Board of Directors

Nan Bartow, President
Kendrick Baker
Claire Bennitt
Josephine Bush
Heidi Coutu
Gordon Geballe
Christine Kim
Laurence Nadel
Sara Ohly
Erik Pearson
Britton Rogers
Joe Ryzewski
Errol C. Saunders, II
Semi Semi-Dikoko
Betty Thompson
Harry Wexler
 
Professor William R. Burch, Faculty Advisor of URI
 

Friends of URI

Christopher Getman, Chair
Myles Alderman
Susan Foster
Meghan Knight
Lawrence Lipsher
Patricia Pierce
Leigh Shemitz
James Travers
Rebecca Vollmer

Nan Bartow

Nan Bartow
Nan Bartow was delighted to join the Board of the Urban Resource Initiative in May of 2005. In her earlier years she developed a deep appreciation for water, land, and nature in the marshes of Cohasset, Massachusetts, the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the highlands of Yosemite National Park, the Alps of Switzerland, and the Sahel of Chad, Africa, where she served as a Peace Corps volunteer. A high school English educator, Nan spent most of her teaching years at the High School in the Community, one of New Haven's public magnet schools. She is actively involved in Friends of Beaver Pond Park, a group that is working to preserve the wildlife and to improve the natural beauty of the ponds and the park through the URI Greenspace program. Now in retirement, she wishes to combine her love for teaching and for land conservation by serving on the Greenspace and the Education committees of the Board of URI.

Kendrick Baker

 

Kendrick Baker is currently employed with STRIVE/ New Haven-Career Resources as Program Manager assisting greater New Haven residents with employment. Prior to STRIVE, Kendrick worked for Project M.O.R.E., Inc. as an Intervention Specialist for the Judicial Branch of CSSD. Kendrick has received multiple awards from the Court Support Services Division and Community Solutions in regards to reducing recidivism through employment and intervention services. In addition, Kendrick has been involved with the Green Skills program since 2010, preparing former offenders for seasonal Green Collar jobs through partnership with Urban Resources Initiative.

 Claire Bennitt

Claire Bennitt retired in January as board chair of the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority.  She was involved in the drafting and passing of the legislation that established the organization in the 1970’s.and served on the governing board since its inception.  She was part of the grass roots movement that was behind the creation of the land classification system identifying critical lands to protect water supplies.  At various time she has served as chair of the In Stream Flow Coalition, president of the Natural Resources Council of Connecticut and president of the Watershed Fund.  In 2011, Claire joined the board of URI.

Josephine Bush

Jody Bush Jody Bush graduated from Vassar College and went on to be the Assistant Curator of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York for six years. From 1985 until the present she has worked as a landscape designer. Jody also has been involved both as the President and an Honorary Board Member of the Inwood House in New York, the oldest and largest maternity shelter in the city. In addition, she is the Emeritus director for the Garden Conservancy, whose mission is to preserve exceptional American gardens and to educate the public about the value of gardening. Since college, Jody has also taken graduate level courses at a variety of institutions, including Ecole du Louvre, the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Heidi Coutu

Gordon Geballe As a working artist for twenty-five years, Heidi Coutu has been featured in one-woman shows, museum solo exhibitions, numerous art and design publications, and on PBS.  Currently represented by four significant galleries across the US, her work has found its way into collections both domestically and abroad.

As a teacher, an entrepreneur, and a force in developing an arts zone in a local revitalization in her former home state of Massachusetts, Heidi currently resides at Yale University as a resident fellow at Timothy Dwight College, where she maintains a studio.  She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College.

Gordon Geballe

Gordon Geballe Gordon has lived in the New Haven area for over 30 years, bringing to URI a wealth of knowledge regarding the community. He is the Associate Dean and Lecturer at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He has served on the Board since 1991, and was the Board Lecturer from 2000–2003.

Christine Kim

Christine Kim is the Program and Research Director at the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy. She is also the Program Manager and co-author of the Environmental Performance Index and Associate Director for Yale’s Environmental Governance projects. Her research focuses on environmental performance measurement, as well as issues of equity, leadership, and political will in international environmental governance and United Nations reform. Christine is a dual citizen of the Republic of Korea and the United States. She attended Yale University.

 Laurence Nadel

Nadel Laurence Nadel practices law in New Haven where he focuses on the commercial, real estate, and property issues of individuals, non-profits and small businesses. He has been engaged with Yale Law School’s Jerome Frank Legal Clinic for more than seven years where he has been a Visiting Professor of Clinical Law and co-taught the Community and Economic Development Clinic. In his current role he supervises students in business and real estate transactions in the Small Business Clinic. Laurence recently worked in New Haven on the renovation and reopening of the Hannah Gray Home and the St. Luke’s Senior Center. He has served on the Board of the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union, and the Short Beach Civic Association, and previously lectured on Art and Copyright Law through conferences sponsored by the Connecticut Commission on the Arts.

