The conference will feature four plenary sessions, one for each of our conference themes: Change, Connect, Prosper, and Sustain. Change addresses how we organize to achieve the public policy change needed to bring better walking, biking, and place to our communities. Connect addresses the infrastructure we need and how we shift our funding paradigm from movement of cars to movement of people. Prosper addresses the health, economic, environmental, and social benefits created when we have a transportation system that connects everyone. And Sustain explores how our solutions–walking, biking, and Placemaking–can address the big questions of the day: energy, climate change, and inequality. You will recognize some of our keynote speakers; we hope you will notice some new faces too:

Gil PenalosaExecutive Director, 8-80 Cities

Gil Penalosa is passionate about cities for all people. Gil advises decision makers and communities on how to create vibrant cities and healthy communities for everyone regardless of social, economic, or ethnic background. His focus is the design and use of parks and streets as great public places, as well as sustainable mobility: walking, cycling and use of public transit. Because of Gil’s unique blend of pragmatism and passion, his leadership and advice is sought out by many cities and organizations. As Executive Director of the Canadian non-profit organization 8-80 Cities for the past 8 years, Gil has worked in over 150 different cities in all continents. As former Commissioner of Parks, Sport and Recreation for the City of Bogota, Colombia, Gil successfully led the design and development of over 200 parks of which Simon Bolivar, a 360 hectare park in the heart of the city, is the best known; here he created the Summer Festival, with over 100 events in 10 days and more than 3 million people attending, making it the main annual recreational and cultural event in the country. Gil’s team also initiated the “new Ciclovia”— a program that sees over 1 million people walk, run, skate and bike along 121 kilometers of Bogotá’s city roads every Sunday, and today it’s internationally recognized and emulated.

Bill Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh

Bill-PedutoBill Peduto was elected to the office of Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh in the General Election on November 5, 2013. He has worked for 19 years on Pittsburgh City Council, as a staffer and Member of Council representing District 8. A self described “Reform Democrat”, Bill Peduto wrote the most comprehensive package of government reform legislation in Pittsburgh’s history. He strengthened the Ethics Code, created the city’s first Campaign Finance Limits, established Lobbyist Disclosure and Lobbyist Registration and ended No-Bid Contracts. During Pittsburgh’s ongoing financial crisis, Bill Peduto has been the consistent voice of fiscal discipline. Understanding that the city needed leadership — Bill Peduto was the first — and only — politician to call for the city to apply for Act 47 state protection. He helped to write a new budget, lobbied to get others on board and after a year of hard work he was able to lead the city into a new five year plan. Through his many years of work representing and working in City Council, Bill Peduto has had extensive experience in helping transform Pittsburgh’s economy into a Med/Ed New Economy. By establishing “community-based” development plans and encouraging the investment into niche industries, Bill Peduto has had hands-on experience in building a New Pittsburgh.From co-creator and co-chair of the City’s Comprehensive Climate Action Plan to writing the legislation to protect Pittsburgh’s unique green hillsides — Bill Peduto has championed the protection and enhancement of Pittsburgh’s new reputation as a leader in green initiatives.

Michael A. Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia


Recently re-elected to his second term as Mayor of his hometown, Michael A. Nutter has set an aggressive agenda for America’s fifth largest city – devising the City’s innovative school reform strategy, vowing to strengthen community policing through Philly Rising, a unique partnership between vulnerable neighborhoods and the City, and continuing to implement the nationally recognized GreenWorks Philadelphia initiative that is helping to make the City of Philadelphia become the greenest city in America.Since taking office in January 2008, Michael Nutter has vigorously managed city government through the worst recession since the Great Depression by maintaining core services and reducing the City’s spending – most notably closing a $2.4 billion gap in Philadelphia’s five year plan without compromising a single police officer, fire fighter, sanitation, or health center worker.

Jennifer Selin, Mayor of Morgantown

Jenny SelinJenny Selin serves as the Mayor of Morgantown, WV. She represents Morgantown’s Fourth Ward on City Council for the past 7 years.  She is council’s representative on the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, MPO regional transportation policy board, Town and Gown, Sunnyside Up and other Boards and Commissions. She is a professional mediator with an academic background in education, parks and recreation, and law.  By day, you will find Jenny hard at work as the coordinator of the WVU Community Design Team.  The rest of the time, she is an active member of the community. She advocates for active transportation and local place making, including bike to work day, PARKing Day, and the River Town Program. Last year she attended this conference with a team from our area.

