Technical Assistance


James Carras

Financing Brownfields Redevelopment: Investment Tools
Thursday December 8 2:00 - 3:15 PM

Carras Community Investment, Inc.

James Carras is an Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow at Harvard University where he is focusing on equitable development finance research. For the past six years, he was a member of the faculty at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Graduate School of Design, Extension Schools as well as Tufts University’s Department of Urban Policy and Planning teaching courses on Urban Policy and Financing Community Economic Development. He has been consulting with mission-driven organizations and government agencies as well as financial institutions and developers for the past 30 years. James and his consulting firm, Carras Community Investment, Inc., has facilitated the creation and capitalization of over fifty community development corporations (CDCs), development financial institutions (CDFIs) and public private partnership initiatives. He is the author of numerous affordable housing and equity studies and revitalization plans and has served as the Founding Executive Director of the National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders, the Founding President of the Broward Housing Partnership and the South Florida Community Land Trust. Prior to establishing his consulting business, he served as a Community Development Advisor to the Mayor of Boston and was the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Urban Reinvestment Advisory Group where he was awarded the John Hay Whitney Fellowship. Mr. Carras is recognized as a national development finance expert with a particular focus on New Markets Tax Credits, Opportunity Zones, the Community Development Financial Institution Fund and the Community Reinvestment Act. Mr. Carras was awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Urban Sociology from Suffolk University in Boston, completed graduate work at Tufts University’s Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and received a Master’s Degree from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in Public Administration. He is certified by the National Development Council (NDC) as an Economic Development Finance Professional and completed NDC”s Rental Housing Finance course. Mr. Carras has published various articles and publications including ones focusing on New Markets Tax Credits for the American Planners Association and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the Community Reinvestment Act for the American Planners Association, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, National League of Cities and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and Affordable Housing Loan Consortia for the National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders. He served as Chair for the Broward Housing Council and the Broward County Minority Economic Development Board and also as Vice Chair of the City of Fort Lauderdale’s Economic Development Advisory Board. He served as Vice Chairman of the Harvard Kennedy School Alumni Board of Directors and Vice Chair for the Broward Schools Committee for Harvard College. Mr. Carras has also served on the Board of Directors for St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, the Broward Alliance for Neighborhood Development, Haymarket Bank and advisory boards for the United Way of Broward County, Neighborhood Lending Partners and Paradise Bank. For eight years, he served as the Chairman for the Fort Lauderdale Greek Festival as well as the President of the Himmarshee Village Association.

Jessica DeBone

Brownfields Legal and Regulatory Landscape
Wednesday December 7 1:45 - 2:45 PM

National Manager - Brownfield and Economic Incentives
PM Environmental, Inc

Jessica DeBone is a National Manager of Brownfield and Economic Incentives at PM. She specializes in Brownfield and economic development incentives, EPA Brownfield Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grants.
She has experience in the successful completion and award of Act 381 Work Plans, Local Brownfield Plans, Tax Abatements, Community Revitalization Program grants, and experience with EGLE Grant and Loan Applications. Within the past five years, she has procured, managed, or overseen over $230 million in economic incentive procurement for private sector clients for her department. Jessica holds a B.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from Michigan State University.

Bernadette Grafton

Federal Funding Sources for Brownfields
Wednesday December 7 3:45 - 5:00 PM

Program Analyst
U.S. Economic Development Administration

Bernadette Grafton has been at EDA since 2016 and is currently the Team Lead for the Research and National Technical Assistance (RNTA) program at the U.S. Economic Development Administration where she oversees a wide portfolio of highly diverse and exciting grants and cooperative agreements focused on economic development research, tool development, and technical assistance for communities across the U.S. Bernadette also serves as EDA’s University Center Program Coordinator, providing program and policy guidance on the grant program and its implementation to EDA’s six regional offices where the University Center grants are awarded and managed. She works within the Performance, Research, and National Technical Assistance Division in EDA’s Headquarters Office in Washington, D.C.

Prior to joining EDA, Bernadette worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization as a Fellow for just over a year – the job that brought her to Washington, D.C. Before moving to DC, she and her husband lived in Ann Arbor, MI for 4 years while she completed her Master’s degree at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and the Environment and then worked with the RACER Trust in Detroit for a year. Her studies focused on Environmental Science, Environmental Justice, and Behavior Change. It was here where Bernadette discovered a love for brownfield cleanup and redevelopment as well as broader community revitalization that is inclusive of the people in the community. She received her B.S. in Environmental Science at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH and grew up in southeastern Michigan.