Sara Ohly

Ohly

Sara Ohly has lived in New Haven since 1968, and joined the URI Board in 2002.  After graduating from Vassar, she taught English as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Turkey, at the Cedarhurst School in the Yale Psychiatric Institute, and in New Haven Adult Education.  She completed her M.A. in International Relations (1986) and a Ph.D. in Anthropology (1994) at Yale University, then taught social cultural anthropology at Connecticut College and at Wesleyan.  Sara has been an active community member involved in neighborhood associations, helping with different networks and community support.  She has participated in Greenspace at Farnam Court Public Housing, in Wooster Square, and, from 2000 to the present, in Lenzi Park.  She shares many of the same passions of URI, including community building, environmental activism, and education, as well as urban anthropology.
 

 

Erik B. Pearson

Erik B. Pearson joined the URI Board in 2012. Erik is a Research Coordinator for Soundview Capital Management.  He graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School with a J.D. and served as an attorney until 2008.  Prior to becoming an attorney, Erik was a psychiatric specialist for the U. S. Army for eight years.  Erik founded the Portland (Oregon) Chapter of the National Adult Baseball Association in 1993.  Erik has two children and lives with his family in North Haven.
 

 

Britton Rogers

Britton comes to URI through the Greenspace program working on Lenzi Park, off of Grand Avenue.  His work at Lenzi Park began as part of his community outreach as a concerned neighbor, as well as his Master Gardener certification process.  After studying architecture at the University of Texas at Austin, and some time spent abroad, Britton settled in New York City working for various architecture firms.  He arrived in New Haven in 2007, where he now works independently as an architect and garden designer, as well as doing some environmental design consulting work with Atelier Ten.  He has studied sustainable design/build strategies at Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Warren, Vermont.  He enjoys modern art, photography, and cycling.  He builds terrariums and succulent gardens as a winter hobby when he can’t be working on his local community garden plot.  He is very pleased to be a part of URI and its work with trees and green spaces, as a way of helping New Haven’s physical and social environment.

Joe Ryzewski

Ryzewski
Joe Ryzewski is a lifelong resident of New Haven. He has a background in electric utility design, operation and workforce development. He is a registered Professional Electrical Engineer and a Certified Project Management Professional and currently works at the United Illuminating Company, an investor owned public utility. He is a member of the Connecticut Urban Forest Council, whose vision, like URI's, includes creating and supporting a healthy urban forest in our neighborhoods. Joe is also interested in New Haven’s history, particularly in the lives and contributions of various statesmen, entrepreneurs and inventors.

Errol C. Saunders, II

 

Errol C. Saunders, II 

Originally from Los Angeles, Errol Saunders came to New Haven in 2002 to attend Yale. After receiving his BA in Political Science, he joined the faculty of Hopkins School, where he currently teaches World History and New Haven History. In addition to his work as a teacher at Hopkins, Errol also serves as the assistant director of Breakthrough New Haven, a tuition-free academic enrichment program for middle school students who attend New Haven public and parochial schools. Since setting down his roots in New Haven, Errol has worked to promote and improve his adopted community. He has led step-on bus tours of the city’s historic neighborhoods and the lasting effects of urban redevelopment, given lectures on the city’s industrial heritage and adaptive reuse, and served on the board of the Ulysses S. Grant Program.

 

Semi Semi-Dikoko

Ryzewski
Semi Semi-Dikoko came to New Haven in 1991, to consult for Southern New England Telephone Company as Systems Architect. He is a Principal at SSD International, (a Technology Architecture & Strategy practice).  Education and career afforded him opportunities to live in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, working in technology positions with Amdahl (Fujitsu), AT&T Bell Laboratories, Bell Telephone Manufacturing Company, Computer Associates, ERNO-VFW Fokker, IBM and Société de Traction et d'Électricité (Groupe Suez).  He attended Polytechnic Institute of NYU, Université Lovanium, Athénée Royal and Koninklijk Atheneum te Kalina. He is IBM Certified Large Systems Architect & Managing Consultant and holds a FAA Pilot License. He serves on the Boards of URI, New Haven Sister Cities, and advocates for environmental and human development causes in appreciation for a great community. 

Betty Thompson

Betty 
Thompson Betty Thompson is a long-time New Haven resident and community leader. A grandmother and great-grandmother, she looked out the door one day and asked, “What can I do to make my community a more livable place?” And that has been her mantra ever since. As an active member of the Cedar Hill Block Watch and the Cedar Hill Community Association, co-chair of Friends of East Rock Park, Community Greenspace group leader, and URI board member, she works to get people involved with improving their community and environment.

Harry Wexler
 

Wexler Harry Wexler is a senior partner at Cross Sector Consulting, a national consulting firm headquartered in New Haven. He joined the URI Board of Directors, recognizing its value for New Haven after evaluating Philadelphia Green, one of the country’s largest neighborhood greening programs, for the Pew Charitable Trusts in the mid-90s. He consults to various national foundations and financial intermediaries that support community development activities. Besides consulting, he has taught courses on housing and community development policy and in urban studies at Yale University and Columbia University.