July 19—20, 2018
Denver, CO, USA


Public Event: 6:00-8:00PM
Denver Art Museum

Transportation infrastructure is transforming Front Range mobility — whether that’s Denver International Airport’s (DEN) global hub status linking citizens to the world, or its pivotal role for intermodal regional connectivity. With focus shifting away from the car, Denver is fast becoming a laboratory for new modes of transportation. Over the last few decades, Denver’s population has increased dramatically, spurring interest in adopting a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) approach to the airport’s expansive territory. Disruptive technologies, such as the Rocky Mountain Hyperloop and CDOT’s RoadX initiative offer possibilities for interconnected mobility between the Front Range and DEN. As the airport itself now turns its eye to planning and developing 16,000 acres of land, new opportunities for innovation in technology and living are coming to fruition with new districts on the periphery. AERIAL FUTURES: Constructed Landscapes brings together leading thinkers and practitioners to consider the future of Denver and its mobilities. 


Alan Eckman, Vice President of Transportation at AECOM

Amy Ford, Chief of Advanced Mobility at the Colorado Department of Transportation

Curt Fentress, Co-Founder of AERIAL FUTURES & Principal at Fentress Architects

Fred Merrill, FAICP, LEED AP, Principal & Senior Planner at Sasaki

Doors Open 6:00PM
Program Begins 6:15PM
Free & Open to the Public
First-Come Seating


Friday, July 20
Denver Union Station

Site Visit: 5:00—7:00PM FULL
Pena Station Next

Many airports are located far from cities, buffered by hectares of greenfield. The substantial provision of land safeguards for future expansion, protects urban residents from noise pollution, and generates economic, environmental and cultural opportunities. 

Airports are more than simply facilities for air travel; they catalyze a city’s economic development and act as gateways of global connectivity. As airports continue to grow and their relationship to the city becomes ever more valuable, connectivity to the region trumps proximity as the primary consideration of development. AERIAL FUTURES: Constructed Landscapes examines the contemporary airport’s role as catalyst for innovations in the development of surrounding land and opportunities for interconnected, disruptive mobility. 

Taking Denver International Airport (DEN) as a case study, this think tank looks at the opportunities and risks faced by the airport in their new role as agents for urban connectivity. Opened in 1995, DEN is one and a half times the size of Manhattan and is the largest commercial airport in the United States. Much of its land will never be used for airport expansion and, thanks to the 2016 opening of the RTD commuter rail station, that land now holds significant promise for the future. Adopting a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) approach, the site is envisioned as a living laboratory for autonomous vehicles, zero-energy consumption, and sustainable living. Technology is transforming the landscape of mobility, connecting DEN to the rest of the region. As the airport and adjacent communities grow, urban design and transportation infrastructure have never been more critical. 

This AERIAL FUTURES think tank explores the ways in which the land adjacent to airports is fertile ground for experimentation in urban design and transportation, with innovations in mobility allowing for new interfaces between air and land. AERIAL FUTURES: Constructed Landscapes interrogates the myriad ways that disruptive technologies are transforming greenfields into connected, integrated airfield communities.



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Agatha Kessler

Agatha Kessler has worked as an executive in the worlds of finance and technology, building international businesses in emerging products with VISA and Hewlett-Packard. Energized by the intersection of technology, business and design, in 2007 she joined Fentress Architects as CEO. She holds an MBA and has lived in many cities around the world. Currently, as Chairman of Fentress Architects, Agatha serves on a number of boards, including Opera Colorado and the Design Futures Council. With a keen interest in the future of air travel, Agatha co-founded AERIAL FUTURES at the same time as she started her pursuit of a PhD in Aviation at Embry- Riddle Aeronautical University

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Alan Eckman

Alan Eckman is a Vice President of Transportation for AECOM and has been involved in significant infrastructure projects and programs, regularly working with a national team of experts within AECOM to deliver unique services and capabilities. Recently, Alan has has been leading innovation through the Colorado RoadX program in developing Rapid Speed Technology projects and in evaluating and planning for Mobility of the Future. AECOM is leading feasibility and implementation of many disruptive transportation innovations globally.

