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About

The Atlas leverages the power of big data to create an online social network and marketplace for public officials upgrading their infrastructure systems to be stronger, smarter and more sustainable. The Atlas is a safe, hassle-free space for city, county, and utility staff to learn from one another about successfully built and installed infrastructure projects from around the world. Our goal is to help local government leaders replicate these innovative infrastructure projects – and the benefits they generate – in their own communities.
The Atlas was founded by three women, all former government officials and staff, who are dedicated to increasing investment in community-level resilience and contribute regularly to the ongoing international conversation about city innovation, resilience and infrastructure. The team collectively brings 20+ years of experience working with local governments to solve their most intractable infrastructure challenges by pursuing innovative design and finance solutions. Working hand-in-hand with city, county and utility leaders produced a lot of learning about what works and what doesn’t; along with a deeper understanding of the consistent frustration voiced by cities and entrepreneurs alike about the institutional barriers for working together to solve problems. This inspired development of The Atlas Marketplace.
The Atlas prioritizes a systems approach to urban resilience that’s focused on integration, innovation, and implementation. Led by a team with a proven track record, The Atlas Marketplace aims to serve as an honest broker that local governments can trust when making important investment decisions for their communities.

Meet the Team

Elle Hempen

Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer

Elle learned first-hand about the frustration and inefficiency of infrastructure predevelopment and procurement while managing the $3 million RE.invest Initiative, which generated new resilience strategies and projects for 8 US cities. Seeing an opportunity to help communities not only save money, but make smarter infrastructure choices, Elle spearheaded the development of The Atlas Marketplace. Prior to co-founding The Atlas, Elle served as the Director of Strategy & Partnership at re:focus partners, and as Special Assistant in the U.S. EPA's Office of International and Tribal Affairs, where her portfolio included initiatives to expand investments in urban sustainability and design programs to support environmental entrepreneurship.
Elle is an MBA candidate at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, and received her B.A. in Public Policy from the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

Ellory Monks

Co-founder

Ellory has extensive experience working directly with local government leaders and stakeholders to identify and implement strategies that solve complex infrastructure problems like local flooding and redevelopment. Previously, Ellory was a Partner at re:focus partners, where she oversaw several projects, including Build it Green, an initiative that worked with New Jersey cities and utilities to design and finance innovative stormwater management projects. Prior to co-founding The Atlas Marketplace and joining re:focus partners, Ellory held a fellowship at the Science and Technology Policy Institute, where she acted as the executive secretary of the Obama Administration’s Climate Data and Tools Initiative, and more broadly, provided analytical and technical support to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on a wide range of infrastructure, energy and environment issues.
Ellory has a B.A. in Civil & Environmental Engineering and Public Policy with a minor in Water and Energy Sustainability from Rice University.

Shalini Vajjhala, Phd

Co-founder

Dr. Vajjhala is widely recognized as a thought leader in resilient infrastructure design and finance. Shalini currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of re:focus partners. Previously, she served as Visiting Associate Professor of Environmental Policy at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Special Representative in the Office of Administrator Lisa Jackson at the US Environmental Protection Agency, Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of International & Tribal Affairs at the US EPA and Deputy Associate Director for Energy & Climate at the Obama Administration’s White House Council on Environmental Quality.
Shalini received her Ph.D. in Engineering and Public Policy and B.Arch in Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University.

Hon. Michael Nutter

Advisor

Michael, a 2-term Mayor and 15-year veteran of Philadelphia’s City Council, has dedicated his life to public service and urban innovation. Since leaving government, Mayor Nutter has maintained active involvement in media, public policy, politics, business, and academia across the country. His work includes serving as a Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia University’s SIPA, is a political contributor at CNN, Senior Fellow for Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities program, and Chair of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Transportation Equity Advisory Council. In addition, he serves as a Code for America Board member, Distinguished Non-Resident Senior Fellow in Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, and continues to work with mayors all across the United States through US Conference of Mayors, where he previously served as President, National League of Cities, and Cities United, which he created while mayor of Philadelphia.
Michael has a B.A. in Economics from University of Pennsylvania’s The Wharton School of Business, and Honorary Doctorates in Public Service from Drexel University and Saint Joseph's University.
Special thanks to all of the organizations and individuals who have contributed to the development of the Atlas, including our partners at Atkins, CLIMsystems, Blue Raster, and our intrepid team of resilience “hunter-gatherers.”