Donald Monti, CEO
Donald Monti, CEO of Renaissance Downtowns, has over 40 years of diverse experience covering all aspects of the real estate spectrum having played a major role in the development, construction and management of 80+ development projects. Renaissance has become the branded leader in the holistic and comprehensive development of suburban downtowns with a focus on mixed-use and transit oriented development. The Company is Master Developer in numerous projects throughout the Northeast, with a total development value in excess of $10 Billion along with along with a pipeline of 10,000 plus residential units. The Company was recently designated as Master Developer for the Nassau Coliseum Hub redevelopment site, which represents Nassau County’s largest tract of redevelopable land.
Two of Mr. Monti’s Long Island based projects have been designated as a “Project of Regional Significance” by the Long Island Regional Planning Council, representing the transformative nature of Renaissance’s downtown redevelopment efforts. One of those projects is the $2 Billion+ dollar mixed-use TOD in Hempstead, NY which was recently awarded $5 Million by the New York State Economic Development Council, one of the largest awards provided to a single development effort. Hempstead represents a true game changer for Long Island and other mature suburbs by ushering in the ideals of large scale, mixed use, smart growth redevelopment that abide by Renaissance’s “Triple Bottom Line” approach to real estate development – social, environmental and economic responsibility. The Hempstead redevelopment received its final approvals in 2012, setting the stage for construction to begin in the very near future. The Hempstead revitalization effort, as an example of innovative and forward thinking development, was featured by Mr. Monti as a case study at the United Nations World Energy and Water Forum in Dubai, in October 2012.
Under Mr. Monti’s leadership, the Company instituted the nation’s first grass roots, social networking campaign for public outreach (“Crowdsourced Placemaking”) which allows community members to provide input to the planning process through web based and in-person initiatives. Utilizing the patent pending Crowdsourced Placemaking process in Bristol, CT, the Company has engaged nearly 2,500 people on bristolrising.com, which has become a national example for broad based community outreach. Mr. Monti’s proactive approach to community engagement provides for a streamlined approval process by garnering public input and support for the Company’s redevelopment efforts from the outset of the planning process. The Bristol Rising community’s support lead to a unanimous 7-0 approval of the Company's development plan, slated to break ground in the upcoming months.
The success of Crowdsourced Placemaking was never more evident than in the recent 5-0, bipartisan approval of Renaissance’s Development Strategy in Huntington Station, demonstrating the ability for community driven ideas to result in timely implementation. As an outcropping of this success, Mr. Monti was approached by a number of Long Island’s young professionals who inquired about how to spread the word of responsible downtown redevelopment Island-wide, resulting in the formation of Destination LI, a fast growing community of individuals dedicated to creating the types of places that will retain and attract the young workforce and, in turn, drive the innovation economy.
Mr. Monti has been quoted in numerous nationally respected media sources as an expert in downtown revitalization and been a keynote speaker / panelist at numerous national conferences, including the CNU Annual Congress, Railvolution, American Planning Association, California Downtown Association, Wharton Real Estate Summit at the NYSE, Private Equity Real Estate Annual Forum, and Vision Long Island amongst others.
Mr. Monti is a member of the ULI, the APA and the CNU, along with several other leading organizations in the real estate industry. He has also been heavily involved in community affairs, including serving on the Board of Directors for the Don Monti Memorial Foundation and being honored as Man of the Year by the American Red Cross.
Ryan Porter, President
Ryan Porter brings more than 15 years of combined experience in the financial services and real estate industries to his role at Renaissance. Ryan began his career in 2001 as a derivatives trader on the American Stock Exchange for Susquehanna International Group. In 2004, Ryan took a position and partial ownership opportunity at a start-up hedge fund consulting firm, VIG Capital. Ryan was retained by VIG to use his industry connections to acquire a Joint Venture funding partner willing to invest in VIG’s cutting edge European futures trading strategies.
