Helper, Utah Revitalization Project

Darrel J. Williams, FAIA

Darrel Williams is a founding partner and the Owner of Neighboring Concepts, a multidisciplinary design firm established in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1996.  Under his leadership, the firm has successfully improved the quality of life in urban communities through thoughtful urban planning, innovative architectural design, and responsible real-estate development projects.

Williams is motivated by the desire to influence positive change and is driven to help sustain and revitalize urban communities.  For him, “transforming communities through architecture” is not simply a firm tagline, it is a calling.  An accomplished and award-winning architect, in 2006 he was elevated to the College of Fellows for the American Institute of Architects (AIA).  The fellowship program was developed to elevate those architects (less than 4% of the profession) who have made significant contributions to architecture and society on a national level. 

His firm, Neighboring Concepts, has been involved in the design of several award-winning projects, including CATS Lynx Blue Line Light Rail Stations, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture, Stratford Richardson YMCA, Romare Bearden Park and Revolution Park Sports Academy, Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation’s first facility designed to LEED standards. The firm is currently involved with The Renaissance, the redevelopment of former Boulevard Homes into a new cutting edge educational village concept which will seek both LEED and EarthCraft certifications. In 2012, the firm served on the Design and Construction Management team selected to upfit Time Warner Cable Arena and Bank of America Stadium for the 2012 DNC. Neighboring Concepts designed Mosaic Village in 2013, a multi-million dollar mixed-use project, which includes student apartments, retail space and a 400 car parking structure for Johnson C. Smith University.  This project, led by the Griffin family and Dr. Carter of JCSU, will be a catalyst to help transform the West Trade Street / Beatties Ford Road Corridor.

From 1994 to 2002, Williams was elected and served four terms as a County Commissioner in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.  Among his many accomplishments, Darrel encouraged his colleagues on the County Commission to include a 220 million-dollar Land Purchase Bond on the ballot in 1999. The successful passing of the bonds has allowed Mecklenburg County to acquire land for public facilities such as schools; libraries, parks, greenways and open space; this included land for Central Piedmont Community College to expand its Central Campus and land for the County to develop Little Sugar Creek Greenway.  

A proven leader, Williams has chaired several national committees for the National Association of Counties (NACO) (i.e. smart growth, housing, community/economic development, etc.). As an architect and former elected official, he has proven successful in bridging the gap between the physical and social challenges facing urban communities. 

Williams is an active member of several professional organizations, including the American Institute of Architects (AIA), AIA North Carolina, and AIA Charlotte, where he formally served as president.  He is a member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and licensed to practice in the states of NC, SC, GA, VA, LA and AL.  Williams currently serves on the boards of several civic organizations that include Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation Board, The Committee to Preserve and Restore Third Ward, and North Carolina Nature Conservancy. Most recently, he is serving on the Executive Committee of Charlotte Center City Partners.  Williams also co-chaired Crossroads Charlotte to help build trust among a growing and diverse population in Charlotte-Mecklenburg and is past chair of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library Board of Trustees.

Williams, a recipient of numerous awards both professionally and for outstanding community service, grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Southern University.  He is married to District Court Judge Karen Eady-Williams and has four sons.

Eric Orozco, AICP, LEED AP ND

Eric Orozco is an urban designer specializing in community design.  He has experience planning and designing for many infrastructure, neighborhood development and transportation projects, including the Charlotte CityLYNX Gold Line (streetcar), the Durham-Orange Counties Light Rail Project in North Carolina, and The Renaissance, a 334-unit multi-generational and mixed income development that is now one of the few affordable green neighborhood developments in Charlotte, N.C. Eric enjoys participating in collaborative projects for economically regenerative community initiatives geared to stop low income household displacement, and he is a board member of the WestSide Community Land Trust. He also assists the Historic West End Partners and the LATIBAH Collard Green Museum with their design needs for community initiatives. As well as holding a history graduate degree in Jewish Antiquity, he is a Master of Architecture graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a Jane Jacobs nerd, and an amateur scholar of the City of Savannah, which includes as its backdrop the manifold and colorful history of new community planning in North America.

Errin Welty, CECD

Errin Welty currently serves as a downtown development account manager for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and Wisconsin Main Street program, tasked with working with businesses, property owners, developers and community groups on downtown revitalization projects. Errin has been involved in downtown development for much of her career, starting as a marketing coordinator for the Saint Cloud Downtown Council. From there, she spent several years working for the Downtown Denver Partnership, was a founding member of Wheat Ridge 2020, and went on to manage the marketing and research  arm of a commercial brokerage firm. Upon returning to Wisconsin, she worked as an economic development consultant specializing in downtown and community development planning and real estate development planning and finance. Errin has an undergraduate degree in Community Development from St. Cloud State University and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Colorado at Denver.

Todd Scott, AIA

Todd is a licensed architect who specializes in historic preservation and downtown re­vitalization. His preservation experience includes stints with Oklahoma City, as historic preservation officer, and with King County, Washington, where he currently provides assistance for historic properties in that county and sixteen suburban and rural communities. He recently completed the intensive level survey of 175 historic barns on the Enumclaw Plateau and 200 historic residential and commercial properties in Kent, both in King County. He has been involved in the rehabilitation of hundreds of structures in dozens of small downtowns as the state architect for Oklahoma Main Street and for DesignWorks, an arts-based design charrette program. Todd also served as community development director and assistant city manager for the city of Astoria, Oregon. He has presented at numerous state, regional, and national conferences on topics ranging from sustainability in design to mounting grass roots campaigns for endangered structures. Todd has served on the boards of various non-profit agencies including heritage organizations, community development corporations, urban renewal authorities, and architectural foundations.Type your paragraph here.