Driven to Discover


Meet the Team Behind Harris’ Holistic Approach to Complex Projects

10.3 minute read

June 10, 2024

For many municipalities, planning and developing projects entails an intricate process with multiple steps and stages. Whether you’re working to improve residents’ quality of life or solving infrastructure problems, you may face struggles with legal compliance issues, environmental planning, or budgetary constraints.

You can gain efficiencies and see better results by working with a team like Harris & Associates capable of guiding you through every stage—from locating financial resources and identifying potential solutions to engaging the community and engineering a design approach that checks all the right boxes.

In this blog post, we’ll introduce you to a few of our employee-owners, the departments they lead, and how Harris’ holistic approach to complex projects helps to drive successful outcomes for our clients.

PLANNING: The Starting Point for Success

A project’s lifecycle starts with policy and planning. Take for example community development, which Hitta Mosesman leads as our Vice President of Community Development and Housing.

Hitta notes that California’s high cost of living makes affordable housing a high priority for many municipalities.

“One particular focus of community development is affordable housing,” Hitta says. “The work we do helps communities develop strategies around planning for housing through zoning, leveraging funding, and partnering with public agencies/private entities to create housing at various income levels, including workforce housing. We have a full spectrum of expertise in all aspects of affordable housing—from planning, financing/funding, and implementing affordable housing, so we’re well positioned to help communities address this urgent need.”

Harris also works with public agency clients on projects related to permanent supportive housing—developments with support services for unhoused individuals. “Our team can identify how to plan these developments and how to make them a reality by tapping into a multitude of funding sources,” Hitta says. “We can also assist communities with implementing a project once financing is secured.”

Community Development and Housing Spotlight: City of Irvine

The City of Irvine has a population of over 250,000 people, with 100,000 housing units. The City consistently prioritizes housing at all income levels and employs excellent planning practices to maximize affordable housing in the community. In the last decade, more affordable housing units were produced in Irvine than the combined total of all other jurisdictions in Orange County.

Hitta has personally worked with the City for nearly 20 years on various housing, financial, and planning initiatives. “What I really appreciate about working with the City of Irvine is that it's a true collaboration with staff and the proactive culture the City has created,” she says.

The 6th Cycle Housing Element and comprehensive General Plan Updates are just some examples of Harris’ work with the City of Irvine.

Want to hear more about the work Hitta is leading for our client communities? Check out a recent short video with her: “A Day in the Life: Community Development and Housing.”

FINANCE: Managing Budgets and Balance Sheets

Alison Bouley serves as the Vice President of Municipal and District Finance at Harris. She helps cities find funding opportunities to support their infrastructure plans.

“My team’s work revolves around helping clients identify solutions to their funding needs,” Alison explains. “We help them build sustainable communities and meet all of their long-term goals.”

Financial constraints are common among municipalities, which face mounting pressure to build and repair infrastructure to address their community’s evolving needs, all within a very finite budget.

“The work we do enables communities to invest in enduring solutions for their infrastructure,” Alison says. “We help find funding to build and maintain the infrastructure. It’s really about building communities that have all the amenities residents use every day.”

Municipal Finance Spotlight: City of Tracy

Harris has had the privilege of working with the City of Tracy since 1987, providing program management, funding support, as well as various engineering services. Over the years, our teams have facilitated dozens of developments and assisted in the funding of more than $1 billion in infrastructure improvements.

“I've personally been working with the City for 22 years,” says Alison, noting the close working relationship between Harris and Tracy. “We’ve become an integral part of their team. We know the city staff, the development community, and the other consultants the City partners with.”

Building these productive relationships makes the workday more enjoyable, and they also result in excellent outcomes for cities and their residents.

“It’s been rewarding to see the projects we work on come to life and to know that we’ve been a part of that growing community,” Alison says.

Hear more from Alison in our recent video: “A Day in the Life: Municipal + District Finance.”

ENVIRONMENTAL: Ensuring Compliance, Promoting Mitigation

With big-picture project plans and financing strategies in place, the focus turns to the environment.

Diane Sandman, Vice President of Environmental Planning and Compliance, leads Harris’ team of more than 30 professionals with expertise in environmental impact assessment, permitting, and technical analysis — all in support of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance.

“We help cities, counties, and special districts navigate the environmental compliance process, especially with regards to preparing legally defensible documentation and meeting CEQA requirements,” Diane says.

Diane and her team develop program-level, tiered, and project-specific documentation tailored to each project’s unique requirements. “Regulations are constantly changing, and keeping up with them can be challenging,” Diane says. “We stay at the forefront in order to provide our clients with the best advice and services.”

Environmental Services Spotlight: County of San Diego

“The Harris team has provided environmental and planning services to the County of San Diego for over two decades, including the Planning and Development Services, Public Works, Parks and Recreation, and General Services Departments.”

“We offer a full-service approach to environmental services, including CEQA and NEPA, biological resources and permitting, cultural resources, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, noise, public outreach, and planning to comprehensively address the needs of each project.”

“Our team is providing support to the County of San Diego to develop its Climate Action Plan. This bold planning document identifies measures to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2035-2045. It is very rewarding to contribute to this project which will provide important benefits to the public and the environment.”