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Dr. Alejandro Henao

Dr. Alejandro Henao is a postdoctoral transportation researcher with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Deputy Director for Mobility Choice. His research focuses on the synergies between transportation and energy, with an emphasis on data collection strategies and innovation to answer key research questions including impacts of ride-hailing and future mobility options. Realizing the difficulty in obtaining data directly from Uber and Lyft, he designed a natural experiment using an anthropological and survey-based approach by conducting research while driving for both companies. Alejandro is a recipient of the Dwight Eisenhower Fellowship and additional fellowships from the National Science Foundation. He is interested and motivated in research and work that leads to the creation of better places including transportation innovations opportunities, energy savings, mode choice, transit use, car-dependency reduction, safety, and equity.

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Alexander Kirby

Alexander Kirby is Managing Director of Final Approach Limited, a consultancy company specializing in creating unique development strategies for airport clients.  These range from sustainable growth of the air service network to maximizing the value of the real-estate assets in and around the airport.  Prior, from 2014 to 2017, Alexander was Senior Advisor to the Board at London Gatwick Airport, the world’s busiest low cost carrier airport welcoming 45.7 million passenger to its single runway.  His primary focus was working with the business and political communities to gain their support the continued growth of the airport. Since August 2016, Alexander has served on the Infrastructure Committee of the Urban Land Institute that provide thought leadership on infrastructure solutions for projects across the UK.  

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Amy Ford

As the Chief of Advanced Mobility at the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Amy Ford is responsible for accelerating innovation and technologies that maximize the experience of people, goods and information moving on Colorado’s transportation system. She directs program strategy of various divisions including Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSM&O), which manages Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), Safety & Traffic Engineering and other Traffic Operations programs, the RoadX Program, which partners with the private sector to deploy transformational transportation solutions such as connected, autonomous or hyperloop-technologies, CDOT’s Workforce of the Future initiatives and the Office of Communications, which is responsible for all strategic external and internal communications. Amy also serves as the Chair for the state of Colorado’s Autonomous Mobility Task Force, which is responsible establishing consistent policy and operational deployment guidance in support of an autonomous mobility future. 

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Breanna Faye

Breanna Faye is a trained architect, strategist, and Experience Design Lead at rLoop, a SpaceX award-winning, globally-distributed organization currently developing the Hyperloop. With a background in design thinking from MIT’s Media Lab, IDEO and Mobile Experiences Lab, her research emphasizes the link and impact between cities, people, and technologies. Breanna’s experience has led her to tackle projects from urban scale to product scale, including the hyperloop, autonomous mobile offices, and gps-enabled smart helmets. With rLoop, the aim is to decentralize high-technology and design solutions by utilizing the Blockchain and crowdsourcing advanced technology.


Brent Mather

Brent Mather is a Design Principal at Gensler, where his creativity is contagious to both the designers he mentors as well as his clients. He has a keen sense of partnership with his clients and works with them to craft thoughtful designs that are inspired by their vision and the site and its surroundings. Brent is an award-winning designer whose leadership in crafting innovative solutions that are functional, yet cutting edge, is what differentiates his talent.

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Charles Waldheim

Charles Waldheim is a North American architect and urbanist based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Charles’ research examines the relationships between landscape, ecology, and contemporary urbanism. He is author, editor, and co-editor of numerous books on these subjects, and his writing has been published and translated internationally. Charles is John E. Irving Professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design where he directs the school’s Office for Urbanization. He is recipient of the Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome; the Visiting Scholar Research Fellowship at the Canadian Centre for Architecture; the Sanders Fellowship at the University of Michigan; a Visiting Scholar residency at the Architectural Association School of Architecture; and the Cullinan Chair at Rice University


Curtis Fentress

Curtis Fentress is the Principal Airport Terminal Designer at Fentress Architects, an international design studio he founded in Denver, Colorado, in 1980. He is also the Co-Founder of AERIAL FUTURES. Curtis’ airports have garnered recognition worldwide for design excellence and an outstanding “airside-to-curbside” traveler experience. These include game-changing international airports such as DenverIncheon and the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. Recipient of the AIA Tomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture in 2010, Curtis has developed a reputation as a hybrid architect, developing iconic design and high-profile public architecture. 


