The Firm

Founded in 2005, Community Attributes Inc. (CAI) helps clients make informed decisions and evaluate results utilizing demographics, economic and financial data, geographic information systems (GIS), and other evidence-based methods. We apply our expertise across multiple disciplines, with a particular focus on regional economics; land use economics; community and economic development; surveys, market research and evaluation; data analysis and business intelligence; and information design.

Year In Review 2015


Community can be found in surprising places. We typically think of our neighborhoods, towns and gathering places, where art and science integrate to create strong place based communities. Community can also be found in interconnected networks throughout the world, forming bonds between people of common interests and backgrounds.


Attributes make communities special and distinctive. Understanding community attributes requires an appreciation for individuals and details and an awareness of how they contribute to a larger story. Attributes can also be measured and mapped and when carefully analyzed can reveal surprising insights about communities and strategies.

The Team

Our team includes professional staff with expertise and advanced credentials in economics, business and finance, philanthropy, public policy and administration, political science, urban and regional planning, real estate development, technical communications, computer science and programming, cartography and geography.

President & CEO

CHRIS MEFFORD is the PRESIDENT & CEO OF COMMUNITY ATTRIBUTES INC., a Seattle-based consulting firm that transforms data into analysis and strategies for business, government, non-profits and philanthropy. Chris founded CAI in 2005. Chris and Community Attributes are known for bringing data to life in engaging ways to understand business and social challenges. Community Attributes works with jurisdictions in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the world on urban planning and economic development. The firm supports the private sector by relating demographics to business decisions, and they have served the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation with impact and evaluation services across many initiatives for many years.

Chris brings 20 years of experience studying economic and development patterns in the Puget Sound region. He is a father of two, and active in many community organizations. He holds a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of Northern Iowa; an M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from University of Iowa; and an M.B.A. from the University of Washington.

Senior Economist

Spencer Cohen brings five years of public sector experience as a research analyst and senior policy advisor, and an extensive academic background in economic geography. He has extensive experience in industry and market analysis, regional economic development policy, and issues related to international trade and foreign direct investment. As the senior policy advisor for the Washington Economic Development Commission, he was responsible for evaluating state economic development programs and investments and determining ways to both optimize the state's economic development system and improve how programs measure their impact.

Spencer specializes in economic analysis, including the use of input-output models to assess industry economic impacts. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, has lived and studied in China, and brings a wealth of knowledge on China-related economic and political issues, both in China and as they relate to the Pacific Northwest. He is involved in two local efforts to strengthen economic ties between Washington State and China and attract Chinese investment, and has given numerous Chinese-language presentations to inbound delegations about investment opportunities in Washington State. He has advanced quantitative and qualitative analytic skills.

Spencer has a B.A. in mathematics and history, an M.A. in China Studies, and a Ph.D. in economic geography, focused on local government finance in China. In his spare time, he enjoys ski mountaineering, traveling and exploring the outdoors with his wife.

Office Manager and Executive Assistant

Kimberly comes to CAI with more than 20 years of administrative and accounting experience. Prior to joining CAI, Kimberly was an accounts payable specialist and an executive assistant at national consulting firms. She's passionate about business operations and finding ways for companies to run smoothly. Kimberly has a degree in accounting from Seattle North College.

In her spare time, Kimberly enjoys volunteering in a Bible study ministry, or engaging in her longtime hobby of clothing design and sewing.

Senior Project Manager

With more than 20 years of consulting experience in the Pacific Northwest, Rachel has successfully led project teams, managed technical development and improved business processes while keeping teams motivated and producing results for clients. Rachel has a passion for leading high-performing teams by creating a collaborative, fun environment based on trust and respect. At CAI, she manages complex projects focused on data systems and product development.

Rachel's professional background is centered on technology, with previous project management positions within leading tech companies in the region. Rachel received a bachelor's degree in business from California State University East Bay before coming to Seattle. She is an adventurous reader, enthusiastic hiker, risk-taking chef, impatient gardener, and is continually inspired and humbled by the natural beauty and bounty of the Pacific Northwest.

Data Systems Analyst

Robbie brings experience in geospatial development, spatial analyses, and information technology. He has worked with large and small teams on various projects from creating a digital map of New York City's sewer system to developing custom routing software to building the GIS from the ground up for an international epidemiological study.

