I was born in small but mighty Wingham, Ontario, Canada to John and Colleen. After 19 years on Ontario’s wild west coast – highlights included milking cows, melting steel, snowmobiling and learning to walk – I moved up the road to the roaring metropolis of Guelph.
After a life-changing semester abroad in India, some great experiences with campus life (a highlight was serving as the Program Facilitator of International House), and many wonderful evenings playing music in coffee houses, the University of Guelph gave me a degree in Geography, with an International Development minor.
A final year in Guelph devoted to student politics and an idyllic summer working on a nature trail were followed by a ‘six month’ deployment to Hungary to work with the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) as part of the Canadian government’s International Youth Internship Program.
The REC couldn’t get rid of me and six months turned into five years. The organization honed my understanding of environmental policy and planning, developed my project management skills, and afforded me the opportunity to live and work in a fantastic region at an exciting time. Professionally, I had a variety of excellent experiences, but am most proud of becoming the project manager for the Italian government-sponsored Course for Sustainability: Strategies, Methodologies, Policies and Actions for Central and Eastern Europe, an intensive course for civil servants.
My time in Hungary also brought substantial personal changes to my life. Most significantly, I met my lovely wife Radka and we had our first child, Jan (Honzik) in 2006.
The summer of 2007 saw a significant move to Cambridge, Massachusetts, so I could pursue a Master’s degree in City Planning (with an environmental policy and planning concentration) in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Fortunately, Radka and Honzik were willing to come along. Like the REC before it, MIT and Boston couldn’t get rid of us and two years turned into eight. We bought our first home – a condo on Spring Hill in Somerville – in 2009 and Massachusetts became home.
Over these years, I completed a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Planning (also at MIT); served as the Assistant Director of the MIT Science Impact Collaborative (2013-2014); was a Graduate Research Fellow at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School (2014-2015); and worked part-time as a senior consultant with the not-for-profit Consensus Building Institute (CBI).
Personally, our family expanded in November 2012 with the birth of our beautiful daughter Maire.
August of 2015 ushered in the next important phase of our lives, as I started a tenure-track faculty position in the Urban Affairs and Planning program of the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech. As you can see on the professional side of this website, I am working on a variety of projects around collaborative governance, environmental policy & planning, civil discourse, and the resolution of scientific and technically intensive policy-making and planning challenges. I am an affiliated faculty member of the Global Change Center and a member of the VT Faculty Senate (also serving as the cabinet representative for my college).
Thank you for visiting this site. I invite you to look around!