In Memoriam: Mark Schneider, leader, developer and advocate

It is with profound sadness and a heavy heart that Smart Growth America reflects on the sudden passing of the Mark C. Schneider, a smart growth real estate developer, civic leader, chairman of the Board of Directors of Pittsburgh Institution and 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, one of our coalition partners. Mark succumbed to injuries that he suffered as the result of a bicycling accident in Maryland on July 29th, 2012. He passed on with family and friends at his side. The following remembrance is from our partner, 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania:

“Though he made many contributions and played many important roles, his most valued and treasured was as friend. Mark was so much more-personally and professionally-than a Board member to us at 10,000 Friends. He was a successful businessman, real estate developer, civic leader, volunteer, fundraiser, champion, mentor, and boss. Mark spent so much time working with us that he almost seemed a co-worker as well. Mark joined 10,000 Friends’ Board of Directors in 2002. He left the Board briefly to consult on our signature and most successful project, the Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative (PCTI). He then rejoined the board and became chairman in 2010. Mark’s leadership, vision, ideas, and influence can be felt in everything that we do.

“Mark led the effort to craft the Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative (PCTI) with PennDOT. PCTI has resulted in $85 million dollars invested in over 50 communities around the Commonwealth. The concept, which he began on the back of napkin during a flight home from a fact-finding mission in Atlanta with our SW Director Grant Ervin, continues to grow and evolve as several counties and metropolitan planning organizations adopt the program locally and adapt its principles and investment strategies. Today, everyone who walks through the urban campus of Point Park University or over the Hanover Street Bridge linking the Borough of Pottstown and North Coventry Township, bikes from the Conemaugh River to Diamond Square in Blairsville, or drives the roundabout in Rochester or 12th Street to Union Square in Erie, will see, share, and understand Mark’s vision for Pennsylvania’s communities.

“Mark was the living embodiment of everything that we worked for and stood for-a true champion & ambassador for smart growth and the benefits of livable, walkable communities. Mark was instrumental in connecting the work and message of 10,000 Friends with elected and business leaders throughout Pennsylvania. He made numerous connections, convened a multitude of meetings with leaders, and helped build coalitions and partnerships that last until this day-and which will continue to thrive.

“Mark Schneider had the vision, leadership, determination, energy, intelligence, and warm-hearted human spirit to build great communities and change the built environment in Pennsylvania through his work in real estate development, voluntary civic service, and advocacy through 10,000 Friends. We celebrate Mark’s life, are inspired by him, and are profoundly grateful to have known him.”