New Leadership Delivering Results for Our Community
Born in Washington D.C., Meredith grew up inside the “Beltway” in Chevy Chase, Maryland. She is the youngest of six children from a large blended family. Both parents were dedicated to making their community a better place. Meredith’s mother is an environmental planner while her father was an engineer and transportation planner/engineer who both worked on public projects. They instilled in her a dedication and desire to serve and continually give back.
Meredith’s first visit to the Pacific Northwest was at the age of 15, with an outward bound style program. She spent the summer hiking in the Olympics and North Cascades, kayaking in the San Juan Islands, and to her surprise, she even summited Mount Rainier. The experiences of that summer and in particular climbing Rainier have stayed with Meredith and she remains grateful.
In 1998, she returned to the Pacific Northwest as an Evergreen College student in Olympia focusing on architecture. An architect encouraged Meredith to consider urban planning, since she excelled at big picture thinking. And in 2000, she changed majors and transferred to Evergreen Tacoma Campus to finish her bachelors in Urban Planning and Community Development. Meredith fell in love with the city and the people and has called Tacoma home ever since.
Following her graduation from Evergreen she worked for a few years as an environmental planner, and then decided to pursue a master's degree in organizational leadership from Antioch University in Seattle. After receiving her master's, she began work as a Project Manager for MRF Construction, managing all aspects of residential projects from scoping and permitting to subcontractor scheduling and client interactions.
After moving to Tacoma, she met and married Erik Neal. Erik is an engineer who specializes in designing structures for ports and waterways (docks, piers, terminals). Together they have two lively boys, Grant (age 8) and Reid (age 6). When Meredith became a mom, she worked with her employer to have a more flexible work schedule allowing her to increase her volunteer time, including chairing the auction for her children’s preschool and later serving as PTA board vice-chair at their elementary school. She loved getting involved and making a difference for her kids’ schools, and she realized that she wanted to make more of an impact on a larger community-wide scale. That’s when she applied for, and received an appointment to the City of Tacoma Planning Commission, next she joined the YWCA Pierce County Board, and recently became a part of the Forterra Regional Leadership Council.
A motto that has always stayed with Meredith was posted in the entry hall at Evergreen Tacoma, it said “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve.” Now she hopes to expand her service to our community as a Tacoma City Council member. She is passionate about making Tacoma the best possible city it can be. Her vision for the future includes vibrant neighborhoods with housing options at all levels , a strong economy with more living-wage jobs, well-funded schools where all our children succeed, and an unrivaled quality of life including a greener Tacoma with more trees and a transportation system that connects us all.