Meet the Boomtown: A Growing Challenge town hall panelists

Experts to discuss growth in Central Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. – On March 11, a group of local experts will be invited to the News 6 studio to lead a discussion on growth as part of our Boomtown initiative.

The town hall is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and members of the public are invited to participate by submitting questions now using the form at the bottom of this story or during a live chat that evening.

Eight panelists whose names you might recognize from around the Central Florida area will provide their expertise as we tackle topics related to infrastructure, the increasing population, environmental conservation and other pros and cons of the region’s rapid expansion.

Read a little bit more about the panelists below:

Jasmine Burney-Clark from Florida Counts Census

Jasmine Burney-Clark

Jasmine Burney-Clark is the principal consultant for Social Solutions Group, LLC, a Florida-based civic engagement firm, and in that role, she’s working with the Florida Counts Census 2020 Initiative, meaning she’s witnessing the area’s growth firsthand. Burney-Clark has recently served as the senior adviser to the NAACP and executive director for the Florida C3 Civic Engagement Table. On top of that, she’s been involved with Florida politics since 2010 and has experience with New American Majority working to expand equal access to the polls.

Orange County administrator Byron Brooks

Byron Brooks

Byron Brooks was appointed in January 2019 to the role of county administrator, which involves assisting the mayor in the daily oversight of county operations and successfully executing policy directives set up by the board of county commissioners. He oversees an organization with about 7,800 employees that serves nearly 1.4 million residents. He’s also held roles with the city of Orlando and the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority.

Orlando’s director of sustainability Chris Castro

Chris Castro

Chris Castro is a University of Central Florida graduate who now oversees the city of Orlando’s sustainability, clean energy and climate-action goals. He’s also the founder of the clean-energy consulting firm Citizen Energy and the co-creator of Fleet Farming, a group of urban farmers who build organic farms on lawns, schools and other underutilized lands withing the community. On top of that, he also sits on nearly a dozen nonprofit and academic boards dedicated to sustainability.

Minetta Crosier, owner of the Popcorn Junkie in Parramore

Minetta Crosier

Minetta Crosier and her husband own and operate Popcorn Junkie, a gourmet popcorn and gift shop located in Orlando’s Parramore community. Along with serving as the CEO of the business, Crosier mentors high school graduates and student interns as part of the CarrerSource youth program. Crosier also has more than a decade of experience in telecommunications and management.

CEO of the Florida Community Loan Fund Ignacio Esteban

Ignacio Esteban

Ignacio Esteban is the CEO of the Florida Community Loan Fund, a nonprofit that provides capital and expertise to community development projects throughout Florida to help them succeed. His role at FCLF involves developing the organization’s strategic vision and overseeing lending, finance, policy, capitalization and more. Esteban, a Puerto Rico native, has decades of experience in the field of community development finance.

Vice chairwoman of the Osceola County Commission Cheryl Grieb

Cheryl Grieb

Vice chairwoman Cheryl Grieb has served on the Osceola County board of commissioners since 2014, representing parts of Kissimmee and St. Cloud. She also serves on the MetroPlan Orlando Board, Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, the Toho Water Authority Board and the Congress of Regional Leaders as well as working as a real estate broker.

University of Central Florida director for the Institute for Economic Forecasting and economics professor Dr. Sean Snaith

Dr. Sean Snaith

Dr. Sean Snaith is the director for the Institute for Economic Forecasting and an economics professor at the University of Central Florida who is nationally recognized for the accuracy of his business and economic forecasting. He’s served as a consultant for local governments and major corporations, including Compaq, Dell and IBM.

Sandi Vidal, co-president of the League of Women Voters

Sandi Vidal

Sandi Vidal currently serves as the vice president of community strategies and initiatives for the Central Florida Foundation, the co-president of the League of Women Voters in Orange County, an officer for Leaguers in Action and a member of Orlando’s committee on multicultural affairs. She works closely on issues related to homelessness, disaster response and social justice.

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