Staff

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.


Nicholas Blaine, MPA
Project Coordinator

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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

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As the Manager of Research and Communications at Greater Ohio, Marianne develops and manages strategic research and communications for the organization and its clients. 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 project and policy development and implementation for the organization, as well as coordination of GOPC's 2015 Summit: Restoring Neighborhoods, Strengthening Economies.

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 the author of the blog Renovating the Rust Belt and editor of the book 13 Strategies for Rust Belt Cities. Marianne is a Board member of the American Planning Association of Ohio. She 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.

 


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.

 


Raquel Jones
Intern

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Raquel was first given the opportunity to intern with the GOPC beginning in January of 2014 through the John Glenn School of Public Affairs High School Internship Program, a unique public service internship program allowing senior high school students to gain first-hand experience within organizations in the public service sector while enrolled in a public policy class at OSU.

Born in Columbus, Raquel lived in Ohio for her entire life before leaving for college in the fall of 2015 to attend the George Washington University in the District of Columbia, where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs. Raquel is passionate about the continued efforts and work to make Ohio wonderful. Raquel is happy to be home for the summer and have the chance to work with the GOPC staff once again. Raquel works to assist the staff by carrying out research that will contribute to GOPC's work on revitalizing Ohio's neighborhoods; providing support on select communications work, such as writing blog posts, updating social media accounts, and assisting with e-blasts; and undertaking select in-office organizational support.

 


Meg Montgomery
Office Manager 

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