OUR TEAM

LEADERSHIP TEAM

 
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Steve McMurtry, PrincipalResumé
Steve is a principal with De Novo and is responsible for management of a variety of complex environmental projects, land use plans, air quality modeling, biological assessments, agricultural LESA modeling, and regulatory permitting. He has extensive experience managing CEQA and NEPA documentation for complex and detailed projects, including private development projects and public planning, transportation, and policy projects. His experience includes service in engineering and planning firms, as well as in the building industry where he was responsible for project budgets of over $300 million. He has managed large Specific Plans and EIRs with complex transportation, water, wastewater, and infrastructure issues and has served as a technical planner on General Plans and General Plan EIRs. He graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a bachelor's degree in Natural Resource Management with graduate studies in Biological Sciences at San Jose State University.

 
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Ben Ritchie, PrincipalResumé
Ben is a principal with De Novo and is responsible for managing long range planning documents, completing complex and controversial CEQA documents, and facilitating community outreach and public communications efforts for the firm. His experience includes a variety of land use, transportation, and sustainability projects throughout California. Ben has extensive experience communicating complex topics in public forums in a manner that enhances community participation, understanding, and interest in community planning topics. He is an expert in Green House Gasses and has developed a partnership with the Attorney General's office and ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability to develop methodologies that local agencies can implement to address climate change at the local level and to achieve compliance with AB 32. Ben graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a bachelor's degree in Political Science and a Master of City and Regional Planning.

 
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Beth Thompson, PrincipalResumé
Beth is a principal with De Novo with two decades of professional planning experience. Her responsibilities include general plan management, environmental planning, Housing Elements, policy document preparation, and contract planning. Beth specializes in community planning and CEQA and NEPA compliance. Her experience includes the preparation and management of numerous General Plan, Specific Plan, Housing Element, and zoning projects. She also has extensive experience preparing and managing long-range planning EIRs and development EIRs for a range of project types from ski resort master plans to hospital facilities to subdivisions. Beth graduated from the University of California, Davis with a bachelor's degree in Environmental and Resource Sciences.

 
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Amanda Tropiano, Principal PlannerResumé
Amanda is responsible for leading our Southern California practice. With over 10 years of professional planning experience in the region, Amanda has successfully managed a wide variety of land use and environmental planning projects for public and private sector clients, including numerous General Plans, specific plans, corridor plans, strategic plans, sustainability programs, visioning projects, transit-oriented development plans, zoning documents, outreach programs, and CEQA projects. Amanda has a professional certificate in public engagement and completed advanced project management training from PSMJ. An active member of the Urban Land Institute, Amanda serves on the Orange County/Inland Empire District Council leadership team and is a founding member of the Young Leaders Group International Coordinating Committee. She received her undergraduate degrees in Urban Studies and Planning and Political Science at UC San Diego and she completed her Master in Urban and Regional Planning degree at UC Irvine.

 
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Martti Eckert, Senior Planner + Urban DesignerResumé
Martti oversees and provides technical expertise on urban design and long-range planning projects. Martti leads visioning, land use, and design-related efforts, participates in community outreach activities, and conducts client communications and business development programs. Martti is an expert in Adobe software, ArcGIS, AutoCAD, and SketchUp. Proficient in computer-aided and freehand drawing techniques, Martti brings a range of design skills to all of his projects. As a Certified Planner with the American Planning Association, Martti understands complex planning projects and how to design custom approaches that best meet the client's needs while reflecting contemporary best practices. He also has experience working as a staff planner for the City of Elk Grove and providing on-call design review services to other jurisdictions.


TECHNICAL TEAM MEMBERS

 
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Megan Thorne, Senior Planner + Urban DesignerResumé
Megan is a senior planner and designer with De Novo Planning Group. Megan has worked on a wide variety of planning projects for public and private sector clients, including numerous specific plans, corridor plans, general plans, site plans, strategic plans, sustainability programs, visioning projects, transit-oriented development plans, zoning documents, outreach programs, and 3D visualizations. Megan possesses the ability to think creatively and envision change while keeping projects grounded with achievable benchmarks and implementable policy goals. She excels at communicating complex information and policy ideas in a compelling and simple manner.  As a designer, Megan has differentiated herself with her hand-drawing abilities as well as her technical skills. Her technical expertise includes 3D modeling, graphic design, and web design. She continues to pioneer ways new technology can improve old processes from community outreach approaches to the web-publication of planning documents.

 
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Elise Carroll, Associate PlannerResumé
Elise earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy & Planning with an emphasis in City & Regional Planning from the University of California, Davis. She has multiple years of environmental consulting experience completing both CEQA and NEPA documentation in the public and private sectors. Elise has worked on a variety of projects throughout California, including large-scale, controversial development projects, Specific and Master Plans, and General Plan Updates. Her other skills include air quality modeling using the California Emissions Estimator Model (CalEEMod), public outreach and facilitation, and project organization and management.

 
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William Crenshaw, Associate PlannerResumé
William has a diverse skill set including current and long-range planning and CEQA documents. William provides project support in the preparation of environmental documents, General Plan updates, Zoning Code amendments, and technical studies. His experience includes public outreach, research, environmental document, and policy preparation. He has a passion to build better communities, and enjoys working creatively to balance community and environmental needs, in order to protect and enhance the living systems of each community he serves. He graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor's Degree in Geography, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he received a Master of City and Regional Planning. When he's not planning communities, William spends his time whitewater kayaking, and trying to tire out his Vizsla and Basenji.

 
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Josh Smith, Associate PlannerResumé
Josh has been in the planning industry since 2010, and is responsible for the preparation of CEQA/NEPA documents, climate change planning for local governments, and the development of air quality and greenhouse gas technical plans and reports. Josh has substantial experience with Climate Action Plans, Energy Action Plans, and toxic air contaminant Health Risk Assessments. Josh has expertise utilizing best-practice standards for developing greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories and context-specific GHG mitigation measures, as well as developing custom air pollutant emissions calculators for complex projects. He also has prior experience working in state and local government, and was appointed the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the Association of Environmental Professionals Student Outreach Director in 2013 and 2014. Josh graduated from UC Davis in 2010 with a Bachelor's of Science in Environmental Policy Analysis & Planning, where he participated in the Davis Honors Challenge Program. He is a LEED AP O+M professional.

 
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Saara Chaudry, Assistant PlannerResumé
Saara is an Assistant Planner at De Novo. Having recently received her Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning, she has launched her planning career as an Assistant Planner in the field. Saara has experience working in environmental planning on CEQA documentation preparation and has a background working in local government. She received her Master’s degree from the University of California Irvine and has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California San Diego. She is passionate about community development and is interested in the relationship between the built environment and community empowerment.

 

Jennifer DeMartino, GIS and Mapping Services
Jennifer leads the De Novo team's mapping and GIS technical services. Jennifer has over 20 years of professional GIS and planning experience, and is an expert in a wide range of GIS, mapping, spatial analysis, and quantitative analysis platforms. Jennifer holds a Master of Arts in Geography with Distinction from California State University, Northridge, and continues to serve in higher education as a college educator and ESRI Authorized Instructor and Corporate Trainer.


Caleb Gilbert, Graphics and Web Development
Caleb is a web developer and programmer with more than 15 years of experience. Caleb prepares custom, interactive websites for each of De Novo's general plan and specific plan projects and also regularly updates and maintains the De Novo website. He graduated from the University of Phoenix with a B.A. in Business Marketing.