about / team
Core Team
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JAMES RAMSEY
Co-Founder and Creator
James is the inventor of the remote skylight, which delivers sunlight below ground using a system of optics. In 2004, Ramsey opened design practice RAAD, and they have since built over a hundred projects, both in NYC and across the country.
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DAN BARASCH
Co-Founder and Executive Director
Dan leads community engagement, political outreach, fundraising, and strategic planning for the world’s first underground park. His former roles have included strategic roles at Google, PopTech, and within New York City government.
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Robyn Shapiro
Deputy Director
Robyn oversees many of the Lowline’s core activities, from community engagement to strategic projects. Her prior experience includes marketing and operations roles at Ralph Lauren, Saatchi & Saatchi, and SelectNY as well as urban farming at Eagle Street Rooftop Farm.
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Ed Jacobs
Engineer and Industrial Designer
Ed develops and executes innovative solar technologies for the Lowline. The former head of design at a motorcycle company, Confederate Motors, Jacobs is currently focusing on DNI, a utilitarian design-based company.
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Kibum Park
Architect
Kibum is a partner at RAAD and responsible for the striking Lowline renderings. He has worked on and led a number of projects in Korea and China, ranging from single residential up to a commercial building.
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Sangyun Han
Architect
Sangyun is an award-winning architect/manager at RAAD.
Board of Directors

Zach Aarons is an expert in entrepreneurship, seed stage technology investing, consulting, and finance. He currently serves as the Director of Digital Media for Millennium Hollywood, a proposed real estate development project in Los Angeles, California. He has been an active angel investor in mobile technology, investing in the seed rounds of 40 companies. In 2007, he founded the company Travelgoat, which he grew into one of the most well known online/offline walking tour companies in New York City. In 2008, Aarons founded the strategic consulting firm Apostate Partners. Zach began his career at boutique investment bank Peter J. Solomon Company where he worked on M&A and restructuring transactions in the retail and apparel industry. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA from Brown University.

Serena Altschul is an Emmy Award-winning television journalist with two decades of experience in investigative journalism. She has produced for and appeared on Channel One News, MTV News, and CNN and is currently a correspondent for CBS News Sunday Morning. Serena has also appeared on Conan O’Brien, Charlie Rose, and Bill O’Reilly, and has collaborated with Jay Z on the song, “Dopeman.” She is a winner of the Edward R. Murrow Award.

Dan Barasch is Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Lowline. He formerly led strategic partnerships at PopTech; held several strategy, operations, and marketing roles at Google; and worked in small business development within New York City government. Dan has also consulted for UNICEF in Nairobi and the 9/11 Survivors’ Fund in Washington DC. He began his career producing international affairs programming at the World Affairs Council in San Francisco, where he co-produced the weekly NPR show “It’s Your World.” He received a BA from Cornell University and a Master degree in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School.

David Barry is President of Ironstate Development Company, which owns and manages thousands of residential, commercial, and mixed-use units throughout the New York/New Jersey region.  His firm currently oversees approximately $1 billion in development, including the first major development of Staten Island’s North Shore.  He led the transformation of the Cooper Square Hotel into the Standard East Village and is launching a brand of sustainable, sleek and space efficient buildings called URL (Urban Ready Living). Barry is deeply committed to reinforcing the cultural fabric of the urban landscape with compelling public spaces like the Lowline and Staten Island waterfront. He serves on the boards of Fortress Investment Group, the Liberty Science Center, and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.  A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and a former All-Ivy wrestler at Columbia University, Barry served as the Greco-Roman Team Leader for USA Wrestling for the 2012 Olympics.

Vin Cipolla has served as Chairman, President and CEO across private and public organizations in New York, Washington, D.C., Boston and London. He is a six-time entrepreneur, an eight-time company CEO and a two-time CEO of major nonprofits. In 2015, he became Head of the David Geffen Hall Campaign at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. From 2009 through 2015, he was President of the Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS), having been elected to its Board in 2008. In 2010, he founded the MAS Summit for New York City, now the city’s leading annual urban design conference. He also co-founded the Alliance for a New Penn Station. From 2005 through 2009, he was President and CEO of the National Park Foundation, and then served as the foundation’s Citizen Chairman through 2011. In these positions he served two U.S. Presidents and three U.S. Secretaries of the Interior. Under First Lady Laura Bush he produced the first White House summit on parks philanthropy. Also among his many charitable endeavors, he was Board Chairman and President of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (The ICA) for nine years from 1996 through 2005, overseeing the development of the museum’s stunning new building – the first new museum to be built in Boston in 100 years. His business career has spanned leadership roles from Fidelity Investments to start ups, and he continues to serve on a number of corporate boards.

Paul Hoffman is the President and CEO of the Liberty Science Center, one of the nation’s largest and most preeminent interactive science museums. He is a noted expert on the public understanding of science, and has advised NASA, the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Engineering, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He is the former President and Editor-in-Chief of Discover magazine, the former Editorial Chairman of Big Think, and President and Publisher of Encyclopaedia Britannica. He is also an award-winning author of 11 books. Chicago magazine called Hoffman “the smartest man in the world” and The New York Times called him “Mayor of Strange Places.” Hoffman is co-owner of two Brooklyn restaurants, Rucola and BrisketTown, and an early investor in Kitchensurfing.

