March 2, 2021 - 12:00pm

David Kooris, State of Connecticut

Director of Rebuild and Design and National Disaster Resilience

David Kooris is Director of Rebuild by Design and National Disaster Resilience for the State of Connecticut. These Federal grants, totaling $65 million, will enable resilience planning for Fairfield and New Haven Counties and the construction of several pilot projects for green infrastructure, raised mobility corridors, distributed energy generation, and 21st Century flood protection in Bridgeport. Prior to this position, Mr. Kooris was Director of the Office of Planning and Economic Development for Connecticut’s most populous city, Bridgeport. This role enabled him to chart a long-range strategy for the city’s revitalization grounded in its diverse neighborhoods, spur economic development in its downtown and commercial centers, and reposition thousands of acres of brownfields for sustainable redevelopment. Before assuming that appointment, Mr. Kooris held various positions at Regional Plan Association, the nation’s oldest regional planning organization, culminating in his role as Vice President. Mr. Kooris has worked on high-speed rail-oriented development, sustainability planning, and urban revitalization projects abroad in Canada, Turkey, Morocco, Spain, Mexico, Peru, Taiwan, and South Korea. Since the fall semester of 2012, Mr. Kooris has been a lecturer at Yale University’s Graduate School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in city and regional planning practice.

Kevin Bright, City of Rochester and Destination Medical Center

Energy and Sustainability Director

In Rochester, Minnesota, the City and Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency wanted to provide pathways for public participation that reached a broader section of their community, particularly Black, Indignenous, and Communities of Color. To facilitate this, the agencies created a community co-design model to identify and prioritize the involvement of disenfranchised community members in the design of a public park and the City’s Sustainability and Resiliency Task Force. This talk will explore the equitable engagement approach, its impact on sustainability outcomes for the two projects, and its role in future planning efforts in Rochester, Minnesota.

Mary Ellen Ramage, Borough of Etna

Borough Manager

Mary Ellen is the Manager of the Borough of Etna and a founding member of the Etna Community Organization, as well as Vice President of the Board of ECO. Mary loves the interconnection and intersection of community and local government that this process has fully deepened!

Megan Tuñón, Borough of Etna


Megan is an Etna Borough Councilperson and a founding member of the Etna EcoDistrict and the Etna Community Organization (ECO). Originally an ECO board member, Megan has recently taken over as the Executive Director and will be responsible for fundraising, organizing and implementing the projects outlined in the Etna EcoDistrict plan, as well as community outreach and day-to-day operations.