FIU Core Team Members
Dean, FIU College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts
PI, FIU Creative City Initiative and Miami Urban Future Initiative
Appointed Dean in 2011, Brian has over 26 years of higher education teaching and administrative experience. Under his leadership and and the faculty’s expertise, the College of Communication, Architecture, + The Arts’ (CARTA) has ascended to national prominence. Fully committed to a trans-disciplinary mission to drive the information, innovation, and cultural economy of South Florida, in five years CARTA has strategically grown from 1,200 students to more than 4,000 students and from 70 full-time faculty members to 125; raised nearly $20M in philanthropy and auxiliary revenues in support of the students’ success; and annually exceeds $25M in total revenues. In support of the University’s commitment to community engagement, Brian expanded the College to Miami Beach and launched the CARTA | Miami Beach Urban Studios in the iconic 420 Building on Lincoln Road, where now more than 100 graduate students in design, visual arts, and the performing arts work collaboratively with members of the community and work in the CARTA Innovation Lab. In addition to his administrative work as Dean, Brian is an accomplished author having published five books and numerous scholarly articles. He is also a past recipient of FIU’s prestigious Teaching Incentive Award, has been named Instructor of the Year, and has twice been named to FIU’s College of Business Administration’s Circle of Excellence For Teaching.
Michael Aquino, Program Assistant of the Miami Urban Future Initiative, graduated from FIU with a degree in Business Administration in Management with a minor in Global Media Communications. Prior to joining the CARTA family, he provided direct assistance to the operations unit, under the MBA programs, for the FIU Chapman Graduate School of Business at FIU Downtown in Brickell. With an extensive background serving in various councils within the FIU community, he brings valuable experience working within the university’s student and academic affairs.
Creative Class Core Team Members
Professor, University of Toronto and Visiting Fellow, FIU-Miami Urban Future Initiative
Richard Florida is one of the world’s leading urbanists. He is a researcher and professor, serving as University Professor and Director of Cities at the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto, a Distinguished Fellow at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, Visiting Fellow at Florida International University Miami Urban Future Initiative. He is a writer and journalist, having penned several global best sellers, including the award winning The Rise of the Creative Class and his most recent book, The New Urban Crisis. He serves as senior editor for The Atlantic, where he co-founded and serves as Editor-at-Large for CityLab. He is an entrepreneur, as founder of the Creative Class Group which works closely with companies and governments worldwide. A 2013 MIT study named him the world’s most influential thought leader. And TIME magazine recognized his Twitter feed as one of the 140 most influential in the world. He previously taught at Carnegie Mellon, Ohio State University, and George Mason University, and has been a visiting professor at Harvard and MIT and Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers College and his Ph.D. from Columbia University.
Director, FIU Creative City Initiative and Miami Urban Future Initiative
Rana Florida is Chief Executive Officer of the Creative Class Group and Director, FIU-Miami Urban Future Initiative. In her role at CCG, she manages new business development, marketing, consulting, research, and global operations, and serving diverse clients such as BMW, Converse, Audi, Zappos, and Starwood Hotels. She brings to this leadership role more than two decades of experience in corporate strategy, communications, and marketing. Her book, Upgrade, was dubbed a ‘Business Best Seller’ and an Editor’s Pick by The Globe and Mail. Rana holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications and a MBA in marketing and management.
Director of Research, FIU Creative City Initiative and Miami Urban Future Initiative
Steven Pedigo is an expert in economic development, marketing and place-branding. As the director of research for the Creative Class Group, he has advised cities, universities, real estate developers, nonprofit organizations, Fortune 500 companies and major media outlets across the globe. His urban development clients represent communities of all sizes: New York, Jerusalem, Vancouver, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Brisbane, the Yukon, Tulsa, Austin, Portland, Newark, San Diego-Tijuana, Miami, Sao Paulo, Monterrey, Mexico City and many others. His corporate clients include: BMW, Converse, Starwood, Philips, Cirque du Soleil, Audi, Pinewood Studios, Zappos, EDENS, Kraft and others. In addition to working with CCG, he is also the Director of Research of the Miami Urban Future Initiative.
Director of Operations and Events, FIU Creative City Initiative and Miami Urban Future Initiative
Reham Alexander is Director of Global Operations and Events for the Creative Class Group as well as the Miami Urban Future Initiative. In her role at CCG, she manages client relations for all domestic and international consulting and speaking engagements. She works with a wide array of clientele to stage large-scale, high-profile events around the world. Her clients include Fortune 100 companies, as well as high-level government, education, healthcare, nonprofit, and economic development organizations. She has done project management and consulting work for BMW, Converse, Starwood, IBM, Philips, Cirque du Soleil, Audi, Pinewood Studios, Zappos, Kraft, and Johnson & Johnson, to name a few. She also manages all social media and publishing efforts. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan with a double major in Political Science and Communications and post-graduate work at Wayne State University.
MUFI Research Fellows
Moses Shumow (PhD University of Miami) is an associate professor of Journalism and Media at Florida International University. He is the co-author of “News, Neoliberalism, and Miami’s Fragmented Urban Space” (Lexington Books) on Miami’s racial, ethnic and class informational divide. His research on media, geography, migration, race, and development has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including Journalism, Journalism Studies, Media, Culture & Society, and Journal of Urban Affairs. Dr. Shumow is the director of “Liberty Square: Power, History and Race in Miami,” a documentary focused on a historic housing development as a critical commentary on the history of race and power in Miami.
Ralph Rosado, PhD, AICP, is President of Rosado and Associates, an urban planning and economic development strategy firm based in Miami; a Senior Fellow at the FIU Metropolitan Center, and an instructor in graduate and professional programs at the University of Miami and Florida International University. Ralph holds a PhD in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania, with a focus on Neighborhood Revitalization, Economic Development, and Affordable Housing; a joint Master’s degree in Public Policy and Urban Planning from Princeton University; and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Florida International University’s Honors College. Past professional experience includes serving as a senior government official for three cities, Executive Director of the South Florida Community Development Coalition, and, prior to that, serving as an Urban Design and Neighborhood Revitalization consultant to over a dozen municipalities in Miami-Dade. While in graduate school, at the invitation of President George W. Bush, Ralph served as a White House Graduate Intern with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Kim Zeuli is a Senior Fellow at the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC). Kim received her Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Minnesota and has over 15-years of experience advising corporations, nonprofits and city leaders at the intersection of food systems, resilience and economic development. She developed a groundbreaking resilience framework that allows cities to conduct a rapid assessment of food system vulnerabilities to natural disasters within an equity context. The framework has been utilized in several cities in the U.S. and received international recognition. Kim has written extensively on urban food system resilience and has published numerous academic articles. Prior to joining ICIC, Kim has held academic positions at the College of William and Mary, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and the University of Kentucky.