Building Homes and Hope Together
Providing decent, affordable housing in the District takes the work of many partners — corporations, foundations, local government and individuals – including the members of DC Habitat’s Board and staff. You can learn a bit more about our office and site staff here.
Learn about our Board Members.
Susanne Slater — President & CEO
Susanne has over 25 years of increasingly responsible experience in government, academia and the nonprofit sector, including a long and varied association with housing policy from many vantage points. As Associate Dean for Executive Programs at the University of Maryland, College Park, she created an award winning program for employees of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, with over 2,000 employees completing a four-course certificate program in low and moderate income housing development. As a founding board member and vice president of a nonprofit development corporation, Susanne oversaw the conversion of a troubled public housing complex into a successful mixed income neighborhood in Ward 7 of the District of Columbia.
Over an 18-year career at the University of Maryland, Susanne taught courses that dealt with every aspect of moderate and low income housing policy, environmental policy and management control in nonprofit organizations. She was the recipient of a $1 million research grant from the Fannie Mae Foundation, the largest ever awarded. Prior to joining the University of Maryland, Susanne worked for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan on his work in the Senate Budget and Senate Finance committees; and previously, at the White House Office of Management and Budget as a financial economist dealing with loan guarantees and government sponsored enterprises, especially Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Prior to becoming Interim President & CEO of DC Habitat, she served on the organization’s board as the Treasurer and development liaison with DC Habitat staff. Susanne holds an MBA in public and private finance from Cornell University and a BA from Smith College.
Jason D. Alcindor – Accounts Payable & Mortgage Servicing Associate
Jason is from the beautiful Island of St. Lucia and recently became a Naturalized United States Citizen in 2014. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park. Prior to joining the awesome team at DC Habitat, Jason worked with a number of nonprofit organizations in the DC Area where he honed his accounting expertise. He began his development as an Intern at Tate & Tryon, whom specializes in nonprofit accounting and is considered by many to be a pioneer in the Washington DC Area for their dedicated work in the nonprofit sector. This experience triggered a sense of duty to utilize his degree as a means of giving back to mission-driven nonprofit organizations in hopes of creating a better world. He then branched out to other nonprofits such as the Paulist’s Father’s, Hope Loan Portal, American Geophysical Union and the National Education Association, respectively. Jason’s future goal is to become a Certified Public Accountant and to create a foundation that may help those unfortunate in the Caribbean Islands that may never get the opportunity that God bestowed upon him for a better future.
Rick Bowers — Senior Vice President
Rick provides over twenty-five years of leadership, management, and executive expertise in the construction, residential, multi-family, and development industry. As a VP/Director at Fortune 500 firms as well as private regional homebuilders/developers, Rick has in-depth insight, knowledge, and diverse experience.
His credentials include multi-family, condominium, and Active Adult experience; P&L and operations management, purchasing and contracting management; managing homebuilding divisions that exceeded 400 settlements per year; and managing land development, sales, and marketing. Rick’s portfolio includes most every product type from stacked multi-family elevator condominiums with structured parking, basic townhomes, award-winning single-family luxury homes, and large Active Adult communities.
Whitney Canon — Volunteer Services and Corporate Partnerships Manager
Whitney is a recent Washington, D.C. transplant, having relocated from Memphis, TN in May 2015. She is an Auburn University graduate with a B.S. in Marketing. Her personal interests include fitness, food, travel and photography.
Jeff Brallier — Senior Project Manager
Jeff is a lifelong resident of the DC metro area and joined DC Habitat in 2011. He has worked in the construction industry for over 25 years and has specialized in field operations, purchasing, customer relations and HOA management.
Jeff has extensive residential construction experience and has managed many large-scale communities to include the construction of single-family homes, townhomes and multi-family housing. New Home Warranty Management was been his most recent focus, having managed customer relations for a national homebuilder with communities in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.
