RDG Design Residency   October 10-12, 2012

Students | Collaborators | Experts


Mark Ackelson

Mark Ackelson
Director, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation

I am the CEO of INHF – a position I am both privileged to be in and which I love dearly. I am responsible for the management of the organization’s long-range planning, board and partnership development, financial management, development, communications, outreach and program and project implementation. I have the privilege of working with an incredibly competent and dedicated board and staff.


Pat Boddy

Pat Boddy
RDG Planning & Design

Pat Boddy, P.E., is stewardship director at RDG in Des Moines – working to continue the firm’s national leadership in conservation planning and energy efficient design. She was past interim and deputy director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources with responsibility for state parks, trails, and wildlife habitats. She has also served as director of Polk County Conservation and has been recognized nationally for her work in communications through Iowa Public Television.


Chiu-Shui Chan
Professor of Architecture & Professor of Virtual Reality Applications Center, Iowa State University

Chiu-Shui Chan received his M. Arch from University of Minnesota and PhD in Architecture from Carnegie-Mellon University. He is a Professor of Architecture and of Human Computer Interaction Graduate Program at the Virtual Reality Applications Center, and chairs the Digital Media Minor Program Committee. He has developed various virtual models for the study of design cognition, visual perception, and applications of virtual reality in architecture.


Luke Smith

Angela Corio

Angela is a State Park Planner in the conservation and Recreation Division of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Her areas of responsibilities include: developing and managing Park's Bureau's 10+ million capital budget from 5-6 fundign sources; coordinating and managing 125+ park projects from concept formulation and scope of work definition through engineering, design, and construction; and planning activities - large and small scale plans to overall individual park master plans. She has been with the Iowa DNR/Iowa Conservation Commission for 33 years.


Joe Benesh

David Dahlquist 

David B. Dahlquist is a nationally-recognized public artist and teacher. He is the Creative Director of RDG
Dahlquist Art Studio, a comprehensive design and fabrication facility within RDG Planning & Design, specializing
in the integration of artwork within building architecture and the landscape. David and the studio have
completed over 60 major public art installations across the country. He is part of many multi-disciplinary
design teams, influencing the content, site selection, planning, and programming of numerous projects. He
has contributed to places that have encouraged people to remember and to return. David is a storyteller
who works in many different materials, orchestrated in a way so the public is welcomed into and moved by
the experience.

He received a Bachelor's degree in Art with honors from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a Master
of Fine Arts degree from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Alfred, New York. In
1983 he became the Artist-in-Residence at the Des Moines Art Center. David also served as an Assistant
Professor in the Art and Design Department at Iowa State University from 1987 to 1993. He has been a
cultural delegate and visiting artist in China and received the 2009 University of Wisconsin-Madison School
of Education Alumni Award, the highest honor bestowed upon an alumnus.

One of his most recent projects, entitled "From Here to There" for the High Trestle Trail Bridge just out side
of Madrid has become a new destination and cultural landmark for the state of Iowa.


Sally Dix

Sally Dix is the Blue Zones Engagement Manager for Wellmark® Blue Cross® and Blue Shield®.  “Blue Zones” is a phrase coined by Dan Buettner, an author and researcher who studies why people in some areas of the world live longer, healthier, happier lives.  The Blue Zones ProjectTM, led by Wellmark and Healthways, is a community-by-community movement to improve the well-being of Iowans based on Blue Zones learnings.

Prior to joining Wellmark, Sally was the Executive Director of the Iowa Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure for two years.  As the first full-time staff person in the organization’s 20 year history in Des Moines, Sally led strategic planning, board development and fundraising efforts to strengthen the Affiliate’s work in the fight against breast cancer.   Before joining Komen, Sally was the Vice President of Communications for the Science Center of Iowa for almost 10 years.  As part of the leadership team, Sally led the planning, opening and launch of the new $62 million facility that opened in 2005, overseeing every aspect of marketing and communications. 

Sally has an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins, both in Environmental Science and Policy.  She also received her MBA from the University of Iowa


Robert Kelso

Chris Frantsvog
Polk County Public Health

Chris Frantsvog works on community health issues as a Public Health Planner with Polk County Health Department.  He has been with the Department since 2005.

Chad Hunter

Phil Hodgin
RDG Planning & Design

Mr. Hodgin is a Principal with RDG Planning & Design in the Des Moines office.  He is active within his profession serving as President of AIA Iowa, Regional Associate Director; AIA Committee for Architects for Education; AIA Iowa Foundation and as founding co-chair of the original AIA Iowa “Architecture in the Schools” Program. 

He has served as Chair of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute, Civic Music Association and is widely involved in his community through civic boards, commissions, church, arts and sports organizations.  Phil has served as a design studio instructor at Iowa State University, Drake University, and in multiple Career Day presentations for children in grades 4-12.  He is a member of the National Leadership Development Community Advisory Board as well as a Board Member for The Number 1 Question “Is it Good for the Kids?”.