Cristen Hardin

Financing Brownfields Redevelopment: Bedrock and Targeted Tools
Thursday December 8 12:15 - 1:45 PM

Project Manager
PGAV Planners, LLC

Cristen brings to the team her background in urban planning and economic development. She has successfully managed short and long-range planning projects including successful state and federal grant writing for municipal and private projects, neighborhood planning, and community engagement.

Prior to joining PGAV, Cristen served as City Planner for the City of Collinsville, IL. There she managed a wide range of short- and long range planning and economic development projects, including: developing economic incentive policies and programs; administering TIF, Business District incentive, and other economic development incentive programs; preparing annual TIF reports; land use, zoning, and development plan review; grant writing; facilitating public engagement meetings, workshops, and design charettes for projects; managing various boards & commissions; and serving as an ambassaor for business and tourism development activities in Uptown Collinsville.

Cristen’s public sector experience positions her to understand and navigate the delicate balance of developing realistic, community-centered plans and matching those plans with market realities and a city’s capacity to fund and implement plans. At PGAV, Cristen has brought her experience and expertise to a variety of projects related to economic development, strategic planning, neighborhood planning, community engagement. She enjoys translating complex planning and economic development concepts for public understanding, helping people find themselves at the center of their community’s plans.

Paul Hayden

Redevelopment Process and the Partners Involved
Wednesday December 7 2:45 - 3:30 PM

Vice President
Geo-Technology Associates, Inc.

Paul Hayden is the Vice President and head of the Brownfield Redevelopment Group for Geo-Technology Associates, Inc. (GTA). He works with clients to facilitate the voluntary cleanup process in conjunction with regulatory agencies to complete the redevelopment of Brownfield and in-fill sites throughout the East Coast, and has presented his project experience at numerous local and national Brownfield conferences and seminars. In conjunction with Brownfield redevelopment, Mr. Hayden has performed and managed numerous environmental site assessments (ESAs) and remediation projects (Phases I, II, and III), and has managed investigations at leaking underground storage tank (LUST) sites, manufacturing/industrial properties, hazardous waste sites, manufactured gas plants, solid waste facilities, and petroleum spill sites. He has an extensive background in federal and state regulations pertaining to voluntary cleanup programs, and oil/petroleum cleanup programs.

Mr. Hayden is a registered Professional Geologist, Licensed Remediation Specialist in WV, and a Registered Site Manager in NC. He holds an M.B.A., an M.S.L. in Environmental Law, and dual B.A.s in Environmental Studies and Geology from the University of Binghamton. Paul joined GTA in 2005 and became a Vice President of the firm in 2011.

Karen Homolac

Brownfields 101
Wednesday December 7 12:15 - 1:30 PM

Brownfields Program Specialist
Business Oregon

Karen Homolac joined the Oregon Business Development Department, dba Business Oregon, in 2002 and serves as the Brownfields Program and Policy Specialist for the Department. Within the Brownfields Program, Karen manages the State’s Brownfields Redevelopment Fund and the U.S. EPA funded Oregon Brownfields Cleanup Fund. Prior to joining Business Oregon, Karen worked with the California Trade and Commerce Agency’s Sacramento Regional Office, where she was responsible for providing community development assistance to cities within a 37-county region. From 1989 to 1994, Karen served as an international trade economist with the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration. While with the Commerce Department, Karen provided extensive economic analytical and policy recommendation support on a number of unfair trade disputes between the United States and Canada. In addition to being on the implementing team for the 1989 U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement, Karen also served on the negotiating and implementing team for the North American Free Trade Agreement. Karen earned her Master’s degree in Economics with an emphasis on international trade and economic development from the University of Oregon. She also holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Zoology and Botany/Plant Pathology from Oregon State University.

