The election committee of the Virginia-Highland Civic Association presents the following list of candidates for the board of directors. Click on each name to read a brief biography for each candidate. Candidates will also have an opportunity to speak briefly at the meeting.
David Brandenberger (I)
I have lived in Virginia-Highland on Rosedale Road for the past 19 years. I have served on the VHCA Board for the past five years–as a volunteer on the Planning Committee for the first two years, for the entire time as a member of the Parks Committee and as Chair of the Parks Committee the past two years and as President during this past term.
As Chair of Parks, in addition to our regular efforts to work with qualified landscape professionals to augment landscape maintenance at Orme, John Howell, the Triangle and North Highland Park, I have also been heavily involved in applying for, securing and implementing several matching grant applications with Park Pride that have resulted in significant improvements to John Howell Park.
This past year, while serving as President, I worked with the Board and our other committee volunteers to conduct yet another successful Summerfest ((where profits grew year-over-year by 56% (I also served on the Summerfest Committee managing t-shirt sales operations this past year)), was actively involved with others on the Planning Committee in temporarily defeating the most recently proposed development at 10th/Monroe and Cresthill, was involved in working with the City͛s Department of Urban Planning on installation of the City͛s first ‘parklet͛’ at Amsterdam and North Highland, completed the 2nd-phase of a ~$90,000 capital improvement project at John Howell Park, and with the rest of the outgoing/current Board, that–after many years of prior Board and volunteer efforts, was able to successfully retire the mortgage debt on North Highland Park.
If elected to serve another term, in addition to continuing to organize and execute the ͚parks-related͛ work above, I would like to continue to help to manage Summerfest t-shirt operations and work with the Summerfest Committee on the strategic planning analysis that will occur over the next few months to look at how we can make Summerfest even better, and continue to ensure that the Virginia-Highland Civic Association has sufficient capital to continue to give back to this neighborhood in ways the Board and Association deem most critical.
I am fortunate to have been a part of this organization over the past five years and look forward to continuing with VHCA’s good work for another term if so elected.
Chip (Louis) Franzoni
Chip Franzoni is one of the newest Va-Hi homeowners, and couldn’t be happier to have moved from his Buckhead home just four miles away to be closer to the excitement and energy of ATL in-town living. It’s better than he or his family ever imagined!
He’s a roll-up-the-sleeves and get it done kind of guy, who has a wide breadth of experience in various business and volunteer roles. He approaches tasks with a goal in mind and humor to help fuel the effort.
Professionally, Chip has held positions from Account Executive to Vice President for companies including Prentice Hall, National Data Corporation, TSI, and Harbinger. In 2000 he resigned from a senior management position to dedicate his energies to his family and community service.
Since quitting that perfectly good job, his volunteer work is extensive. He is a past president of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association, which represents the interest of the community’s 30,000 residents. He was a board member of our local YMCA’s for nearly 15 years. He established and ran a charitable foundation to support under-privileged children with special needs. He served four years in public office as a school board member, his most challenging community service effort to-date! If he could survive that, service on the VHCA board should be a breeze!
Chip is committed to continue his volunteerism. He hopes with your vote of confidence, and with guidance from the full VHCA board, that he can contribute his talents in some way to make Virginia-Highland an even better community than the better-than-imagined community he’s so thankful to now be part of.
Chase Johnson (I)
Virginia-Highland has always held a special place in Chase Johnson’s heart. Growing up, he heard stories about his grandparents wedding reception at his Great Aunt’s house on Virginia Circle, and he always told people this was where he would live one day. In 2012, he made good on that promise, and in 2017, he and his wife were thrilled to purchase their first home on Rosedale Drive.
A commercial real estate broker by day and an armchair urbanist by night, Chase is passionate about places and what makes a community a great place to live. He currently serves as chair of the Tour of Homes, and if elected, will continue his work to sustain and grow the neighborhood’s winter fundraiser.
This year’s board was able to pay off North Highland Park early and he excited that this will allow the board the opportunity to have more community engagement activities to bring all of our wonderful neighbors together, as well as continue to help improve our neighborhood’s commercial district.
Atlanta has always been a place that welcomes new people and new ideas. Chase hopes that Virginia-Highland will continue to be part of that tradition, and would be honored to serve as a board member for the civic association for another year.
Jenifer Keenan (I)
I am a mom, wife, lawyer, and community activist who has lived in Virginia-Highland for over fourteen years. I take great pride in our neighborhood and have been an active neighborhood advocate on the BeltLine, safety issues on Monroe, proposed development at 10th/Cresthill and Monroe, and other important neighborhood issues.
