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.
Rick Bowers — Chief of Operations
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.
Jeff Brallier — 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.
Paula Katrina Drago – Volunteer Services & Corporate Partnerships Manager
A native New Yorker, PK first became involved with Habitat in high school, when she started volunteering for her local affiliate in Albany. She joined DC Habitat in the fall of 2011 as an AmeriCorps member and returned as staff in 2013. After serving three terms in AmeriCorps and working for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)—the federal agency that administers national service programs—she is thrilled to be back at Habitat continuing her work with AmeriCorps, this time as a program manager.
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 — Senior Construction Supervisor
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 volunteer. 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 – Assistant 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 DC Habitat for Humanity. Luke studied management at George Mason University, and also has a degree in Culinary Arts from Stratford University.
Mandy Jansen — Office Manager & Housing Services 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 non-profit 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 Servicing
Peter has over 15 years of progressive international and local experience in customer relationship management and business development for several non-profit organizations in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
His focus has been on controllership and management accounting for 501c (3) non-profit 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 — Production 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.
Cristina Pardo Nilakanta — Senior Grants Manager
Cristina graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. After graduation, she served as a Literacy AmeriCorps member for the Urban League of Palm Beach County. During her AmeriCorps year, her team had the opportunity to work with the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate on several builds.
Cristina has worked in development for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Capital Chapter and The Washington Ballet and holds a Master of Nonprofit Management degree from Florida Atlantic University. She joined Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C. in 2014.
Mike Peterson – Assistant Construction Supervisor
Mike came to DC Habitat in the fall of 2011 through AmeriCorps, and two successful terms later, he joined the staff in 2013. Having built houses everywhere from Saint Paul to Sao Paulo (Brazil), he especially loves the community-based focus of Habitat.
Originally from Edina, Minnesota, Mike graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Architecture. After a year in the development office of Twin Cities Habitat – seeking a change of pace and scenery – he moved to Washington, where he enjoys hearing people refer to 40 degrees as “cold” and learning more about sustainabile building. Mike is a LEED Green Associate.
Heather Phibbs — Director of Marketing & Development
Originally from Richmond, VA, Heather studied journalism at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, then worked in public relations and advertising for the following 15 years. After living and working in New York City and Frankfurt, Germany, she relocated to Washington in early 2007.
Prior to joining DC Habitat, she was Interactive Creative Director at Porter-Novelli Public Relations firm, where she developed digital and broadcast media campaigns for a variety of corporate, government and non-profit clients.
She brings to DC Habitat her wealth of experience in leading marketing campaigns at the local, national and global levels across multi-media platforms, and in developing strategic partnerships.
Alix Eve Schram — Development and Marketing Associate
Alix Eve is a recent DC transplant, born and raised in New York City. She attended Kenyon College in Ohio and holds a BA in Modern Languages and Literature. During college, she worked for a community service group, The Archon Society, which facilitated service events. She has interned with an NYC councilwoman, responding to issues of local constituents, and in the education department of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, working on a range of development projects.
Since graduating from college in 2013, Alix Eve worked in development at an off-Broadway theater in NYC, as well as at Levine Music here in DC. She joined Habitat in 2014, bringing her knowledge of fundraising and an eagerness to use it to benefit Habitat.
Sabrina Shekofteh — Senior Staff Accountant
Sabrina has been working as an Accountant for over twelve years and has an associates degree from Payame Noor University. Originally from Iran, she has been living in the U.S. for over 15 years. Sabrina moved to D.C. from the Fort Lauderdale area about three years ago. She has worked at other non-profits and really enjoys the sense of purpose that you get from working at a non-profit – and likes to work somewhere that people are interested in making a difference in the world.
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.