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Panel Discussion - "Emerging Trends Shaping Our Community"

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The City of Fairfax gathered a panel of experts and a moderator to talk about trends in housing, economic vitality and community development as part of the effort to prepare the 2035 Comprehensive Plan. The moderated panel discussion took place on Saturday, September 16, 2017 at the Sherwood Community Center (3740 Old Lee Highway). The event was free and open to the public. The recording of the event ma be viewed below on this page.



Thomas Maskey, Jr.


Potomac Development Group


Mr. Maskey graciously agreed to fill-in for Paul Weinschenk, who had a family obligation.

Mr. Maskey has pursued a career entirely in the retail/mixed use real estate industry. He joined the Peterson Companies in 1993 and was the Senior Vice President in charge of Retail Development at Peterson for 17 years and drove the development and redevelopment of over 8 million square feet of retail and mixed use projects throughout the Washington region. Signature projects include Fairfax Corner, Downtown Silver Spring, Washingtonian Center and National Harbor.

In 2010, Maskey combined with three other former Peterson execs to form Potomac Development Group based in Chantilly. The group is focused on public place making intertwined with trend setting retail and mixed use developments.


Photo credit: Potomac Development Group


Donald W. Knutson


Knutson Companies

Donald W. Knutson

Mr. Knutson has over 25 years of experience designing, developing, building and selling all types of residential real estate. Prior to starting his own company, Mr. Knutson spent 14 years as the Division and Regional President of a Top Ten Public Homebuilder. During his tenure in public homebuilding, Mr. Knutson managed the construction of more than 15,000 homes in 7 states including 10,000 in the Washington DC Metro area. Mr. Knutson was named Builder of the Year by the NVBIA in 2001. He serves on the HomeAid Northern Virginia Board of Directors. Mr. Knutson graduated from Wake Forest University with a B.S. in Accounting.

Founded in 2012, the Knutson Companies develop and build townhome, condominium and mixed-use communities within walking distance of restaurants, shopping, entertainment and recreation. The Knutson Companies deliver superior curb appeal and interior design through innovative architecture, attention to detail, careful selection of building materials and quality execution in the field. Most recently, at the October 2016 Great American Living Awards, the Knutson Companies received 5 awards including 3 for Best Design and Architecture. Every associate of the Knutson Companies is guided by the principles upon which the company was founded: be forthright with people, share in their excitement, and build each and every community like you were going to live there.

Photo Credit: Knutson Companies


Michelle Krocker

Executive Director

Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance

Michelle Krocker



Ms. Krocker is the Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance, a regional coalition engaged in public outreach, education, housing research and advocacy to address the unmet housing needs of Northern Virginia’s low and moderate income workforce. Ms. Krocker holds a B.A. in Political Science from George Mason University and a Master of Arts in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia. She serves on the Board of Directors of Housing Virginia, a statewide organization dedicated to promoting the community benefits of affordable housing for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The mission of the Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance is to expand political will to make housing affordability a regional priority through:

  • education and community outreach, leading to creative and supportive public policies;
  • increased financial resources; and,
  • a sustained commitment to meeting the housing needs of low and moderate income households.
Photo credit: LinkedIn


Lisa Nisenson

Affiliated Researcher, Center for Real Estate Entrepreneurship

George Mason University

Lisa Nisenson

Lisa Nisenson is with Alta Planning and Design as Lead of the New Mobility Group. She also founded Greater Places in 2013, a platform for urban design. Inspired by interior design platforms such as Houzz and Architizer, GreaterPlaces was named a Top 10 resource by the planning authority Planetizen. During her career, Ms. Nisenson has worked at the local level as a citizen advocate and municipal urban planner, and at the federal level at the US EPA’s Sustainable Communities Division. Currently, she is on the American Planning Association’s Smart City Task Force and is a cohort company in Virginia’s Center for Innovation Technology’s Smart City Works. Ms. Nisenson’s professional and research interests include creating balanced systems where active transportation, transit and technology work together to expand mobility, access and supportive real estate development. Further research interests include helping cities manage technology disruption and transitions in areas such as infrastructure design, planning and zoning code reforms, and revenue replacement.

Recent Research Whitepaper:

"Preparing for New Mobility: Writing Effective Resolutions" published by Alta Planning + Design, Spring 2017

Photo Credit:  George Mason University