MetroLab Welcomes New Members to the Board of Directors

MetroLab Network
4 min readAug 10, 2022

MetroLab is announcing the addition of Tom Schenk, Katharine Lusk, and Emily Yates to the MetroLab Board of Directors. These three have long been involved with the MetroLab Network and bring valuable and innovative perspectives from local government, academia, and the private sector. We are thrilled to welcome them as MetroLab launches its new, more inclusive membership model and expands the scope of programming offered to cities, towns, counties, MPOs, universities, and colleges across the country.

Our board has consisted of an incredible group since our founding, three of whom who will roll off this year due to term limits. Thank you to Bill Fulton, Debra Lam, and Michael Mattmiller for your time and contribution in strengthening MetroLab and its impact. See our entire Board of Directors and get involved at

Tom Schenk is a researcher and author on applying technology, data, and analytics to make better decisions. He’s currently the director of analytics at KPMG where he leads the smart city and government analytics practice. He’s authored several publications, including a book on data visualization, book chapters on education research, and academic articles on a variety of subjects. Tom has previously served as Chief Data Officer for the City of Chicago, led education research for the State of Iowa, and has held a variety of positions within academia. Tom is the co-founder of the Civic Analytics Network at Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. He is also the current co-organizer of the Chicago Data Visualization Group. His work has been featured in The Economist and Wall Street Journal while he’s been featured in television programs on PBS NewsHour and National Geographic Channel.

Katharine Lusk is Co-Director and Founding Executive Director of the Boston University Initiative on Cities which spearheads university-wide programs and research, including the national Menino Survey of Mayors, place-based experiential learning for students and multi-stakeholder events. She has a track record of discipline-spanning research collaboration with public health researchers, environmental scientists, social workers, political scientists, data scientists and public officials. Katharine is passionate about busting silos, connecting people, respecting lived experience, and inspiring young people to pursue public service.

She is a champion for urban research and education across BU, serving in advisory roles to the URBAN interdisciplinary doctoral program in Biogeoscience and Environmental Health, Spark!, the Data Science for Good Initiative, City Planning & Urban Affairs, the Institute for Sustainable Energy, and the Urban Climate Initiative. She is also on the board of the Boston Area Research Initiative, an inter-university consortium advancing research impact.

Katharine was a Policy Advisor to late Boston Mayor Tom Menino, where she led his work to make Boston the best city in the country for working women. She created the Boston Women’s Workforce Council, a unique collaborative governance partnership focused on closing the gender wage gap, and later served on the Council for many years as a mayoral appointee. Katharine also launched a capital fund for child care providers and Women on Main, a platform for women small business owners, as well as the nation’s first mobile city hall, City Hall to Go. Prior to entering public service, Katharine worked as a brand strategist and researcher for Fortune 500 companies for ten years.

She has a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she received the Barbara Jordan Award for Women’s Leadership and the Manuel Carballo Award for her graduate thesis modeling state-run paid family leave for Massachusetts. She earned her BA from Williams College.

Emily Yates is a strategic leader who has worked to position cities as globally
competitive by utilizing a systems approach to develop strategies, projects and
programs that innovate at the intersection of sustainability, technology, and
economic development.

As Chief Innovation Officer for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation
Authority (SEPTA), Emily leads the Office of Innovation (OOI), which focuses on driving innovation initiatives through internal and external partnerships and collaboration. In addition to growing a culture of innovation, OOI works to incorporate sustainability principles and data-driven decision making into all aspects of SEPTA’s efforts to become a lifestyle transit network. Prior to this role as Smart City Director for the City of Philadelphia, Emily
managed and led implementation of the SmartCityPHL Roadmap, leveraging public-private-plus (universities and utilities) partnerships to ensure that smart and emerging technology solutions to municipal challenges improved the quality of life for all residents, businesses, and visitors, and enabled
efficient delivery of City services.

She has held a variety of positions in Europe and North America, including urban planning positions with both the District of Columbia and the City of Cleveland. Emily was a recipient of the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt German Chancellor/ Bundeskanzler Fellowship, which funded a year of research focused on German approaches to the implementation of sustainability policy and climate change adaptation in brownfield development. Emily holds a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Arizona State University. She is a member of the Emerging Leaders in Energy and Environmental Policy (ELEEP) Network.



MetroLab Network

35+ city-university pairs bringing data, analytics & innovation to city gov’t thru research, development & deployment. Launched at #WHSmartCities 2015