The staff members of Des Moines Area MPO bring a diverse range of experience and expertise to the region. To request a presentation by an MPO staff member, click here.
R. Todd Ashby, AICP | Executive Director
Todd Ashby brings two decades of transportation planning, design, and programming experience to the Greater Des Moines region. His specialties include road design, general aviation master planning, transit planning, bike/ped trails, multimodal studies, planning and programming, and environmental documentation. He understands project management and the importance of bringing diverse interests to the table. Under his guidance, the MPO has strengthened its community partnerships and has worked to provide more support to communities. He earned a bachelor’s degree in urban planning from Iowa State University and a master’s of public administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Tracey Deckard | Office Manager
Tracey Deckard provides the overall administrative management and front office support necessary to keep the organization running smoothly. With an extensive legal background and broad experience in both legal and administrative functions, Tracey oversees the facilities, equipment, and general day-to-day operations that enable the MPO to function effectively and efficiently. Tracey attended both Des Moines Area Community College and Northeast Missouri State University and has a paralegal degree.
Dylan Mullenix, AICP | Assistant Director
Dylan Mullenix has more than 10 years experience in local government, specializing in transportation planning, regional planning, sustainability planning and land-use planning. As the MPO’s assistant director, he oversees the activities of the planning staff. He leads the team in developing the long-range transportation plan, in developing the annual work program and budget, and in striving to develop new projects. Dylan earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and geography as well as a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Iowa.
Teva Dawson | Senior Planner
Teva Dawson leads in the area of integrated planning – understanding the impact transportation systems have on public health, the environment, socially justice areas, etc.. She specifically manages several sustainability projects for the MPO, including the staffing of the Walnut Creek Watershed Management Authority and the development of a regional water trails plan. Teva earned a degree in Environmental Education from Drake University. She created the first community garden program in Iowa. With over 15 years of professional leadership in the development of municipal-level sustainability, beautification and recreation policies and practices, Teva brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team.
Zach Young, AICP, MRTPI, CNU-A | Principal Planner
Zach Young has more than seven years of experience in planning, with focus in the areas of land use, urban planning, environmental planning and transit-oriented development. He is knowledgeable in the areas of form-based codes, street design standards, and taxation and economic development. At the MPO, he manages the Surface Transportation Program and staffs the Funding Subcommittee. He earned a bachelor’s degree in city planning from Missouri State University and a master’s degree in city planning and regeneration from the University of Glasgow, Scotland. Zach is a Chartered Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). He is also certified in the areas of new urbanism and form-based code.
Gunnar Olson | Communications Manager
Gunnar Olson has built on his background as an experienced journalist to earn a reputation as an engaging, trusted and articulate spokesperson and leader for causes important to Greater Des Moines. As communications manager, he strives to make the MPO, its expert staff and valuable research more accessible to the media, community leaders and other organizations — and ultimately elevate community conversations about the region’s future. Prior to joining the MPO, he was the public affairs manager for the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) and a staff writer with The Des Moines Register.
Michael Armstrong, AICP | Associate Transportation Planner
Michael Armstrong is an Associate Transportation Planner who specializes in bicycle and pedestrian mobility, transportation demand management and multimodal transportation planning. He oversees the Complete Streets Initiative, manages the SmartTrips program and regional best practices series, and staffs the Bicycle and Pedestrian Roundtable. Mike obtained his master’s in urban and regional planning degree from Portland State University with a focus in transportation planning.
Marcus Coenen, AICP, PTP | Associate Transportation Planner
Marcus Coenen is an Associate Transportation Planner with experience preparing comprehensive plans, transportation master plans, corridor studies, feasibility studies, environmental documents, and conducting public participation. Additionally, Marcus has experience in public transit operations and planning. He earned a master’s degree in urban and regional planning and a bachelor’s degree in history, both from the University of Iowa. Marcus is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and is a certified Professional Transportation Planner.
Andrew Collings, AICP | Associate Transportation Planner
Andrew Collings is the primary staff person for the Central Iowa Regional Transportation Planning Alliance (CIRTPA). He also manages the MPO’s Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). Before joining the MPO, he worked at the Southern Iowa Council of Governments, where he wrote grants applications for and provided technical assistance to member communities. He administered grants primarily through the State’s Community Development Block Program, managed the organization’s GIS, and developed comprehensive plans and hazard mitigation plans. He earned a master’s degree in urban and regional planning and a bachelor’s degree in geography, both from the University of Iowa.
Allison Riley | Graduate Planning Intern
Allison Riley the Graduate Planning Intern, working toward her master’s in Community and Regional Planning at Iowa State University. Her educational and professional focus is in environmental planning, regional cooperation, and community engagement. While at the MPO she is working on the Greater Des Moines Water Trails and Greenways Master Plan, Iowa’s Clean Air Attainment Program, and Transportation Capital Improvement Program. Before joining the MPO, her work has been focused on sustainable development and human ecology, both domestically and abroad.