CityWorksXpo Florida 

May 9 & 10, 2024

a gathering to share big ideas for better places


What is CITYWORKS(X)po?

CityWorksXpo Florida is a gathering focused on sharing knowledge to build stronger communities. CityWorksXpo Florida provides a platform for sharing knowledge, stories, ideas, and projects with a focus on strengthening cities of all sizes. Attendees will represent communities from across the state of Florida. Xpo is about connectivity between people, places and the projects that inspire them. Exploring impact topics like: Capital & Social Entrepreneurship, Leadership & Good Government, Music, Art & Design, Knowledge & New Media, Outdoors & Recreation, Public Health & Social Justice and Food, Drink & Music can have on a community. Xpo’s speakers, panelists, and participants will share what they have learned (successes and failures) about community building. During the day, attendees will be will hear thought-provoking presentations, performances and engaging dialogue. The gathering continues with networking opportunities at exciting wrap up events designed to relax and connect with other attendees and speakers. CityWorksXpo Florida opens with a welcome reception May 8th, at 5:30 PM at the Historic Ritz Theatre. May 9th join us for light bites & coffee from 8-9 PM, first speaker begins at 9 AM. We will wrap up the day with Xpo attendees moving to our after hours event, with live music, food and great conversation. May 10th, we will serve lite bites & coffee from 8-9 AM, and wrap up our day around noon. Give us a call with Q's 863-295-9422
Have a great day and we hope to see you at Xpo!
Ritz Theatre 264 Central Ave.
Winter Haven, FL 33880

2024 Speakers

Thursday, May 9, 2024

CityWorks(X)po Florida Schedule

April 6, 2017

April 7, 2017

8 - 9   am     Registration & Morning Bites
9:00   am     Walter Parks
9:10   am     Welcome to CityWorks(X)po Florida
9:15   am     Josh McManus
9:50   am     Kennedy Smith
10:30 am     Johnette Isham & Catherine Ferrer
11:00 am     Lunch

1:00   pm     Reinaldo Borges
1:40   pm     Adrian Jones
2:10   pm     Walter Parks
2:30   pm     Ryan Frazier
2:40   pm     Steve Mouzon
3:20   pm     Ben Pila
3:30   pm     Andy Oguntola
3:50   PM     Neil Takemoto
4:30   PM     CASMORE SHAW
8 - 9   am     Registration & Morning Bites 
9:00   am     Dr.DeanBushey 
9:35   am     Nicole Travis
9:55   AM     Anthony Lyons
10:30 am     Rick Baker
11:00 am     Lunch

1:00   pm     Saba ghole
1:40   pm     Sharon West Mc Cormick
2:10   pm     John marsh
2:40   pm     Bob Kealing
3:10   pm     Josh Bowers & Denise Parris
3:40   PM     Music + Art + Food
4:25   PM     HIEP NGUYEN
4:40   pm     Anita Strang

Peter Kageyama

For the Love of cities

Peter Kageyama is an urbanist and bestselling author of four nonfiction books on cities and placemaking. His first book, For the Love of Cities, was recognized as a Top 10 Book in Urban Planning and Development. He speaks all over the world about better placemaking that emphasizes small, inexpensive, and fun approaches to city building. He was a Senior Advisor to the Alliance for Innovation, a national network of city leaders, and is a special advisor to America in Bloom. In 2023, St. Petersburg Press published his first novel, Hunters Point. The work of historic fiction draws upon the wartime experiences of his father and his Japanese family. The sequel, Midnight Climax, was published in early 2024. In his spare time Peter is an avid board gamer, comic book geek and classic rock nerd. He lives in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida with his wife, award winning architect Lisa Wannemacher and their dog Dobby.

Learn more

Frank Starkey


Trained as an architect, People Places Founder Frank Starkey knows how to blend aesthetic design and technical considerations into delightful, human-scaled buildings and outdoor spaces. Under his guidance, People Places is a company with a mind for business, the guts for entrepreneurship, an eye for design, and a heart for people. Frank Starkey holds undergraduate and professional degrees in Architecture and Urban Design from Rice University, is CNU (Congress for the New Urbanism) Accredited, and a member of Congress for the New Urbanism, The American Institute of Architects, Urban Land Institute and Leadership Florida.

Learn more

Justin Levaughn

Otto's High dive

The spirit is Entrepreneurial,served best by Justin Levaughn. Justin is co-owner of Otto's high dive, the 2024 michelin guide florida exceptional cocktail award winner. in addition to winning a Bib Gourmand by Michelin. Otto's high dive features Floridian and Cuban cuisine with tropical influences. Justin worked his way through dive bars and clubs, before opening Otto's and will share lessons learned.

