Meet the Steering Committee
The Steering Committee consists of community residents, local business representatives, service providers, key partners, educational leaders and public officials who are all stakeholders in the improvement of the Mill Creek Neighborhood
Acting Deputy Executive Director, Huntsville Housing Authority
As a Huntsville native, I am thrilled to be participating in the Mill Creek Choice Neighborhood Steering Committee, because this project will have positive impacts not only for our Huntsville Housing Authority residents, but the surrounding community as well. It is my opinion that Huntsville is ready for a high-quality mixed-income development and that this planning process will continue the momentum in the area. I am excited to meet with stakeholders and residents to receive their input in creating the community driven plan. I have been with HHA as the Director of Real Estate Development since 2015. Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
Mary Ellen Judah
Executive Director, Neighobrhood Concepts
Mary Ellen Judah has 30+ years of experience in community development and currently serves as the Executive Director of Neighborhood Concepts, Inc., a Huntsville-based non-profit committed to strengthening neighborhoods through the development of affordable housing and the advancement of economic opportunities within those communities. “The opportunity to engage in efforts to transform the Mill Creek area and ensure that the Huntsville community offers opportunities for folks from all backgrounds to live, work and play in a centrally located neighborhood aligns with both my professional and personal interests
Dr. Dedan Rukmana
Chairperson, Dept. of Community and Regional Planning, A&M Universit
Dr. Deden Rukmana is professor and the chairperson of the Department of Community and Regional Planning at Alabama A&M University. He received a PhD degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Florida State University and completed master’s degrees from the University of Southern California as well as Bandung Institute of Technology. Prior to joining Alabama A&M University, he taught at Savannah State University for twelve years and worked as a planning analyst with the Florida Department of Community Affairs. He also has eight years of experience as urban planner in Indonesia.
He had served as a Co-Chair of the Global Planning Educators Interest Group of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (2015-2017), an elected member of the Governing Board of the ACSP (2013-2015) and a Director at Large of the Georgia Planning Association (2015-2018). He has authored and edited three books, a number of journal articles, book chapters, encyclopedia entries, book reviews, and dozens of Op-ed pieces in various publications. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health, and US Department of Homeland Security. His works have been cited by many media including AFP, Straits Times, Nken Asia Review, Jakarta Post, and Public Radio International. His blog Indonesia’s Urban Studies is one of the world’s best city blogs by the Guardian Cities.
Dr. Constance Wilson
Associate Professor and former Chair of the Department of Community and Regional Planning
Constance J. Wilson, Ph.D., is a retired Associate Professor and former Chair of the Department of Community and Regional Planning at Alabama A&M University. In 1985, she established her Planning-Consulting Firm. Since that time, she has contracted with private, governmental, and non-profit entities offering her expertise in plan development and redevelopment concepts. Her planning consultancy has involved a broad range of land use and planning firms, municipalities and a wide spectrum of “community building” organizations. Some of her past and current civic and volunteer work includes: Huntsville Planning Commission; Huntsville’s Greenway Committee; Board of Directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Alabama (term as Board Chair); Council Court Community Advisory Committee (Huntsville Housing Authority); Huntsville Comprehensive Plan “the Big Picture” Advisory Committee; Advisory Council for the Virginia Caples Lifelong Learning Institute (AAMU); Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the Julius Richard Scruggs Child Development Center and Academy (First Missionary Baptist Church) and President of the Hidden Creek Home Owners Association.
Chief Executive Officer, Downtown Huntsville, Inc.
Chad serves as the President & CEO for Downtown Huntsville, Inc. He previously served as Director of City Development for Montgomery, Alabama as well as a consultant to over 30 different cities on downtown and urban redevelopment strategies. He received his undergraduate degree from Lipscomb University and his law degree from the University of Tennessee. He, his wife, and five children live in this redevelopment area of Huntsville.
Alison Dillon Jauken
Executive Director, Arts Huntsville
Allison Dillon-Jauken joined Arts Huntsville in June 2009 as Executive Director, where she oversees its four core program areas: arts community promotion and support, arts education, public art and community events. Key accomplishments during her tenure include establishment of a $100,000 pass-thru grant program funded by the City of Huntsville, creation of the SPACES Sculpture Trail across Madison County and development of a Public Art Master Plan for the City of Huntsville. Previous affiliations include Nashville Children’s Theatre and the New 42ndStreet, Inc., the New York City nonprofit charged with the redevelopment of New York’s historic 42nd Street theatres. Allison is on the Board of Trustees of the Alabama School of Fine Arts and serves as Immdeidate Past President of the Huntsville/Madison County Hospitality Association. She is a graduate of Leadership Huntsville/Madison County and Leadership Alabama, and in 2015 was named one of the “Women Who Shape the State” by AL.com
Athletic Director, Seminole Boys & Girls Club
Nick Jones, Seminole Boys & Girls Club, Athletic Director – I grew up in Butler Terrace. My mom successfully raised three kids by herself. She walked to work four miles away five days a week and later worked for the Seminole Service Center. I care about the future of Butler Terrace residents, especially the children. I’m involved because I want to make sure they get everything they need to succeed.
City of Huntsville,
Long Range Planning
I’ve been working in city planning and urban design for two decades, in both the private and public sector. I have participated in plans and programs and initiatives all across the Southeastern United States, and I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative has as much potential as any effort I’ve ever seen, to make a positive and lasting impact on a selected community. The key word there, though, is “potential”. To realize success, we need to ensure that we are aggressive and consistent in the engagement of our residents and our community partners; that we develop a realistic and thoroughly vetted plan; and that we think BIG. This is literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve the lives of our friends and neighbors in the Mill Creek district!
