Urban Studies Advisory Board

Stuart Young

Stuart Young, Chair

Stuart Young is a principal at the Architecture and Engineering firm of BCRA. He has been involved with a number of community organizations and efforts, including American Leadership Forum, Creative Cities, Tacoma ACTS, Children’s Museum of Tacoma, Marine Advisory Council, and currently serves on the boards of Habitat for Humanity and the Job Carr Museum.


 
Sean Comfort

Sean Comfort, Vice Chair

Sean Comfort is a civil engineer and principal at AHBL, a multi-disciplinary consulting firm headquartered in Tacoma since 1969. Sean was born and raised in Tacoma and graduated from Bellarmine Preparatory High School. Following high school, Sean moved to California and graduated with a BSCE from Santa Clara University in 1982. Sean returned to his local roots in 1990 and has been working for AHBL for the past 17 years. In his 29 years of civil engineering experience, he has contributed his engineering expertise to a variety of public and private projects throughout Tacoma, including Thea’s Landing on Ruston Way, The Roberson Mixed-Use Development in downtown Tacoma, and TOTE Rain Gardens at the Port of Tacoma. Sean’s community involvement also includes serving as a board member for the Tacoma-Pierce County Master Builders Association for 14 years and the Pierce County Surface Water Board for two years. Sean currently lives in Gig Harbor with Shelley, his wife of 25+ years, and their dog Cocoa.

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David Boe

David is principal and lead designer for Tacoma-based BOE architects, pllc. (est. 1996). He oversees all aspects of project development from Initial Programming through Completion.  He is a also member of Tacoma's City Council and currently serves on the Economic Development, Environment and Public Works, and Neighborhoods and Housing Committees of the City Council. He has affiliations with University of Washington, University of Puget Sound, Changing Rein Equine Facilitated Learning Center, and Puget Sound Revels.  David was born and raised in a suburb of Minneapolis, MN, obtaining an Associate of Arts degree from his hometown Normandale Community College and a Bachelor of Arts/Architecture from Iowa State University.  His post-graduate study was completed at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London where he received his first professional certification. 

 

Mark Young

Mark Brown

Mark moved his family to Olympia, WA in 1995.  He has served as the Director of Human Resources (DHR) at Joint Base Lewis-McChord since 2008.  He provides integrated health and human services to service members and their families living on base and in our surrounding communities.  He serves on the Local Federal Coordinating Committee for the Combined Federal Campaign, in partnership with the United Way.  He serves on the JBLM Community Health Promotion Council and Transition Council.  He supports a variety of initiatives aimed at seamlessly linking public, private, and non-profit organizations to maximize service delivery to those in need.  He retired from 30 years of service in the U.S. Army.  While in the service he taught at U.C. Berkeley and Pacific Lutheran University.  He served twice as an advisor to the Saudi Military as part of a broad modernization program in Al Khobar and Riyadh.  He was also embedded with the German police in Frankfurt.  He has a Master of Public Administration degree from California State University – East Bay, 1995.

 

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Sara Clair

Sara Clair moved to Tacoma twelve years ago and has spent many hours supporting the city. Sara is an extraordinary community volunteer who is passionate about Tacoma's development and waterfront plans. She currently is vice president of the Greater Metro Parks Foundation board and continues to develop delicious new products at Almond Roca. Sara will join the Community Outreach Committee.

 

John Folsom

John Folsom

John Folsom served as the president of Brown & Brown, Inc. of Washington, formerly Raleigh, Schwarz & Powell (insurance brokers and consulting), from 1990 through 2006 and currently serves as an independent consultant on insurance and risk management matters. He has an extensive background of community service, including leadership roles with the American Leadership Forum, Creative Cities Leadership Steering Committee, Executive Council for a Greater Tacoma, MultiCare Health System, Tacoma Art Museum, Goodwill Industries and Good Samaritan Hospital Systems.

 

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Glenn Hull

Glenn Hull is a graduate of the University of Washington Tacoma's Urban Studies program.  Glenn is the Mayor for the city of Fife and began working on the Council in 2008.  His involvement with several regional committees is fueled by a desire to strengthen intergovernmental relations between Fife and its Puget Sound neighbors. Mayor Hull believes that utilizing smart growth and regional planning will attract businesses to the area and improve the quality of life for Fife residents. He is committed to a proactive, transparent and accessible government and is a strong advocate for parks and youth.

 

Maro Imirzian

Maro Imirzian

Maro Imirzian is vice president of finance for Catchlight Energy LLC, a joint venture between Chevron Corporation and Weyerhaeuser Company. Catchlight Energy was formed in 2008 to commercialize production of liquid transportation fuels from sustainable forest-based resources. Prior to joining Catchlight Energy, Maro worked for Weyerhaeuser Company in senior business and corporate level roles in investment analysis, mergers and acquisitions, containerboard packaging, and corporate finance. Before joining Weyerhaeuser, Maro managed timberland for International Paper Company and was a management consultant. She received a bachelor of science from Michigan State University and an MBA from Cornell University. Maro has been committed to community service and has recently held board positions in the Tacoma/Pierce County Chamber of Commerce and Tacoma Art Museum.