I have been on the board for several years and served as VHCA President in 2016/2017 and VHCA Secretary in 2017/2018. This past year, I served on the Planning Committee and was the co-chair of Summerfest. I have signed on to be one of the co-Chairs of Summerfest 2019, and am always looking for volunteers to help with Summerfest!
For the coming year, I would like to focus on Summerfest and planning issues, including development, traffic, and transportation. I would also like to focus on fundraising to help increase VHCA’s revenue so that we can fund more great initiatives in the neighborhood.
I am proud of all of the great work that VHCA has done and look forward to another productive year on the board.
Moved to the neighborhood in 2004. He and his wife live on Virginia Ave. and have two children who attend school in the Grady Cluster. Mike has been active in VaHi through participation in neighborhood events and has supported the schools through volunteerism as well.
Mikes background is in marketing. He has worked for agencies in San Francisco and Atlanta and is currently the Creative Director/Strategist at Grady Hospital.
If elected, Mike would like to help the board address the needs of the changing community, supporting events and projects that help maintain the culture and vibrancy of VaHi. His communications experience will be a great addition to the association.
Barry Loudis (I)
If allowed the privilege of serving on the VHCA Board for a second year, my number one goal will remain to work with all residents to unite, understand the needs of our changing community and keep Virginia-Highland the best neighborhood to live, work, do business and play in.
Moving to VaHi (Kentucky Ave) almost three years ago from New York City, my family (wife, Kerri and daughters, Sloan (6) and Saylor (3)) and I knew right away that we wanted to not only have an address but a home. Virginia-Highland afforded this opportunity early and I’ve been fortunate to meet and speak with many neighbors and city officials through my participation on the 2017-18 board, several committees and other community activities.
I obviously enjoy our major events like Summerfest and Tour of Homes but also experiencing our parks, taking in our commercial nodes, accessing Piedmont Park and enjoying the Beltline. I will continue to engage with neighbors in other parts of Atlanta (NPU-F and beyond) to hear about how they are facing their issues, learning what has worked, what hasn’t and how we can put those things appropriately into place from Ponce to Amsterdam, The Beltline to Briarcliff.
My areas of focus include neighborhood safety, proper planning for both residential and business development and continuing to make VaHi’s voice heard on the city, county and state levels.
I currently co-chair the VaHi Planning Committee, lead the Communications Committee, am a member of the Grants Committee and have assisted with projects effecting the VaHi business and residential districts (specifically the Monroe and Cresthill project), parking configurations and bike lanes. I live on Kentucky Ave.
Leah Matthews (I)
Leah Matthews moved to the neighborhood 6 years ago. She lives on St. Charles Ave with her husband Todd, son Jonah, baby on the way, and their lively boxer, Kota. Leah is an entrepreneur and owner of two businesses. She moved to Atlanta in 2006, and immediately fell in love with Virginia-Highland and knew it was where she would
make her permanent home.
She came on mid-year to fill the alternate vacancy on the VHCA board. Leah currently serves on the Summerfest Committee and is Co-Chair of the Summerfest Parade. For 2019 she will Co-Chair Summerfest and is excited to be involved in the strategic planning of the festival for the coming years. In addition, Leah is the Street Captain for the lower half of St. Charles Ave.
If elected in the coming year her interests are continuing work on Summerfest and safety, but also finding ways to increase community within the neighborhood. Leah hopes to become even more involved in the neighborhood and the VHCA to ensure that Virginia-Highland will continue to be a great place to live for years to come.
When not working, her interests include cooking, wine, travel, yoga, and volunteer work. You’ll often find her working at Press & Grind or out and about in the neighborhood with her family.
Troy Murray (I)
Troy Murray is a 20-year resident of Atlanta and a 14-year resident at Greenwood Lofts in Virginia-Highland. Originally from Nashville, Troy moved to Atlanta after earning a bachelor’s degree in Logistics and Transportation with a minor in Geography from the University of Tennessee. Troy is a project manager for United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS), and has a passion for transportation and a strong interest in infrastructure growth and sustainability. With a balcony view overlooking the Beltline and Ponce City Market, Troy has seen many changes in the neighborhood.
Troy has been involved with several organizations in Atlanta including: UPS LGBTA Business Resource Group (2014 – current); AIDS Walk Atlanta (Team UPS captain, 2015 & 2016); Out & Equal Atlanta (board member, 2008 – 2013); United Way (UPS team leader, 2006 – 2008); Greenwood Lofts HOA (secretary 2005 – 2008); and Open Hand volunteer (1998 – 2005).
As an avid runner and dog owner, Troy can be seen daily either walking Jesse along Greenwood Avenue or running on the BeltLine.
Troy looks forward to serving this great neighborhood for a third year. He has gained so much experience and made new friends and acquaintances. Troy is the co-chair of the Safety committee and serves on the Parks and Planning committees.