Learn more

Rafael Vazquez-Burney

Jacobs Engineering

Rafael is a Professional Engineer and Technology Fellow specializing in Natural Treatment Systems with Jacobs Engineering. He attended North Carolina State University where he earned a BS in Environmental Engineering and a Masters in Civil Engineering with a focus in water resources. During his 18 years of professional experience, he has led large technical teams in innovative and award-winning multifunctional wetland projects that provide multiple benefits including water quality improvement, wildlife habitat, public park amenities, and carbon sequestration. Rafael is a globally recognized expert in treatment wetlands with experience testing and implementing wetlands for private and public clients. This experience provides him with in-depth technical knowledge of natural treatment technologies to target specific contaminants while implementing design features that enhance the ecosystem services that wetlands provide. Rafael is the author of numerous publications and countless conference proceedings related to the use wetlands and engineering to predict, design, construct, restore, and manage ecosystems that integrate human society with its natural environment for the benefit of both.

Learn more

Demetric Phillips

Bridge Church

Demetric phillips, lead pastor of bridge church. leadership is often associated with power and prestige. Demetric's vision transcends the conventional. A mentor, a pastor, and a beacon of hope. he has forged partnerships with over 300 faith-based organizations globally to cultivate leadership within communities.Faith-based organizations can partner with local governments, non-profit organizations and the private sector to develop programs and monitor their impact. Helping o make communities more sustainable and equitable.

Learn more

Steve Mouzon

The Original Green

Steve has led or contributed to many advances in sustainable place-making and building design. He co-founded the Urban Guild, which is a group of architects, designers, and other New Urbanists dedicated to sustainable buildings and places native to and inspired by the regions in which they are built. The Guild was instrumental in the creation of the Katrina Cottages concept. Steve’s Katrina Cottage VIII, which opened the second generation of Katrina Cottages, was awarded a Charter Award by the Congress for the New Urbanism. The Project:SmartDwelling initiative sets out to redefine the American home much smaller, smarter, and more sustainable. Steve’s SmartDwelling I was featured in the Wall Street Journal’s Green House of the Future story alongside designs by three other notable green architects.
Steve is also a principal of Mouzon Design, which produces a number of town-building tools and services. Steve is Town Architect at several new hamlets, villages and neighborhoods around the country, using a unique face-to-face method of design review he developed that many agree is the most effective in use today. Several of his projects are award-winners.
Steve began the Original Green initiative, with the goal of recovering and advancing patterns of sustainability that kept humanity alive until the Thermostat Age and the emergence of Gizmo Green. Steve’s book, the Original Green, frames sustainability in common-sense, plain-spoken terms. Bobby Kennedy, Jr. wrote the Foreword. Steve has collaborated repeatedly with other notables, including Andrés Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk of DPZ and the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, which is King Charles’ organization.

Learn more

Kemp Brinson

Just laugh
Arts communities in Focus

Kemp, a North Carolina native and NC State grad (Go Wolfpack!), lives in Winter Haven. He is an employment law attorney with Reed Mawhinney & Link in Lakeland. He moonlights as a bassist, having performed in the pit orchestra for about 50 musical theater productions at Theatre Winter Haven over the past 20 years. Recently, he took up filmmaking, and his first short film, Just Laugh, has been accepted at eight film festivals in seven states (so far): Arizona, Ohio, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, and two in Florida. Kemp serves on the Board of the Polk Arts and Cultural Alliance and is the Chairman of the Board of Central Florida Health Care. He is already planning his next filmmaking project, a documentary chronicling his brother’s efforts to start an environmentally-friendly oyster farm in eastern North Carolina.

Learn more

Panel Discussion

Katrina Hill

Public Affairs & Communication

Katrina D. Hill is a communications leader with a passion for public service and a hands-on approach to problem-solving. Currently serving as the Public Affairs & Communication Director for the City of Winter Haven, Florida, she's dedicated to fostering open and effective communication between the City and its resident. Before joining the City of Winter Haven, Katrina spent a significant part of her career with CNP, Echo Delta, where she worked her way up from an Account Executive to Director of Strategy & Media. Her tenacity and dedication led to the implementation of many successful marketing and communication strategies. Katrina’s education includes a AS and BS in Mass Communications from Florida Southern College and the University of Florida, and a Graduate Certificate in Digital Marketing Strategy from Columbia Business School. She is currently enrolled in the Certified Public Manager program, a graduate program through Florida State University.

Robert Van Druten

Business Tecnology Manager

Robert van Druten, a native of Winter Haven, currently serves as the Business Technology Relationship Manager at the City of Winter Haven, bringing with him over 10 years of experience in the government information technology field. His journey with the City of Winter Haven began as a high school Technology Services intern and later resumed as a full-time employee post-college. Robert is dedicated to assisting the city in expanding its technological capabilities and embracing innovative technologies for local government. He believes that the relationship between IT and business units is paramount for organizational success in today's digital age. This close collaboration ensures that technology aligns with the organization's strategic goals and enables efficient and effective processe.

