Where Are They Now?
If you are a SURP alumnus, please let us know what you are doing – professionally and personally. We appreciate if you would add your name to this list below so that we can keep up-to-date on the accomplishments and whereabouts of our alumni community. If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LEPC 5 Coordinator/Principal Planner
Withlacoochee Regional Planning Council
I graduated in 2002 with a BURP and 2004 with a MURP
I am a Principal Planner at the Withlacoochee Regional Planning Council since April 2006 where I coordinate all Emergency Planning activities and acts as staff to the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) District 5. I also assist local governments in preparing Evaluation and Appraisal Reports (EARs) and EAR Based Amendments. I am a native Floridian from Miami and hold both a Bachelor's (2003) and Master's Degree (2005) in Urban and Regional Planning from Florida Atlantic University.
I hope to eventually be a Certified Emergency manager and continue my work with county, regional and state wide emergency management planning and preparedness.
Chris Barry, AICP
Jon E. Schmidt and Associates
I graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a Bachelor's in Urban & Regional Planning in August 2003 and a Master's in Urban & Regional Planning in December 2006. Prior to graduating I interned with Song & Associates, a West Palm Beach architectural firm, and with the Palm Beach County (PBC) Zoning Division. Since graduating in 2003 I have been practicing in the field of land planning both privately and publicly and have held positions as a Site Planner II with the PBC Zoning Division and as a Land Entitlement Project Manager with Centex Homes. Currently I am a Planner with Jon E. Schmidt & Associates, a small to mid-size land planning and landscape architecture firm in West Palm Beach.
Seth C. Behn, AICP
Sr. Land Use Planner
Greenberg Traurig P.A.
After a career as a woodworker and boat-builder, I enrolled in the University of Miami’s Graduate School of Architecture. After completing the first year of study at UM, I transferred to FAU’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning where I completed my M.U.R.P. in April, 2005. I am an AICP certified planner, member of APA-Florida, and volunteer as the Professional Development Officer for the Palm Beach County Planning Congress.
My professional career began with an internship of one year with the City of Miami Beach Planning Department. While still at FAU I was hired to work for the planning and landscape architecture firm Land Design South in West Palm Beach, where I remained for two years. For the last three years I have been employed by the international law firm of Greenberg Traurig, also in West Palm Beach, as a Senior Land Use Planner. My role at Greenberg Traurig is that of project manager overseeing the governmental approval process for residential, commercial and industrial project development.
Shekeria L. Brown, AICP
Community and Economic Development Manager
Community Redevelopment Associates of Florida
I graduated from FAU’s Master of Urban and Regional Planning program in May 2002 with a concentration in community and economic development. While attending school full-time, I also worked full-time as a research associate for FAU’s Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions (CUES). What an experience! I would not be where I am today in this field, if it wasn’t for my experience at FAU (as a student and professional) and the practical experience, guidance and connections offered to me early in my career. I worked at CUES for 3 years on projects ranging from transportation studies for FDOT to neighborhood plans in Dania Beach.
I love the concept of community and truly believe the emphasis should always be on community. Today I am the community and economic development manager for Community Redevelopment Associates of Florida. Working for an urban affairs consulting firm everyday I have the opportunity to do what I enjoy. My main responsibilities include planning, administration, and implementation of Federal and State programs that fund a variety of affordable housing, community and economic development initiatives. In addition to working with local government staff, I work directly with the community – people of all ages and backgrounds, businesses of all sizes, and community based organizations with varying missions.
I have been working for the same firm for 5 1/2 years and enjoy the variety of projects I’ve had the opportunity to work on. Each day I learn something new. My professional goal is to never stop learning regardless of my title.
Outside of work, I have served on the board of the Broward Section of the American Planning Association (APA), and am a current member of APA and the American Institute of Certified Planners. I am also active in Emerge Broward, a program of Leadership Broward.
Bradley J. Currie, AICP
Land Design South
Brad Currie is a Principal of Land Design South, one of south Florida’s premier, multi-disciplinary Landscape Architecture firms. Services include land planning, landscape architecture, environmental and transportation. Land Design South is located in West Palm Beach and Port St. Lucie. Brad is Principal of the Port St. Lucie office. In addition to overseeing the Port St. Lucie office Brad is responsible for a variety of land planning projects that encompass site planning, master planning and application submittals. His responsibilities include: research and preparation of land planning reports and development applications; preparation of and representation of Developments of Regional Impact (DRI); and directing site planning and landscaping staff. As a Planner, Brad dealt primarily with preparing and submitting rezoning applications and Comprehensive Plan Amendments, and coordinating the applications with clients and the public sector. His education in planning was comprised of both theory and practical work, providing Brad with an understanding of planning principals and techniques used to apply his education to project design. Brad also has experience working in the public sector and for a residential developer, affording him vital knowledge of the different elements in the land development game.
I graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a Master‚s in Urban & Regional Planning in August 2009 and I received a Certificate in Environmental Planning in August 2003. I have been working for the past 13 years for the Broward County Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department Air Quality Program in a variety of positions. I started as a college intern in the licensing and compliance section and was quickly promoted to Natural Resource Specialist I in 1999 and Natural Resource Specialist II in 2000. In 2005 I was promoted to manager of the Outreach, Planning and Mobile Sources Section where I am responsible for programs related to climate change protection, greenhouse gas emissions inventories, air quality planning, outreach and education, alternative fuels and alternative modes of transportation, smoking vehicles and parking facility licensing. Additionally, I work in collaboration with Broward County staff, senior management, local, regional, state and federal agencies, and various committees to advance the County‚s leadership in sustainability efforts and environmental education. I currently serve as staff to the Broward County Climate Change Task Force, and as Chair of the Broward County Climate Change Government Operations Workgroup. As Workgroup Chair I coordinate government operations climate mitigation initiatives, progress reports to the Board of County Commissioners, greenhouse gas emissions inventories, and sustainability educational programs for employees. I also serve as member of the Metropolitan Planning Organization Technical Coordinating Committee, and the Florida Gold Coast Clean Cities Coalition.
I find my work fascinating because changes in regulations and emerging issues (ozone depletion, climate change, etc.) at the national, state, regional and local levels continue to provide new learning opportunities and challenges. I recently completed an article titled Planning for low carbon cities: Reflection on the case of Broward County, Florida, USA in collaboration with Dr. David Prosperi that will be published this fall in Cities: International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning. I truly love what I do and my future goal is to continue to advance within my organization to make meaningful contributions in the areas of air quality, planning and sustainability.
Natural Resource Specialist
Broward County Water Management Division
Joe graduated from FAU with a Bachelors degree in Urban & regional Planning in 2003 and then a Masters degree in 2004. I served as the Vice-President of the Florida Atlantic Planning Society from 2003-2004. Currently I am employed by Broward County’s Water Management Division, where my duties include managing various water conservation projects for the County’s water utility and performing planning services for dependent water control districts. I am an active member of the Alumni Society and take great pleasure in volunteering my time and resources to FAPS events like the River Clean ups and annual tailgate.
Tykus R. Holloway, P.E., AICP
Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.
I have worked in the private sector within South Florida at multidisciplinary engineering firms as an Urban Planner and Transportation Engineer.
I am currently employed by Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc., a multidisciplinary engineering and planning consulting firm with offices nationwide. The company was ranked by FORTUNE magazine as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For," in 2008. My title is Planner/Engineer or “Plangineer.”
I work for public and private clients throughout the State of Florida providing planning and engineering design services. My areas of specialization include comprehensive plan updates, evaluation and appraisal reports, community master plans, transportation concurrency exception area justification reports, traffic impact studies, parking analyses, and multimodal plans (transit, bicycle, and pedestrian).
I am personally committed to developing strategies and plans to empower disadvantaged communities. I eventually want to establish my own engineering/planning practice where a primary goal would be to help empower low-income communities. I also plan to publish articles that raise awareness and emphasize the importance of incorporating the psychological and social realm of urban planning into physical and place-based plans. Lastly, I hope to make significant contributions to the urban planning community that extend beyond my technical skills to truly have an impact on the quality of life in the communities we serve.
Renee M. (Miller) Kamen, AICP
Planner, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
Silver Spring, Maryland
I graduated in 2002 with my Master's Degree in Urban and Regional Planning, concentrating in environmental planning. Honestly? I've never worked in environmental planning. I have worked in transportation, land use, GIS and now development review. Currently, I am a planner for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, in Silver Spring, Maryland. M-NCPPC is one of the oldest bi-county regional agencies, with over 80 years of history. At M-NCPPC, I work at the Montgomery County Planning Department as a zoning analyst. As a zoning analyst, I specialize in rezoning applications and special exceptions (conditional uses). Although, I review rezoning and special exceptions, my reviews involve site plan and design. (Planning in Maryland is not planning in Florida and although both states have smart growth policies, the way planning is done between the two would take me longer than a paragraph to explain!) Since my background is also geography, my primary role in the organization is managing the conversion of all our zoning maps (stored on mylars) to a geographic information systems and their maintenance until the official "switch" occurs.
