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The Panther Island Story - November 30

The Panther Island Story - Turning a Vision into a Reality

Hosted by the Urban Land Institute Dallas-Fort Worth (ULI DFW) & Real Estate Council of Greater Fort Worth (REC GFW)

November 30 | 7:30 AM - 9:30 AM

@Tarrant County College - Trinity River Campus

300 Trinity Campus Cir, Fort Worth, TX 76102

Fort Worth stands on the cusp of a transformative development: Panther Island – a 500-acre mixed-use jewel envisioned as a beacon of economic development. More than just real estate, Panther Island represents a bridge, creating a vital connection between Downtown and Northside. Join ULI DFW and REC of GFW as we learn more about this colossal project, gaining insights from the leaders who are turning this vision into a reality.

Join us for a comprehensive discussion on the strategy, planning, and hurdles of Panther Island. Navigate through the intricate web of public/private partnerships, flood control measures, zoning intricacies, design standards, and the phasing of essential infrastructure.

Breakfast will be provided.



Member Rate - $35 ($40 for on-site registration)

Non-Member Rate - $50 ($55 for on-site registration)

REC of GFW Members - Use code ‘ RECGFWPI23 ’ to access the member's rate!

ULI Dallas-Fort Worth is hosting registration.

To Register, you must create a free account with them or log in to your account if you already have one.



Kate Beck

Program Director – Central City Flood Control Project

Tarrant Regional Water District

Kate Beck is the Central City Flood Control Program Director for the Tarrant Regional Water District, where she is responsible for guiding the delivery of the Central City Program on behalf of local partners and stakeholders. The Central City Flood Control Program addresses Fort Worth’s flood risks that are the result of explosive population growth, with the city having tripled in size since the current levee system was constructed in the 1960’s. Prior to coming to work at the District, Kate worked at the City of Fort Worth for more than 18 years in various roles, including as the City’s Trinity River Vision Program Manager.

Kate earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois, is a Licensed Professional Engineer, and is certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Kate has volunteered in various positions in her community of North Richland Hills, including as a current member of the North Richland Hills Park and Recreation Board and previously as an officer of the PTA. Outside of work, she keeps busy with two teenaged daughters.

Dana Burghdoff

Assistant City Manager
City of Fort Worth

City Manager David Cooke appointed a seasoned veteran of municipal government as assistant city manager, replacing longtime city employee Susan Alanis.

Dana Burghdoff, a 20-year employee, oversees the Development Services, Water, Aviation, and Property Management as well as the 2022 Bond Program and Future City Hall transition. Burghdoff has previously worked as deputy director of the Development Services Department.

Aaron Abelson

Managing Principal, Dallas Office
HR&A Advisors

Aaron manages public-private development, real estate strategy, and open space projects for a range of public-sector, private-sector, and nonprofit clients.

Aaron’s work has included market and financial analysis underlying a vision plan and $100M public financing package for mixed-use redevelopment of a 40-acre former industrial site in Denver; project management and real estate strategy for Rice University’s development of a 16-acre innovation district in Midtown Houston; and investment and implementation strategy for Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s park, trail, and community development along four miles of waterfront east of Downtown Houston. In Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Charlotte, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Charleston, and Boston, among other cities, he has provided clients with the analysis and strategic guidance to move large-scale projects from plan to implementation. Aaron is located in HR&A’s Dallas office.

Aaron joined HR&A in 2013 after two years working in Southeast Asia. As a Princeton in Asia Fellow in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Aaron coordinated fundraising efforts for the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation, an NGO working to reduce road traffic injuries and fatalities in the developing world. He later joined Intel in Bangkok, Thailand, where he led the development of a website about the company’s regional corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and supported the regional CSR team. Previously, Aaron worked for Slavic Village Development, a community development organization in Cleveland, and for the Supportive Housing Network of New York.

Aaron holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs at Princeton University, where he also received a certificate in Urban Studies.

Kenneth Barr

Barr Consulting Group

Kenneth Barr is a consultant on governmental relations and public affairs.

He was elected Mayor of Fort Worth four times before retiring in 2003. Since May 2019, Kenneth has served as an elected Trustee of the Tarrant County College District. He is the vice president of the TCC board.

Kenneth served 11 years as a member and as Chairman of the Board of NTTA. He played a key role in developing several roadway projects including the Chisholm Trail Parkway in Fort Worth, and the 360 Tollway through Arlington, Grand Prairie, and Mansfield.

He currently is the immediate past chairman of the Real Estate Council of Greater Fort Worth and chairs the board of Medical City Fort Worth Hospital. He is a past chairman of the North Texas Commission and Fort Worth Sister Cities International; he served as president of the Exchange Club of Fort Worth and the Rotary Club of Fort Worth.

Dr. Elva LeBlanc


Tarrant County College

After graduating from TCC, LeBlanc knew she wanted to attend the University of North Texas and become a teacher. She earned a bachelor’s degree in three years, graduating summa cum laude. Fort Worth ISD had a teaching job waiting for her in a bilingual kindergarten. She taught while completing her master’s degree in education in two years. She then worked as an adjunct at UNT while working on her doctorate in philosophy. Upon receiving her doctorate, LeBlanc accepted a teaching position at TCC Northeast Campus.

LeBlanc believes in the community college model because it is an American concept rooted in access to education for all. She served TCC for many years as a professor, faculty chair, director of institutional effectiveness, and dean of instruction. She also taught graduate courses at the University of North Texas. She was recruited and spent the next seven years working for Austin Community College and Galveston College.




Shan Burton



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