Breaking Ground Conference

Breaking Ground 2018

Breaking Ground 2018: Transforming a Region Together

An implementation workshop for local governments and regional partners

March 22, 2018
Loews Philadelphia Hotel
1200 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Directions to the Loews Hotel
* Discounted parking is available for attendees

Breaking Ground 2018: Transforming a Region aims to implement the principles and goals of Connections 2045 Long-Range Plan for Greater Philadelphia. While our region is made up of 352 local governments, we are better-positioned and more economically competitive by moving forward together, as a region. This year’s conference celebrates regional cooperation and government efficiency.

In keeping with that theme, the keynote speaker—Brian Elms—is an expert in management and government performance. Concurrent sessions will feature government transparency, sustainable environmental practices, collaboration between businesses and government, the use of data and metrics, and age-friendly communities. Breaking Ground 2018 is expanding to include a Learning Lounge, which will feature businesses and newer tech companies that assist municipal governments in better serving their citizens.

Who Should Attend?

This conference is an opportunity for government officials to engage and learn from each other. This conference has been designed for local government staff and officials, planning practitioners, community and economic development professionals, civil engineers, architects, and other professionals who work in or with different levels of government.

Registration Rates: Early Bird Standard Rate (After 2/22/18)
Nonprofits and Government: $75 $100
Private Sector: $125 $175
Walk in Rate:   $200

Registration rate includes breakfast, lunch, and conference materials. Complimentary copies of Brian Elms’ book, Peak Performance, will be available. Inquiries should be sent to Karen Cilurso, Reservations are binding unless cancelled in writing by 3/18/2018.

Please Note: Online registration for this event closes as of 12 p.m. (Noon) 3/21/18. If registration has closed and you wish to attend, please register at the door. The walk in rate is $200.

AICP CM Credits

4.75 AICP Certification Maintenance Credits approved (Event ID #9133972).

AIA Credits approved.

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To pay by check, please fill out the registration form. [0.5 MB pdf]

Sponsorship Levels and Benefits

Wi-Fi Sponsor ($5,000)

  • Exclusive branding on Wi-Fi landing page
  • Recognition on introductory slides at educational sessions
  • Opportunity to make remarks at opening plenary session
  • Three (3) registrations
  • Complimentary display space
  • Full page ad in the program booklet
  • Recognition on DVRPC website

Millennium Room Sponsor ($2,500)

  • Recognition on introductory slides at educational sessions
  • Name on Millennium Room Table Centerpieces
  • Two (2) registrations
  • Complimentary display space
  • Half page ad in the program booklet
  • Recognition on DVRPC website

Beverage Break Sponsor ($1,000)

  • Complimentary registration
  • Signs placed on all water/coffee tables
  • Quarter page ad in the program booklet
  • Recognition on DVRPC website

Registration Sponsor ($1,000)

  • Complimentary registration
  • Name on Lanyard Name badges
  • Quarter page ad in the program booklet
  • Recognition on DVRPC website

Direct all inquiries to Karen Cilurso at 215-238-2876 or

Exhibit in the Learning Lounge

Showcase your organization or service in front of an audience of municipal officials, federal and state employees, non-profit staff, planners, architects, engineers, economic development professionals, and consultants at this one-day conference on government innovation and regional transformation. The conference will feature dedicated time in the Learning Lounge for attendees.

Benefits Include:

  • 10x10 display space with 6’ foot skirted table and 2 chairs
  • Power supply and Wi-Fi included
  • Two registrations to conference
  • Listing in the Breaking Ground Program, social media feeds and website, and promotional emails ( if submitted by 12/31/17
  • Pre and post conference lists of attendees
  • Dedicated demonstration time


Early Bird (ends 12/31/17)Regular Rate (ends 3/15/18)
$350 Nonprofit/Government$500 Nonprofit/Government
$450 Private Sector$600 Private Sector

To pay by check or Purchase Order, download the Exhibitor Registration Form [0.1 MB pdf] and return.

Thank you to our Confirmed Exhibitors & Sponsors!

