About CAI

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.

Leadership

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.

Senior 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.

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.

Data & Development Manager

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.

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.

Communications & Design

Information Design Manager

At CAI, Maeve leads the Information Design team and our User Research practice. In addition to providing support to all projects at CAI, Maeve leads a collaborative design process that considers the needs of clients and their audiences, using both quantitative and qualitative evaluations to inform design.

Maeve has over ten 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. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of North Texas in 2007 and taught graphic design at Austin Community College in 2015. Her work has been featured in The Dieline package design blog, Logo Lounge, and Print Regional Annual.

Information Designer

As a designer at CAI, Maureen brings attention to detail, a holistic thought-process, and an ability to think from the user’s perspective. Her deliverables include infographics, data dashboards, site architectures, report and presentation layouts, brand identities, icons and more.

Maureen is a graduate of the University of Washington, and holds a Bachelor of Design in Interaction, with a minor in Anthropology. At UW, she focused her studies on research methods in user experience design, particularly in the areas of workplace surveillance, and peer support for depression & anxiety. Her senior capstone, Unspoken, was featured in the 2017 UW Design show, and she has contributed illustrations to the Daily at the University of Washington.

Outside of work, she enjoys the outdoors, stand-up comedy, and delicious food.

Data Systems

Data & Development Manager

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.

Technology & Database Manager

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.

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 C#, SQL, Asp.net, PHP, ArcGIS JS, Javascript, Jquery, HTML/CSS.

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 Analyst

Carrie has a background in data visualization, analytics, web design, web scraping, and spatial modeling. She excels at automating data ingestion processes in Python and SQL as well as finding new data sources through web scraping, sentiment analysis, and NLP. Carrie enjoys transforming data into visually compelling maps and data dashboards with GIS, JavaScript, Illustrator, and D3.

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 cross country skiing and backpacking with her dog.

ECONOMICS & LAND USE

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.

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.

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.

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.

Economics Analyst

Madalina comes to CAI with a background in transport economics, data analysis and market research. She has a strong ability to conduct qualitative and quantitative analysis for effective data-driven decision making.

Madalina previously worked as a transport economist for a planning and infrastructure consultancy firm in the UK. Her experience involved evaluating the benefits and costs of various transport policies and strategies, developing business cases to attract funding for different modes of transport, using mathematical models to forecast the effects of public transport schemes and forming potential solutions to transport problems. She has a passion for sustainable travel, travel behavior and the impacts of transportation investment on social equity, economics and the environment.

Madalina earned a BSc in International Economics and Business at the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies. She holds a Masters in Economics from the University of Amsterdam and graduated with distinction in Operational Research from the University of Strathclyde in the UK.

Senior Planner

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.

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.