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.
Nicholas Blaine, MPA
As the Project Coordinator for the Greater Ohio Policy Center, Nicholas is responsible for managing projects internally and externally with GOPC’s many stakeholders. This includes executing research, handling logistics, and ensuring strong outcomes through all phases of project development.
Nicholas is a recent graduate of the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University. As a student he pursued a number of professional opportunities, working for the Ohio Development Services Agency, The Ohio State University, and the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation & Capitol South.
Nicholas was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio and is enthusiastic about opportunities for the state to be a leader in community revitalization. He holds a Master of Public Administration from The Ohio State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, History, and Sociology from Bowling Green State University.
Marianne Eppig, MCRP, MA
Manager of Research & 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, projects, 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, titled “Redeveloping Commercial Vacant Properties in Legacy Cities: A Guidebook to Linking Property Reuse and Economic Revitalization,” 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 passion for urban sustainability and smart growth in legacy cities. She is also the author of the blog Renovating the Rust Belt and editor of the book 13 Strategies for Rust Belt Cities. Marianne holds a Bachelors 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 book based on historical and anthropological research into Ohio’s small cities.
Alison is a member of the Leadership Ohio 2014 class, 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.
Octavious joined the staff of GOPC in September 2014. He contributes to communications and online outreach and assists staff with research and select projects. He is passionate about making a difference in people lives whether it is in the field or behind the scenes.
A Cleveland native, Octavious is currently a junior at Kent State University where he is pursuing a double major in Pan-African Studies and Interpersonal Communications with a minor in Psychology. Octavious is a Fall 2014 participant of the Kent State Columbus Program, a program that granted him the opportunity to intern in Columbus, take government classes at the Statehouse, and become well educated on politics. Furthermore, he is a member of The National Society of Leadership and Success and a counselor for the American Legion Buckeye Boys State.
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
- 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