Sasaki is delighted to announce that managing principal James Miner has been honored as one of the 2012 Boston Business Journal's 40 under 40! Along with 39 other business leaders in a wide range of industries, James was recognized at the annual celebration last week, which this year benefitted the March of Dimes.
James is an innovator. He is always looking for new ways to use technology to improve the planning process. He is currently using several new technologies in his work including interactive online community engagement tools and modeling software that ties metrics to urban design decisions in real time. One of Sasaki's technologies, SmartPlan, enables real-time decisions on design strategies by linking spatial, financial, and environmental data. At Sasaki, James has hired a more diverse staff than ever before—from backgrounds in computer programming, economics, and real estate—to push the work in new directions.
James's contributions to his industry and community are both technological and interpersonal. He champions the development of innovative technological tools and applies them with deep understanding for and appreciation of the human condition. This balance is rare, yet ultimately essential to the planning and design industry as we strive to make the world a better place.
James contributes to communities throughout the nation through his urban planning practice. He seeks ways to go beyond educating or imposing pre-formulated ideas on a community, and strives to extract meaningful elements of the public process to drive a plan. James leads teams that develop innovative tools for engagement, utilizing social media and online collaboration. This approach garners valuable input from younger generations—which the planning process will ultimately affect— increasing the relevancy and success of the plan.
Currently, James is principal in charge of The Tomorrow Plan—a high-profile two-year regional planning process in Greater Des Moines, Iowa. The Tomorrow Plan centers on a geoanalytic scenario modeling process, in which several possible scenarios form the basis for discussion about the future. The process is unprecedented in scope and incorporates the aforementioned public engagement tools, which will ultimately inform a 2050 Planning Document for the region. Sasaki is lead consultant for the project, which is funded by a regional sustainable planning grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
James also contributes to his local community. Each April, James and his wife, Cara, are top fundraisers at the March of Dimes's March for Babies walk in Worcester. Their dedication to this charity is very personal. Their first son, Benjamin, was born three months early and was in the NICU at UMass Memorial hospital for 70 days. Ben is now a thriving six-year-old boy thanks to modern medicine and the research that the March of Dimes has funded to reduce premature birth rates and improve the outcomes of premature deliveries. As a way of giving back and supporting families undergoing similar crises, James has been an active part of UMass Memorial's fundraising efforts to support the March of Dimes. James and Cara have since had two more healthy, lovely children.