People

Evelyn Blumenberg | Director | Email | (310) 903-3305

Read the UCLA Blueprint profile on Professor Blumenberg’s work on homelessness

What do you do here at UCLA?
In addition to directing the Lewis Center, I am also a professor of urban planning in the Luskin School of Public Affairs, where I teach and do research on poverty, low-wage labor markets, and transportation.

What’s your connection to Los Angeles?
I grew up in Van Nuys in the San Fernando Valley — yes, I’m originally a Valley girl. I then lived in the Bay Area, and, since 1998, have been happy to call LA my home once again.

Can you share a secret about living in LA?
Los Angeles is covered in jacaranda trees, a relatively drought-tolerant species from South America with a spectacular spring bloom. If you miss the bloom in May and June, did you know that in most years you can catch a second one in early fall?

Besides working at UCLA, what’s your LA dream job?
Assuming I get over some serious performance anxiety (and pick up some additional skills), I’d love to be a musician.

Michael Lens | Associate Faculty Director | Email | (917) 334-4516

Read the UCLA Blueprint profile on Professor Lens’s work on housing discrimination and crime

What do you do here at UCLA?
As an associate professor of urban planning and public policy at the Luskin School, I teach courses and do research on housing affordability, segregation, and neighborhoods. I seek to engage the Lewis Center, our students, and faculty in housing debates in Southern California and beyond.

What’s your favorite LA-themed movie, TV show, or song?
Hard to choose between Boyz n the Hood and every song and video from The Chronic.

Do you have a favorite public transit line?
Being a posh Westsider who is not transit-dependent, I have the luxury of favoring the Expo Line. The Big Blue Bus 12 got me to UCLA and back in my first year when I was still in New York City mode and hated driving.

Besides working at UCLA, what’s your LA dream job?
LeBron’s cycling buddy.

Madeline Brozen | Deputy Director | Email | (424) 255-8737

What do you do here at UCLA?
I do a little bit of everything from financial oversight of the center to managing our advisory board to working with student programs. In addition, I do research with faculty members mostly about transportation and open space. Once a year, I teach a GIS course in urban planning.

What’s your connection to Los Angeles?
I came to Los Angeles to attend the UCLA master’s program in urban planning program in 2009. I’ve woke up and come to the Public Affairs Building at UCLA nearly every weekday since my arrival in LA.

How do you bide your time in traffic?
I bike! I always bike commute home from UCLA to avoid the traffic and get some time with my thoughts. On the bus, I read Twitter or catch up on the Sunday New York Times. The rare occasions when I’m driving I usually blast pop music and sing along poorly.

Claudia Bustamante | Communications Manager | Email | (424) 625-8468

What do you do here at UCLA?
I promote Lewis Center research and accomplishments through our websites, social media, publications, events and more.

What’s your connection to Los Angeles?
I am one of the rarefied native Angelenos. I grew up in the Valley and have crisscrossed the city for school, work and play.

What’s your favorite LA-themed movie, TV show or song?
Coin toss between Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Heat (that diner scene alone, c’mon!)

Shane Phillips | Housing Initiative Project Manager | Email | (424) 209-8750

What do you do here at UCLA?
I manage the Lewis Center’s new housing initiative, working with faculty, staff, and students to develop and disseminate research on housing issues relevant to Los Angeles and Southern California. My personal goal is to connect the need for more new homes, stronger tenant protections, and more effective incentives and subsidies into a unified theory of housing policy, finding common ground between pro-development and pro-tenant advocates.

What’s your connection to Los Angeles?
I came here in 2013 for grad school and fell in love (and sometimes frustration) with the people and places of the city. We have so much going for us here, and my hope is to help bring out even more of our potential in terms of affordability, sustainability, mobility, health, and safety.

Can you share a secret about living in LA?
Choose your home based on where you work! Or the other way around. Either way, if you don’t think about your commute before choosing one or the other, you’re gonna have a bad time.

Whitney Willis | Operations Manager | Email | (310) 562-7356

What do you do here at UCLA?
I manage the day-to-day operations of the Lewis Center including space management, HR, financial management, purchasing, student travel and research grants, fellowships, and events.

Can you share a secret about living in LA?
If you call it the “Westfield Culver City Mall,” it will reveal your true non-LA colors. It will always be the Fox Hills Mall to West LA natives.