Robbie has a B.A. in music from Humboldt State University and an M.A. in geography with a GIS certificate from CUNY, Hunter College. His strong analytical, quantitative, and organizational skills, as well as his talents as an educator, are strong assets when working with clients and other staff.

When he isn't crunching data or writing scripts, Robbie enjoys backpacking, playing percussion and sailing.

Senior Geospatial Developer

Tim Duggan brings more than decade of web development experience to the Community Attributes team. Tim leads web projects for diverse stakeholders of all sizes including many in the non-profit, education and real estate sectors. He has a strong interest in geography and mapping, and applying techniques to make data useful for people, communities, and organizations. At Community Attributes, Tim uses his unique intersection of skills, education and interests to improve and expand CAI's interactive offerings and products to serve our clients' needs.

Prior to joining Community Attributes, Tim worked as a developer for private sector companies in Washington and Tennessee. He is skilled at PHP, Perl, JavaScript, ColdFusion, SQL, and jQuery/AJAX. Tim holds a B.A. in Economics from Vanderbilt University and completed the GIS Certificate program at the University of Washington, Tacoma.

When not at his desk, Tim can often be found on his bicycle exploring Washington, in his vegetable garden, or chasing after his children at the local park.

Information Designer

Maeve has over eight years of experience creating visual communications for brands of all sizes. Her expertise in logo development goes hand in hand with information and icon design, enabling complex messages to be distilled into clear and engaging visuals. Her past clients include financial services company USAA, JCPenney, The Van Cliburn Foundation, and Sabre Holdings.

She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of North Texas in 2007 and began teaching graphic design in 2015. Her work has been featured in The Dieline package design blog, Logo Lounge, and the book 1000 Handmade Greetings.

Planning Analyst

Kristina Gallant is an urban planner with deep experience in housing and real estate, with professional interests and experience in land conservation and urban design. At CAI, Kristina provides expertise in housing, real estate development feasibility, financial modeling and long range planning.

Kristina previously worked for the Housing Authority of Snohomish County where she led a partnership of 13 cities, working with elected officials and city staff to address housing challenges. She has a passion for finding new ways for communities to understand their needs, and identifying solutions that maximize economic, environmental and social benefits.

Kristina has a master's in urban planning from the University of Washington and a BA in economics and political science from Western Washington University.

Project Manager

Mark Goodman brings in-depth professional planning and economic development experience to the Community Attributes team. His past experience includes work in Sun Valley region of Idaho where he served as a land use planner for the resort city of Ketchum. The unique geography and economics of the resort community combined with his experience in Seattle provide Mark a distinct professional understanding.

Mark is at ease working with the local business community and organizing public outreach efforts and forums. He has hands-on experience with form based codes, transfer of development rights (TDR) programs, affordable housing development, public policy analysis, project management, land use permitting and zoning code development. He also has experience in public parks/space planning and farmer's market organization and coordination. Mark also excels at retail spending analysis, real estate development feasibility, economic impact analysis, GIS mapping and demographic and employment analysis. Before joining the Community Attributes team, Mark served as the planning manager for the City of Ketchum where he was responsible for the day to day operations of the department, including oversight and coordination of the City's development agenda.

Mark is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, and holds B.A. in Economics. He recently completed the University of Washington Certificate in Commercial Real Estate Development Program through the University of Washington.

Senior Data Systems Analyst

Diana Haring has expertise in managing databases, visualizing data, and analyzing geographic data. Her work at Community Attributes includes database systems management through SQL Server, spreadsheet modeling, and interactive data exploration. In addition, Diana brings cartographic experience using GIS for spatial analysis and modeling.

Prior to joining CAI, Diana was a part of the Global Burden of Disease project – a retrospective analysis of 220 diseases and injuries in 200 countries in the past 30 years. The project modeled epidemiologic and etiologic trends to help shape policies around the world. Diana's work fostered strong skills transferable to her work at Community Attributes with global libraries impacts, health care system strategies, and much more.

Diana is a graduate from the University of Washington and has a Bachelor's of Science in Oceanography. In her spare time, Diana enjoys riding her motorcycle and being outside in the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

Data Systems Project Manager

Bermet Jamankulova joined CAI in 2015 and brings a variety of experiences, including relational databases design, systems modeling, and process improvement. In her current role, she facilitates oversight and acts as lead project manager on GIS projects.