Jeff’s primary goals here at DC Habitat are to manage construction purchasing and budgets, reduce operating expenses and maintain warehouse inventory.
Whitney Canon — Volunteer Services and Corporate Partnerships Manager
Whitney was welcomed to the DC Habitat team as Volunteer Services & Corporate Partnerships Manager after serving as an AmeriCorps Volunteer Services Coordinator. She is an Auburn University graduate with a B.S. in Marketing. Her personal interests include fitness, food, travel and photography.
Paula Katrina Drago – Senior Manager of Marketing and Communications
A native New Yorker, PK first became involved with Habitat in high school, when she started volunteering for her local affiliate in Albany. She served two terms with the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps working with nonprofit and disaster response organizations throughout the West Coast and the New Orleans area. In the fall of 2011, PK joined DC Habitat as an AmeriCorps member and later spent time working for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)—the federal agency that administers national service programs—before returning to DC Habitat as staff in 2013.
PK has a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from the George Washington University and loves helping volunteers get their hands dirty on our construction sites.
Daniel Hines — Production Manager
Dan is a graduate of Villanova University with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. It was at Villanova that he first volunteered with Habitat for Humanity.
After college, Dan continued volunteering with various Habitat affiliates while he worked as an electrical engineer for Lockheed Martin and received his master’s degree in electrical engineering. After a few years of working in engineering, Dan decided to leave his desk job to serve with Habitat full-time as an AmeriCorps member. Following two years of AmeriCorps service in Orange County, CA and then Sea Island, SC, Dan took a site superintendent position with Habitat for Humanity of Wake County in Raleigh, NC.
In January of 2012, Dan accepted his position with DC Habitat. He enjoys serving the DC community and is excited to be a part of the advances in energy-efficient building that DC Habitat is taking on in their buildings.
Luke Hupp – Construction Supervisor
Luke has worked as Assistant Construction Supervisor for DC Habitat since July of 2013. Prior to that, he was an AmeriCorps Construction Crew Leader at Sea Island Habitat for Humanity and Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C. Luke studied management at George Mason University and also has a degree in Culinary Arts from Stratford University.
Mandy Jansen — Office Manager & Housing Programs Associate
Mandy grew up in Wisconsin and studied Spanish language, International Studies and business at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. Her passion for service and nonprofit work came the year after graduation, which was spent volunteering as a camp counselor in Japan, a Spanish-English interpreter at a community health center in Wisconsin, and doing disaster relief work in Florida.
The following year she fell in love with the work and mission of Habitat for Humanity while serving a year as a Fund Development Specialist VISTA member with Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii. She followed her service year up with a 5-year stint as the Operations/Grants Manager of the Hawaii Habitat for Humanity Association in Honolulu.
Mandy joined the staff at Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C. in late 2012 and brings with her experience working and volunteering with many different affiliates of Habitat for Humanity in the U.S. and abroad.
Peter Kiburi — Director of Finance & Mortgage Services
Peter has over 15 years of progressive international and local experience in customer relationship management and business development for several nonprofit organizations in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
His focus has been on controllership and management accounting for 501c (3) nonprofit organizations. He has extensive experience in grants management, statutory reporting and compliance monitoring for federally and locally funded projects targeting affordable housing, community development, and emergency preparedness.
Peter has a Masters Degree in Public (Government) Administration from the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India.
Andrew Modley — Project Manager
Andrew has worked for DC Habitat as a construction site superintendent since 2006. He started with the organization as a volunteer right after college and jumped on the opportunity to join our staff the moment an opening was available.
Born and raised in the DC metro area, Andrew is committed to serving the local community. He attended McDaniel College in western Maryland where he studied political science. Andrew helps lead new construction efforts for DC Habitat and is especially interested in the green building practices being integrated into our projects.
