Geoffrey Anderson  President + CEO, Smart Growth America

Geoffrey Anderson is the President and CEO of Smart Growth America. Named by Partners for Livable Communities as “One of the 100 Most Influential Leaders in Sustainable Community Planning and Development,” Geoff came to his current position after 8 years heading the Smart Growth Program at the US EPA.  Geoff is a leader in the smart growth movement helping to found the movement as one of the authors of the foundational 10 smart growth principles.  With an extensive list of publications, Geoff has served as an expert witness in front of the US Congress, and is cited by the New York Times, NewsWeek, the Washington Post, Fox News, NPR, and numerous other outlets and publications.  Geoff received his Master’s Degree from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment with a concentration in Resource Economics and Policy.

Pat Atkins President, Waco ISD Board of Trustees

Pat Atkins is currently serving his eighth year as President of the Waco ISD Board of Trustees. He has served on the Waco school board since 2002. He is also a founding board member and current Board Chair of Prosper Waco, Waco’s collective impact initiative.

Pat also serves on the board of trustees of the Providence Healthcare Network. He has served in several leadership positions in the community including serving on the boards of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, Community in Schools, the Waco Humane Society, Friends of the Waco-McLennan County Library, and Lake Air Little League.  He and his family attend Saint Alban’s Episcopal Church, where he has served two terms on the vestry.

Pat is a partner in the law firm of Tekell & Atkins, LLP and is a Life Fellow in the Texas Bar Foundation. He and his wife, Sandy, have three children, Benjamin, Alexandra & Nicholas.

Michael M. Crow President, Arizona State University

Michael M. Crow is an academic leader and educator, designer of knowledge enterprises, and science and technology scholar. He became the sixteenth president of Arizona State University in July 2002 and is guiding its transformation into one of the nation’s leading public metropolitan research universities, an institution that combines the highest levels of academic excellence, inclusiveness to a broad demographic, and maximum societal impact—a model termed the “New American University.” Under his leadership, ASU has established major interdisciplinary research initiatives, witnessed an unprecedented expansion of academic infrastructure and a more than fourfold increase in research expenditures, attained record levels of diversity in the student body, and was named the nation’s most innovative school by U.S. News & World Report in 2015 and 2016.

He was previously professor of science and technology policy and executive vice provost of Columbia University, where he served as chief strategist of Columbia’s research enterprise and technology transfer operations. He has been an advisor to the U.S. Departments of State, Commerce, and Energy, defense and intelligence agencies, and a number of nation-states on matters of science and technology policy and knowledge enterprise design. An elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the National Academy of Public Administration, he is the co-author of Designing the New American University, published in 2015, and author or co-author of books and articles analyzing knowledge enterprises, science and technology policy, and the design of higher education institutions and systems.

Mayor Kyle Deaver Waco, TX

Kyle Deaver was elected Mayor of Waco on May 9, 2016.  He had previously served four years on the City Council as the representative for District. Kyle is an attorney and businessman who is active in the Waco community.

Deaver is currently on the board of the Waco Foundation. He has served on the boards of the Cameron Park Zoological Society, Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, Vanguard College Preparatory School, and St. Paul’s Episcopal Day School. He served six years on the Waco Plan Commission.

Kyle is in partnership with his brother, John Deaver, in their law firm of Deaver and Deaver. They are also directors of American Bank and co-owners of American Guaranty Title. Kyle has a business degree and a law degree from Baylor University.

Kyle is married to Diane Elliott Deaver, and they have two adult children: Nick and Morgan.

Jim Fallows National Correspondent, The Atlantic

James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter’s chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. To read Jim Fallows full bio, click here.

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent forThe Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the email button above. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation — but not with the sender’s real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a “Comments” field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.


Received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar.

Lee Fisher Senior Advisor, CEOs for Cities

Lee Fisher is Senior Advisor with CEOs for Cities. Lee is also a Senior Fellow with the Center for Economic Development at Cleveland State University’s Levin College of Urban Affairs and an Urban Scholar with the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs and the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Lee has served as Ohio Lt. Governor ; Director, Ohio Department of Development; Chair, Ohio Third Frontier Commission; Chair, Ohio Economic Growth Council; Member, Ohio Venture Capital Authority; Chair, Clean Ohio Council; Ohio Attorney General; State Senator ; State Representative; President/ CEO, Center for Families and Children; and Partner, law firm of Hahn Loeser & Parks.

