Our Team

We're here to help.

Ann Theis

Implementation

Carson Beck

Data Analytics

Eric Gibson

Data Analytics

Payton Capes-Davis

Research & Development

Rachel Boyett

Strategic Writing

Ryan Englund

President

Serra Gullu

Strategic Writing

[headshot of trenton, economic development consultant]

Trenton Smith

Economic Development Research

Trina Kittleson

Business Operations

We are excited to help you in:

English
Türkçe
Deutsch
한국어

Español
български
Português

[headshot of trenton, economic development consultant]

Connect with a member of our team about your community and what we can do for you.

Our Values

Commitment

We pride ourselves on being committed to the local communities, counties, states and regions we work with. We believe in working in a community, with its residents and leaders to create real change.

Integrity

We believe in building trust through responsible actions and honest relationships. We aren't afraid to confront obstacles to deliver what we think is an honest, achievable, impactful plan.

Impact

We are in the business of making an impact, real change to real people in communities across the country. Impact to us means improving the quality of life for individuals.

Collaborate

Collaboration is our secret ingredient. We believe collaboration is the key to successful and lasting change. Our "we" includes you: your community members, residents, business owners and stakeholders.

Respect

We believe in respect for the community; its' history, strengths and setbacks, potential and vision. Our goal isn't to change a community into something new, our goal to strengthen its' roots and help build it to withstand what the future holds.

Humility

We haven't worked with every type of community, in every state, with every set of challenges. However, we believe this gives us motivation and openness to creative ideas, new perspectives and vision to change.

Proud to partner with Evertreen to continue to mitigate our impact on the environment.

Carbon Offset in 2023
1 MT

Ann Theis

Advisor

Community-based Media has been an intrinsic part of Ann’s life ever since she attended Antioch College to become a documentary filmmaker. Discovering the importance of community media under pioneers in the field, she learned that teaching people to express their own voice was more important than merely documenting them. Ann started her career at Manhattan Neighborhood Network as a Production Assistant and then became the Director of Production and Education. Then for twelve years, Ann guided the Open Media Foundation’s media efforts with Denver Open Media and its user-driven tools that minimized staffing and operations costs. Youth Media has been a passion of hers, mentoring hundreds of youth over the last twenty years. At Brookline Interactive Group and the Public VR Lab (BIG), she managed station operations, educational programming for adults and youth, community outreach, grant-writing, reporting, and project management for BIG’s productions and technical services. Since 2020, Ann has been volunteering for El Raton Media Works to bring economic and workforce development to Raton, including mentoring local youth filmmakers and working with the community to engage them in the economy of filmmaking.

She is also the 2019 recipient of the Dirk Koning – George Stoney Award for Humanistic Communication and the 2021 Hats Off Award from Steps to Success for her dedication to Steps to Success programming and efforts towards improving educational outcomes for low-income students living in Brookline.

Audrey Godfrey

Associate

Audrey is currently attending Brigham Young University. She currently assists with leading social media initiatives, website development and marketing projects.

Audrey is from Houston, TX and enjoys sports, music and spending time with her family.

Carson Beck

Data Analyst

Carson conducts research and analyses to inform strategic planning efforts. He is studying Finance at Utah State University.

Carson is from Downingtown, PA. He is on USU’s club soccer team and enjoys skiing and lifting weights, and will be getting married in 2024.

Derek Walker

Advisory Partner

Derek has worked in real estate development for 10 years, both as a developer and as a consultant to public and private clients. He specializes in feasibility studies, financial analysis, site planning, and development across a variety of asset types, including self storage, hotel, office, industrial, multifamily, and specialty mixed-use. He has a BA in Economics from the University of Utah and an MS in Real Estate Development from New York University.

Eric Gibson

Director of Strategic Analysis

Eric specializes in analyzing and visualizing data, with experience in conducting economic and market analyses, feasibility studies, economic impact studies, and crafting impactful and digestible strategic plans. Eric helped develop Better City’s premier economic analysis tools and works with clients to identify and leverage robust and useful data insights. He is currently pursuing a Master of Science Degree in Economics from Purdue University.

Eric was born in rural Cortez, Colorado and now lives in northern Utah with his wife and two children. He enjoys reading, writing, and reading, watching, and listening to all things economics, politics, and technology.

Jason Godfrey

Chief Executive Officer

Jason has a wide breadth of experience working in both the public and private sectors having held executive positions in real estate development, public administration, operations management, and management consulting firms. His specialties include developing actionable strategic plans and structuring complex financial deals using tax increment financing, tax credits, grants, and public-private partnerships.

Jason lives in Cypress, Texas and enjoys running, reading and playing sports with his active family.

Payton Capes-Davis

Associate

Payton Capes-Davis is a second year PhD student at the University of Florida with the Department of Political Science. She graduated from the University of Florida in 2022, receiving a Bachelors degree in History and Political Science. Payton has backgrounds in policy analysis, research methods, and data analytics. Since graduating from her Bachelors program, she has participated in various grant-writing projects that aim to develop community and placed-based learning activities for UF’s College of Liberal arts and Sciences.

In her free time, Payton loves to be involved with the Bob Graham Center for Civic Engagement on campus, as well as encourage students to participate in student government. Outside of school and work, Payton is an avid runner and competes in local road races in Florida. 

Rachel Boyett

Advisor

Rachel has experience in legal procedures and technical writing. She assists in drafting documents, marketing, research, and project implementation.

Rachel graduated from Indiana University in Public Policy & Persian and is now currently based in Houston, Texas. She enjoys reading, experimenting in the kitchen, and spoiling her dog, Lando.

Ryan Englund

President

Ryan has spent the past 40 years working as an executive and as a consultant for many organizations across the globe including the United States of America, Canada, Brazil, England, Germany, Denmark, U.A.E, Qatar, Trinidad-Tobago, Venezuela, and Sudan. He has led workshops in Kuwait, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sudan, and Turkey.

Ryan has worked as an executive and consultant, serving clients in government, manufacturing, retail, and finance. He is skilled in turning organizations around and driving performance to the next level, and is able to gain insight as to challenges and opportunities within a community and to map out how assets can best be utilized to maximize their potential.

Serra Güllü

Advisor

Serra is a political economist with expertise in project management, data analysis, research, and problem-solving. Born and raised in a small town for nearly 20 years, she strongly believes that true change begins at the grassroots level, with local communities driving sustainable growth. Serra is the recipient of the Sena Eken Schieber Economic Award and holds a master’s degree from Duke University’s Analytical Political Economy Department.

In addition to her academic studies, she was a member of a pro bono consulting club assisting and tackling challenges faced by local non-governmental organizations in Durham. She also enriched her personal growth and leadership abilities by participating in the Emerging Leaders Institute at Duke University. In her free time, Serra enjoys cooking, drawing/painting, and exploring Boston’s coffee shops with friends.

Trenton Smith

Associate

Trenton is a sophomore at Brigham Young University, studying for his Bachelor’s in Business Strategy. Trenton is currently assisting the team with research and data analysis.

Trenton is from Parker, CO. He enjoys watching and playing sports, fishing, and hiking.

Trina Kittleson

Director of Business Operations

Trina is instrumental in furthering our clients’ strategic projects. She is skilled in doing research, crafting deliverables, conducting outreach, and identifying strategic solutions to community challenges. She has developed business support resource guides, business recruitment marketing collateral, economic development strategic plans, and grant applications. Trina has a Masters in Public Administration.

Trina spends any free time playing with (and cleaning up after) her two rambunctious kids. She enjoys reading, painting, and dancing.

Skip to content