Robert Weaver HUD building Washington DCMarch 2008

COMMUNITY TRAILBLAZERS

IN HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

In the Community TrailBlazers Podcast, we are sitting down with the Fellows of the American Academy of Housing and Communities to capture some of their thoughts on the last 50 years of public policy in housing and communities and the next 50 years of what they think will or could be taking place.

Kent Watkins founded this honorary society, consisting of the top national and international thought leaders and implementers in the field of urbanism. All HUD Secretaries and their senior staffs are automatically nominated as Fellows, as are the heads of the relevant public interest groups and high achievers in the various urban functional fields of endeavor. All are considered peers and have achieved success in some unique way.

Referred to as the Academy Series, Nan McKay spotlights one of these trailblazers each week. Most have lived through many Presidents, many generations, and many changes. We explore what has changed and what has not changed but perhaps should. What will housing and cities look like in 50 years?

Listen to our latest episodes

Sharon Wilson Geno

Sharon Wilson Geno

Ep. 23-Seeing neighborhoods transformed

Sharon Wilson Geno was fresh out of law school and working for a firm when she realized it wasn’t the path she wanted. So she changed course, earning a graduate degree in urban studies and went to then went to work at shaping housing policy in her native St. Louis.

In discussing her journey, she details the patience and persistence in a major housing development around Washington, DC’s Nationals Park region, a neighborhood she lives that’s been transformed through smart housing goals and investments. Geno discusses what it takes to keep projects moving each day and ongoing growth areas in housing policy.

Meet the Men and Women Who Have Shaped Housing and Community Development in the United States

Kent Watkins and Nan McKay

Kent Watkins and Nan McKay

Ep. 1-A Historical Perspective of Housing and Communities

In Episode 1 of the Academy Series, Kent Watkins and Nan McKay reflect on their decades of work in the affordable housing industry and analyze the many challenges on the horizon. They discuss their reasons for collaborating on this historic podcast on housing and communities.

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Denise_Muha

Denise Muha

Ep. 2-Respect on Capitol Hill

Housing expert Denise Muha is a sought after expert in Washington for her insight on affordable housing policy. As Executive Director of the National Leased Housing Association, she regularly advocates and advises Congress and HUD on public housing’s benefits to families and communities.

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John Mcllwain

John McIlwain

Ep. 3-Easing the Housing Squeeze

John Mcllwain has been on the ground floor of the country’s affordable housing movement for over four decades, becoming a trusted voice on Capitol Hill for his high level of expertise. Mcllwain closed the first Section 8 deal in the U.S., worked for HUD, performed widely respected industry policy research, and invested in affordable projects.

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Bob Moss

Bob Moss

Ep. 4-Innovate to Fix Housing Woes

After 36 years in the affordable housing industry, Bob Moss has a clear vision for what must change. He discusses that to meet the myriad of needs in housing, the U.S. needs to be more creative about finding sufficient labor and cutting construction costs. As National Director of Governmental Affairs for tax and advisory firm CohnReznick, he pushes the industry to embrace new innovative ideas.

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Carol Lamberg (1)

Carol Lamberg

Ep.5-From Ashes to Triumph

Building housing in New York isn’t easy. There’s lots of red tape and high housing costs, but none of that detracted Carol Lambers from pushing through projects that later when on to flourish. As a longtime housing advocate, she spearheaded thousands of units in the New York area that are models for long-term success.

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David Smith

David Smith

Ep.6-Sure! I Can Do That!

David is a self-taught pioneer in affordable housing, building two successful companies including the Affordable Housing Institute which has worked in over 65 countries, with partners including World Bank, USAID, the Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. His financing of housing in India and many other countries has provided stability and quality in the home.

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Monica Sussman

Monica Sussman

Ep. 7-Doing Well While Doing Good

Monica Sussman has been on both sides of the affordable housing sector, serving as a deputy general counsel with HUD and currently practicing at a law firm focused on affordable housing policy. She offers keen insights into what is holding back much of the badly needed affordable housing funding and construction.

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Marshall_Kaplan_

Marshall Kaplan

Ep. 8-A First-Hand Account of the History of HUD

Marshall Kaplan gives an excellent first-hand account of HUD's evolution and expectations and its ability to meet them. He discusses the difficulties of HUD's role as a lead agency, how close we came to an income support program, and program maturity in light of administration changes.

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Elisabette Calero (1)

Elisabette Calero

Ep. 9-High Priestess of Culture in Puerto Rico

Elisabette Calero is known as the high priest of culture in Puerto Rico. At 14 she joined the Boston Ballet, the launch for a storied career traveling the world as a ballerina. Her many experiences included teaching ballet to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

 

 

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Tom Bozzuto

Tom Buzzuto

Ep. 10-Doing Housing Right

Tom Bozzuto was moved to dedicate his life to improving cities by the social upheaval the U.S. saw in 1968. During a career spanning over 50 years, his company has created thousands of residential units and he knows first-hand the challenges in building accessible housing for all.

