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2021 Newsletter #8 | An Interview with Place It! Founders, Team News, and Promotions

In this issue, Analyst Cheryl Lim interviews Place It! Founder and engagement experts James Rojas and his partner/co-facilitator John Kamp in anticipation of their new book, Dream, Play, Build, which will be released in February 2022. Read the full interview here!

C: James and John, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. The Karp Strategies team has worked with you over the past several years, and used the incredibly successful Place It! method in countless public workshops that we have facilitated.

Your book, “Dream, Play, Build” will be out in February 2022. Can you tell us about the inspiration for this book and how it came about?

We really wanted to share the knowledge that we had both acquired over the years with others. We’ve had the chance to also step back and reflect, and had been noticing phenomena about how people would respond when they worked with their hands versus talking. I wanted to explore why outcomes were different when they did use their hands. Southern California, where we work, is a very diverse place. Not everybody speaks English. You really have to give everybody the tools to build consensus and collaboration. C: What do you think are the key differences between in-person and virtual engagement, now that we live in a COVID virtual world?

There are a lot of differences. In the virtual world, people become intimate very quickly because they are in their safe space. You are able to share a lot of knowledge that way. In the public realm, people tend to hold back because people are looking at them. But when they bring items from their homes, like a baby blanket, or other precious items that are of great value to them, it makes them feel safe. It is a collection of memories. We try to think about how to convey that in the public realm. Read the full interview here.


Karp Strategies is pleased to introduce the two newest members of our team: Jeff Lee Romero as Principal and Andel Koester as Director. As the firm continues to grow, Jeff and Andel bring their decades of experience to lead projects across a range of sectors, from clean energy to real estate, and support equitable economic development and policy analysis throughout our portfolio.

With over 20 years of experience in community-economic development, Jeff thrives in helping private and public sector entities innovate and grow. As a Principal at Capalino and SVP at the NYC Economic Development Corporation, Jeff advanced catalytic projects for diverse stakeholders and oversaw the implementation of high-profile initiatives including NYC’s Industrial Development Agency. A native New Yorker, Jeff lives in Brooklyn with his partner and two children.

Andel has more than 15 years of experience partnering with nonprofit, local government, and business leaders to solve pressing social challenges. At IBM she managed a national grant program to support smart cities initiatives; and at Bloomberg Philanthropies she directed a portfolio of 20 mid-size US cities, helping governments use data to operate more effectively. In her spare time, Andel can often be found running in the nearest park or enjoying an off-Broadway play.

Join us in congratulating Yuri for her promotion to Consultant. Yuri began at Karp Strategies as a Graduate Analyst in January 2019, and was later promoted to Analyst in September 2019. Prior to joining Karp Strategies, Yuri advocated for progressive urban planning and workforce development policies at Smart Growth America, National Skills Coalition, and Jobs for the Future, providing communications, research, and technical assistance support.During her time at Karp Strategies, Yuri has provided project management to the firm's involvement with the PANYNJ's Wharf Replacement Project, NYCHA's Connected Communities Initiative, and New York State's Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

She is currently managing the firm's work with Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, working in lockstep with the External Affairs team to provide holistic stakeholder engagement strategies. Yuri will complete her master's in city & regional planning this December at Pratt Institute, where she currently sits on the Pratt Institute Planning Students' Association. She is also involved with the American Planning Association's Diversity Committee.


The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Karp Strategies are excited to invite you to the launch of the Offshore Wind Youth Action program (OWYA), pronounced “Oh Yeah”, an innovative and publicly available educational program for middle- and high-school-aged students. Join the virtual launch today at 3:00 PM ET to learn how to implement the program into classrooms, afterschool programs, camps, internships, and more. Know other educators, advocates, or offshore wind fans who might be interested? Share the webinar link here or register for yourself!

Join us at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) Learning from the Experts series on Wednesday, September 1 at 1PM ET to learn more about the relative impacts of fixed offshore wind foundation types in the ocean environment. Register here.

The New York Building Congress will be holding its Construction Industry Breakfast on Thursday, October 14 at 8AM at the New York Hilton Midtown. The NYBC will be sharing the New York City Construction Outlook 2021-2023 report release. For more information, visit this link here - we hope to see you there!


Want to continue the conversation? We’d love to hear from you. As always, we welcome the opportunity to connect with your network of partners and clients or to work with you. Reach out to us at


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