Subsequently in 2005, Ryan was offered the opportunity to return to the Susquehanna umbrella as an Institutional Sales Trader which included a focus on Real Estate Investment Trust analysis. In 2006, Ryan started GreenCliff Property Management, LLC where he began acquiring properties in Pennsylvania and New York. Renaissance Downtowns took notice of Mr. Porter’s successes in finance, business and real estate, bringing him onto the team in 2007. Mr. Porter now leads Renaissance’s project management and development teams, working hand in hand with the Company’s partner municipalities. In his role as President, Mr. Porter over-sees nearly 20 million square feet of mixed-use development opportunities.
Sean McLean, Vice President of Planning and Development
Sean McLean has over 15 years of real estate development and planning experience. Prior to joining the Renaissance team, Sean led the planning and development of over 8,100 residential units, along with 2.5 million square feet of mixed-use commercial space throughout the state of NY. His passion and expertise lies in true mixed-use and transit oriented development. Using smart and flexible planning techniques, Sean has been successful in consensus building amongst public officials, community stakeholders and vertical developers to create unique forward thinking development. As a resident of Flanders, Sean has strong ties to and local knowledge about the Riverside area, and the Town of Southampton as a whole, which provide him with the necessary perspective to lead the planning and development process.
Sean has extensive construction project management experience, and is particularly knowledgeable in complicated LI infrastructure systems. Sean managed the construction of the largest private sewer treatment plant on Long Island, as well as the construction of substantial infrastructure, including railways, sanitary systems, storm drainage, water systems, roads and the like. Sean holds a Bachelor's degree in Social Psychology from Princeton University and a Masters in International Real Estate Development from New York University. He, until recently, held the position of President of the Shelter Island Chamber of Commerce and as such, understands the needs of economic growth and sustainability to improve quality of life for local residents. Sean is currently leading the Company’s Unified Development Approach™ and redevelopment process in its Hempstead redevelopment initiative, coordinating municipal efforts with community outreach and private property owner participation. In addition, Sean was the driving force behind the Village of Hempstead planning effort, including the innovative overlay zoning code, which received significant acclaim from the Nassau County Planning Commission.
Michele Skobla, Chief Financial Officer / Director of Operations
Michele Skobla serves as Chief Financial Officer and Director of Operations of Renaissance Downtowns. Michele is responsible for the management and oversight of the Company's day-to-day financial operations, including its accounting processes, internal and external reporting, Company audits and commercial banking relationships. Additionally, Michele is responsible for managing all legal aspects of Renaissance's internal operations. With over 18 years of extensive experience within the hospitality and real estate industries including development, financing, leasing and property management, Michele provides the Company with tremendous continuity, having worked with President and CEO, Mr. Monti, during this time in his various ventures.
Ela Dokonal, AICP CUD, LEEP AP, Director of Planning and Development
Ela Dokonal is Renaissance’s lead planner, a visionary urban designer and sustainable design professional with international experience in architectural design. As an expert in Form Based Codes and Design Guidelines, applications of Smart Growth and New Urbanist principles, Ela has been working in over 30 communities in NY State (with concentrated focus on Long Island’s communities), CT and NH. Ela’s work has an emphasis on compact, mixed-use development with a range of housing types for mixed income and inter-generational, appropriately dense, human scale, pedestrian oriented development, linked by mass transit.
She is an advocate for light imprint methodologies that offer tools and a range of environmental strategies for different landscapes and urban conditions, adjusted according to the appropriateness of their use in each transect zone and used collectively at the sector, neighborhood and block scale. Ela brought this expertise recently to several international urban design and planning research projects: Huludao (China), with the task of designing an eco-city that serves as a model of urbanization for North-Eastern China; and Dunkirk (France), focused on sustainable development and strengthening of economic and cultural synergies of the most strategically positioned harbor-city of Northern Europe.
