2017 Mentor Team

Meet the 2017 Healthy Places Student Competition Mentors

2017 Mentor Team


The Mentors’ will form a team providing a consistent and cohesive message to student teams. This Mentor Team will represent real estate expertise and provide feedback to all teams during the Competition. The Mentor Team will be comprised of seven experts representing architecture, development, landscape architecture, planning, finance, and construction management.

The Mentor Team will be responsible to meet with all teams during a span of three to four sessions in two-hour increments. The student teams will be encouraged to ask for guidance on an as-needed basis respecting the Mentors’ time. The Mentor Sessions will run once a week from February 2nd thru February 23rd.


  • Doug Higgins, JC Resorts
  • Carolina Ilic, MCP, AICP, SANDAG
  • Leigh Kyle, ASLA, RLA, Spurlock Landscape Architects
  • Ivar Leetma, Saranac LLC
  • Dr. Debbie Lou, Wholesome Neighborhood Project
  • Andrew Malick, Mailick Infill Development

doug-higginsDoug Higgins, Director of Acquisitions and Development, JC Resorts 

Doug is responsible for the corporate Acquisitions & development functions of JC Resorts, including owned acquisitions, third party management, and select development opportunities. He is also acting project manager for the redevelopment project at Temecula Creek Inn which includes three residential subdivisions, a hotel room expansion, a conference center and spa. Prior to joining JC Resorts in 2012, Doug was responsible for the design, development, and ongoing asset management in the hospitality division of Sorouh Real Estate in Abu Dhabi, and for the feasibility and investment analysis of hotels throughout North, Central, and South America for Hilton Hotels in Beverly Hills. He began his career in hotel  appraisal at HVS International.

Doug received his B.S. in Hotel Administration from Cornell University, and an MBA from UC San Diego, He also holds a California Real Estate Brokers license.

carolinaCarolina Ilic, Principal Planner, SANDAG

With over 20 years of service, Carolina has served as Project Manager of the San Diego Regional Comprehensive Plan (RCP) which was adopted by the SANDAG Board in 2004, and the Urban Area Transit Strategy, a major component of the 2050 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), which was adopted in 2011. Carolina has contributed to San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan which was adopted in 2015. She has Managed the call for projects for the TransNet Smart Growth Incentive Program and Active Transportation Grant Program in 2015 as well as managing the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities grant applications in 2016. In 2016 she served as interim principal planner for SANDAG.

Carolina attended San Diego State where she received her Masters in City Planning and UCLA, where she received her B.A. in Sociology.

She is involved with numerous organizations such as American Institute of Certified Planners, American Planning Association and Urban Land Institute.  Carolina is also Fluent in Spanish and some French.

leigh-kyleLeigh Kyle, Managing Principal at Spurlock Landscape Architecture

Leigh manages the landscape architectural practice – setting vision, overseeing project management, scheduling, guiding staff development and establishing quality controls. She also serves as Principal in Charge and Project Manager for a wide variety of built and planning work for both public and private clients.  is a conceptual thinker – drawn to exploring context and engaging participants to reveal connections, issues, and opportunities in the landscape.

Leigh received her Master’s of Architecture at Columbia University.  Her background combines design and planning expertise to address complex issues in the urban environment.

ivarIvar Leetma – Principal, Saranac LLC 

Ivar is Real Estate professional, and an Attorney. Over his career he has been a founder, a chief operating officer and legal counsel at various real estate development companies. He also worked on the CA Redevelopment Association Board that redeveloped the Marina Gateway Plaza, which includes a Hotel and Mixed Use.

He attended Albany Law School at Union University, Boston University and Colgate University

debbie-louDr. Debbie Lou, Founder and President of the Wholesome Neighborhood Project

Which is a nonprofit organization that promotes healthy eating and access to fresh produce.  The organization Designs surveys to assess community readiness for  farmers markets.  She also works with community councils and small business in order to bring these markets into the community.  Debbie has a substantial and diverse skill set that focuses on nonprofit leadership, where she helps organizations achieve their goals. Debbie collaborates with program staff, board members, and the public to build, strengthen, and grow a mission-driven organization focused on public health, social equity, economic justice, educational opportunity, or overall community well-being.

Debbie was invited to serve on the ULI’s Advisory Panel to create the Ten Principles of Building Healthy Communities in 2013.  The panel included experts from various fields which they collaborated together and published their findings in a global report.

Debbie also contributes to UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, received her PhD in Sociology at UC Santa Barbara and her BA in Sociology at UC San Diego, Brandman University, Certificate in Nonprofit Management.

andrewAndrew Malick, Director at Mailick Infill Development 

Andres has developed multiple Urban Infill properties in San Diego. He has over 15 years of Project Management experience in both construction management and design of office venues. Direct experience in conceptual development, project estimating, and construction implementation. His main focus is joint venture projects, providing cradle to grave property development services for land owners interested in adding value to their underperforming asset.  Property Types include: Small Lot Development, Urban Infill, Mixed Use, Adaptive Reuse, and Problem Sites.


Woodbury, MRED, Architecture and Urban Design
Trinity College-Hartford, B.A. Engineering
ULI San Diego-Tijuana Management Committee