PRINCIPALS

Our four principals bring exceptional skills honed in long, successful careers encompassing hundreds of innovative projects.  

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Robert Barrs is a registered professional planner with 20 years of experience in land use planning, sustainability strategy, policy development and housing research.  Rob’s planning passion is to identify practical solutions to the challenges of creating sustainable communities. His experience includes extensive work leading multidisciplinary teams through many complex, challenging projects including community plans, neighbourhood plans, sustainability strategies, housing projects and sustainable development projects in Western Canada and Ontario.  Rob is past president of Smart Growth BC, a co-founder of Wayblaze Community Crowdfunding and speaks often on best practices in planning, sustainability and community development. 

Vince Verlaan  is an engagement specialist who skillfully weaves robust engagement and communication activities into cutting-edge initiatives in various sectors. With 25 years’ experience in multi-stakeholder policy creation, program development, project implementation, and education initiatives in BC, Canada and internationally, he blends participatory planning theory and practice with hands-on facilitation skills.  Increasingly called on for training and public speaking, Vince uses dialogue techniques to reduce community conflict, accelerate learning, build trust, and support joint action.

Peter Whitelaw is a specialist in sustainable development and  a strong project manager and collaborative leader who excels in challenging situations.  In 12 years of community and development planning and corporate environmental management, he has consistently innovated in zoning, long-range strategic planning, performance management and private-sector sustainable development strategies. His greatest passion is defining sustainability clearly and practically, creating lasting value for communities, clients and colleagues.

STAFF

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Elsie Achugbue  brings 16 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector supporting community and economic development efforts in cities across the U.S. Elsie has contributed to the development of numerous research and evaluation initiatives aiming to attract investment to under-served neighbourhoods, and promote equity and inclusion in regional development planning. Elsie maintains a deep and consistent commitment to social justice and to facilitating and celebrating the recognition, respect and representation of difference.

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Ignatius But is an engagement coordinator at MODUS. Through his prior work in community development and health programming, Ignatius brings experience in facilitation, community-based research and data analysis. Ignatius incorporates a holistic health lens to his work as a graduate of UBC's School of Community and Regional Planning and School of Kinesiology, and is particularly interested in integrating culturally-diverse perspectives into planning processes.

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Laurel Cowan is a planner with a passion for strategic community design and effective engagement. Her diverse background and technical analysis skills make her a valuable member of the Modus team. Laurel provides detailed data analysis, engagement, and planning support for a wide variety of projects with a strong emphasis on implementation. She is skilled in coordinating and facilitating engagement events and designing attractive, user-friendly outreach and engagement materials, including online tools. 

Stacey Forrester is  an engagement coordinator, having joined MODUS after 10 years of working in public health care. She brings with her a skill set that includes facilitation, research, knowledge translation and technology-based engagement. Stacey is passionate about diversity, inclusion and bottom up processes. She is excited to translate her experience in supporting healthy and resilient people into engaging and creating vibrant communities. 

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Alix Krahn  is a planner who is passionate about inclusive community planning and engagement-led urban design, working with communities to create designs and plans that celebrate and honour the places they live. She integrates a background in engineering with recent work in engagement and planning and excels at translating technical jargon for broader audiences and collaborating across disciplines.

Deb McIntyre is an office manager with over 30 years of experience in diverse organizations ranging from federal government administration, scientific research and development, software development, advertising and consumer product distribution. She brings administrative management experience, skills and abilities in the areas of business planning, finance, human resources, and office and facilities management.  Deb loves an efficiently run office. 

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As a graduate of UBC’s Bachelor of Environmental Design, Jessica Mann shares MODUS’s holistic and contextual approach to site planning and design, particularly through the social, cultural and land analyses of development projects. Jessica combines her strong technical and graphic skillset with the art of storytelling to build and communicate sensitive design solutions. She attributes her understanding for the art and nuance of placemaking to her experience of growing up in the distinct cultural and historical contexts of France, Canada and the United States.

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Jess Macindoe is an Office Administrator with a background in Human Resources, Office Support and Research. She assists the MODUS team with tasks related to administration, marketing, bookkeeping and project support, and helps to coordinate meetings and functions for the team and their clients. Jess is originally from New Zealand, and is enjoying working for an organization like MODUS because of the opportunities it gives her to learn about the local communities and projects being undertaken in Canada. 

Lisa Moffatt brings  over 12 years of experience working in the public, private and post-secondary sectors.  Lisa  employs a collaborative working style to foster partnerships across agencies and levels of government as well as develop a working relationship with the public.  In her capacity as a planner and engagement professional,  Lisa  regularly presents to stakeholders, senior management and elected officials.  Her experience includes leading interdisciplinary teams in planning, community engagement, design, and sustainability.  Prior to joining MODUS,  Lisa  managed a public involvement program in project delivery at Metro Vancouver, and delivered community plans, campus plans, master plans and sustainability plans across British Columbia, Alberta and Washington State. Lisa  is a Registered Professional Planner and a Project Management Professional and gives back to the planning profession by mentoring candidate members.

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Michael Meyer is a planner and engagement specialist passionate about the vibrancy and livability of Canadian communities.  Michael specializes in cultural planning and the cultural economy, with a particular interest in the inclusivity of third places and public space. He incorporates research, design, and enthusiasm in his work to be an effective communicator pursuing social, cultural, and environmental sustainability goals. He also brings municipal experience and a focus on construction projects, lifecycle analysis, and spatial analysis.

Edward Porter is a senior urban designer and registered professional planner with a background in urban design, landscape architecture, policy planning and design-led engagement. A native Tennessean, Edward’s passion for urban design stems from a culture of storytelling: he sees design as a means to frame, facilitate and implement change. He is committed to pragmatic, collaborative and contextual solutions that acknowledge the physical, socio-political and economic constraints of local community investment and phased development. Edward's  master planning experience includes a diverse portfolio of public- and private-sector projects, ranging from architectural site planning, rezoning and public/private realm design guidelines to landscape-scale conservation plans and green infrastructure (riparian and urban forest) strategies.

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Athulya Pulimood   is a Marketing & Learning Specialist at MODUS. With her Masters in Communication and over 7 years of experience in Learning & Development, her passions include, innovative marketing and inculcating a culture of curiosity using gamification & design thinking principles. Creating structure and organization amidst the chaos of the mundane also excites her. She brings to the team skills in training, design, content writing, branding & communication, project planning and process audits. Originally from South India, working at MODUS gives her a glimpse into the rich and varied heritage of Canada and its communities.