Ela is a Certified Planner and Urban Designer, holds a Master’s degree in Architecture and Urban Planning. Ela was leading American Planning Association's Long Island Section as an executive board member for the APA NY Metro Chapte for the past 4 years. Ela also serves on the Economic Development Committee for the Village of Northport and has professional affiliations with CNU, AIA, INTBAU and Form Based Code Institute.
Darren Monti, Development Associate
Darren has over eight years of experience in the real estate development and construction industry. Darren is responsible for providing project management support in all aspects of the development industry. These duties include project planning and design development, scheduling and budgeting, pro forma modeling and feasibility analysis, as well as providing assistance throughout the entitlement and environmental review process. Darren has been involved in the management of numerous high-profile projects throughout the region.
Steve Lubrano, AICP, Senior Planner
Steve is involved in Renaissance’s planning and development efforts including GIS mapping, form based zoning, site planning, parking management, socioeconomic analysis and plan preparation among others. Steve is a certified planner and holds a B.A. in geography and political science from SUNY Geneseo and a Master of City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University. He is a member of the American Planning Association, the American Institute of Certified Planners and the American Association of Geographers.
Ganlin Huang, Junior Planner
Ganlin Huang joined Renaissance in 2016 as a Junior Planner. He has been instrumental in providing GIS, urban design, and data analysis. With concentration on downtown transit oriented development, Ganlin is passionate about sustainable transportation, and its role in urban redevelopment.
During his pursuit of a Master Degree in Urban and Regional Planning, he has worked in many communities in NJ, assisting with research related to improving the walking and cycling environment. With his bachelor degree in engineering, Ganlin was previously involved in a variety of GIS analysis projects and comprehensive planning in Chinese municipalities for 3 years. These experiences solidified his interest in bringing vitality into downtowns through a variety of skills.
Laura Stillwagon, Executive Assistant to the CEO & Operations
Laura Stillwagon oversees the daily functions of the company as well as facilitates major event planning and orchestration of all company logistics in and out of house. With 10 years by his side, Laura also serves as Executive Assistant to the company CEO, Donald Monti. Laura also provides support in the company public relations & marketing endeavors. An overall utility player for the company, Laura also brings social media savvy and technical support to the team. Laura graduated from Suffolk University in 2004 with a BA in English and was a freelance writer with Newsday prior to her tenure with Renaissance Downtowns. She is also a licensed real estate agent in the state of New York.
Efthalia (Lia) Dallaris, Executive Assistant & Task Manager
Lia joined the Renaissance Downtowns in 2012 as an Executive Assistant reporting directly to the President and Vice President and currently provides support to the Planning Department as well, proving she can wear many hats. Ms. Dallaris is responsible for managing the company’s task management site, works closely with municipal partners to help resolve special issues and problems, and is an effective communicator who creates harmony between Renaissance, its partners, liaisons and consultants. She is a firm believer and practitioner of the GTD (Get Things Done) approach, and uses her diversified and wide-ranging experience and nearly limitless drive in assisting the RD team reach their goals. Simply put, she is the line that connects all the dots together to ensure success.
Patti Basile, Human Resources
Patti Basile is Manager of Human Resources and Organizational Development for Renaissance Downtowns. She joined the firm at its inception, bringing with her over two decades of human resource experience, with expertise in talent management, organizational development, training and development, and leadership and management coaching. Patti also combines 20 years of real estate experience in this position which allows her to fully understand the needs of the company.
Patti is passionate about helping businesses make the most of their resources and talent, and helping individuals make the most of their job search. In addition to her accomplishments in HR/OD, she has also provided career transition services for more than five years through one-on-one coaching and various levels of job placement.
Kimberly Farrell, Project Accountant
Kimberly has 10 years’ experience in a variety of accounting departments in various roles. At Renaissance, she is responsible for providing accounting support to the CFO and Controller, as well as other managers within the company. Her accounting experience extends to accounts payable, accounts receivable, preparation of submission of monthly bills and processing invoices for all development projects, as well as reconciliations.
