Main Street Summit Speakers

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Charles Marohn, Strong Towns

Charles Marohn

Charles Marohn, known as “Chuck” to friends and colleagues, is the founder and president of Strong Towns. He is a professional engineer and a land use planner with decades of experience. He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning, both from the University of Minnesota. Marohn is the author of Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity (Wiley, 2019). The first 500 registered attendees get a free copy of his upcoming book Confessions of a Recovering Engineer: Transportation for a Strong Town! He also hosts the Strong Towns Podcast and is a primary writer for Strong Towns’ web content. He has presented Strong Towns concepts in hundreds of cities and towns across North America. Planetizen named him one of the 10 Most Influential Urbanists of all time. 

Joe Minicozzi, Urban Three

Joe Minicozzi

Joe Minicozzi is an urban planner imagining new ways to think about and visualize land use, urban design and economics. Joe founded Urban3 to explain and visualize market dynamics created by tax and land use policies. Urban3's work establishes new conversations across multiple professional sectors, policy makers, and the public to creatively address the challenges of urbanization. Urban3’s extensive studies range geographically over 30 states, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. 

Joe holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Miami and Master of Architecture and Urban Design from Harvard University. In 2017, Joe was recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential Urbanists of all time. 

Tristan Cleveland, The Happy City 

Tristan Cleveland

Tristan is a community designer, PhD researcher, and urban columnist. Tristan leads the Healthy Communities research and planning with Happy City.

Tristan’s PhD research with the Dalhousie Healthy Populations Institute focuses on finding solutions to operationalize healthy communities. Tristan has helped develop Happy City's methodologies and toolkits for assessing community health and wellbeing. He is a respected commentator on urban planning and design who has spoken at planning events around the world. His writing has appeared in Star Metro, Spacing, the National Post, and StrongTowns. He has led projects with national and municipal governments in Canada, the UAE and beyond, helping operationalize health research into design and policy. 

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There will be a total of six breakout sessions, two running concurrently during each of the three time slots. The topics are as follows:  

The Future of Transportation 

Panel speakers with a variety of representative backgrounds serve on a panel that will outline and inform what communities should be mindful of as they allocate and plan their infrastructure projects.

Panelists: Josh Fisher, Alliance for Automobile Innovation – Autonomous Vehicles; Justin Kristan, Active Transportation Alliance – Bicycle and Pedestrian; Brian Horinka, Minot City Transport – Public Transportation; Steve Salwei, NDDOT – Electric Vehicles; Kate Herzog, Bismarck Downtowners – eScooters and Bike Share.


“Think Like a Developer and Take Charge of the Real Estate in your Downtown” 

Understanding real estate and the development process is a daunting task. For many communities, hoping for a developer is not the best strategy and sometimes you must take charge. This workshop aims to demystify the development process and teach downtown managers how to think and even become their own developer. We walk you through valuations, strategies for getting control of the real estate, a do-it-yourself development financial analysis, how to identify the financing gaps, and strategies to achieve real development.

The session, which seeks to educate Main Street communities on the development process includes an interactive real estate financial pro forma that participants can take with them to use to complete simple financial analysis on proposed projects.

Panelist: Mike Scholl, Ayres Associates Inc.


AARP/Blue Zones 

Josh Askvig, AARP, and Danny Buettner, Blue Zones President of Business Development, will team up for a joint presentation on Smart Money: Investments in Livability Lead to Economic Vibrancy. 


Rethos: Placed Reimagined/Springboard For the Arts/BCDC/ND Council on the Arts 

Michele Anderson, SpringBoard for the Arts, and Emily Kurash Casey, Rethos: Places Reimagined, are leading the North Dakota MSI’s Artists on Main Street program during the summer of 2021 with Bowman County Development Corporation (BCDC). Their breakout session will provide an overview of the process and project status, and will discuss the overarching theme of incorporating art in infrastructure. Kim Konikow, North Dakota Council on the Arts, will share insight on tools for arts and vibrancy for North Dakota communities.


State Funding Options: A Catalyst for Community Development 

Representatives from agencies across the state of North Dakota will provide a brief overview of the tools, resources, and incentives that communities can utilize to leverage their infrastructure spending to its maximum impact.

Presenters: Shayden Akason and Rikki Roerich, North Dakota Department of Commerce; Kelvin Hullet, Bank of North Dakota; Kayla Ver Helst, North Dakota Housing Finance Agency; Andrea Travnicek, North Dakota Department of Water Resources; Paul Benning, North Dakota Department of Transportation.


Sustainable Planning, Resilient Communities and Infrastructure, and Smart Growth 

This breakout session will discuss trends, success stories, and best practices for fiscally responsible, sustainable community growth. At the core of our planning practice, planners strive to define solutions and outcomes for communities that allow for resilient outcomes and engaged communities. This work often includes the concept of scenario planning where the planning team explores a city’s systems to understand barriers and opportunities for growth or development to align with their desired vision. A prime example of scenario planning is bridging future land use or growth planning with the understanding of existing infrastructure and future expansion plans. Through this process, the team considers the current location and condition of infrastructure, barriers for expansion (e.g., cost, physical barriers), and opportunities for infill or reuse.

Presenter: Stephanie Falkers, SRF Consulting.


Main Street Summit Agenda