Charles Cowell

Hannah Inman
Director of Communications, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation:

Hannah Inman is Director of Communication for the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation.  Hannah’s greatest fulfillment is telling the story of the great work the Foundation does to protect Iowa’s land and water as well as its crucial role in developing Iowa’s trails.  Prior to her new position, Hannah served as President for KDC, a residential and commercial building company located in Waukee, Iowa.

A Kansas native, Hannah graduated from the University of Iowa with degrees in Journalism and Political Science.  She lived in Austin, Texas and Washington, DC, before returning to Iowa with her husband, Iowa native, Mike Inman. Since moving to Des Moines in 2005, she has embraced Des Moines as her adopted home and has worked hard to make this great place even better. 

Service is important to Hannah.  She is a graduate of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute, Class of 2011, serves on GDMLI’s alumni committee, is part of Broadlawn’s Advocates Circle and president of KDC’s Home with a Heart Project benefitting Variety. Hannah’s other passion is her family.  She has a 5 year old son and 15 month old daughter.  When they can find the time, Hannah and her husband love to explore Iowa’s trail system by bike or find inventive ways to cook up the gourmet products from Iowa’s farms. 

Charles Cowell

MD Isley
Director of BRAVO

From 2008 through 2012, MD has been integral in growing Bravo Greater Des Moines from nine partner local governments to fifteen. Under MD’s leadership, Bravo Greater Des Moines has increased the level of annual funding for the region’s art organizations to approximately $2.3 million. To date, Bravo Greater Des Moines has funded over $18 million dollars to art, culture and heritage organizations in the Greater Des Moines Region.

In addition to fund development, MD has also played a critical role in the development and positioning of Bravo Greater Des Moines as the Regional Arts Council. He is also responsible for the elevated prestige of the Bravo Award and the creation of the Encore Award both presented annually at the Bravo Awards Gala. The BRAVO award recognizes individuals or families who have made a significant contribution to the arts in Greater Des Moines. The Encore Award recognizes a Bravo-funded organization that has demonstrated Sustainability, Entrepreneurialism and Innovation through creative programming. Under MD’s leadership, the Bravo Awards Gala has been named the “Top” Annual Fundraiser by dsm Magazine for the last two years.

Previous to this, MD held various leadership positions with Living History Farms, the Des Moines Higher Education Collaborative, (leading development of the Downtown Des Moines Pappajohn Education Center),  Des Moines Area Community College, Des Moines University,  Maricopa Community Colleges and as Associate Professor of Business with the North Dakota State College of Science.

MD Isley holds a Master of Science degree in Marketing & Business Education, with a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration. He is graduate of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute and serves on numerous Boards and Advisory Councils in the Region. He is also an active member of the Iowa Arabian Horse Association and recent served as President of the Association for three years.

David Johnson

David Johnson
Meredith Corporation/Iowa Park Foundation Board

David is VP of Corporate Development at Meredith Corporation and VP of the Iowa Park Foundation Board.


Chad Miller

Rick Kozin
Director of Polk County Public Health

Rick is the director of Polk County Public Health – having recently served the department as Program Manager for Health Planning and Education. He has undergraduate and graduate degrees in Political Science. He was a community organizer for 20 years in rural Southern Illinois, New York City, Hartford, Connecticut, central Nebraska and Des Moines before joining the Health Department 10 years ago.


Tammie Krausman
Director, Resource Enhancement and Protection

Tammie Krausman is the Coordinator of the Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) Program for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  The REAP Program improves the quality of life of Iowans through developing parks, improving wildlife habitat and water quality and increasing outdoor recreation opportunities.  Previously she worked in the Director's Office and for the Environmental Services Division within the DNR.  


Loren Lown

Loren Lown has spent decades in the fields and in the planning rooms as Polk County Conservation’s natural resources specialist. His expertise in savanna, wetland, and prairie restoration is highly regarded – and often sought  -- by other renowned experts in the field. Loren has been a leader in developing county, state and federal partnerships to execute the significant restoration work at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt – nearly ten square miles of habitat-in-progress in NE Polk County. 


Kim Poam Logan
Director, Metro Arts Alliance

Kim joined Metro Arts Alliance of Greater Des Moines in December 2008 as Executive Director where she is responsible for general operation, fundraising and the allocation of financial and human resources. Kim comes from Citi North America Community Relations where she managed public affairs and charitable contributions of four Citi businesses in Iowa-Citi Cards, Citi Financial, Citi Mortgage and Smith Barney. Kim has more than ten years of experience in organizational and program administration and development from her work as director of government and international relations for the Greater Des Moines Partnership and as founding executive director of the Iowa Asian Alliance. Kim holds double degrees in English and French from Central College and the University of Paris-La Sorbonne.


