Our Board of Directors includes leaders from the design, planning, architecture, real estate, legal, transportation, visual arts, and communications fields.
Eric Rothman is President of HR&A Advisors, Inc. (HR&A), an industry-leading real estate, economic development and energy efficiency consulting firm. He is a nationally-renowned expert in transportation planning, transit-oriented development, and economic development. Prior to joining the Board, Mr. Rothman was a Design Trust Fellow for Taxi 07 from 2006-2010, served on the Design Trust's project selection jury in 2009, and most recently, produced a comprehensive real estate analysis of the Garment District for Making Midtown. He is an active member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI).
Marc Heiman is President and Chief Executive Officer of Richter+Ratner, a construction firm known for its ability to execute the most challenging projects. Prior to joining R+R, Mr.Heiman was the Vice President of Sciame Construction. During his 21-year career in the industry he has overseen a variety of projects, including educational institutions (Parsons The New School, Lycée Français), retail flagships (Uniqlo, Bulgari),religious institutions (Central Synagogue) and expansion projects (Harvard Club).
Chair, Finance Committee
Paula Mueller is Managing Director and General Counsel for Parkview International, an independent financial management firm. Prior to joining Parkview, Ms. Mueller was the Managing Director and Vice President, Secretary, and General Counsel of Rockefeller & Co., as well as the Director of Human Resources. Ms. Mueller was an attorney for 15 years with Willkie Farr &Gallagher, a leading New York law firm, where she was a litigation partner. She holds a B.A. in History from Cornell University and a J.D. from Cornell Law School.
Chair, Audit Committee
Ted Berger is a leader in the New York arts community. He was the Executive Director of the New York Foundation for the Arts for over thirty years and is currently the Treasurer of the Joan Mitchell Foundation.
James Biber has practiced architecture in a multi-disciplinary environment for more than 25 years. Trained at Cornell Univesrsity first as a biologist, then as an architect, his work centers on a belief that architecture as an expression of identity is inseparable from its language of form and tectonics. Past projects include the USA Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015, the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, and CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College. Mr. Biber’s own creative studio, Biber Architects, comes after nearly two decades as the architectural partner in Pentagram’s New York office.
Matthew Casper is a Managing Director at Park Hill Real Estate Group, a real estate advisory division of Blackstone. Prior to joining Park Hill, Mr. Casper was an analyst in Credit Suisse's Real Estate Private Funds Group and was previously an investment banking analyst at Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin. He received a BBA from the University of Georgia, where he graduated summa cum laude with honors, and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
Chair, Development Committee
R. Darby Curtis is a founder and managing partner for Curtis + Ginsberg Architects LLP, an award-winning firm specializing in sustainable architectural services for residential, educational, institutional, commercial and urban design projects. Prior to founding Curtis + Ginsberg Architects LLP, Ms. Curtis worked for Croxton Collaborative, Cain Farrell & Bell, and Wybauw-vanHalteren. She holds a Master of Architecture from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Washington University.
Johanna Flato is a Texas-born artist creating works across media — sculpture, painting, assemblage, installation—that function as object-networks of place, site, and self. She is currently pursuing a post-graduate diploma in contemporary art research and experimentation through the Institute des hautes études en arts plastiques (IHEAP). Meanwhile, Ms. Flato is consulting the art and technology startup ArtAdvisor, and interning with the cultural strategy agency LaPlaca Cohen. She graduated from Yale University in May 2014 with a B.A. in Studio Art and Humanities.
Paul Gangsei is a real estate partner in the New York office of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, a leading national law firm. In addition to general commercial practice, he has particular expertise in representing not-for-profit educational, healthcare, social service and cultural institutions and public entities in real estate and development transactions. Paul holds a JD from New York University School of Law and studied urban planning at NYU's Wagner School.
Chair, Nominating Committee
Eric Gural is a third-generation leader of Newmark Holdings, which operates more than 8 million square feet of commercial property in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Virginia. Today he serves as Executive Managing Director, however, he began his career at the age of 15 working as a porter and freight operator in the portfolio buildings. Mr. Gural was instrumental in the founding of the first fashion incubator in New York City with the Council of Fashion Designers of America and New York Economic Development Corp. (NYEDC) in 2010, and participated in the Design Trust's Making Midtown stakeholder workshops in 2011-12.
