Our vision is for Quarter Mile Smile to have a stable of both regular and occasional contributors writing in their various fields and passions. The intent of this blog is to educate, inspire, and provide tools for practitioners and those who may be in a position to influence decision makers.

Our goal is to publish solution-oriented and informative content from a broad range of disciplines accessible to non-specialists, avoiding industry jargon when possible. We also seek to avoid partisan language in favor of using the language of “options” and finding points of common connection.

Regular Contributors:

Tamara Nicholl-Smith

Tamara Nicholl-SmithQuarter Mile Smile founder Tamara Nicholl-Smith returned to Houston, Texas in August of 2013 after successfully serving as the Director of Downtown Business Recruitment and Engagement for the City of South Bend, Indiana. During her tenure in South Bend, she brought her experience as a change agent to bear in the economic development realm, launching inventive new programs designed to promote the downtown and fill empty downtown commercial spaces. In South Bend, she took advantage of her proximity to urban development experts at the Notre Dame School of Architecture, as well as at the Congress of New Urbanism, the Indiana Main Street program, and International Downtown Association to further develop her understanding of how to bring quality to urban space. The Quarter Mile Smile is a natural continuation of that endeavor.

Tamara’s background includes management consulting, project management, business and economic development, communications, and behavior change management.  She is currently serving as the Director of Communications for a regional economic development organization.

If you are interested in becoming a contributor, either regularly or on a one-time basis, please reach out to Tamara via a comment on this section or via a message on LinkedIn.

Pauline Marie Zeren

PaulineSmithPauline Marie Zeren is the 2013 recipient of the Rieger Graham Prize from The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, and will be in residence at the American Academy in Rome in 2015 as an Affiliated Fellow sponsored by that prize.

Current projects include design collaboration with her husband Neal Zeren, chronicled at, and an online notebook of research and design insights from the Tiber river at

Pauline’s professional experience includes work with City Development Consultants (Pittsburgh, PA), David M. Schwartz Architects (Washington D.C.), Devlin Architecture (Pittsburgh, PA), The Churches Conservation Trust (London, UK), and the Liturgical Institute of USML (Mundelein, IL).

Pauline received her professional and post-professional degrees in Architecture and Urbanism simultaneously from the University of Notre Dame in 2010. While at Notre Dame, Pauline received the Henry Adams Medal as well as several awards for student work.  Mrs. Zeren pursued additional training at the University of Notre Dame Rome Studies Program, and the Tuscan Classical Academy summer program in Architecture and Landscape Design.


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