What’s your favorite LA-themed movie, TV show, or song?
Insecure is my favorite LA TV show. It’s based in my home city of Inglewood and it always features some of my favorite restaurants such as Pann’s and Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles.

Hanna Barlow | Operations Assistant
Hanna is a sophomore at UCLA.

April Ding | Design Assistant
April is a senior at UCLA studying design media arts.

Alejandra Martinez | Operations Assistant
Alejandra is a senior at UCLA studying economics.

Angela Wu | Web Assistant
Angela is a senior at UCLA studying computer science.

Alyssa Zhu | Design Assistant
Alyssa is a sophomore at UCLA studying design media arts.

J.R. DeShazo
Director, Luskin Center for Innovation; Professor of Public Policy, Urban Planning, and Civil and Environmental Engineering
Move, Work

Lené Levy-Storms
Associate Professor, Departments of Social Welfare and Medicine/Geriatrics
Live

Robin Liggett
Professor Emeritus, Urban Planning
Move

Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris
Professor, Urban Planning
Move, Live

Michael Manville
Associate Professor, Urban Planning
Move, Live

Vinit Mukhija
Department Chair, Professor, Urban Planning
Live, Work

Paul Ong
Director, Center for Neighborhood Knowledge; Professor Emeritus, Urban Planning and Social Welfare
Live, Work

Taner Osman
Lecturer, Urban Planning
Work, Live

Meredith Phillips
Chair, Undergraduate Affairs; Associate Professor, Public Policy and Sociology
Live