Prior to joining CAI, Bermet was a part of the Global Libraries initiative with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she worked on international development projects in the library field and developed internal processes with the Data and Digital Strategy and Business Intelligence teams.

Bermet received a B.A. in finance from Emory University. She is originally from Kyrgyzstan and is fluent in Russian. In her spare time she practices martial arts and enjoys camping and hiking with her son.

Economics Analyst

Michaela Jellicoe brings a wide range of experience in economic, data and policy analysis. She has a passion for using data to tell complex stories and translating these stories into a narrative for a diverse range of audiences.

Previously, Michaela worked as a research assistant at Purdue University, conducting economic analysis, econometric modeling, data collection and visualization and extensive research. She honed her writing skills through prior experience as a communications professional.

Michaela has an M.S. in agricultural economics from Purdue University, a B.A. in economics and political science from Western Washington University, with a minor in Spanish. In her studies at Purdue University Michaela conducted an extensive analysis on the value of externalities associated with underground natural gas storage.

In her free time Michaela enjoys playing her violin, and reacquainting herself with all that the Pacific Northwest has to offer after returning from Indiana.

Senior Planning Analyst

Bryan Lobel is a leader in economic development strategy with foundations in economic geography, urban industrial development and sustainability and neighborhood planning and design.

Trained as an urban planner, Bryan studied downtown Los Angeles' Fashion District before working with city planning departments at Glendale and Los Angeles. There he contributed to a LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) pilot project—the Cornfields-Arroyo Seco Plan-- to balance jobs and housing in an industrial neighborhood on the L.A. River. In Philadelphia, Bryan's work focused on the resurgence of urban industrial economies in “post-industrial” American cities. His effort to develop an Industrial Market and Land Use Study for the City of Philadelphia was recognized with a PA-APA Planning Excellence Award for Best Practice. This led to work on economic strategies in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Louisville, Kentucky and to the groundbreaking Detroit Works Project to develop a sustainable long-term vision for the economic future of Detroit culminating in the Detroit Future City Plan.

Bryan served as a volunteer cartographer for two months in Patagonia for a large-scale land conservation project that will become the new Patagonia National Park in the Aysen Region of southern Chile.

Bryan earned a double B.A. in English and Spanish language and literatures from the University of Colorado, an M.A. in urban planning from the University of California, Los Angeles, and is a licensed private pilot.

Data Systems Developer

Tim McIlhenny builds both the front-end design and back-end development of CAI's interactive web applications. Tim began his career more than 10 years ago as a software developer working on remote installation and project management software in Germany. He then returned to the U.S. to work with an advertising agency providing graphic and web design and product development for various medical and sports advertising campaigns. Tim most recently comes to CAI from ePropertyData/Xceligent where he utilized his design and web development skills on various commercial information exchange websites and a national commercial real estate platform. Tim is versed in ColdFusion, SQL,, C#, Javascript, Jquery, Flash, Actionscript, HTML, CSS, PHP and AJAX.

Tim holds a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, University College in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany.

In his free time, Tim enjoys cycling, mountain biking, hiking, backpacking and riding his motorcycle.

Data Systems Developer

Daniel brings more than five years of web application development experience to the CAI team. Daniel is a full-stack web engineer with a multi-disciplinary background spanning analytics, design, software engineering and psychology. Daniel applies his passion for interactive data visualization with user-centered design and analytics to produce meaningful solutions to fit clients' needs.

Prior to CAI, Daniel worked for startups and small business clients in the San Francisco Bay Area using Ruby, Javascript, PHP, Google Analytics and Tableau. He holds a B.A. in classical Liberal Arts from St. John's College, Annapolis, and an M.A. in East-West Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. He has completed internships in Community Gallery Management at the Fire House Gallery in rural Georgia, Archive Databases at the Smithsonian Institutional Archives, and Software Engineering at

Outside of CAI, Daniel may be found painting a landscape scene, or exploring natural language processing, content analysis, and machine learning on first person narratives of subjective experiences, such as dreams collected from the public web.

Marketing and Communications Manager

Katy Nally comes to CAI with a background in nonprofit and policy-focused communications. She began her career as a journalist, covering small town politics revolving around municipal operations, working directly with government officials and departments.

In Washington, DC Katy worked at an environmental think tank, crafting strategic communications concerning climate change policies. There she led efforts to conduct monthly and weekly communications to domestic and international policymakers surrounding legislative changes and interpretations of policy outcomes.

