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The Jury

The 13-member Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition (MR|DC) jury will take an integrated approach to evaluating the design teams and their entries for this landmark urban design project along the Mississippi Riverfront. Nationally recognized design professionals bring their expertise and vision in leading-edge landscape and urban design, while local decision-makers impart knowledge of, and commitment to, the communities surrounding the Upper Riverfront.

The jury is a two-phase process, with the design professionals making the initial evaluation and selection of 16 design teams; the full jury will then convene and select the final four short-listed teams. In January, the full jury will select the winning team and design from the four short-listed teams.

ANDREW BLAUVELT
Curator of Architecture and Design, Walker Art Center

Andrew Blauvelt is Curator of Architecture and Design at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis since 1998. He has organized several major exhibitions for the Walker on a variety of design topics ranging from the contemporary prefabricated architecture to the transformation of the contemporary suburban landscape. Previously, he served as Design Director of the Walker for more than a decade, providing creative leadership to the institution’s progressive brand identity. A graduate of Cranbrook Academy of Art, he has been a practicing designer for more than twenty years and the recipient of more than 100 design awards. He writes about design and culture for various publications including DesignObserver.com, Eye (U.K.), IDEA (Japan), Items (the Netherlands), and Perspecta (U.S.). Before joining the Walker, Blauvelt was a professor of design at several institutions in the U.S. and abroad, and is a frequent visiting critic and lecturer at numerous design schools and conferences.

JOHN ERWIN
Board President, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

John first served as a citywide Commissioner for the Park Board for four years, beginning in 2001 (two of which he was Vice President of the Park Board). During that time, his achievements included increasing winter recreational programming in Wirth Park and the helping start the Loppet ski race, writing a new policy to encourage community gardening throughout Minneapolis, initiating and effort to have citywide wireless access, initiating the Minneapolis Park Police liaison program in the Minneapolis Public Schools, and other significant projects.

Again elected to the Park Board in 2009, John is currently serving as President. To date he has overseen a search for a new superintendent, identified Board goals, purchased the Scherer Bros site for a new premier park in NE Minneapolis on the Mississippi River, established a neighborhood capital improvement budget, completed CACs for Boom Island and Wirth Park, came to agreements with the City of Minneapolis for a new Park Dedication fee and a storm water fee, and organized a national convention of park professionals to be held at the end of October.

John is a horticulture professor at the University of Minnesota, with degrees in landscape design and nursery production. His research focuses on flowering physiology, breeding for cold hardiness, photosynthesis, and identifying crops appropriate for green roofs in Minnesota. He has been the vice-chair of all scientists worldwide working on ornamental crops in the International Society of Horticultural Sciences for the last 8 years. He also worked as a landscaper, and owns a consulting business related to agricultural crop production.

DAVID FISHER
Superintendent, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

David L Fisher returned as Superintendent of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board in July 2010. Prior to that, from 2001 through early 2010, Fisher served as executive director of the Great Rivers Greenway District in St. Louis, Mo. During that time he gathered citizen input and developed a plan for The River Ring, a system of interconnected greenways, parks and trails that will encircle the St. Louis region and encompass a 600-mile web of more than 45 greenways crisscrossing the region.

Before St. Louis, Fisher served almost 30 years at the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Fisher was superintendent of the Minneapolis park system from 1981-99, Assistant Superintendent for Operations from 1977-81, Director of Park Operations 1974-77 and Park Operations Planner 1970-74. Fisher was instrumental in the 1980s-90s central riverfront development that created ribbons of green along the downtown Minneapolis riverbanks, new waterfront trails and recreational amenities, and significant private investments on both sides of the river. His other notable accomplishments included partnering with the Walker Art Center and University of Minnesota on the development of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden; inaugurating the first urban National Scenic Byway, the Grand Rounds; leading concept and collaboration efforts for Neiman Sports Complex; and completing the development of the neighborhood park system concept that guaranteed that no resident would live more than six blocks from one of the city’s parks. In 1994, as superintendent, Fisher hosted the National Park and Recreation Association (NRPA) Congress held in Minneapolis. The 2010 NRPA Congress is again being held in Minneapolis in October, and is drawing more than 4,000 park and recreational professionals from throughout country.