Jolie Hunt-Potter is the CEO of Hunt & Gather, a high-touch marketing and communications firm she founded in 2013, where she works with leading media, entertainment and technology companies. Hunt-Potter was previously the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at AOL. From 2008 to 2012, she was Senior Vice President, Global Head of Brand and Public Relations at Thomson Reuters, managing brand, advertising, PR and social media for the news and financial services businesses. Prior to this, Hunt-Potter was the Global Director of Corporate & Business Affairs at IBM and the Director of Public Relations at the Financial Times. Hunt also holds committee and board positions for PopTech, The Wisemen, Arthur W. Page Society, The Seminar, the Civilian Public Affairs Council for West Point Military Academy and The Episcopal School of Los Angeles. She was named ‘In-House Professional of the Year’ by the European Public Relations Consultants Association in 2012 and received an honorable mention for the PRWeek award ‘PR Professional of the Year.’ She is a graduate of Boston University and completed the Global Executive Program at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and Spain’s IE Business School in 2010.

Signe Nielsen is Principal of Mathews Nielsen, an internationally recognized landscape architecture design firm based in New York City. She has led more than 400 projects, nationally and globally, and these projects have won almost every possible design award. But her sense of design’s public mission extends far beyond these interventions. In addition to her hands-on project leadership, she is the co-author of several books on sustainable and green design for the NYC Department of Design and Construction. Signe has taught at Pratt Institute for more than two decades and has also lectured and juried competitions at institutions around the world, including Harvard University and the Ecole Normale Superiure in Paris. As president of the Public Design Commission of the City of New York, Signe is a strong and effective advocate for a beautiful, inspiring and diverse urban fabric.

Peter Shapiro is an independent music and film entrepreneur. He has founded or reinvigorated major venues like Wetlands, The Slipper Room, Brooklyn Bowl, and The Capitol Theater. He is also the publisher of Relix magazine. Shapiro has produced many ground-breaking projects, including the IMAX concert films U23D and All Access; the annual Jammys awards show; the Green Apple Festival; the Great GoogaMooga, and Central Park Jazz & Colors Festival. He is a member of the Arts Committee of the City Parks Foundation’s Board of Directors, is a co-founder of the environmental consulting firm, GreenOrder, and is a board member of Headcount, Central Park SummerStage, The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame and New York Public Radio.

Josh Sirefman Josh Sirefman is Chief Development Officer for Sidewalk Labs, and has spent his career at the forefront of the planning, negotiation and implementation of complex growth and development strategies across the public and private sectors. As founder and President of Sirefman Ventures, he led transformative development projects for a range of corporate, nonprofit and government entities. Sirefman was previously Senior Vice President for US Properties at Brookfield Properties. He is the former President of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation, and previously served as the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, as well as serving as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development and Rebuilding. He currently serves on the boards of the Fist and Heel Dance Company, New York Restoration Project, and Spaceworks. He holds a BA from Wesleyan and Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan.

Marquise Stillwell is a partner at social impact investment and design consultancy Openbox. As an entrepreneur, Stillwell started Concept Management Group, a design shop that managed and invested in innovative projects, and Blue Macaroni ventures, which focused primarily on real estate development. Corporate experience includes BMW North America, Wells Fargo, Fiserv, and Qwest. He also serves on the board of the Andrew Goodman Foundation. Stillwell holds an MA in Economics from the University of Denver, an MBA from Grand Canyon University and a BA from The Ohio State University.

Collaborators
Sunny Bates, Sunny Bates Associates
Craig Covil, Arup
Joshua David, The Highline
Lena Dunham, Writer/Actor/Director
Megan Ellison, Annapurna Pictures
Vincent Fong, Entrepreneur
Vikram Gandhi, Filmmaker
Robert Hammond, The Highline
Jeremy Heimans, Purpose
Mo Koyfman, Spark Capital
Marc Kushner, Architizer
Steven Lau, Kinetic Records
Scot Medbury, Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Bentley Meeker, Bentley Meeker Lighting and Staging, Inc.
J.B. Miller, Empire Entertainment
Mark Miller, Mark Miller Gallery
Mark Mini, John Mini Distinctive Landscapes
Jon Neidich, Restaurateur
Craig Newmark, Craigslist
Benjamin Palmer, Barbarian Group
Miriam Parker, Lower East Side Artist
Kenny Scharf, Artist
Louisa St. Pierre, Bernstein and Andriulli
Michael Tumminia, Karen Rand Associates, LLC
Morris Vogel, Tenement Museum
Lorne Whitehead, Professor, University of British Columbia

Community Advisory Board

Dominic Berg, Lowline Task Force member, local resident
Rabbi Aviad Bodner, Stanton Street Shul
David Bolotsky, Friends of Gulick Park
Huy Bui, An Choi and Plant-in City
Thanh Bui, Grand Street Settlement
Simon Chiew, Chinese-American Planning Council
Scott Conti, New Design High School
Talia DeRogatis, Henry Street Settlement
Alison Fleminger, University Settlement
Trever Holland, Lowline Task Force member, Two Bridges Tenant Association
Linda Jones, local resident
Meghan Joye, Lowline Task Force member, local resident, business owner
Sue Lalchan, Grand Street Settlement
Tim Laughlin, Lower East Side Partnership
Brett and Ella Leitner, local residents
Gigi Li, Lowline Task Force member, local resident
Shantelena Mouzon, Parent of Young Designers Program student
Anchael Ng, local resident
Carmen Orta, Seward Park Extension
Nancy Ortiz, Vladeck Houses
Daisy Paez, Lowline Task Force member, local resident
Victoria Reichelt, local resident
Anne Saxelby, Essex Street Market
Risa Shoup, Fourth Arts Block
Carolyn Sickles, Henry Street Settlement and Abrons Art Center
Marquise Stillwell, Lowline Board Member
Nadia Tykulsker, Fourth Arts Block
Alan Van Capelle, Educational Alliance
Jodi Waynberg, Artists Alliance
Thomas Yu, Asian Americans for Equality