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February 2023 Newsletter: Say Hello to Melissa, Our New Principal for Community Health!

By Ava Lopez

February 10, 2023

Meet Melissa S. Lee, Principal and Lead of Community Health Practice

Public Works Partners is pleased to welcome Melissa S. Lee as Principal and lead of our urban planning practice, called Community Health. As Principal, Melissa will lead a multi-disciplinary team of urbanists to build stronger, more vibrant, and more equitable communities through planning, placemaking, economic development, and community engagement. A veteran in the field with more than 25 years of urban planning experience in the government, nonprofit, and private sectors,, she most recently served as West Coast division lead and Director of Planning & Community Engagement for Concordia LLC. She has launched and managed significant grant making initiatives for the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority and has spent time at the Office of the New York City Mayor overseeing a $15 million dollar streetscape project.

Melissa holds a B.A. in International Relations & Affairs from the University of Redlands and received her Master of Public Administration in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy from New York University. She shares her passion for planning with her students as an adjunct lecturer for Sustainable Real Estate & Development program at Tulane University’s School of Architecture, serves as a delegate for the American Planning Association’s Assembly for Climate Change, and is a member of the board of the Sankofa Community Development Corporation.

Learn more about Melissa’s in our press release.

I am beyond thrilled that Melissa Lee has joined Public Works Partners. Melissa is an urban planning rock star whose commitment to building strong communities and national expertise will expand our practice in all directions – come strategize for good with us!
– Celeste Frye, CEO, Public Works Partners


What We’re Doing

ICYMI: Celeste’s Approach to Creating Community-Friendly Communal Spaces
Image by Seth Dewey, via Unsplash

From strengthening social networks to promoting the economic vitality of your community, there are many benefits that stem from investing in your communal spaces. If you missed Celeste Frye’s latest talk on Shaping Community-Friendly Communal Spaces, hosted by the Connecticut Main Street Center, don’t fret! You can check out the recording on YouTube. In this presentation, Celeste laid out the elements of community-friendly communal spaces, the tools we can use to build them, and how we bring communal spaces to life through our work at Public Works Partners.


Unleashing the Power of OSW for Historically Disadvantaged Communities
Image by Waldemar, via Unsplash

The construction and operation of new offshore wind sites in the United States represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get workforce development pipelines right. This burgeoning industry will require thousands of workers as it ramps up, representing pathways to sustainable employment. Workforce development providers, regulatory agencies, and developers must start building partnerships now to ensure that historically disadvantaged communities have access to training and pipelines to employment in offshore wind. Next month, Celeste Frye and Moe Magali will join Wil Fischer of Rise Light & Power and Paul Lipson of Barretto Bay Strategies at the Business Network for Offshore Wind IPF Workforce Summit on March 28th to discuss strategies for building these partnerships.

We’re Looking for a Senior Manager!

We are looking for a strategic and analytical change agent to lead high-profile engagements with clients, including public sector agencies and major nonprofit organizations. The ideal candidate is innovative and curious, a superb communicator, adept manager, and expert in his/her field. She or he would also have experience leading complex, multi-stakeholder initiatives.

To learn more about this and other open positions, check out our careers page.

Business Planning for Nonprofits? You Betcha

While the term “business plan” may conjure up images of capitalistic schemes, they are actually incredibly important tools for organizations of all shapes and sizes, including nonprofits. A business plan is a document that takes a nitty-gritty look at your organization’s financial state and assets and lays out goals relating to growth and sustainability. Business plans can complement strategic plans by clarifying shorter term strategies to support long term goals. They can also support specific divisions within your organization by setting program specific goals relating to revenue generation or sustainability. This granular look at your nonprofit requires careful planning and some elbow grease. Find five tips for creating an effective and efficient nonprofit business plan (even if you don’t know where to start) from CEO Celeste Frye and Principal Allison Quigney in their latest article for NYNMedia.

One More Thing: Join Us For Happy Hour!

Join us for a night of mingling at NYC Offshore Wind Drinks on March 13th at 5:30 PM, cohosted by our very own Director of Business Development Moe Magali. This is an opportunity to meet developers, network with elected officials and their teams, and learn more about offshore wind employment opportunities. We can’t wait to see you there!



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