Dan Connors

Dan Connors is co-founder and CTO at Boulder AI and Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Colorado. His research explores AI and deep learning computer vision models for training computers to detect objects and classify activities. His research investigates real-time vision solutions that track human gestures as well as enable smart city environments with threat detection, vehicle tracking, and animal identification. Boulder AI provides edge vision systems to solve emerging applications of AI in human behavior analysis, smart infrastructure, and automated agriculture & industrial processing. Boulder AI created an intelligent GPU-enabled deep-learning neural network camera (DNNcam) that is waterproof, dust-proof and runs AI algorithms at the image source. This edge camera executes AI/machine learning and computer vision algorithms without additional computer resources and directly distills visual information into actionable event data. The end-to-end Boulder AI platform enables developers to effortlessly deploy new vision models to collect and visualize edge data events into data environments. 


David Brody

David Brody has had a life-long passion for aircraft, science and technology.  He’s the founder and Chairman of XTI Aircraft Company, and was also the founder (and former Chairman and CEO) of AVX Aircraft Company, an advanced technology helicopter company located in Fort Worth, Texas. David has ten patents issued in his name for inventions in aircraft technology and other fields, and has written three books, including a national Book-of-the-Month Club best seller on science and technology, The Science Class You Wish You Had, The Seven Greatest Scientific Discoveries in History and the People Who Made Them (Putnam Berkeley, New York 1997, 2ndedition, 2013). David has practiced law in Denver for over 40 years, as in-house counsel with a major corporation and two international law firms. He received a B.S. from the University of Colorado in 1971, and J.D. from American University Law School in Washington, D.C. in 1973.

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Dr. Douglas Baker

Dr. Douglas Baker is Professor and Head of Property and Planning in the School of Civil Engineering and the Built Environment at the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. Douglas’ areas of expertise include land use planning, airport management, and regional air transport. He has worked across the airport and air transport sectors in Australia, Canada and Europe. Prior coming to Australia, he worked in the public and private sectors, and was acting Head of School of Environmental Planning at the University of Northern British Columbia. Douglas was the leading investigator of an international research team that evaluated the Airport Metropolis concept from 2007-2011. He currently is working with the University of Cologne and T.U. Berlin on an international collaboration evaluating the planning of airports within the urban context. In addition, his research investigates the challenges of regional air transport in rural and remote Australia. 

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Ferd Belz

Ferd Belz is President in charge of all real estate for L.C. Fulenwider, Inc., the corporate entity for the Fulenwider family holdings. These holdings include 7,500 acres of land near Denver International Airport (DEN) as well as multiple other real estate assets in the Denver region. Ferd is currently leading the development effort for Pena Station NEXT, a 400-acre transit-oriented development (TOD) surrounding the first rail stop on the commuter line from DEN to downtown Denver. This TOD is a public-private partnership between L.C. Fulenwider, Inc. and DEN and is the divisional headquarters for Panasonic Enterprise Solutions. He is currently a partner in the redevelopment of the historic Denver Union Station into a mixed-use, retail, hotel and transit center project. Ferd is past Chair of the Downtown Denver Partnership, past Chair of the Board of the Auraria Foundation, current treasurer and on the Board of the Civic Center Conservancy and on the Board of the Metro State University Foundation.


Fred Merrill

Fred Merrill is a senior planner at Sasaki with 38 years of national experience planning and designing urban districts, corridors, neighborhoods, and central businesses districts; master planning communities and mixed-use developments; and repurposing brownfields, military bases, and former industrial sites. He leads complex master planning processes that promote collaboration between the client, interdisciplinary professionals and diverse interest groups to achieve beneficial outcomes for multiple stakeholders. Fred is a frequent presenter at national planning and development conferences including the Urban Land Institute and American Planning Association and co-teaches an urban planning studio at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He is also a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners, one of the planning profession's highest honors.

