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We are listeners



Steve Gibson began his foray into downtown revitalization in 1987 when he purchased a small business and became president of the local business association. Over the years he crafted and refined his ideas on downtowns and communities, and has worked as the California representative for the national consulting firm Project for Public Spaces.


Steve has experience operating nine downtown districts as President/CEO. As a consultant, he has provided services to 45 districts in 35 cities and 25 states, as well as helping to write the legislation that allows Business Improvement Districts to exist in California.


Steve is a contributing author, Business Improvement Districts (Urban Land Institute, 2003, Second Edition), has spoken at the several downtown conferences, and is a guest lecturer at USC and UCLA.

We are doers


Aaron’s passion and focus is on understanding how people use public spaces and increasing the quality and quantity of that use. Over the past 17 years at Urban Place, he has overseen a large scope of diverse projects.  These projects range from wayfinding signage programs, bike infrasructure project, pedestrian use and parking projects to Business Improvement District (BID) formation, renewal and management. 


Aaron is currently overseeing the day to day management of two
Los Angeles area PBIDs, working on establishing/renewing several PBID's in California and an organizational development project in San Francisco CA. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Anthropology from San Francisco State University and a Masters Degree in Landscape Architecture from Cal Poly Pomona.

We are educators

Rena Leddy

Rena has 30 years of downtown management experience and is a Certified Leader in Place Management.  She has worked in 40 cities in 19 states as a practitioner or consultant. She is a respected national leader with an expertise in government relations, board management, strategic planning and place management.


Prior to her return role at Urban Place Consulting Group, she was the Executive Director of the LA Fashion District BID, a $6 million BID encompassing 100+ blocks in downtown Los Angeles. In addition to the Fashion District, Rena has been in executive management positions with 6 BIDs, including: New Haven, CT, Portland, ME; North Hollywood, CA, Stamford, CT, Culver City, CA, and Figueroa Corridor in downtown Los Angeles.  She’s been in the role of Vice-President with both Urban Place Consulting Group and Progressive Urban Management Associates (P.U.M.A.), two nationally recognized place management firms. 


She is currently Board President of the California Downtown Association and Chair of the Leadership in Place Management Commission.  She is past Chair of the Los Angeles BID Consortium and a past Board member of International Downtown Association.  She has been a guest lecturer at UCLA School of Management, University of Hartford and CT Main Street.  She has a Master of Public Administration from New York University, Bachelor of Arts from University of Connecticut and is a Certified Leader in Place Management. She is also a founding member of the Los Angeles chapter of Chief, Inc.

We are planners

Cassie Hoeprich

Cassie is an Urban Planner with experience in local government and non-profit settings, including the City of San Francisco, the Hollywood Partnership, and cityLAB at the University of California, Los Angeles.


Her areas of expertise include public-private neighborhood partnerships, public community grant programs, California housing policy, and inclusive public realm / placemaking practices. Cassie holds a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles and lives in New York City. 

We are problem solvers

Katie Gibson 

Katie transitioned into downtown revitalization in 2009 while she was
a business owner in an up and coming neighborhood that needed some fresh thinking to turn it around. Realizing she had an aptitude for creating change and a passion for community, she now uses her experiences to help others in similar districts.


Katie's responsibilities include, Business Improvement District (BID) creation, management, and renewal, marketing, events, business and community organization, evaluation and improvement of the user experience, pedestrian use and parking issues. Although she does manage all aspects of projects, her heart lies in creating thoughtful places where people and small business thrive.


Katie is a Certified Leader in Place Management, member of the California Downtown Association, and International Downtown Association. 

We are conveners

Fernando Pujals

Fernando Pujals meandered into the downtown industry while working as a writer and connector in 2015. He’s since demonstrated leadership in operations, strategic partnerships, community engagement, organizational development, and advocacy for San Francisco’s central city neighborhoods.

Among his projects, he serves as the Deputy Director of the Mid Market Business Association & Mid-Market Foundation.


Fernando has completed IDA’s Emerging Leaders Fellowship (2019) and previously served as a Senior Director for the Tenderloin Community Benefit District. He’s been interviewed for print, television, and radio and has hosted events. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University (2012).

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