The Core Team

The Living New Deal is run by a core of about a dozen people in the Bay Area, New York, Portland and West Virginia. Most of the core team are volunteers, some are paid. They manage our research, website, newsletter, press and social media, conferences and talks, outreach and education, network of National Associates, and more.

Living New Deal team, March 2019: Sheila Hembury, Harvey Smith, Bob Leighninger, Elliott Medrich, Richard Walker, Barbara Bernstein, Gray Brechin, Glenna Anton, Dylan Nelson + Susan Ives, Lisa Thompson (in front) 

RICHARD WALKER, Director              [email protected]
Richard Walker is professor emeritus of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught from 1975 to 2012.  He is co-author of The Capitalist Imperative (1989) and The New Social Economy (1992), and has written extensively on California, including The Conquest of Bread (2004), The Country in the City (2007), The Altas of California (2012), and Pictures of a Gone City (2018).  He serves as Treasurer on the Living New Deal non-profit board of directors.


GRAY BRECHIN, Project Scholar             [email protected]
Gray Brechin is the founder of  the Living New Deal and former Vice-President of the National New Deal Preservation Association.  He is an historical geographer and author, who received a BA in History and Geography, an MA in Art History, and a PhD in Geography from the University of California, Berkeley.  Gray is author of Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin (1999), considered a classic of urban studies. Gray regularly lectures around the country about the New Deal legacy. He is President of the Living New Deal non-profit board of directors.


ELENA ION, Project Manager & Research Manager    < [email protected]>
Elena completed her Ph.D. in Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley and spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University. She has taught at UC Berkeley and the Boston Architectural College and has worked as a practicing architect. Elena handles public outreach and crowdsourcing, the content on the Living New Deal website, and the submission of New Deal sites to our database.


HARVEY SMITH, Project Advisor              [email protected]
Harvey is President of the National New Deal Preservation Association and an expert on New Deal art. In 2010 Harvey was co-curator of “The American Scene: New Deal Art, 1935-1943,” in Walnut Creek, California. He received a BA in English and an MA in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley, and he has worked as a union carpenter, public health worker, radio journalist, horse rancher, and public school teacher. He is the author of New Deal Berkeley (Arcadia Press, 2014) and Vice-President of the Living New Deal non-profit board of directors.


SUSAN IVES, Communications & Events             [email protected]
Susan’s contributions to the Living New Deal include publishing the quarterly newsletter,  organizing fundraising events, creating brochures and maps, and more.  Susan Ives Communications provides strategic communications to nonprofits, public agencies, philanthropies and social venture businesses. Her writing has appeared in newspapers, magazines and online. She holds a BA in Journalism from University of Michigan, an MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and is a graduate of Coro Foundation. Susan has served as Vice President for Public Affairs at Trust for Public Land, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Environmental Affairs of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Communications Director for Planned Parenthood, and Media Officer at Sierra Club.


BRENT MCKEE, Project Historian               [email protected]
Brent was our first research associate and has been a stalwart of the project ever since, contributing hugely to website content and doing extensive research in the National Archives.  Brent has an MA in Public Policy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and an MA in History from American Public University.  Prior to catching the New Deal bug, Brent managed a Maryland state program for inmates and served in Americorps.  He lives in West Virginia.


LISA THOMPSON, Webmaster               [email protected]
Lisa Thompson has worked as a graphic designer and web developer since the early days of the internet. She is a naturalist who swims and kayaks the waters of Tomales Bay. A playwright and author of short stories, essays and travelogues, Lisa is an alumna of the Department of English Literature at the University of California, Irvine. She manages the Living New Deal website and is forever at work on improvements and updates to the ever-expanding database, map and website content, as well as managing our servers, apps and everything else that comes up.


EVAN KALISH – Researcher At Large & Quality Control    <[email protected]>
Evan is based in New York City, but heads out on the road at every opportunity. He has done extensive work documenting New Deal sites around the country and is personally responsible for thousands of entries to the Living New Deal database and map. He has visited more than 9,000 post offices across all 50 states, and his work and blog,  Postlandia, have been featured by several major media outlets.  He is a graduate of Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania, with degrees in Entrepreneurship and Urban Spatial Analytics.


ELLIOTT MEDRICH, National Associates Coordinator               [email protected]
Elliott is an education researcher and policy analyst. He received his Ph.D. in planning, policy analysis and statistics from the University of California, Berkeley. He spent many years as administrative vice president at an education research firm writing policy briefs, foundation proposals, and budgets for federal and state government and non-profit grant makers.  His responsibilities also involved designing and implementing project management and performance-based reporting systems; and building multi-organization research partnerships. He helps manage and coordinate some Living New Deal activities and he will also design or participate in one or more projects involving children and youth.


MARGARET CRANE, LND New York City Branch Coordinator            <[email protected]>
Margaret (“Peggy”) moved to New York in the 1970s to become a professional singer of art song, opera, and oratorio. In the 1980s, she segued to peace and human rights activism, working in non-profits such as Riverside Church, Campaign for Peace and Democracy, and New Initiatives for Full Employment. Subsequently, she worked as editor, writer, and publicist in the field of medicine, working for hospitals and disease research and advocacy foundations. In 2004, she did graduate study in global health at the University of Copenhagen and became a freelance health and medical writer.  She is now leading the Living New Deal branch in New York, whose goal is to put historical markers at the hundreds of New Deal sites across the city’s five boroughs.


