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Conference Keynote Speakers

Karla Henderson Karla Henderson

Planning and Facilities Group Executive
Office of the Mayor
Detroit, Michigan

Karla Henderson was appointed by Mayor Dave Bing as the Group Executive of Planning and Facilities on August 2, 2011. With over 14 years of increasingly responsible management experience in the administration of public services and resources, Ms. Henderson oversees the Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department, the Building Authority, the Planning and Development Department, the Land Use plan and the Mayor’s Demolition Program. Ms. Henderson’s original appointment by Mayor Bing was as the Director of the Buildings, Safety and Engineering Department in July 2009.

Prior to joining the City of Detroit, Ms. Henderson was Manager of the Field Operations Services Unit for the City of Ann Arbor. In this capacity she was responsible for the overall management and strategic planning for the Unit including planning, coordinating and directing the operations of the water, sewer, storm utility system, park operations and forestry, natural area preservation, refuse and recycling collection, street maintenance, signs and signals, radios, technical services and the compost center. She also participated in labor management processes.

From 1996 to 2001, Ms. Henderson served as Director of Special Programs for the City of Highland Park, Michigan. Her primary responsibilities were developing operational budgets, developing a Master Plan, supervising and directing staff, maintaining city facilities, evaluating community needs, future programs and special events for the City.

Karla Henderson holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Public Resource Management from the Michigan State University and resides in Detroit.

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Dan PiteraDan Pitera

Executive Director;
Detroit Collaborative Design Center
2004-2005 Harvard Loeb Fellow

Dan Pitera is a political and social activist masquerading as an architect. He is presently the Executive Director of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture. With the view that “design” is an essential force in establishing human relations, the Design Center is dedicated to fostering university and community partnerships that create inspired and sustainable neighborhoods and spaces for all people. The sustainability and regeneration of any neighborhood lies in the hands of its residents. Thus, the Design Center provides not only design services but also empowers residents to facilitate their own process of urban regeneration.

Mr. Pitera was a 2004-2005 Loeb Fellow at Harvard University. He was a finalist for both the 2008-2009 Rafael Vinoly Architects Grants in Architecture and the 2006-2007 James Stirling Memorial Lectures on the City. Under his direction since 2000, the Design Center was included in the US Pavilion of the 2008 Venice Biennale in Architecture and recently was awarded the 2009 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Design Excellence for the St. Joseph Rebuild Center in New Orleans. The Design Center was the recipient of the NCARB Prize in 2002 and 2009 and was included in the international exhibit/conference ArchiLab in 2001 and 2004 in Orleans, France. The Design Center has also been the awarded the 2002 Dedalo Minosse International Prize. In 1998, Mr. Pitera was the Hyde Chair of Excellence at the University of Nebraska. He has lectured and taught extensively throughout the North America, South America, and Europe. He likes “fallout shelter” yellow…

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