Alan is a business owner, folding bike nomad, PhD student in Community and Regional Planning, Professor of Industrial Ecology and Sustainable Business, and Mentor at the Byron Fellowship. As a practitioner, researcher, and instructor, he has worked on the theme of community resilience and sustainability in four continents within non-profits, industry, and in higher education.
Since growing up in the ecologically and socially stressed city of Cleveland an abiding theme to Alan’s work has been working with communities to develop the capacity for resilience: withstanding, learning, adapting and thriving in response to stresses and the unexpected. His first career was in community development, working as a project director and evaluation specialist for organizations in New Zealand, Malawi, India, and New York City. After returning to the US, he has worked on food systems in Michigan, Baltimore and Austin. After Austin, Alan moved to Asheville, NC to start Attune Build, a real estate and development business that aspires to help families and businesses build the social capital for sustainable living alongside the physical structures.
Alan holds a Masters in Sustainable Systems & Industrial Ecology from the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan. He is currently a PhD student in Community and Regional Planning at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is a Sustainable Cities Fellow at the Center for Sustainable Development.
Alan’s pedagogical focus is immersive, project-based courses that allow students to collaborate, explore, test, fail, and learn within a safe-yet-edgy environment. He has instructed for several field and project-based courses at the undergraduate and masters level, including Sustainable Development Seminar, a field course held in Mexico hosted in partnership with state agencies and two Mexican universities, and the Sustainable Business capstone course at Warren Wilson College, a project-based course in partnership with Accelerating Appalachia.
Alan’s research is on what creates the conditions for resonance, or a quality of relationships within a social network that enables a community to be trusting, to learn and to improvise collectively in both good times and bad in ways that allow the whole of the community to be resilient and to thrive.
Currently, Alan teaches Industrial Ecology within Lenoir Rhyne’s Sustainability Science Masters program, and teaches the Sustainable Business Capstone sequence at Warren Wilson College.