If you’ve visited the Regional Building recently, you may have noticed some new faces around the PDC and TPO offices. Here are brief summaries of talented professionals that have recently join the PDC and TPO staffs.
Welcome aboard! We’re glad you have joined us and we look forward to your contributions to making Hampton Roads a great place to work, live and play!
Kyle Gilmer, HRTPO Transportation Planner II – Kyle Gilmer joined the HRTPO in March 2022. Previously, he was the Geographic Information System (GIS) Analyst for Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS). In that role, he was mainly responsible for researching, publishing, and maintaining GIS data, maps, analysis, reports, charts, and graphs including online interactive maps/app. His projects included creating documents and presentations to convey planning recommendations, research and analyze new housing development/redevelopment from staff, other agencies, and the public, and analyzing student membership projections based on multiple factors. He was engaged heavily in the public school system to educate and inform the younger generations on the importance of Geography, GIS, and the endless opportunities that come within the field. Kyle previously completed some work for Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation Department as the lead planner to research, create, and propose the very first Sustainability Plan in the Department, leading to the push for Chesterfield County to follow suit and create a countywide plan. The Sustainability Plan is currently under review and edits, with a proposed date of adoption and implementation in October 2022. Also, Kyle has created academic mapping products that have been included in journal articles and others.
Kyle has a Bachelor of Science in Geography with a GIS Concentration/Certificate from Old Dominion University and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning with a Concentration in Environmental Planning and Certificate in Sustainability Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University. Kyle serves as an Alumni Mentor for ODU’s Department of Political Science and Geography Alumni Relations Committee (ARC) and has served several times as a VCU guest lecturer for the Master of Urban and Regional Planning Program. He was raised a military-brat, living in numerous places such as New Orleans, Fort Worth, Tampa, and spent most of his time overseas in Japan. Since moving to Virginia Beach in 2013, Hampton Roads has become his home away from home. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, cooking, working out, hanging out with his lab, Cooper, and being a foodie.
Grace Hansen, HRPDC Coastal Planner – Grace Hansen joined the HRPDC in September 2022. After completing graduate school in Monterey, California, Grace returned to the east coast. She recently served as a Policy Analyst for the Coastal Flood Resilience Project where she assisted in drafting policy papers related to managed relocation and federal infrastructure climate adaptation plans. During the summer of 2021, she completed fellowships through the Center for the Blue Economy Summer Fellowship Program. Grace worked for The Nature Conservancy California Chapter researching ‘blue carbon’ and examining the effects of sea level rise on wetlands and how blue carbon projects fit into existing carbon markets in California. During her second fellowship, a collaboration between Dr. Charlie Colgan and the Mid Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean, Grace estimated blue carbon stocks and sequestration rates of wetlands throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. In 2019, she served as the Reduce Reuse Intern at The Nature Foundation St. Maarten where she educated over 300 local children on the dangers of single use plastics. She worked alongside government agencies and other non-profits to encourage the government to ban single-use plastics and create a more circular economy. On July 1st, 2021, the government of Sint Maarten banned single-use plastics.
Grace earned a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Rollins College and a Master of Arts in International Environmental Policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. She is originally from Timonium, Maryland, and in her free time, enjoys swimming, hiking, and traveling.
Matthew Harrington, HRTPO Transportation Planner I- Matthew Harrington joined the HRTPO in August 2022. He is new to the field of planning having just graduated with his Bachelor’s degree in Urban and Regional Studies and Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University. His goal is to receive his planning certification from the American Institute of Certified Planners in the near future. He is originally from Northern Virginia and in his free time enjoys the outdoors and spending quality time with his family.
Matt Klepeisz, HRPDC/HRTPO Communications Administrator – Matt Klepeisz joined the HRPDC and HRTPO in July 2022. Previously, he was the Public Affairs Officer for Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Atlantic (NCTAMS LANT) with the Department of Defense. Among his key projects were conducting a ribbon cutting for a new headquarters building, documenting key moments for the department, and serving as the media contact during crisis communications. Prior to that role, Matt served as the Public Relations Manager for Busch Gardens Williamsburg and, before that, the Virginia Aquarium. He oversaw all external communications on behalf of the organizations, including management of social media channels, crisis communications, and media relations efforts. Successes included an HRPRSA Pinnacle Award for Social Media Campaign under $5,000 for Hector the Seal on Tinder, as well as a complete overhaul of the Aquarium’s website. Viral successes included the Cute Animal Tweet Off, sea turtle release live streams, and a post reaching over 600,000 impressions.
Matt has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Virginia Tech and is a proud Hokie. He is a native of Yorktown, and spends his free time with his wife and two kids exploring Hampton Roads, enjoying the beach, or visiting the museums and attractions that the region has to offer.