Co-Project Directors

Dr. Jeffrey Featherstone directed Temple University’s Center for Sustainable Communities and was a Professor of Research in Temple’s Department of Community and Regional Planning (CRP) until his passing on May 7, 2016. Dr. Featherstone was a Co-Director of the T-VSSI as well as a trusted leader and friend to the T-VSSI community. Tributes to his life and work may be found at the links below. Dr. Laura Toran, Professor of Environmental Geology at Temple University, is leading Temple’s continuing support of the T-VSSI.

In memoriam of Jeffrey Featherstone

Leaving the World a Better Place

Dr. Robert Traver
is the Director of the Villanova Urban Stormwater Partnership and a Professor in Villanova University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Traver teaches courses in surface water hydrology, open channel hydraulics, and urban storm water management. His research interests include mathematical and physical modeling of stream hydraulics, hydrology, and water quality. His research has been funded by Growing Greener, the EPA 319 Nonpoint Source Program, the Chesapeake Research Consortium, Inc., EPA, and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.  Dr. Traver was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers Hurricane Katrina External Review Panel, and a member of the National Academies committee that produced the recent report on Urban Stormwater Management in the United States. He has testified before congress on green infrastructure, and is board member of the LID Center. E-mail

Other Researchers

Mr. Derron LaBrake is a Consulting Ecologist and Certified Professional Wetland Scientist. Over his more than 20-year career he has worked on environmental projects throughout the United States that have involved wetlands, including using wetlands for water quality improvement and ecological risk assessments. Mr. LaBrake successfully designed, permitted, and constructed five stormwater demonstration projects with the CSC using a Growing Greener Grant in 2006. He and his colleagues at Stantec also performed the cost estimation for the stormwater improvements outlined in the Fort Washington Flooding and Transportation Improvement Study.

Dr. Lynn Mandarano
, P.E., joined the faculty of the Department of Community and Regional Planning as an Assistant Professor in 2005. Before earning her Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning, she spent over ten years working as a consultant for national and international environmental engineering firms.  She now specializes in collaborative planning and environmental analysis and is an important member of the T-VSSI team.

Mr. Md Mahbubur Meenar directed GIS operations and research for Temple University’s T-VSSI project work and was an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Community and Regional Planning at Temple University Ambler until September of 2016.  Since 1999, Mr. Meenar has been actively involved in different applications of GIS in planning.   His research interests include environmental modeling, 3-D GIS visualization, and GIS applications in sustainable development and emergency management planning.  Mr. Meenar has been the principal investigator in several research projects funded by state agency, local government, and non-profit organization.

Dr. Mary Myers
has served as Chair of the Temple University Landscape Architecture – Horticulture department and as President of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA), an international organization of university professors. Prior to her university experience which began in 1996, she was a landscape architect in private practice. Professional application continues to guide her research which focuses on landscape aesthetics/ecological restoration. Dr. Myers has engaged in several stormwater related projects including: the redesign of a degraded stream corridor (Rocky Branch Creek, Raleigh, NC) and an urban park designed to improve riparian habitat and water quality (Pleasant Hill Park Master Plan, Philadelphia, PA).

Dr. David J. Robertson is the Executive Director of the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust in suburban Philadelphia, a position he has held for 16 years. Under his direction, the Pennypack Trust has developed expertise and leadership in the restoration of native forests and natural land stewardship. Dr. Robertson earned his doctoral degree at the University of Pittsburgh investigating the effects of forest clearing on aquatic ecosystems in western Pennsylvania. He worked for seven years restoring native ecosystems on land disturbed by phosphate ore surface mining in central Florida. Since 1995, he has served as president of the Northeast Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration International.

Ms. Susan E. Spinella Sacks
assisted Dr. Featherstone in the development of the T-VSSI and administrates continuing work on the project at Temple University – Ambler.  Susan received an M.S. in Community and Regional Planning in January 2004. She has been actively involved in emergency management planning and mitigation analysis in Pennsylvania. Susan is an active member of the Eastern Montgomery County Emergency Management Group and is also a member of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM).

Laura Toran
is the Weeks Chair in Environmental Geology at Temple University. Dr. Toran’s expertise is in the study of ground water quality and quantity. She has been a member of the Temple University faculty since 1997, having worked 11 years at Oak Ridge National Labs in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, prior to her appointment. Since mid-2016, Dr. Toran has led Temple’s support of the T-VSSI.

Dr. Bridget Wadzuk
joined the faculty at Villanova University in 2005 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She has taught courses in fluid mechanics, hydrology and hydraulic engineering and will be teaching graduate courses in open channel hydraulics and environmental fluid mechanics. Her research specialty is in the area of computational fluid dynamics, specifically examining hydraulic modeling applications of stormwater best management practices, such as constructed stormwater wetlands.

Dr. Andrea Welker
is an Associate Professor in Villanova University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Since joining Villanova’s faculty in 1999, she has taught courses in geology, soil mechanics, foundation design, geosynthetics, and geo-environmental engineering. Recent research projects include the study of 100 year old seepage pits and a side-by-side comparison of pervious concrete and porous asphalt.  She is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Pennsylvania.

Research Assistants

James Barbis graduated from Springfield College in 2002 with a B.S. degree in Sports Biology and a minor in Chemistry. In the summer of 2007, James began his graduate studies at Villanova University in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. His research is focused on comparing the water quality of porous asphalt and pervious concrete, along with the ability of underground storage and infiltration basins decrease stormwater temperature ranges. After finishing his work at Villanova he plans to continue to work with sustainable stormwater control measures and watershed planning. James currently lives in Wilmington, Delaware, and enjoys outdoor activities spending time with friends and family.

Meghan Feller graduated from Bucknell University in 2007 with a Bachelors degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering.  In the fall of 2007, she came to Villanova working under Dr. Robert Traver as a full time graduate student and research assistant. Her personal research has focused on quantification of the evapotranspiration portion of the water budget from stormwater BMPs (primarily green roofs and bioinfiltration sites). Upon completion of her thesis, she hopes to take a position working towards sustainable stormwater management.

Ryan Lee is pursuing his Ph.D. in Water Resources Engineering. His main focus of research is in developing a usable, process-based model for ponded infiltration. He is using the data available from Villanova’s bioinfiltration traffic island to test and develop the model.

Mike Levitt worked on the T-VSSI project as an undergraduate Community Development student. He joined the CSC at the beginning of the fall 2015 semester to assist with the creation of an updated Temple-Villanova Sustainable Stormwater Initiative (T-VSSI) website. Mike’s background is in the arts; he took many studio drawing classes while attending Montgomery County Community College before transferring to Temple. He originally transferred into the Fox School of Business, but found Community Development to be much more to his liking.

Gerrad Jones has been a graduate student in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at Villanova University since August 2007. He has a B.S. in Biology and an M.S. in Fishery and Wildlife Sciences, but recently made the switch to water resources and environmental engineering to find practical solutions to environmental issues. His current research is on creating an optimum hydraulic redesign for Villanova’s constructed stormwater wetland using computer models. He has an interest in geospatial analyses and has participated on GIS projects in Costa Rica and Peru. He intends to pursue his Ph.D. at Villanova after completing his M.S. in Water Resources and Environmental Engineering.

Erin Ramsden is currently a graduate student in the Master of Landscape Architecture program in Temple University’s Tyler School of Art. She has a B.A. from DePaul University where she studied fine art and mathematical science and a certificate from the Pennsylvania State University in Geographic Information Systems. She joined the CSC in December of 2016 and provides GIS project support, graphic design, and website updates for the T-VSSI program as well as other water quality improvement initiatives.

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