Open House Highlights

by Tanya Zwahlen

When you live in Western NY, you need reasons to congregate in the winter. It’s gray, it’s cold, it’s depressing. And you don’t run into anyone unless you are deliberate about it. Highland Planning hosted a long overdue celebration last Thursday for a few reasons. We wanted to:

(a) Mark the completion of the redevelopment of 820 South Clinton Avenue
(b) Invite everyone to check out our (not so new) office
(c) Introduce our new staff to everyone
(d) Thank our clients, colleagues and partners for being awesome
(e) Forget about winter for a minute

The day started with a visit from one of my favorite new Buffalonians, Sydney Brown from the Western NY Black Chamber of Commerce. We had lunch and caught up on her forthcoming application for the Buffalo Main Street Initiative. Then she settled in to our couch with a cup of tea to do some work, while we prepped the office for the party. I was so glad to have her.

Sydney feeling right at home with us


At 3PM, our guests started arriving. It was exciting to see so many of our clients and partners and friends in one place. We are lucky to work with so many great people.

Here are some of my personal highlights from the day:

  • Annie’s baby, Tate, came and wooed all the ladies. Me included.
  • Fred Frank from Parsons Brinckerhoff and Kelly Thompson from Bergmann Associates surprised us by coming all the way from Buffalo! So with Sydney, that was people from the far away country of Buffalo. Yay.
  • Kevin Kelly from the City of Rochester rolled in wearing a reflective vest and hung his bike on our rack in the office. In January. That’s hard core, right?
  • Rich Perrin arrived as a new TyLin employee, with Tara Boggio and Tom Castelein. It was great to talk with him about  his transition into consulting after so many years serving as the Executive Director of the Genesee Transportation Council. I know that he will do great things.
  • Sue Piotrowski, from Bad Fish Consulting, came. In 2014, she counseled me into taking a big leap. I hired new staff and started construction on the church. So scary at the time, but a necessary risk to get to where we are today. She walked in on Thursday with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and we had a nice hug. 🙂
  • Theo Finn from Edgemere Development brought her four year old daughter, Lucia, who schmoozed with the best of them while sampling all the food. Sushi, chicken, dumplings, maybe even edamame. She got her fair share of sweets too.
  • Theo, Lucia, Rachel Clar (Clar Development), Jason Haremza (City of Rochester) and his partner Matt Witten stayed for a bit at the end of the night. We sat around and pounded sushi and carrot cake bites and made each other laugh. Great people.

It was a lovely event. I could go on and on. But more photos…

Nancy Gillette from Watts and Lorenzo Rotoli from Fisher Associates
A few of our favorite partners. John Steinmetz from Steinmetz Planning Group, Chris Lopez from Plan Architecture, Glenn Kellogg from Urban Advisors, and Molly Gaudioso from Steinmetz Planning Group
The HP crew: Maia Fitzstevens, M. Andre Primus, Mabel Primus and Mary Rowlands
Old friends. Good friends. Mark Johns from Bergmann and Casey Kurz from DDS Companies

MVP Goes to Madame Chef

We had the best food! If you know me at all, you know I’m never interested in cooking. Bridgette and Steve from Madame Chef took care of everything, and it was all delicious. I admittedly was occupied during the event, but Andre and I crushed the leftover pork dumplings and chicken satay on Friday. So good.

​We will definitely have another open house, and they will definitely cater it.

Bridgette Pendleton Snyder, aka Madame Chef
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