WE ARE

We are the sky institute. We have a Bold Mission.

We are leading the movement towards a new way of building for the 21st century. Driven by research, reflection, and greater social and environmental awareness, the collective aspiration of our planners, scientists, architects, environmental engineers, environmental defense attorneys, food producers, scholars, and students are inventing the village of the future.

We are making theoretical real.

  Julia Starr Sanford     Founder and Architect     Board of Directors | New Urban Guild Foundation   Julia is the Founding Director of the Sky Institute and principal of Starr Sanford Design Associates, a residential design and development firm based in Florida. She has directed the  architecture of numerous town plans with DPZ and the New Urban Guild nationally and internationally including Amelia Park, on Amelia Island, FL, Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach on the Gulf Coast, Schooner Bay in the Bahamas, and Hacienda Lagunas and Uma in Panama, Central America. Starr Sanford Design incorporates vernacular traditions with sustainable design and high performance building technologies, developing practical applications of energy conservation and prototypical residential models through the Sky Institute. Julia has a Master of Architecture from Georgia Tech, where she was the recipient of the prestigious SGF award, the Skidmore Owings and Merrill Portfolio Fellowship, and Governor's Honor for the State of Georgia. She received a Bachelor of Art in Art History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Master's Thesis under Mack Scogin of Harvard University. She is fluent in French and Italian and currently resides on Amelia Island, FL. 

Julia Starr Sanford

Founder and Architect

Board of Directors | New Urban Guild Foundation

Julia is the Founding Director of the Sky Institute and principal of Starr Sanford Design Associates, a residential design and development firm based in Florida. She has directed the  architecture of numerous town plans with DPZ and the New Urban Guild nationally and internationally including Amelia Park, on Amelia Island, FL, Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach on the Gulf Coast, Schooner Bay in the Bahamas, and Hacienda Lagunas and Uma in Panama, Central America. Starr Sanford Design incorporates vernacular traditions with sustainable design and high performance building technologies, developing practical applications of energy conservation and prototypical residential models through the Sky Institute. Julia has a Master of Architecture from Georgia Tech, where she was the recipient of the prestigious SGF award, the Skidmore Owings and Merrill Portfolio Fellowship, and Governor's Honor for the State of Georgia. She received a Bachelor of Art in Art History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Master's Thesis under Mack Scogin of Harvard University. She is fluent in French and Italian and currently resides on Amelia Island, FL. 

  Gil Lyons    Co-Founder    New Urbanist Developer | Senior Real Estate Executive   As a co-founder of the Sky Institute, Gil brings 34 years of real estate business experience to the Institute. He has specialized in smart growth initiatives, new construction, planning and zoning issues, and real estate sales and marketing. In his real estate career, Gil has worked with agriculture land preservation transactions, workforce and affordable housing issues, traditional neighborhood developments, Farmland and Forest Land Assessment Act transactions, and as a proponent for the adaptive re-use of historically significant and functionally obsolete structures. He has a Degree in Biology from Gettysburg College. Gil is currently a member of the National Association of Realtors. Gil is also a member of the NAR Green Resource Council, and holds the NAR Green Designation. Gil previously served with the Lancaster County Smart Growth Coalition, Housing Coalition, and Livable Community Task Force. Additional professional activities have included the creating and planning of Legacy Traditional Neighborhood communities on both Greenfield and Brownfield in-fill sites.

Gil Lyons

Co-Founder

New Urbanist Developer | Senior Real Estate Executive

As a co-founder of the Sky Institute, Gil brings 34 years of real estate business experience to the Institute. He has specialized in smart growth initiatives, new construction, planning and zoning issues, and real estate sales and marketing. In his real estate career, Gil has worked with agriculture land preservation transactions, workforce and affordable housing issues, traditional neighborhood developments, Farmland and Forest Land Assessment Act transactions, and as a proponent for the adaptive re-use of historically significant and functionally obsolete structures. He has a Degree in Biology from Gettysburg College. Gil is currently a member of the National Association of Realtors. Gil is also a member of the NAR Green Resource Council, and holds the NAR Green Designation. Gil previously served with the Lancaster County Smart Growth Coalition, Housing Coalition, and Livable Community Task Force. Additional professional activities have included the creating and planning of Legacy Traditional Neighborhood communities on both Greenfield and Brownfield in-fill sites.

