Florida Housing Summit Presentations




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Florida Housing Summit

USF ST PETERSBURG • MAY 1, 2024 • 7:30 AM – 4 PM

The Florida Housing Summit: Blueprint for Better Outcomes, hosted by the Florida Policy Project (FPP), is a premier event that brings together industry leaders, policymakers, experts, and stakeholders to discuss the pressing issues and solutions in housing today. The summit aims to address challenges, share innovative solutions, and pave the way for a brighter future for Floridians.

Expert speakers will discuss innovative solutions, including zoning, incentivizing Cities and Counties, RDU/ADU, vouchers, up-zoning, and more. Attendees can expect a day of knowledge sharing, innovative policy discussions, and networking opportunities.

The event emcee is Rebecca Liebson, Tampa Bay Times Real Estate Reporter. Register now, CLICK HERE.


Rebecca Liebson- Emcee

Rebecca Liebson covers real estate for the Tampa Bay Times with a special focus on how trends in the market play out in people’s everyday lives. Her recent series, Buying Up The Bay explores how large corporate real estate investors have purchased thousands of Tampa Bay homes and the implications that has for local residents. Rebecca previously covered affordable housing for The State newspaper in Columbia, SC. Before that, she was an inaugural member of the New York Times fellowship program. Rebecca’s work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, the Press Club of Long Island, the Society of Professional Journalists and the South Carolina Press Association.

M. Nolan Gray

M. Nolan Gray is the research director for California YIMBY and an expert in urban land-use regulation. He is the author of Arbitrary Lines: How Zoning Broke the American City and How To Fix It. Gray previously worked as a planner in New York City, where he worked on the front lines of zoning. He is a widely published author, with work appearing in outlets such as The Atlantic, Bloomberg Citylab, and The Guardian. He lives in Los Angeles, California and is originally from Lexington, Kentucky..

Lesley Deutch

With over 25 years of experience, Lesley Deutch is a Managing Principal of John Burns Research and Consulting, where she is a leader in the Consulting group. She works across a wide spectrum of sectors including for-sale housing, apartments, build-to-rent, urban projects, single-family rental, affordable housing, and building products. After a decade on Wall Street working for investment banks including Lehman Brothers and Deutsche Bank, Lesley brings a balance of financial acumen with real-world strategic guidance to her consulting assignments.

Sam Staley

Sam Staley is director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center in the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. An internationally recognized expert on housing, urban development, transportation, and growth management, Sam provides strategic direction to the center and supervises its operations and programs. Prior to joining Florida State, Dr. Staley was the Robert W. Galvin Fellow at Reason Foundation, an internationally recognized public policy think tank based in Los Angeles where he worked on issues such as transportation system management and performance, public-private partnerships, growth management, and regulatory reform.

Charles Gardner

Charles Gardner

Charles Gardner is a research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and focuses on planning law and housing affordability. Formerly a practicing attorney, he has also done policy work on zoning and land use issues as a local elected official in Connecticut and as a member of the Connecticut Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) and the Commission on Connecticut’s Development and Future (CCDF).

Edward J. Pinto

Edward is a senior fellow and co-director of the AEI Housing Center at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). His research focuses on using light touch density to increase the supply of naturally affordable housing, thereby providing abundant housing for our children and grandchildren.

Rosemarie Hepner

Rosemarie Hepner serves as Vice President of the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing. In this role, Rosie leads many of the Center’s programs, including its annual housing conference and housing awards, and supports its technical assistance engagements and research activities. Before joining ULI in 2017, she worked for two international development nonprofits, most recently as the International Capital Markets Specialist at Habitat for Humanity International. In that role, Rosie supported the operations for the MicroBuild Fund (Habitat’s housing microfinance fund) and managed the State of Housing Microfinance survey reports.

Ashon Nesbitt

Ashon Nesbitt is the CEO of the Florida Housing Coalition. A respected community and nonprofit leader, Mr. Nesbitt is an expert in housing finance, development, and program administration, helping local governments with land use tools and creative models for affordable housing development. As a strong advocate for permanent affordability, Nesbitt has championed the expansion and professionalization of community land trusts throughout the state, overseeing the development of the Coalition’s nationally recognized Community Land Trust Certification Program. Mr. Nesbitt has also led many of Coalition’s other initiatives including the Nonprofit Capacity Building Institute and adaptive reuse, authoring the Eyesore to Asset: A Guidebook for Adaptive Reuse of Vacant Retail.

Mike Sutton

Mike Sutton serves as president and CEO of the two top producing Habitat for Humanity affiliate in the country, based on new home builds. Mike has served the Habitat for Humanity mission for 15 years total, including his 10 years in his current role with the Pinellas and West Pasco affiliate. He is a Certified Fund-Raising Executive (CFRE) with experience in the nonprofit sector dating back to 2001 at nationally recognized organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters and the YMCA.