ENGINEERING: Designing Projects for Greater Community Impact

Harris’ civil engineers excel at developing innovative and cost-effective solutions to improve communities. Frank Lopez serves as the Vice President of Engineering.

In his role, he collaborates often with public works departments to help deliver enhancements for the communities where we work and live.

“Public works can be compared to the roots of a tree. Much like roots are unseen yet vital for the tree’s nourishment, stability, and growth, public works silently but crucially supports the city’s infrastructure, ensuring its health and development,” Frank says.

Engineering Spotlight: The City of Huntington Beach

"Harris has taken the lead on the Oak View Streetscape project in Huntington Beach," says Frank, emphasizing their commitment to enhancing safety, walkability, and community cohesion. "With a $5 million grant from the Clean CA Local Grant program, we're introducing structural and aesthetic enhancements to revitalize the neighborhood."

Reflecting on the project's broader impact, Frank notes, "At Harris, we're dedicated to creating lasting impacts that enrich lives beyond the physical streets and roads that we build." He highlights the project's aim to transform Oak View into a model neighborhood prioritizing safety, beauty, and sustainability.

"This initiative is about revitalizing a community," Frank adds. "We're excited to watch Oak View flourish into a vibrant, inclusive community."

PROGRAM MANAGEMENT: Delivering On the City’s Vision

Cities with a diverse set of capital improvement projects, a service level increase objective, or a large and complex capital improvement initiative might look for assistance with program management. Mark Nassar helps them achieve these goals as Vice President of Program Management.

A successful program management process helps municipalities achieve their vision on a much larger scale. They need a great deal of strategic thought and organization to identify and prioritize projects, schedule them, and optimize their delivery.

“In program management, you’re identifying the agency’s existing system-wide needs as well as their vision,” Mark says. “Then you’re putting together a path that achieves their vision through a strategic program made up of individual projects that work together.”

According to Mark, program management works best when it “gets the agency's service level to where it needs to be” in the most cost-effective and efficient way.

In program management, many factors help deliver optimal outcomes for municipalities, including:

Focusing on their needs at a system-wide level

Understanding their vision and working with them to map that vision

Understanding current infrastructure, operations, and shortfalls

Collaborating with them to create a prioritized portfolio of the right mix of a projects

Program Management Spotlight: City of Rialto

“Working with clients on program management is always very rewarding,” Mark says. “You’re partnering with them to help shape the city.”

In this regard, Harris’ relationship with the City of Rialto is ideal because city personnel are intimately familiar with the community’s needs and their own infrastructure capabilities. At the same time, Harris’ team understands what’s required to meet those needs.

“Given our expertise, our focus, and our ability to draw on similar projects we’ve worked on, we’re able to leverage lessons learned to realize the City’s visions with the limited resources available,” Mark explains, adding that City staff are open, flexible, and invested in helping deliver “successful wins in a short amount of time and on a lean budget.”

“These are the kinds of partnerships we look for... you feel like an equal public servant delivering critical infrastructure and services.”

Want to learn more about program management and the City of Rialto? Have a look at Mark’s short video: “A Day in the Life: Program Management.”


An effective Construction Manager acts as the owner’s on-site representative, collaborating with other project team members, and creating an environment of trust that drives the project forward to completion, providing the owner with the facilities that were originally envisioned.

“Our biggest roles include providing a central point of communication with project stakeholders, overseeing the quality of the work, and making sure projects stay on schedule and on budget,” says Sean Dunbar, Vice President of Program Management and Construction Management at Harris.

Construction Management Spotlight: San Diego Unified School District

Among their many projects, Sean’s team managed the build out of the new Central Elementary School as part of the San Diego Unified School District’s Bond program.

Located in the City Heights neighborhood, the school well known for its ethnic diversity. “It’s like many public schools throughout California, and the country for that matter,” Sean says. “They struggle with outdated facilities that make for challenging learning environments for students.”

The school district selected Harris as part of its master plan for redevelopment. Harris is dedicated to building out their vision of creating and developing top-notch educational facilities.

“Central will host generations of students who will go on to elevate the community, particularly within City Heights, providing exciting growth opportunities for many years to come.”

A Holistic Partner for Project Success

City needs often overlap, and projects frequently require multiple areas of expertise throughout their lifecycle. Financing, planning, environmental assessments, engineering, management—the list goes on.

That’s what makes Harris’ holistic approach all the more valuable. Municipalities increasingly rely on our team to find and implement the right solutions for them and their residents every step of the way.

Find out how you can benefit from our approach.


Hitta Mosesman

Hitta Mosesman

Vice President / Community Development + Housing

Alison Bouley, PE

Alison Bouley, PE

Vice President / Municipal + District Finance

Diane Sandman, AICP

Diane Sandman, AICP

Vice President / Environmental Planning + Compliance

Frank S. Lopez, PE, QSD

Frank S. Lopez, PE, QSD

Vice President / Engineering

Mark Nassar, PE

Mark Nassar, PE

Vice President / Program + Construction Management

Sean Dunbar, CCM

Sean Dunbar, CCM

Vice President / Program + Construction Management