Our Team

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Lucas Ames

Founder, Board Chair

Lucas Ames is the Founder of Smart Cville and Associate Director of Organizational Systems and Technology at Global Online Academy (GOA). At GOA he is responsible for ensuring that the organization’s use of technology represents best practices in online teaching and learning and aligns with its mission and values. Leveraging data to obtain the best learning outcomes for students and utilizing APIs to extend online learning platforms are key parts of his role. Lucas strongly believes that technology has democratized civic engagement in a way that allows all citizens to help solve public problems. Lucas lives in the City with his wife, daughter, and son.

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Sarah Burke

Board Member

Sarah Burke owns and operates a mitigation and criminal defense investigation firm in Charlottesville, VA, specializing in capital murder cases. She works on federal and state cases throughout the country. Sarah works with defense attorneys in cases involving the death penalty to uncover and weave together evidence into a narrative that fully humanizes the defendant in a way that is often absent from the courtroom. Sarah is from Charlottesville and attended the University of Virginia. She was recently a volunteer appointee for Charlottesville’s Initial Police Civilian Review Board. The CRB was tasked with creating a model for civilian oversight of the Charlottesville Police Department. She values listening, justice, critical thinking and questioning of systems, working toward racial and social equity, putting ideas into action, and the power of community and relationships.

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Rick Hinton

Board Member

Rick Hinton is a technology entrepreneur and consultant working with analytics-focused startups and mature firms. His experience includes a healthcare workforce analytics start-up, a venture-backed firm focused on online investment and financial planning, an online political prediction market startup, and a leading Microsoft partner focused on cloud-based productivity solutions. He’s passionate about how design, data, and analytics can help solve some of our toughest societal challenges. Rick received an MBA from George Washington University and a BA in Government & Politics from the University of Maryland. He serves as a member of the leadership council for the Virginia Center for Health Innovation. A DC transplant, he lives in Charlottesville with his wife and dog and, on occasion, can be found running the hilly streets in town.

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Alpha Diallo

Board Member

Alpha Diallo is from Guinea, West Africa. Although he has spent the majority of his life in Virginia, Alpha’s passion in community innovation and development stem from his experiences living in Guinea. Since obtaining his Masters degree in Urban Planning from the University of Virginia, Alpha has had a keen interest in the intersection of data science and public good. Currently, he is a full-time Senior Data Analyst with Magellan Health, a managed health care company, and a Masters candidate in Computational Data Analytics. He also served as the first Smart Cville Program Director.

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Seth Ragosta

Board Vice Chair

Seth Ragosta is a litigation attorney who focuses on Family Law and Commercial litigation matters at Lenhart Pettit in Charlottesville. Before returning to Charlottesville, Seth worked for a multinational law firm on matters involving the largest technology companies in the world. Seth has experience with the practical uses of technology in the legal field, as well as the rules and laws governing various aspects of technology in commercial, personal and public realms. Seth is a county resident and passionate advocate for rational, open discourse about social justice and public policy issues, and believes technology can serve a key role in driving positive, fair and clear discussions about our public future.

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Aleena Haidari

Board Member

Aleena Haidari is a third-year student at the University of Virginia, where she majored in Global Development Studies with a concentration in Middle East and South Asia and minor in History. Her passion lies in working with non-profit and humanitarian organizations that advocate for equality and systemic changes globally. She has extensive experience in working as an analyst, researcher, writer, and interpreter for the Afghan community in Charlottesville. She is fluent in Persian/ Dari and is hoping to continue learning Spanish and Urdu. She was a part of the inaugural Center for Civic Innovation Fellowship.