About CAI

Founded in 2005, Community Attributes Inc. (CAI) helps clients make informed decisions and evaluate results utilizing demographics, economic and financial data, geographic information systems (GIS), and other evidence-based methods. We apply our expertise across multiple disciplines, with a particular focus on regional economics; land use economics; community and economic development; surveys, market research and evaluation; data analysis and business intelligence; and information design.

The Team

President & CEO

CHRIS MEFFORD is the PRESIDENT & CEO OF COMMUNITY ATTRIBUTES INC., a Seattle-based consulting firm that transforms data into analysis and strategies for business, government, non-profits and philanthropy. Chris founded CAI in 2005. Chris and Community Attributes are known for bringing data to life in engaging ways to understand business and social challenges. Community Attributes works with organizations and municipalities in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the world on urban planning, economic development and strategic planning. The firm supports the private sector by relating demographics and economic trends to strategic planning and business decisions.

Chris is a father of two and active in many community organizations. He holds a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of Northern Iowa; an M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from University of Iowa; and an M.B.A. from the University of Washington.

Economics Analyst

Madalina comes to CAI with a background in transport economics, data analysis and market research. She has a strong ability to conduct qualitative and quantitative analysis for effective data-driven decision making.

Madalina previously worked as a transport economist for a planning and infrastructure consultancy firm in the UK. Her experience involved evaluating the benefits and costs of various transport policies and strategies, developing business cases to attract funding for different modes of transport, using mathematical models to forecast the effects of public transport schemes and forming potential solutions to transport problems. She has a passion for sustainable travel, travel behavior and the impacts of transportation investment on social equity, economics and the environment.

Madalina earned a BSc in International Economics and Business at the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies. She holds a Masters in Economics from the University of Amsterdam and graduated with distinction in Operational Research from the University of Strathclyde in the UK.

Senior Economist

Spencer Cohen brings five years of public sector experience as a research analyst and senior policy advisor, and an extensive academic background in economic geography. He has extensive experience in industry and market analysis, regional economic development policy, and issues related to international trade and foreign direct investment. As the senior policy advisor for the Washington Economic Development Commission, he was responsible for evaluating state economic development programs and investments and determining ways to both optimize the state's economic development system and improve how programs measure their impact.

Spencer specializes in economic analysis, including the use of input-output models to assess industry economic impacts. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, has lived and studied in China, and brings a wealth of knowledge on China-related economic and political issues, both in China and as they relate to the Pacific Northwest. He is involved in two local efforts to strengthen economic ties between Washington State and China and attract Chinese investment, and has given numerous Chinese-language presentations to inbound delegations about investment opportunities in Washington State. He has advanced quantitative and qualitative analytic skills.

Spencer has a B.A. in mathematics and history, an M.A. in China Studies, and a Ph.D. in economic geography, focused on local government finance in China. In his spare time, he enjoys ski mountaineering, traveling and exploring the outdoors with his wife.

Senior Program Manager

Japhet Koteen leads the data systems team at Community Attributes, developing online interactive tools to help organizations and communities better understand and engage with their data. Japhet's professional background includes program management at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, commercial real estate development, business technical assistance, strategic planning, and technology management.

Prior to joining Community Attributes Inc, managed commercial real estate development projects in Crossroads Bellevue, downtown Bremerton, and Lake Forest Park. He launched two finance programs to support beginning farmers and ranchers in Washington State and served in marketing, business development and technology management capacities for social venture startups FarmRaiser and RiseFundraiser. He enjoys integrating data and technology to support innovative solutions for planning and policy makers that make a difference for people.

Japhet holds a Masters in Urban Planning from University of Washington and a Bachelors of Science in Engineering from Swarthmore College. He lives in Seattle with his family.

Senior Economics Analyst

Michaela Jellicoe brings a wide range of experience in economic, data and policy analysis. She has a passion for using data to tell complex stories and translating these stories into a narrative for a diverse range of audiences.

Previously, Michaela worked as a research assistant at Purdue University, conducting economic analysis, econometric modeling, data collection and visualization and extensive research. She honed her writing skills through prior experience as a communications professional.

Michaela has an M.S. in agricultural economics from Purdue University, a B.A. in economics and political science from Western Washington University, with a minor in Spanish. In her studies at Purdue University Michaela conducted an extensive analysis on the value of externalities associated with underground natural gas storage.

In her free time Michaela enjoys playing her violin, and reacquainting herself with all that the Pacific Northwest has to offer after returning from Indiana.