KURT FEICHTMEIR, Development Director      <[email protected]>
Kurt was formerly Director of Extended Learning for the San Francisco Exploratorium. His work with the Exploratorium spanned more than three decades, during which time he led the museum’s publishing program and developed education programs for learners of all ages. A graduate of the University of California, Davis, Kurt has lived and worked in Colombia and has a background in international business.  He currently lives in Portland OR.


GLENNA ANTON, General Assistant        <[email protected]>
Glenna is a recent Ph.D. recipient from the Department of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley. She helps with data entry, office work and events.


BARBARA BERNSTEIN, Public Art Specialist   <[email protected]>
Barbara founded the New Deal Art Registry, a crowd-sourcing web site that has collected photos and data about thousands of New Deal murals and sculptures around the country.   She is thrilled that this great resource is finally being appreciated and protected. Before moving to California she uncovered much forgotten public art in Chicago and her award-winning short film Silver Lining (1978) helped revive interest in the Federal Art Project. She has been a software company executive and technical writer, and she was for many years a columnist for Software Magazine. Barbara is a graduate of the University of Chicago.


YING LEE, Political Advisor              [email protected]
Ying taught in the Berkeley Unified School District and served on the Berkeley City Council in the 1970s. She joined Congressman Ronald Dellum’s staff in 1984 and later served as Legislative Director for Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Ying retired in 2000. She works in the anti-war movement, is a Trustee for the Berkeley Public Library, and helps to raise her three grandchildren. She is an active member of Grandmothers for Peace and author of Ying Lee: From Shanghai to Berkeley, An Oral History (Berkeley Historical Society, 2012).

LND Team Oct 2018: Bob Leighninger, Dylan Nelson, Harvey Smith, Susan Ives, Lisa Thompson, Richard Walker, Brent McKee, Gray Brechin (Mr. Gimpy)

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Former Team Members

ERIN REDING, Project Manager, 2017-18             [email protected]
Erin is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley,  earning highest honors, Phi Beta Kappa and the Best Student in Geography.  She finished Berkeley Law School in 2007, first worked for Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, and then the County of Alameda as Deputy County Counsel.  She is now an attorney with Moscone, Emblidge & Otis in San Francisco.


DYLAN NELSON, Research Assistant      <[email protected]>
Dylan is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, where he studied history, ecology, and Native American Studies. His thesis was a cultural and environmental history of mining and anti-mining resistance at the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in north-central Montana. He is doing research on the CCC in the National Parks, using the NPS survey of historic buildings.


GABE MILNER, Project Manager, 2014-17                 [email protected]
Gabe holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Berkeley, where he worked closely with the Regional Oral History office of the Bancroft Library. During the period he worked for the Living New Deal, Gabe was also an Adjunct Professor at the University of San Francisco, where he taught US history.  Gabe’s research centers on cultural memory in the late 19th and early 20th century United States.  He has moved to Los Angeles to teach AP US and African American History at the Episcopal School of Los Angeles, a diverse school drawing students from around greater L.A.


ALEX TARR, Project Manager 2013-14                 [email protected]
Alex is a past project manager for the Living New Deal. He was a doctoral student in Geography at the University of California, Berkeley, at the time he served as our manager. He is now Assistant Professor of Geography at Worcester State University in Massachusetts.  He studies the geography of cities, especially Los Angeles, and urban agriculture. He is both a New Deal devotee and an IT magician who kept our website functioning in the face of many challenges.  He formerly served as Secretary of the Living New Deal non-profit board of directors.


RACHEL BRAHINSKY, Project Manager 2012-13       [email protected]g
Rachel was our first Living New Deal project manager and left an indelible mark on the project.  She holds a Ph.D. in Geography from UC Berkeley and now teaches at the University of San Francisco in the Graduate Program in Urban Affairs.  Rachel was postdoctoral fellow in the Berkeley Geography Department in 2012-13, at the same time as she served as the Living New Deal’s project director.  She serves as Secretaryt on the Living New Deal non-profit board of directors.


SHAINA POTTS, Senior Research Assistant         [email protected]
Shaina was out primary RA and Gatekeeper from 2010 to 2013 and again in 2015-17. She was essential to building our archive and map in a critical period of growth, and again in building our pocket map of New Deal New York City.  As a doctoral student in Geography at the University of California, Berkeley, she studied the geography of finance, focusing on the intersection of finance, politics, and space. She completed her dissertation on international finance and the law in 2017 and moved on to the faculty at UCLA.


LINDSEY DILLON, Research Assistant
Lindsey is a former graduate student in the Geography Department at the University of California, Berkeley, and currently a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Davis.  She was our first student Research Assistant, when the project was just getting off the ground, and was invaluable in those early years, 2007-10.


