified.

Barney Dickson

GANN – United Nations Environment Program World Conservation Monitoring Centre

Dr Barney Dickson (BA, MA, D.Phil) is Head of the Climate Change and Biodiversity Programme at UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Cambridge, UK. The Programme provides policy-relevant analyses in three main areas:

  • The impacts of climate change on ecosystems
  • The role of ecosystems in climate change adaptation
  • The role of ecosystems in climate change mitigation

Under his leadership the CCB Programme is focusing on the development of an effective REDD mechanism that also delivers co-benefits for biodiversity and ecosystems. UNEP-WCMC is actively engaged in the UN REDD Programme.

Before joining UNEP-WCMC, Dr Dickson worked at Fauna & Flora International for over six years where he was the first Head of International Policy and responsible for developing FFI’s international policy programme. He has published extensively on issues of conservation policy, including CITES, recreational hunting, the precautionary principle and the links between conservation and poverty reduction. (From

Tony Socci

Senior Lead on International Climate Policy – U.S. EPA

Dr. Anthony Socci is the senior lead international resilience and adaptation policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of International and Tribal Affairs (OITA) in Washington, DC.  For nearly a decade, Dr. Socci has helped coordinate and facilitate several international efforts aimed at building capacity to become more resilient and sustainable, and to adapt to compound changes principally in urban and local settings in developing countries.

More specifically, Dr. Socci worked with a host of international partners to make actionable, the principles of the Durban Adaptation Charter (DAC), a pledge on the part of nearly 1000 elected local/urban government officials, largely from Africa and Asia, to take local action to build urban resilience and adapt.  He also served as a long-standing member of the DAC steering committee.

Later, at the invitation of the UN Global Adaptation Network (GAN), Dr. Socci agreed to become a member of its Steering Committee.  From this vantage point he, along with several international partners and other steering committee members, helped to formulate and implement an effort on the part of the GAN to deliver actionable, demand-driven information to regions and communities in developing countries deemed most vulnerable to the impacts of climate and other changes, through a process referred to as “adaptation learning exchanges”.

Most recently, Dr. Socci has worked with a host of international partners to introduce the EPIC (Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities) model to local governments and universities in developing country cities eager to enhance their capacity to become more sustainable and build resilience in the face of complex physical, natural and social forces. The EPIC model systematically matches city and local government needs with the innovation of students and academics to address a broad spectrum of sustainability-related issues, with lasting and sustainable impacts for all involved.

Maria Uhle

Program Director International Activities – National Science Foundation

Maria Uhle currently serves as the Program Director for International Activities in the Directorate for Geosciences at the National Science Foundation, where she develops mechanisms and agreements to foster international research collaboration through the Belmont Forum, the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) and Future Earth. She is the US representative to the Belmont Forum and is the current Chair of the Executive Committee of the IAI. She works with other US federal agencies on international cooperation through the US Global Change Research Program where she is the co-Chair of the International Activities, Inter-agency Working Group. Prior to her appointment at NSF, she served as an International Affairs Officer in the Office of International and Academic Affairs (OIAA) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), where she developed programs to foster research collaboration with NIST’s international partners from countries in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. Prior to working at NIST, she served as a Program Officer for the National Academy of Sciences Polar Research Board and the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate. She directed several committees that addressed topics relevant to the Arctic and Antarctic, and focused on reanalysis of historical climate data, and climate projections based on emission scenarios. Before joining the NAS, Maria served on the faculty at the University of Tennessee in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Her background includes degrees in environmental science and geology, and her research focused on investigating the fate of organic matter and contaminants in atmospheric, surface water and soil environments from urban areas and the polar deserts of Antarctica. (From the Aspen Global Change Institute website)

David Ward

Chancellor Emeritus – University of Wisconsin

He received BA (1959) and MA (1961) degrees from the University of Leeds then earned a Fulbright Travel award to the United States in 1960 and received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin in 1963. Ward taught for one year at Carlton University and two years at the University of British Columbia before returning to Wisconsin in 1966 as an assistant professor in geography. He became a full professor in 1971, served as chair of the geography department from 1974 to 1977, and held the Andrew Hill Clark Professorship of Geography. Ward served as associate dean of the Graduate School from 1980 to 1987. In 1989 he became vice chancellor for academic affairs, and in 1991 he was also named provost, chief deputy to the chancellor. He became interim chancellor in January 1993, and was named chancellor in June 1993. In January 2001 Ward stepped down as chancellor, and in September 2001 he became president of the American Council on Education. (From UWM Library Website)

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).

EPIC-N Staff

Marshall Curry

Program Associate – EPIC-N

Marshall Curry joined work supporting EPIC-N in September 2017. He manages day-to-day operations, provides support to member programs and board of directors. He currently lives in his hometown Springfield, Oregon. He received his MS in Educational Leadership and MPA from the University of Oregon in 2018 and received his BA in Sociology from Willamette University. His experience supporting nonprofit associations includes: serving on the Ford Scholar Alumni Association (2013-2018) board of directors as Vice President and Member-at-Large, preparing a diversity and inclusion report for the American Society of Association Executives, and volunteering with the alumni association for his alma mater. During graduate school he worked for the Sustainable Cities Institute and Inflexion, managing programs and assisting executives addressing different aspects of career readiness in higher education and public schools respectively. Prior to graduate school he managed workforce development programs and volunteer operations at Marion-Polk Food Share.