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Ginger S. Evans

Ginger S. Evans manages one of the world’s busiest airport systems comprised of O’Hare and Midway International Airports as Chicago Department of Aviation(CDA) Commissioner. She has 30 years of aviation experience and joined the CDA in June 2015 after serving as Vice President of Engineering for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA)in Washington, D.C. Prior to her role as Vice President at MWAA, Ginger worked in private consulting on major aviation projects in Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America, as well as rail projects in New York and Washington. She is a member of the National Academy of Construction, the International Women’s Forum, and the Executive Committee of Transportation Research Board

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Ignacio Correa-Ortiz

Ignacio Correa-Ortiz made the decision to participate actively in the healthy evolution of cities thirty years ago; he believes that the permanence of our species in this planet depends largely on how just we are towards each other and towards our environment. Ignacio is a licensed architect and a certified planner and urban designer and Denver's Regional Transportation District Senior Architect and Urban Designer. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee and of the Universidad Santo Tomas in Colombia. Ignacio serves as a board member in the Denver Planning Board, the Denver Architecture Foundation, and is the Chair of the Regional + Urban Design Knowledge Community with AIA Colorado in Denver.


James P. Cramer

James P. Cramer is the former Chief Executive of the American Institute of Architects, Washington D.C.  Following his 16 years of service with the AIA he founded the Design Futures Council and its journal DesignIntelligence.  He also founded the Greenway Group, Inc. a management consultancy working in the fields of strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, and visioning retreats. James sold his shares in the Greenway Group in 2014 and his shares in the DFC and Design Intelligence in 2016. He has authored six books including How Firms Succeed, A Field Guide to Design Management (co-author, Scott Simpson) now in its 5th Edition. James is a Richard Upjohn Fellow of the AIA and he is the recipient of awards from the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, the American Society of Interior Designers, and he received the Presidential Medal from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).

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Jeana Schneck

Jeana Schneck is a Senior Key Account Manager at LG Electronics working for the past five years in the transportation and ProAV space. Her primary focus is with system integrators and design consultants that work closely with airports. Jeana was on the team that won the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) airport project, where LG was chosen as the display provider for 1,127 video wall displays being used on the ticketing counter backwalls and for overhead wayfinding signage. Prior to coming to LG, she worked at a custom display manufacturer for eight years as a senior project manager responsible for product development from concept through production.    

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Jim Jarvis

Jim Jarvis is a Senior Vice President with Ricondo & Associates, Inc. (Ricondo), where he has been for nearly 20 years and is responsible for the firm’s technical and client services. He oversees the firm’s client relationships and business activities in the Middle East, Europe, and North America. Jim ensures that Ricondo stays ahead of the issues facing airport managers and that their services are state-of-the-art and responsive to the ever-changing needs of the aviation industry. A City and Regional Planner by training, Jim has more than 30 years of professional experience. He understands the regulatory, business and regional planning frameworks under which airport managers operate. Prior to joining Ricondo, he served as the Manager of Transportation Planning for the Massachusetts Port Authority at Boston-Logan International Airport, and as a land use and transportation planner in New York and Boston. 

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Joe Cruz

Joe Cruz, AIA, is a project manager for luis vidal + architects and is currently working on the Great Hall Project at Denver International Airport. Joe started his career working in military aviation infrastructure and emergency response as an US Air Force Civil Engineer officer in New Mexico, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Germany. Since then, Joe has designed laboratories, government facilities, dam infrastructure, and other technical projects both stateside and abroad. Joe earned his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Notre Dame and serves as a committee member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards where he has authored questions for the Architect Registration Exam since 2012.


John C. Greenwood

John C. Greenwood is an executive with the startup initiative CityNOW called Digital City Media for Panasonic. CityNOW is Panasonic North America’s smart city business that provides transformational solutions to cities, states, real estate developers and utilities. CityNOW’s headquarters are at Pena Station NEXT, a 382-acre Transit Oriented Development served by Denver’s new RTD A Line train service, which connects Union Station downtown to Denver International Airport. John is a visionary entrepreneur and Business Builder. He founded the partnership agency, Proxy Partners, in 1998 at 29 years of age and sold it 10 years later to a company he co-founded, Radius Media Holdings, an entity of The Anschutz Corporation (TAC), where he acted as President & CEO. In 2013, Radius companies Sign Language XL (SLXL) and foxbox originals™ (which John holds the patent) were integrated into another TAC company, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) based in Los Angeles. John continued in his role as President & CEO of the remaining companies until Fall, 2016 after growing revenue by 246% when he transitioned to help AEG and The Anschutz Corporation with global initiatives. John serves on the board of the Young President's Organization (YPO), has supported Colorado Succeeds and Colorado Concern.