GPI logo
  • Alta Planning
  • Azavea
  • Boardman-Hamilton Company
  • Carto
  • Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance
  • Downtown NJ
  • GovPilot
  • GZA Environmental, Inc.
  • Keystone Aerial Surveys
  • NTM Engineering
  • Pennsylvania Downtown Center, Inc.
  • Signal Service, Inc.
  • TimHaahs
  • Traffic Planning and Design, Inc.
  • WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff

Breaking Ground 2018 Program

7:30am – 5:00pm Learning Lounge Open

Using technology to improve the performance of municipal government is not new, but innovations are constantly evolving. Many cities are using—or expect to use—a wide range of software tools, technology, and readily-available systems to handle a diversity of needs. Visit the Learning Lounge and discover trends that are changing how local government can save money and better serve its citizens.

7:30am Registration Open
7:30am – 8:45am Breakfast with Exhibitors | Demonstrations

NTM Engineering, Inc. | Keystone Aerial Surveys

Demonstrations at 8:00 am and 8:20 am.

8:30am Welcome
  • Mr. Barry Seymour, Executive Director, DVRPC
8:45am – 10:00am Sunrise Session: What do Citizens Really Want?

Have you noticed that people are getting more demanding about everything? Especially services. Government pressure is mounting to make communities more citizen-central. This session will highlight innovative strategies the City of Philadelphia is using to make government’s relationship with its customers more stimulating and rewarding.


  • Moderator: Jeff Friedman, North Highland
  • Anjali Chainani, Policy Director, City of Philadelphia
  • Liana Dragoman, Deputy Director for the Office of Open Data and Digital Transformation, City of Philadelphia
10:00am – 10:30am Boardman Hamilton Company WSP logo TimHaahs logo Refreshment Break with Exhibitors Sponsored by Boardman-Hamilton Company, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff and TimHaahs
10:45am – 12:00pm Panel Discussions

Icon for environmental sessionsRaindrops Keep Falling on my Head: Stormwater Management Practices to Improve Water Quality

Connections 2045 outlines strategies that sustain the region’s natural resources through open space preservation, improved air and water quality, and better stormwater management. Water is an essential element for plants, animals, and people. This session will showcase how municipalities are working with technical practitioners, the scientific community, and the general public to improve and protect surface water quality through improved stormwater management practices and land use policies. Participants will learn about efforts to retrofit stormwater basins, implement eye-catching green stormwater infrastructure, start stormwater fees, and meet state and federal stormwater management requirements.


  • Moderator: The Honorable Michelle Kichline, Chair, Chester County Board of County Commissioners & DVRPC Board Member
  • Ms. Courtney Marm Finneran, CH2M/Jacobs
  • Mr. Paul Leonard, Township Manager, Upper Dublin Township and the Wissahickon Clean Water Partnership
  • Mr. Robert Struble, Watershed Conservation Director, Brandywine Red Clay Alliance

Icon for equity sessionsEmbracing Age-Friendly Communities

DVRPC encourages equity by promoting planning techniques that increase economic mobility, create racially and socioeconomically integrated communities, improve educational opportunities, and increase transportation access for people of all ages. Communities throughout our region are moving toward becoming more "age-friendly". These are places where older adults can age actively in the physical, social, economic, and civic life of their community. Learn more about how a community can undertake an age-friendly assessment (Princeton), how the business and Main Street community can be involved (NYC's age-friendly business program), and how housing developers are adapting to the changing needs of an aging society (Presby's Inspired Life).


  • Moderator: Ms. Jody Holton, Director, Montgomery County Planning Commission
  • Ms. Ahsia Badi, Senior Policy Associate, New York Academy of Medicine
  • Ms. Susan Hoskins, Executive Director, Princeton Senior Resource Center
  • Ms. Sarah Jolles, Executive Director of Sales and Marketing, Presby's Inspired Life

Icon for transportation sessionsImpact of Downtown Deliveries

A well-maintained transportation network provides access to our region’s livable communities and results in local economic development, including increased tourism. Recent revitalization in downtown communities has been aided by the current food and beverage tourism trend. While this increases activity in the downtown, it often is an operational dilemma for vendors who need to service food establishments. This session will highlight the issues and opportunities created by the growing amount of freight activity that accompanies just-in-time delivery, e-commerce trends, and the food economy. Speakers from the private sector will share experiences on what drives the delivery activity that sustains a livable downtown rich with commerce.


