Share

The GSP Team

The GSP Team

01

Jesse Baerkahn

Neighborhood Strategy + Retail Development

What do you do at Graffito?

I get to touch all aspects of our business, from drafting SOWs for new projects, to leading some of our hairiest strategy + leasing assignments, to creating the agenda for our weekly team lunches.

What is your educational + professional background?

I’ve been a small business lawyer, artist/musician manager, and ran a student directory business, the latter of which I started while an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. I attended law school at Northeastern University here in Boston, a truly progressive place that advanced my passion for social justice, taught me how to read a contract, and brought me together with a classmate turned business partner who first dragged me over to Kendall Square for a real estate project in 2004…

What’s been the best part of working from home these past few months?

Mid-morning smoothies made by my wife, mid-day bike rides with my kids, and all of us having dinner together every night.

What do you miss most about the GSP office?

I miss the energy and rhythm of the first few hours of the day at the GSP office. I always got in first, I had my routine: first coffee from Gracenote (sometimes breakfast from Clover too), then I got our beloved ice pellet machine going for the day, then some AM emails, and then folks started coming in one-by-one starting at about 8:15. By 9:30 everyone was in the office. We’d all ease into the day with some excellent small talk, laughs, stories about the madness of the night before (mostly for us parents — between the 7 of us we have 6 kids 6 and under), and then I’d take a walk with Brooke or Dave or Gustavo to get my second 8 oz cup of coffee for the day at Gracenote. And then, by 10am, everyone was into their own stuff and running in different directions.

Jesse Baerkahn

02

Dave Downing

Dave Downing

Retail Leasing + Development

What do you do at Graffito?

I lead Graffito’s leasing practice, which includes early-stage retail advisory work through detailed lease negotiations for both Landlords and Tenants.

What is your educational + professional background?

Prior to joining the Graffito team full-time in 2012, I helped oversee the development of Watermark Kendall East, a 144-unit mixed use residential project in Kendall Square, Cambridge MA. This role offered me the opportunity to build skills in permitting, client relations, budgeting, team coordination, leasing and tenant fit-up management. I hold a BS in Business Administration from Northeastern with a concentration in Finance and Marketing.

What’s been the best part of working from home these past few months?

Spending afternoons with my 3-year old daughter, especially with the warmer weather approaching. Oh, and less time commuting to work.

What do you miss most about the GSP office?

The socialization. The watercooler moments. Such limited human contact allows for less spontaneity and creativity in my work.

03

Johanna Loughran

Finance + Administration

What do you do at Graffito?

I take care of all of the bookkeeping and business administrative tasks.

What is your educational + professional background?

I have been doing accounting and HR for the past nine years, working mostly with restaurants and cafes. I started my career working for a large company in Philadelphia and then moved back to Boston and fell in love with small businesses. BA in Psychology from the University of Vermont.

What’s been the best part of working from home these past few months?

I was finally inspired to spruce up my home office. I have also been cooking more and trying new recipes since I have a little more time than usual.

What do you miss most about the GSP office?

Starting the day with a wonderful cup of Gracenote coffee and seeing everyone’s smiling faces as they come in for work.

04

Drew Katz

Drew Katz

Creative Services & Branding

What do you do at Graffito?

I lead Graffito ID (GID), which is what we are calling Graffito’s newly formed creative services and branding division. GID helps our colleagues and clients tell stories through branding, environmental graphics, and website design. As a photographer, I’m also busy documenting our projects from the land and air. Most importantly, I make sure that my colleagues are up to date on the latest sour gummy candies available on the market.

What is your educational + professional background?

Shortly after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, I opened a fine art gallery in Boston’s South End. The gallery, which featured mostly formalist works heavily based in architecture and design, gave artist Shepard Fairey his first solo exhibition in the city. Since closing the gallery, I served as the Associate Publisher for the critically acclaimed periodical, New American Paintings, received an MBA from Babson College, and founded Creative Katz, an agency focused on creative direction, graphic design, photography, web strategy, content management, and project management for industries ranging from healthcare to hospitality. Most recently, I worked at marlo marketing as Chief Creative Officer, which is the role I left to join Graffito.

What’s been the best part of working from home these past few months?

Daily lunches with my wife, mid-day walks around the neighborhood (mostly), and being able to utilize my backyard as an office.

What do you miss most about the GSP office?

Regular gifts of candy from my colleagues, routine face-to-face conversations, and the ice at home is no match for that damn ice machine at work. Also, since I’ve gained about 10 pounds since working from home, you could say I miss my willpower.

05

Brooke Porter

Brooke Porter

Creative Services + Branding

What do you do at Graffito?

As a graphic designer, I offer creative solutions that help define our clients’ (and our own) branding and storytelling. I specialize in creating and maintaining brand identity systems, as well as website design and development. I’m excited to further explore different types of design such as environmental and wayfinding graphics, and bring to life the unique stories of the spaces and clients we work with.

What is your educational + professional background?

Shortly after high school, I received an Associates Degree in Advanced Culinary Arts from the Connecticut Culinary Institute (I make a mean crepe). I worked in the restaurant industry for a little while, and eventually went back to school to pursue a graphic design degree. A two-year stint at Manchester Community College (CT) got me an Associates Degree in Graphic Design, and I then transferred to the University of Hartford from which I received a BFA in Visual Communication Design in 2015. While in school, I worked as a designer for three years at Sunrise Marketing, a small marketing firm in Hartford, CT. After graduating from UHart, I accepted a new job at marlo marketing in Boston, where I worked for more than four years as a senior designer and chief supporter of Drew’s candy habit. I left marlo to join the Graffito team as of January 2020, and the future is wide open!

What’s been the best part of working from home these past few months?

Starting the mornings with a calmer, better headspace. With the 45 min. saved from not commuting, I have time to take my dog for a longer walk, brew some coffee, and catch up on the news — all without feeling rushed.

What do you miss most about the GSP office?

Beyond the ice machine and candy supplies (those are givens), I miss the ability to collaborate easily with coworkers in real time while staying focused. I also miss my standing desk and high-top chair; my home office setup is less than ergonomic, leading to lots of back and neck pain these days!

Brooke Porter

06

Gustavo Quiroga

Gustavo Quiroga

Neighborhood Strategy + Communications

What do you do at Graffito?

A bit of a utility player at Graffito, I lead early-stage planning + strategy work for neighborhood-scale projects, develop creative placemaking programs, foster community partnerships, and manage special development projects for clients.

What is your educational + professional background?

I have an MBA from Boston University and a BA in International Studies from U. Wisconsin-Madison. My past work focused on urban economic development, community + political organizing, and launching social enterprises.

What’s been the best part of working from home these past few months?

This was the first spring we spent in our new home in JP and being able to observe the trees, flowers, and critters in our little backyard blossom and come to life in real time has been an unexpected daily delight.

What do you miss most about the GSP office?

I cherish my daily bike commutes into the office each morning as time to clear my head and miss that terribly. That and the simple office banter of bad jokes, hilarious stories, helpful insights, and debates on lunch options…

07

Angela VanArsdale

Angela VanArsdale

Retail Leasing + Development

What do you do at Graffito?

I assist Landlords and Tenants through the leasing process and real estate transactions. This ranges from consulting on early stage planning, merchandising and rollout strategies all the way through to negotiating details of the lease.

What is your educational + professional background?

Prior to joining Graffito, I was a retail leasing broker at Newmark Knight Frank for 5 years. Previous to that, I was at Colliers International in a similar capacity for 5 years. My focus is on urban and urban edge areas advising both landlords and tenants through all aspects of the leasing process. I am a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and the Harvard Square Business Association. I hold a BA in economics with a minor in architectural studies from Tufts University.

What’s been the best part of working from home these past few months?

Being able to be home with my 7.5 month-old son. It’s been great to spend more time with him and not miss any milestones or “firsts.”

What do you miss most about the GSP office?

The spontaneous work convos and impromptu collaborative brainstorms. In our line of work those moments are so important! And while Zoom, Facetime, and Slack can suffice in the short term, it’s just not the same. I’m excited to get back into the office.

Angela VanArsdale

08

Corey Zehngebot

Corey Zehngebot

Urban Design + Planning

What do you do at Graffito?

In the short term, absorbing everything that I can about the people and projects that Graffito works with. In the long term….still figuring it out! But it involves creating great urban places, working with smart people, and being involved in a project during its full lifecycle. An urban design sherpa from the beginning, through the middle, and to the end-ish.

What is your educational + professional background?

I studied behavioral neuroscience and history of art at Yale because I wasn’t sure yet how to combine my left and right brain interests. It wasn’t until working in Master Planning and Construction for the Museum of Fine Arts Boston that I realized architecture and urban design was a natural fit. I went on to get an architecture degree from Harvard, though I always knew that I was more interested in working at the scale of the city rather than the scale of the building. Since graduating, I’ve worked as an urban designer/architect/planner in the private sector, flipped a house, consulted to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, and spent the past six years working as an urban designer and architect for the Boston Planning and Development Agency.

What’s been the best part of working from home these past few months?

Two things immediately come to mind: Trading commuting time for exercise and lunch with my kids.

What do you miss most about the GSP office?

Again, two things stick out: Impromptu and ad hoc conversations with my colleagues and lunch on Mondays with the rest of the Graffito team. Also, the ice machine!