RealityCheck2050 Speakers

RealityCheck2050 Speakers

Ed McMahon holds the Charles E. Fraser Chair on Sustainable Development at the Urban Land Institute in Washington, D.C. where he is nationally known as an inspiring and thought provoking speaker and leading authority on topics related to sustainable development, land conservation, smart growth, and historic preservation.

As the Senior Fellow for Sustainable Development, McMahon leads ULI’s worldwide efforts to conduct research and educational activities related to environmentally sensitive development policies and practices.

Before joining the Urban Land Institute in 2004, McMahon spent 14 years as the Vice President and Director of Land Use Planning for The Conservation Fund in Arlington, Virginia where he helped to protect more than 5 million acres of land of historic or natural significance. He is also the co-founder and former President of Scenic America, a national non-profit organization devoted to protecting America’s scenic landscapes. Before that, he taught law and public policy at Georgetown University Law Center for 9 years, and served in the U.S. Army, both at home and abroad.

McMahon is the author or co-author of 15 books and over 300 articles. His books include: Conservation Communities: Creating Value with Nature, Open Space and Agriculture; Better Models for Development in Virginia; Developing Sustainable Planned Communities; Green Infrastructure: Connecting Landscape and Communities; Land Conservation Finance, and Balancing Nature and Commerce in Gateway Communities. McMahon also writes regularly for Urban Land Magazine, Citiwire, Planning Commissioners Journal and other periodicals. During the past 25 years McMahon has helped communities in all 50 states with a wide variety of community planning and economic development issues.


Robert J. Grow is President and CEO of Envision Utah. With degrees in engineering and law from the University of Utah and Brigham Young University, Grow has enjoyed a successful law practice specializing in land use planning and zoning, real estate development, regional visioning and growth planning, and environmental law. He was legal counsel for Kennecott’s Daybreak development, which is widely cited as a demonstration project for quality growth. Daybreak was the National Association of Home Builders 2010 Community of the Year, with a Platinum Award for Suburban Smart Growth.

For the past decade, Grow has also been taking the Envision Utah collaborative, voluntary approach to other places throughout the country. He has helped initiate or strengthen regional efforts in more than 75 metropolitan regions, including Boston, Denver, Fort Collins, Austin, Houston, Washington, D.C., Sacramento, Portland, Tucson, Phoenix, Grand Rapids, Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Traverse City, Florida’s Treasure Coast, Southwest Utah, Seattle, Las Vegas, and Calgary, Canada. He proposed and helped establish the “Louisiana Speaks” visioning process for Southern Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina and most recently, he has been leading the consultant team for the “Our Greater San Diego Vision” effort, which set a new national record by involving more than 30,000 participants in planning the future of the 3 million residents of the San Diego region.