Meet the staff

Geoffrey Anderson is the President and CEO of Smart Growth America. Recently named by Partnership for Sustainable Communities as “One of the 100 Most Influential Leaders in Sustainable Community Planning and Development,” Geoff came to his current position after eight years heading the Smart Growth Program at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Geoff is a leader in the smart growth movement, and one of the authors of the foundational ten smart growth principles. With an extensive list of publications, Geoff has served as an expert witness in front of the U.S. Congress, has been interviewed and cited by the New York Times, Newsweek, the Washington Post, Fox News, NPR, and numerous other outlets and publications. As a regular conference speaker, Geoff has provided assistance to numerous communities across the country including in-depth work in Cheyenne, WY, Prince George’s County, MD, and the flagship smart growth project Atlantic Station in Atlanta, GA. Geoff received his master’s degree from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment with a concentration in Resource Economics and Policy.

Christopher B. Leinberger is a land use strategist, teacher, developer, researcher and author, balancing business realities with social and environmental concerns. Leinberger is the President of LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors, The Charles Bendit Distinguished Scholar and Research Professor, George Washington University School of Business, Nonresident Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, and a Founding Partner of Arcadia Land Company, a New Urbanism and transit-oriented development firm. His most recent book is The Option of Urbanism, Investing in a New American Dream. He is the author of Strategic Planning for Real Estate Companies and has contributed chapters to 12 other books.

Elizabeth Schilling is Smart Growth America’s Senior Policy Manager who focuses on how growth and development patterns shape quality of life and how public policies shape growth and development patterns. Elizabeth’s approach to creating more livable communities has been shaped by work for the private sector, non-profit sector and for the public sector at all levels of government. She served as the Public Information Officer to Maryland’s Secretary of Planning under Governor Parris N. Glendening and as a Legislative Aide to Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D, OR-3). From 2002 to 2005, she served as the Executive Director of the Growth Management Leadership Alliance, a national network of three-dozen smart growth advocacy organizations in thirty states and British Columbia, Canada. Elizabeth holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor of Science in Social Anthropology from Harvard College.

John Robert Smith is co-chair of T4America and policy advisor for Smart Growth America. He served for 16 years as mayor of Meridian, MS, whose Union Station, his signature project, is recognized as one of the best multi-modal transportation centers in the country. Having served as a mayor of a city with a wealth of late 19th century buildings, he worked with developers to restore those buildings, and is a strong advocate for historic preservation, believing that each community must respect its past and play to its strengths in order to develop and maintain a strong community identity. He helped define Meridian’s role as a cultural center with the restoration of the Grand Opera House of Mississippi, the creation of the Riley Education and Performing Arts Center, and the selection of Meridian as the site for the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center. Additionally, he secured $17 million in HUD HOPE VI funding to develop low- and middle-income housing.

Chris Zimmerman is Smart Growth America’s Vice President for Economic Development, and Director of the Governors’ Institute on Community Design. Much of his work focuses on the economic and fiscal impact of development policies on localities and regions. Prior to joining Smart Growth America, for two decades Chris was heavily involved in planning, development, and transportation policy in Arlington County, VA and the greater Washington, DC region. This included work as a neighborhood and civic leader, as a planning commissioner, 18 years as a member of the Arlington County Board, and 13 years on the Board of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, as well as other regional transportation agencies. Prior to his service as an elected official, Mr. Zimmerman was Chief Economist at the National Conference of State Legislatures. He holds a Master of Arts in Economics from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Economics from The American University.