2012 Policy Sessions
Delve into the critical environmental challenges facing our region, with a focus on energy policy and programming. Officials and citizens alike will find these sessions helpful as we all work toward a more sustainable future.
A QUESTION OF SCALE: Which Economic Development Models Are the Best Investment?
Wednesday, March 7 from 8:45 – 10:15 a.m.
This session contrasts traditional economic development tools, such as tax incentives and infrastructure investment for large industrial projects, with small-scale economic development approaches like downtown revitalization, education and quality of life programs. Acknowledging the importance of both, how does a community, state or region decide an appropriate balance and measurement of success?
CEUs: 1.5 AIA LU, 1.5 GBCI Units
John Gornall, Arnall Golden & Gregory
John Gornall, a partner with Arnall Golden Gregory, focuses on economic development, finance, renewable energy and water. He has represented the State of Georgia for the $1.2 billion KIA project in West Point, Georgia and the State’s recent $650 million General Obligation Bond offering, as well as Development Authorities and Companies for projects including distribution, manufacturing, R&D, office and university facilities; the total exceeds $5 billion over the last 10 years. His energy clients include large energy purchasers, renewable energy developers, investment funds and users, manufacturers of renewable energy equipment, energy service companies and various renewable energy advocacy organizations.
Chris Higdon, Georgia Municipal Association
Chris Higdon serves as the energy program manager for the Georgia Cities Foundation, where he oversees a revolving loan fund for energy efficiency retrofits of commercial properties statewide. Additionally, Mr. Higdon has roles with the Foundation’s parent organization, the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), including as a GMA district representative, as the research staff for the Environmental Policy Committee, and as a participant in the Georgia Downtown Study and Downtown Task Force. Mr. Higdon is a member of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s Sustainability Task Force, as well as a member of Southface’s steering committee for the GEFA state energy code implementation project.
Tom Murphy, Urban Land Institute
Tom Murphy is a senior resident fellow and Klingbeil Family Chair for urban development at ULI. Murphy has extensive experience in urban revitalization—what drives investment, as well aswhat ensures long-lasting commitment. Since January 2006, Murphy had served as ULI’s Gulf Coast liaison, helping to advance the implementation of rebuilding recommendations for New Orleans made by ULI’s advisory services panel. Prior to this, Murphy served three terms as the mayor of Pittsburgh. During that time, he initiated a public-private partnership strategy that leveraged more than $4.5 billion in economic development in Pittsburgh. He developed strategic partnerships to transform more than 1,000 acres of blighted, abandoned industrial properties into new real estate and public uses.
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ALTERNATIVE FINANCING FOR RENEWABLE ENERGIES
Wednesday, March 7 from 10:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
This panel will educate attendees on current techniques for financing renewable energy projects in Georgia. Discussions will cover small project finance, in addition to commercial and utility projects. The emphasis will be on how external incentives, such as federal tax and internationally focused federal job creation investment incentives, can fill the gap created by Georgia’s difficult policy environment. Specific topics will include small loan programs for renewable finance, federal and state tax equity financing, new market tax credit financing and advanced public-private partnership financing through economic development agencies. In addition, speakers will offer guidance on how governments and tax-exempt organizations can implement renewable energy projects on a cost-effective basis.
CEUs: 1.75 AIA LU, 1.5 GBCI Units
Sandy Headley, ACE Loans
With more than 20 years of banking experience, Headley joined ACE as the vice president in 2007. Under her direct management, ACE instituted automated underwriting platforms and credit reporting systems. While at ACE, Headley has grown its small business portfolio from $2 million to almost $8 million while decreasing delinquency by 80 percent, along with creating or saving more than 2,000 jobs. Headley helped develop and implement Georgia Green Loans and expanded its service area into Atlanta. Headley has relationships with more than 50 commercial bank loan officers throughout Georgia, making her an asset to helping small businesses access capital from a variety of sources.
Lee Peterson, Reznick Group
Lee Peterson is a licensed attorney and senior tax manager for Reznick Group’s National Tax Practice. To date, Lee has been a critical tax advisor in over $3.8 billion of renewable energy projects within the U.S. and its territories. He is also responsible for thought-leadership for the firm’s renewable energy practice group. His clients include the U.S. Department of Energy, Fortune 100 companies, U.S. state and local governments, and both U.S. and foreign renewable energy project developers and manufacturers. He also advises the nation’s top financial institutions regarding their tax equity investment programs and counsels Reznick clients on green building strategies, specifically transactions that involve real estate and federal, state and local tax and financial incentives.
John Sibley, Southface
John Sibley, a lawyer by training, has worked on public policy throughout his career. His roles have included counsel to committees of the Georgia Senate, director of the Governor’s Growth Strategies Commission and board member of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority. In 1998, John became president of the Georgia Conservancy, an environmental advocacy organization. Since retiring from that role in 2005, he has focused on energy issues in Georgia and the Southeast, particularly energy efficiency. He served as program director of the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance for three years and is currently senior policy fellow at Southface.
