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GoGreen Conference Austin

2012 Keynote Speakers

Evan Smith | Editor in Chief, CEO, The Texas Tribune

Evan Smith

Evan Smith is the Editor in Chief and CEO of The Texas Tribune, a non-profit, non-partisan digital news organization based in Austin. The Tribune's deep coverage of Texas politics and public policy can be found at its website, texastribune.org; in the pages of the New York Times; and in newspapers and on TV and radio stations across the state. In not quite two years in operation, the Tribune has won two Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association, a general excellence award from the Online News Association and a Knight-Batten award for innovations in journalism. Before co-founding the Tribune, Evan spent nearly 18 years at Texas Monthly, including eight years as Editor and a year as President and Editor in Chief. On his watch, Texas Monthly twice won the National Magazine Award for General Excellence.

Trennis Jones | Senior Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and Corporate Responsibility Officer, Seton Healthcare Family

Trennis Jones

Trennis Jones is a senior executive serving one of central Texas’ largest and most successful non-profit organizations, and for the past four years he has been responsible for risk management, security, organizational development, talent management, diversity, and human resource services which include benefits, employment, compensation, and health insurances. His commitment to making healthcare accessible to the most vulnerable people in his community stretches back to August of 1998 when he began his work serving on the Seton Board of Trustees until ultimately joining the organization in 2007. Prior to joining the Seton Healthcare Family, Trennis spent 5 years as Senior Vice President/National Managing Director for the Higher Education Market of AIG VALIC, one of the nation’s largest companies specializing in retirement planning services. Preceding his time at AIG, he was a principal with Barclays Global Investors, the world’s largest tax exempt money manager as well as Chief Human Resources Executive for the University of Texas System’s nine academic and six medical institutions.

Trisa Thompson | VP, Corporate Responsibility, Dell Inc.

Trisa Thompson

Trisa Thompson is the Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at Dell, with responsibility for Dell’s global giving and sustainability. Previously at Dell, Trisa served as Vice President, Legal, for the Global Operations, Marketing and Product Groups, and was a member of the Legal Team for 12 years. She was the founding co-chair of the Women’s Networking Group, W.I.S.E., at Dell, and also serves on the PRIDE Executive Board. She is also a member of the Global Giving and Sustainability Councils. Trisa joined Dell in June 1998 from the Washington, D.C. office of Seyfarth, Shaw. Trisa was a partner with Seyfarth in its Government Procurement Law practice. She specialized in federal, state, and local procurement law and litigation. Outside of the office, Trisa has served on the Annual Campaign Committee for the United Way in Central Texas for several years in different roles, and is a past Chair of the Women’s Giving Network and a member of the Community Forum. She is a founding and former member of the Austin/San Antonio Chapter of the Texas General Counsel Forum. Trisa also serves on the Advisory Board for Law and Technology News. She also serves on the Capital Campaign Board for Zachary Scott Theatre, and is a past President of the Board of that organization. In addition, she is the chair of the Board for KLRU, and formerly served on the Board for the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. She also serves on the board of I Live Here, I Give Here, an Austin organization promoting philanthropy in Austin. Trisa was a 2005 finalist for the Profiles In Power award from the Austin Business Journal. Trisa is the 2008 recipient of the United Way’s Volunteer of the Year Award.

Cris Eugster | Executive Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, CPS Energy

Cris Eugster

Cris Eugster is the Executive Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer for CPS Energy, serving the greater San Antonio community. He leads the transformation for CPS Energy to drive greater energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, distributed generation, and consumer participation and involvement. Prior to coming to San Antonio, Cris was the first Chief Officer for Sustainable Growth for the City of Houston, reporting to Mayor Bill White. Previously, Cris was a Partner with McKinsey & Company an international management consulting firm. He received his PhD and MS in Electrical Engineering from MIT and his BS in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University.

