Lavea Brachman, JD, MCP
As Executive Director and a co-founder of the Greater Ohio Policy Center, Lavea has been instrumental in shaping the organization’s direction and strategic policy priorities aimed at restoring prosperity to Ohio. She brings a passion for community and economic redevelopment to this work and a belief in the productive impact of linking sound policy with good practices. To advance this agenda in Ohio, Lavea has also formed strategic organizational partnerships with state and national organizations, including through her previous positions as non-resident senior fellow with the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program and as a policy fellow with the German Marshall Fund in Washington, D.C., which she has advised on their “cities in transition” initiative investigating European city revitalization practices that can be modeled in U.S. cities. She was a leading architect and co-author of the Brookings-Greater Ohio state policy report, “Restoring Prosperity: Transforming Ohio’s Communities for the Next Economy,” that provided a blueprint for state economic revitalization and received extensive, statewide attention for its data-driven, bipartisan approach.
Lavea previously practiced environmental law in Washington, D.C. and was a partner with a Cambridge, Massachusetts consulting firm advising Fortune 500 companies on brownfield property redevelopment strategies. She also worked in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management at the Department of Energy during the Clinton Administration on community and neighborhood development and land reuse issues surrounding the U.S. decommissioned nuclear sites. While living in Boston, Lavea worked for a community development corporation and then as a Visiting Fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (LILP) and a Visiting Professor in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, she developed and taught workshops on property redevelopment and neighborhood revitalization efforts. Lavea speaks frequently and writes on policies and practices for revitalizing legacy cities and most recently co-authored “Regenerating America’s Legacy Cities,” a policy report examining these cities’ challenges and offering a set of recommended solutions.
She holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College, a law degree from The University of Chicago Law School, and a master’s in city planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has two teenagers and lives with her family in a first-ring suburb of Columbus, Ohio.
Christina serves as Projects Coordinator at Greater Ohio, coordinating day-to-day logistics of technical assistance projects, applied research projects, and events including the Revitalizing Ohio’s Vacant Properties fall summit. In addition, she manages outreach strategies for the organization and contributes to policy development. Christina has a passion for putting resources and tools in the hands of community leaders, so that every neighborhood within our urban areas can thrive in its individuality.
After receiving her B.A. in Urban Studies from the University of Pittsburgh, Christina spent two years as an AmeriCorps VISTA member, building capacity in nonprofit organizations and gaining a wide range of experience in community development. She worked in southern West Virginia transforming an abandoned public icon into a community arts center and collaborated with other VISTA members across Appalachia on implementing education and community development programs. She returned to Pittsburgh, PA to serve in the City of Pittsburgh’s Office of the Mayor on implementing the City’s first-ever service plan, servePGH, which strategically educated and engaged volunteers to address the City’s challenges regarding neighborhood blight and education. Most recently, Christina was the Volunteer Coordinator at the United Way of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh, PA, coordinating programs and large-scale volunteer events; and recruiting both corporate and individual volunteers for the national readers, tutors, mentors campaign.
Marianne Eppig, MCRP, MA
Manager of Research and Communications
As the Manager of Research and Communications at Greater Ohio, Marianne develops a strategic research and communications agenda for the organization. In addition to managing organizational communications, Marianne conducts original quantitative and qualitative research and analysis for GOPC’s publications, outreach, and policy work. As a product of this some of this research, Marianne authored a guidebook on how to redevelop commercial vacant properties in legacy cities, called “Redeveloping Commercial Vacant Properties in Legacy Cities: Linking Property Reuse and Economic Revitalization,” that will be released in 2014. Marianne also assists with project and policy development and implementation for the organization.
Before joining Greater Ohio, Marianne worked with ULI Columbus on their Columbus 2050 long-term visioning initiative. She has also worked with BrownFlynn, a sustainability and corporate responsibility consulting firm in Cleveland, as well as with the GreenCityBlueLake Institute on the development of the Northeast Ohio Green Map.
Marianne was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and has a personal passion for urban sustainability and smart growth in the Rust Belt. She is also the author of the blog Renovating the Rust Belt and editor of the book 13 Ideas for Rust Belt Cities that will be published in 2014. Marianne holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College and Master’s degrees in City and Regional Planning and Public Policy and Management from The Ohio State University.
Alison D. Goebel, PhD
As GOPC’s Associate Director, Alison develops and executes fee-for-service and grant funded projects. Projects range from research, outreach, coalition building, and statehouse advocacy and are frequently a blend of these approaches. Alison also oversees components of GOPC’s day-to-day operations. Alison has previously served GOPC as Director of Outreach, Special Projects Coordinator and Grant Writer.
From 2005-2009, Alison periodically lived in Mansfield, Ohio, conducting long term qualitative research on small city race and class relations. She has published popular and scholarly writing about contemporary small city social relationships and holds a PhD and M.A. in anthropology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She received her B.A. from Miami University (Oxford, Ohio). She is in the process of writing a general audience book about the social history and current fortunes of Ohio’s small cities.
Alison is a member of the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Programming Committee and the Ohio Lobbying Association. She also contributes to versatilephd.com, an online resource that helps advanced degree holders prepare for careers outside of academia. Prior to joining GOPC, she worked in academic publishing.
Raquel began her internship with the GOPC in early January of 2014. She completes varying tasks to which she is assigned, ranging from completing online research to sorting through the news clips for that day. Overall, she works to aid those around the office in any way that they may need assistance.
Being born in Columbus, Raquel has lived in Ohio for all of her life. She is currently a senior at New Albany High School, and will be graduating in late May. She plans on majoring in international relations in college due to her passion for politics and how this works on a global scale. She is currently enrolled in the John Glenn High School Internship Program in which she attends a course at the John Glenn School of Public Service while interning at the GOPC.
Meg Montgomery joined Greater Ohio Policy Center in February 2010. Her primary responsibilities are assisting in the day-to-day operations of the organization as well as managing the accounting and financial functions.
Prior to joining Greater Ohio, she was the Project Coordinator for a real estate development project in Panama City Beach, Florida. She also served as Office Administrator for a mid-sized law firm in Columbus for over a decade and managed all financial and operational areas of the firm. Her background encompasses the areas of law, real estate and accounting.
Jacob Wolf, Esq.
Jacob Wolf is an Ohio licensed attorney pursuing a Masters’ degree in City and Regional Planning at The Ohio State University. Jacob supports Greater Ohio’s projects by conducting a variety of legal, factual, and policy research and analysis. Jacob’s work primarily focuses on the powers of state and local government entities in Ohio. Jacob also contributes to Greater Ohio's blog and assisted with the planning and operation of the 2013 Ohio Vacant Properties conference.
Jacob graduated with honors from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in May of 2011. During his third year there, he represented two Northeast Ohio nonprofit organizations as an intern in Case's law clinic. Both organizations focused their efforts on urban revitalization and community development, and Jacob discovered a passion for that work. He also served as a legal fellow with the City of Shaker Heights, where he worked on matters involving foreclosed properties and the enforcement of the city's building and zoning codes.
Key Consultants to GOPC
- Joseph Campbell, Ph.D. shared services researcher
- Pete DiSalvo, President, DiSalvo Development Advisors; real estate market analyst
- Bill LaFayette, Ph.D., owner of Regionomics®"; economist
- Alan Mallach, Non-resident Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program, The Brookings Institution and Senior Fellow, Center for Community Progress; urban revitalization expert
- Alexander Sanchez, J.D.; legal researcher