 

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Ann Schnare

Ann Schnare

Ep. 11-Housing Must Deliver

Ann Schnare is an expert in housing and mortgage finance, with 20 years as president of her own consulting firm. With a Harvard Ph.D in economics, she built a strong career in many sectors of the housing industry, including a senior VP role with Freddie Mac.

 

 

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William Gilmartin (1)

Bill Gilmartin

Ep. 12-Bridging a Partisan Divide

William Gilmartin has led a life committed to public service. He spent over 44 years in Washington with the Army, Congressional offices, and reaching the level of Assistant Secretary of Congress and Intergovernmental Relations for HUD under President Clinton.

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Joe Ventrone

Joe Ventrone

Ep. 13-Time for Radical Change

Joe Ventrone believes that HUD and federal housing policy need a radical realignment. After over 40 years of industry experience in the private sector, Congress, HUD, and federal agencies, he believes housing policy is in a ‘sorry state of affairs.’

 

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Joe Schiff

Joe Schiff

Ep. 14-Banish the Blinders

Joe Schiff has been at the highest levels of HUD, responsible for housing millions of families and a continual voice for reforming the system. He deep dives into what is and isn’t working in public housing. He urges agencies to ‘take off the blinders’ and realize that excessive bureaucracy, duplication, and paperwork stifle efforts to help more people get housing. (Click on Read More)

Emil Frankel

Emil Frankel

Ep. 15-All Roads Lead to Housing

Transportation policy is a path to understanding how U.S. cities were built and their role in shaping people’s lives. Emil Frankel has a distinguished career, serving as Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and now works an independent consultant.

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Kent Colton

Kent Colton

Ep. 16-Building Smart Housing Policy

Kent Colton is a sought-after voice in housing policy. As president of the Colton Housing Group and senior research fellow at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, he has a sweeping knowledge of the long effort to ensure all Americans have adequate and fair housing.

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Conrad Egan

Conrad Egan

Ep. 17 - Enough single family homes

Conrad Egan serves on the Boards of the Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance and the Affordable Housing Conference of Montgomery County. Previously he was the Chairman of the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority, the CEO of the National Housing Conference, and the Executive Director of the Congressionally appointed Millennial Housing Commission.

 

 

 

Robert C. Embry Jr.

Robert Embry

Ep. 18 - Leading change in Baltimore

Robert Embry has been a change agent in Baltimore, playing a pivotal role in shaping the area’s housing policy as Commissioner of the Department of Housing and Community Development for Baltimore and as Assistant Secretary of HUD during the Carter administration. He discusses controversies and successes in his native Baltimore and how to address wider housing issues, such as what housing policies must do to improve quality of life and create strategies that build a sustainable community.

Mayra Collazo

Mayra Collazo

Ep. 19 - Devoted to dance

For Mayra Collazo, dance and the arts are vital for any culture. A lifelong performer and now professor of dance in Puerto Rico, she wants to expand opportunities for people to experience the arts. Her goal is a museum of dance history in Puerto Rico to teach and spread the cultural breadth of dance. As a professor at the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music, she shares her experiences dancing for multiple companies and performing worldwide.

 

Charles Edson

Charles Edson

Ep. 20 - Founder of Affordable Housing Organizations

Housing expert Chuck Edson knew just the moment when affordable housing would become a national issue — when people had to move in with their mother-in-law. Now it’s happening, as affordability has moved from the margins to the mainstream due to the lack of supply in many parts of the country. Edson, a Georgetown Law lecturer and retired housing attorney, knows housing law inside and out from his decades of legal work and public service.

Richard C. Gentry

Rick Gentry

Ep. 21:  One Size Doesn't Fit All

Local governments often know best when it comes to housing solutions for their community says says Rick Gentry, the president and CEO of the San Diego Housing Commission. He oversees a budget of over $40 million dedicated to helping families both find, and often keep, their housing. He argues that solutions must be tailored to the needs for each area, as San Diego issues may be different from other communities.

 

 

Larry Pearl

Larry Pearl

Ep. 22: : The Real History of Fair Housing

Larry Pearl spent nearly 40 years inside HUD and offers a first-hand account of how the agency battled discrimination, was forced to adapt to evolving political views, and at times struggled to achieve its mission. He offers a detailed retelling of his journey growing up in an all-white neighborhood in Philadelphia and later attending a more diverse college and connecting with friends’ and colleagues’ experiences of daily prejudices.