Ryan Petty

Ryan Petty

Ryan Petty is the former City of Tacoma's Community and Economic Development director. Within his department are the city's programs for planning, housing, neighborhood councils, business districts, geographic information systems, arts, culture and historic preservation. Ryan Petty was president and chief executive of the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County from 1986-1989. Subsequently he led a statewide economic development organization for Washington state. From 1992 to 2004, Ryan served simultaneously as president and CEO of both a chamber of commerce and an economic development organization in the northwest Chicagoland region. Ryan received his undergraduate degree in history with honors from Princeton University and was awarded the degree of JD from the University of Texas School of Law.

Mark Pinto

Mark Pinto

Mark Pinto is a licensed residential real estate broker with Windermere Professional Partners in North Tacoma and a member of the Tacoma-Pierce County Association of Realtors. Prior to his career in real estate, Mark worked as a certified genetic counselor, first at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and then at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He transitioned into real estate in 2003 as a sales associate with Sotheby’s International Realty in Los Angeles. Mark purchased a home in Tacoma’s North End as an investment in 2006, making it his primary residence when he relocated to Tacoma earlier this year. Mark earned a B.A. in English from Wesleyan University and an M.S. in human genetics from Sarah Lawrence College. He has volunteered for a number of organizations over the years, including the Southern California HIV/AIDS Hotline, the Los Angeles Free Clinic and Chrysalis (an organization that helps homeless people find employment).

Melissa Santos

Melissa Santos

Melissa Santos, originally from Guam, has been a resident of Tacoma for nine years. She is the office manager and green building administrator for Korsmo Construction, located near the Thea Foss Waterway, with over 20 years of experience in construction and community development. She is the chair of Korsmo’s Helping Hands Community Service Group and is highly involved as a community volunteer with organizations like the YWCA and Special Olympics, and events such as the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk and Heart Association Heart Walk.

Stephanie Stebich

Stephanie Stebich

Stephanie Stebich joined Tacoma Art Museum as director in April 2005. She was the curator of the "Frida Kahlo: Images of an Icon" exhibition shown at the museum in spring 2007. She serves as co-chair of the Cultural Task Force of the Puget Sound Prosperity Partnership, as president of the Washington State Arts Consortium, and as a trustee of the Association of Art Museum Directors. Before coming to Tacoma, she was assistant director at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts from 2001 to 2004, where she oversaw the Programs and Events Division. She has held administrative and curatorial positions at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, and Guggenheim Museum in New York. She holds a bachelor of arts degree from Columbia University, a master of fine arts degree from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, and a certificate in nonprofit management from Case Western Reserve University. Additionally, Ms. Stebich is a graduate of the 2010 Getty Museum Leadership Institute.

Gregory Tanbara

Gregory Tanbara

A lifelong resident of Tacoma, Greg Tanbara is the brownfields coordinator for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, working on the assessment and cleanup of commercial properties. As part of this work, he and others have begun work on the Evergreen Tacoma Initiative, a partnership effort to develop whole systems approaches to sustainable redevelopment. Greg's background includes: 30 years working in environmental health, economic development, workforce training, and higher education; a master's degree in business from Antioch University Seattle; a B.A. in Sociology/Anthropology from Whitman College; and a lifetime of involvement in his favorite community and charitable organizations.

Scott Winship

Scott Winship

Scott served as a deputy prosecuting attorney in both King and Pierce counties before entering private practice as an associate with the Tacoma firm of Bonneville, Viert, Morton & McGoldrick in 1988. In 2002, Mr. Winship left the active practice of law to help organize and open Northwest Commercial Bank in Lakewood, Washington. Mr. Winship is on the board and executive committee of the United Way of Pierce County and serves as treasurer for that organization. He is a member and has been chair of the boards of both the MultiCare Health Foundation and the Nonprofit Center. He has also been the president and a board member of the Municipal League of Tacoma-Pierce County.

Derek Young

Derek Young

Derek Young is the founder and editor of Exit133, the Tacoma blog focusing on real estate, politics, the arts, and urban development. Derek worked for REI corporate for ten years before dedicating himself in 2007 to full-time involvement in Exit133 and his other web and community involvement projects. Derek graduated from the University of Puget Sound with a BS in biology, a second major in politics and government, and a minor in chemistry. He also has an MBA from UW Tacoma's Milgard School of Business.

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Ali Modarres, ex officio

Ali Modarres is the Director of UW Tacoma's Urban Studies Program.  He is the editor of Cities: The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning and serves on a number of research and policy advisory boards. Dr. Modarres earned his Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Arizona and holds Masters and Bachelors degrees in Landscape Architecture from the same institution. He specializes in urban geography and his primary research and publication interests are socio-spatial urban dynamics and the political economy of urban design. He has published in the areas of immigration, race and ethnicity in American cities, social geography, transportation planning, environmental equity, and urban development and public policy. Some of his recent articles have appeared in the Journal of Urban Affairs, Cities, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, and Anthropology of the Middle East.  

Lisa Hoffman

Lisa Hoffman, ex officio

Lisa Hoffman has taught at UW Tacoma since 2002. She received her MA in China Regional Studies from UW Seattle's Jackson School of International Studies (1992) and her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at UC Berkeley (2000). She has spent extensive time living and working in China, including teaching English in Beijing and teaching courses on gender theory and the sociology of sexuality at Chinese University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong University. Since the fall of 2009, she also has been involved with the collaboration between McCarver Elementary School, Greater Metroparks Foundation, and universities in Tacoma (UW Tacoma and UPS) to create a memorial for Zina Linnik and to help renovate two local parks. In 2011, she became the special assistant to the chancellor for community engagement to develop strategic partnerships between the community and campus.