THOMAS FISHER
Professor and Dean, CDes, University of Minnesota

Thomas Fisher is a Professor and Dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota. Educated at Cornell University in architecture and Case Western Reserve University in intellectual history, he previously served as the Regional Preservation Officer at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, the Historical Architect of the Connecticut State Historical Commission in Hartford, and the Editorial Director of Progressive Architecture magazine in Stamford, Connecticut. He has lectured or juried at 35 different schools of architecture and 58 professional societies, and has published 34 book chapters and 247 major articles in various magazines and journals. He has published five books over the last eight years: In the Scheme of Things, Alternative Thinking on the Practice of Architecture; Salmela Architect; Lake/Flato Buildings and Landscapes; Designing for Designers; and Architectural Design and Ethics, Tools for Survival.

DIANE HOFSTEDE
Minneapolis City Council Member

HofstedeDiane Hofstede is the Minneapolis City Council Member for the Third Ward.  She is Chair of the Audit Committee, and serves on the committees for Ways & Means, Regulatory, Energy & the Environment, and Public Safety & Health. A founding member of the Minneapolis Riverfront Corporation, she is the Chair of the Board of directors.  In addition to her council committee work, she is a member of the board of the University of Minnesota Stadium Advisory Committee, the University of Minnesota Alliance Steering Committee, and the North Star Corridor Development Board, Mississippi Watershed Organization Board, the North Star Corridor Advisory Committee Board, the St. Anthony Heritage Board and the Meet Minneapolis Board of Directors.

Prior to her election to the City Council, Diane worked for 20 years as a Senior Financial Advisor with a national investment company.  During this time, she also served as President of the Minneapolis Library Board. As President, she co-chaired the Building Committee for the New Downtown Minneapolis Central Library with Mayors Sharon Sayles Belton and RT Rybak.

BARBARA JOHNSON
Council President, City of Minneapolis

Barbara Johnson was first elected to the Minneapolis City Council in 1997 to represent the Fourth Ward in the northwest corner of Minneapolis. She has served as President of the Minneapolis City Council since January of 2006. Council President Johnson serves on the Public Safety & Health, Executive and Zoning & Planning committees of the City Council. She also serves on the Board of Estimate and Taxation, MEET Minneapolis, the Riverfront Development Corporation and Hennepin County’s Task Force on Teen Pregnancy.

Council President Johnson has a strong interest in parks due to the 18 years of service on the Metropolitan Parks & Open Space Commission. She also served on the Mississippi National River & Recreation Area Commission, appointed by the Secretary of the Interior. Barb was a founding member of the Victory Neighborhood Association (VINA) and was the Chair from 1994-1997.

DIANE LOEFFLER
District 59A, Minnesota House of Representatives

State Representative Diane Loeffler is in her third term in the Minnesota House, representing the thirteen neighborhoods of Northeast Minneapolis. At the legislature Rep. Loeffler serves on the following committees: Taxes (including the Property Tax Division), the Cultural and Outdoor Heritage Finance Division, Rules, and Health and Human Services Policy. She was elected by her peers as an Assistant Majority Leader.

Outside of the legislative session Diane continues to work for Hennepin County as a Policy and Planning Analyst working on issues in health and human services. Her professional work as a policy analyst has also included work in municipal finance and tax policy, education policy and education finance. She has a long history of being active in her community where she has worked as a volunteer leader on housing, community development, youth issues, and crime prevention activities. She has a B.A. from Augsburg College and has taken graduate classes in Education and Public Administration at the U of M.

PETER McLAUGHLIN
Commissioner, Hennepin County

Peter McLaughlin joined the Hennepin County Board in 1990 following two terms as a member of the Minnesota legislature. He presently serves as chair of the Hennepin County Regional Rail Authority, the Counties Transit Improvement Board and the County Board’s Public Works, Energy & Environment Committee. He is a co-founder of the Midtown Community Works Partnership, a public-private partnership which has guided transformative investments in infrastructure, housing, and jobs along the Midtown Greenway corridor over the past 15 years. In 2007, he led the effort to establish Hennepin County as a founding member of Cool Counties, a national coalition of counties working to address climate change issues. Commissioner McLaughlin is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota’s Graduate School of Public Affairs.

WILLIAM REES MORRISH
Dean of the School of Constructed Environments and Associate Dean, Parsons The New School of Design in New York City

He is a nationally recognized urban designer whose practice encompasses inter-disciplinary research on urban housing and infrastructure, collaborative publications on human settlement and community design, educational programs exploring integrated design which are applied to a wide range of innovative community based city projects. He is the author of Civilizing Terrains, and coauthored, Building for the Arts, Planning To Stay, and Growing Urban Habitats.

R.T. RYBAK
Mayor, City of Minneapolis

R.T. Rybak was first elected Mayor of Minneapolis in 2001 and was re-elected in 2005 to serve another term for the people of Minneapolis.

