Toole Design Announces Five Additional Owners

Since our founding nearly 20 years ago, Toole Design has attracted professionals who are deeply committed to planning and designing communities where people of all ages, abilities, backgrounds, races, and incomes are safe and comfortable, regardless of their mode of transportation. We are a company that has thrived because of the collective strength, passion, and talent of our employees. As such, we are pleased to announce that we have added five new owners: Ciara Schlichting, Jessica Fields, Jason DeGray, Ernie Boughman, and Alia Anderson.

The five new owners are long-serving team members who embody Toole Design’s values, and each of them has been fundamental to the success of the company. For more information on our new owners, please see below.

Alia Anderson, AICP has been with Toole Design since 2013, and since that time she has risen through the ranks to become the Planning Director for the Mid-Atlantic Region, and then our Director of Planning for North America. Alia leads multimodal transportation planning projects and oversees the company’s planning practice, including our 80+ planners in the United States and Canada. Alia’s award-winning work includes Vision Zero Action Plans, Active Transportation Plans, Safe Routes to School Plans, and Complete Streets Design Manuals for multiple cities. As an owner, Alia will continue to play a key role in company operations and lead the company’s planning practice with a focus on expanding the cutting-edge work of our Transit, New Mobility, Research, Safety, and Data Science practice areas.

Ernie Boughman, AICP is Director of Operations for Toole Design’s presence in the Southeastern United States. Ernie joined the firm in 2013 and has shepherded the firm’s expansion throughout the Southeast, including offices in Spartanburg, SC, Atlanta, GA, Raleigh, NC, and Orlando, FL. Ernie has a gift for nurturing new leaders and is known for his engaging and interactive ethics trainings during APA National conferences. He’s a talented and customer-service oriented planner whose work spans all types of planning projects in communities large and small. In his capacity as an owner, Ernie will continue to oversee our expansion throughout the Southeastern U.S. and serve as an advisor on important corporate initiatives.

Jason DeGray, PE, PTOE leads Toole Design’s Boston office. He is an engineer with deep experience leading high-profile Complete Streets projects, including current projects to transform Union Square in Somerville, MA and Main Street in Northampton, MA community. Jason joined the firm in 2016 and has been fundamental to the company’s expansion in New England and the upper Midwest. He has been the contract manager for on-call contracts with MassDOT, the City of Boston, City of Cambridge, City of Somerville and City of Providence. Jason is an advocate for Vision Zero and champions its principles in various forums, including in the role of Chair of the Institute of Transportation Engineer’s Advocacy Committee and as a contributor to the Strong Towns organization. In his new capacity as an owner, Jason’s focus will be continuing to build engineering capabilities while also providing company-wide leadership as a member of our Board of Directors.

Jessica Fields, PE, AICP is Toole Design’s Director of Operations for the Mountain West and Texas. Jessica founded Toole Design’s Denver office in 2013, building it from its humble beginnings in a co-work space into a talented group of designers and planners delivering high profile projects throughout Colorado. Jessica launched the company’s first DEI Task Force, and she currently leads the company’s two-year leadership development program. Jessica is both an engineer and a certified planner, and she recently led the development of Denver’s award-winning Complete Streets Design Guidelines. Jessica has a penchant for building strong teams, and in her role as an owner she will strengthen our presence across the Western U.S.

Ciara Schlichting, AICP is the Director of Operations for Toole Design’s offices in the Midwestern United States. Ciara joined the firm in 2013 and has played a critical role in our growth throughout the Midwest, overseeing offices in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio. She is a talented planner with experience in cities large and small, and she has an affinity for projects that advance equity through deep community engagement. Her award-winning work includes the Mississippi River Trail/US Bicycle Route 45 and the transformative Jackson Street reconstruction in Saint Paul, among others. In her role as an owner, Ciara will continue to lead the company’s expansion in the Midwest and support our corporate operations.


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