David Misky

State and Local Financing Strategies for Brownfields
Thursday December 8 3:30 - 5:00 PM

Assistant Executive Director
City of Milwaukee

Dave Misky is the Assistant Executive Director of the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee, an independent corporation of City government which has a mission to eliminate blighting conditions that inhibit neighborhood reinvestment, to foster and promote business expansion and job creation, and to facilitate new business and housing development. He has 25 years of diversified experience in real estate and economic development with a strong focus on creative financing and environmental issues. He currently oversees the City of Milwaukee’s Real Estate programs including residential and commercial foreclosures, City-developed industrial developments, and Brownfield redevelopment. Dave and his team manage all sizes of developments from small vacant residential lots to vast economic drivers that address development plans, zoning changes, gap financing, stormwater management, and environmental aspects of remediation and sustainability. These projects include major developments along each of the three rivers of the City of Milwaukee and Lake Michigan. Dave holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a Master of Science degree in Water Resources Management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Jorge Morales

Federal Funding Sources for Brownfields
Wednesday December 7 3:45 - 5:00 PM

Community Planning and Development Specialist
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Jorge Morales has been a Community Planning and Development Specialist and Loan Origination Officer at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 108 Loan Guarantee Assistance Program since 2014. Jorge is an experienced Community and Economic Development professional with over 22 years in the CPD, Housing, and Economic Development programs. His extensive background includes the directing of Housing and Economic Development Departments in both large and small cities. He was instrumental in the development of a multimillion-dollar convention center project which included $22 million of Section 108 funds and the establishment of a “municipal bank” using Community Development Block Grant funds. Jorge received his undergraduate degree from the University of Puerto Rico. Additionally, he holds master’s degrees in public administration and in business administration from Webster University, St Louis. He also holds an Economic Development Finance Professional Certification from the National Development Council. Jorge is a former U.S. Air Force officer and a Desert Shield/Storm veteran.

Seth Otto

State and Local Financing Strategies for Brownfields
Thursday December 8 3:30 - 5:00 PM

Principal Planner.
Maul Foster and Alongi, Inc.

Mr. Otto has over a decade of experience in the fields of land use planning, community development, public policy, and sustainability and currently leads MFA’s land use planning and brownfield practice in Oregon and southwest Washington. In that role he manages state and EPA funded brownfield programs for local municipalities, capital and community development projects, and complex land use and environmental permitting for public and private sector clients. He is a regular speaker on the subject of brownfield redevelopment and policy analysis. In 2016, Mr. Otto testified at the Oregon State Legislature in support of proposed legislation that would provide new tools to incentivize brownfield remediation and redevelopment.

Mr. Otto is engaged in redevelopment planning for brownfield and underutilized properties around the Pacific Northwest for both public and private clients. He regularly supports project funding strategies and has written successful grant applications to state and federal agencies. Mr. Otto recently managed several policy research studies focused on the scale and impact of brownfield properties on local and statewide levels and remains active in the effort to craft, pass and implement new policies. He has also worked as a consultant on a wide variety of development and public improvement projects—from conceptual design and feasibility through design development and land use entitlement. As a land use planner, Mr. Otto has experience in the master planning of large-scale industrial and mixed-use projects. He has led green building workshops and managed the sustainability compliance, including LEED certification, of several significant national and international projects with large multinational design teams.

Mr. Otto holds a BA in Sociology and Spanish from Linfield College and a MS in Community and Regional Planning from The University of Texas at Austin. In 2001, he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study urbanization in La Paz, Bolivia. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, Urban Land Institute Northwest NEXT Committee, and CCIM Oregon and SW Washington chapter Board of Directors.

Adam Patton

Brownfields Legal and Regulatory Landscape
Wednesday December 7 1:45 - 2:45 PM

Vice President
PM Environmental, Inc

With 18 years of experience in the environmental site investigation profession, Mr. Patton specializes in remedial investigations and reuse planning for contaminated properties across the eastern United States; has significant experience with waste management/characterization, and contingency planning; management of remedial actions involving soil, groundwater, and vapor-phase contamination utilizing risk-based protocols, and regularly oversees redevelopment projects involving contaminated properties.
Mr. Patton also oversees characterization, permitting, and treatment of storm water and related discharges, including those that involve potential natural resources impairments (sediments, wetlands, etc.).

Michael Pehur

Financing Brownfields Redevelopment: Bedrock and Targeted Tools
Thursday December 8 12:15 - 1:45 PM

Development Finance Consulting Director
Duane Morris Government Strategies

As the Development Finance Director at DMGS, Michael brings over a decade of experience in economic development financing and project management. Since joining DMGS, Michael has been responsible for providing consulting strategies for real estate, business and municipal clients. He primarily works to identify grants, loans, tax incentives and other public financing programs available for complex development projects.

