The Civic Commons Team

The Civic Commons team consists of software engineers, technology policy experts, and open source software development experts.


picture of Nick Grossman

Nick Grossman (Executive Director) is a civic entrepreneur and technologist. As Director of Civic Works at OpenPlans, he helped found Civic Commons, while leading the development of new initiatives and businesses in the civic technology space. His teams have have developed open technology projects with the cities of Atlanta, Boston, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington DC, with international deployments in India, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain.

Previously, Nick worked as Design Director for a public health-oriented web startup, as an independent web developer, and as an urban planning consultant. He holds a degree in Urban Studies from Stanford University.

You can find Nick tweeting at @nickgrossman and blogging at The Exobrain.  More about Nick.

picture of Philip Ashlock

Philip Ashlock (Open Government Coordinator) helps to facilitate collaboration between cities and other government bodies on the development of open standards and best practices for civic technology and open government initiatives. Phil helped launch Civic Commons with a focus on developing a community knowledgebase (See the Wiki). He has also been leading the development of the Open311 standard so that cities can leverage web enabled 311 services in an open and interoperable way. You can follow him @philipashlock.

picture of Karl Fogel

Karl Fogel (Open Development Specialist) is an open source software developer and author. In 2005 he wrote “Producing Open Source Software: How to Run a Successful Free Software Project” (O’Reilly Media), based partly on his experiences at CollabNet, Inc working on the Subversion project. After a brief stint as an Open Source Specialist at Google in 2006, he left to dedicate more time to non-profit activities. He now works as an Open Civics Development Specialist at Civic Commons, helping government entities participate in open source software and open community processes, and continues to participate in various open source projects. Karl has recently worked with the White House and OMB to open source the Federal IT Dashboard, and with the City and County of San Francisco to open source the Enterprise Addressing System. He is @kfogel on Twitter and

picture of Abhi Nemani

Abhi Nemani (Communications Director) works with technology firms, political organizations, and local governments to leverage technology to grow their impact. At the Rose Institute of State and Local Government, he led a 30-person research team to increase transparency and efficiency in governance, and at various political organizations, including the Center for American Progress and Young Democrats of America, he has organized national outreach and mobilization campaigns. At Google, he pioneered an innovative strategy to leverage social media. Currently with Code for America, he serves as Director of Strategy and Communications, managing outreach and public relations and leading recruitment for the fellowship. He graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a honors degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). You can follow him on twitter (@abhinemani) or his blog.

picture of Andrew McLaughlin

Andrew McLaughlin (Director, Emeritus) was, until recently, Deputy Chief Technology Officer of the United States, responsible for advising the President on Internet, technology, and innovation policies, including open government, cybersecurity, online privacy, freedom of expression, radio spectrum, research and development priorities, entrepreneurship, and open technology platforms in health care, energy, and education. He is also currently a non-resident fellow at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, teaching a course on free speech around the world.

From November 2008-January 2009, Andrew served as a member of the Obama/Biden presidential transition team in Washington. From 2004-2009, he was Director of Global Public Policy for Google. From 1998-2005, he was a Senior Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. From 1999-2002, Andrew worked to launch and manage the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), serving as Vice President, Chief Policy Officer, and Chief Financial Officer. In 2002-2003, Andrew taught at Harvard Law while working on Internet infrastructure and policy reform projects in a number of developing countries, including Ghana, Mongolia, Kenya, Afghanistan, and South Africa. His undergraduate degree is from Yale University, and his law degree is from Harvard Law School.

Code for America Fellows

Civic Commons is proud to be hosting two 2011 Code for America fellows:

picture of Michelle Koeth

Michelle Koeth is an intellectual property attorney and web developer. As a lawyer, she worked on securing the rights of inventors, by drafting, reviewing, and defending patent applications at a Washington DC law firm. Prior to law school, she gained experience and skill in web application development at CIGNA, a global health company. She holds a BS in Computer Engineering from Rutgers University and a JD from the Chicago-Kent School of Law.

picture of Jeremy Canfield

Jeremy Canfield is a user experience designer, web developer, and entrepreneur. Prior to his fellowship he leveraged open source software for collaboration at the Government Accountability Office and has also co-founded the mobile gaming start-up Phonagle. He earned a Masters of Science in Information at the University of Michigan.

Board of Advisors

We are proud to have strong support from leaders in the public and private sectors. The list is growing and we welcome additional advisors with strong backgrounds in open source and government IT.

  • Andrew Hoppin, former CIO, New York State Senate
  • Andrew Rasiej, Founder and CEO, Personal Democracy Forum
  • Beth Noveck, former US Deputy CTO; Professor, NYU Law School
  • Brian Behlendorf, Director, CollabNet and CTO, World Economic Forum
  • Bryan Sivak, Chief Innovation Officer, State of Maryland
  • Carolyn Lawson, Director, eServices for the State of California
  • Chris Holmes, Founder and President, OpenGeo
  • Chris Vein, Deputy US CTO for Government Innovation; former CIO, City of San Francisco
  • Clay Johnson, Founder and CEO, Big Window Labs
  • David Eaves, Adjunct Professor, Centre for Digital Media
  • Deborah Bryant, Public Sector Communities Manager, Oregon State University Open Source Lab
  • Dustin Haisler, former CIO, City of Manor
  • Gunnar Hellekson, Co-Chair, Open Source for America and CTO, Red Hat US Public Sector
  • Jascha Franklin-Hodge, CTO and founding partner, Blue State Digital
  • Jennifer Pahlka, Founder and Executive Director, Code for America
  • Peter Corbett, CEO, iStrategyLabs
  • Ross Mayfield, VP, SlideShare; Chairman and Co-founder, Socialtext
  • Stacy Donohue, Government Transparency Investments Director, Omidyar Network
  • Tim O’Reilly, Founder and CEO, O’Reilly Media
  • Tom Steinberg, Founder and CEO, MySociety
  • Vint Cerf, VP and Chief Internet Evangelist, Google