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Midway through 2020 we are in a global pandemic that may have a lasting impact on land development for generations to come. What have we learned about public health, the environment and economy in ways never expected? Our intent today is to explore the potential Pandemic awakening and lessons learned to begin to chart a path forward to improve our human health, the environment, and the economy. Can we, the most globally connected human population, advance in a more resilient direction? Can we turn 2020 into a clear vision of a better future?
Lambda Alpha Atlanta is proud to present our pandemic awakening seminar featuring local and international authorities on epidemiology, the environment, and macroeconomics. Please join us for a discussion with Dr. Peter Thomas, Epidemiologist | Health Professional, Dr. Brad Bass, Veteran at Environmental & Climate change in Toronto Canada and Dr. Tom Cunningham, Metro Atlanta Chamber Senior Vice President Chief Economist.
Sheila D. Harris, PhD
Dr. Harris has been involved in the development of affordable housing for over 30 years. She has taken a multi-disciplinary approach to her work and as a result has amassed significant knowledge and experience in the field.
Her employment career includes serving two Arizona Governors. She is the founding Director of the Arizona Department of Housing and Arizona Housing Finance Authority. During her nearly six year tenure in those positions she oversaw the financing of more than $1.5B in housing and community economic development.
In addition to her public service and work experience, Dr. Harris received her doctorate in Public Administration from Arizona State University. Her dissertation focused on the creation of affordable housing. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Kansas and a Bachelor’s degree from Ottawa University.
Dr. Harris has been very active in the community and has served on numerous boards and commissions including 12 years as a publicly elected school board member (Litchfield Elementary and Aqua Fria Union High School,) former President of the Phoenix Chapter, and current Treasurer of Lambda Alpha International Honorary Society, and is a member of the Board of Stewards of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. She was appointed by then Chairman Greenspan as a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco where she served for six years (1999-2004) and served at Deputy Chair of the board for nearly two years. Dr. Harris was the first Arizonan to be chosen to serve on the head office board.
In 2011 she established Sheila D Harris Consulting Services and in that capacity she shares her expertise in housing and economic development activities. Activities include acquisition, rehabilitation and development of multi-family and single family developments, as well as consulting services for private sector, local, county, state and federal governments and tribal entities.
Brad Bass, PhD
Dr. Brad Bass has 30 years of experience in environmental research and policy. After receiving his PhD in Geography from Penn State University in 1989, he began a research career in applied climatology with Environment Canada, moving into climate adaptation research in 1994. From 1992 - 1997, under the auspices of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programmer, Dr. Bass led an international effort to evaluate approaches that could be used to generate high-resolution climate change scenarios. Up until that time the global climate research community had not widely accepted a statistical approach, called downscaling, to improving the spatial resolution of climate change scenarios. Under Dr. Bass’ leadership, statistical downscaling became a recognized approach on global climate research.
He began working with green infrastructure in since 1996. In 2000, he helped launch the first green roof field site in North America, which in turn helped solidify green roof research. His work on energy savings and urban heat island reduction with green roofs was adopted by the green roof industry and used in the development of Toronto’s green roof by-law. In 2012, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities awarded Dr. Bass the Lifetime Achievement Award for Green Infrastructure Research.
From 2004 – 2008, Dr. Bass founded and managed the Canadian Climate Change Scenario Network, a national network of centres providing climate change scenarios and research support across Canada designing a system that provided constant service in spite of any regional issues with connectivity. Dr. Bass’ experience with this network earned him a two-year acting position on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Task Group on Data and Scenario Support for Impact and Climate Analysis.
In 1999, Dr. Bass led the development of COBWEB (Complexity and Organized Behaviour Within Environmental Bounds), an agent-based simulation model that was meant for theoretical work in complexity, chaos and adaptation. When students began to create real world applications in a broad range of disciplines, Dr. Bass began developing research activities for high school and undergraduate students, eventually leading to the University Research Experience with Complex Systems (URECS), a unique research and leadership-training program for secondary school and university students.
Dr. Bass is active in the community in other ways. In addition to URECS, Dr. Bass volunteers time to the establishment of urban meadows, teaching and other student mentoring activities through the Foundation for Student Science and Technology.
Thomas J. Cunningham, PhD
Thomas J. Cunningham is Senior Vice President and the Chief Economist for the Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC). Tom joined the MAC in July 2015 following a 30-year career at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He is a specialist in open economy macroeconomic policy and regional analysis. At the MAC, he manages an internal team that supports the research and advocacy roles of the economic development and public policy departments.
After starting his career at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta as an economist in the Macropolicy group, Tom served at various times as associate director of research, interim director of research, vice president for the Regional group where he was also responsible for the Latin American group, and acting head of the Finance group. He served on the Bank's Personnel, Information Technology, and Risk Management Committees and as a member of the Federal Reserve System's Information Security Group and Technology Services Council. He also was the acting director of, and helped establish, the Bank's Center for Real Estate Analytics. When Dr. Cunningham retired from the Fed, his title was Vice President, Senior Economist and Regional Executive.
A native of Reedley, California, he received a bachelor's degree, summa cum laude, in economics from California State University, Fresno. He earned a master's degree, a master of philosophy, and a Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University. He previously worked as an economics instructor at Barnard College at Columbia University and as an adjunct instructor at Iona College, Agnes Scott College, and Emory University. He attended the executive development program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and is a member of Leadership Atlanta’s class of 2018. He is a board member of Atlanta’s Neighborhood Nexus as well as the Georgia Intellectual Property Alliance. Dr. Cunningham has published numerous professional articles and is a member of the American Economic Association, the Western Economic Association, and the Southern Economic Association.
Peter E. Thomas, PhD
Dr. Peter Thomas is an epidemiologist and Sr Research Scientist at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta and a Commander with the US Public Health Service. In his current position, Peter provides epidemiologic and guidance in technical training to West African Countries via Field Epidemiology and Training Programs. These programs help health ministries build country capacity for response to outbreaks, as well as disease surveillance, investigation and control.
Throughout his career, Dr Thomas has served as a CDC Epidemic Intelligence (EIS) Officer in the Washington, led several national HIV testing projects in Atlanta, and been deployed to more than a dozen countries in response to various health threats including Polio, HIV, Ebola, malaria, and the Haiti earthquake. Fluent in French, Peter was posted overseas for several years in Benin and then Uganda with his family as the CDC Resident Advisor for the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI). Dr Thomas has authored many publications and scientific presentations
As a public health professional, much of Dr Thomas’ professional career has focused on addressing racial inequities that drive or accelerate health disparities among people of color. In his private life, Peter continues to work on civic and social groups and boards that mentor and support people from groups who are discriminated or are disadvantaged. As an African American from Atlanta, Peter is particularly conscious of the need to support and invest in the lives and needs of young black males in ways that help address their life challenges and empower them to realize their potential.
Dr. Peter Thomas, is also a longtime member of the global ultimate frisbee community, has competed on men’s and co-ed championship teams at the community, college, elite club, and grand master levels nationally and internationally as well. He is now a co-owner of the Atlanta Hustle, a professional ultimate team affiliated with The American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL)