Starting a non-profit back in 2009 meant assembling a board of directors. The first Strong Towns board was myself, Jon Commers and a colleague of mine, Ben Oleson. When we received our first donation and then a grant from a local foundation in 2011, things got real and we needed a truly independent board.
We've been really fortunate to have some good, conscientious people serve Strong Towns in that capacity over the years. As this movement has grown from a local to a regional to a national discussion with members in all fifty states, the demands on our board members have likewise become more intense. Last month at the National Gathering, we were able to bring three amazing individuals into the organization to provide high level leadership on the board.
We're very proud to announce that Andrew Burleson, John Reuter and Ian Rasmussen have agreed to serve on the Strong Towns Board of Directors. A few words about each.
A long-time volunteer and contributor to Strong Towns, Andrew is a software engineer and project manager based out of Raleigh, North Carolina. Andrew studied Architecture in college, and was deeply impacted by his experiences studying abroad in Italy and Taiwan as a student. He’s had a diverse work life, spending a few years in newspaper publishing, urban planning, and real estate before making the switch to software. While previously living in Houston, Andrew began blogging about urbanism and helped start the CNU-Houston chapter. After getting connected to Chuck Marohn and Jim Kumon through CNU, Andrew was all-in on Strong Towns and has been a key advocate for the transition of the group from an engineering-centric blog to a broader movement-building organization.
Ian Rasmussen is a zoning attorney and urbanist living in New York City. Since discovering urbanism, he has focused his academic and professional efforts on its advancement. After graduating from Brooklyn Law School in 2008, Ian practiced zoning law in New York City for five years before transitioning full-time to the firm he founded, Urban Cartographics. These roles have offered a unique perspective on the land use process that continues to inform his views and work with urbanism. And, continue to provide an opportunity to fight for the creation of worthwhile places that are foolishly prohibited by the existing regulatory framework. He resides in Forest Hills Gardens with his wife Erika and daughter Olive.
John is the Executive Director of Conservation Voters for Idaho. He is a former city council member in the city of Sandpoint, a city that was described in a Strong Towns Podcast as "the most beautiful in America" (it was John describing it that way).
Andrew, Ian and John have been a huge influence on the organization over the past three years. They have heavily impacted my thinking as I've turned to them for ideas as well as critical feedback. I'm enthused to be working with them and have their leadership be the driving force behind the direction of the organization and the movement. We have a lot of work to do -- these are exciting times.
Please join me in welcoming them to the organization.