A C Wharton, Jr., Mayor of Memphis

Mayor Wharton

 A C Wharton, Jr. was elected Mayor of Memphis in October 2009. Winning 61 percent of the overall vote, he became Memphis’ 63rd Mayor and its first new Mayor in 18 years. Upon taking office, Mayor Wharton immediately set about focusing his administration to execute a new agenda of transparency, responsiveness, innovation, and delivering efficient, equitable, and excellent service for the people of Memphis. Mayor Wharton believes that Memphis can be a City of Choice for people, families, entrepreneurs, artists, and businesses of all types. His vision is to align civic, commercial, and political leaders to move our economy forward and improve the quality of life for all residents.


T. Morgan Dixon, co-founder of GirlTreck


Prior to co-founding GirlTrek, a national health movement, Morgan was on the frontlines of education reform. She served as director of leadership development for one of the largest charter school networks in the country, Achievement First. Before Achievement First, Morgan directed the development and start-up of six public schools in NYC for St. Hope and the Urban Assembly – two organizations funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Morgan began her career with Teach For America as a high school history teacher in Atlanta, GA, and later as a school administrator in Newark, NJ. Morgan was awarded Teach For America’s 2012 Social Innovation Award, recognized by the Awesome Foundation as a leader to watch and has been a featured in the Washington Post, One Day Magazine and The Root.

Lee Fisher, CEO of CEOs for Cities

Lee Fisher New Standard Headshot Photo 10.7.13

As President and CEO of CEOs for Cities, Lee leads a national  network of cross-sector urban leaders who share the smartest ideas and practices for city economic success. Lee is also a Senior Fellow with the Center for Economic Development at Cleveland State University’s Levin College of Urban Affairs and a member of the National Placemaking Leadership Council. Lee has served as Ohio Lt. Governor; Director, Ohio Department of Development; Chair, Ohio Third Frontier Commission; Chair, Ohio Economic Growth Council; Ohio Attorney General; State Senator; State Representative; President/ CEO of the Center for Families and Children; and Partner in the Cleveland law firm, Hahn Loeser & Parks. During the time Lee led Ohio’s economic development efforts as Lt. Governor, Site Selection magazine awarded its highest economic development award, the Governor’s Cup, to Ohio three consecutive years and with the Competitiveness Award, recognizing the Ohio Department of Development, under Lee’s leadership, as the most effective economic development agency in the country. Lee also led the development of Ohio’s first strategic plan for economic development.

Vanessa GarrisonCo-Founder and COO, GirlTrek 

Vanessa Bio Pic

Vanessa Garrison is a passionate advocate of social justice issues and has focused her work on improving health outcomes and quality of life for Black women and girls. Prior to co-founding GirlTrek, a national health movement, Vanessa worked as a Program Coordinator for Our Place DC, a nonprofit organization that provides services to currently and formerly incarcerated women. Vanessa began her career working in digital media as a project manager with Turner Broadcasting System. Inc. in Atlanta, GA. In this capacity she managed digital media projects for some the world’s most recognizable news and entertainment brands, including, CNN, TNT and Cartoon Network. Vanessa was awarded Teach For America’s 2012 Social Innovation Award. She has been featured on NPR, CNN, and the New York Times. In 2013 Vanessa was appointed to serve on the Washington D.C. Bicycle Advisory Council where she advises the Mayor and District agencies on bicycling issues. Vanessa earned a Bachelor of Arts in World Arts and Culture from UCLA.

 Dr. Karen Hacker, M.D., M.P.H. Director, Allegheny County Health Department


Dr. Hacker is the highest ranking official in Allegheny County Health Department and is responsible for overseeing its programs and activities. She also serves as Secretary to the Allegheny County Board of Health. Dr. Hacker has extensive experience working with diverse populations as a public health leader, health care administrator, primary care physician and community based participatory researcher. Throughout her career, Dr. Hacker has worked with community partners to catalyze change in both practice and research environments. She previously served as interim Chief Public Officer for the City of Cambridge and the Division Director for Child and Adolescent Health at the Boston Public Health Commission. Dr Hacker’s research has been responsive to community needs, with interests focused on adolescent risk and resiliency, child mental health and the social determinants of immigrant health. She has led efforts to incorporate behavioral health screening into pediatric primary care and worked with communities on issues of substance abuse and overdose prevention and youth suicide.