Neil Brickfield

Neil Brickfield has been active in the Pinellas County Community for most of his adult life. Neil has served our community in elected office first as a Safety Harbor City Commissioner and then as a County Commissioner. In these capacities he served on the MPO, decided the priorities for transportation improvements, On the PSTA Board, dealing with surface transportation and served on the Tampa Bay Water board addressing our community’s long-term water needs. Neil spent almost a decade running the Police Athletic League (PAL) in Lealman the toughest most neglected neighborhood in Pinellas County. The PAL program worked to improve the opportunities for at risk kids! Today Neil runs the Pinellas County Housing Authority over seeing Housing

Bruce Bussey

Bruce Bussey is the Community Development Manager for Pinellas County Florida. He has over 20 years of public sector experience administering affordable housing and community development programs. He played a key role in the creation and implementation of innovative Pinellas County housing programs including a local housing trust fund, land trust and capital improvement funding for affordable housing construction. Bruce earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio University majoring in Environmental Planning and spent several years of his early career working in the environmental consulting field.

Tom Almonte

Tom Almonte is a dedicated family man and a seasoned professional with over two decades of experience, making a significant impact in both the public and private sectors. His ability to navigate complex issues at the highest levels of government was further showcased through collaborations with the Bush White House Administration on matters affecting the Hispanic community. Currently serving as the Pinellas County Government Assistant County Administrator, Tom oversees a diverse range of departments and serves a population of over 280,000 in the unincorporated County. His innovative approach, coupled with his unwavering dedication to serving others, continues to drive positive change and growth in both government and community spheres.

Commissioner Jack Mariano

Commissioner Mariano was first elected to the Board in 2004 and is serving his fourth term. He is a past Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners, Tourist Development Council, and Metropolitan Planning Organization. He has also served as Chairman of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council. He has been designated with as an Advanced Certified County Commissioner by the Florida Association of Counties (the first Pasco County Commissioner to receive this certification), a Certified County Commissioner by the Florida Association of Counties; and sits on the Department of Environmental Protection Qualified Stormwater Management. Commissioner Mariano is a member of the Gulf Consortium Group, and chairs the RESTORE Committee. He is also a member of the Energy Independence Work Group.

Jeremy Susac

Jeremy Susac currently serves as Vice President of Government Affairs for Lennar Homes. In this capacity he is responsible for coordinating select state and federal policy while working across diverse sectors of the economy, including but not limited to, land use, energy, water, broadband, environmental permitting, and select regulatory proceedings. Jeremy has served in leadership positions at the Florida Public Service Commission, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the Executive Office of the Governor in Florida. In addition, he served as a Governor Sandoval’s appointed member on Nevada’s Energy Choice initiatives and chaired both technical working committees on key issues. More recently Jeremy served on Governor DeSantis’s Transition Team for the Economy, as well as Florida’s Advisory Council on Climate & Energy. Jeremy is a graduate of the University of Florida, holds a Juris Doctorate from New York Law School, and a LL.M. in Environmental Law from Florida State University’s College of Law. He licensed to practice in New York and Florida for the past twenty-plus years.

Tiffany Esposito

Esposito was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in November 2022. Tiffany Esposito has had a longstanding passion for the growth and sustainability in her hometown of Southwest Florida, so she became a natural fit with the area’s chambers of commerce after graduating from FGCU with her Bachelor of Arts in communication in 2009 and MBA in 2012. Esposito served in key leadership roles with both the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce and Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce before being named president and CEO of the Bonita Springs chamber in 2016. She’s also been involved with the FGCU Alumni Board, Leadership Bonita, and Bonita Springs Estero Economic Development Council.

Alexandra (Alex) Vondeling

Alexandra (Alex) Vondeling is an architect and urban designer with over 25 years of professional experience designing resilient buildings and neighborhoods for clients of all types. She is skilled in all stages of project delivery, from initial visioning through construction administration, with emphases on urban infill projects and equitable, walkable communities. At Opticos, she leads architecture and site planning studio which has focused on Missing Middle infill development and neighborhood-level projects working with private, public, and nonprofit clients such as AARP, New Urbanist and Affordable Housing developers, Culdesc (a car free community), and Habitat for Humanity. As a Board Member for Insight Housing, a housing services provider and affordable housing developer, she is passionate about solutions that deliver housing for people at all economic levels.

Scott MacDonald

As a Partner at Blue Sky, Mr. Macdonald is responsible for overseeing project underwriting, managing debt and equity relationships, closing the company’s transactions, and overseeing project management after closing. Additionally, he handles the corporate finance responsibilities for the company. Since joining the firm in 2014, he has closed 31 transactions with total project costs of $680 Million. These transactions have led to the creation and preservation of over 3,300 affordable housing units. Industry Affiliations: Florida Coalition of Attainable Housing Providers (CAHP) Board of Directors, Florida CAHP Insurance Subcommittee Chairman, Member of ULI Affordable Workforce Housing Council, Current Chairman of the City of St. Petersburg Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, and HCCP from NAHB

Sponsorship & Benefits

Presenting Sponsor – Sold Tampa Bay Builders Association

  • Exclusive speaking opportunity to welcome the group and speak during the program.
  • Prime logo placement on all event marketing materials, including website, banners, and promotional materials.
  • Recognition in press releases and media coverage.
  • Networking event with speakers & VIP
  • 10 VIP tickets to the event

Gold Sponsor $15,000

  • Prominent logo placement on event materials and signage.
  • Speaking opportunity during program.
  • Recognition in marketing collateral, including social media, emails, and event programs.
  • 10 tickets to the event

Silver Sponsor $7,500

  • Logo inclusion on event materials and marketing collateral.
  • Recognition on the event website with a link to your company’s website.
  • 5 tickets to the event
Table Sponsor $1,000
  • Table for 8 attendees
  • Logo signage

Individual Tickets $50

*Customized sponsorship packages are available upon request to suit your specific goals and interests.