Lewis Major
Naturalist, Polk County Conservation

Lewis Major is a naturalist with Polk County Conservation. For over 15 years, he has been teaching conservation education and outdoor recreation to people of all ages. He is extremely passionate about getting people outdoors and connecting them with their natural world. Contagiously enthusiastic and always humorous, his approach to outdoor education is popular among children and adults alike.

His work includes developing and creating the innovative Jester Park Natural Playscape; writing, filming and editing video and audio productions that promote conservation education; incorporating public art into Polk County Parks; and most recently, the completion of the new Jester Park Elk and Bison Educational Plaza

Lewis’ greatest interest is being outdoors, inspiring and exciting others about all things wild. But he also makes time to enjoy composing, recording and performing music; as well as exploring both the culinary and stained glass arts.


Chris McCarthy
Iowa Health - Des Moines

Chris McCarthy is Project Manager for the Center for Healthy Communities at Iowa Health, Des Moines. He serves on the advisory council for Polk County Conservation and Healthy Polk 2020. He’s also an adventure racer and outdoor enthusiast. Chris’ degrees include psychology and community recreation. His past work experience includes work in county, city parks and at nature reserves.


Kelley Myers
Counsel, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Kelley is currently a staff attorney for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  Since she began with the agency in 2003, Kelley has worked on a number of topics, ranging from recreational development, prescribed burning and land preservation to renewable energy, labor and personnel issues and environmental enforcement. In 2010, Kelley served as the General Counsel for what was then the Iowa Department of Economic Development and advised many of the related boards, including the Iowa Economic Development Board. 

Kelley received her law degree from Pennsylvania State University’s Dickinson School of Law and her B.S. in Agriculture from the University of Missouri. 

Kelley lives in Des Moines with her husband Wyatt, a magazine editor.  They spend their [free] time chasing their three- and one-year-old boys and the new puppy, Salty. 


Jessica O'Riley

Jessica O’Riley has been involved in the Iowa tourism industry for 14 years, starting with a marketing internship at the Iowa State Fair. After graduating from Iowa State University, she joined the Fair’s full-time staff as a Marketing Coordinator. In 2007, Jessica joined the Iowa Tourism Office as Communications Manager. She works with travel writers and reporters on Iowa-related stories by pitching ideas, fact checking and providing photos. She also currently serves as Vision Iowa Program Manager. The Vision Iowa program provides financial incentives to communities for the construction of recreational, cultural, educational or entertainment facilities that enhance the quality of life in Iowa.


Dan Otto
Associate Director, Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development
Extension Economist
Professor, Department of Economics

Areas of Expertise: Community economic and policy analysis, economic impact analysis, input/output analysis

Dennis Parker
Polk County Conservation

Dennis is a native of Ames, Iowa, graduating from Iowa State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Landscape Architecture. He started his career as an Outdoor Recreation Planner for Story County Conservation. His career then took him to northeast California where he served seven years as the Forest Landscape Architect and Recreation Program Manager at the Modoc National Forest for the U.S. Forest Service.

Dennis then transferred to Chippewa National Forest in northern Minnesota serving as the Forest Landscape Architect and Recreation Program Manager for 17 years and Forest Technical Services Team Leader for eight years. In addition, he served as an adjunct instructor at Bemidji State University for 12 years. Dennis has also been active in community organizations and community development activities.


Bob Riley
Chair, Iowa Innovation Corporation, and President of Feed Energy and Riverhead Resources

As CEO of Riley Resource Group, Robert G. Riley, Jr. is a proponent for balanced and sustainable systems, including agriculture, environment, innovation, business, and government.  Advocating long-term perspectives, he works to create synergy and manage polarities within and between many entities, including his business interests, and various non-profit, institutional and governmental agencies in which he is involved. 

In 1986, Bob purchased Feed Energy and immediately began the process of building a feed ingredient company with products developed on innovation, research and sound science. The success of the company is a testament to that strategic approach.  In 2006 he formed FEC Solutions to pursue opportunities within the biofuel industry.  Then in 2009, Riley both started Riverhead Resources and became a strategic advisor and investor in Decision Innovation Solutions (DIS). Riverhead provides experts in proven business systems. Decision Innovation Solutions specializes in stochastic data analysis and dynamic risk-based modeling.

Bob has worked for more than 40 years in the fats and oils industry. He is asked to speak frequently about the seven essential capitals of sustainable systems, which pave the way for our future. These include feed, food, and fuel production, government policies, and the role of innovation today and tomorrow.


