In the mid-1970s, he and his wife became disillusioned with American politics so they moved their young family to New Zealand in search of an alternative approach to peace, social justice and the environment. They found a comfortable home and welcoming community by the Tasman Sea and decided to stay.
As a dual US-New Zealand citizen, his professional planning career has taken him around the globe many times writing, studying and/or designing plans for governments, NGOs and businesses across the USA, Canada, the Caribbean, Great Britain, Europe, North Africa, China, Korea, Japan, Malaysia and the South pacific.
He has written plans for several US communities, the World Bank, the Japanese Aid Agency, a Gold Mine, the Sultan of Brunei, the Emperor of Ethiopia (just before he was killed) and for dozens of city, regional and national governments around the Pacific Rim including New Zealand, Australia, Samoa and Papua New Guinea. He has also been on the New Zealand Planning Institute’s Governing Board of Directors, written articles for several journals and helped win for BECA Consultants, his employer for much of this time, several professional planning awards.
Both his books, “Power, Chaos or Consensus?” and “The Old Man in the Bag” are about some of his professional and personal travels and the ideas he has come across working on the edge of political decision-making in various parts of the world, which have given him hope there could be a better future for us.
It was in Ethiopia where Ted first learned that even selfless good intentions don’t always leave those being “helped” with smiles on their faces; that life decisions are rarely ever black and white even though most of our public institutions currently force us to solve problems by first polarizing their possible solutions.
However, it was not until he spent two years in Samoa helping local communities prepare coastal management plans against sea level rise due to global warming using their centuries old consensus decision-making methods, that he finally understood just how there might be another way through the current global mess we now find ourselves in.