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GenNext: Whitney Shephard Q&A

Whitney Shephard, 40

Principal Engineer/Planner, Transport Studio and Green Truck Pub

Shephard is the cofounder of engineering firm Transport Studio and award-winning restaurant Green Truck Pub.

How will you do business differently this year or decade?

The next several years are about continuing to invest in our teams at both the restaurant and consulting firm. At Transport Studio, we are growing our network to include a more diverse stakeholder base for our community planning work, aligning partners so that we recognize co-benefits, and building trust by working together to promote thriving neighborhoods and infrastructure. Dr. Otis Johnson says, “you have to meet people where they are.”How can we expect our neighbors to trust the process and policy decisions if we aren’t asking them what they need and want for their community?

What qualities or assets will distinguish Savannah and preserve or advance our local economy?

The walkability; mix of commercial, entertainment, and residential; greenspace; and cultural assets set us apart.

The community that values this model, and works to promote it, is our most valuable asset. Savannah’s nonprofit and private partners demonstrate the power of community-minded organizations to advance the city.

What economic drivers and business sectors promise the most growth in the next year or decade? Why?

The “fourth sector” will grow in influence because people that choose to do good through business are passionate, driven, and committed to results. The fourth sector combines market-based and public benefit goals; it unites what is best in government, nonprofit, and private sectors.

What advice do you have for other Savannah leaders?

Communicate and collaborate. Ask for help. Transport Studio wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t asked my business partner for advice. I work with Healthy Savannah because Paula Kreissler asked me about sidewalks one afternoon, and our work wouldn’t be meaningful without ongoing collaboration.

What innovation of yours do you hope will be remembered by future generations?

Bringing data-driven policy and infra-structure solutions to Savannah. How? Helping the community understand that one in three children is overweight, yet one in four has no reliable source of food.

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