Laura Sands
Health and Education Liaison for Senator Harkins

Laura is the Health, Education and Workforce Liaison in the Iowa Office for Senator Tom Harkin. She has worked in the field of public health for 30 years. She served as the Director of the Iowa WIC program and Nutrition Bureau at the Iowa Department of Public Health and consulted with the Department on a variety of projects including breastfeeding promotion, increasing access to local foods and creating community environments that encourage increased physical activity. She has also worked on projects related to healthcare access and on the H1N1 pandemic response.

Laura served nine years on the Des Moines School Board and worked at the Iowa Association of School Boards where she assisted school boards to implement best practices in school board leadership.

Laura is a registered dietitian and is licensed as a dietitian in Iowa. She has a B.A. in political science from Northwestern University, an M.S. in human nutrition from Columbia University, and an M.B.A. from Iowa State University.


Gary Scott

Gary Scott is a licensed landscape architect and the Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of West Des Moines, Iowa.  He leads a dynamic department in a rapidly growing suburban community, with major emphasis on planning, financing, acquiring, and building the park and open space system.  Prior to being promoted to Director in 1990, Gary served as Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation and Landscape Architect for the City from 1984-1990, and as Landscape Architect for HDR-Cochran and Wilken, Inc., a multi-disciplinary consulting firm in Springfield, Illinois, from 1980-1984.

Gary focuses his professional efforts on long range planning, local and regional partnerships, public art, financing for public projects, and non-profit/local government management.  For over a decade, he has initiated and organized regional planning projects for trails and greenways in Des Moines and Central Iowa.  He has also served the American Society of Landscape Architects in a variety of national roles for the last 16 years.


Dwight Stewart
Owner, Stewart Strategy, Inc

Dwight Stewart, is a serial entrepreneur/innovator in the software industry.  Dwight has leadership experience in technology, business strategy, and products/services/solutions.  At 23 years old, Dwight co-founded Quality Attributes Software (QAS).  He acted as President, COO, and CTO.  The company became a thought leader in the building technology industry.  QAS empowered executives, visitors, occupants, and engineers with engaging and actionable data that reduced facility costs.  Over eight years, QAS grew to more than 40 employees and internationally served fortune 500 businesses, large universities, and government.  A few example customers include Harvard, Yale, Duke, Chevron, Morgan Stanley, Siemens, and the U.S. Capitol.  Dwight and his partners sold the company in the summer of 2008.  In early 2011, he left QAS and started Stewart Equity Partners, a small angel investment company.  In late 2011 he founded Stewart Strategy, a product development company providing services to companies such as Siemens.


Kevin Szcodronski
State Parks Bureau Chief
Conservation and Recreation Division
Iowa Department of Natural Resources

- Native of Michigan
- B.S., Forestry and Wildlife Resources, Virginia Tech
- M.S., Parks and Recreation Resources, Michigan State University
- With Iowa DNR for 34 years
- State Park Bureau Chief for 9 years
- Past areas of responsibilities in Iowa DNR include: preparing Iowa's Protected Water Areas (PWA) General Plan and legislation. This program is similar to natural and scenic rivers programs in other states; Mississippi and Missouri River Coordination with neighbor states and federal agencies; Coordinating Iowa's Resource Enhancement and Protection Program (REAP) that provides appropriations to five state agencies to implement various conservation and recreation programs. REAP also contains a very extensive public involvement process; Legislative Liaison for state parks, forestry, fisheries, wildlife, and conservation officers; Extensive experience in implementing public participation processes.


Mike Tramontina

Mike Tramontina was appointed President of Iowans for Social and Economic Development (ISED) in May, 2011. He oversees a community based, not-for-profit corporation who mission is to create opportunities for low and moderate income Iowans to increase income and achieve financial stability. ISED's activities include coaching entrepreneurs in small business startups, asset development with Individual Development Accounts, workforce readiness preparation and teaching financial literacy.

Before joining ISED Tramontina worked with Witt Associates on recovery planning for the Gulf Coast Restoration Organization. He has also served as Director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development, the Iowa Dept of Management and the Iowa Finance Authority, and as Secretary's Representative for HUD in Region 7. Mike is a graduate of the University of Iowa.


Jennifer Welch

Jennifer is an Urban Conservationist for central Iowa with Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District. She works as part of the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship's urban conservation program. Jennifer provides information and technical assistance on soil and water conservation methods in towns and cities to land development professionals, city officials, government agencies and private landowners.

She has worked as an urban conservationist for ten years, serving Soil and Water Conservation Districts in Central Iowa. She has worked to improve water quality and natural resource conservation in urban and developing areas by providing education, information and technical assistance to governmental units, the development community and citizens in central Iowa.

Welch is also a founder of the Rainscaping Iowa program, which works promote practices and to certify contractors and designers of stormwater runoff reduction and infiltration practices. She is a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC) and previously worked as a soil conservationist for NRCS. She received her undergraduate degree in agronomy and graduate degree in water resources from Iowa State University.