Baltimore Trolley Museum

Staff

Ellen Janes, Executive Director

Ellen Janes began her career in Baltimore at the Neighborhood Design Center, where she served as Executive Director from 1989 to 1995. During her tenure, she tripled the size of the organization and managed over a 100 projects a year – Projects that ranged from transforming vacant lots into new playgrounds, to creating community and commercial district master plans.

She next served as the first Assistant Secretary for Neighborhood Revitalization in the history of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development under Governor Parris Glendenning. Under Janes’ leadership, a series of innovations in Maryland redevelopment was introduced, including the Neighborhood BusinessWorks loan program, the Community Investment Tax Credit and the Community Legacy grant program.

In 2003, Ms Janes joined the legendary Senator Barbara Mikulski’s office, where she supervised a staff of 20 in 5 regional offices with responsibility for instate: project, legislative and constituent service and outreach activity. She did that until 2008, when she moved over to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s Baltimore Branch.  Among her achievements there were Redefining Rust Belt, a two-year series of video conference discussions involving community leaders from Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, and Philadelphia that she conceived and directed; and the Maryland Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Roundtable – which she launched in partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the National Opportunity Finance Network. Since the advent of the CDFI Roundtable, just over two years ago, CDFI lending and program activity in Baltimore has more than tripled.

Ms. Janes outstanding work was recognized by 1,000 Friends of Maryland in 2014 when she was declared a Smart Growth Hero. Also in 2014, she was the recipient of the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission’s Leadership and Service Award for exemplary community development efforts.  In 2009, she received the Citizens Planning and Housing Association’s prestigious Frances Morton Froelicher Civic Statesmanship Award.

Ashley Wallace, Acting Deputy Executive Director & Director of Projects and Program Services

For the past five years, Ashley Wallace, has managed major community planning aspects of the Homewood Community Partners Initiative (HCPI) agenda by advancing CBP’s major quality-of-life, transportation, TOD, and other commercial and housing initiatives in Central Baltimore. She received her graduate degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2009, where she was a member of a multi-disciplinary academic research team consulting on community organizing, land use and wetland restoration planning in New Orleans, LA.

Prior to making Baltimore and CBP her home, she worked for the State of Wisconsin’s Comprehensive Planning Grant Program and a Midwest-based private planning firm, Crispell-Snyder, as their Planning Assistant and Interim Lead Community Planner. She earned an undergraduate degree in Peace, Conflict and Global Studies with a Community Organization concentration from Northland College. Ashley is a proud Greenmount West resident in Central Baltimore. She can be reached at awallace@centralbaltimore.org.

LeVar Michael, Project and Program Services Coordinator

LeVar Michael has worked in the area of community development for over 10 years. Most recently Mr. Michael worked as an Operations Officer in the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office. There, Mr. Michael worked to enhance public safety and quality of life strategies through a number of different programs such as the White House’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (NRI), The Federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program (HITDTA), and the McElderry Park Revitalization Initiative. Mr. Michael has an extensive experience in the areas of public safety, human services, community organizing, and community development.

Before working for the Mayor’s Office, Mr. Michael worked as a Political Organizer with GJBB, an SEIU 1199 program designed to enhance economic equality throughout Baltimore. Mr. Michael has an abundant amount of political experience and has served as Canvassing Coordinator with the Kerry/Edwards Presidential campaign in 2014, as well as the Vice Chair of Victory ’04, a Political Action Committee (PAC) funded by now Pa Governor Tom Wolf.

Mr. Michael also worked as an Initiatives Coordinator with the York City Housing Authority where he worked on a number of high level redevelopment projects such as HOPE VI and Choice. Prior to working for the Authority, Mr. Michael worked for the local government human service contractor Bell Socialization Inc. as a Program Coordinator for 7 years. Mr. Michael’s holds a B.A. in Political Science and Government Affairs as well as a M.A. in Organizational Management. Levar can be reach at lmichael@centralbaltimore.org

Destiny Durso, Executive Assistant

Destiny, a Baltimore native, comes to the Central Baltimore Partnership with an extensive background in Non-Profit Office Management and IT coordination experience from several local agencies.  Destiny manages the daily admnistrative tasks for the CBP staff and handles all scheduling requests for the Executive Director.  Destiny can be reached at ddurso@centralbaltimore.org

Eric Evans, Real Estate Consultant

Prior to founding Eric Evans & Company, LLC, Evans played a major role in one of the most significant urban development undertakings in the City of Baltimore.  Evans worked most recently with East Baltimore Development, Inc. (EBDI), where he project managed the development of the Bio-Tech Park at Johns Hopkins and served as the special assistant to the president and CEO.  Evans managed infrastructure improvements for an $800 million neighborhood redevelopment project which included approximately two million square feet of Life Sciences space and 1,200 new or renovated homes for mixed income buyers and renters.  Evans also coordinated the Planned Unit Development approval process, serving as the chief liaison between EBDI and community leaders, neighborhood organizations, and a variety of Baltimore City agencies.

Prior to joining EBDI, Evans advised multinational corporations on the federal tax consequences of international business activities for PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP.  Evans currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Midtown Development Corporation.

Evans received his BA from Brown University, a Juris Doctorate and MBA from Boston College, and was a fellow at the Center for Urban Redevelopment Excellence at the University of Pennsylvania.  Eric can be reached at:eric@ericevans.biz

Edward Weiss, Communications Manager

Edward Weiss is a native New Yorker who spent much of his youth in Baltimore while visiting his grandparents, before moving here in 2012. Between 1986-1996, while managing communications for market researcher Packaged Facts, Edward Weiss created a newsletter “Press News from Packaged Facts” that generated 775+ stories and was quoted by every major newspaper, business publication, and TV network in the U.S.He also served as an occasional spokesperson, including appearances on CNN and NBC. My Weiss left to become an editorial freelancer (researcher, writer, editor, web creator , and occasional illustrator & designer) and to pursue a career in art. His illustrated book Peter Pigeon of Snug Harbor won the 2006 COAHSI Award for Literary Excellence sponsored by JP Morgan Chase. In 2011, his public art project, The Forgotten History of Staten Island was awarded an Original Work Grant from N Y State. He has also served as a grant panelist for the New York State Council of the Arts. Mr. Weiss became CPB Communications manager in April, 2014. Since then he has created 2 newsletters B’more Central and HCPI Bullet Points, and all the content (words and pictures) for this website, among other activities. Ed can be reached at: eweiss@centralbaltimore.org.

Maria Garcia, Public Realm Project Manager

As the Public Realm Project Manager for CBP, Maria works on a variety of programs related to public spaces and transportation. Her projects include, among others, the Two-Way Study on St. Paul and Calvert Streets, North Avenue Streetscape, and Reconnecting Charles Street. Maria will also serve as the coordinator for the HCPI Community Spruce-Up Grants, sponsored by the Johns Hopkins University and the Baltimore Regional Neighborhoods Initiative through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. Outside of CBP, Maria is an Urban Art Leadership Fellow with the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance.

Originally from Colombia, Maria graduated from Johns Hopkins in December 2014 with a degree in International Studies and a minor in Economics. While an undergraduate, Maria interned at the International Rescue Committee and studied abroad in Paris at Sciences Po. In the summer of 2013, she received a research grant to travel to Copenhagen and conduct a comparative research project on policy and urban agriculture. Maria can be reached at mgarcia@centralbaltimore.org.

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