Our History

The roots of UpDIG—Urban and Peri-urban Design Integration Group—stretch back to 2007 when our founders were working on parallel tracks in global development—Andy Vermouth in Cambridge working with iDE and MIT on market-based, affordable design efforts, and Jon Rodrigues at the Global Social Benefit Institute in Santa Clara. In 2011, on behalf of iDE and in partnership with RedLine Denver, we brought the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian “Design for the Other 90%” exhibit to Denver and began building the D90 Network which would later take up residence in Denver’s Posner Center for International Development.
In 2015 we formalized as an agency, carrying that same vision with us—to focus community and global development efforts toward sustainable business practices.
We believe that market-based solutions create the most lasting impact on individuals, communities, and the environment in both developed- and developing-world geographies, and we continue to focus our efforts on design and development for, and with, the 90 percent of people on the planet who have not traditionally been served by elite design efforts.
We have a head office in Denver and satellite offices in Cambridge, among other locations across the globe. Our staff are experts in organizational brand development, strategic communications, product and program design/realization/management, and better impact metrics for social enterprises in the food, agriculture, community development, energy, and WASH sectors.
Andrew Vermouth

Andrew Vermouth

Founder, Strategy / Communications

Andrew Vermouth has a 20-year background as a designer and creative director—agency and industry sides—for consumer brands and user experience in both private and nonprofit sectors. From 2007 to 2013, he led global brand and hybrid value chain marketing for international market-based development enterprise, iDE, winner of the inaugural Nestle Prize in Creating Shared Value. Andrew has extensive knowledge of small-scale irrigation farming, local market creation, and green technologies, as well as expertise in media mobilization for food security and sustainable design/development issue areas. Previously, he spent 10 years in commercial architecture at firms in Boston, and as an art director for The MIT Press. Andrew is also an accomplished ethnographic filmmaker with broadcast credits, festivals screenings, and gallery installations at venues in the U.S., Europe, South America, and Asia.

Rob Stupay

Rob Stupay

Platform Architecture / Development

Hailing from Cleveland and schooled at Brown and MIT, Rob brings 15 years of programming and design experience to UpDIG. During the dot.com boom, he worked at NBC in New York as a designer, programmer, and project manager. Since 2002 his experience has ranged from corporate identity to web development for both commercial and nonprofit enterprises. His clients have included The California Water District, NBC News, Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project, NYU Department of Biology, The Learning Games Network, Bourrelier Education, Astra Zeneca, Gilead Sciences, and Art After Auction.

Jon Rodrigues

Jon Rodrigues

Founder, Business Intelligence

Jon has worked with small businesses and nonprofit organizations for more than 10 years, and has extensive knowledge of early stage organizational development, agricultural value chains, decentralized energy systems, finance for social enterprises, and new market entry strategy. As a founding partner in XayanIT, he managed an information technology services company with customers in the Middle East, Australia, and the United States. From 2008 to 2010, he provided planning, analysis, and strategy to the leadership and participants in the Global Social Benefit Institute, a social enterprise incubator in California. And, with Nokero, a solar device manufacturer, he built a direct distribution channel to Kenya and managed relationships with distributors around the world. Jon has worked in Australia, Bangladesh, Kenya, and Senegal.

Pierre Pannetier

Pierre Pannetier

Platform Architecture / Development

Pierre Pannetier has over 20 years experience in computer programming. He is a 10 year veteran of Yahoo! France & Yahoo! Sports and also worked at JP Morgan. More recently he has been leading programming teams on development of business critical websites, e-commerce, and cartographic web applications. Some of his more recent clients include Auction After Sale, Bouygues Télécom, and A.S.O Forfaits. As an avid cyclist, he has built sites for Tour de France and Paris-Dakar (the renowned auto rally that now takes place in South America). Pierre has developed sites with Perl, PHP, Python and JS, and has also built out sites in Prestashop and WordPress templates. He is a native French speaker who speaks and codes in English.

Charles Kirya

Charles Kirya

Market Assessments

Charles Kirya is the founder and CEO of Market Entry Agency International (MEAINTL.C0M). He was born and raised in Uganda before moving to the USA in 2001. In Uganda, Charles worked as a journalist for the Monitor Newspaper for 6 years, Hines Uganda Ministries, and NIKIMU Mixed Farm. He has over 13 years of sales experience helping companies to enter developing markets. In the U.S., Charles has worked with Project CURE Government Relations, and Nokero International Ltd. as a global account manager. Charles has spent extensive time in East Africa on market research, sales, and distribution of solar products, having developed relationships with distributors in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Southern Sudan, and Rwanda. Charles holds a Masters in International Enterprise Management from University of Maryland University College.

Michael Alcazar

Michael Alcazar

Integrated Systems Design

Michael is a certified permaculturist, artist, designer, builder, outdoor experiential facilitator, movement fundamental specialist, educator, and US Army veteran. Almost three decades of experience in these roles has provided the unique skill set he brings to UpDIG as Integrated Systems Designer, and as the developer of Green Lab Urban Education (GLUE), an experiential education program in which high school students observe and deconstruct their current relationship with food and agriculture, and then participate in their local food system as farmers, marketers, and food-centered community event producers. Michael is currently working on several projects, including a sustainable policy and community garden organization in the city of Denver, an Eco-village with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, Sustainable housing and workshops for the Black Mesa Band of Navajo people in New Mexico, and '1 Million Trees 4 Haiti' in the Caribbean.

A huge thank you to UpDIG for an incredible job on creating a world-class brand platform and website specifically designed to be interactive and accessible to Aywa members and collaborators. For the first time, this will allow valuable online contributions to come directly from the field in Senegal..."

Dany Bode, Aywa International