Laurie Beckelman, Partner
Laurie founded Beckelman+Capalino with James Capalino in 2005 in response to strong demand from the arts, education, and historic preservation not-for-profits to provide high-quality strategic planning and project management services.
Prior to founding Beckelman+Capalino, Laurie served as the Director of the New Building Program for the Museum of Art & Design at Columbus Circle. Previously, she was Deputy Director for Special Projects for the Guggenheim Foundation, where she was responsible for the proposed Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum at Wall Street and the East River in Manhattan. Laurie served as the Vice President for the World Monuments Fund, a private, global, not-for-profit organization founded in response to the accelerating destruction of important artistic treasures throughout the world. She was the Executive Director of The Joseph Papp Public Theater and Vice President of LaSalle Partners, where she managed the plan for the redevelopment of Grand Central Terminal, and advised the Empire State Development Corporation on the redevelopment of 42nd Street. Laurie was appointed Chair and Commissioner of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission by Mayor David N. Dinkins and continued as Chair under Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. Before that she was Executive Director of the New York Landmarks Conservancy.
Laurie was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and served as a member of the GSD’s Alumni Council. She studied for a Master’s degree at New York University’s Graduate School of Public Administration, and received her Bachelor of Arts and Science from Boston University. She is a member of numerous boards of directors including Performa, the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, the Advisory Council of the New York Landmarks Conservancy, and the Honorary Council of the Public Theater.
James F. Capalino, Partner
Jim Capalino is recognized as one of New York’s premier urban problem-solving strategists. His background combines senior management roles in government, public relations, real estate, and construction management, with extensive public sector experience at senior levels of New York City government.
Jim’s government career began in 1972 when he joined the staff of Congressman Edward I. Koch. In 1977, he co-managed the mayoral campaign of Congressman Koch when he was elected the 105th Mayor of the City of New York. He was named Commissioner of General Services, a 2,000+ employee, $750 million agency, at the age of 28 and is still, the youngest commissioner in City’s history. Jim managed the Mayor’s successful third term re-election, which he won by the largest margin in the City’s history.
Jim holds an M.A. in Management and Urban Affairs from the New School University, and a B.A. in Political Science, cum laude, from Colgate University. He is a founding member of the Board of Directors of Friends of the High Line and currently sits on that board. He was also a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Hudson River Park.
Mimi Taft, Principal
Mimi joined Beckelman+Capalino as a principal in 2007. She works directly and collaboratively with Laurie Beckelman on all of Beckelman+Capalino’s projects providing a variety of organizational and writing services to the firm's Clients.
Mimi served as Director of Exhibitions, Publications and Alumni Fund Raising at the Yale University Graduate School of Art; Director of Publicity at Gwathmey Siegel and Associates; as the Design Manager at Knoll International; and the Coordinator of Public Relations at the Katonah Museum of Art. At the Katonah Museum of Art she was responsible for creating and executing several public programs including: a one day symposium Edward Larrabee Barnes: A Celebration of His Life and Career (participants included Charles Gwathmey, Robert Siegel, Toshiko Mori, and Terence Riley); The Power of the Critic (a panel discussion moderated by Donald Kuspit with Janet Maslin, Anne Midgette, and John Simon); and Suburban Shorts (a reading of short stories responding to the Museum's exhibition I 'HEART' the 'Burbs with the actors Stanley Tucci and John Lloyd). Her published works include the TriBeCa Cookbook: Seasonal Menus from New York's Most Renowned Restaurant Neighborhood and The Stanley Tucci Cookbook, as well as a portfolio of articles written for regional and national publications.
Mimi graduated from Hampshire College having studied urban planning and history of architecture.
Mark P. Thompson, Principal
Using his decades of experience working for and alongside government agencies, Mark assists our clients in accomplishing difficult, complicated projects, ranging from securing funding for not-for-profits to project managing new homes for cultural institutions to helping clients navigate the complicated world of public approvals. Among his many noteworthy projects, Mark helped bring the internationally-renowned Museum of Chinese in America to completion.
After graduating from the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government and the University of Southern California, Mark worked for the City of New York at the Department of General Services and the Public Development Corporation. He spent several years working in the former Soviet Union, encouraging small business growth during a difficult transition era and facilitating investment and growth.
Having served three terms as Chair of Manhattan Community Board Six, Mark currently serves as Chair of the Board’s Parks, Landmarks & Cultural affairs Committee. He is a member of the board NY League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, President of the Samuel J. Tilden Democratic Club, Co-Chair of the Stonewall Democratic Club Board of Governors and is a member of multiple other civic and political clubs and boards. Mark has won awards for his outstanding public service from both Project Reach and Team Continuum.