Our Team

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The Department of Development Services (DDS) is comprised of seven divisions which are led by a leadership team and staffed by a dedicated group of individuals. In addition, DDS supports several boards & commissions led by volunteers who commit their time, skills, and knowledge to shaping our community and our local government.

The Department of Development Services (DDS) is comprised of seven divisions which are led by a leadership team and staffed by a dedicated group of individuals. In addition, DDS supports several boards & commissions led by volunteers who commit their time, skills, and knowledge to shaping our community and our local government.

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  • Erik C. Johnson, Director of Development Services

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    11 months ago

    erik.johnson@hartford.gov

    Erik C. Johnson is a reputable leader and problem solver with over twenty years of experience in managing public-private partnerships in new and emerging markets. Combining skills learned as a community organizer, an urban planner, a lender and as an investor; he is committed to finding innovative and balanced solutions to address housing and economic development challenges that exist in communities and cities throughout the Country.

    In October 2018, Johnson was appointed by Mayor Luke Bronin as the Director of Development Services. Prior to joining the City of Hartford’s Leadership Team, he has worked for the Elm City Communities...

    erik.johnson@hartford.gov

    Erik C. Johnson is a reputable leader and problem solver with over twenty years of experience in managing public-private partnerships in new and emerging markets. Combining skills learned as a community organizer, an urban planner, a lender and as an investor; he is committed to finding innovative and balanced solutions to address housing and economic development challenges that exist in communities and cities throughout the Country.

    In October 2018, Johnson was appointed by Mayor Luke Bronin as the Director of Development Services. Prior to joining the City of Hartford’s Leadership Team, he has worked for the Elm City Communities as its Senior Director for Strategy, Policy, and Innovation; where he was responsible for compliance efforts and directed the creation of 360 Management Group, a third-party property management company, he also supported the reorganization of a $50M housing subsidy program.

    Erik Johnson is a graduate of Trinity College and holds his masters in city and regional planning from Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. He currently holds positions on the Board of Capital Region Development Authority, East Hartford-Hartford Innovations Places, and the Community Action Agency of New Haven.


  • Dr. Elda Sinani LL.M., Deputy Director and Director of Licensing & Inspections

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    11 months ago

    elda.sinani@hartford.gov

    Dr. Elda Sinani LL.M. is an accomplished executive who helps businesses from Fortune 500 to national nonprofits solve their most difficult problems. As the Deputy Director of Development Services and Director of Licenses and Inspections, she the first woman to lead in the department's 200+ years’ history. Dr. Sinani has also worked as a Director of Operations for the Department where she managed successfully a multimillion-dollar operation budget, multiple capital improvements contracts and human resources program which resulted in cost reductions, revenue improvement, and team building.

    Dr. Sinani is the author of several reports and articles...

    elda.sinani@hartford.gov

    Dr. Elda Sinani LL.M. is an accomplished executive who helps businesses from Fortune 500 to national nonprofits solve their most difficult problems. As the Deputy Director of Development Services and Director of Licenses and Inspections, she the first woman to lead in the department's 200+ years’ history. Dr. Sinani has also worked as a Director of Operations for the Department where she managed successfully a multimillion-dollar operation budget, multiple capital improvements contracts and human resources program which resulted in cost reductions, revenue improvement, and team building.

    Dr. Sinani is the author of several reports and articles on human rights, racial and gender discrimination, and immigration issues. Her name has been placed on the Wall of Tolerance in Montgomery, Alabama to provide inspiration to all those who chose to stand up against hatred and racial discrimination. She has led trainings at Yale and Harvard University on subjects of Negotiation, Leadership Development, Arbitration, and Conflict Resolution.

    In addition to her law degree from Albania, Dr. Sinani holds a J.D from the University of Connecticut School of Law, and a Doctorate in law and public policy from Northeastern University.

  • Aimee Chambers AICP, Director of Planning & Zoning

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    11 months ago

    aimee.chambers@hartford.gov

    Aimee Chambers intentionally approaches her work with a lens of equity in matters of race, class, and gender. Since returning to Connecticut in 2017, Aimee worked in affordable housing development as a project manager for Home City Development in Springfield, MA and Elm City Communities in New Haven.

    Aimee lived in New Orleans, LA for several years where she served as a non-profit manager and housing developer. With St. Bernard Project (SBP), Aimee created a silent second mortgage program for low- and moderate-income first time homebuyers. As Project Director at the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance (GNOHA), Aimee managed...

    aimee.chambers@hartford.gov

    Aimee Chambers intentionally approaches her work with a lens of equity in matters of race, class, and gender. Since returning to Connecticut in 2017, Aimee worked in affordable housing development as a project manager for Home City Development in Springfield, MA and Elm City Communities in New Haven.

    Aimee lived in New Orleans, LA for several years where she served as a non-profit manager and housing developer. With St. Bernard Project (SBP), Aimee created a silent second mortgage program for low- and moderate-income first time homebuyers. As Project Director at the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance (GNOHA), Aimee managed the day-to-day operations of the Road Home Liaison Group; a State of Louisiana Office of Community Development -Disaster Recovery Unit funded collaborative of non-profit affordable housing agencies that provided assistance to non-compliant Road Home grantees. Through these and other positions, Aimee has experience with grant writing, construction and property management, inclusionary zoning, tax credit development, and community engagement.

    Aimee currently serves as a board member of the Bushnell Park Foundation, Hartford Land Bank, and Home by Hand, Inc. a development corporation in New Orleans.