Since moving to Seattle, Katy worked at a higher education institution, telling the story of alumni, faculty and staff as a way to better position the university.

Katy holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a minor in French from the University of Connecticut.

Economics Analyst

Sudarshan Sampath comes to Community Attributes by way of the United Kingdom. He has a strong background in both macro and micro economics, econometrics, statistics, political economics and research methodology.

Previously, Sudarshan worked as an economic assistant and field representative for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Here he assisted numerous U.S. Department of Labor analysts and collected data for the Consumer Price Index (CPI). As a research associate for the Institute for Social and Economic Change—based in Bangalore, India—Sudarshan provided impact evaluation of a project designed to increase agricultural and rural growth in India.

Sudarshan earned a B.S. in economics from The Ohio State University, and an M.S. in economics and econometrics from the University of Kent in the U.K. He received a distinction in advanced macroeconomics and merits in econometric methods, political economy and research methodology.

Data Systems Analyst

Carrie has a background in geographic information systems, data visualization and analysis. She excels at managing GIS workflows, automating database operations and reporting in Python, SQL, & VBA, and transforming big data into visually compelling infographics and maps.

Before joining Community Attributes, Carrie worked with Forterra to build regional datasets and conduct change analyses in GIS for the forestry and farming land bases to evaluate progress towards a 100 year action plan addressing issues of regional sustainability. Carrie is a graduate of Humboldt State University, California and holds a B.A. in Geography.

In her spare time she enjoys rock climbing outdoors and backpacking with her dog.

Data Systems

Tyler Schrag joined CAI in 2008, and leads much of the technology innovation at the firm. With skills in GIS, database systems and online technology development, Tyler has helped large clients like Swedish Hospital, Providence Health & Services and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation translate their data into powerful decision-making knowledge.

Previously, Tyler worked on multiple public safety projects, including fire response modeling for the Bellingham Fire Department as well as interning with iXP Corporation, a public safety systems provider and consultancy.

Tyler has a bachelor's in geography from Western Washington University with an emphasis in environmental and resource management as well as a minor in GIS.

Economics Analyst

Alexandra Streamer brings a passion for market-based solutions to environmental sustainability challenges. She excels at extracting key components from complex, data-driven results, and effectively communicating these aspects to a wide array of audiences. Alexandra previously interned with the Transfer of Development Rights Team at Forterra where she researched Transfer Development Rights programs across the country, and utilized this information to motivate other locales to adopt TDR models. She also worked with the dean at Northeastern University Seattle to engage and organize communities and businesses in the Puget Sound region in order to launch a national initiative focused on ensuring more girls pursue careers in the STEM field.

Alexandra has a B.A. in Financial Economics and Environmental Studies from the University of Rochester. She graduated with distinction in Environmental Studies, and held two teacher's assistant positions under the economics department head during her learning career.

Policy Analyst

As Policy Analyst at Community Attributes, Eric Viola provides his expertise on economic and public policy research and analysis. Recent projects include cluster reports, joint land use studies, and tax preference analysis. Eric previously worked at an education software startup and as an independent public policy consultant for several Seattle organizations, honing his analytical skills and publishing white papers on topics of concern in Washington, including carbon pricing and the renewal of high tech R&D tax credits.

Eric Viola studied at Boston University, where he completed a four-year combined B.A./M.A. program in Political Science. He focused his academic studies on East Asian International Relations and Public Policy Analysis and speaks Japanese. Eric is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and is a proud Eagle Scout.

When he isn't pouring over spreadsheets or tax code, Eric can be found playing tennis or golf, running, or painting.

Project Manager

Elliot Weiss brings expertise as a planning consultant with award-winning work in urban design and community engagement. His academic and professional background cultivates expertise in policy analysis, urban economics, financial modeling and fiscal impact analysis, land use planning and zoning analysis, placemaking and economic development, outreach and facilitation and project management.

At Community Attributes, Elliot contributes his skills in land use planning, brownfield redevelopment and digital 3D modeling and rendering. He has a passion for urban issues and cities functioning as hubs for cultural exchange and socioeconomic transformation. He spent a year working for Americorps on projects involving energy-efficient affordable housing, community development and alternative transportation in under-served urban areas.

Elliot earned B.A. in Political Science and a B.A. in International Studies at the University of Iowa. He holds a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning and a Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development from the University of Michigan.

Interested in joining CAI?
Email us today!