Our board is a diverse group of engaged citizens from a variety of backgrounds and professions. As Local Motion continues to grow into Vermont's walk-bike advocacy organization, we are making more connections and seeking additions to our active Board. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a member of the Local Motion Board of Directors, we encourage you to email Karen Yacos.
Our directors are typically appointed to 3-year staggered terms, which ensures continuity for Local Motion. Our current board members are listed below.
Dale Azaria, President
Dale is general counsel for the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development, where she works to help with the development of affordable housing and economic development projects that are located in our existing downtowns, village centers, and growth centers, in order to preserve Vermont's traditional land use pattern of compact settlements surrounded by rural countryside. Most days she commutes from Burlington to Montpelier by walking or biking to the bus stop where she can pick up an express bus. It's a treat to be able to leave the car at home several days a week. Dale has a law degree from NYU and a masters degree in natural resources from UVM. Dale loves to bike, especially on protected paths like the Island Line Trail, cross-country ski, hike, and kayak (not to mention curling up with a good book on lazy days). Dale joined the Board of Local Motion in May 2016, was appointed Vice President in December 2017 and President in December 2018.
Jon Copans, Vice President
Jon Copans currently directs the Climate Economy Model Communities Program at the Vermont Council for Rural Development. He worked previously for the State of Vermont as Deputy Commissioner of the Public Service Department and at the Department of Environmental Conservation, and for eight years served in Congressman Peter Welch’s Vermont office. Jon grew up in Brattleboro, graduated from Macalester College, and currently lives in Montpelier with his wife and three children. His cycling history includes starting a college bike club, two long bike tours, and work as a bike mechanic. These days he enjoys biking with his kids, cycling the back roads and trails of central Vermont, and finding and fixing great old bikes. Jon joined the Board of Local Motion in the fall of 2015 and was appointed Vice President in December 2018.
Laura Carlsmith, Treasurer
Laura Carlsmith is a Trustee of the Northfield Savings Bank, after retiring from a career in publishing. During her career, she had roles in marketing, business development, and management at EatingWell Media Group, Adventurous Traveler.com, the nonprofit National Gardening Association, and Garden Way. She attended Mount Holyoke College and Stanford's publishing executive program. In addition, Laura previously served on the boards of Hunger Free Vermont, Vermont Life and the NSB Foundation. Residents of Hinesburg, she and her architect husband, Rob Bast, worked with Snyder Construction on the new Green Street neighborhood for the Champlain Housing Trust.
Laura started her career with the Appalachian Mountain Club which provides education and infrastructure for outdoor recreation in New England. Enthusiastic cyclists, Laura and Rob observe pedestrian & cycling infrastructure, from cities to mountains, in the US and Europe. Laura aspires to recognize Vermont birds while walking, and to speak better French while cycling abroad. Laura joined the board of Local Motion in September 2017, served as Secretary during 2018, and was appointed Treasurer in December 2018.
Spencer Knapp, Secretary
Spencer is an avid life-long cyclist, hiker, skier and outdoor adventurer. He has been a longtime member of the Green Mountain Bicycle Club, serving as its President for a number of years, and was the founder and director of the Club’s Burlington Criterium for two decades. Spencer and his wife, Barbara, live in Shelburne and regularly bike on the roads of Chittenden and Addison Counties. In his work life, Spencer serves as Sr. V.P. & General Counsel of UVM Health Network and has held similar positions for that organization and UVM Medical Center since 2002. Prior to joining UVM Medical Center, Spencer was a partner of Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew, a Burlington law firm that he joined in 1975, serving as its managing partner for 17 years. Spencer has been an attorney in Burlington since graduating from Cornell Law School and has been active in community organizations throughout that time. Spencer joined the Board of Local Motion in October 2016 and was appointed Secretary in December 2018.
David Ellenbogen has been an avid Vermont cyclist since leading bicycle tours in the state in the 1980’s. A former member of the Vermont Bicycle Pedestrian Coalition, he currently serves on the Executive Committee of the VT Sierra Club and represents the town of Calais on the Transportation Advisory Committee for the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission. He has taught mathematics at the college level for over 30 years, and has authored eight textbooks that are in use nationally. When not bicycling, David enjoys playing jazz piano, hiking, and skiing. He lives in a net-zero home in Calais, VT. David joined the Board of Local Motion in June 2015.