  Robert L. Chapman, III    Co-Founder    New Urbanist Developer   Robert L. Chapman, III is founder and managing director of Traditional Neighborhood Development Partners, LLC, of Durham, NC, which develops walkable mixed-use neighborhoods. He is the founder of Cygnex, LLC, a Winter Haven, FL private investment fund. He is also thefounder of TND Capital Management, LLC, which acquires/redevelops downtown properties. He also founded the Southlake Development Group and Southlake Utilities, Inc., Clermont, FL. Southlake is a walkable new-urbanist development approved for 8,000 housing units, located three miles west of Walt Disney World. Bob has served as chair of the North Carolina Smart Growth Alliance; and, chair and founding member, National Town Builders Association. He received a B.A. from Duke University in 1971. He has been a guest lecturer at the Fuqua School of Business and the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke and at the Kenan-Flagler Business School and the Department of City and Regional Planning at UNC-Chapel Hill. He is a founding member of the advisory board for the program in Real Estate Development and Urbanism at the University of Miami and a member of the city advisory board of Mechanics and Farmers Bank, Durham, NC.

Robert L. Chapman, III

Co-Founder

New Urbanist Developer

Robert L. Chapman, III is founder and managing director of Traditional Neighborhood Development Partners, LLC, of Durham, NC, which develops walkable mixed-use neighborhoods. He is the founder of Cygnex, LLC, a Winter Haven, FL private investment fund. He is also thefounder of TND Capital Management, LLC, which acquires/redevelops downtown properties. He also founded the Southlake Development Group and Southlake Utilities, Inc., Clermont, FL. Southlake is a walkable new-urbanist development approved for 8,000 housing units, located three miles west of Walt Disney World. Bob has served as chair of the North Carolina Smart Growth Alliance; and, chair and founding member, National Town Builders Association. He received a B.A. from Duke University in 1971. He has been a guest lecturer at the Fuqua School of Business and the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke and at the Kenan-Flagler Business School and the Department of City and Regional Planning at UNC-Chapel Hill. He is a founding member of the advisory board for the program in Real Estate Development and Urbanism at the University of Miami and a member of the city advisory board of Mechanics and Farmers Bank, Durham, NC.

 

Sky Institute Board of Directors

 
  Galina Tachieva    Director of Planning | DPZ   Galina Tachieva is an expert on sustainable planning, urban redevelopment, sprawl repair, and form-based codes. As a partner and Director of Town Planning at Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company, Architects and Town Planners (DPZ), Tachieva directs and manages the design and implementation of projects in the US and around the world. DPZ, a leader in the New Urbanism, the movement to end sprawl and urban disinvestment, has completed designs for more than 300 new towns, regional plans, and community revitalization projects on five continents. Tachieva is the author of the  Sprawl Repair Manual , an award-winning publication, which focuses on the incremental retrofit of auto-centric suburban places into complete, vibrant communities through focused interventions. Tachieva is one of the leaders of the CNU Sprawl Retrofit Initiative, a founding member of the Congress for European Urbanism, a board member of the New Urban Guild Foundation, and is certified by the US Green Building Council as a LEED-accredited professional.

Galina Tachieva

Director of Planning | DPZ

Galina Tachieva is an expert on sustainable planning, urban redevelopment, sprawl repair, and form-based codes. As a partner and Director of Town Planning at Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company, Architects and Town Planners (DPZ), Tachieva directs and manages the design and implementation of projects in the US and around the world. DPZ, a leader in the New Urbanism, the movement to end sprawl and urban disinvestment, has completed designs for more than 300 new towns, regional plans, and community revitalization projects on five continents. Tachieva is the author of the Sprawl Repair Manual, an award-winning publication, which focuses on the incremental retrofit of auto-centric suburban places into complete, vibrant communities through focused interventions. Tachieva is one of the leaders of the CNU Sprawl Retrofit Initiative, a founding member of the Congress for European Urbanism, a board member of the New Urban Guild Foundation, and is certified by the US Green Building Council as a LEED-accredited professional.

  Steve Mouzon    Traditional Architect | Founder of the New Urban Guild   Steve Mouzon is an architect, urbanist, author, blogger, and photographer from Miami. He founded the New Urban Guild, which helped to foster the Katrina Cottages Movement. The Guild hosts Project:SmartDwelling, which works to redefine the house to be much smaller and more sustainable. Steve founded and is a board member of the Guild Foundation; it hosts the Original Green initiative. Steve speaks regularly across the US and abroad on sustainability issues. He blogs on the Original Green Blog and Useful Stuff. He also posts to the Original Green Twitter stream.