  • Moderator: Mr. Michael Carroll, P.E., Deputy Managing Director, Office of Transportation and Infrastructure, City of Philadelphia
  • Mr. Gerry Dougherty, Vice President, General Manager, Gretz Beer Company
  • Mr. Tom Madrecki, Director of Urban Innovation and Mobility, UPS

Icon for economic sessionsWho, Where, and Why on Attracting Younger Workers to Government

Expanding the region’s economy is predicated on increasing employment opportunities with the right workforce. The millennial generations, adults 34 and younger, have dominated the workforce and are not being shy about their preferences. Attracting and retaining workers to government needs a new strategy! What can government agencies do to remain competitive in the workforce? Hear experts speak about innovative workforce strategies and the benefits to generational differences in the workplace.


  • Moderator: Ms. Nedia Ralston, Director, Governor's Southeast Regional Office, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania & DVRPC Board Member
  • Mr. Dave Nast, Managing Partners, Nast Partners
  • Ms. Alissa Carpenter, Owner, Everything’s Not Ok, and That’s Ok
  • Ms. Amber Snowden, Communications and Project Manager, Center for State and Local Government Excellence
12:15pm – 2:00pm Lunch & Lecture

Introductions by Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, Bucks County Commissioner & DVRPC Board Member

Innovate, Elevate, Repeat by Brian Elms, Peak Performance Expert

Brian Elms is the Director of Denver’s Peak Academy, an organization that aims to make government fun, innovative, and empowering to citizens and employees! By training city employees how to eliminate waste, improve efficiency and ultimately create a higher standard of government. Through Peak Academy, trainees learn techniques and strategies for implementing Peak Performance throughout their department, taking personal investment in the city’s continuous improvement initiatives. Lunch and learn about how to take these small innovations to your community.

2:15pm – 3:30pm Panel Discussions

Icon for economic sessionsInternet of Everything: The Future of Work

DVRPC’s vision for 2045 includes Greater Philadelphia competing on the global stage with increased entrepreneurialism and an expansion of our region’s technology sector. The Digital Revolution enables this vision to evolve while consumers are demanding more sustainable goods and timely services. As a result, the nature of firms, employment, office space, communications, culture, and workplace practices are changing quickly. This session will focus on key trends affecting the workplace environment and how to highlight strategies that our region's major employers have used to attract a new workforce.


  • Moderator: Mr. Mark Remsa, Director of Economic Development & Regional Planning, Burlington County Bridge Commission & DVRPC Board Member
  • Ms. Katherine Kish, Executive Director, Einstein's Alley
  • Mr. Josh Sevin, Acting Executive Director, Economy League of Greater Philadelphia
  • Mr. H. Patrick Clancy, President & CEO, Philadelphia Works

Icon for communities sessionsPreserving & Expanding Affordable Housing

One of the five key principles in the Connections 2045 plan focuses future development in vibrant, healthy, mixed-use livable communities with walkable main streets and downtowns that provide access to green space, live/work opportunities, and affordable housing options. To see this through, local governments must take strategic actions to resolve the maintenance, design, and funding issues that affect our aging housing stock to ensure that it remains diverse and meets the needs of all populations. This panel brings together nonprofit and municipal housing experts to highlight recent successes in revitalizing neighborhoods while also making homes more accessible to low- and moderate-income populations.


  • Moderator: The Honorable Mr. Mark Squilla, Councilman, City of Philadelphia & DVRPC Vice Chair
  • Mr. Paul Leonard, Township Manager, Upper Dublin Township
  • Mr. Jack O’Byrne, Executive Director & Curator, Camden Shipyard & Maritime Museum/Waterfront South Artist Residency
  • Mr. Christopher Trevisani, Director of Development, Housing Visions

Icon for government sessionsMaking your Municipality Mobile & Tech Savvy

DVRPC’s Connections 2045 plan provides examples of government efficiency through more transparency, innovative practices, and the use of data and technology. Making municipalities mobile beyond the use of websites and email is fundamental today and for the future. This session will feature strategies on how to include more interactive features for viewers as well as dynamic ways to conduct government business digitally—either through the internet or social media. Learn how you can ensure citizens find the information they seek quickly and effectively given time and budget constraints.


  • Moderator: Mr. Sean Thompson, Director, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs & DVRPC Board Member
  • Mr. Steve Ressler, Chief Marketing Officer, Granicus, Founder and President of
  • Mr. James Delmonico, Vice President, GovPilot
3:30pm Adjournment

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