Jim Langan is an attorney at Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew, P.C., which is Local Motion’s neighbor on the waterfront bike path in Burlington. He is part of the firm’s business group and focuses his practice on commercial business transactions, real estate, and legal issues confronting higher education and other non-profit institutions. Jim grew up in Rutland County and graduated from Harvard University and William & Mary Law School. With two young children at home, Jim is particularly interested in helping Local Motion continue to make Vermont a safer place to walk and bike for children. Jim joined the Board of Local Motion in the Fall of 2015 and served as Treasurer in 2017-2018.
Brian Searles is currently working as a consultant on rail service related projects in Vermont following his retirement from a second stint as Vermont’s Secretary of Transportation. Prior to that he worked in a variety of other state and local government positions for more than 40 years. He joined the Board of Local Motion in May 2017.
David is a semi-retired Professor of Psychology and Counseling. For 30 years he taught at Johnson State College (now Northern Vermont University), preparing people for careers in Addictions, Mental Health, and School Counseling. He now teaches part time and writes textbooks for counselors. A former Peace Corps volunteer, David’s priorities include travel (which incorporates lots of walking!) and maintaining an international perspective in his life and work. He has trained counselors in Grenada, established sister school relationships between schools in Vermont and schools in the Caribbean, traveled with students on multiple occasions to Nicaragua, and set up a counselor exchange between the country of St. Kitts and Vermont.
David also serves on the boards of Walk&Bike St. Albans, Northwest Counseling and Support Services, the Burlington-Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, Sister City program, and the Vermont Teen Institute. He and his wife, Kaki, live in St. Albans. They have two grown children. David joined the Board of Local Motion in September 2018.
Richard is the Director of the Center for Research on Vermont and a lecturer in the Department of Geography at the University of Vermont. Richard is passionate about getting people out of their cars and reducing our dependence on motorized transportation. He is the co-founder of Sustainable Transportation Vermont and worked as the Research Director at the Transportation Research Center at UVM. Richard’s research focuses on the relationships between public communications and policy outcomes, examining the role of strategic communications in public policy related to energy, transportation and public health. He is a regular bike and bus commuter from his home in Hinesburg Vermont. Richard joined the Board of Local Motion in September 2018.
Kate Hunter is a long-term resident of Chittenden County and an equally long-term devotee of human-powered transportation for exercise, pleasure and commuting. She is an avid traveler and particularly enjoys exploring this country and the world on foot and two wheels. Her career included a 27-year stint at GE Healthcare in strategic account management and sales, eight years at Vermont Energy Investment Corporation where she directed account management teams in Vermont and the District of Columbia and a number of years as an independent consultant working with not-for-profit organizations on fund-raising appeals. Kate lives in Burlington and is happily car-free. She joined the Board of Local Motion in December 2018.
Claire Forbes is a planner at the University of Vermont. She has experience in comprehensive planning, community development, project management, committee leadership, graphic and urban design, bike/pedestrian planning, development regulations, grant writing, and land use planning. She studied Urban and Regional Planning at Florida State University and Architecture at Florida A & M University. She became a LEED AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) in 2008 and received her AICP (American Institute of Certified Planners) certification in 2013. She is interested in and advocates for bike and pedestrian infrastructure, sustainability in the built environment, green infrastructure, and community involvement. Her hobbies include hiking, biking, skiing, and touring architecture. Claire joined the Board of Local Motion in December 2018.
Liz Gamache is an experienced business and community leader in Vermont known for transforming strategic visions into tangible results. For nearly twenty years she has operated in the non-profit and government sectors including experience as: three-term Mayor of St. Albans City and Director of Efficiency Vermont. Today, she coaches, collaborates and consults with individuals, organizations, and communities to set goals and implement plans that make possibilities become realities. She serves on several non-profit boards including the State Downtown Board, Preservation Trust of Vermont and as the St. Albans Creative Economy Liaison. As a mother and grandmother, Liz is passionate about finding ways to create safe routes and activities that encourage a culture that emphasizes more biking and walking. Liz joined the board of Local Motion in December 2018.