WGI Names Lisa Nisenson as VP for New Mobility & Connected Communities
By Richard Massey
Lisa Nisenson consumes a lot of media about smart infrastructure and innovative parking solutions. She travels a lot, talks to plenty of people and, most importantly, listens to what they say. At home in front of a city council or in a room full of West Coast tech junkies at a conference in Portland, Nisenson is positioning herself to do at least two things – solve a problem and even predict the future.
She’ll have plenty of chances to do both. Nisenson, after decades in the field as a consultant, researcher, activist, entrepreneur, and planner, was recently named VP for New Mobility & Connected Communities at WGI, a firm with huge aspirations for the future.
In the press release announcing her hire, WGI had this to say:
“Lisa’s experience spans work in the private, non-profit, and public sectors, including federal and local government agencies. At the United States Environmental Protection Agency, she developed pioneering policy for sustainable community design, including guides and regulatory support for low-impact development and redevelopment. She brings a practical approach to helping clients through new planning methods, interactive public engagement, zoning-code reform, and best practices that deliver multiple benefits.
“WGI clients are aware of both the potential, and challenges, associated with technology related disruption and change. Lisa helps demystify trends, engaging clients to develop both long-range scenarios and near-term roadmaps. This helps cities of all sizes incorporate new technology into existing planning efforts while anticipating potential and probable changes in transportation and land use.”
Nisenson’s hire comes on the heels of other major, forward-looking developments for WGI, all of it pursuant to the firm’s 2025 vision for 1,000 associates and $200 million in revenue.
In January, it acquired Austin, Texas-based multidiscipline firm Big Red Dog, and in 2017, acquired Michigan-based Carl Walker, Inc., which specializes in sustainable parking structures. Last year, the firm named Greg Sauter as its president. While Sauter checked all the traditional boxes for a top hire, he also brought something novel to the table. Sauter was the founder of Smart City Works, an accelerator for early-stage companies focused on civil infrastructure, a nice dovetail with Nisenson’s background.
Nisenson joins WGI as the world of urban planning and mobility, and public expectations about both, are being revolutionized by technology and innovation. Amazon’s purchase of old malls and their subsequent conversion into fulfillment centers is one of the big headlines, and it points in the direction of last-mile delivery, autonomous vehicles, and the ongoing transformation of grocery getting – all of which will change the urban landscape.