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DOWNTOWNS AS ECONOMIC ENGINES IN GEORGIA
Wednesday, March 7 from 2:45 – 4:00 p.m.
Historically, downtowns have served as centers of commerce and social activity, while also instilling a sense of place and pride for nearby residents and business owners. In addition to providing an inherently walkable and sustainable environment, these infrastructure-rich centers will again be the nexus for smart growth and new jobs. This session will focus on a comprehensive study of downtowns conducted by Georgia Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), the Georgia Cities Foundation (GCF) and the Fanning Institute at the University of Georgia. This study aimed to unravel the question of why some downtowns are successful and others are not, to foresee how downtowns will factor into the economic future of Georgia, and to explore the challenges involved in downtown development.
CEUs: 1.25 AIA LU/ HSW/ SD Units, 1 GBCI Unit
Chris Higdon, Georgia Municipal Association
Chris Higdon serves as the energy program manager for the Georgia Cities Foundation, where he oversees a revolving loan fund for energy efficiency retrofits of commercial properties statewide. Additionally, Mr. Higdon has roles with the Foundation’s parent organization, the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), including as a GMA district representative, as the research staff for the Environmental Policy Committe, and as a participant in the Georgia Downtown Study and Downtown Task Force. Mr. Higdon is a member of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s Sustainability Task Force, as well as a member of Southface’s steering committee for the GEFA State Energy Code Implementation project.
Perry Hiott, Georgia Cities Foundation
Perry Hiott serves as Director of Research & Redevelopment Services for the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA). Additionally, he serves as Managing Director for the Georgia Cities Foundation, where he oversees the Foundation’s daily operations, including its two revolving loan fund programs. Mr. Hiott possesses more than 25 years of professional experience in local government and nonprofit organizations. Prior to his employment with GMA in 1997, he served as Director of Zoning for Fayette County, City Administrator for the City of McDonough, and City Manager for the City of Morrow. Mr. Hiott received a B.A. degree in Political Science from Clemson University, and he received a Master of Public Administration degree from Georgia College & State University.
Joe Whorton, UGA's Fanning Institute
Joe Whorton is currently director of the University of Georgia’s Poverty Initiative, a senior fellow with the Fanning Institute and an associate professor in SPIA teaching graduate courses in local government administration. He has served on the Region 5 Advisory Council to the Georgia Departments of Industry, Trade and Tourism and Community Affairs, and is a former member of the Board of Directors of Saint Mary’s Health Systems. He served as chair of the Growth Strategies Reassessment Task Force and was principal facilitator of Georgia’s Future Communities Commission and of the American Planning Association’s Growing Smart project.
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POWER LITERACY: How Renewables Work in the Power Marketplace
Thursday, March 8 from 8:00 – 10:30 a.m.
The electricity market is transforming to accommodate new sources of power generation like solar and wind, as well as new trends in energy distribution. At the macro level we have increasingly complex systems to produce and distribute electricity, while at the micro level there is an enormous amount and variety of equipment consuming that energy, with specific usage demands and patterns. As energy users increasingly gain access to “smart grid” technology that monitors and manages consumption, market conditions will increasingly influence electricity supply and demand. We will explore the evolving relationship between power supplier and energy consumer and define the relevant terminology, from distributed generation to upstream and downstream controls and base versus peak demand.
CEUs: 2.5 AIA LU, 2.5 GBCI Units
Gregory Chafee, Morris Manning & Martin
Greg Chafee is chair of the Energy and Infrastructure Finance and Green Business Practices at Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP in Atlanta. Greg advises on energy project development, including commercial matters and transactions related to the financing and operation of solar, biomass, biofuels, waste-to-energy, wind and landfill gas power generation facilities; conventional independent power facilities; and transmission and distribution of energy in the United States and internationally. He counsels on matters related to clean technology innovation, as well as investment and sustainability programs, policies and initiatives. Greg advises developers, owners, investors and managers on federal, state and local regulatory compliance, permitting and contractual arrangements, including power purchase and sales agreements.
Shana Haygood, United Renewable Energy
Shana Haygood, Esq. is the chief operating officer for United Renewable Energy and a member of the Georgia Bar. A graduate of Georgetown Law, she founded Equal Access to Justice, a living wage outreach program in Washington, D.C. Ms. Haygood was recently a board member for the Georgia Solar Energy Association and the director of Georgia’s National Solar Tour. She frequently presents on solar energy to organizations and at seminars.
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TRANSIT – Lost in the T-SPLOST?
Thursday, March 8 from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.