Donald Shoup
Distinguished Research Professor, Urban Planning
Move, Live

Brian D. Taylor
Director, ITS; Professor, Urban Planning
Move

Martin Wachs
Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning
Move

Kome Ajise
Executive Director, Southern California Association of GovernmentsKome Ajise is the new executive director of the Southern California Association of Governments. He has three decades of experience in regional planning and transportation, most recently as the director of planning at SCAG. Prior to working at SCAG, Ajise was the chief deputy director at the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), where he was responsible for internal operations, overseeing more than 18,000 employees and a budget in excess of $1.1 billion. Previously, he was Caltrans’ deputy director of planning and modal programs and oversaw the Aeronautics, Mass Transportation, Rail, Transportation Planning, Local Assistance, and Research Innovation and System Information Divisions. Ajise has a bachelor’s degree in geography and regional planning from the University of Benin, Nigeria, and a master’s in city and regional planning from California State University, Fresno.
Cecilia Estolano
Co-CEO and Co-Founder, Estolano LeSar Perez AdvisorsCecilia V. Estolano is an expert in sustainable economic development and urban revitalization. The many projects she has directed as co-founder of ELP Advisors include advising local governments, nonprofits, and foundations on redevelopment dissolution and economic revitalization, overseeing research on green infrastructure and job creation in Philadelphia, and managing complex multi-stakeholder processes. She serves as vice president of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and sits on the University of California Board of Regents and the boards of directors of Manufacturing Renaissance and the National Employment Law Project. Estolano has taught urban planning at UCLA and UC Berkeley. She is a graduate of Boalt Hall School of Law and holds a master’s degree in urban planning from UCLA, along with a bachelor’s degree in social studies with honors from Harvard-Radcliffe Colleges.
Bill Fulton
Director, Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice UniversityBill Fulton was the planning director of San Diego from June 2013 to October 2014. Fulton served as mayor of the City of Ventura from 2009 to 2011 and is an author, urban planner, professor, and senior fellow at the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy, where he teaches land use policy and smart growth. He is a leading advocate of the smart growth movement in urban planning and was named to Planetizen’s list of Top 100 Urban Thinkers. Fulton is best known as a commentator and expert on urban planning in California and has written hundreds of articles on the topic, including more than 40 Sunday opinion pieces in the Los Angeles Times between 1982 and 2009. He is the author of several books, including “Guide to California Planning” — the standard textbook on urban planning in California.
Gail Goldberg
Former Planning Director, City of Los AngelesGail Goldberg, FAICP, is the former executive director of the Urban Land Institute Los Angeles and the former planning director of Los Angeles and San Diego. In Los Angeles, she was responsible for organizing and directing the policies and activities of the city’s planning department, including the development, maintenance and implementation of all elements of the city’s general plan as well as a range of other special zoning plans. In San Diego, she oversaw a planning process to update the city’s 20-year-old general plan; this “City of Villages” vision and strategy became an international model for urban revitalization. She served as an Urban Land Institute trustee, chair of the San Diego/Tijuana ULI District Council, and on the statewide coordinating committee for ULI’s California Smart Growth Initiative. Goldberg is a native Californian and holds a bachelor’s degree in urban studies and planning from UC San Diego.
Mary Kaiser
President, California Community Reinvestment CorporationMary Kaiser is a financial services executive, specializing in marketing, lending, and integrating the delivery of financial products and services. She began her career in 1975 at First Interstate Bank and in 1987 she joined the Bank of A. Levy, a 100-year-old bank in Ventura County, as its executive vice president and chief operating officer. Kaiser currently serves on the CHC board of directors and the Stabilization Trust REO Capital Fund Loan Committee. She has also served as chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s economic advisory council among many other organizations and committees. Kaiser received a Master of Business Administration from California Lutheran University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from San Diego State University.
Nicholas Maricich
Director of Planning Policy and Development, Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric GarcettiNick Maricich is the director of planning policy and development in the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. In this role, Maricich serves as the mayor’s policy advisor on city planning matters, while coordinating planning initiatives with city departments and attracting investment through improved development services. Previously, Maricich was a senior city planner with the Los Angeles Department of City Planning, managing a comprehensive update to the city’s zoning code. He also has overseen community planning efforts for the city’s downtown core and served as a planning liaison to Los Angeles International Airport. Maricich joined the city staff in 2007 after working in both the private and nonprofit sectors. He has a bachelor’s in geography with a minor in city and regional planning from UC Berkeley, and holds a master’s degree in urban planning from UCLA.
Pam O’Connor
Former Councilmember, City of Santa MonicaPam O’Connor served on the Santa Monica City Council from 1994-2018, including as mayor three times. She is particularly interested in issues that advance sustainability and mobility. She is a member of the regional council of the Southern California Association of Governments, and previously served as council president. O’Connor works with cities throughout the world on environmental, sustainability and climate issues as a member of ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability-USA Board. As a professional urban planning consultant, O’Connor specializes in historic preservation. She has also served in many other positions including as director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Northridge Earthquake recovery partnership program and as a planner for the city of Pasadena. O’Connor holds master’s degrees in planning and technology management from Eastern Michigan University and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Southern Illinois University.
Mott Smith
Co-Founder and Principal, Civic EnterpriseMott Smith is co-founder and principal of Civic Enterprise, a founding board member of the California Infill Builders Association, and adjunct faculty in the University of Southern California’s master of real estate development program. Earlier in his career, he was the acting director of planning for the Los Angeles Unified School District after serving as founding executive director of New Schools-Better Neighborhoods. He also worked as editor and business manager of The Planning Report. He received a master’s degree in real estate development from USC and a bachelor’s degree in linguistics from UCLA.
Barry Wallerstein
Senior Policy Fellow, UC RiversideBarry R. Wallerstein has more than 30 years of experience in urban planning and environmental studies, with an emphasis in air pollution control and public policy development. Wallerstein has served AQMD in various positions since 1984, and was appointed acting executive officer in August 1997. The governing board unanimously elevated him to executive officer in November 1998. Wallerstein has also worked as an environmental control administrator for Northrop, and was a member of the rule development staff in the mobile source division of the California Air Resources Board. He holds a doctorate in environmental science and engineering, along with master’s and bachelor’s degrees in biological science, from UCLA.
Stephanie Wiggins
CEO, MetrolinkStephanie Wiggins was named chief executive officer of Metrolink by a unanimous vote of the board of directors in December 2018. As CEO, Wiggins directs an agency that operates a commuter rail network on seven routes across a six-county, 538 route-mile system. Prior to leading Metrolink, Wiggins worked at LA Metro, where she held numerous positions including deputy CEO, executive director of vendor/contract management, and executive officers and project director of the Congestion Reduction/ExpressLanes Program. She has also served as regional programs director for the Riverside County Transportation Commission and oversaw transit, commuter rail, rideshare, goods movement and rail capital projects. Wiggins is the founding president of the Inland Empire chapter of Women’s Transportation Seminar and has received many awards, including Conferenceof Minority Transportation Officials 2018 Women Who Move the Nation Award. Wiggins has a Master of Business Administration degree from USC Marshall School of Business.