Stefanie Roberts (I)
Stefanie Roberts, Associate Director of Reimbursement and Access at Boehringer- Ingelheim. Prior to joining BI, Stefanie served as District Sales Manager for Novartis, Amgen, Savient and Alkermes where she was responsible for building sales’ teams to prepare for product launches for pharmaceutical products. Stefanie brings over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including expertise in product launches, sales management, and marketing. Stefanie earned her Bachelor of Science in Natural Science from Spelman College, Master in Public Health from Morehouse School of Medicine and Master in Business Administration from University of Miami.
Stefanie enjoys traveling and playing tennis in her spare time. Stefanie is married to one of the hottest DJs in Atlanta Toronto (DJ Tron) and has a 10 year old aspiring tennis pro Justin whom attends Springdale Park Elementary. Stefanie has lived in Virginia Highland for ten years on Ponce De Leon Place. Stefanie strives to be on the board of VAHI as a committee member of safety or fundraising events because of her passion to serve her community and to represent the diversity of the community she strives to raise her son in.
Moved to Virginia-Highlands in the Fall of 2016 after receiving my Masters degree in Architecture from the University of South Florida. I visited over 50 cities the summer following graduation and in the end, moved to the first city of the trip- Atlanta. Although I also have family in Atlanta, the more I explored the more I fell in love with the 42 different neighborhoods. I decided to live in the Highlands because of its historical character, walk-ability, and people. I have been living in the Atkins Park area and recently made a purchase off Frederica Ave!
In March 2018, I co-founded a non-profit corporation called Beautify VaHi, our mission is to focus, advocate, and invest in the future of the Virginia-Highland business corridors, which has been declining. Beautify VaHi’s mission focuses on beautification and neighborhood activation to promote small businesses and a local economy in the Virginia-Highlands. We engage all levels to educate and advocate with efficiency and purpose. We launched a kickoff fundraiser and partnered with 18 local businesses to provide an exclusive neighborhood discount card, with discounts up to 20% continuously for up to one year (VaHi Perks Plus Card). Proceeds directly benefit the sidewalks of the Virginia Ave. and Highland Ave. business corridor.
I have worked in VaHi and have come to know many of my neighbors. I walk the streets and love to ride my Kona bicycle. I enjoy yoga locally; I volunteer. I feel very blessed to be here. There is great potential in the neighborhood and the people of Virginia-Highlands. If elected, I would like to serve the residents by participating in multiple committees, advocating for beautification and revitalization of our business corridors and seek for greater sponsorship and community involvement.
Joshua is a native Atlantan and has lived in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood on Monroe Drive since 2016. He has strong ties to the community with several family members living in various parts of the neighborhood. He has seen the city grow and develop over the decades and believes that retaining the character, safety and usability of the neighborhood is critical to its continued success.
He has been a member of the Virginia-Highland Master Plan Update Steering Committee since 2017. He also took an active role by providing input to the city and neighborhood related to concerns about the scale, traffic, safety and viability of the Tenth and Monroe project that was recently cancelled.
Joshua has a background in management consulting and has experience growing small, medium and large companies. In his free time he enjoys outside activities including golf, running on the Beltline and in Piedmont Park and skiing.
His interests in the neighborhood include parks, safety and planning, however he has a breadth of skills that would translate well into other areas that may need help.
If elected to the board, he looks forward to shaping the future of the Virginia-Highland neighborhood, continuing to serve on the Master Plan Update Steering Committee and making sure Virginia-Highland continues to be a top residential, business and social neighborhood in the city.
Members of the association (18 years of age residing within the official boundaries of Virginia-Highland) may vote at the annual meeting or by absentee ballot. Residence is verified by providing a copy of a valid ID (e.g. GA driver’s license or state issued ID) or a utility bill issued within sixty days of the meeting. The bill or statement should show your name and address.
Members may also vote by absentee ballot. Your ballot, along with one of the forms of identification mentioned above, may be delivered to 949 Rupley Drive NE or 996 Drewry Street NE (a collection box will be available) by 5 p.m. on September 20, 2018. Ballots may be also be mailed to P.O. Box 8041; Station F, Atlanta, GA 31106. To be counted, they must arrive in the box by 5 PM on the day of the election, at which point they will be collected. Absentee ballots may also be delivered to the annual meeting by its start time of 7 PM.
Please put your ballot in a sealed envelope and then attach the identification document to the outside of the envelope. Account numbers and driver’s license numbers should be blacked out, but leave your name and address visible. After your residency is verified, the identification documents will be removed and destroyed to ensure your ballot and personal data remains anonymous.