Sandra Santoro, Project Management Liaison
Sandra joined Renaissance Downtowns in 2001 bringing to the team her immense expertise in providing consulting, project management and database administration services. Sandra is responsible for juggling the multitude of jobs associated with running the office smoothly and efficiently. She has over 20 years of real estate experience and is passionate about providing excellence in all areas of customer service.
Andrea Bonilla, CSPM Liaison, Source the Station
Andrea has been a part of Source the Station as a crowdsourced placemaking liaison since January 2013 and has been actively sharing with community members the value and opportunities that can come from working together in order to build an improved Huntington Station. More importantly, Andrea is excited to help harness the voices of the Latino Community in order to work together with Source the Station, Renaissance Downtowns, and the local government to build a better and more sustainable future.
Andrea Bonilla was born in Quito, Ecuador and moved to New York when she was 10 years old. A year after, Andrea and her family moved to Huntington Station. She then went on to obtain an Arts Bachelor degree from Brown University in International Relations and Latin American & Caribbean Studies. While at Brown University she was an integral part of a tutoring company that helped underprivileged children, traveled to & interned in Ecuador, and was a leader for “Women in Business” and the Class of 2010.
After graduation Andrea moved back to Huntington Station and began working as a social media consultant and copywriter, helping small business owners harness the power of the internet and social media and in January 2012 joined Source the Station as a Huntington Station community Liaison.
Elisabeth Muehlemann, CSPM Liaison, Source the Station
Elisabeth has been a Source the Station crowdsourced placemaking liaison since 2015, helping to shape the Huntington Station community as a vibrant downtown with a strong local economy. Elisabeth grew up in Huntington and loves being able to work directly with the community to help residents realize their vision for Huntington Station.
She graduated from Colgate University with a degree in Environmental Geography and worked as an AmeriCorps Community Emergency Preparedness Corps member for a year with the Long Island Volunteer Center, before starting as a Community Liaison. She is currently working towards her Masters in Public Administration at CUNY Baruch and hopes to concentrate in Urban Development and Sustainability, so she can continue to help communities reach their full potential.
Siris Barrios, CSPM Liaison, Riverside Rediscovered
Siris Barrios serves as the crowdsourced placemaking liaison for Riverside Rediscovered, a community-driven initiative sponsored by Renaissance Downtowns to shape Riverside as a vibrant, inspiring destination. Ms. Barrios is a geographer and GIS mapper and researcher with nearly 20 years of community organizing and development experience centered on Community Action Research.
Previously Ms. Barrios served as Director of Youth Programs at Community Coalition, a prominent nonprofit organization based in South Los Angeles established by Congresswoman Karen Bass. Ms. Barrios also worked with “Communities Rising” a community-organizing space-based redevelopment model focus on resident engagement. She has received training in Human Subject Research by University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Harris Interactive and the Rand Corporation. She has created, led and implemented a number of qualitative and quantitative research projects dealing with health equity, media representation, under-represented African American and Latino communities and multicultural marketing for the corporate sector.
Ms. Barrios has a Geography degree from California State University at Northridge, where she also helped found both the first Central American Studies Program and the first Central American Research & Policy Institute in the United States. She was born in El Salvador and raised in Los Angeles, California and has explored ten countries across four continents.
Angela Huneault, CSPM Liaison, Riverside Rediscovered
Angela Huneault serves as the crowdsource placemaking assistant liaison for Riverside Rediscovered, a community-driven initiative sponsored by Renaissance Downtowns to shape Riverside as a vibrant, inspiring destination.
Ms. Huneault has lived in the area for 37 years. She came to us as an eager volunteer wanting to keep her young adult children in the area and see her vision of what this hamlet can look like. She went from volunteering to joining our team March of 2014.
Prior to joining our team Ms. Huneault worked for the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County, volunteered in her church as a youth leader and leader of woman, and online ministry. She was a part of the PTA for over 5 years. Served as a PAL coach for 3 years and has been a volunteer for the local civics for over 20 years. She has been a part of the neighborhood watch for her area for 22 years.