The Steering Committee

Meet the CommitteeCristina Sheppard-DeciusDerek DelacourtHannah (Hank) KelleyJon HughesKatie HirshbergerKevin Deegan-KrauseLoyd CuretonLuke ForrestMelanie PianaNeil GreenbergNick ZajasPaul SimpsonCarolyn PrudhommeNorm Cox

Ferndale Moves has evolved out of a team effort, including city staff, Ferndale residents and a great consulting team. This page contains profiles of some of the folks who made this plan happen.

steering committee bike ride

Cristina Sheppard-Decius has been the Executive Director for the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority (DDA) for 10 years. She has a B.A. in Public Relations from Western Michigan University and over 17 years of experience in public relations, marketing, volunteer organizations and economic development. As one of Crain’s Detroit Business 40 Under 40 in 2009, she was recognized for her leadership in transforming Downtown Ferndale into a thriving downtown in the Metro Detroit area with over 160 building improvements and $38 million in reinvestment. Sheppard-Decius serves on a variety of Board of Directors and works tirelessly with many local organizations.

Cristina Sheppard-Decius

Derek Delacourt is the Director of the City’s Community and Economic Development Department. The Community and Economic Development Department (CED) works with all community stakeholders to improve Ferndale’s quality of life. CED is the primary contact and liaison for the City’s Planning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, Mayor’s Business Council, and Construction Board of Appeals.

Derek has a long history of public service, having cut his teeth in planning at the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, and worked in Rochester Hills for many years before coming to Ferndale.

Hannah “Hank” Kelley is an assistant in the Community and Economic Development Department. She works on projects that help improve city planning in Ferndale, like: mapping, social media outreach, best practices research and multi-modal transportation. She loves walkable cities.

Ferndale Moves! means that residents don’t have to guess what the city is up to…hopefully this website will be a space for residents to locate important information and get a picture of what city staff is doing to improve quality of life in Ferndale.

Kelley Bio

Jon Hughes is the owner of the Downtown Ferndale Bike Shop. As an avid cyclist, Jon provides feedback to the committee on issues facing bicyclists on Ferndale roads.

Jon Hughes

Katie Hirshberger has lived in Ferndale since August of ’76, after retiring from 25 years at the Detroit Medical Center as a social worker. She slowly became involved in civic activities, such as the Ferndale Senior Group, the Red Hats, and also working as a precinct volunteer during elections. She has been involved in the City financial planning committee, and a number of millage campaigns.

I hope that the Moves! plan makes pedestrian access for crossing roads much more safe. We have too many improper crossings. I want to see safe crossings for our major roads…Pinecrest, Hilton, 9 Mile and Woodward.

Kevin Deegan-Krause is a proud resident of Ferndale, Michigan. He and his
wife Bridget are the parents of two Ferndale Public Schools students. Kevin
was the president of the Ferndale Library Board from 2004 until 2009 and
actively worked to increase library funding and renovate the library. In
2012 he was elected to the Ferndale School Board and he has served on the
Strategic Planning and Operations Committees. Kevin is also a faculty
member in the Department of Political Science at Wayne State University and
teaches courses on democracy, citizenship and American government. He tries
whenever he can to get around Ferndale by bike, especially to attend his many
school board-related activities.

Ferndale Moves will make it easier for all of us to get around: easier to
bike down streets and easier to cross them.  And it will especially mean
much greater safety and mobility for our children by helping them find “Safe
Routes to School.”

Kevin Deegan-Krause

Loyd Cureton is the Department of Public Works Director for the City of Ferndale. Loyd provides leadership throughout the Ferndale Moves! planning process by identifying opportunities to coordinate between DPW and other departments and groups.

Luke Forrest is a program coordinator for the Michigan Municipal League, focusing on issues related to walkability, public transportation and environmental sustainability. Luke also studies ways government can better utilize data to make policy and investment decisions. Luke serves his city, Ferndale, in a volunteer capacity on the Planning Commission and a number of other committees. Before joining the League, he worked for the Michigan Suburbs Alliance, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Ferndale is already one of the most walkable and bikeable cities in Michigan. The ideas in this plan will enhance that and make Ferndale an even better place to live, work and visit. 

Luke Forrest

Mayor Pro Tem Melanie is a lifelong Michigander, the last 6 years of which she has spent living and working in Ferndale with her husband, Jim. She has worked tirelessly at the Michigan Suburbs Alliance, a Ferndale-based non-profit organization dedicated to regional collaboration, redevelopment in inner-ring suburbs and energy sustainability.  Melanie graduated from Albion College in 1995, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Communications and German. Melanie is a certified project manager (PMP), a distinction she earned during the years she was affiliated with the auto industry. In 2008, Melanie received her Masters in Urban Planning from Wayne State University.

For the past six years, Melanie has served Ferndale as a volunteer on the Business Development Committee at the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority. In 2007, Melanie was honored as the Ferndale DDA Volunteer of the Year. She also served as a volunteer member of the Board of Zoning Appeals and will continue her involvement as a council member liaison to this board. Melanie loves to travel, bicycle and discover urban spaces.  Melanie currently serves on the Board of Zoning Appeals; City Manager and Fire Chief Liaison Committees; Ferndale Community Foundation and the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG).

This is awesome progress.

Mayor Pro Tem Melanie Piana

Neil Greenberg is a Ferndale resident and seasoned transit professional. He has worked at many area transit agencies, including SMART, and joined the committee to offer advice on integrating transit service into the Ferndale Moves! plan. Neil is the founder of CSG Airbus, a student-run transit operation offering service between U of M’s campus and the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Neil is also founder of Freshwater Transit – a grassroots transit policy organization.

Nick Zajas is a Central Office Administrative Intern for Ferndale Public Schools.  Prior to joining the central office team, he served the school district as a high school social studies teacher.  Nick earned a bachelor’s degree from Madonna University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Michigan.  Nick is proud to be a stakeholder in the Ferndale community.

Ferndale Moves is an interactive comprehensive plan that creates a virtual approach to transportation planning. Ferndale Moves is working to create a new standard for transportation planning across the region. 

Nick Zajas

Paul Simpson is the designated Traffic Officer for the City of Ferndale. Paul is on the front line of everything involving Ferndale Streets for the Ferndale Police Department. As such, Paul is involved in the committee to understand coming changes and vision for streets, and to provide feedback on the plan based on his experience on the ground.

Carolyn Prudhomme is a landscape architect and non-motorized transportation planner at The Greenway Collaborative. Carolyn has taken part in crafting over a dozen multi-modal transportation plans since 2008.

Ferndale Moves! is a great resource to help promote and develop transportation alternatives in the City of Ferndale both today and into the future.

Carolyn Prudhomme

Norm founded The Greenway Collaborative back in 1993, long before planning for pedestrians, bicycles and transit became fashionable.   While a landscape architect by training, he prefers to think of himself as having evolved into a “Planscape Archineer” over the past 21 years.   Streets, a community’s most important public space, are where planning, landscape architecture, architecture and engineering meet.  And transforming streets into great places that define a community, invite civic engagement and get everyone safely and comfortably to where they are going is what Norm is all about.

Norm is also a longtime year-round bicycle commuter who is rather pleased to frequently see more bikes than cars on some stretches of his daily commute, even during the coldest days of January and February.

I don’t think we’ve ever taken a plan to quite this level of detail before. It’s pretty cool.