ERICH CHATHAM, CHARLESTON, SC
Erich is a founding partner of Civitas, LLC, and manages the firm's South Carolina based operations. He has worked on community and economic development projects with local governments, for-profits & non-profits across the Unites States and has recently served as volunteer for several housing organizations throughout Asia. Erich serves as a national technical assistance provider for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and is a HOME Certified Specialist. Based in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, Erich has worked extensively throughout the Carolinas and is currently working with numerous municipalities and non-profits across the region.
Erich received a Bachelors of Arts in History and a Secondary Education Certification from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, GA. He also holds a Masters of Public Administration from the College of Charleston, with a focus in Economic Development and Urban Planning. Erich serves on several boards for non-profit organizations serving South Carolina including the South Carolina Coalition for the Homeless, the Lowcountry Homeless Coalition, Grand Strand Housing and Community Development Corporation, Home Alliance Inc., Coastal Carolina Community Development Corporation and the Myrtle Beach Community Land Trust.
JIMMY ARDIS, Ventura, CA
Jimmy is a founding partner of Civitas and manages the firm's Southern California operations. An established public policy researcher and GIS analyst, Jimmy brings a powerful mix of collaborative and analytical skills. He has extensive experience across the community development field, including: grant writing, public-private partnerships, non-profit capacity building, and program compliance. Jimmy is a national technical assistance provider for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, a HOME Certified Specialist, and a HUD Environmental Review expert. Jimmy has a particular interest in sustainable, human-scaled urbanism and brings a passion for creating healthy living environments to all of his projects.
Before starting Civitas, Jimmy worked as a research associate and policy analyst at The Riley Center for Livable Communities at the College of Charleston, as well as Staff Writer for Ballotpedia - an online encyclopedia of American politics and elections. He began his career in the United States Air Force, working in the emergency management and aviation fields. Jimmy studied Business as an undergraduate at UMUC while living in Turkey, and went on to earn a Masters of Public Administration with a focus in Urban & Regional Planning at the College of Charleston.
LAUREN WARDEN-RODGERS, PITTSBURGH, PA
Lauren is the Lead Editor for Civitas. She has extensive experience in writing and research and has worked in the government, non-profit, and education sectors. Before joining Civitas, Lauren worked as Content Editor for the Lucy Burns Institute’s flagship project, Ballotpedia - an online encyclopedia of American politics and elections that since its founding in 2007 has "received over 500 million pages views." Ballotpedia's "work has been referenced in over 6,000 media outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Politico."
Lauren received an Honors Bachelor of Arts in Spanish/Political Science from the University of Delaware. After graduation, she served as an intelligence officer in the United States Air Force before pursuing a Master of Public Administration form the College of Charleston with a focus on Urban Studies.
Vern xiong, St. Paul, MN
Vern Xiong is a data analyst and researcher for Civitas. Vern has worked on numerous successful Consolidated Planning and Fair Housing research projects for clients across the nation. He has worked on research and evaluation for nonprofits in the Twin Cities, Midwest and other international projects. Vern is currently working with several nonprofits to build evaluation tools and resources for programs. Coming from a refugee family, Vern has a special interest in helping displaced people and secondary migrants adapt and make healthy living choices and grow with their new communities.
Before working with Civitas, he managed Lao Family’s Youth and Family program for 7 years and helped lead many community development programs like CDGB in the Twin Cities. Vern received a Bachelor of Art from Greenville College, IL and then a Certificate of Grant Proposal Writing from Fort Hayes State University.
Peter neiger, wilmington, nc
Peter is a data analyst and researcher for Civitas. Pete has worked on numerous successful Consolidated Planning and Fair Housing research projects for clients across the nation. He focuses primarily on applying economic analysis and tools to analyze the needs of the communities he works with to help come up with practical solutions. His passion is to address problems based on historic segregation, as well as to help communities become economically competitive and prosperous in the 21st Century global marketplace. Peter is currently based in Wilmington, NC but has worked for non-profit and for-profit organizations in Washington DC and Los Angeles, California.
Peter received a Bachelors of Science in Economics from the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC. While earning his degree, Peter worked with the Institute for Public Choice and Market Process where he focused on public choice and international trade to find unique and creative solutions facing communities across the globe. He was also elected and served as the Student Government Association Vice President and was a Founding Father of the Lambda Chi chapter of Phi Gamma Delta where he also served as the Community Service Chair. Prior to college, Peter enlisted in the United States Army where he served as an infantry paratrooper in combat zones and advanced from E-1 to E-5 in four years. During this time, he attended the US Primary Leadership Development Course where he was placed on the Commandant’s List for superior performance.