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MIG Principals

MIG prides itself on the quality of our entire staff: to deliver on promises, to go beyond expectations, and to be inspiring and enjoyable to work with. Our principals have long histories of success in their disciplines and work collaboratively to provide hands-on experience for each project, ensuring unique and successful results on time and on budget. This exceptional team of professionals provides MIG with a range of perspectives and experiences that enriches our approach and creative problem solving and helps deliver solutions that go beyond the obvious or formulaic.

Daniel Iacofano

Ph.D., FAICP, FASLA, Principal, CEO

Daniel Iacofano, Ph.D., FAICP, is a founding principal of MIG. He has over 25 years of experience in urban planning and community design, specifically for downtowns, transit-oriented development, neighborhoods and urban centers. He is nationally recognized as an expert and innovator in the areas of community participation, consensus building, and facilitation. Daniel’s diverse projects have addressed such issues as public transit, traffic, housing, economic development, land use and regional growth. He has worked in a wide range of communities, from Downtown Los Angeles and Downtown Denver to Anchorage and Washington, DC. Daniel received his Ph.D. in Environmental Planning from the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of several books including Meeting of the Minds and The Inclusive City.

Susan M. Goltsman

FASLA, Principal, President

Susan Goltsman (FASLA) is an expert in the design and programming of environments for children, youth and families. She has worked worldwide applying social science to design, creating one of a kind environments that respond to the community, the organization, user group needs, building function and site context. Her projects have won awards from the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, the Center for Universal Design, the American Institute of Architects, the America Planning Association, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the National Endowment for the Arts, The United Cerebral Palsy Association, the California Department of Rehabilitation and the California Park and Recreation Society. Susan has taught at numerous universities and colleges and serves as an adviser to a number of landscape architecture programs, children's museums and governmental committees. She is co-author of the PLAY FOR ALL Guidelines, which has been internationally adopted as a reference on the planning, design, and management of outdoor play settings for all children; the Accessibility Checklist, an evaluation system for buildings and outdoor settings; and most recently, The Inclusive City, proposing a more inclusive approach to planning that promotes social and economic equity and community development, with full interaction and accessibility for all residents. Susan holds degrees in Environmental Design, Landscape Architecture and Environmental Psychology.

Carolyn Verheyen

Principal, Chief Operating Officer

Carolyn is an expert in strategic planning, community services planning, public involvement, policy planning and organizational development. Her experience includes public participation program design and implementation; public opinion research; and strategic and organizational planning. She directs a range of projects addressing social policy, parks and recreation planning, transportation and community planning. Ms. Verheyen has designed and managed large-scale, high-stakes stakeholder outreach programs and strategic planning processes addressing a variety of social policy issues, including child welfare reform plans, child development plans, mental health services investment plans, homeless support services plans, public health alternatives, regional coordination plans, statewide system development plans, and welfare-to-work transportation plans. Her facilitative leadership skills, content knowledge, action-research orientation and strategic thinking combine to provide clients with a steady guide and value-added service. With 23 years at MIG, she is in charge of firm-wide operations.

Christopher Beynon

AICP, Principal, Director of Planning and Design Services

Christopher Beynon has extensive experience and a proven track record in land use and transportation planning; general plans and specific plans; community design; transit-oriented development; design of streets and the public realm; group facilitation and consensus building; and the translation of visions and concepts into action-oriented projects and programs. In particular, Mr. Beynon is a national leader in the revitalization of our city centers and urban environments, directing projects that result in real change for cities throughout North America. Reflecting his passion for a wide range of city scales and geographies, Mr. Beynon has led urban planning and downtown design projects for cities such as Dallas, TX; Charlotte, NC; Denver, CO; Anchorage, AK; Ocala, FL; Boston, MA; Los Angeles, Long Beach, Sacramento, San Clemente and Napa, CA; and Calgary, Alberta.

Carie DeRuiter

Principal, Director of Communications and Media Services

Carie DeRuiter brings expertise in marketing, communications and graphic design, with an emphasis on social marketing and behavior change programs, and information and outreach for public agencies. Carie supervises all phases of communications and media production for clients, including communications planning and strategy, writing and editing, graphic design and production. As Director of Communications and Media Services since 1995, she sets the creative direction for the design and production of MIG’s marketing materials, books and periodicals.

