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Past Speakers

John H. Classe, Jr. / Baldwin Park
Nancy Graham / N-K Ventures
Dennis Higbie / Director Walt Disney World Horticulture
Alex Kane / President Heritage Green
Greg Logan / Managing Director of Robert Charles Lesser & Co
Elizabeth Miller, ASLA, AICP / National Capitol Planning Commission
Barry McKently / Vice President Facilities Universal Studios Orlando
Timothee Sallin / Executive Director Magic of Landscapes
Katy Moss Warner / President Emeritus American Horticultural Society
Dr. Kathleen Wolf / University of Washington, Seattle, WA

John H. Classe, Jr.

As Vice President of Planning and Infrastructure, John is part of the team that is redeveloping the former Naval Training Center Main Base property now known as Baldwin Park. The project is a unique greenfield/redevelopment opportunity on a 1,100-acre site that will transform the property into a new community with neighborhoods, shops, and offices. John is responsible for setting and managing strategic direction for all planning, design, and construction aspects of this project.

Prior to joining Baldwin Park, John was the Florida Region Service Manager for PBS&J located in Orlando. John was responsible for the civil engineering, surveying, land planning, and landscape architecture divisions in the state of Florida. In addition to his corporate duties, John was Principal Engineer for several key projects in Central Florida including the town of Celebration and Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme parks.

Nancy Graham, N-K Ventures, West Palm Beach FL

Nancy Graham is a nationally recognized leader in urban development and city building.  Since 2002, Nancy is a partner in N-K Ventures, LC responsible for the planning, design and entitlement process of the company's urban infill redevelopment projects.  Prior to starting N-K Ventures, Nancy was the President of the Palm Beach Division of Watermark Communities, where she was responsible for the planning and entitlement of six large scale development projects. While at WCI, Nancy also served on the Governor's Florida Growth Management Study Commission and chaired the Urban Revitalization Subcommittee.

As the City of West Palm Beach's first "strong" mayor from 1991 and 1999, Nancy gained national recognition for her visionary and dynamic leadership.  Nancy was responsible for taking a fiscally impoverished city and transforming it to national prominence through innovative fiscal measures, careful attention to customer service and sponsorship of major new development projects, including CityPlace, a 2.3 million square foot urban mixed use project that has received wide acclaim since opening in the fall of 2000.  Nancy was the co-recipient of ULI's annual Award of Excellence in 2002 for CityPlace. 

 Dennis Higbie / Director Walt Disney World Horticulture

Dennis began his career at the Walt Disney World Resort as a gardener, after completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Plant Science at Rutgers University in 1980. Over the next 20 years he held positions of increasing responsibility and in January 2000, was named Director of Disney’s Horticulture and Pest Management. For the past five years, Dennis has directed a staff of over 675 horticulturists who nurture and maintain the award-winning landscapes of the 30,500-acre Walt Disney World Resort that includes four theme parks, 19 resort properties and over 70 miles of roadways.

Under Dennis’ leadership, this team of horticulturists, designers, gardeners, arborists, irrigation specialists and pest management technicians ensures that Disney’s horticultural traditions of beautiful gardens and themed landscapes continue to inspire guests who visit the Walt Disney World Resort year-after-year.

Topic: Factors and Considerations in Budgeting and Facilitating the Growing Asset of Walt Disney World’s Impressive Gardens and Landscape.

Alex Kane / President Heritage Green

Alex Kane has been involved in the development and construction industry for over 20 years. His primary involvement and strength lies in bringing the development on-line from its conceptual stage to the finished product. This hands-on approach to delivering the product is augmented by a strong background in the finance industry specializing in large ticket development sites and sub-division projects. Alex’s background has evolved into a depth of practical understanding of all facets of development, and in more recent times Alex has undertaken a strong focus on the integration of development into the environment and sustainable development practices.

Alex will explore the many facets of value creation that are often overlooked or misunderstood.

  • How does investment in quality landscapes compare to other cost components in real estate development in terms of return on investment to the development company?
  • How can quality landscapes create sustainable value for a development company beyond the scope of a single project?
  • How do landscapes contribute to establishing a brand or image for a development company?
  • What is the role of quality landscapes in creating sustainable green communities?
  • What can we learn from examples of successful projects in Australia that have captured the value of landscapes?

Greg Logan / Managing Director of Robert Charles Lesser & Co

Gregg Logan, Managing Director of Robert Charles Lesser & Co, will discuss "The Value of Open Space" in real estate development. His presentation will identity the premiums that can be realized by including open space and park elements within new home communities and mixed-use environments, while addressing such issues and questions as:

  • The market opportunities and trends influencing the use of open space and park amenities in new home communities and mixed-use environments, particularly in the southeast and central Florida.
  • How do parks, open spaces and nature preserves compare as amenities for real estate development projects relative to other amenities such as golf courses, town centers, etc.?
  • Do open space and park elements pay their way?
  • What types of premiums can be realized for property that is oriented to parks and open space?
  • How does the way in which parks and open space are incorporated influence the price premiums that can be realized?
  • Who are the market segments that are most attracted to various types of open space and park-like settings?
  • How do parks, open spaces and nature preserves influence the densities at which new home communities can be created?
  • What are the fiscal impacts of including parks, open spaces and nature preserves?