Planning Analyst

Kristina Gallant is an urban planner with deep experience in housing and real estate, with professional interests and experience in land conservation and urban design. At CAI, Kristina provides expertise in housing, real estate development feasibility, financial modeling and long range planning.

Kristina previously worked for the Housing Authority of Snohomish County where she led a partnership of 13 cities, working with elected officials and city staff to address housing challenges. She has a passion for finding new ways for communities to understand their needs, and identifying solutions that maximize economic, environmental and social benefits.

Kristina has a master's in urban planning from the University of Washington and a BA in economics and political science from Western Washington University.

Senior Planner

Bryan Lobel is a leader in economic development strategy with foundations in economic geography, urban industrial development and sustainability and neighborhood planning and design.

Trained as an urban planner, Bryan studied downtown Los Angeles' Fashion District before working with city planning departments at Glendale and Los Angeles. There he contributed to a LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) pilot project—the Cornfields-Arroyo Seco Plan-- to balance jobs and housing in an industrial neighborhood on the L.A. River. In Philadelphia, Bryan's work focused on the resurgence of urban industrial economies in “post-industrial” American cities. His effort to develop an Industrial Market and Land Use Study for the City of Philadelphia was recognized with a PA-APA Planning Excellence Award for Best Practice. This led to work on economic strategies in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Louisville, Kentucky and to the groundbreaking Detroit Works Project to develop a sustainable long-term vision for the economic future of Detroit culminating in the Detroit Future City Plan.

Bryan served as a volunteer cartographer for two months in Patagonia for a large-scale land conservation project that will become the new Patagonia National Park in the Aysen Region of southern Chile.

Bryan earned a double B.A. in English and Spanish language and literatures from the University of Colorado, an M.A. in urban planning from the University of California, Los Angeles, and is a licensed private pilot.

Economics Analyst

Zack is a skilled researcher and economics analyst with a deep interest in how economics and public policy affect people's lives. At CAI, he conducts data analysis and modeling, gathers qualitative data through interviews and surveys, and creates compelling reports and presentations.

Before CAI, he worked at the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER) where he helped coordinate policy discussions between stakeholders in the U.S. and Canada on transportation, infrastructure finance, and international trade.

Zack has a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Washington with a focus in political and economic development. In his free time, he likes to travel, play tennis, and go to the movies.

Planning Analyst

Tyler is an urban planner with interests in planning policy, urban design, and making data driven decisions in land use. At CAI, he gathers and analyzes data, maps it to show clear and compelling findings, and researches the latest trends in real estate and planning policy.

Tyler has a Master of City and Regional Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology, with a concentration in land use. While there, he worked with a team to create an implementation strategy for Atlanta’s Mechanicsville neighborhood to facilitate community supporting economic development and provide a framework for negotiating community benefits agreements with developers and film studios. He also has a B.A. in International Studies and Business Administration from American University.

Data Systems Developer

Tim McIlhenny builds both the front-end design and back-end development of CAI's interactive web applications. Tim began his career more than 10 years ago as a software developer working on remote installation and project management software in Germany. He then returned to the U.S. to work with an advertising agency providing graphic and web design and product development for various medical and sports advertising campaigns. Tim most recently comes to CAI from ePropertyData/Xceligent where he utilized his design and web development skills on various commercial information exchange websites and a national commercial real estate platform. Tim is versed in C#, SQL, Asp.net, PHP, ArcGIS JS, Javascript, Jquery, HTML/CSS.

Tim holds a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, University College in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany.

In his free time, Tim enjoys cycling, mountain biking, hiking, backpacking and riding his motorcycle.

Project Manager

Elliot Weiss brings expertise as a planning consultant with award-winning work in urban design and community engagement. His academic and professional background cultivates expertise in policy analysis, urban economics, financial modeling and fiscal impact analysis, land use planning and zoning analysis, placemaking and economic development, outreach and facilitation and project management.

At Community Attributes, Elliot contributes his skills in land use planning, brownfield redevelopment and digital 3D modeling and rendering. He has a passion for urban issues and cities functioning as hubs for cultural exchange and socioeconomic transformation. He spent a year working for Americorps on projects involving energy-efficient affordable housing, community development and alternative transportation in under-served urban areas.

Elliot earned B.A. in Political Science and a B.A. in International Studies at the University of Iowa. He holds a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning and a Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development from the University of Michigan.

Want to join our team?

See open positions