Matthew Needham

Matthew Needham, AIA, LEED GA, is a Principal at HOK and Regional Leader of Aviation and Transportation. He brings over 27 years of experience in aviation planning and architecture. Matthew has significant experience in the management of terminal planning and design, master planning, airport site selection, airfield and airspace planning studies, as well as environmental planning and processing. In all of his assignments, he works to ensure that the objectives of his clients are met and sustained through the life of each project.

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Michael Zoellner

Michael Zoellner is the Managing Partner of ZF Capital, a Colorado investment company focused on developing and acquiring multifamily and mixed-use properties that require repositioning or adding value and holding them for the long term. Prior to forming this company in 2017, he was a founding partner of RedPeak Properties and Legacy Partners. Michael is currently the Chairman of the Colorado Multifamily Housing Alliance better government fund that represents the interests of the apartment industry. He is a Council member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and a member of the National Multi Housing Council. He is a license Real Estate Broker in Colorado and is a ULI mentor to improve diversity in the Commercial Real Estate industry. Michael was named an ICON of the Multifamily Industry by Colorado Real Estate Journal in 2015, as well as the Inaugural Inductee into the Apartment Association of Metro Denver Hall of Fame (2015).   


Michelle Delk

Fascinated by the urban environment, Michelle Delk is a passionate champion of the public realm. Based in New York City, she is a Partner and Landscape Architect with Snøhetta. Michelle works to cultivate trans-disciplinary collaboration for the creative advancement of our public environment. Her enthusiasm is reflected in her commitment to design and leadership within her firm and community. She’s an active board member for the Urban Design Forum and is often invited as a speaker at influential conferences, universities, and communities throughout the world. Informed by these various involvements, she seeks to discover and expand the urban landscape vernacular, furthering positive dialog between our current and future urban vision. With a natural ability for engaging diverse community and client intricacies, Michelle guides complex projects ranging from master plans and brownfield redevelopments to realizations of urban plazas, parks, streetscapes, and riverfronts. 


Ron Sega

Dr. Ronald M. Sega has served as Director and Woodward Professor of Systems Engineering at Colorado State University (CSU) since 2007 and Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives from 2013 to present. From 2010 to 2013, he was Vice President and Enterprise Executive for Energy and the Environment at CSU and The Ohio State University, a unique, shared position between two Land-Grant universities. Ron also held the position of Vice President for Energy, Environment, and Applied Research with the CSU Research Foundation from 2007 to 2010. From August 2005 to August 2007, he served as Under Secretary of the Air Force. Ron is a retired Major General in the United States Air Force and became a NASA astronaut in July 1991 after selection in 1990, and from November 1994 to March 1995, he was the NASA Director of Operations, Star City, Russia. A veteran of two space flights, he logged over 420 hours in space and is the recipient of many awards, including the Colorado Space Hall of Fame in 2016.


Wayne Place

Wayne Place is the Alumni Association Distinguished Professor at North Carolina State University. He has a PhD in Physics and a Master’s Degree in Architecture. He is a registered engineer with a specialty in structures. Since 1986, he has been on the Faculty of the School of Architecture at North Carolina State University, where he has focused his research on building systems integration, with an emphasis on daylighting, thermal systems, and structures. Wayne has taught and written books on daylighting, and teaches graduate studios focusing on airport design and graduate studios focusing on tall-building design.



YJ Fischer

YJ Fischer is the Director of International Business Development at Virgin Hyperloop One. She works at the intersection of business development, international policy, and law to shape the Virgin Hyperloop One’s global market entry strategy. She is responsible for their go-to-market strategy in 15 markets across 4 continents. YJ has more than a decade of experience crafting policy across state, federal, and international governments. She is a seasoned lawyer and expert in global public policy, with deep experience in Europe and the Middle East. Prior to joining Virgin Hyperloop One, YJ held several appointments during the Obama Administration.