During the time Lee led Ohio’s economic development efforts as Lt. Governor, Site Selection magazine awarded its highest economic development award, the Governor’s Cup, to Ohio three consecutive years and with the Competitiveness Award, recognizing the Ohio Department of Development, under Lee’s leadership, as the most effective economic development agency in the country. Lee also led the development of Ohio’s first strategic plan for economic development

Workshop Opening, Welcome + Recap, Closing Remarks

Bob Milbourne Chair, CEOs for Cities Board, Columbus

Milbourne heads RHM Advisors, a business consulting firm, specializing in business strategy, financing, and corporate development for public and private companies. He is also a consultant to business for government affairs, governance and project development.

Milbourne was the founding president and CEO of the Columbus Partnership, a civic organization of top business, education and community leaders formed in 2002 to improve the region’s economic future. He came to Columbus after serving as CEO of a similar group in Milwaukee for 17 years.

Prior to his work in Milwaukee, Milbourne enjoyed a career in government and business. He worked in Wisconsin state government under Democratic and Republican governors. He served as State Budget Director and was honored as the “Outstanding State Official” in Wisconsin in 1979.

Milbourne left government to become Vice President and Economist for the Kohler Company, a Fortune 500 manufacturer of plumbing products, engines and generators.

Workshop Opening

Christian Sottile, AIA, NCARB Principal, Sottile & Sottile

Christian Sottile is principal of Sottile & Sottile, a Savannah-based urban design firm working extensively in Nationally Registered Historic Districts.  His work includes civic design and master planning, emphasizing historic research, urban analysis and community-wide engagement.

Concurrently with his professional practice, Sottile is a professor of architecture and urban design at the Savannah College of Art and Design and has served for five years as the dean of the SCAD School of Building Arts. In this role, Sottile has led the graduate and undergraduate programs in Architecture, Architectural History, Preservation Design, Interior Design, Furniture Design and Urban Design.

Sottile’s work has been featured in the New York Times, Preservation Magazine, Architect magazine, and Architectural Digest.  He has received over thirty awards, including three international Charter Awards from the Congress for the New Urbanism, awards from the American Planning Association, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and three National Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects.

Brian Payne President + CEO, Central Indiana Community Foundation; Indianapolis Foundation

For the past ten years, Brian Payne has been the President of The Central Indiana Community Foundation and The Indianapolis Foundation. During his tenure, he has redefined the business model and put a new emphasis on the Foundation’s ability to transform the City of Indianapolis through three specific community leadership initiatives: Family Success, College Readiness, and Inspiring Places. All three focus on positioning Indianapolis as a top ten city in developing, attracting and retaining human capital. The Indianapolis Cultural Trail, A Legacy of Gene & Marilyn Glick is the largest and most visible project of the Inspiring Places Initiative. In February 2010, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, a one of a kind eight-mile urban bicycle and pedestrian trail, was one of 51 grant recipients from a pool of 1,400 proposals to receive a merit based TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. In 2007, Brian was awarded the Michael A. Carroll Civic Leaders Award, Indianapolis’ most prestigious leadership honor for his efforts as founder and producer of the Cultural Trail. Prior to joining the Foundation, Brian ran professional theatre companies.

Dr. Matthew Polk Executive Director, Prosper Waco

Dr. Matthew Polk is the Executive Director of Prosper Waco, the backbone organization of Prosper Waco with a mission to measurably improve the health, education, and financial security of the Waco community through collective impact.  Dr. Matthew Polk is a graduate of Baylor University and holds a PhD from Harvard University and a MBA from Baylor. Before joining Prosper Waco as the Executive Director of the Prosper Waco initiative, he served as superintendent of Rapoport Academy Public School, a public charter school district in Waco. Polk is a 2011 graduate of Leadership Waco and a member of the Waco Rotary Club. Matthew and his wife Kristen live in the heart of the Waco community with their children, Nate, Abby, Anna and Theo.

Ryan Popple President & CEO, Proterra, Inc.

Ryan Popple is the president and CEO of Proterra, the maker of zero-emission, battery-electric buses.  Prior to Proterra, Ryan was a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers. An early employee of Tesla Motors, he was senior director of finance, with a focus on strategic planning, technology cost reduction and corporate finance.  Ryan has served in the U.S. Army, received a bachelor’s in business administration from the College of William & Mary and a master’s in business administration from Harvard University.

