Lavea Brachman
Lavea Brachman, JD, MCP
Executive Director

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 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.

Lindsey Gardiner
Manager of Government Affairs

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As the Manager of Government Affairs for the Greater Ohio Policy Center, Lindsey is responsible for advancing Greater Ohio’s urban revitalization and sustainable development agenda by: educating state and local policymakers, creating and stewarding coalitions to support policy change, and conducting outreach with high-level stakeholders and partners, as well as assisting with other activities that build support for or relate to Greater Ohio’s policy agenda development, such as meeting planning, communications and project development.

Before her position with Greater Ohio, Lindsey served as Clerk of Ashland City Council. As Clerk of Council she provided assistance in the administration of City elections, technical support for City Council, and served as Secretary for the City's Constitutional Modernization Committee. Preceding her position as Clerk of Council, Lindsey worked as Manager of Public Affairs and Lobbyist at The Ohio Council of Retail Merchants (OCRM), where she developed and managed OCRM's communications strategies and objectives.

In 2011, Lindsey served as Legislative Aide to State Representative Peter Beck, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Lindsey served as Clerk of the committee throughout Governor Kasich’s 2012 Mid-Biennial Budget Review, and volunteered on behalf of Speaker Batchelder’s office for the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission.

Lindsey is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Politics and Government and is a member of the 2015 class of the Jo Ann Davidson Ohio Leadership Institute. Lindsey currently lives in Ashland, Ohio and is passionate about educating elected officials of the enormous opportunities revitalization can provide for communities across the state.

Alison D. Goebel, PhD
Associate Director 

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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 book based on historical and anthropological research into Ohio’s small cities.

Alison is a graduate of Leadership Ohio and was elected by her class for the 2014 "Leader Among Leaders" award.  She is a member of the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Programming Committee and the Ohio Lobbying Association. She also volunteers with the Columbus chapter of VersatilePhD, a on- and off-line resource that helps advanced degree holders prepare for careers outside of academia. Prior to joining GOPC, she worked in academic publishing.

Alex Highley, MPA
Project Associate

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As Project Associate for the Greater Ohio Policy Center, Alex contributes to project development and implementation by conducting select research and interfacing with external stakeholders. He is also responsible for maintaining GOPC’s external communications and growing its supporter base.

Alex is a recent graduate of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University. He earned a Master of Public Administration degree in August 2015 and completed a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a Minor in Spanish in May 2013. At the Glenn College, Alex served as Treasurer of the Public Affairs Student Association and as Student Representative of the Graduate Studies Committee.

As a student Alex pursued a number of internship opportunities, where he most notably worked on national and local initiatives seeking to develop solutions for people experiencing homelessness with Barbara Poppe and Associates, LLC. Prior to the 2014 statewide elections, Alex interned with the John Patrick Carney campaign for Ohio Auditor of State. As a native of Worthington, Alex has maintained an interest in strategies that expand affordable housing around Ohio. He is also passionate about enabling states to innovatively finance public transit infrastructure and advance multi-modal transportation policies.

Torey Hollingsworth
Graduate Intern

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 In her role as the Graduate Student Intern with Greater Ohio Policy Center, Torey Hollingsworth assists in researching and developing neighborhood revitalization policies and provides communications support. Torey is currently pursuing her Masters in City and Regional Planning from The Ohio State University, where she is focusing on policies and practices that help develop strong neighborhoods in Ohio’s legacy cities, including her hometown of Dayton.

Prior to returning to Ohio, Torey served as Senior Regional Organizer at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition in Washington, DC. In that role, she worked to build and strengthen local coalitions focused on promoting community reinvestment and strong neighborhoods throughout the Midwest. Torey joined NCRC after working as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Washington, DC's Ward 7 for Greater DC Cares. She received her BA from the University of Chicago.

Sheldon Johnson
Urban Revitalization Project Specialist

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As the Urban Revitalization Project Specialist for the Greater Ohio Policy Center, Sheldon is responsible for: building and strengthening Greater Ohio’s relationships with stakeholders and partners, raising the organization’s profile through speaking engagements and outreach opportunities, and advancing Greater Ohio’s policy agenda by conducting research and managing local projects.

Prior to his time at GOPC, Sheldon served for two years as an AmeriCorps National Teaching Fellow and another as a Campus Recruitment Manager for Citizen Schools in Boston, MA. Most recently, Sheldon worked with the City Manager’s office in Gresham, OR on the Community Prosperity Project. For this project he developed a strategic implementation plan to decrease chronic homelessness in the city.

Sheldon is a 2008 graduate of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor where he received a Bachelor in General Studies with concentrations in Black Studies, Political Science, and Education. He also holds a Master of Public Policy from Duke University’s Terry Sanford School of Public Policy and a Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School.

Sheldon is passionate about engaging a variety of stakeholders in the work of transforming Ohio’s urban neighborhoods and communities into engines of economic development. He seeks an asset based approach that celebrates the unique treasure each community has to offer.

Meg Montgomery
Accounting & Office Manager 

Meg’s primary responsibilities are the accounting and office management of the Greater Ohio Policy Center. Meg is responsible for office bookkeeping and financial reporting and analysis; corporate support and office management; and select event planning duties.

Meg is originally from Ashtabula, Ohio and has resided in Columbus since 1987. She studied Business Administration at Kent State Ashtabula Branch and obtained her Associates Degree in Accounting from Columbus State Community College.

Prior to joining GOPC, 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

  • 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
  • Rick Stein, Principal, Urban Decision Group; GIS and urban data expert