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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.


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Chris Mefford, AICP

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 organizations and municipalities in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the world on urban planning, economic development and strategic planning. The firm supports the private sector by relating demographics and economic trends to strategic planning and business decisions.

Chris 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.

Michaela Jellicoe

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.

Madalina Calen

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.

Japhet Koteen

Japhet Koteen leads the data systems team at Community Attributes, developing online interactive tools to help organizations and communities better understand and engage with their data. Japhet’s professional background includes program management at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, commercial real estate development, business technical assistance, strategic planning, and technology management.

Prior to joining Community Attributes Inc, managed commercial real estate development projects in Crossroads Bellevue, downtown Bremerton, and Lake Forest Park. He launched two finance programs to support beginning farmers and ranchers in Washington State and served in marketing, business development and technology management capacities for social venture startups FarmRaiser and RiseFundraiser. He enjoys integrating data and technology to support innovative solutions for planning and policy makers that make a difference for people.

Japhet holds a Masters in Urban Planning from University of Washington and a Bachelors of Science in Engineering from Swarthmore College. He lives in Seattle with his family.

Nathalia Roberts

Nathalia is a member of the data systems team and has over five years of experience working with spatial data for transportation and demographic analysis. Previously with KFH Group as a Transportation Analyst, she moved to Oakland, CA, and pursued her MS in Cartography and Geographic Information Systems while working for the Oakland Department of Transportation. Now back in the pacific northwest, she lives with her spouse and dog. She likes to cook, jog, and explore Tacoma by bicycle in her free time.

Bryan Lobel, AICP

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.

Elliot Weiss

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.

Ethan Schmidt

Ethan was born and raised in the Midwest, primarily in Ohio but has lived in Michigan, Missouri, and California. After completing his undergraduate studies, during which he played baseball for Xavier University, he moved to Seattle. Near the end of 2019, he moved to Edinburgh, Scotland to further his studies. There he received his MSc. in Economics and fostered many lifelong friendships with peers from all around the world. Prior to moving to Scotland, Ethan worked for Zillow Offers as a Senior Market Analyst. This involved analyzing local real estate data to approve competitive market analyses and underwriting for higher-risk potential purchases. In his free time, he likes to play golf and has recently gotten into bread-baking. This came as a result of always needing a slice of bread to dip into soup, one of his favorite things to cook, and has blossomed ever since.

Cassie Byerly

Cassie brings a blend of legislative, planning, and strategic communications experience to the Economics and Planning team. She is an award-winning researcher of the economics of the craft beer industry in Michigan. Prior to CAI, she led teams in the development of an Inclusionary Housing Plan for Huntington Woods, Michigan, and an Equitable Development Scorecard for the people of Detroit. She also supported the City of Ann Arbor in its analysis and implementation of the A2Zero Carbon Neutrality Plan. As a press secretary and legislative analyst, she was instrumental in the crafting, passage, and deployment of legislation and other policy initiatives for Chairman Jon Tester on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Since her childhood in Montana, Cassie has cultivated a passion for all things outdoors. In her spare time she can be found running, backpacking, and skiing her way across the west. She holds degrees in English and International Studies from the University of North Carolina and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Michigan.

Tim McIlhenny

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,, 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