For more details about sponsorship opportunities or to discuss a tailored package, please contact Amy Maguire, Executive Director, Florida Policy Project.

Call 727-656-8413 or email

Thank you for considering this partnership opportunity. Together, let’s make a difference in the future of housing affordability.

Draft Agenda

2024 Florida Housing Summit: Hosted by Florida Policy Project

 Summary of Activities

USF St. Petersburg Campus

St. Petersburg, FL

Wednesday, May 1, 2024 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM 

Registration 7:00 am- 8:00 am



7:00 am-8:00 am 

Registration & Check In


8:00 am-8:30 am

Welcome Jeff Brandes, Florida Policy Project Founder & President 


Amy Foster, St. Petersburg Housing & Neighborhood Services Administration Welcome from St Pete

Breakfast provided by local businesses

Emcee: Rebecca Liebson, Tampa Bay Times 


Presenting Sponsor: Tampa Bay Builders Association Leadership Speak 

Lauren Morgan, Executive Vice President, TBBA

Jeff Oligschlaeger, TBBA President Elect

8:30 am – 9:00 am

Demographic Insights for Housing Solutions 

Lesley Deutch, Managing Principal, John Burns Research 

9:00 – 9:15 am

State Solutions, Advocacy & Live Local Updates

Ashon Nesbitt, Chief Executive Officer, Florida Housing Coalition

9:15 – 9:45 am

Gone Missing, But Not for Long: Reviving Middle Housing 

 Alex Vondeling, Architect and Senior Associate, Opticos Design

9:45 – 10:15 am

Solutions for Yes in My Backyard


Nolan Gray, YIMBY Founder & Author

10:15 – 10:30 am


Provided by Local Vendors

10:30 – 11 am

Boosting Middle-and Low-income Home Supply:  Affordable Light-touch Density 

Edward Pinto,  American Economic Institute Senior Fellow and Co-director, American Economic Institute Housing Center

11  – 11:30 am

Solutions from ULI Housing Index

Rosemary Hepner, ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing 

11:30 am – noon

Land Use Reform at the State Level: A Survey of the Latest Developments

Charles Gardner,  Research Fellow, Mercatus Center, George Mason University

Noon – 1 pm

Lunch Provided by Inside the Box


Solutions For Florida:  Attendee & Speaker Interactive Discussion

Moderator:  Jeff Brandes

– Nolan Gray

– Lesley Deutch

– Ed J. Pinto

 – Charles Gardner

– Alex Vondeling

– State and County Officials

1:00 – 1:40 pm

Local Solutions for Housing Opportunities


Moderator:  Adrian Moore, Reason Foundation

– Honorable George Kruse, Commissioner, Manatee County

– Honorable George Lindsay, Commissioner Polk County

– Honorable Jack Mariano, Commissioner, Pasco County

1:40  – 2:15 pm

Expedited Approval of Residential Building Permits: What to Know About the New Florida Legislation

Honorable Blaise Ingoglia, Florida Senate

Jeremy Susac, VP, Government Affairs, Lennar Corporation

2:15 – 2:45  pm

Elevating Housing Vouchers

Sam Staley, Ph.D.

Director, DeVoe L. Moore Center, Florida State University

2:45 pm – 3:15 pm

Deep Dive Conversations with Speakers


-Accessory Dwelling Units


-Culture and Economic Solutions


-Zoning Solutions


-Housing Authority Panel: Solutions and Successes from Regional Housing Coalitions

Cask Construction: Calin Noonan & Chad Holman


-Nolan Gray & Lesley Deutch


-Ed J. Pinto & Charles Gardner


– Neil Brickfield, Pinellas County Housing Authority

– Ashon Nesbitt, Florida Housing Corporation


3:15 – 3:45 pm

Public Private Solutions for Housing Opportunities

Moderator:  Tom Almonte, Assistant County Administrator, Pinellas County

– Scott Macdonald, Partner, Blue Sky Communities

– Mike Sutton, CEO, Habitat for Humanity

– Bruce Bussey, Community Development Manager, Pinellas County

3:45 – 4:15 pm

Building Bridges Tomorrow: The Baker, Buckhorn & Brandes Blueprint for Housing Solutions in Tampa Bay

Former Senator Jeff Brandes, Former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker & Former Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn

4:15 – 4:30 pm

Closing & Next Steps

Senator Jeff Brandes

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