Placemaking 101 – Who?

We are excited to welcome you to Placemaking 101 on April 18 & 19, 2018. Wondering who will be speaking? Check out the information below on all of our presenters!

Speaker Biographies

Vincent DeSantis, City of Gloversville Councilman-at-Large

Vince DeSantis is known locally as “Mr. Gloversville” for the deep commitment and enthusiasm he has for his city. A native of Gloversville, Vince has been a key participant in many downtown organizations including the Downtown Gloversville Farmers’ Market, Gloversville Business Improvement District, Gloversville Theater Corporation, Gloversville Housing and Neighborhood Improvement Corporation and Mohawk Harvest in addition to many more. A retired attorney and City Court Judge, Vince continues to play a key role in the planning and future of Gloversville through his work as Councilman-at-Large and member of the Gloversville Party.

Ed Flynn, AICP, LaBella Associates

Ed Flynn, Director of Planning at LaBella Associates, is a certified planner with more than twenty-five years of experience in planning, economic development, funding and downtown revitalization including 13 years as the City of Batavia’s Director of Community Development. Over the last ten years, Mr. Flynn has obtained more than $27 million in grant funds, sold and helped redevelop 13 municipal properties, assisted more than 165 small businesses with funding, and managed multiple brownfield and economic development projects. Ed received his undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Buffalo and his Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University.

David Hogenkamp, Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority

David Hogenkamp is Project Director at the Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority.  Metroplex was established in 1998 as a public benefit corporation to enhance the long-term economic vitality and quality of life in Schenectady County, implementing economic development activities along the Route 5 and Route 7 corridors of Schenectady County. David has overseen public investment of approximately $25 million that has multiplied to over $425 million in smart growth development and upgraded infrastructure.  Additionally, in June 2016 David was named the Executive Director of the Capital Region Land Bank. Through the Land Bank, David has been awarded over $6 million for the removal of vacant and abandoned buildings and the redevelopment of Schenectady and Amsterdam’s neighborhood corridors.

David received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Union College and Master of Regional Planning from the University of Albany.

Tony Iadicicco, Executive Director Albany Center Gallery

As Executive Director of Albany Center Gallery, an active board member of Albany Barn, and an award-winning artist and community volunteer, he works tirelessly to connect people with the arts and promote the creative development of our next generation of leaders. Awards Tony has most recently received include the Albany Business Review 40 Under 40 honor, the 2014 Norman S. Rice Arts, Culture and Education Award, one of “Tomorrow’s Masters Today” by the Albany Institute of History & Art and Arts, Metroland Readers Poll “Local Art Hero” the Arts Ambassador Volunteer of The Year Award from The Stakeholders Inc., 2013, 2011 Best Local Artist by Capital Region Living Magazine and the Metroland Readers Poll “Best Local Artist”.

Tony works on multiple projects with different organizations, such as Best Buddies, The Bus Stop Club, Palace Theatre “Think Tank” Committee, The Alliance for the Creative Economy, Sculpture in the Street with the Albany Business Improvement District, and curator of #capitalwalls Mural Project.

Jennifer Jennings, Fulton County Center for Regional Growth

Jennifer Jennings is the Downtown Development Specialist for Gloversville, NY. Hired in 2017, Jennifer works with business owners and the general community to revitalize social capital, interest and participation in the City’s downtown core through placemaking efforts. Her work is focused on bottom-up, community-led interventions meant to increase civic engagement, accountability and transparency in the revitalization of the city. She previously worked as the market manager for Schenectady Greenmarket, a weekly downtown market in the heart of Schenectady. Schenectady Greenmarket welcomes over 130,000 people per year generating over $2.5 million in direct sales and is consistently voted one of the top farmers markets in the country.

Jennifer her undergraduate degree in history from Bryant University in Rhode Island and a Master’s degree in Urbanization and Development from London School of Economic and Political Science.

Jeff Lovanio, WHsquared

Jeff Lovanio is the owner and founder of WHsquared – What’s Happenin’ West Hartford. He is a 10-year resident of West Hartford, CT and father of 7 year-old twin daughters. Jeff works full-time in the financial services industry as a sales trainer and is the creator of a hyper-local mobile app solution to help people find events, deals and promotions around town.

Lovanio’s vision for the app stemmed from his desire to ensure he and his kids were maximizing the great resources, events and places in West Hartford. The search made him realize that the process of finding such information daunting and scattered, especially from a mobile device. The need to have a one-stop-shop for all events and places to quickly find out “What’s Happenin’” on a mobile device just made sense…so his journey began.

Mike Lydon, Street Plans Collaborative

My Lydon is the founding Principal of Street Plans, an award-winning planning, design and research-advocacy firm based in Miami and New York City, and an internationally recognized planner, writer and advocate for livable cities. NPR, The New York Times, ABC News, Wired, Smithsonian Magazine and Architect Magazine have featured his work, among many other publications. With his partner Tony Garcia, Mike is the recipient of the 2017 Seaside Prize and co-author of Tactical Urbanism: Short-term Actions for Long-Term Change, published by Island Press in 2015 and named by Planetizen as one of the top 10 planning books of the year. Mike received a B.A. in American Cultural Studies from Bates College and a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son, and encourages to trade four wheels for two.

