National Staff

Denise Fairchild Ph.D.

President & CEO | | 202-449-9779

Denise Fairchild is the inaugural President of Emerald Cities. She has dedicated over 30 years to strengthening housing, jobs, businesses and economic opportunities for low-income residents and communities of color domestically and internationally. In 1995, Dr. Fairchild founded the Community and Economic Development (CED) Department at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, as well as an affiliated nonprofit community development research and technical assistance organization, CDTech. She helped launch the Regional Economic Development Institute (REDI), an initiative of Los Angeles Trade-Technical College to provide inner city residents with career and technical education for high growth/high demand jobs in the LA region.

From 1989-1994, Dr. Fairchild directed the LA office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and is credited with raising over $100 million in equity, grants and loans for community-based housing and commercial development projects and, generally, with building the non-profit housing and community development industry in the LA region. 

Her civic and political appointments have included the California Commission on Regionalism, the California Economic Strategy Panel, the California Local Economic Development Association, the Urban Land Institute National Inner City Advisor, the Coalition for Women’s Economic Development and the Los Angeles Environmental Quality Board. She recently served as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s special advisor for South LA Investments.


Steve Jenkins

Vice President of Finance & Administration | | 202-400-2336

Steve Jenkins has over 30 years of experience in finance and administration. He has held senior level finance and administration positions at both for-profit and not-for-profit firms including National Broadcasting Company, Public Broadcasting Service and XM Satellite Radio. Most recently, he served as Vice President for Program Support & Chief Financial Officer for Partnership for Prevention. In this role, he was a member of its executive council which was charged with developing and implementing both corporate and program strategies relating to health promotion and disease prevention. He also managed the finance, human resources, meeting planning, administration, grants management and IT functions.


Kevin Warner

Vice President of Investment Services | | 202-652-2660

Kevin Warner is responsible for capitalizing ECC’s sustainable and energy retrofit projects through the creative pooling of public and private investments, and managing the investment portfolio and assets in partnership with ECC’s financial and development partners.  Kevin is well suited for his responsibilities bringing over 20 years of experience in urban economic development, real estate and community investment with a focus on redevelopment, public-private partnerships, neighborhood revitalization, affordable housing and sustainable development. 

Formerly, as Vice President for Investments, Acquisitions and Real Estate Development with the National Capital Revitalization Corporation in Washington, D.C., Kevin directed project investments and transactions for large-scale community development activities in the District of Columbia.  His major accomplishments include financing transactions for the 500,000 sq. ft. DC USA urban retail project at the Columbia Heights Metro Station, the residential, retail and office mixed-use projects at City Vista and Mt. Vernon Place, and the 1.2 million sq. ft. retrofit and redevelopment of Waterside Mall properties in Southwest Washington.  While at NCRC, Kevin also created and directed two highly innovative public-private investment transactions including the first of its kind $150 million equity fund in partnership with Morgan Stanley and a $142 million public-private financing package with Citibank Community Development.

Kevin’s commitment to ECC’s mission is evidenced by his most recent endeavor as the founder and principal of the Modern Company in Chevy Chase, MD; a strategy consulting firm focused on investment opportunities at the intersection of community, business and the environment.  In this capacity, he has advised Sodexo Healthcare, Inc. in areas of senior housing, business development and strategic investments in the health care sector.  Previously, he was also project manager at the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, portfolio manager with the National Equity Fund, and project and planning consultant with Kosmont Associates and Kenneth Leventhal & Company in Los Angeles. 


Felipe M. Floresca

Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs | | 202-449-9871

Felipe M. Floresca serves as Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs with the Emerald Cities Collaborative. He is a consultant on a project with the U.S. Department of State addressing climate mitigation and resilience in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Philippines. He is part of the Planning Committee of Habitat III, United Nations Conference on Housing & Sustainable Urban Development.

Felipe served the Obama Administration as Director of Public Engagement at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He was a member of the White House Disaster Recovery Working Group and the World Habitat Forum. He was a member of the President’s Sandy Rebuilding Task Force. 

Formerly, he was a senior fellow with the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.

Additionally, he has worked in philanthropy with the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation. For two years, he was on loan from the Annie E. Casey Foundation to the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation managing the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund and related disaster recovery issues in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

During the Clinton Administration, he served as Chief of Staff for Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor and a senior advisor at HUD. He represented the administration on rebuilding efforts in the Caribbean in the aftermath of Hurricane Georges and in American southern states in the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd. He was a member of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Task Force.Earlier in his career, Felipe was executive director of the San Francisco Housing Authority. He had served Sen. Ted Kennedy, New York Mayor Ed Koch and New York Gov. Mario Cuomo in various policy and legislative posts.   

Felipe received his formal education at Brown University, The Harvard/Antioch Policy Center and Fordham University. He received past fellowships from the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation.

He hails from Spanish Harlem in New York City.


Ronnie J. Kweller

Director of Communications and Research | | 202-688-0880 

Washington, D.C, native Ronnie J. Kweller has pursued a mission-driven career in communications, PR and media relations with advocacy-oriented nonprofits and progressive PR firms in the nation’s capital. Prior to joining ECC, she worked for 11 years at the Alliance to Save Energy, serving as director of media relations starting in 2009. Earlier in her career Ronnie worked at the Center for Community Change and at two niche PR firms, one specializing in strategic communications campaigns for unions and the other focusing on media relations for human rights, civil rights and women’s health organizations. She began her career as a reporter/editor for BNA and also worked at the Washington Evening Star

Ronnie secured media coverage for the Alliance in prestigious national outlets including USA Today, The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe Wall Street JournalU.S. News & World Report, NewsweekBusiness Week, CBS, MSNBC, CNN and National Public Radio. She frequently served as an on-the-record spokesperson on consumer issues with broadcast, print and online media. Ronnie also played a principal role in the Alliance’s strategic communications campaigns to help consumers save money, build awareness of the benefits of energy efficiency, protect the environment by reducing the nation’s overall energy use and enhance U.S. energy security by reducing dependence on imported oil.


Sarah Robinson

Director of Economic Inclusion

A Northeast Ohio native, Sarah Robinson is committed to building healthy, equitable neighborhoods. A Syracuse University graduate with an advanced degree from The George Washington University and LEED Certified, she is proficient in implementing sustainable building practices.

Sarah most recently worked in Washington, D.C., at GCS Inc. as an assistant project manager and at Urban Green LLC as a development associate. At GCS, she collaborated with project teams on design build civic projects and managed LEED construction criteria for project certification. At Urban Green LLC, she assisted with the planning, pre-development and construction of sustainable residential projects and produced presentations and marketing materials detailing projects for community engagement.

A member of the U.S. Green Building Council and a presenter at its 2015 Community Advancement Summit, she represents “The New Face of USGBC’s Movement.” Sarah is passionate about incorporating green living into her personal life. She gardens in her community plot, volunteers in the D.C. Public Schools and loves merging clean design
with interior aesthetics at home.

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