Previously Project Finance Coordinator at Allegheny County Economic Development (ACED), Michael facilitated project financing and managed the technical components of various funding programs. Michael managed over $55 million of Federal and State contracts. He facilitated project financing for site preparation, public infrastructure, environmental remediation, transit oriented development, commercial redevelopment and general business development assistance within Allegheny County. His work included a wide range of notable projects that have generated vast economic impact to the region, including Dick’s Sporting Goods Headquarters, Clinton Commerce Park, Westport Development and McCandless Crossing. Michael also authored the first ever evaluation of the County’s Tax Increment Financing program.

Michael received certification as an Economic Development Finance Professional from the National Development Council. As a member of the Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA), Michael is a frequent speaker on Tax Increment Financing and other development finance programs. He was a contributing author of the CDFA Advanced Tax Increment Financing Reference Guide published in 2009. Michael supports CDFA’s efforts to provide education, resource development and research on development finance as part of the CDFA Pennsylvania Financing Roundtable Advisory Committee and CDFA/EPA Brownfields Technical Assistance Program. Michael was appointed to the CDFA Board of Directors at the 2013 Annual National Development Finance Summit. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Regional Development Funding Corporation, a non-profit SBA lender in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Elyse Salinas

Federal Funding Sources for Brownfields
Wednesday December 7 3:45 - 5:00 PM

Program Analyst
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Elyse Salinas works in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization (OBLR). She has worked in U.S. EPA’s Brownfields Program since May 2018. She is a Co-Coordinator for the Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (MARC) Programs. In this capacity, Elyse helps coordinate the MARC Grant competitions and provides guidance and support to EPA regional brownfields offices. Elyse also leads OBLR’s efforts to support equitable development and environmental justice. Before joining OBLR, Elyse was an HR Analyst in EPA’s Office of Administrative and Executive Services, and she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in China. Elyse earned a Master of Public Administration from American University in Washington, D.C., and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts.

Seema Thomas

Federal Funding Sources for Brownfields
Wednesday December 7 3:45 - 5:00 PM

Deputy Director
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Seema Thomas is the Deputy Director for HUD’s Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program in the Financial Management Division in the Office of Block Grant Assistance. To date, she has been working on community development challenges for the past two decades. Her career has focused on developing and expanding innovative and inclusive initiatives to support communities from the neighborhood to the metropolitan scale, both domestically and internationally. Before joining HUD, she was an adjunct professor of urban sustainability at the University of the District of Columbia. In the past, she has consulted and worked for numerous organizations, such as the World Bank, DHS’s Science & Technology Directorate, Freddie Mac, the Urban Institute, and Oliver Wyman & Co. She holds a BSE from the University of Pennsylvania, a MUP from Harvard University, and an MPA from Princeton University.

Brian Vosburg

Brownfields Legal and Regulatory Landscape
Wednesday December 7 1:45 - 2:45 PM

Director of Brownfield Redevelopment
Detroit Economic Growth Corporation

Brian Vosburg has worked at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) since 2015 staffing the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (DBRA). He currently serves as the Director of the DBRA where he leads the underwriting and approval process of new projects requesting Brownfield TIF, as well as assists in managing the DBRA’s existing portfolio of 118 Brownfield TIF projects representing $9.2 billion in investment and $1.7 billion in Brownfield TIF reimbursement. In addition to TIF, Brian also reviews and manages projects seeking grant and loan funds, as well as works with a City team that focuses on redeveloping large tax foreclosed and vacant properties. Prior to joining the DEGC, Brian worked in the community development field for 15 years in affordable housing development as well as community economic development in government and non-profit organizations. Brian received a Master of Urban Planning from Wayne State University and a B.A. from North Central University in Minneapolis, MN. He is also member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).

CDFA National Sponsors

  • BNY Mellon
  • Bricker & Eckler LLP
  • Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
  • Business Oregon
  • Cirrus Secure
  • CohnReznick
  • Frost Brown Todd LLC
  • Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP
  • Ice Miller LLP
  • KeyBanc Capital Markets
  • Kutak Rock LLP
  • McGuireWoods
  • MuniCap, Inc.
  • NW Financial Group, LLC
  • PGAV Planners, LLC
  • Raza Development Fund
  • SB Friedman Development Advisors
  • Stern Brothers
  • Stifel Nicolaus
  • U.S. Bank
  • Wells Fargo Securities
  • Z. The Bond Buyer
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