Steve Mouzon

Traditional Architect | Founder of the New Urban Guild

Steve Mouzon is an architect, urbanist, author, blogger, and photographer from Miami. He founded the New Urban Guild, which helped to foster the Katrina Cottages Movement. The Guild hosts Project:SmartDwelling, which works to redefine the house to be much smaller and more sustainable. Steve founded and is a board member of the Guild Foundation; it hosts the Original Green initiative. Steve speaks regularly across the US and abroad on sustainability issues. He blogs on the Original Green Blog and Useful Stuff. He also posts to the Original Green Twitter stream.

  Eric Moser    Traditional Architect   Eric hails from rural Indiana. His early education from generations of farmer Scientists, Philosophers, and Innovators instilled a deep respect for the land. The vernacular building traditions became Eric’s passion, Architecture, his calling. After studying architecture at the University of Florida, Eric established his firm, Moser Design Group, Inc. in Beaufort, SC. Over the past 20 years, the firm’s primary mission has been the design and re-introduction of traditional architecture and building methodologies within the context of walkable mixed-use communities. Eric continues to research and test new building tectonics that replace the consumptive nature of throwaway buildings with more substantial, flexible buildings with sustainable materials, configurations and technologies that allow buildings to be built for the near term, and evolve for the long term. Eric is a frequent consultant across the United States for new and old towns, infill projects, hamlets, and neighborhoods. He collaborates with other professionals to plan, analyze and reintroduce historic local and regional building patterns. Eric is a member of the New Urban Guild and Congress for New Urbanism.

Eric Moser

Traditional Architect

Eric hails from rural Indiana. His early education from generations of farmer Scientists, Philosophers, and Innovators instilled a deep respect for the land. The vernacular building traditions became Eric’s passion, Architecture, his calling. After studying architecture at the University of Florida, Eric established his firm, Moser Design Group, Inc. in Beaufort, SC. Over the past 20 years, the firm’s primary mission has been the design and re-introduction of traditional architecture and building methodologies within the context of walkable mixed-use communities. Eric continues to research and test new building tectonics that replace the consumptive nature of throwaway buildings with more substantial, flexible buildings with sustainable materials, configurations and technologies that allow buildings to be built for the near term, and evolve for the long term. Eric is a frequent consultant across the United States for new and old towns, infill projects, hamlets, and neighborhoods. He collaborates with other professionals to plan, analyze and reintroduce historic local and regional building patterns. Eric is a member of the New Urban Guild and Congress for New Urbanism.

 
  Lester Abberger    Government Affairs   Lester Abberger is a senior consultant to the D.A. Davidson investment banking firm, managing partner of Florida Lobby Associates, vice president of Hometown Neighborhoods, a new urbanist real estate consulting and development concern, and managing partner of Call Street Capital LLP. He serves on the corporate boards of Fuhlberg Koch Architects and M and S Banks. Lester is president of 1000 Friends of Florida and chairman of the Florida Conservation Campaign and the Trust for Public Land’s Florida Advisory Council. He serves on the boards of the Florida Humanities Council, the Leon County Public Library System, the Museums of Florida History, the Trust for Public Land’s National Leadership Council, and The Conservation Campaign. He serves on the editorial board of the Tallahassee Democrat and is a frequent commentator on state budget and fiscal policy for Florida Public Radio. He is also a trustee of the National Trust for the Humanities. Lester is a graduate of Davidson College, where he serves on the Board of Visitors. He is a Knight Fellow at the University of Miami School of Architecture.

Lester Abberger

Government Affairs

Lester Abberger is a senior consultant to the D.A. Davidson investment banking firm, managing partner of Florida Lobby Associates, vice president of Hometown Neighborhoods, a new urbanist real estate consulting and development concern, and managing partner of Call Street Capital LLP. He serves on the corporate boards of Fuhlberg Koch Architects and M and S Banks. Lester is president of 1000 Friends of Florida and chairman of the Florida Conservation Campaign and the Trust for Public Land’s Florida Advisory Council. He serves on the boards of the Florida Humanities Council, the Leon County Public Library System, the Museums of Florida History, the Trust for Public Land’s National Leadership Council, and The Conservation Campaign. He serves on the editorial board of the Tallahassee Democrat and is a frequent commentator on state budget and fiscal policy for Florida Public Radio. He is also a trustee of the National Trust for the Humanities. Lester is a graduate of Davidson College, where he serves on the Board of Visitors. He is a Knight Fellow at the University of Miami School of Architecture.