 

Larry Pearl spent nearly 40 years inside HUD and offers a first-hand account of how the agency battled discrimination, was forced to adapt to evolving political views, and at times struggled to achieve its mission. He offers a detailed retelling of his journey growing up in an all-white neighborhood in Philadelphia and later attending a more diverse college and connecting with friends’ and colleagues’ experiences of daily prejudices. His experiences attuned him to deep levels of discrimination in housing and how to be an ally in the long road to equality. Listen to his story of where progress has been made, what it took to fight those battles, and what lies ahead.
Sharon Wilson Geno

Sharon Wilson Geno

Ep. 23: Seeing neighborhoods transformed

Sharon Wilson Geno was fresh out of law school and working for a firm when she realized it wasn’t the path she wanted. So she changed course, earning a graduate degree in urban studies and went to then went to work at shaping housing policy in her native St. Louis. She details the patience and persistence in a major housing development around Washington, DC’s Nationals Park region, a neighborhood she lives that’s been transformed through smart housing goals and investments.

Harry Finger

Harry Finger

Ep. 24: The Rocket Man for Housing

Harry Finger already had a distinguished career before he arrived at the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1969. An aeronautical nuclear engineer, Finger was seminal in NASA’s pursuit of rocket propulsion technology for deep space missions to Mars and beyond. After an “out of the blue” offer, he jumped abroad HUD.

https://historycollection.jsc.nasa.gov/JSCHistoryPortal/history/oral_histories/oral_histories.htm

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Barry Zigas

Barry Zigas

Ep. 25: Father of the Housing Tax Credit

After starting his career as a journalist, Barry Zigas decided he wanted to do more than just report on policy — he wanted to help craft it. He has been a substantive voice for public housing, with leadership roles at many key agencies, notably leading efforts to create the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. Zigas details why the proper supply of affordable housing often falls short, with funding regularly lacking to get “the train running at maximum efficiency.”

Robert Elliott

Robert Elliott

Ep. 26-Race Relations is Our Biggest Problem

Bob Elliot has held significant roles in many of the critical decisions that shaped housing policy. He served as general counsel of HUD, a time he described as some of his most satisfying professionally, and later went on to found his own law firm. In this episode he tells the story of a key Supreme Court decision he was directly involved in that helped desegregate public housing in Chicago, which was notorious for housing discrimnation. Listen to the background of how the Chicago Gautreaux decision came about.

Barbara Adams (1)

Barbara Adams

Ep. 27-Pennsylvania's Housing Champion

Barbara Adams is an influential leader in Pennsylvania for her tireless efforts to implement housing projects, help reduce poverty, and advocate for social justice issues. She spent nearly 30 years at a Philadelphia-based law firm where she started as a summer intern and rose through the ranks to tackle complex housing projects that significantly improved the lives in her community. Adams recounts her journey and discusses how to improve senior housing and the keys to tackling a poverty epidemic in Philadelphia.

Michael Bodaken

Michael Bodaken

Ep. 28-Going Green for Smarter Housing

Michael Bodaken knows it’s going to take serious innovation and creativity to turn around the nation's neglect of its affordable housing crisis. He’s worked directly on the issue for years, with a long tenure as head of the nonprofit National Housing Trust. Bodaken discusses why without sufficient housing supply and direct assistance, too many must struggle to compete in the same market as those with higher incomes. He strongly advocates for energy efficiency when rehabbing housing, as it lowers construction costs and the improved efficiency means lower utility rates and a lower rent payment.

Copy of Marion McFadden

Marion McFadden

Ep. 29-Why We Need Political Will

After 15 years at HUD, Marion Mollegen McFadden felt she could make a bigger impact outside of the government. She now leads the public policy team at Enterprise Community Partners, which supports innovative solutions to affordable housing, disaster relief, and empowering people with job skills.

Now outside of HUD, she has candid advice on the priorities and political will Washington should have. Not only should there be more money for HUD, but it needs to be a priority at the executive branch level.

 

John Weicher (1)

John Weicher

Ep. 30-A Scholar's Take on Housing

John Weicher is a director of the Hudson Institute and a sought-after expert in housing policy and economics. He served four years as assistant secretary for housing and federal housing commissioner at HUD, with a strong record of regulatory reform and safeguarding programs like FHA financing. During his tenure he oversaw a staff of thousands and over half a trillion dollars in mortgage insurance. In this episode he offers his breadth of experience to discuss trending issues in the housing and real estate markets and surveys the key accomplishments from his career. SHOP for his latest book.)

_John A. Koskinen

John Koskinen

Ep. 31 - 

 

Jane Katz (1)

Jane Katz

Ep. 32 - Taking a Global View

As an international studies major, Jane Katz came to Washington, D.C. with high ideals about the future. Yet like many who have had a non-linear career path, she found herself working in the housing arena, spending time at HUD and Fannie Mae. Her background would turn out highly useful, as she rose to become director of international affairs and programs with Habitat for Humanity, where she manages the Global Housing Indicators Project.

 

Arthur Hessel

Arthur Hessel

Ep. 33

 

Stockton Williams (1)

Stockton Williams

Ep.