Timothy Gilbert

ASLA, CASp, ICC, Principal, Director of Universal Design Services

Tim is a licensed landscape architect in two states, with expertise in public agency planning, Universal Design, park design, the ADA and access codes. He has designed a wide range of community service facilities throughout the United States, including parks, playgrounds, trails, schools, child care centers, courthouses, and rehabilitation centers. He has assisted hundreds of communities in preparing and implementing ADA Self Evaluation and Transition Plans. Tim emphasizes staff and community involvement in the planning and design process, including community preference surveys, staff training, and effective public workshops. Tim is ICC-certified (International Code Council) as an Accessibility Inspector/Plans Examiner and certified by the State of California as an Access Specialist (CASp).

Steve Lang

ASLA, Principal

Steve is a licensed landscape architect in California, Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania, with over 30 years experience concentrating in planning and design for recreation, park and public facilities. He has been project manager on over twenty award-winning public improvement projects ranging from neighborhood and community parks to multi-million dollar sports complexes and aquatic facilities. A recent emphasis for Steve is the enhancement of underutilized open space areas associated with utility corridors and riverside properties for public use, enjoyment and environmental education. Steve also is active in the design of urban streetscape improvement projects, school campus enhancements, and redevelopment agency projects.

Mukul Malhotra

Principal, Director of Urban Design

Mukul has over 15 years of experience in urban design and architecture. His projects range from downtowns and historic districts to new communities and university campuses, addressing issues related to urban development and revitalization, transit-oriented design, sustainable environments, community connectivity, and preservation of neighborhood and city character. Mukul leads the Streets Studio at MIG. He has worked with an array of cities, agencies and community groups in efforts to redevelop urban and neighborhood corridors and streetscapes in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Massachusetts. From large arterials to small neighborhood streets, he has managed projects from community visioning to design to construction drawings, resulting in award wining streetscapes that are multifunctional, sustainable and green, and cost-effective to maintain.

Sally McIntyre


Sally focuses on parks and recreation master plans, recreation programming, facility design, strategic planning and communications. Her extensive experience emphasizes involving diverse community members in creative livable neighborhoods, from seniors to children to people with disabilities. Sally co-authored the Vision Insight Planning (VIP) for the California Parks and Recreation Society, a groundbreaking strategic plan for the advancement of the parks and recreation profession. Her work on open space issues involves creating design guidelines and open space system standards for high-density neighborhoods, specific area plans and regional plans.

Lauren Schmitt

ASLA, AICP, Principal

Lauren Schmitt is Director of MIG’s Portland and Eugene offices. A planner and landscape architect, Ms. Schmitt has 18 years of experience helping communities articulate their desired future. She has worked with cities, counties and public agencies of all sizes planning and designing park systems around the United States, and has presented her work at parks and recreation conferences in California, Oregon, and Washington. She has helped public agencies and other organizations develop transformative strategic plans and action-oriented master plans. She also oversees a variety of planning and design projects, including neighborhood plans, downtown plans, and natural resource plans.

Matt Straite


Matt’s experience includes land use planning, contract planning, project management, entitlements and specific plans. He has extensive contract planning experience with public agencies. In his most recent assignment at Riverside County, he was responsible for the 23-person contract planning team that was assigned to the County. In addition, the County entrusted him with several high profile cases which include the processing of many large-scale specific plans/EIRs. Matt and his project team process a wide range of entitlement actions including specific plans, tract maps, use permits, general plan amendments, and zone changes. Additionally, he is very experienced with CEQA, and has prepared and supervised the preparation of initial studies, notices of exemption, EIRs and negative declarations. He regularly prepares and presents reports to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. Matt holds degrees in urban planning and history from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Rick Barrett

Leed AP, Principal

Rick manages the San Diego office and directs the integration of landscape design and urban planning. He is an accomplished urban planner and landscape designer with expertise in complex, large-scale planning and design projects, as well as smaller, more intimate plazas and parks. In addition, he brings a holistic understanding of the urban design process, from outreach and communications in establishing a common vision through the detailed implementation of that vision. He draws great creative inspiration from collaboration with environmental and design colleagues, as well as nature, art, literature and the urban form of cities. The branding and polishing of downtowns and other urban developments are important aspects of Rick’s work that often looks to a city’s history, cultural traditions, and landscape setting to forge solutions that reflect a strong sense of place and progressive vision. His projects have won awards from ASLA, AIA, Ahwahnee and GSA. He holds degrees from Utah State University and a certificate in project management from George Washington University.

