2013 Keynote Speakers

1:05pm: National Keynote Speaker — Mitchell Silver, American Planning Association President and Raleigh, North Carolina Chief Planning and Economic Development Officer

e1360090742Mitchell Silver is the Chief Planning and Economic Development Officer in the City of Raleigh, North Carolina. Silver is an award-winning planner with more than 25 years of planning experience. He is nationally recognized for his leadership in the profession and his contributions to contemporary planning issues.
Before coming to Raleigh in 2005 as planning director, Silver worked as policy and planning director in New York City, a principal of a New York City-based planning firm, a town manager in New Jersey and deputy planning director in Washington, D.C. He has taught graduate planning courses at Hunter College, Brooklyn College, Pratt Institute, and North Carolina State University. As planning director in Raleigh, he led the comprehensive plan update process.

2:05pm: State Keynote Speaker — John Schroer, Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner

e1363380090A distinguished leader in transportation and transit, the former mayor of Franklin, TN, and a respected figure in the development industry, Commissioner Schroer has a strong track record of maximizing infrastructure investments as a catalyst for economic and community development. Commissioner Schroer will speak in a session focusing on Support for Tennessee’s Communities, Economy, and Fiscal Stewardship.
John Schroer was appointed Commissioner of Transportation by Governor Bill Haslam in January, 2011. He is the 29th commissioner of the state agency that oversees a statewide transportation system including highways, rail, airports, waterways and transit. Just after his appointment, Commissioner Schroer initiated a review of TDOT including its organization and processes in conjunction with Governor Haslam’s “Top to Bottom Review” of state government. Recommendations from this review have begun and will be completed in the next two years.
During his first year, Commissioner Schroer embarked on Summer Tours, 2011 by traveling thousands of miles across the state to TDOT projects and facilities. He met with agency employees to gather ideas on how TDOT could become more efficient. It was so effective he continued this process in the summer and fall of 2012. Recently, Commissioner was appointed Chairman of the prestigious Standing Committee on Finance and Administration of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, an organization composed of peers from all DOTs across the nation.

3:00pm: Middle Tennessee Regional Research Findings — Robin Rather, Collective Strength

robin2Robin Rather specializes in market research and strategy for a range of business, non-profit and governmental clients and is a recognized advocate for sustainability and related policy issues. Her company, Collective Strength, is based in Austin.

Working alongside regional planning experts, Rather’s approach to citizen research goes beyond just generating data and reports. She is well known for analytical skills that reach farther into the “mindset” of diverse community segments and goes on to synthesize these often wide ranging viewpoints into cohesive planning priorities. Her approach also provides a way to benchmark attitudes and perceptions about regional plans as they evolve over time. Rather will present on understanding Middle Tennessee’s priorities for community development, planning, and investments.



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