Mayor Rybak took office facing a post-9/11 budget crisis and deep state and federal budget cuts. He responded by implementing innovative fiscal reforms that saved taxpayers millions by reducing $80 million of inherited debt, reigning in government spending and producing six balanced budgets in four years.

Rybak’s other accomplishments include recruiting Allina and the Global Market to the Midtown Exchange, closing the City’s employment gap, creating 2,500 new housing units in three years with the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, growing the police department by 100 officers in the last two years and launching the innovative Minneapolis 311 phone system. Mayor Rybak is now leading efforts to revitalize north Minneapolis, attack juvenile crime, make Minneapolis a wireless city, end homelessness in ten years, and significantly reduce the City’s energy consumption to combat global climate change.

Mayor Rybak is a lifelong Minneapolis resident and the son of a pharmacist in the Phillips neighborhood. Rybak currently lives in the East Harriet neighborhood of Minneapolis with his wife, Megan, and their two children Grace and Charlie. Mayor Rybak truly believes that Minneapolis has the potential to become the great American city of our time and his Great City Agenda to achieve that vision includes making Minneapolis a place to live, preparing the next generation through the Minneapolis Promise, creating great public spaces by reweaving the urban fabric, closing the gaps between haves and have-nots and running the City government well, but running it for a reason.

MARK STENGLEIN
Commissioner and Vice Chair, Hennepin County

Mark was first elected as Hennepin County Commissioner in 1996 and subsequently re-elected in 2000, 2002 and 2006.

Commissioner Stenglein was appointed Vice-Chair of the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2009. He currently serves as Chair of the Budget and Capital Investment Committee. His district of 160,000 residents encompasses St. Anthony, Northeast and North Minneapolis, Golden Valley, Medicine Lake, and portions of Crystal, New Hope, and Plymouth. His district is by far one of the most diverse in Hennepin County.

After completing his undergraduate degree, Mark worked several years in the Middle East and Africa, spending one year in Kuwait City, Kuwait, and two years in Lagos, Nigeria. Mark worked primarily in accounting-related areas for several companies.  In 1989, Mark opened Les Work Executive Suites & Business Support, leasing single-person offices to independent businesspeople, while also providing secretarial support services. Mark sold his company in 2000.

BILL WENK, FASLA
Founder and President, Wenk Associates

Mr. Wenk is founder and President of Wenk Associates, Inc., a Denver-based landscape architectural firm. For over 30 years, he has been influential in the restoration and redevelopment of urban river and stream corridors, the transformation of derelict urban land, and the design of public parks and open spaces. He is recognized nationally for utilizing stormwater as a resource.

Bill’s recent work includes a master plan for the reclamation of the 32-mile Los Angeles River corridor in California; “green infrastructure” planning and implementation for the redevelopment of abandoned railyards, and restoration of the Menomonee River in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and site planning and design of stormwater gardens for redevelopment of a taxi facility into a thriving live/work destination in Denver. He has been involved in multiple projects related to the transformation of the Platte River Valley in the heart of Denver into a mosaic of parks, open spaces and in-fill development.

Bill has lectured nationally and internationally on the creative use of urban stormwater. His firm’s work has been published frequently in national and international professional journals and has won numerous regional and national design awards. He serves on the National Science Foundation’s panel for the revision of stormwater regulations and has participated as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at University of Colorado in Denver for several years. Bill is a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Most recently, Wenk Associates has been commissioned by the City of St. Paul to plan 17 miles of the Mississippi River corridor through St. Paul, MN.

LIZ WIELINSKI
Commissioner District 1, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

Commissioner Wielinski’s district includes Northeast Minneapolis, including the east side of the Upper Riverfront. Her Minneapolis Park Board appointments include Administration and Finance, Recreation (Chair), Planning, Committee on Standards and Conduct (Vice Chair), and Legislation and Inter-Governmental. Her park-related appointments and committees include Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP), St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board, Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, and the Minneapolis Riverfront Corporation.

She works with her fellow Commissioners and Park Board staff, as well as friends at the City, County, State and others to collaborate and provide the best value for the public’s tax dollars. She encourages the public to consider Minneapolis parks not only a place for relaxation and recreation, but also as a place to volunteer, because the public’s involvement is essential to keeping our green spaces, playing fields and waters preserved for generations to come.

Liz’s prior public service includes co-founding Minneapolis Park Watch, serving as a past president and treasurer of the Columbia Park Neighborhood Association, serving on the Above the Falls Citizens Advisory Committee and as a Park Board Comprehensive Plan Community Leader, and other neighborhood involvement. She has also been a treasurer for Senate District 59 DFL and Director-at-large for Minneapolis DFL.