Barbara L. Nelson, R.A., AIA

Executive Director

Ms. Nelson became Executive Director of TAP Inc. in 2015.  She interned at TAP from 1980 to 1986 and just never got community development out of her system.  While practicing architecture, over 37 years, she has remained an advocate for fair and affordable housing, architectural preservation, complete streets, participatory design and the reclamation of blighted public space through creative and sustainable urban planning. Barb has served several non-profit boards in the area, and  Troy’s Planning Commission under three mayors.  She oversees all aspects of TAP's operations and participates in design, grant writing, planning and feasibility study work.

Elizabeth Rodriguez, R.A. (Liza)

Project Architect

Ms. Rodriguez is a project architect, specializing in the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of existing buildings. She is responsible for the supervision and management, along with coordinating and production of construction documents. Since her start at TAP in 1986, Liza has guided many non-profits through the process of successful grant application to construction completion, on projects ranging from office space to special needs housing. TAP has received awards on many projects she has worked on for the sympathetic reuse of existing buildings.

Laura Ryder, R.A.

Project Architect

Ms. Ryder is a Project Architect, specializing in the rehabilitation of existing buildings, as well as the design of affordable infill housing. She is responsible for all aspects of a project, working with her clients’ ideas and budgets to create a satisfying and functional space. This includes supervision and management of staff and consultants, feasibility studies, preliminary design, code reviews, production of construction documents, bidding, and construction administration. Since joining TAP in 1990, Laura has worked with many non-profits and small businesses on such varied projects as affordable and special needs housing, libraries and daycares, and office and retail spaces.

Storefront glass, Ryan's Wake, River Str
Elizabeth Steckley (Beth)

Construction Management

Ms. Steckley has been with TAP for over thirty years. She has acted as Construction Administrator, serving as the architect’s representative in the field with duties that include coordinating construction completion in accord with the project documents and facilitating communication between clients and contractors to ensure compliance.  She also assists with the development of contract documents, including estimating, drafting, and product specifying.  In recent years she has worked with local land banks to assess the condition of vacant buildings and developed construction documents to stabilize for future redevelopment. Beth is interested in working with senior citizen homeowners to assess and modify their living situation in areas such as safety and weatherization, so that they may remain in their homes as long as possible.

Joel Altschul, R.A.

Volunteer Architect

Mr. Altschul has been a practicing architect for over 40 years. He formerly worked for New York State at the Office of General Services, designing a variety of large and small buildings for various state agencies. He also worked until his retirement for the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities where he was responsible for the safe design and use of all facilities for people with disabilities, both residential and day services. In that position, Mr. Altschul worked with voluntary agencies across New York serving the disabled to ensure that their architects and other staff understood and implemented safe and appropriate designs for their clients.

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Roberta Singleton (Berta)

Community Engagement Manager

Mrs. Singleton joined the TAP team in 2018, she has a background in Event Planning, Community Programming and Restaurant Management. She is a graduate from Brockport State University of New York for Communications and Recreation and Leisure Studies. She is a Co-Founder and creator of Power Breakfast Club which provides structure, accountability and community to the capital region. Roberta’s main vision is to create spaces that bring all types of people together. She has a passion for people, community, and advocating for accessibility in all forms to those within marginalized groups who are not usually afforded, information, resources and opportunities.

Daniel Morrissey


Daniel was a community organizer involved in keeping hydraulic fracking out of New York State and a regional leader of the environmental/climate movement, Occupy Albany, and the Fight for $15 economic justice campaign. Now back in school, Daniel studies Building Sciences in the School of Architecture and Design, Innovation, and Society in the Science and Technology Studies Department within the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The latter leverages Daniel’s passion for political and economic change applied in products, services, organizations, and social systems, emphasizing participatory design and ethnographic research, through which egalitarian work relations can manifest. Daniel is an avid cyclist, uses she and he pronouns, and has a cat named Azula.

Virginia Gokhale, C.P.A.