Nathan Mandsager, Schenectady Works/City Mission of Schenectady

Nathan Mandsager is the Director of Schenectady Works. A division of the City Mission of Schenectady. Schenectady Works is aimed at empowering employment by focusing on retention and productivity while supporting individuals in workforce preparation and career advancement. Schenectady Works, utilizing the Bridges Out of Poverty constructs, facilitates a wide-variety of trainings and other innovative initiatives leading to dynamic community-wide partnership of agencies, businesses, faith-based organizations, and community leaders seeking to remove barriers, build resources, and support the community in the journey from poverty to sustainability. Currently, Nathan leads a team who are directly impacting thousands of people annually from all spheres of society.

Nathan earned his BA in World History at the University at Albany. He went on to study Missional Leadership at The Resurgence Training Center in Seattle, WA, earning his MA in 2011. In the past few years, Nathan’s leadership has been recognized as a recipient numerous awards throughout the Capital District. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for ChildVoice International, a global humanitarian organization aimed at restoring the voices of children silenced by war.

Andrew M. Manshel,

Andrew M. Manshel is the author of the forthcoming What Works: Placemaking in Bryant Park. Revitalizing Cities, Towns and Public Spaces to be published in 2019 by Rutgers University Press. Andy has held key positions at institutions throughout New York City  including Executive Vice President of Greater Jamaica Development Corporation and President of its Jamaica Capital Corporation and Jamaica First Parking affiliates, Associate Director and Counsel at the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation, and General Counsel and Director of Public Amenities to the Grand Central and 34th Street Partnerships where he structured the first tax exempt BID bond issues. He is a Director and the Treasurer of Project for Public Spaces, Inc. and has served as a Vice Chair of the Inner City Council of the Urban Land Institute.

Andy often assists organizations in revitalizing, planning and managing public spaces, works to strengthen not-for-profits’ governance and finances and blogs about downtown and public space revitalization at He holds Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration degrees from New York University and a BA in Government from Oberlin College.

Jim Salengo, Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation

Jim Salengo has served as Executive Director of the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation (DSIC) since 2008. The nonprofit organization enhances the visual appeal of Downtown Schenectady, NY; increases awareness and patronage of downtown businesses; spurs activity through a series of events and promotions; and assists with business and community development. Prior to DSIC, Jim held management roles at the Downtown Albany BID and WMHT Public Television. He is an active community volunteer and has received several regional honors including Albany Business Review’s 40 Under 40. Jim holds a BA in English from the University of Vermont and an MBA from the University of Albany.

Nicolina Schonfarber, Gloversville Artist in Residence

Nicolina Schonfarber is a visual artist and writer working within the cross sections of language and image. Named at the 2018 Artist in Residence for downtown Gloversville. In that role, she is tasked with documenting downtown Gloversville over the course of a 12-month period. Pop-up shows, public art pieces and a postcard marketing campaign will connect the community to the artisanal heritage of Gloversville while also drawing attention to Gloversville from outside sources.

A native to the area, Ms. Schonfarber studied Fine Art at Fulton Montgomery Community College before going on to receive her Bachelors from Hartwick College. She is working on her Masters from Ithaca College’s ImageText program.

Steven Smith, P.E. – Gloversville Common Council

Steven E. Smith is a Civil and Architectural Engineering consultant and has been practicing in the City of Gloversville for thirty years. He has a keen interest in developing spaces and social milieu that promote human-scale environments and facilitate community interaction. To that end he has established his home and business in downtown Gloversville, served as founding board member and begun the restoration of the historic Glove Theatre, designed the Trail Station Park and Farmer’s Market, is a Past President of the Fulton County Y.M.C.A,  is a board member of the Gloversville Housing and Neighborhood Improvement Corporation and the Gloversville Business Improvement District, was instrumental in establishing the key position of Downtown Development Specialist and serves on the Gloversville Common Council.

Mr. Smith holds a B.A in History from Colgate University, a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Syracuse and an M.S in Structural Engineering from R.P.I.

Georgette Steffens, Downtown Albany Business Improvement District

Georgette Steffens is the Executive Director of the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District, an organization that focuses on marketing, safety, beautification and economic development for the central business district of New York’s capital city. In addition, Ms. Steffens serves as the Chairperson of the Albany Port District Commission, leading maritime and land-based economic activity on the Hudson River.  She holds a BA from Johnson State College in Vermont.

Prior to joining the BID, Georgette was the Director of Operations of Triad Consulting Group, Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has also worked for the City of Albany, serving as Director of the Albany HomeStore, Economic Developer for the City of Albany in the Department of Planning and Development and Program Coordinator for the Center for Economic Growth, the Capital Region’s regional economic development organization.

Mary Moore Wallinger, RLA, ASLA – LAndArt Studio

Mary Moore Wallinger is the Principal and Owner of LAndArt Studio, a Schenectady-based landscape architecture and urban design firm. Through its work, the firm emphasizes the human experience and the proportional relationships and details that bring spaces to life. With over fifteen years of experience in landscape architecture and urban design, Mary Moore approaches projects by applying sustainable and creative strategies to realize a site’s full potential. Her design and urban planning work focuses on placemaking and includes public parks, plazas, roof gardens and healing gardens; long-term community recovery design and planning for communities impacted by global climate change; and campus master plans for corporate and educational institutions. Recent cornerstone projects include Gateway Plaza, a new $1.7 million park in downtown Schenectady, site design for the new Mill Lane Artisan District, Powers Park Historic Rehabilitation and the Central Park Rose Garden Pergola. A devoted community activist, Mary Moore also serves as Chair to the Schenectady Planning Commission and continues to serve on the board of Schenectady Greenmarket, a region-wide destination farmers market that she helped found and design and that has become instrumental in Schenectady’s downtown revitalization efforts.