Dennis Monaghan — Assistant Construction Supervisor
Dennis is from South Jersey but has spent a lot of time in Philadelphia as well. He is a graduate of Villanova University and came to Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C. through the AmeriCorps program, where he served before he was hired on at Assistant Construction Supervisor. Dennis has been involved with Habitat since high school and served as president of the Habitat for Humanity Villanova Campus Chapter in college, participating in and leading several service trips.
Cristina Pardo Nilakanta — Senior Grants Manager
Cristina grew up in South Florida, where she first volunteered with Habitat as an AmeriCorps member for the Urban League of Palm Beach County. Completing team builds with Habitat for Humanity of Palm Beach County was one of her favorite service projects during her AmeriCorps year.
Cristina has worked in development for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Capital Chapter and The Washington Ballet. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and holds a Master of Nonprofit Management degree from Florida Atlantic University. Cristina joined DC Habitat in early 2014.
Maria Mastorakos — Director of Marketing & Development
As Director for Development and Marketing, Maria brings over 20 years of experience in national fundraising and marketing, including large-scale event planning. Her experience covers a wide range of challenging assignments, working with corporate, government, political and non-profit organizations.
In her most recent assignments with The Webster Group and Booz Allen Hamilton, she provided consulting services for a number of high-profile projects, such as DC Habitat’s 25th Anniversary Celebration and a collaborative effort to develop a comprehensive strategic plan for the USO Board of Directors.
Maria has worked on Key Donor Programs at the Republican National Committee and provided guidance for fundraising events for dignitaries such as Presidents Nixon and Ford, Secretary R. James Nicholson, Governor Haley Barbour, Senator Robert Dole, Steve Forbes and Michele Bachmann, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 2007-2015 for the 6th Congressional District of Minnesota in her 2012 Presidential campaign.
At the Department of Veterans Affairs, she served as Director of Protocol. Prior to her government service, she worked at US Airways as Manager, Special Events and Promotions/Sales and Marketing, launching a new organization with a number of responsibilities: strategic planning, staffing, national event planning/management, national promotional programs/strategy and public relations, including facilitation of large external/internal event teams designed to enhance brand awareness in a very competitive marketplace.
Maria is a California native, a graduate of California State University, and now resides in Arlington, Virginia.
Aaron Somawang — Home Repair Program Manager
Moving to DC from the Central Coast of California, Aaron has worked in construction since 2002. He has a love of the outdoors and nature, and that has inspired him to integrate sustainable construction practices into all of his projects. Aaron approaches home building with an eye for innovation and sustainability and believes in serving the community around him with his passions
Orlando Velez — Director of Housing Programs & Community Advocacy
Orlando has always been motivated by the social interaction of the building environment. After receiving his degree in architecture from Kansas State University, he joined the Peace Corps and served in Paraguay. During his service, he worked for a small municipality and directed many projects, including the development and implementation of a transparency program within the local government as well as the development of an office in City Hall for the protection of victims from domestic violence. After Peace Corps, Orlando attended Milano, The New School for International Affairs Management and Urban Policy Analysis. While working towards his graduate degree in Urban Policy Analysis, he was asked to work for the university as Director of Operations for the Empowerhouse Project, a collaborative venture between The New School, Stevens Institute of Technology, DC Habitat, and a number of sponsors. The Empowerhouse Project was the winning entry to the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon in 2011. After the Decathlon, Orlando continued his role with the Empowerhouse, working with DC Habitat to move the exhibited home to a site in Northeast DC and expanding it to add a second floor and a second home to make it a duplex.
After the completion of this project, Orlando began working with DC Habitat as Manager of Housing Services. He is now Director of Housing Programs and Community Advocacy, coordinating the many layers of financing it takes for a buyer to purchase a home. He also meets with community leaders in advocating for affordable, for-sale homes for DC residents. He serves as Co-Chair of the Ownership Housing Work Group at the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing & Economic Development, and is the President of a small nonprofit for returning Peace Corps Paraguay volunteers called Friends of Paraguay. He currently lives with his wife and dog in DC.