Ann Harakawa is the Principal of Two Twelve, public information design firm that develops sustainable, user-centered designs to help people understand an increasingly complicated world. At Two Twelve, Ann has led projects for clients like the Office of the Mayor of New York, The Port Authority of NY & NJ, and Citigroup. Ms. Harakawa serves on the Board of the Art Directors Club and in 2011, was appointed to the Japanese American National Museum Board of Governors. In 2012, she received the prestigious Asian Women in Business Award.
Eve Klein is an architect and planner specializing in cultural institutions and higher education. She is the founder and co-chair of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter’s Committee on Social Sciences and Architecture. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Environmental Psychology at the City University of New York. From 2006 to 2013, Ms. Klein was New York University’s Assistant Vice President of Planning and Design. She received her B.A. from Vassar College and her M.Arch. from UCLA. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Architecture, the Advisory Board of NYU’s Of Many Institute, and the Board of Directors of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun.
Chair, Design Trust Council
Grant Marani, AIA, FRAIA, Partner, joined Robert A.M. Stern Architects in 1984 and has been a Partner with the firm since 2000. His responsibilities have included the design and management of a broad range of projects: federal courthouses, institutional buildings, mixed-use and residential developments, resort hotels, golf clubhouses, a concert hall, a university recreational facility, and private residences in New York and across the globe. He is co-author of the monograph Designs for Living: Houses by Robert A.M. Stern Architects (2014). Currently, he is the Project Partner for the Georgia State Judicial Complex in Atlanta and for the master plan and design of a number of residential communities in China. Mr. Marani is a graduate of the University of Melbourne (B.Arch., 1979) and Cornell University (M.Arch., 1984).
Zack McKown is a founding partner of Tsao & McKown Architects. The firm has designed projects around the world ranging in scale from urban master plans to product designs, and building types including museums, educational facilities, corporate headquarters, hotels, residential towers, and private homes. Among his noteworthy projects is Suntec City in Singapore that created Southeast Asia’s first privately-developed public space of major significance. Recently he completed the design of a community for retired monks in Bhutan. In 2006 Mr. McKown was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and along with his partner, Calvin Tsao, he received a Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award in 2009.
Chair, Program Committee
Katie Schwab is a managing director and co-chair of Manatt’s New York City Government practice. Ms. Schwab has over 20 years of professional experience working with government entities and not-for-profit organizations in New York City and Long Island. She provides analysis and strategic advice to corporations, trade associations and non-profit organizations working within the New York City regulatory, legislative and procurement systems. She also works with clients to develop and implement broad-based public and community outreach strategies. Other nonprofit affiliations: Advisory Board member, Pratt Center for Community Development; Committee member, Friends of Celebrate Brooklyn, GAP Board.
Sylvia Smith, a principal with FXFOWLE Architects, PC, directs the firm’s educational and cultural work. Past projects include the New School University's Knowledge Union Technology Center, the Blackrock Forest Center for Science and Education, and an award-winning renovation for the American Craft Museum.
Tim Tompkins has been the President of the Times Square Alliance since 2002 and is currently the Co-Chair of the NYC BID Association. Prior to joining the Alliance, he was the Founder and Director of Partnerships for Parks, which works to support New York City’s neighborhood parks. Tim currently teaches “Transforming the Urban Economy” and “The Arts and Artist in Urban Revitalization” at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. He holds an undergraduate degree from Yale and an M.B.A. from Wharton.
Andy Wiley-Schwartz is a consultant for Bloomberg Associates, an international firm established by Michael R. Bloomberg to help city governments improve the quality of life of their citizens. Prior to joining Bloomberg Associates, Mr. Wiley-Schwartz worked at the NYC Department of Transportation as the first Assistant Commissioner for Public Space. He received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Hampshire College.
Barbara Wilks, FAIA, FASLA, founded W Architecture and Landscape Architecture in 1999 to create a design-oriented, multidisciplinary practice focused on urban issues. As a leader in design and interdisciplinary thinking, with over 40 years of experience in urban design, public, and institutional projects, she practices as both an architect and landscape architect. “Seen as a whole, we can no longer distinguish ‘Nature’ as a place apart or separate from human endeavor and habitation. We are immersed in and shaped by it. Embracing this is essential to how we live and design.”