Pamela D. Steele


Director of the Riverside office, Pam has 37 years of experience in planning, community development, and project management. She has managed a variety of planning and development projects, from due diligence through entitlement to project occupancy. She has worked with developers, agencies, and jurisdictions to bring complex, multi-layered projects through the necessary approvals, helping to develop projects that are beneficial to both private and public sectors. She has prepared and managed specific plans and amendments, community and master plans, and multi-layered environmental review and clearances for large-scale industrial and commercial developments, senior residential projects, and medical and hospital facilities. Pam holds degrees from the University of California at Riverside and Brigham Young University.

Jeff Winston

ASLA, Principal

Director of the Boulder office, Jeff has over 20 years of professional practice experience. He has pursued a special interest in the design and function of urban spaces and has prepared successful urban design plans throughout the US. Jeff has designed plazas, malls and streetscapes, and developed design guidelines for public spaces and whole communities. He has also directed numerous projects from conceptual design through construction, often coordinating the work of numerous consultants.

Jeff has been retained by several agencies solely for his facilitation and mediation skills. Jeff is adept at conveying complex ideas in an understandable way and listening to all input. He has been a visiting professor of landscape architecture, taught at the University of Colorado, given key note addresses and authored multiple papers and articles. Jeff is a registered landscape architect in Colorado, Utah and Arizona. He holds master’s degrees in architecture and landscape architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.

Esmeralda Garcia


Esmeralda García is Director of MIG’s Pasadena office. Her passion for working with under-served communities facing change and complex issues has turned into a 20-year career. Her work has spanned numerous planning efforts for public and private sector clients alike. Ms. García’s unique approach to community engagement coupled with her ability to connect with multi-ethnic participants has helped her clients to define their unique character and to build consensus that creates implementable plans. Esmeralda engages decision-makers, staff and stakeholders to craft visions, strategic and organizational development plans as well as community, neighborhood improvement and transportation plans. She is a member of the American Planning Association and active member of the Transportation Research Board, Environmental Justice Committee.

Laura Moran

Principal, Director of Ecosystem Restoration Services

Laura Moran has over 30 years of environmental consulting experience in biology and environmental project management. Her professional specialty comprises multiple aspects of environmental studies and analyses, including climate change adaptation planning, ecosystem services valuation, wetland delineation and restoration and mitigation design. Under Laura’s direction, MIG’s botanists, biologists landscape architects and planners have evaluated, designed, permitted and restored habitats from San Diego to Fort Bragg. Laura works with resource agencies and project proponents to achieve their sustainability and resilience goals resulting in a balance of environmental stewardship and project design. She has managed and completed a wide range of complex multi-jurisdictional projects for public and private sector clients throughout California, North and Central America.

Joan Chaplick

Principal, Director of Management and Policy Services

Joan Chaplick has more that 20 years experience in public involvement and community planning. Ms. Chaplick joined MIG in 2005 as an expert in public outreach strategies and facilitation, community involvement, funding, and collaborative land use planning. Prior to MIG, she worked for the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy where she served as Associate Director of Community Stewardship and the National Park Service, as Grants Chief and Outdoor Recreation Planner. She also worked as an independent consultant for several years.

Laura Stetson

AICP, Principal

In her 26 years of professional experience, Laura has served as Project Manager on general plans, zoning codes, specific plans, and special planning studies for diverse cities throughout California. In this capacity, she has worked with advisory committees, commissions, and councils to develop long-range goals, policies, and programs, and to craft the regulatory tools to implement those programs. She has conducted background research for planning, written plan elements, coordinated preparation of plans and related environmental documentation, and presented recommendations to decision-making bodies. She also directs preparation of CEQA documents, either as part of planning programs or to address development projects. Laura is a member of the California Planning Roundtable. She holds degrees from Stanford University in environmental science and has completed graduate work in public administration at American University.