CO-FOUNDER THE VAGABOND GROUP
With a career path that has taken her from bond trading on Wall Street to developing properties along some of Miami's trendiest streets, Avra Jain has earned a reputation for identifying the next it neighborhood. The recipient of three Sundance Film Awards for the documentary Dark Days, this industrial engineering graduate from Purdue University develops projects based around two of her favorite pursuits: art and architecture.
Jain suggests “Through art and architecture, life and lifestyle are integrated. Through life and lifestyle, communities and neighborhoods are created.” To date, that vision has resulted in numerous boutique projects that range from converting a 100,000-square foot warehouse to luxury loft condominiums in New York's Tribeca neighborhood to the remake of The Vagabond, from Motel to Hotel on Biscayne Boulevard. When Avra is not re-imagining skylines, she spends time with her 14-year-old daughter Alexandra, whom she affectionately refers to as "my greatest accomplishment".
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Tony Garcia is a Principal at Street Plans Collaborative, and leads the firm’s Miami office. With over 15 years experience, Tony is a leader in the field of urban planning, and balances day-to-day management of the firm with writing, speaking, and advocating for great streets and public spaces.
Tony is coauthor of the globally acclaimed series Tactical Urbanism: Short-Term Action, Long-Term Change, co-author of Tactical Urbanism, published by Island Press in March 2015, and together with Mike Lydon is the recipient of the 2017 Seaside Prize. Tony was also awarded with the 2017-2018 CINTAS Foundation Fellowship for Architecture & Design.
He lectures and leads workshops on the topics of placemaking, tactical urbanism, and street design. He is a former part-time faculty member at the University of Miami School of Architecture, and is the past Chairman of the Green Mobility Network, the largest bicycle pedestrian advocacy organization in South Florida. He co-founded the Ludlam Trail project, which will result in the addition of over 50 acres of new park space in Miami-Dade County.
Prior to launching the firm’s Miami office, Tony was Project Director for six years at Chael Cooper & Associates, and from 2008 to 2012 was the managing editor of the transportation blog TransitMiami.com.
Tony holds a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and Urban Design from New York University and a Masters in Architecture from the University of Miami.
Profound critical thinking is the hallmark of Daniel Balmori’s practice in litigation and dispute resolution, which he applies to develop effective solutions to legal puzzles in both state and federal court.
Daniel focuses his practice on commercial and appellate litigation with an emphasis on contract and corporate governance disputes and business torts in a variety of industries from financial services to health care to transportation.
In addition to his litigation practice, Daniel currently serves as pro bono counsel to Friends of The Underline, Inc. and The Underline Conservancy, nonprofit organizations dedicated to transforming underutilized land in Miami into a 10-mile iconic linear park, world-class urban trail, transportation solution, and living art destination inspiringly designed by the architects of New York City’s renowned High Line. In this capacity, he advises on corporate governance; navigates the complex government and regulatory landscape at local, state, and federal levels; and exchanges thought leadership among a consortium of infrastructure reuse projects known as the High Line Network.
Daniel served as a law clerk to the Honorable Paul C. Huck, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Florida. Daniel also previously gained valuable legal experience working in the nation’s most active and cutting-edge public integrity and civil rights enforcement offices including for the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice, the Civil Rights Division at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, and the Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts.
Executive Director | Moonlighter FabLab
Tom is a designer, maker, entrepreneur, and educator. He has taught architectural design at FIU College of Architecture and the Arts, Maker Cities, an interdisciplinary course at The Honors College at FIU, and Reimagining Cities for The Idea Center at Miami Dade College.
His focus is on the democratization and accessibility of tools, skills, and opportunities to empower the community to build a better future. Tom has an Masters in Architecture and an MAA from Florida International University.
He attended the Design & Architecture Senior High School in Miami. Tom Pupo is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Moonlighter FabLab, a 501(c)3 non-profit
S.T.E.A.M. Learning Center and Fabrication Lab in Miami, Florida dedicated to empowering
makers with the skills, tools, and opportunities to shape a better future.
The organization engages the community with S.T.E.A.M. educational experiences that foster the
growing maker movement in Miami while democratizing access to advanced fabrication equipment.
In the first six months of operation, Moonlighter became a registered MIT FabLab, as well as a
Global Chapter in Miami for littleBits electronics, and was the recipient of the 2015 SCORE MBL
Emerging Business Award. Moonlighter was also nominated as one of three HBIF Success Stories
2016 Honorees. Moonlighter also co-produces Maker Faire Miami, recognized as one of the featured
global festivals out of hundreds licensed around the world that celebrate creativity and innovation in
their communities each year. Moonlighter’s programs are supported by The Perez Family
Foundation, The Knight Foundation, The Miami Foundation, Microsoft, and individual donor
Tom is the Lead Instructor for The Re-Imagining Cities Program in The Idea Center at Miami Dade
College. This 10 week program teaches the principles of tactical urbanism and the technical skills
needed for digital fabrication to prototype better public spaces in Miami. The first cohort installed a
pop-up plaza in the Wolfson Campus in Downtown Miami, to activate an empty corner adjacent to a
metromover station. Tom has also served as professor and faculty fellow at the FIU Honors College
where he taught a course on Maker Cities - getting students from various disciplines to research,
prototype, and fabricate urban installations that engage the community in a discourse about how to
improve the urban fabric with new technologies. Student projects addressed food deserts and urban
farming, solutions for the homeless population, bike lane networks, density studies and more. Tom
was an adjunct professor at The School of Architecture at FIU teaching lower division and upper
division Design Studios.
Tom has presented at the Atlantic CityLab conference, was a speaker at SEGD, Nomcon, and the
White House Maker Faire. He earned his Masters in Architecture from Florida International University
and during the MAA program researched the social, economic, and cultural impacts of the
convergence of design, technology, and digital fabrication.
Tom Pupo has advocated for transforming public spaces through his work in academia and in
his professional projects - but it is in blending the two worlds where his projects take on new
meaning. While striving to solve urban challenges, he engages the community and inspires a
new generation to take interest in and appreciate the urban environment. Then, he empowers
them with the skills to be able to capture the data, prototype a solution, and build the design. He
approaches these projects with optimism and passion, and spreads that energy with everyone
he can. For these reasons, I am nominating him for the MCAD Young Urbanist Award.