Since it's inception in 1988, the staff of Carlisle | Wortman Associates, Inc. (CWA) has grown from two to 22 professionals: professional planners, landscape architects, architects, professional engineers, code officials, and plan reviewers.
The majority of the staff have advanced certifications, including eight registered/certified planners (AICP/PCP). We serve more than 70 municipal clients and provide ongoing services to a majority of them, some for more than 20 years.
Our business philosophy has been to establish ongoing and long-term relationships with our public sector clients. Just like our clients, we are constantly growing and evolving to address modern challenges. Always aware of the issues that face communities we can customize our wide range of services to meet their visions and goals.
Service To Our Profession
No other planning firm in Michigan has four past presidents of the Michigan Association of Planning on their staff. Dick Carlisle, Dave Scurto, Paul Montagno and Steve Cassin all represented Michigan on the American Planning Associations Chapter Presidents Council, with Dick chairing that organization during his tenure on the MAP board. Ben Carlisle is an elected member of the American Planning Association’s AICP Board of Commissioners.
Our work has served as a model in a number of zoning publications. The model landscape and site plan review ordinances we prepared have been included in MAP’s Site Plan Review and Community Development Handbook. Our work has also been referenced in SEMCOG’s Design Guidebook.
President, AICP, PCP
President Richard K. Carlisle, AICP has, by direct influence and example, shaped planning regulation, practices and perceptions for the state of Michigan. In his 39 years in private practice, he has developed plans and regulations that brought new life to established communities and shaped growing communities in sustainable ways that consciously served the best interests of people, businesses, the environment and the economy. He gives back to his profession and community serving on the boards of state and national professional associations and as a trainer, speaker and author. Dick has served as an expert witness in more than 100 zoning cases.
Benjamin R. Carlisle
Principal, AICP, LEED-AP
Benjamin R. Carlisle, LEED, AICP has more than 15 years of experience working as a professional planner, including experience in zoning, land use and comprehensive planning, site planning, tax increment financing, and economic development. With Carlisle/Wortman Associates Ben serves as principal planner to the cities of Troy and Huntington Woods and to Pittsfield Township and assists with planning for the cities of Saline, Southfield and Howell. He is currently serving as the interim planning manager for the City of Ann Arbor. Ben teaches planning and zoning for the Michigan Municipal League.
Laura K. Kreps
Laura K. Kreps, AICP has more than 15 years of experience working as a professional planner both in municipal government and consulting. She is proficient in tax increment financing, economic development, capital improvement project programming, downtown development, and grant writing/administration. She worked as a planner for the City of Monroe before joining Carlisle/Wortman Associates in 2007 and now serves as planner in communities in Monroe, Wayne & Washtenaw counties. Laura is a Michigan Certified Zoning Administrator and a nationally certified Main Street Manager.
Chris Atkin has more than five years of experience working as a planner and zoning administrator in the public sector. He is experienced with zoning, land use, economic development, brown fields, site planning and site plan review, historic districts, ordinance updates and rewrites, and geographic information systems (GIS). Prior to joining Carlisle/Wortman Associates Chris was the director of community development for the City of Adrian and the planning director for the City of Jackson.
Melissa is a planner and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technician who received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Eastern Michigan University. She has experience in project management, and has assisted in public outreach efforts.
Exec. Vice President, AICP
Managing Partner Doug Lewan, AICP, has more than 25 years of professional practice experience in site plan reviews, land use planning, corridor studies, and recreation planning. A Certified Zoning Administrator, Doug is the firm’s zoning expert, supporting zoning boards of appeals in multiple communities. Doug is a trainer and regular speaker for the Michigan Association of Planning and has taught several of the sections of the Michigan State University Citizen Planner program.
Principal, AICP, LEED-AP
Sally Elmiger, AICP, LEED is trained in both community planning and landscape architecture, and has focused her 15-year planning practice on sustainable development, natural area preservation and community engagement. Her wide-ranging experience includes master planning, zoning, corridor design, recreation and park planning, environment/watershed planning and wetlands consulting. She has completed training in the National Charrette Institute’s (NCI) Charrette System and the public engagement module of the MiPlace, place making initiative.
Paul Montagno’s expert communication skills allows him to communicate complex community planning principles and strategies to boards and commissions, as well as the general public during public meetings. He has a strong understanding of land use policy development on state and local levels, recognizing the direct link between policy and actionable steps that lead to stronger healthier communities.Having worked for years in the public sector he understands how ordinance language translates to zoning administration and enforcement. His 10 years of community planning experience spans master plans, zoning ordinance updates, corridor planning,site plan review, and plan implementation.
Ralph Pasola has planned communities for more than 40 years in both the public and private sectors. His experience spans all areas of professional practice, with special emphasis on master planning, zoning, land use issues, ordinance enforcement and litigation research.
John L. Enos
John Enos, AICP, was a planning director for both local and county government before joining Carlisle/Wortman Associates. This experience has shaped his 20-year career, enabling him to more thoroughly see planning issues from the community’s point of view. He currently provides planning, zoning, and growth management services to cities and townships as both an acting planning director and consultant. This unique perspective allows him to craft practical planning solutions within an established community framework.
Craig Strong has been in the construction field for 32 years. He served 10 of those years as the City of Milan’s building/zoning official responsible for plan reviews and construction inspections. Craig’s experience in the field and of current construction codes allows him to provide quality service to communities seeking professional assistance in code enforcement areas. He holds current State of Michigan registration as a building official, construction plan reviewer and building inspector.
Lauren Carlson is a planner at Carlisle Wortman Associates, Inc. and the author of the Urban Land Institute’s recent report The Business Case for Green Infrastructure: Resilient Stormwater Management in the Great Lakes Region. Educated as a city planner and responsible land use advocate, she works to integrate sustainability practices into vital Michigan communities through education, engagement, and policy.
Megan Masson-Minick is one of the state’s leaders in food systems planning. She has more than 17 years’ experience as in zoning, land use, site plan review and comprehensive planning for municipalities and nonprofits. She most recently worked for the firms of ENP & Associates and M&M Planning. Megan holds certifications from the Form-Based Code Institute and the National Charrette Institute.
David Scurto, AICP is a community planner with 31 years of experience in municipal planning and development. He focuses on urban places, central place cities, inner-ring suburbs, and economic redevelopment. He has worked with the nationally acclaimed Redevelopment Ready Communities program and led boards for state and national planning associations. Dave works with several municipalities on economic development projects including business retention and recruitment, tax increment financing, incentives, partnering, public property acquisition, code enforcement and approval processes.
R. Donald Wortman
Principal, PLA, AICP
Vice President R. Donald Wortman, PLA, AICP is a registered landscape architect and professional community planner with more than 30 years of experience. His planning practice is characterized by long-term relationships with communities of varying sizes and types, assisting each with unique growth management strategies. His design capabilities have enhanced planning projects and provided creative approaches to development issues. With planning and design expertise, he integrates both into solutions that work for positive community change.
Landscape Architect, PLA, ASLA
Chris Nordstrom, PLA, ASLA, is a landscape architect with experience in both public and private sector projects. Chris has a strong interest in sustainable design and development. His experience includes recreation plans, park plans and designs, trail plans and designs, municipal infrastructure, housing designs and parking studies for both public and private sector clients. Chris’ abilities span the areas of graphic communications, public engagement, report writing and geographic information systems.
Stephen Cassin spent 12 years as the executive director of the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development. He has more than 42 years’ experience in land use planning, zoning, community and economic development, municipal administration and finance, and urban design. He previously served as the director of the Clinton Township Department of Planning and Community Development and as a planner with the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.