I am a certified planner. I passed the AICP exam in 2006. In 2000/01, I was in the first group of students to revitalize Florida Atlantic Planning Students and created the liaison position between Broward APA and FAU. I was extremely active in the Florida Chapter APA, first as a representative as BAPA president and then as Secretary of FAPA. Currently, I am the president of the National Capital Area Chapter of the American Planning Association (NCAC), which is comprised of 700 planners, citizens and elected officials from Montgomery and Prince George's County, MD and Washington, D.C. My role as president is to provide educational and networking opportunities to our members, create partnerships with other professional organizations to further enhance NCAC's mission and purpose and to be a liaison between the National APA and our Chapter.
I currently live in Fulton, MD with my husband Dan, my stepchildren Danny (13) and Patrick (10) and our daughter, Lucy, 7 months.
Marc Kurbansade, AICP
Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.
I received my MURP from Florida Atlantic University in May 1998. While pursuing my degree, I worked in the VPT Lab (previously the GIS Lab) under the guidance of Dr. Prosperi and then Director Scott Burton.
Once I received my degree, I went on to work for Post, Buckley, Schuh & Jernigan as a GIS Analyst. From PBS&J, I took my knowledge and desire for software application development and took a hiatus from Planning to pursue software and application development at Merrill Lynch. I re-entered the Planning profession several years later back in South Florida at Land Design South where I remained for approximately three years and worked alongside several FAU alumni (Brad Currie and Seth Behn). I am now employed by Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc., in their Dallas, Texas office. True to the nature of “Planning” I wear many hats at KHA, working for both private and public sector clients. Some of my specialties include entitlements for all types of development projects (e.g., Planned Development ordinances; representation of development approval petitions before both staff-level committees and local governmental bodies), master planning & site planning for all types of development projects, municipal Comprehensive Plans, and Geographic Information Systems applications.
I am also actively involved in the American Planning Association, serving as the Professional Development Officer for the North Central Texas Section of the APA for the past 18 months and have recently been appointed to serve as the Certification Maintenance Coordinator for the Texas State Chapter of the APA.
Nixon Lebrun, CFM, AICP
Planner, City of Miami Gardens
I graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning in December 2002, a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning in August 2004 and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration in May 2008. I briefly worked as a Planning Associate for the City of Homestead from January to June 2004. In January 2005, I accepted the position of Plans Processor III at the Planning and Zoning Department of Miami-Dade County. I held that position until July of that same year when I was hired as a Zoning Technician and promoted shortly after, to the position of Planner for the newly-incorporated City of Miami Gardens. My day-to-day activities involve primarily current land use activities, from interpreting the Zoning Code and Land Use Plan, to writing recommendation to the City Council for rezonings, variances and special exceptions, to performing site inspections, to reviewing of zoning requests, building permits, Certificates of Uses and Certificates of Occupancy and to managing the Floodplain Regulations. I am an ASFPM Certified Floodplain Manager and also an AICP Certified Planner. I am very much interested in land use law and am planning to attend Nova Southeastern University Law School in the near future. I am also earnestly seeking to become a Minister of the True and Living Word, and by the grace of God, this too will come to fruition soon.
Robert Lewis, MSc, MURP
Director, Policy Coordination Unit
Cayman Islands Government
Robert Lewis has been appointed to head up a new government policy unit in the Cayman Islands Government. The Cabinet Office's Policy Coordination Unit has been created to coordinate the development and implementation of policies across all government ministries and portfolios. His team is charged with developing independent advice for the Cabinet, the National Security Council, the premier and other agencies. Robert sat on several national committees tasked with producing national policies and enhancing departmental efficiencies. Cayman Islands Government Cabinet Secretary Orrett Connor, said, "With proven strengths and experience, Mr. Lewis is well-equipped to contribute to government's strategic growth."
At present he sits on the National Energy Policy Committee, the Census Advisory Committee, and the National Climate Change Adaptation Working Group. He also chairs an energy policy subcommittee, which focuses on energy efficiency and conservation in relation to land-use, construction processes and buildings. He has been recognized by the Cayman Islands Civil Service Association "For Exemplary Service to the People and Government of the Cayman Islands."
The new policy director for the Cayman Islands Government graduated from FAU in 2006 with a MURP degree (concentrations in Economic & Tourism Development as well as Environmental Policy). While at FAU he briefly served on the FAPA Executive Committee representing the University, and on the By-Laws Committee of BAPA. He holds another Masters Degree - Public Policy and Management - from the University of London, England. His undergraduate degree was in architecture and he holds building code certifications. He also holds management certifications from Napier University (Scotland); and from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
As a former Assistant Director of Planning for the Cayman Islands Government, responsible for policy development and strategic planning, that role enable him to contribute on committees toward national initiatives such as Energy Policy, Climate Change Policy, Census, efficiency/effectiveness review of the Government (a Department), and National Assessment of Living Conditions (among others). In addition to national contributions, Robert's keen interest in the professional development of planners and aspiring managers led him to offer career counseling, lectures on urban and regional planning, management and leadership.
