Lavea Brachman, JD, MCP
As Executive Director of the Greater Ohio Policy Center, Lavea Brachman has been instrumental in shaping Greater Ohio’s organizational direction and policy priorities, including the focus areas of regionalism and governance reform, urban revitalization and property redevelopment, and transit and sustainable development, launching several statewide initiatives aimed at restoring prosperity to Ohio’s cities. She brings a passion for community and economic redevelopment in older industrial cities to this work and a belief in the productive impact of linking sound policy with good practices. To advance this agenda, Lavea has also formed strategic partnerships with state and national organizations, including her current position as non-resident senior fellow with the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, with which she was a leading architect and co-author of the joint Brookings-Greater Ohio state policy report, “Restoring Prosperity: Transforming Ohio’s Communities for the Next Economy” which received extensive, statewide attention for its data-driven, bipartisan state policy recommendations. Lavea also currently serves 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 the United States.
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 worked on community and neighborhood development and land reuse issues as Associate Director with the Chicago-based non-profit organization, the Delta Institute, and while serving in the Clinton Administration’s Department of Energy (DOE). Previously, while living in Boston, as a Visiting Fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and as a Visiting Professor in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Lavea developed and taught workshops on community, brownfields redevelopment and neighborhood revitalization efforts.
Lavea speaks frequently and writes on policies and practices for revitalizing older industrial cities and recently co-authored, “Ohio’s Cities at a Turning Point: Finding the Way Forward” for the Brookings Institution on the plight and strengths of Ohio’s older industrial “shrinking cities” and an article titled “New Federal and State Policy Agendas: Realizing the Potential of America’s Legacy Cities and Regions,” published recently by Columbia University’s American Assembly.
Lavea graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College, and holds 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 Columbus, Ohio where she is active in several community boards and local organizations.
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. Marianne is currently conducting original research on Ohio’s demographic trends and how these trends influence Ohio’s future economic competitiveness, in addition to developing GOPC’s organizational expertise on the management and reuse of commercial vacant properties. Marianne assists with grant writing, web editing, and policy development for the organization.
Marianne has helped to coordinate a unique partnership between GOPC, the three Urban Land Institute (ULI) district councils in Ohio, and LOCUS—a national network of real estate professionals advocating for walkable urban development—to advance a sustainable urban agenda in Ohio. She has also worked with Smart Growth America on federal legislation for the Sustainable Communities Initiative.
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. Marianne holds a Bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College, a Master’s in City and Regional Planning and a Master's in Public Policy and Management. While in the City and Regional Planning graduate program, Marianne created and co-led a year-long independent study with twelve other students that will result in a publication on creative solutions to Rust Belt challenges. She is also the author of Renovating the Rust Belt.
John Gardocki is Greater Ohio Policy Center’s Intern. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a Bachelors of Science in City and Regional Planning. He will attend University of Cincinnati this fall for a M.S. of Community Planning at DAAP.
John compiles the Best Practices for Community Revitalization and Stabilization, collecting best practices on comprehensive approaches, pilot programs and green strategies from a variety of local, state and national sources. He writes blogs on a variety of topics including transportation, placemaking, and revitalization. John also assists with research, utilizing his Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Adobe Suite skills.
John has taken numerous courses on architecture, geography, and environmental policy. As part of OSU’s studio program, John has created a neighborhood plan for the Columbus neighborhood, Fifth by Northwest, as well as a downtown comprehensive plan for the city of Lancaster, Ohio.
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 is also a regular contributor to versatilephd.com, an online resource that helps graduate students and advanced degree holders prepare for careers outside of academia. Prior to joining GOPC, she worked in academic publishing.
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.
Key Consultants to GOPC
- Joseph Campbell, Ph.D. shared services researcher
- 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