 Mary Lauran  HallCommunications Director, Alliance for Biking & Walking


Mary Lauran directs media relations, digital content and analytics, social media, design, and communications trainings with the Alliance for Biking & Walking. In addition to her work with the Alliance, Mary Lauran consults on strategic communications, volunteers with a bicycle repair cooperative in DC, and works locally to remedy problematic intersections.

 Fred Kent, Founder and President of Project for Public Spaces

FRED-FULL1Fred Kent is a leading authority on revitalizing city spaces and one of the foremost thinkers in livability, smart growth and the future of the city. As founder and president of Project for Public Spaces, he is known throughout the world as a dynamic speaker and prolific ideas man. Traveling over 150,000 miles each year, Fred offers technical assistance to communities and gives major talks across North America and internationally. Each year, he and the PPS staff give presentations or train more than 10,000 people in Placemaking techniques. Over the past 37 years, Fred has worked on hundreds of projects, including Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center, and Times Square in New York City; Discovery Green in Houston, TX; Campus Martius in Detroit, MI; Main Street in Littleton, NH; Granville Island in Vancouver, BC, Canada; and a City-Wide Placemaking Campaign in Chicago, IL.  Before founding PPS, Fred studied with Margaret Mead and worked with William H. Whyte on the Street Life Project, assisting in observations and film analysis of corporate plazas, urban streets, parks and other open spaces in New York City. The research resulted in the now classic, The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, published in 1980, which laid out conclusions based on decades of meticulous observation and documentation of human behavior in the urban environment. In 1968, Fred founded the Academy for Black and Latin Education (ABLE), a street academy for high school dropouts. In 1970, and again in 1990, Fred was the coordinator and chairman of New York City’s Earth Day.

Dr. Adonia LugoEquity Initiative Manager at the League of American Bicyclists


Dr. Adonia Lugo is the Equity Initiative Manager at the League of American Bicyclists, where she has been operationalizing the concept of “human infrastructure” as a network building strategy to expand the reach of bicycle advocacy and planning to include diverse stakeholders. Lugo has an extensive record of participant-observation in innovative projects, working closely with advocates to further equity, diversity, and inclusion in bicycling. She co-founded Bicicultures, a network of cultural critics and researchers who study bicycle users and their relationship with changing built environments. Prior to working at the League, Lugo completed a doctorate in anthropology at the University of California, Irvine.

Tyler Norris, Vice President, Total Health Partnerships at Kaiser Permanente

Tyler Norris KP photo_smTyler Norris, MDiv, is an entrepreneur and founder of over a dozen businesses and social ventures.  His three decades of service in the public, private and non-profit sectors have focused on population health, community vitality, and equitable prosperity.  Currently, he serves as vice president, Total Health Partnerships at Kaiser Permanente, where he helps lead the implementation of this leading integrated health delivery systems’ aspiration for the complete physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being of its members, workforce, and communities. He is a parent of two young adults, an avid mountain biker, backcountry skier and pilot. He resides in Oakland.



Sharon RoertySenior Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson FoundationUntitled-1

Sharon is a Senior Program Officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the former Executive Director of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.  Trained as an environmental planner, Sharon has spent a lot of time at the intersection of health and transportation.  At RWJF she focuses on the built environment, policy, engagement and implementation.


Martha RoskowskiVice President of Local Innovation for PeopleForBikes 

Bikes Belong Staff PortraitsMartha is the Vice President of Local Innovation for PeopleForBikes and heads up the Green Lane Project, an effort catalyze the installation of better bike lanes in U.S. cities. Previously, she spent 7 years managing GO Boulder, the City of Boulder’s innovative program to make it easy to bike, bus and walk. She headed up the America Bikes campaign in Washington DC from 2002 to 2004, focused on the reauthorization of the transportation bill. That effort created the federal Safe Routes to School Program and coined the term “Complete Streets.” She also spent seven years as the Executive Director of statewide advocacy group Bicycle Colorado.