Robert's interests – aside from his job – includes sports administration and traveling. He was the founding President of the Cayman Islands Martial Arts and Taekwondo Federations, a past member of the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee and the President of the organizing committee for the first world sporting event in the Cayman Islands – World Cup Taekwondo. He was acknowledged for dedicated service and outstanding contributions to the sport by that sport's world governing body. Robert was inducted in 1990 into the Caribbean Martial Arts Hall of Fame in its inaugural year.
The friendships established with students and professors at FAU will never be forgotten.
Simon O. Martinez, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP BD+C
I graduated from FAU, Spring 2007 with a dual degree (B. Arch and MURP) Bachelor of Architecture with a major in Architecture and Master of Urban and Regional Planning. While pursing my degrees, I worked full time for FAU as a computer coordinator. The decision to begin my professional experience in the field of architecture and planning while in school was an exciting and crucial one. Gradually, I began shaping the path to my professions. Not an easy task, but doable based on my interest.
I have always been attracted by technology, building and the intricacy and complexity of labyrinths. So, it came to no surprise the interest in technology and construction and how it can be applied towards the many intricate layers of sustainable building design within the urban and metropolitan fabric of space; and how that fabric of space is affected by those decisions made.
Currently, I’m a Partner with AKArchitects, Inc.
We provide feasibility studies, design criteria packages, planning, programming, sustainable building design, construction administration, LEED credit compliance and administration and project management to many private and public sector clients in South Florida.
Bill Nemser, AICP, LEED AP
Strategic Planning and Economic Development Division
City of Wellington
Bill Nemser is the Principal Planner for the City of Wellington, Fl. His work includes:
- Economic development
- Community redevelopment
- Comprehensive planning
- Policy and zoning analysis
Bill is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and holds Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional designation. He earned Masters (2005) and Bachelors (2003) degrees in Urban and Regional Planning from Florida Atlantic University where he was awarded an Environmental Growth Management Fellowship from the Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions. B ill was named the FAPA Outstanding Student Planner of the year in 2004. Prior to joining the planning community, Bill Nemser worked in the real estate profession and served in the U.S. Coast Guard.
Bill continues to stay involved with FAU in various capacities: he is a member of the FAU “Parliament of Owls” and is the past president of the FAU School of Urban and Regional Planning Alumni Society. Bill also serves on the Board of Directors of the Palm Beach County Planning Congress.
Bill’s future plans include continuing his various side projects that allow him to research and write about the various facets of the professional planning profession.
John Patterson, AICP
Floodplain Development Coordinator
Town of Fort Myers Beach, FL
I earned my Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning with a concentration in Urban Development and Design in 1997. I moved to Southwest Florida in 2000, where I have worked for the cities of North Port and Cape Coral. As a planner and planner II for these cities, I performed current planning work reviewing development plans, subdivisions, vacations, variances, and special exceptions. In October 2008, I started a new position with the Town of Fort Myers Beach, FL. I am serving as the floodplain development coordinator, which entails: managing the town’s participation in the National Flood Insurance Program; creating and implementing the town’s new development review program; working on various historic preservation projects; and representing the town on various committees of the Metropolitan Planning Organization and Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council (SWFRPC).
I have been married to my wife Patty for four (4) years, and have an 18 year old step-daughter, Ashley. We currently live in the City of North Port, FL.
Sarah Sinatra, AICP
Assistant Director of Planning
Calvin, Giordano & Associates
I graduated from FAU with a Masters in Urban & Regional Planning in 2003. Since then I have worked in the Village of Wellington as an Associate Planner and have been at Calvin, Giordano & Associates for the past 4 years as the Assistant Director of Planning. My work experience includes municipal Planning Director duties such as processing zoning requests, land use plan amendments, site plan reviews, rezoning petitions and presentations to city commissions. I have also been responsible for writing Evaluation and Appraisal Reports, Comprehensive Plans, Zoning and Land Development codes, form-based codes and transit oriented zoning codes. As the Assistant Director of Planning for Calvin, Giordano & Associates, I act as the Community Development Director for the City of Weston, the City of West Park and the Town of Surfside. Within these roles, I perform day to day planning and zoning activities, present staff reports and recommendations to the Commissions, the Planning and Zoning Boards and provide customer service assistance to residents, developers and business owners. In the future I hope to have opportunities to work with new municipalities and utilize creative zoning techniques.