Community Impact Director, United Way of Madison County
Cathy Puett Miller is a passionate community activist and convener, and advocates for equality, compassion and those without a voice at every opportunity. An award-winning author, presenter and trainer, she currently serves as the Community Impact Director of United Way of Madison County AL and President of TLA, Inc., an educational consulting firm. “I was thrilled to be asked to represent United Way on the Mill Creek Choice Neighborhood Steering Committee. United Way’s vision of being the community’s connector between those in need and those that can help fits perfectly into the work where we can dream together of a neighborhood where truly everyone has a place.”
When not at work, family and “forever learning” are her foundations. Her husband, Charles, and she share their love of reading and learning in their 8th home together. Their son, Charles, is their pride and joy, currently pursuing a law degree at the University of Alabama while serving on the AL River Alliance board.
Director of Development & Marketing, Thrive Alabama
As a Huntsville native, I’m excited about the growth our city has experienced. The Choice Neighborhood Project is a great continuation of that growth, especially as it targets a part of town that only recently has seen new live, work, play options. I am the director of development and marketing at Thrive Alabama, a healthcare nonprofit that serves people from all walks of life regardless of income or insurance status. A great number of our clients reside in this target zip code. I serve on the boards of the American Advertising Federation of North Alabama and First Stop, an organization that supports the homeless.
Pastor Anthony Wheeler
Founding and Senior Pastor of Beacon Hill Worship Center
The ReIntroduction of the Community Church sums up and describes our desire for involvement in community development. “No heart that loves Christ can be cold to the vulnerable and needy.” (Tim Keller in Generous Justice)
The problems that our communities face and need solutions to are increasingly complex and require comprehensive solutions. Addressing issues like housing, healthcare, safety, employment, mobility, education, and disease prevention requires the inclusion of people from diverse backgrounds and disciplines. Partnerships, collaborations, and coalitions can be challenging, but done correctly, can be powerful tools for mobilizing individuals to action, bringing community issues to prominence, and developing policies. It is our belief that this cannot be effectively done without the church community being involved. For over twenty years, my wife Sa’Brina and I have volunteered for several organizations in the Butler Terrace community (Seminole Service Center, Hope For Success, and The Boys and Girls Club of North Alabama). Concurrently, the Choice Neighborhoods’ three core focuses completely align with our desire not to just minister to people but also to release the ministry of people by creating opportunities in the areas of housing, health, employment, and education. Moreover, Our church’s commitment to this, lead us to bring the church to the community and assign a Campus Pastor to the location. Since that decision, we’ve seen improvements in several areas, and we believe that the Choice Neighborhood project can serve as the catalyst that brings the type of lasting change that all communities deserve.
Senior Vice President Economic Development, Huntsville Chamber of Commerce
Lucia Cape manages the business recruitment, retention and expansion for Huntsville, Madison and Madison County as well as workforce development and talent attraction. She has worked on a variety of projects since taking the position in 2013, including Mazda-Toyota Manufacturing, Blue Origin, Aerojet Rocketdyne, GE Aviation, Boeing, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama expansions, Facebook, Polaris and Curse. She started at the Chamber in 2006 as Vice President for Workforce and was responsible for leading the community’s workforce recruitment efforts to support the 2005 BRAC which brought 4,700 new jobs to Redstone Arsenal. Prior to joining the Chamber staff, Ms. Cape was a contractor to the Marshall Space Flight Center’s Academic Affairs Office from 2002-2006 where she worked in informal education, including business/industry partnerships. From 1999-2002 she was a Presidential Management Intern and then a contractor to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, focusing on public health partnerships, communication, workforce and law. She served professional rotations with the Nashville/Davidson County Health Department and the Louisiana Public Health Institute in 2000-2001, focusing on public health ordinances and establishing a national network of public health institutes. She worked as a technical editor for environmental contractors to the U.S. Army Space and Strategic Defense Command in the mid-1990s.
Founder West Huntsville Civic Association
Michelle serves as President of the WHCA, an organization focused on the revitalization of Historic Lowe Mill Village, along with the surrounding corridor neighborhoods, once collectively known as the “Town of West Huntsville.” The organization’s strategy, since 1997, has been to protect, position and promote the area as a historic, tourist and arts destination, while striving to fulfill the neighborhood’s vision to restore the once vibrant community. She led the effort to save the Lowe Mill building from the wrecking ball in 1999, and in 2002, she served on the State of Alabama’s Historical Commission’s Places in Peril committee. She championed and successfully saw three sites in Huntsville listed (including Lowe Mill Village in its entirety) and she secured funding to list all four mill villages on the National Register of Historic Places. Michelle proposed and assisted in the creation of “Residential Office District” zoning to buffer neighborhoods in transition, led the effort to rezone Lowe Mill Village to halt future negative redevelopment and helped create Village Business C-6 District. She has served on various committees, boards, and preservation groups over the last three decades, including the Alabama Veterans Foundation, City of Huntsville Community Development Citizens Advisory Council, Historic Huntsville Foundation’s Preservation Committee and the Huntsville Board of Zoning Adjustment.
Butler Terrace, Resident Ambassador
As a long time resident of Butler Terrace, I’m invested in making sure the community is developed with appropriate housing and services needed by our neighbors. It’s important to listen to what current residents believe is needed and act upon that feedback. I’m involved on the Steering Committee to make sure resident’s needs are met in a satisfactory manner.