CPEX is staffed by an extraordinary team that includes community planners, landscape architects, policy experts, scientists, communications specialists, advocates and strategists.   

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OScar Almengor


As an intern at Center for Planning Excellence, Oscar Almengor assists with design for a variety of CPEX projects while advancing his knowledge of ways to redesign the urban landscape to better serve all people within in it.

Oscar is currently an undergraduate at Louisiana State University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Architecture. During his time at LSU, Oscar has also cultivated a growing interest in urban planning.  He is especially interested in creative alternatives to the traditional block model for pedestrians traversing a city.

Oscar’s interest in the urban environment and how architecture can help change a city for the better has been spurred by his travels to cities such as Chicago, L.A., Little Rock, Seattle, and Panama City. After completing his undergraduate degree, Oscar intends to pursue a Masters Degree in the field of Urban Design in hopes of one day helping change what it means to experience a city.

Oscar is a native of Panama but has lived most of his life in the South Louisiana.  He is also a photographer and has an active interest in photographic arts. 


edward anthony iii, pmp



Edward is a planning and project management specialist who brings 8 years of experience from both the private and public sectors in consulting, development, and planning projects to his work at CPEX. Edward’s expertise includes sustainable development practices and assessment, rezoning conformance and code revisions. In his prior work in the public sector, he advised the public and development community on land development potential and permissible uses according Unified Development Code (UDC) requirements. Edward has also worked in private industry, where he developed specialized project management expertise.


Edward holds a Bachelor of Science in Applied Sciences – GIS, Natural Resource Management from Alcorn State University and a Master of Arts in Urban and Regional Planning—Urban Design from Jackson State University. Edward is a member of the American Planning Association and Project Management Institute. He enjoys DIY projects and spending quality time with family and friends, particularly his wife and son.

Expertise: Code Analysis, Environmental Assessment, Land Use Planning, Project Management


Ryan Benton


Ryan, a native of south Louisiana, is a Project Manager with CPEX’s Planning and Implementation team, where he contributes an analytical and holistic approach to projects in communities throughout Louisiana. He has experience in a number of different areas including campus and urban planning, bike and pedestrian planning, and streetscape design.

Prior to joining CPEX in 2014, Ryan completed an internship at Reed Hilderbrand, an award-winning landscape architecture and urban design firm in Boston, where he worked on design projects at a range of scales. Ryan holds a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University’s Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture, and is a licensed Professional Landscape Architect (PLA).

Outside of CPEX, Ryan spends time riding his bike, tending to his front stoop garden, and helping his grandfather sell his flowers and veggies at the Red Stick Farmers Market.

Expertise: site design, campus planning, bicycle and pedestrian master planning, digital representation


Haley Blakeman, AICP, PLA


Haley Blakeman, AICP, PLA, ASLA

Vice President, Center for Planning Excellence

Haley is Center for Planning Excellence’s (CPEX) lead designer and landscape architect with nearly 20 years of experience in the field.  She is nationally recognized for her leadership in the profession and currently serves as the American Society of Landscape Architects Vice President of Communications. 

Haley is passionate about providing opportunities for civic engagement, strengthening neighborhoods, empowering residents to improve their environment, and fostering incremental shifts that add up to big changes. She is also obsessed with alternative transportation networks that make it safe and easy for pedestrians and cyclists to get around and access daily needs. Throughout her career, Haley's design work has incorporated both natural systems and community engagement into every project despite the scale or location. Her varied work experience has given her a variety of perspectives and the context needed to be a creative problem solver. 

As CPEX’s Vice President, Haley works with the leadership team to define organizational strategy in order to maximize CPEX's impact. Haley also oversees workflow and optimizes staff productivity. Haley has worked on design, planning, and implementation projects throughout Louisiana. She has contributed to campus master plans, bike and pedestrian connectivity plans, demonstration projects, parks, comprehensive plans, and master plans. She has been involved at all levels of design from concept to construction details, project and client management, and the creation and direction of a CPEX's Implementation Program.

Haley holds a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from Louisiana State University and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from the University of New Orleans.  She is a licensed landscape architect and a certified planner.  She has served on numerous committees focused on Complete Streets and mobility, and helped implement Complete Streets policy at the state and local level. 

Expertise: Implementation, Landscape Design, Site Design, Land Use, Project Management, Community Engagement


Jeannette Dubinin

Director, Coastal & resilience

Jeannette has been with CPEX since 2010, focusing on developing and providing planning and implementation tools with and for Louisiana’s communities. She focuses her work on developing, coordinating, and implementing policies and programs to increase resilience at all scales. She co-authors CPEX publications and works with communities to develop adaptation strategies to reduce increased risk from climate change impacts. Jeannette is passionate about incorporating natural systems and their benefits into land use planning to ensure thriving economies and communities in an ever changing environment.

Jeannette has a natural science background and earned a M. Sc. in Energy and Environmental Science from Rijksuniversiteit Groningen in the Netherlands, and B.Sc. in Biological Science from LSU in Baton Rouge.