  Beau Frail    Traditional Architect   Beau is an architect specializing in sustainable community design. He received his degree in architecture from the University of Texas is Austin (UT), where he was awarded with the Design Excellence Award for his studio in Fall 2010 and is the recipient of the Sixth River Architects Endowed Fellowship. His teaching experience at UT includes Visual Communications and Construction courses, where he leads discussion groups and instructs undergraduate students in multiple hand and hybrid drawing techniques. Beau holds a Bachelor of Design in Architecture degree from the University of Florida (UF), where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a minor in Sustainability Studies. Beau represented the School of Architecture for 3 terms as a student senator and was the Chair of the Sustainability Committee. Beau co-created Gators Going Green, an agency of Student Government at UF, to promote student involvement in sustainable initiatives.. Beau was also president of the Architecture College Council at UF. Beau has worked as an Intern Architect for Starr Sanford Design Associates in Amelia Island, FL and Miro Rivera Architects in Austin, TX.

Beau Frail

Traditional Architect

Beau is an architect specializing in sustainable community design. He received his degree in architecture from the University of Texas is Austin (UT), where he was awarded with the Design Excellence Award for his studio in Fall 2010 and is the recipient of the Sixth River Architects Endowed Fellowship. His teaching experience at UT includes Visual Communications and Construction courses, where he leads discussion groups and instructs undergraduate students in multiple hand and hybrid drawing techniques. Beau holds a Bachelor of Design in Architecture degree from the University of Florida (UF), where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a minor in Sustainability Studies. Beau represented the School of Architecture for 3 terms as a student senator and was the Chair of the Sustainability Committee. Beau co-created Gators Going Green, an agency of Student Government at UF, to promote student involvement in sustainable initiatives.. Beau was also president of the Architecture College Council at UF. Beau has worked as an Intern Architect for Starr Sanford Design Associates in Amelia Island, FL and Miro Rivera Architects in Austin, TX.

 
 

Sky Institute Board of Advisors

 
  Daniel K. Slone    Land Use and Environmental Defense Attorney   Over the last two decades Dan has represented and advised national and international urban and sustainability non-profits and benefit corporations on strategy, structure and governance, contracts, intellectual property and litigation matters. He has been in their board rooms and in the trenches. Clients have included the U.S. Green Building Council, the Congress for the New Urbanism, the World Green Building Council and EcoDistricts.  He has also advised ecodistricts and eco-industrial parks in several cities on their choice of corporate entities, governance approaches and creation of sustainable utilities.  Dan has also created new residential and commercial property owner associations in twenty-two different states or countries and advised them on governance, conflict resolution, code enforcement and redevelopment.  He wrote the chapters on energy and legal matters in   Eco-industrial Strategies   and wrote an essay imagining the governance of the famous New urban community, Seaside, Florida, in 2037 in the book   Visions of Seaside  . In 2017 he presented a TEDx talk on the ability to turn edgecities into ecodistricts.

Daniel K. Slone

Land Use and Environmental Defense Attorney

Over the last two decades Dan has represented and advised national and international urban and sustainability non-profits and benefit corporations on strategy, structure and governance, contracts, intellectual property and litigation matters. He has been in their board rooms and in the trenches. Clients have included the U.S. Green Building Council, the Congress for the New Urbanism, the World Green Building Council and EcoDistricts.

He has also advised ecodistricts and eco-industrial parks in several cities on their choice of corporate entities, governance approaches and creation of sustainable utilities.

Dan has also created new residential and commercial property owner associations in twenty-two different states or countries and advised them on governance, conflict resolution, code enforcement and redevelopment.

He wrote the chapters on energy and legal matters in Eco-industrial Strategies and wrote an essay imagining the governance of the famous New urban community, Seaside, Florida, in 2037 in the book Visions of Seaside. In 2017 he presented a TEDx talk on the ability to turn edgecities into ecodistricts.

  Arvid Karl Pedersen    Energy Efficiency Engineer   Arvid Karl Pedersen is a Supply Chain Management (SCM) executive with diverse experience in manufacturing industries including aerospace, building systems, industrial controls, and power generation. Multiple executive leadership positions have demonstrated his ability to develop strategic vision for supply chain organizations, implement best practices, and deliver on QCD (Quality, Cost and Delivery) performance improvements. He has a BS Degree in Aeronautical Engineering and a MS in Operations Management. Over the last two years, he has constructed a LEED Silver level energy efficient home in a New Urbanism Neighborhood to demonstrate the ability to reduce energy and water demands in traditional home architecture. He also achieved LEED AP certification and completed all of the requirements for CEM (Certified Energy Management) accreditation. Arvid is currently working on a variety of Sustainability projects including Sustainable Sourcing, Residential & Commercial Energy Auditing services, Green Building Technologies, and Smart Grid/Energy Efficiency Business Incubation.