Wellington “Duke” Reiter, FAIA Senior Advisor to the President of Arizona State University

Wellington “Duke” Reiter, FAIA, is the Senior Advisor to the President of Arizona State University with particular focus on university/city integration. He also coordinates specific initiatives related to higher education, healthcare, and sustainability.

Over the past twenty years, Reiter has played numerous roles: community leader, academic administrator, faculty member, architect, urban designer, and public artist. In the course of his career, he has established a track a record of highly effective partnerships with public office holders, the business community, non-profit groups, professional organizations, developers, and universities. Central to his diverse portfolio of experience has been the construction of mutually beneficial relationships between the institutions he has led and the cities in which they are located. A student of higher education, urban design, and entrepreneurship, Reiter is particularly interested in the economic, cultural, and sustainability of major US metro areas and the engagement of the top tier colleges and universities that are embedded within them.

Mr. Reiter was a key player in the conceptualization and creation of the award-winning Downtown Phoenix Campus for ASU.  Reiter is the past President of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the former Dean of the College of Design at Arizona State University, and a long-time faculty member at MIT in the Department of Architecture.  He is the recipient of the Arizona Architect’s medal and is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.  He is presently the Chair of the Urban Land Institute in Arizona and is a national Trustee of the organization. A monograph on Reiter’s work, Vessels and Fields, is available from Princeton Architectural Press.

Pete Selleck Chairman & President, Michelin North America, Inc.

Pete Selleck is responsible for coordinating all activities of Michelin in North America. With more than $10 billion in sales and over 22,000 employees across Canada, Mexico and the United States, Michelin is the global leader in the tire industry, manufacturing tires for every type of vehicle including aircraft, automobiles, bicycles, motorcycles, earthmovers, farm equipment and trucks.

Selleck joined Michelin in 1982 and has served in manufacturing and general management positions in Greenville, S.C., and Clermont-Ferrand, France. The first half of his Michelin career was focused on engineering, quality, operational and leadership roles in North American manufacturing plants. Subsequently, he served as chief operating officer of the North American Passenger Car Tire Division, chief operating officer of the European Passenger Car Tire Division and president of the Global Truck Tire Division.

His extensive experience in manufacturing and in leading large operations in North America, Europe and globally gives him a unique perspective on the challenges and the opportunities facing manufacturing today.

He has served on the boards of Junior Achievement of Greenville, United Way of Greenville County, the Greenville Technical College Foundation and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the board of the Rubber Manufacturers’ Association and is its immediate past chairman. He also is a member of the Board of Directors of the West Point Association of Graduates. He was recently was recognized among 100 CEO Leaders in STEM.

Selleck holds degrees from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he earned a B.S. in engineering and applied sciences, and Clemson University, where he earned an M.B.A. He began his career as an Army officer in the 4th Infantry Division, where he served as a platoon leader and a company commander, and, subsequently, served more than 20 years in the Army Reserves.

Mayor Knox H. White City of Greenville, SC

Knox White has served as Mayor of Greenville since December 1995. As Mayor he has the goal of making the city of Greenville “the most beautiful and livable city in America.” He has emphasized neighborhood revitalization and transformational projects for downtown.

Key strategic projects include: removal of the Camperdown Bridge and creation of Falls Park, the restoration of the Poinsett Hotel and Court Street, new retail (Mast General Store), a downtown baseball stadium (Fluor Field), riverfront development and initiation of a bike and walking trail system (Swamp Rabbit Trail) throughout the City, public art initiatives along Main Street, record annexations, and a model infrastructure for Clemson ICAR.

Neighborhood initiatives include enhanced beautification efforts, traffic calming, sidewalk construction, support for neighborhood associations, reinvestment in neighborhood parks, master plans for commercial corridors, and attractive new housing in the city’s special emphasis neighborhoods.

Under the mayor’s leadership, the City maintains a “Triple A” (AAA) bond rating and enjoys a reputation for solving problems on an innovative and bipartisan basis.

A native of Greenville, and a graduate of Christ Church Episcopal School, Greenville High School, Wake Forest University and the University of South Carolina Law School. Knox White is a partner in the law firm of Haynsworth, Sinkler & Boyd, where he heads the firm’s immigration and customs practices. He and his wife Marsha have two children.