Greater City Providence
promotes the growth and development of the Greater Providence region in as urban a pattern as possible. Special focus is placed on the development of more walkable, affordable, and vibrant neighborhoods that are served by more robust mass transit and fueled by greater economic opportunity. We hope to see the Providence of the future is an urban environment and not a city plagued by inconsistent, uninspired, automobile-centric, and suburban-style development.
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Jef was born and raised on Cape Cod, where he spent his days making cities in his backyard for his matchbox cars. After graduating from Barnstable High School he hightailed it up to Boston, where he spent his days riding the T and working for a small childrens game company. After a brief foray to Portland, Maine where he tried his hand at art school, Jef made his way to New York City.
Jef currently lives in Providence, where he works for a downtown real estate developer and is the current Chairperson of the Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commison. You can also find Jef at various community meetings scribbling in a note pad or being bored and playing solitaire on his iPhone. He also spends his time eating mass quantities of ice cream, drinking mass quantities of coffee, and sipping cocktails at local watering holes. In the summer he spends most of his free time working in his garden. He would be happy to have you buy him a gin & tonic or an ice cream.
Matthew grew up in the Shawsheen Village of Andover, Massachusetts. There, he studied in the fine public school system where he excelled in music, technical theater, and tinkering with anything electrical or mechanical.
He continued his education in both Electrical Engineering and Music at the University of Rhode Island where he met friends and future co-workers. He summered back in Andover working his way up the ranks at local companies and state agencies as an IT administrator and fondly looks back to his days commuting to Boston via train and exploring the Hub after work.
After college, Matthew teamed up with friends pursuing new technologies in underwater acoustics at a start-up where he continues to work today. Thanks to his company’s ventures, he has had the benefit of traveling to waterfront cities from Amsterdam to Dubai and working with engineers across the globe.
Matthew currently resides in East Greenwich with his wife, their two children, and their dog where he continues to enjoy working as an electrical engineer, sailing, and tending his garden. Additionally, you’ll spot him at various musical events in the metro area, walking or biking around town, or simply enjoying a beer with friends.
Bret Ancowitz grew up in a historic and rural small village (population about 4,500) in New York’s Hudson Valley near the town of Carmel. While, as a child, he was the youngest ever member of the local historical society, he would after meetings then go home and draw the maps and skylines of the cities of his dreams.
After graduating high school, Bret went on to Yale University in New Haven, CT and explored every corner of that small, New England metropolis. Wanting to experience more, he then went on to study medicine in New York City and earn his MD at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Manhattan. Bret still misses H&H bagels, the New York Philharmonic, the subway system, and the 2nd Avenue Deli quite badly.
After medical school, Bret did his residency in internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and, after graduating, briefly tought and practiced medicine at “The Clinic” there as well. During his time in Minnesota, Bret loved his almost weekly visits to Minneapolis and St. Paul and still believes the “Twin Cities” to be one of the nation’s urban jewels.
Bret then went on to a gastroenterology fellowship at Brown University and loved Providence so much that he stayed in the city to practice. He currently is a gastroenterologist with Consultants in Gastroenterology in Providence and Johnston; sees patients at the Miriam Hospital, Fatima Hospital, and Rhode Island Hospital; and is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at Brown Medical School. While he treats all gastrointestinal disorders, he has a particular interest in celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and eosinophilic esophagitis. He also lectures on medical ethics and is on the ethnics committee of Miriam Hospital.
David Rocha is a native Rhode Islander. He was raised in West Warwick, Rhode Island, where he attended West Warwick High School. He was Drama Club President for three years, performed as a bass player in the band Black Dawn, and represented his school at two consecutive State Aquaculture Conferences. Ultimately dissatisfied with the local public schooling system, he dropped out in 2000, went on to take the GED tests (receiving the state’s highest total score), and briefly attended CCRI as a Political Science major.
Upon tiring of the limited offerings and existential exhaustion of suburban “living,” he moved to Providence, where he already spent most of his time, at the age of 20. His involvement with music, art, and photography, led to an interest in existing or potential artist housing and workspaces, which led to an interest in real estate development in general. This interest took him down a path that eventually led to meeting with some folks he met through UrbanPlanet.org, and becoming one of the founding members of Greater City Providence.
Outside of his involvement with Greater City Providence, you can find David tending bar, attending weekly meetings with Rhode Island Mobilization Committee and with We The People of Rhode Island, producing and performing vocal duties in the Hip Hop duo, GlassAndSteel, and working with like-minded groups to organize protests. David spends his very little free time meditating, doing yoga, catching shows, or hopefully having a stimulating talk over drinks at one of Providence’s fantastic bars.