JOHN ELRICK, Research Assistant                      [email protected]
John is a doctoral student in the Department of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is working on his dissertation on the history of land development and property capital in 19th century San Francisco.  He assisted us with documenting New Deal sites for the national database and map.


BEN HASS, Website Developer             [email protected]
Ben is a web developer and interactive media specialist. Prior to working as a technology consultant, Ben studied Art History and Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Ben vastly improved the design of the Living New Deal website and built the Google map and infrastructure we still use. He served as our webmaster from 2010-2013.


JOHN STEHLIN,  Submissions Gatekeeper
John was our RA in charge of all submissions of site data and stories to the Living New Deal database and map, which includes background research and verification of information.  He was the main conduit from our Research Associates to the Berkeley Team and for contacts to [email protected].  He completed his Ph.D. in the Department of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2015.  His work concerns the role of the bicycle in the gentrification of American cities and he is a long-time bicycle activist.


GRETA MARCHESI,  Research Assistant       [email protected]
Greta was in charge of all submissions of site data and stories to the Living New Deal database and map in 2014 and 2015. Greta was a doctoral student in the Department of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley. She studies how political visions have shaped scientific knowledge, including the influence of the New Deal on scientific experiments at the Soil Conservation Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.


CHRIS CARLSSON, New Deal Film Archivist       <[email protected]>
Chris helped create our New Deal film archive in 2015.  He is a well known activist, writer and historian in San Francisco.  His books include Ten Years That Shook The City, Nowtopia and Critical Mass (the bicycle movement he helped to found in the early 1990s).  Chris overseas the wonderful history website on San Francisco called shapingsf.org and has worked closely with the Internet Archive.


GARRETT BRADFORD, Cartographer             [email protected]
Garrett is a GIS analyst with the casualty practice of Milliman, Inc. in San Francisco. Garrett is a trained cartographer with expertise in the creation and management of spatial data, spatial analysis, geocoding and python scripting. He received a B.A. in Geography from the University of California, Berkeley in 2009 and an M.S. in Geographic Information Science at San Francisco State University. He helped with our New Deal map of San Francisco in 2014-15.


OTHER PAST CONTRIBUTORS
Elizabeth Camacho, programmer at IRLE, University of California, Berkeley;
Heather Hunsinger, former programmer at IRLE, now with Splunk;
Lisa Ericksen, our first project manager, formerly with the California Historical Society;
Terry Diggs, Adjunct, Hastings School of Law;
Tim Drescher, Professor Emeritus, San Francisco State University;
Terry Huwe, Librarian, IRLE;
Jane White, Berkeley.

Bay Area meeting of New Deal Team, November 2017
Reding, Walker, Boettiger, Thompson, Leighninger, Ives, Smith, Brechin, Anton 

Front: Michel, Lisa, Annie, Barbara, Leslie, Harvey, Susan; Back: Dick, Garrett, Chris, Gray, Marty, Bob, Gabe

Bay Area New Deal Team, Spring 2015

Front: Walker & L. Leighninger; back: Carlsson, Wiley, Brechin, Smith, Tarr, Nicolaus, Jordan, Thompson, Leighninger, Milner, Stehlin

Bay Area New Deal Team, January 2015

Front: Walker & L. Leighninger; back: Carlsson, Wiley, Brechin, Smith, Tarr, Nicolaus, Jordan, Thompson, R. Leighninger, Milner, Stehlin

LND team, April 2014

LND team, April 2014

LND Team, June 2013

LND Team, June 2013

Elrick, Potts, Ives, Walker, Brechin, Kinsey, Smith
LND Team, May 2012

LND Team, 2008

LND Team, 2008

TERRA GRAZIANI
Terra is a fourth year undergraduate student studying Geography, with a focus on food systems. She grew up in eastern North Carolina and is currently researching the role of New Deal programs in shaping this area of the country.

CLAIRE STRINGER
Claire is an undergraduate studying English, with a focus on American literature, and a double minor in Geography and Creative Writing. She co-runs and illustrates an online literary magazine, Oatmeal Magazine: A Literary Breakfast of Champions. She is currently doing research on the New Deal in South Carolina.

TOMOYO TAKAHASHI
Tomoyo is majoring in Sociology, with a double minor in Demography and Music. She has performed on the Carillion in Sather Tower. And, thanks to growing up Sapporo, site of the 1972 Winter Olympics, she is also a black diamond skier. Currently, she is doing research on New Deal Art in New Mexico.

BURT CHEN
Burt was an Industrial Engineering and Operations Research Major major. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and grew up in San Ramon, California. He did research on the effects of the New Deal on the state of Hawaii.

ELISE CHRISTINA TAM COOC
Elise was cognitive science major from the Bay Area and involved with the Asian American Association (AAA) and Cal Opportunity Scholars Association (COSA). She did research on the New Deal in Oregon.

IAN HILL
Ian was a Cognitive Science major, with a concentration in Cognitive Psychology. He was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, but has family ties are to the Hudson Valley of New York. He researched the differential impact of New Deal programs across racial lines due to discriminatory institutions and legislation.

Read more about how these people contributed time and expertise to the Living New Deal on our project history page.

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