Jeannette is married and has two daughters. Her hobbies include horseback riding, gardening and carpentry.  

Expertise: Coastal Best Practices, Resiliency Planning




As a Designer for CPEX, Joni provides design and planning services for a variety of CPEX projects. Joni brings to the CPEX team interests in land conservation, interpretation of cultural landscapes, and public space design as an instrument of community revitalization. Prior to joining CPEX, Joni gained experience in both the public and private sectors. She worked as a Designer and Planner at Design Workshop in Austin, TX and completed internships with the National Park Service and the Cultural Landscape Foundation. She has also held leadership roles within the American Society of Landscape Architects.


An Acadiana native, Joni holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Philosophy, and a Master of Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University. A continued interest in narrative informs her approach to landscape design. When she’s not in the office, you can find Joni staring at plants on long walks around town, experimenting in the kitchen, or exploring the small towns of South Louisiana.

Expertise: Landscape design, site analysis, cultural resources, digital representation


Heather Finke

outreach coordinator

Heather provides outreach and community engagement for a variety of CPEX projects, each differing in scale with a variety of stakeholders and communities. She is also engaged in board development and membership evolution. She comes to CPEX with a background in national service, university life and state government. For more than seven years she was involved with AmeriCorps, including one year of service as a member while in college. Upon graduation from the University of Louisiana Lafayette with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, her commitment to service continued as an assistant director at the UL Lafayette AmeriCorps program followed by the same role at the state office which oversees AmeriCorps. Before joining CPEX, she was most recently the executive director of a program in the Lieutenant Governor’s Office responsible for retaining and attracting individuals over the age of 50 to Louisiana. Her organizational skills and attention to detail assist CPEX in developing stronger connections to our communities, board members and CPEX members. Heather’s expertise includes project coordination, database management, communications, meeting facilitation, exploring fresh ideas, and connecting people to resources.

Expertise: Community Outreach, Database Management, Fundraising, Communications, Meeting Facilitation


Kendall Keating, MBA



Kendall Keating joined CPEX in 2018 to assist with the organization’s administrative and business affairs. She helps CPEX manage events and operations, streamline procedures and processes, and provides special assistance as needed to the CEO and leadership team.

Kendall holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in History from Louisiana State University. She returned to LSU to complete a Masters in Business Administration, specializing in internal audit and consulting.

Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Kendall loves food (prepared by others) and giving unsolicited interior design advice. In addition to her work at CPEX, Kendall is a member of a local dance troupe, the Babycakes, and an instructor at an area dance studio. She loves all arts and believes that access to the arts is integral to a healthy community. She spends the remainder of her free time admiring her baby boy.

For Kendall's expertise: operations and event management, process management and improvement, keeping everyone sane 


Jessica McKelvie Kemp, PhD

Vice President

As Vice President, Jessica is responsible for advancing CPEX’s mission in public policy for the CONNECT coalition and issues related to housing, equity and planning throughout the state. Her work includes the development, monitoring, coordination, implementation and evaluation of policy and advocacy efforts at the municipal, state and national levels. Jessica is also responsible for assisting executive leadership with strategic planning and resource development at CPEX.

Jessica’s professional and academic career has been focused on research, communications, fund development and social justice philanthropy. Before coming to CPEX in 2013, Jessica served as Vice President of Communications for the Foundation for Louisiana where she led communications and outreach efforts as well as resource development strategies to advance program and policy objectives focused on economic development, affordable housing and equitable access to opportunity.

Jessica completed a Ph.D. in English at Louisiana State University, specializing in critical theory and consumerism; a M.A. in English from the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York; and a B.A. in English from Drury University in Springfield, Missouri. Jessica has served on the YWCA’s Public Policy Committee and participated in Habitat for Humanity’s Women’s Build. She currently sits on the boards of the Environment and Health Council of Louisiana and the Capital Area March of Dimes. She is a lifelong fellow of the Effective Leadership Program, a joint endeavor of Duke University, Southern University and the University of Cape Town to cultivate leaders committed to social justice in Louisiana and South Africa.

Expertise: Policy, Communications Strategy, Facilitation, Resource Development, Coalition Building


Justin Kozak, PhD, CFM

Researcher + Policy Analyst

Justin completed his Ph.D. in Environmental Resources and Policy at Southern Illinois University where his research focused on the evaluation of ecosystem services – the benefits society receives from the natural environment – and the management of coupled natural and human systems. Prior to joining CPEX, his research focused on restoration and water management in the Atchafalaya River Basin as part of a National Science Foundation Fellowship in Watershed Science and Policy. He moved with his wife to Baton Rouge in 2015 and dabbled in stay-at-home husbanding and housekeeping on a shoestring before being hired by the Center for Planning Excellence.

As a member of CPEX’s Planning + Implementation team, Justin’s current work is the development of adaptation and resilience strategies for Louisiana communities that balance quality of life with built environment and risk reduction needs.

Justin’s personal life revolves around spending quality time with an 18-year old Chihuahua named Mr. Man, basking in the tranquility of not having any children, and ensuring his wife Julie gets the comfy spot on the couch on the rare occasion they have the time to sit down and watch TV

Expertise: Natural resource management and restoration, Ecosystem services, Coupled natural and human systems, Environmental policy


Camille Manning-Broome


A native Louisianan, Camille Manning-Broome is internationally recognized for her expertise in resilience and adaptation planning. Her leadership on issues of land loss, coastal community sustainability, climate change resilience and adaptation as well as resident-led community planning has contributed to the transformation of cities, towns and parishes throughout Louisiana and has created knowledge of interest to peers throughout the U.S. and the globe, from South Africa to Scotland to Denmark.

Having spent time in various parts of the state throughout her life – summers in Natchitoches, graduate school work in lower Plaquemines Parish, and now raising a family in Baton Rouge, Camille’s driving passion is planning for a Louisiana her kids will be proud to call home. She invests her personal and professional energy into engaging local and state leadership in support of resident-driven planning efforts. Through this work, Camille prioritizes resilience, equity, and preservation of cultural and social ties for all residents, with emphasis on populations facing challenges associated with historical disinvestment, land loss and changing climate conditions.

As President and CEO, Camille oversees CPEX’s multidisciplinary team as they develop plans and provide technical assistance, data and research, policy guidance, communications support and thought leadership to communities seeking to make thoughtful decisions about how they develop and grow. Camille is a member of the CPEX Board of Directors and works closely with them to set the organization’s vision and advance CPEX’s mission to bring people and planning together to make great places.

In her previous role as Senior Vice President, Camille guided CPEX’s planning and implementation team in developing comprehensive plans, model land-use tools, and implementation strategies for more than 30 Louisiana communities. She built CPEX’s coastal resilience line of work by engaging coastal communities in creating a vision for the future of the working coast and developing the strategies, programs, and resources necessary to make progress toward that vision.  Camille managed CPEX’s business development activities and has cultivated and maintained strategic relationships with funders, project partners, consulting clients, and stakeholders.

Camille’s prior career experience includes work in nonprofit, private and government sectors. After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, she was among the first planners on the ground, working across 36 parishes to develop the Louisiana Speaks regional plan.  She served as Assistant Deputy of Operations for FEMA’s Long-Term Community Recovery group and was later recruited to the Shaw Group where she co-authored Louisiana’s first Coastal Master Plan. She has attended Congressional delegation trips to the Netherlands and Japan to study water and disaster management.

Camille has a B.A. in Art History and an M.S. in Environmental Science with an emphasis on Disaster Science and Management from Louisiana State University.  She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Sciences at LSU; her dissertation research is focused on community adaptation to climate change.

Expertise: Climate Futurist, Adaptation Planning, Resilient City Design, Disaster and Resiliency Planning, Environmental Management, Facilitation, Strategic Planning


Lauren Marschall, AICP

Project + operations manager

Lauren is a community and regional planner with Geographic Information Systems expertise.  As Project Manager, she helps drive CPEX’s planning and implementation work by facilitating comprehensive planning processes and code writing in communities across Louisiana. She has worked with Ascension Parish, the City of Gonzales, City of Thibodaux, Vernon Parish and others on comprehensive plans, public outreach, and meeting facilitation.  Lauren also contributes to many other CPEX efforts, including neighborhood transportation planning, streetscape demonstration projects, and mapping.

As Operations Manager, Lauren’s role includes financial, contractual, and human resources responsibilities, and assisting leadership in managing CPEX’s resources and procedures.

Lauren holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Louisiana State University in her hometown of Baton Rouge, and a Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning from The University of Texas at Austin. Lauren is a member of the American Planning Association and currently serves as Treasurer for the Capital Section of APA’s Louisiana Chapter.

Expertise: Land Use Planning, Community Outreach, Code Development, GIS Mapping, Contract and Budget Management


Janet Tharp

Director of planning

Janet has over 30 years of planning experience, specializing in project management, comprehensive and special district planning, ordinance drafting, implementation and public outreach and values research. Janet has practiced in both the public and private sectors, and has experience directing large and mid-sized city planning departments. She has prepared comprehensive and special area plans and development ordinances throughout the country, and was a project manager for the East Baton Rouge Parish Comprehensive Plan.

When working with Louisiana communities and parishes, Janet focuses on understanding residents’ and stakeholders’ values, needs and goals and incorporating them into the community’s planning efforts. Janet has led plans in the City of Gonzales, as well as in Lafourche, East Feliciana, West Feliciana, and Point Coupee Parishes. She has prepared ordinance amendments in East Baton Rouge and Vernon parishes and for the City of Gonzales. She recently managed a city-wide Complete Streets initiative and a worked on a neighborhood and housing plan for the City of Dallas.

Janet serves as a smart growth instructor for the National Association of Realtors, and teaches classes throughout the US.

Expertise: Community Planning and Visioning, Land Use Strategies, Ordinance Development, Implementation, Market Research, Economic Development Strategies