Who We Are

Chair – Andrew Simons

Principal, Emphas!s Design

Vice Chair – Amy E. Turner

Senior Fellow, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School

Secretary – Kate Collignon

Partner, HR&A Advisors

Treasurer – Ted Weissberg

Executive Chairman, Digital Marketing Institute

Board Members

Terri Carta, Executive Director, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy

Scott Demel AIA, LEED AP BD+C, CPHD, Marvel

Deborah Flynn, Design Consultant

Paul Gertner, CEO, Starborn Industries

Gordon HillClimate Index Quantitative Researcher, Gro Intelligence

Wes Jacobs, Project Director, Leading Light Wind, Invenergy

Richard B. Miller, Vice President, Regulatory, Consolidated Edison Company of New York

Sumner Pingree, Environmental Consultant

Robert Pirani, Director, NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program Hudson River Foundation

Eric Pitt, Chief Commercial Officer, Emergent Climate

Kati Solomon, Vice President of Operations, Bryant Park Corporation / 34th Street Partnership

Brooklyn Greenway Initiative Staff

Hunter Armstrong, Executive Director

Hunter Armstrong is the Executive Director of the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative where he calls on nearly two decades of experience improving public spaces and the public realm in New York City. Most recently, he was Deputy Director of Development and Communications at the Natural Areas Conservancy, a park non profit that stewards New York City’s nature trails program. Previously, he was the executive director of CIVITAS, a community-based planning organization in Manhattan, where he organized multiple environmental and open space programs, and he led an ideas competition to improve the East River Esplanade. He has a masters degree in urban and environmental planning from the University of Virginia and a certificate in nonprofit management from Columbia University. When he’s not exploring New York City’s parks and neighborhoods, Hunter enjoys cycling, swimming, and hiking as well as running on the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway.

Avvah Rossi, Director of Horticulture and Greenway Stewardship

Avvah works at the Naval Cemetery Landscape with the staff to help maintain the space and its plantings and support visitors' engagement with its biodiversity and ecology. She also works on BGI's stewardship and greening projects along the greenway. She is a horticulturist and ISA-certified arborist with experience from many botanical gardens, public parks and and historical gardens. She enjoys teaching people about plants as part of her work in public gardens: including horticulture, arboriculture, and agriculture practices. She is excited to work with BGI to foster thriving habitat for native plants and community involvement in everything from seed saving to street tree care.

Brian Hedden, Advocacy & Greenway Projects Coordinator

Brian coordinates advocacy & project development for the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway and citywide greenway network, liaising with elected officials & greenway leads at government agencies, and coordinating the NYC Greenways Coalition meetings, member outreach, & campaigns. Before joining BGI, Brian was a co-founder of Bike South Brooklyn, where he organized actions that resulted in the largest expansion of bike lanes in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights. Brian was born in New York State, and biked from his native Western New York to his home in Brooklyn along the Empire State Trail the first spring after it opened.

Leah Retherford, Naval Cemetery Landscape Gardener

Leah Retherford is a gardener at the Naval Cemetery Landscape and works closely with the NCL team to steward the space and welcome visitors. Prior to joining the BGI team, she worked as the Project Manager at the NYC Compost Project hosted by Big Reuse and before that as the Farm Manager at the Queens County Farm Museum. She began urban gardening in Detroit in 2002 where she cofounded Birdtown Community Garden with Bashir Ali Hakim, and realized putzing in the garden is what she's best at.

Laura Marie Ruocco, Naval Cemetery Landscape Gardener

Laura Marie Ruocco is a gardener at the Naval Cemetery Landscape where she works to steward the land and welcome visitors. Previously, she has worked growing ginseng in the Catskill Mountains, farming organic flowers and vegetables in the Hudson Valley, and maintaining residential native plant gardens. Laura Marie came to gardening through the study of herbal medicine, and works with clients as a clinical herbalist.


Jon Orcutt, Advocacy

Jitasa, Bookkeeping and Accounting

Tech4Results, Website and IT Support

NCL Advisory Committee

Anna Bakis

Sarah Kornbluth

Jeffrey Longhenry

Penn Marchael

Andrew Ullman