Jim Kumon is an urban designer, neighborhood advocate and business manager with an undergraduate degree in Architecture from the University of Michigan. With over ten years experience in the design and transportation industries in Los Angeles, Denver and Minneapolis, Jim has a deep understanding of the resurgence of small scale urban neighborhoods which have fueled the economic success of those cities. In his current role leading the Incremental Development Alliance, he oversees the development of training seminars for individuals, coaching and consulting to cities and networking events across the country. He is a frequent speaker to municipalities, trade organizations, business and advocacy groups on real estate, economic development, transit and public infrastructure.
As a past Kingfield neighborhood board member and current chair of the Kingfield Redevelopment Committee, Jim has been closely involved with development projects at the neighborhood level in Minneapolis. As an urbanist advocate, Jim was a technical advisor during the recent city policy changes legalizing Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) and reducing residential parking requirements on properties near high frequency transit lines. Along with ongoing renovations to his 100 year old house, he is in the planning stages of building an ADU on his property.
Alissa Shelton is a small developer and community activist in Hamtramck, MI. In her role as IncDev’s Director of Training and Alumni Relations, Alissa focuses on our national workshop and training series, partnering with our local host committees in executing successful events in their communities along with supporting our alumni post-training.
Prior to joining IncDev, she was working as a small business consultant focused on organizational process and conversation facilitation. She also spent 3 years with Issue Media Group as a local Publisher in Detroit and as Director of Strategic Development supporting publications nationwide. IMG publications tell the stories of small business and development catalyzing transitioning cities, focused at the neighborhood scale.
Alissa is the owner a 1920s corner bank building, turned Chop Suey restaurant turned community space. Bank Suey is an experiment in how we use main street spaces, exploring layered uses and curated programming. Along with her family, they rehabbed the main banking floor which serves as a gathering space— Since opening in March 2016, the Bank Suey has curated and produced 125+ gatherings with 5000+ attendees covering a broad range of topics unified by a purpose: to build skills, understanding, and confidence resulting in citizen involvement and greater community wealth. The next stages of the project— re-licensing the commercial kitchen and rehabbing the second floor doctors and lawyers offices.
Alissa is a member of CDAD, participates in the Detroit NCRC coalition being formed, volunteers for the Hamtramck Music Festival annually, and recently closed out a 3 year term serving on the Hamtramck Downtown Development Authority. She holds a B.Sc. in psychology from Wayne State University. Alissa is a 2017 Salzburg Global Fellow, participating in the Forum for Young Cultural Innovators which was held in Salzburg, Austria.
Alissa lives a few blocks away from Bank Suey in a 1915 duplex she owns with her partner, in the dense, walkable community of Hamtramck, a 2 square-mile city completely surrounded by Detroit, where over 27 languages are spoken and 18 different national flags line the main street.
Board of Directors
Susana Dancy is a developer and real estate investor as a Partner at Rockwood Development based in Chapel Hill, N.C. She has broad experience renovating, building, repositioning and managing properties, both residential and commercial. Susana has spent the last ten years of her career as a small developer, working on a range of infill, senior housing and small apartment complexes in Chapel Hill and Durham.
Susana has a graduate degree in planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a concentration in real estate and urban design. She serves as a member of the Community Design Commission in Chapel Hill.
Glenn has experience in financial, urban planning, design and development services, working in neighborhoods of large cities as well as small towns. As the president of Hart’s Local Grocers, Glenn conceived the business and managed the launch of Rochester’s new downtown grocery store. After graduating from the University of Virginia, Glenn was a Lewis Mumford Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania where he studied real estate at Wharton and received a Master of City Planning from the Graduate School of Fine Arts (now Penn Design). Since 2002 Glenn has worked a principal with consulting firm Urban Advisors consulting on the economics of downtown master plans, comprehensive plans, and neighborhood revitalization strategies. Glenn also has experience managing the construction process for both residential and commercial development in Washington DC, Seattle and Rochester.
Starting in 2012, Glenn built a team to launch Hart’s Local Grocers in Downtown Rochester. After conducting a preliminary market analysis he designed the Hart’s concept to respond to the existing market conditions and fill a missing piece of urban life in Rochester. Glenn provided business planning and structure, site selection and negotiation, conceptual store design, and construction management. He also coordinated fundraising and secured financing, oversaw staffing, and managed legal and contractual matters. As President, Glenn continues to oversee the store directors and represents the interests of investors. Prior to the launch of Hart’s, Glenn provided financial modeling and business consulting services for Head Water Foods in 2013.
Emily joined the field of planning and economic development seeking to create a more equitable world. Her background spans from working with local municipalities in Georgia to conducting research for a large non-profit in Washington, D.C. As a consultant with Fourth Economy, in Pittsburgh PA, she enjoys working with communities to develop and achieve metrics for measurable change. She is attracted to small scale development because of the potential for this tool to leverage proven tactics to move capital into low income populations and neighborhoods. Her hobbies include playing bocce, listening to podcasts, and going to see live music.
Will Burgin, President of Jackson Burgin and managing member of Artifex DBD, is a financial strategist and project manager for small scale development, both in his hometown of Columbus, Georgia and for Artifex projects nationally.
While an undergraduate, in Vanderbilt University’s mechanical engineering program, Will had the opportunity to see firsthand how time-tested principles of urban design and planning helped Nashville realize its ambitions to become a more livable, better connected place for families and businesses. Upon returning to Columbus, he applied both his professional degree and what he’d observed in Nashville to neighborhood retail development and transportation projects on home turf. His successes in Columbus helped him develop an appreciation for – and expertise in – the seamless integration of design, engineering and planning with finance and construction oversight.
By combining Will’s skill sets with those of his three partners, Artifex offers clients the opportunity to simultaneously address all the components of planning and implementing transformative projects.
Yonina Gray has over a decade of experience building relationships and lines of communication between communities, corporations and local governments in both Chicago and Atlanta. Yonina is passionate about empowering low wealth communities and elevating their quality of life through strategic real estate investment. She is the director of business development for Reinvestment Fund, a national, nonprofit financial institution and a catalyst for change in low-income communities. In this role, Yonina sources real estate lending deals, identifies market gaps and, in response, develops data-driven strategies to bring partners and resources together for community impact. This role also puts her in frequent contact with low-capacity real estate entrepreneurs who are in need to technical assistance. Yonina has worked to build a small network of partners who can help respond to this underserved group of entrepreneurs.
Yonina is an advisory committee member for The Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta’s Georgia Social Impact Collaborative. Yonina has a Masters in Urban Planning and Policy from The University of Illinois-Chicago. She is currently working on an MBA from Emory’s Goizueta Business School.