The Transportation Investment Act (TIA) of 2010 authorized a 1% Transportation Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax (T-SPLOST) referendum in each of Georgia’s 12 regional commission districts. On July 31, 2012, citizens will vote on their district’s specific list of transportation improvements. If passed, metro Atlanta would allocate 52 percent of the money raised towards transit projects. However, transit can get lost in our region’s list of 157 projects. This session will provide background on how transit came to be included in the Atlanta region’s list of transportation projects, details regarding key transit projects, and the regional importance of transit.
CEUs: AIA Pending, 2 GBCI Units
Nate Conable, Atlanta Beltline, Inc.
Nate Conable is the Director of Transit and Transportation for Atlanta BeltLine, Inc., the organization planning and executing the implementation of the Atlanta BeltLine, one of the largest, most wide‐ranging urban redevelopment projects currently underway in the United States. The Atlanta BeltLine is a $2.8 billion project that will shape the way Atlanta grows over the next several decades and beyond. When complete, it will provide a network of multi‐use trails, transit, public parks, public art and thousands of units of affordable housing along a historic 22‐mile railroad corridor circling downtown Atlanta, connecting 45 neighborhoods directly to each other.
John Crocker, MARTA
John Crocker currently serves as Director of Development and Regional Coordination at the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. In this role he oversees the activities of the real estate and joint development divisions with a focus on managing MARTA’s real estate assets and helping evaluate the opportunities for transit oriented development around MARTA stations. This office also coordinates with other transit operators in the Atlanta region along with other agencies such as the Metropolitan Planning Organization and Georgia Department of Transportation on the policies, processes and procedures for the planning and delivery of transit services within the metropolitan Atlanta region.
Kathryn Lawler, Atlanta Regional Commission
Kathryn Lawler is the external affairs manager for the Atlanta Regional Commission. She provides state and federal government affairs support on critical issues of transportation, land use, environment, workforce, local government support and aging. Currently, she has helped manage the Regional Roundtable and its’ work to prepare residents for the state’s first multi-county referendum in July 2012. Prior to this role, she was a consultant working with local governments, foundations and community based coalitions, interested in effectively organizing to better prepare for the rapidly growing older adult population. Her work specialized in the development of cross disciplinary partnershipsthat included aging, planning, architecture, public and mental health professionals, hospitals, elected officials and local residents for community based solutions.
Malaika Rivers, Cumberland CID
Malaika Rivers is responsible for leading the efforts of the Cumberland Community Improvement District (CID). The Cumberland CID raises seed funding through local commercial property taxes, leverages them against public funds, and reinvests them back into the community. With 19 years experience, Rivers works with commercial investors, developers, government partners and other stakeholders to improve infrastructure in the Cumberland submarket in northwest Atlanta, Georgia. Since its inception in 1988, the CID has successfully leveraged $100 million local dollars into more than a half billion dollars in constructed projects. The CID’s current workprogram is focused on advancing another quarter-billion dollars worth of enhancements in the community.
Nathaniel Smith, Partnership for Southern Equity
Nathaniel serves as Director of Partnerships and Research for Equitable Development at Emory University’s Office of University -Community Partnerships (OUCP). In this capacity Nathaniel facilitates engaged scholarship opportunities with external and community organizations to achieve balanced, sustainable and inclusive development throughout the metropolitan Atlanta region. Nathaniel’s research and advocacy activities were also instrumental in the ratification of a 15% set aside of Atlanta Beltline Tax Allocation District (TAD) dollars for the development and maintenance of affordable workforce housing within the Atlanta BeltLine Planning Area. Because of this policy $250 million dollars will be allocated to this effort over the 25 year lifespan of the Atlanta BeltLine TAD.
Jim Stokes, Livable Communities Coalition
Jim Stokes is Interim Executive Director of the Livable Communities Coalition of Metro Atlanta (LCC). LCC unites over 50 organizations to improve the quality of life in metro Atlanta by promoting livable, walkable communities. Through efforts such as the Fair Share for Transit Initiative, LCC is the voice for transit in metro Atlanta. Previously, Jim served for four years as president of the Georgia Conservancy which is viewed as Georgia’s most influential environmental organization and whose mission is to protect Georgia’s natural resources and advance sustainable growth practices. Prior to that, Jim had a 33-year career at the national law firm Alston & Bird, where he was a senior partner, chaired the management committee and founded the environmental practice group, which he led for 20 years.
Monte Wilson, HOK Planning Group
Monte Wilson is a Senior Vice President with HOK and a Director of the HOK Planning Group. As a specialized business unit of the global architecture firm HOK, the 120‐person Planning Group provides Urban Design, Planning and Landscape Architecture services for clients around the world. The Group is located in 16 of HOK’s 25 offices, including locations in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Asia‐Pacific and India. In addition to his role in defining the strategic direction for the groupwide Planning Practice, Monte serves as the Project Principal and Senior Designer on a range of projects, including mixed‐use developments, urban revitalization studies and transit‐oriented developments as well as university, research park and corporate campus master plans.
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