Brittany Hart

Public works director

ACCess Winter Haven

Whether it's a code compliance request, a damaged street sign, scheduling a bulk garbage pickup or any other quality-of-life condition that needs attention, the City of Winter haven has created the Access Winter Haven app to   efficiently report it. With the app's GPS function, residents can easily pinpoint their location and select from a menu of common issues. The app also allows users to upload pictures or videos to accompany their requests. But the Access Winter Haven app is not just limited to reporting potholes and damaged signs.  The Access Winter Haven app is a powerful tool that empowers residents to take an active role in improving their community. By reporting local problems, residents can help ensure that Winter Haven remains a great place to live, work, and play.

Learn more

May 10, 2024

Nathaniel j. birdsong, jr.

mayor, city of winter haven

Mayor Nathaniel J. Birdsong, Jr., was elected to Seat Number 2 in 2002 and re-elected in 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019. He served as Mayor in 2006, 2007, 2014, 2015, 2019, and 2024. He served as Mayor Pro Tem in 2004, 2005, 2011, 2013, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 2022 and 2023. A Winter Haven native, Nat holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Florida A&M University and an MBA from Nova Southeastern University. He is the Executive Director of the Florence Villa Community Development Corporation.

Learn more

katja vega


Katja Vega is an aspiring local musician, who lives and breathes music. She performs locally, sharing her passion for music to all she comes across.

Panel Discussion

Peter Kageyama

For the love of cities revisited

T Michael Stavres

Winter haven City Manager

Rick Baker

Attorney, Consultant, and
former mayor of St. Petersburg


This dynamic trio will talk creating cities that stand the test of time.

STEVE Kalogridis

silver properties, of wh

Steve Kalogridis serves as a Managing Partner at Silver Properties of WH, LLC. Steve is directly responsible for the day-to-day management and operations of the company. With a long-term, diverse career in finance and capital management, Steve is uniquely qualified to manage our capital funding program and the development and implementation of new housing projects. Steve was born and raised in Winter Haven

Learn more



Steve Burks is a senior Hospitality executive with a 30-year extensive background in the industry.  Mr. Burks has held many senior executive positions that includes the last several years with Sixty-West Development as the Director of Real Estate.  Mr. Burks has prior leadership positions with Disney Development, Ritz-Carlton Development, and Marriott Vacations. Mr. Burks started his career in Hilton Head Island, SC and soon became one of the early team members at Marriott Vacations.  Mr. Burks joined Disney Development to launch the Disney Vacation Club.  He led the sales, development, recruiting, selection and training of sales and the Disney World theme park, hotel, and marketing strategy.   Mr. Burks led the ramp-up to over $100 million in sales in the first year.  Mr. Burks then rejoined Marriott to help lead the company to over $1 billion in annual sales and to add The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club to its portfolio.   Mr. Burks joined Sixty-West Development to lead their hospitality efforts and Opportunity Zone real estate projects.  These projects include the Ritz Carlton Hotel and Residences, Buckhead, GA, the Shrader Hotel, Hollywood, CA, the Kimpton Hotel and Residences, Greenville SC.  There are also multi-family projects included starting with The Watermark, Henderson NV, The Grid, Mesa AZ, Clearwater Gardens, Clearwater FL for a total development pipeline of $700 million.

Learn more

Olivia Sanchez

Sudz Cauldron

Olivia sanchez hails from Chicago but has deep connections t polk county. She is dedicated to championing sustainable initiatives through her company sudz cauldron. Producing salon quality, eco-friendly, inclusive haircare products to address the beauty industry's representation gap. Olivia is an avocate for self-acceptance, social and enviromental issues.

Learn more

M.J. Carnevale

City of Winter haven


M.J. Carnevale, Winter Haven's Deputy City Manager, is deeply committed to serving the community, bringing over a decade of experience in municipal administration to his role. He has dedicated himself to enhancing Winter Haven's infrastructure, environmental policies, and community development initiatives.  With a background that includes leading the Public Works Department and managing essential services, as well as spearheading research and navigating regulatory frameworks as the Natural Resources Manager, M.J. has consistently worked to improve the City's livability and sustainability.  His proactive involvement in professional associations, leadership development programs, and community engagement efforts reflects his humble approach to addressing challenges and collaborating on solutions. Through his dedication and service, M.J. Carnevale continues to make meaningful contributions to Winter Haven's growth and well-being."

Anita Strang

Main Street Winter haven

cityworksxpo florida host

Learn more

Welcome Florida Main Street

CityWorks(X)po Floirda will be the host site the Florida Main Street Quarterly Meeting.
What is Florida Main Street? Florida Main Street is a technical assistance program administered by the Bureau of Historic Preservation, Division of Historical Resources, Florida Department of State, for traditional historic commercial corridors. The Bureau conducts statewide programs aimed at identifying, evaluating, and preserving Florida's historic resources. Main Street, with its emphasis on preservation, is an effective strategy in achieving these goals in Florida's historic retail districts.

Need a Place to Stay?

Click Here

our generous sponsors

This event is brought to you by