Arvid Karl Pedersen

Energy Efficiency Engineer

Arvid Karl Pedersen is a Supply Chain Management (SCM) executive with diverse experience in manufacturing industries including aerospace, building systems, industrial controls, and power generation. Multiple executive leadership positions have demonstrated his ability to develop strategic vision for supply chain organizations, implement best practices, and deliver on QCD (Quality, Cost and Delivery) performance improvements. He has a BS Degree in Aeronautical Engineering and a MS in Operations Management. Over the last two years, he has constructed a LEED Silver level energy efficient home in a New Urbanism Neighborhood to demonstrate the ability to reduce energy and water demands in traditional home architecture. He also achieved LEED AP certification and completed all of the requirements for CEM (Certified Energy Management) accreditation. Arvid is currently working on a variety of Sustainability projects including Sustainable Sourcing, Residential & Commercial Energy Auditing services, Green Building Technologies, and Smart Grid/Energy Efficiency Business Incubation.

  Joel Embry    New Urbanist Developer   Joel Embry is a New Urbanist developer and founder & CEO of Civic Software, Inc., a real estate development and consulting firm based on Amelia Island, Florida. His development experience spans 30 years on Amelia Island, including Amelia Park, a nationally recognized and award winning example of New Urbanism. As owner and president of HomeTown Neighborhoods, Inc., he has led the planning, entitlement and implementation of large-scale mixed use projects in Florida and Georgia. He served as Owner’s Representative for Summer Beach Resort & Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Amelia Island, Clark’s Grove Traditional Neighborhood in Covington, GA, and 2,000-acre mixed-use Welaunee Comprehensive Plan in Tallahassee. He served as Sr. Vice-President and Director of Community Development of CNL Real Estate & Development Corp.Joel maintains active engagement in public policy discussions relating to community building patterns and quality of life as a trustee of the LeRoy Collins Institute at Florida State University.

Joel Embry

New Urbanist Developer

Joel Embry is a New Urbanist developer and founder & CEO of Civic Software, Inc., a real estate development and consulting firm based on Amelia Island, Florida. His development experience spans 30 years on Amelia Island, including Amelia Park, a nationally recognized and award winning example of New Urbanism. As owner and president of HomeTown Neighborhoods, Inc., he has led the planning, entitlement and implementation of large-scale mixed use projects in Florida and Georgia. He served as Owner’s Representative for Summer Beach Resort & Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Amelia Island, Clark’s Grove Traditional Neighborhood in Covington, GA, and 2,000-acre mixed-use Welaunee Comprehensive Plan in Tallahassee. He served as Sr. Vice-President and Director of Community Development of CNL Real Estate & Development Corp.Joel maintains active engagement in public policy discussions relating to community building patterns and quality of life as a trustee of the LeRoy Collins Institute at Florida State University.

 
  Daron "Farmer D" Joffe    Farmer D | Agricultural Eco-Entrepreneur   Daron Joffe is not what most people envision when they think of farmers. Joffe is a 30-something eco-entrepreneur who lives to make a difference in the world by utilizing biodynamic methodologies in his farming practices. The South African native has an impressive production history and is a maverick within the organic farming movement. Known as “Farmer D”, Joffe was the founding farmer at Serenbe Farms in Palmetto Georgia, where he created a 25-acre biodynamic farm that continues to supply the community with fresh produce. PBS produced “Growing a Greener World” featuring Farmer D, Mother Nature Network develoazped a series of vignettes with Farmer D; and, he was called ‘no ordinary farmer’ by Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas in VH1’s Reality Show, "What Chilli Wants". Farmer D has been covered in publications such as: Atlanta Business Chronicle, Atlanta Journal and Constitution, LA Times, NY Times, Southern Living, as well as featured on The Weather Channel, CNN, and TEDx.

Daron "Farmer D" Joffe

Farmer D | Agricultural Eco-Entrepreneur

Daron Joffe is not what most people envision when they think of farmers. Joffe is a 30-something eco-entrepreneur who lives to make a difference in the world by utilizing biodynamic methodologies in his farming practices. The South African native has an impressive production history and is a maverick within the organic farming movement. Known as “Farmer D”, Joffe was the founding farmer at Serenbe Farms in Palmetto Georgia, where he created a 25-acre biodynamic farm that continues to supply the community with fresh produce. PBS produced “Growing a Greener World” featuring Farmer D, Mother Nature Network develoazped a series of vignettes with Farmer D; and, he was called ‘no ordinary farmer’ by Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas in VH1’s Reality Show, "What Chilli Wants". Farmer D has been covered in publications such as: Atlanta Business Chronicle, Atlanta Journal and Constitution, LA Times, NY Times, Southern Living, as well as featured on The Weather Channel, CNN, and TEDx.