Director of Finance

Ms. Gokhale has worked in non-profit and small business accounting and financial management for over 30 years. Joining the TAP staff in 2019, Virginia brings her passion and commitment to sound and transparent financial practices in support of the mission and the craft of architectural preservation and smart, sustainable and community-building urban planning.

Shayne Bornt


Shayne Bornt spent over 15 years as a Carpenter, framing about 140 homes in his career. He studied Technology and received a Bachelor degree from the State University at Delhi. Shayne Always had an interest in volunteering and giving back to the community, he volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and for the Appalachia Service Project in Virginia each year. Shayne decide to make a career change and to continue his Studies at SUNY Delhi but this time aiming for a another degree in Architectural Design and Building, right now he looks forward to getting his Architectural License.  

Valerie Kwart


Ms. Kwart is an architectural intern pursuing her architectural license. She is a recent graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, earning a B.Arch. and a minor in Electronic Arts. Since joining TAP in 2019, she has assisted in the drafting and documentation of both smaller, and larger, scale residential projects. Ms. Kwart, has experience in research into alternative materials and design of mixed use buildings and rooftop gardens. Her other interests include architectural codes, urban green spaces, and apiaries. Outside of her architectural work, Ms. Kwart enjoys a variety of hobbies, including car repair and mushroom foraging.

Over the years, many dozens of people have worked or volunteered to advance TAP's mission. We are grateful to each and every one.  See our ABOUT page to learn more about TAP's long history.

Joe Fama

Retired Executive Director

Chico Christopher

Architect 1958-2017

Barbara Fama

Retired C.F.O.O.

Joe was the first paid employee and long-time Executive Director of TAP. Joe's passion for historic architecture made Troy the per-fect home for him. He moved here to attend RPI in 1966 and never left.  


For almost 50 years, Joe has been instrumental in his support and service to Troy and the local community. He was the architect for countless projects restoring historic buildings, improving streets and communities, and helping "the little  guy"  access  decent  housing and establish wealth through property ownership.

Joe retired from TAP after 46 years of service in 2015, and worked as Executive Director of the Troy Community Land Bank for the next two years before enjoying his full retirement.

"Joe is a man of strong opinions and creative ideas, he has provided assistance to hundreds of organizations and residents on issues such as code and zoning regulations, historic preservation, community stabilization and much, much more."        Hilary Lamishaw, TRIP

George Stephen, "Chico",  Christopher was the second paid employee at TAP and  continued as a Project Architect on staff for forty-six years.  His life's work was committed to improving the homes and communities of people less advantaged than himself. 


His boundless passion was urban horticulture and gardening.  He was a volunteer Master Gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension, helping  others  understand the importance of urban agriculture,  sustainable  landscape,  and the urban tree canopy.  His efforts initiated Troy's Urban Forestry Advisory Board and an RPI Campus Arboretum.  He passed away in January of 2017.   We honor his memory with "Chico's GIFT", a fund  supporting Green Infrastructure in Troy.  Chico made friends easily and never forgot a face.  He was a creative and practical man who lived a simple life.  He built networks of friends and colleagues, and he tended to them constantly,  as a good gardener would.

Barbara Fama, who brought the utmost precision and care to her position as TAP’s chief financial officer, retired on May 31, 2017 after more than 40 years of service.

Barb began her career at TAP in 1974 as a volunteer, at the same time working at TRIP as part-time office manager.  Since 1977, Barb oversaw all aspects of TAP’s operations from the weekly coffee order to the annual audit. She acted as liaison to the board and multiple funding institutions. She managed the finances for School 10, the Rice Building Inc., Empty Bowls and Breathing Lights.

“Barb’s attention to detail assured the fiscal health of TAP and the well-being of our employees, making possible the delivery of excellent architectural services.”

"A man defined  by those whose lives he touched. Innumerable people from all walks of life benefited from his freidnship and caring nature. He lives on in all our hearts."

Alice Rose


John Holehan

John Pasicznyk


Kevin Glasheen


Patrick Harris Jr.


Tim Bell


Nancy Klepch 


Olivia Brazee
Caroline Nagy
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