    Aimee has a Master's degree in urban planning from the University of Maryland and a B.A. in urban studies and sociology from Manhattan College. She obtained certification from the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) in 2016. Prior to receiving her planning degree, Aimee worked in the child welfare system in both New York City and Hartford.

    pronouns - she/her/hers
  • Donald Chapman, Director of Small Business & Community Development

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    11 months ago

    chapd001@hartford.gov

    Donald is a professional urban planner with over 30 years of development planning experience. Previously as a principal planner with the City of Hartford, he was responsible for the implementation of the City’s zoning regulations as they affect development projects. With extensive experience in deciphering and developing land use controls, community outreach, and business engagement, he has been responsible for the development, staffing, and organizational business management of various projects in Los Angeles, CA, and Hartford, CT.

    Donald started his planning career in Los Angeles, California as a legislative aide to City council where he was responsible for expediting...

    chapd001@hartford.gov

    Donald is a professional urban planner with over 30 years of development planning experience. Previously as a principal planner with the City of Hartford, he was responsible for the implementation of the City’s zoning regulations as they affect development projects. With extensive experience in deciphering and developing land use controls, community outreach, and business engagement, he has been responsible for the development, staffing, and organizational business management of various projects in Los Angeles, CA, and Hartford, CT.

    Donald started his planning career in Los Angeles, California as a legislative aide to City council where he was responsible for expediting the entitlement process for city real estate development projects. He gained further technical experience in Los Angeles’ sprawling Planning Department and several “boutique” Land Use/Planning consultancies until he formed Chapman Consulting in 1990. To deepen his development experience, Donald left planning at various points in his career to manage commercial enterprises and nonprofits to include Walmart Stores, Amerisuites Hotels, Starbucks Coffee Company and the City of Hartford Housing Authority’s Hartford Community Construction Company.

    His experiences in the public and private sector give him unique advantages when negotiating with government and/or commercial developers. Site massing, building location, use selection, and entitlement processing are areas frequently discussed where his expertise can be applied.

    Donald holds a degree in policy studies from Dartmouth College.


  • Erin Howard AICP, Economic Development Director

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    11 months ago

    erin.howard@hartford.gov

    Erin Howard joined the City of Hartford in March 2019. Previously, she worked for the City of Torrington for five years as their Director of Economic Development. Prior to focusing her career on Economic Development, she has a strong background in planning having worked for the Town of Windsor, City of Middletown and Town of Ellington along with a few years in the private sector at Milone and MacBroom, Inc. In addition, she currently holds a Connecticut Real Estate License and practices part-time real estate primarily in Middlesex County.

    In 2012, Erin received her AICP certification from the American...

    erin.howard@hartford.gov

    Erin Howard joined the City of Hartford in March 2019. Previously, she worked for the City of Torrington for five years as their Director of Economic Development. Prior to focusing her career on Economic Development, she has a strong background in planning having worked for the Town of Windsor, City of Middletown and Town of Ellington along with a few years in the private sector at Milone and MacBroom, Inc. In addition, she currently holds a Connecticut Real Estate License and practices part-time real estate primarily in Middlesex County.

    In 2012, Erin received her AICP certification from the American Planning Association. She is a member of the Connecticut Planners Association and sits on the Board of Directors for the Connecticut Economic Developers Association (CEDAS). In addition, she is a board member on the Connecticut Brownfield Landbank Inc. A native of Middletown, CT, she resides in Middlefield and currently sits as the Chairwoman on the Town of Middlefield Planning & Zoning Commission.

    Erin graduated from the University of Connecticut with a double major in political science and economics. From there she attended the University of Massachusetts and obtained her Master’s in regional planning with a focus on economic development.


  • Brian C. Mathews, Director of Housing

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    11 months ago

    MATHB001@hartford.gov

    Brian C. Mathews was appointed the Director of Housing in January 2015. He previously held the position of Senior Project Manager for a variety of federally and state-funded programs within the Division of Housing. Prior to joining the City, Mathews spent a decade in the mortgage banking industry, promoting homeownership in the towns of Hartford, Windsor, and Bloomfield. In addition to formerly owning and operating a mortgage brokerage business, Mathews previously worked for People’s United Bank – where he was instrumental in partnering with the City to create a successful down payment assistance program. The program, HouseHartford, is now...

    MATHB001@hartford.gov

    Brian C. Mathews was appointed the Director of Housing in January 2015. He previously held the position of Senior Project Manager for a variety of federally and state-funded programs within the Division of Housing. Prior to joining the City, Mathews spent a decade in the mortgage banking industry, promoting homeownership in the towns of Hartford, Windsor, and Bloomfield. In addition to formerly owning and operating a mortgage brokerage business, Mathews previously worked for People’s United Bank – where he was instrumental in partnering with the City to create a successful down payment assistance program. The program, HouseHartford, is now responsible for creating over 1,300 new homeowners and providing $15.7 Million in financial assistance since inception.

    Brian has served as a board member for Rebuilding Together Hartford and the Urban League of Greater Hartford. He is an avid proponent of homeownership and has conducted seminars covering topics which include budgeting & credit, predatory lending, the mortgage loan process, and small multi-family investment strategies.

    Mathews is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where he was a member of the university’s football and track & field teams. A native of Hartford, Brian has called several Hartford neighborhoods home, including the Blue Hills, South End, Asylum Hill, Southwest, and South Green neighborhoods.