 Barry McKently / Vice President Facilities Universal Studios Orlando

During the past 16 years, Barry has directed horticulture for Universal Orlando. While responsible for all aspects of ongoing maintenance, he has also been instrumental as the owners’ representative for design and construction of each phase of development within the Orlando Resort. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware with a BS in Plant Science and Landscape Architecture. He studied extensively under Roberto Burle Marx (Brazilian LA) during and after college. Barry spent 8 years with Walt Disney World, managing its tree farm as well as developing and maintaining the Epcot Landscape. For 3 years, Barry designed and constructed the landscapes for Lake Nona Estates in South Orlando.

Elizabeth Miller, ASLA, AICP

Elizabeth Miller is the Senior Urban Designer/ Planner for the National Capital Planning Commission. Since 2001, NCPC has been in the forefront of addressing emerging issues and challenges associated with building perimeter security projects and the impacts on the built environment in the nation’s capital.

Elizabeth is the project officer for the National Capital Urban Design and Security Plan, a plan to integrate building perimeter security into an attractive and livable urban landscape. The plan won the 2003 American Planning Association Award for Excellence for a federal project and APA’s 2005 Award for Excellence in the current topic category of Safe Growth. In addition, she managed the perimeter security and beautification project for the Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House, which was completed in January 2005.

Prior to moving to Washington DC, Elizabeth was Principal Planner for Palm Beach County, Florida. She worked on policy, codes, and development review, focusing on urban development, urban design and landscape design.

Elizabeth received her Master’s degree in Design Studies from Harvard Graduate School of Design, and obtained her undergraduate degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Florida.

Timothee Sallin / Executive Director Magic of Landscapes

Timothee is the Director of Marketing and Business Development for Cherry Lake Tree Farm. His responsibilities include the coordination of educational outreach programs, strategic planning, and sales training. Timothee has traveled extensively throughout the United States to speak with landscape architects and design professionals about emerging trends in the landscape industry. His presentations cover topics ranging from root manipulation techniques and plant procurement strategies to the value of landscapes.

In addition to his responsibilities with Cherry Lake Tree Farm, Timothee is also managing the real estate planning, entitlement and development activities of the of the company which owns over 5000 acres of agricultural land in Florida. Much of this land is currently transitioning from agricultural use to more intensive commercial, residential and mixed uses.

Timothee is the Executive Director of the Magic of Landscapes, a non profit organization whose mission is to improve quality of life by stimulating investment in quality landscaping through communication, research and education directed at key decision makers in the private and public sectors. He actively involved in professional associations including, The Urban Land Institute, The American Society of Landscape Architecture and the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association.

Timothee is a graduate from New College of the University of South Florida where he earned a joint degree in Economics and International Studies. Timothee Recently graduated from he Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Katy Moss Warner

Katy was named President and CEO of the American Horticultural Society in April 2002. The AHS is a national, non-profit, member-based organization. Her horticultural skills, business experience, and leadership qualities will drive the new vision for AHS to make America a nation of gardeners, a land of gardens.

Katy’s experience stems from being the Director of Disney’s Horticulture and Environmental Initiatives at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida , responsible for the landscapes of four theme parks, 15 resort properties and over 70 miles of roads on the 30,500-acre property. For over 24 years, she provided the leadership necessary to ensure that Disney’s horticultural traditions of beautiful gardens and themed landscapes were sustained. She led a team of horticulturists, agronomists, environmentalists, designers, gardeners, arborists, irrigation specialists and pest management technicians - encouraging them to reach broadly into their respective areas of specialization in order to share, with millions of visitors each year, the importance of beauty, the value of gardens, the richness of garden cultures, the necessity of growing food and the challenges that face those who love the earth.  

Dr. Kathleen L. Wolf, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Kathleen is a Research Scientist at the College of Forest Resources, University of Washington, and does research in environmental psychology. She has worked professionally as a landscape architect and as an environmental planner. Since receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Kathleen has worked to better understand the human dimensions of urban forestry and urban ecosystems. In addition, Kathleen is interested in the integration of scientific information in policy and planning. She is a member of the Washington State Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council, the Environmental Design Research Association, and the Seattle Mayor's Urban Sustainability Advisory Panel. Kathleen has taught and published on such subjects as Nature and Commerce, Urban Forestry in Business Districts, Roadside Landscape Perceptions, and Human Response to Urban Green Spaces. Information about Dr. Wolf’s research can be found at: