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Steven AmesSteven Ames is a consulting long-range planner and a founding principal of NXT Consulting Group, LLC. He is also principal of Steven Ames Planning, a private consultancy providing long-range planning services for an international urban planning clientele.

Much of Steven’s work has focused on development of long-range and strategic plans for public agencies and institutions. In this capacity, he has advised local, state, provincial and federal government agencies, state court systems, health advocacy and aging care organizations, and institutions of higher education.

Steven’s work for NXT focuses on process design, facilitation and communication.  As a planner, he develops alternative scenarios, mission, values and vision statements, and strategic plans.  As a facilitator, he designs and facilitates stakeholder surveys, focus groups, tasks force meetings, and visioning and strategic planning workshops.

In the area of higher education, Steven was consultant to Pacific 2000, a groundbreaking long-range planning process for Pacific University in Oregon. Subsequently, he worked with the Pacific University College of Education and Pacific's Board of Trustees.

As a principal of NXT Consulting, he has facilitated long-range planning projects for St. Ambrose University, Davenport, Iowa, Linfield College (Portland Campus), Portland, Oregon, Portland State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs at its IUPUI campus in Indianapolis and its IU Bloomington campus in Bloomington, Indiana. He also participated in development of visionary concepts for a four-year campus for Oregon State University Cascades in Bend, Oregon.

Described as "an architect of public process," Steven is recognized internationally for his work in long-range city planning. He has advised visioning projects for more than 60 cities in Oregon, across the Western U.S. and Canada, Australia and New Zealand, including two generations of visions for the City of Portland, Oregon. His projects have won local, state, national, and international awards. He is author of the American Planning Association’s (APA) A Guide to Community Visioning, and a contributor to its urban planning reference work Planning and Urban Design Standards. His monographs also have been published in Europe and Australasia.

Steven is recipient of the Oregon APA Award for Distinguished Leadership by a Professional Planner. He was the first Craig Byrne Fellow of the Orton Family Foundation, a private foundation dedicated to promoting vibrant small communities. He is also a recipient of the Sustainability Award for Vision from Central Oregon Environmental Center.

Steven has an A.B. degree from Drew University CLA, Madison, New Jersey, and M.S. degree from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources. He has also studied with faculty of the London School of Economics.

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Donald RushmerA senior executive with extensive experience in development, implementation and operation of programs and services in research, education and health, Donald Rushmer has exceptional skills and experience in strategic and financial planning, personnel management, budgeting, and institutional development. His consulting work with NXT focuses on strategic issues identification, environmental scanning, visioning, strategic planning and organizational development for higher education institutions and non-profit organizations primarily involved in education, health care delivery and research.

Educated as a research scientist, Donald worked for 20 years in research and research administration. He developed the concept, obtained funding from a private foundation, created research facilities and became the first executive director of the Neurological Sciences Institute at Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center in Portland, with a group of 12 research scientists conducting basic and clinical research in the neurosciences. The Institute ultimately became a major research program of Oregon Health and Sciences University, grew to 23 scientists and enjoyed an international reputation.

In 1988 Rushmer moved to higher education administration as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs of Pacific University in Oregon. He developed and led the University's first consensus based strategic planning process, implemented new models for budgeting and financial projections that led to greatly increased accuracy in revenue and expense projections and provided effective prioritization and implementation of strategic planning initiatives. While at the University he led development of new programs and updated established programs to expand the institution's market, academic excellence, and outreach. These included programs in science, science education, international studies, computer and multi-media technology, and primary care health professions. He implemented successful recruitment and retention strategies to increase number and quality of students, improved career, health, and counseling services for students, implemented new programs to develop a respectful and involving community, and designed and implemented, with students, a new student government structure.

In 1999, Dr. Rushmer became Executive Director of the Frederick C. Artz Center for Developmental Health, a private, multidisciplinary non-profit clinic serving children with speech, hearing, and developmental issues including autism and other neurological and behavioral issues. Designed to serve the children and their families with a full spectrum of clinical services, the program tripled in size and budget during his tenure.

As managing partner and principal of NXT Consulting, he has facilitated long-range planning projects for St. Ambrose University, Davenport, Iowa, Linfield College (Portland Campus), Portland, Oregon, Portland State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs at its IUPUI campus in Indianapolis and its IU Bloomington campus in Bloomington, Indiana.

Dr. Rushmer has a B.S. in biological sciences from Antioch College and a Ph.D. in neurobiology/physiology from the University of Rochester. He was also a Senior Fellow of the International Executive Forum of the Western Behavioral Sciences Institute, La Jolla, California.

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Ruth Williamson


Principal, Ruth Williamson Consulting

Ruth Williamson is Principal of Ruth Williamson Consulting. She also delivers the Culture in Action process as a partner in We, Inc. As both a leadership coach and culture consultant, Ruth strives for the 'real conversation' – the line of inquiry that feels most challenging, yet yields the richest rewards within teams and organizations. By paying attention to whole systems and building on what works, Ruth supports deep connection amongst team members and collaborations that create positive, sustainable outcomes.

For more than 15 years, Ruth has worked closely with local government agencies and contributed to a broad spectrum of community and non-profit organizations. Her passion for community building has led to several high-profile efforts and a reputation as an effective citizen activist.

Ruth’s educational background includes an ACTP certified coaching credential through the International Coaching Federation as a graduate of the Hudson Institute, CDWF-Candidate status with Brené Brown's Daring Way™ curriculum. Ruth has a degree in English Literature from the University of Washington.

Jillian Taylor


Principal, Jillian Taylor Consulting

Jillian Taylor is Principal of Jillian Taylor Consulting, based in Central Oregon and advises business and organizational leaders with executive development, organizational health and strategic business planning. From aligning teams around strategic priorities to addressing deeply rooted conflict, she is known for her group facilitation skills and ability to steer leaders through critical decision making discussions.

For more than 15 years, Jillian has had the privilege of working with Fortune 500 public companies, privately held businesses, growing start-ups, nonprofit organizations, and professional associations. Customizing the process and content as needed, Jillian facilitates using proven tools and methods to deliver client results. She also continuously adds to her tool kit for leading groups, executive coaching and strategic planning.

Jillian has a Master of Science degree in Organizational Development from Central Washington University and is professionally trained as an executive coach.