2012 Emcee

Heather Ladage | Publisher, Austin Business Journal

Heather Ladage

Heather Ladage fell in love with the media industry as a copy writer at Indiana University's award-winning newspaper, the Indiana Daily Student. She has since worked in television, for print magazines and newspapers and now across multi media platforms. Ladage was named publisher of the Austin Business Journal in February 2012 and has spent the last decade with American City Business Journals where she won the Chairman's Eagle Award for Excellence in 2004, 2005 and 2007. She was the circulation and marketing director for the Austin Business Journal from 2001-2008 growing paid circulation by more than 25% over a 5-year period. The past four years she has held several positions at the corporate level including Circulation Sales Development Director, Regional Circulation Marketing Director and National Audience Development Director—Sales. She currently sits on the advisory boards for The National Association of Corporate Directors Texas Tricities Chapter and Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year Austin program.

2012 Featured Speakers

Joe Wilzbacher | Innovation Engineering Leader, Samsung

Joe Wilzbacher

Joe Wilzbacher has been in Austin, TX for the last 12 years spending all of them working at Samsung Austin Semiconductor. He has an engineering background and currently leads cost reduction and "Green Fab" projects for the site. He also leads a group of Innovation Engineers who analyze operational data driving improvements in productivity. Joe is an MBA candidate in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco, CA. In addition to managing a carbon emissions reduction effort, Joe is also developing a long term sustainability plan for the site. Mr. Wilzbacher earned bachelors degrees from Washington University (in St. Louis) in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering. He is expected to graduate with an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School in May of 2012.

Catherine Brown | Facility Manager, Texas Mutual Insurance Company

Catherine Brown

Catherine has been the Facility Manager for Texas Mutual Insurance Company for the past 12 years. Their offices are located in Austin, Dallas, Lubbock and Houston. She manages two Texas Mutual owned and occupied buildings and three lease spaces as well as physical and surveillance security, strategic facility planning, facility operations, building operations, parking, mail, freight, copy shop, gym and cafe services. She holds the Facility Management Professional designation and is a member of BOMA-Austin and IFMA-Austin.

Karl Rábago | Vice President of Distributed Energy Services, Austin Energy

Karl Rabágo

Karl R. Rábago joined Austin Energy in March 2009. As Vice President of Distributed Energy Services, he leads the utility's energy efficiency, green building, market research, key accounts, electric transportation, and emerging technology groups. He also serves as Austin Energy's executive sponsor to the Pecan Street smart grid demonstration project. Rábago has more than 20 years experience in electric utility policy and regulation. Karl chairs the board for the Center for Resource Solutions and helped create the "Green-e" Certification program for renewable energy products. Prior to joining Austin Energy, he was director of global regulatory affairs for the AES Corporation and director of government affairs for AES Wind, served as Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US Department of Energy, was Texas' first Hispanic Public Utility Commissioner for the Public Utility Commission of Texas, was Sustainability Leader with NatureWorks, LLC, a pioneering bioplastics company, and was Managing Director and Principal at the prestigious Rocky Mountain Institute.

Jessica King | Division Manager, Strategic Initiatives Division, Austin Resource Recovery, City of Austin

Jessica Kingpetcharat-Bittner

Jessica Kingpetcharat-Bittner is the Strategic Initiatives Division Manager for Austin Resource Recovery, a City of Austin Service. The Strategic Initiatives Division is responsible for Zero Waste program development, commercial waste reduction assistance, education and outreach, marketing, and long-range planning to implement the City of Austin's Zero Waste Strategic Plan. After graduating from Trinity University with a Bachelor in Political Science and a minor in Environmental Studies, Jessica worked as a legal assistant in the Litigation Division of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. In 2002, she received her Master in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School at the University of Texas and turned her attention to local environmental policy.

Jose Beceiro | Director of Clean Energy, Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce

Jose Beceiro

Beceiro works directly with Austin regional cleantech stakeholders including the City of Austin, Austin Energy, the UT Austin Clean Energy Incubator, the Austin Chamber Clean Energy Council, the State of Texas, and cleantech industry stakeholders in a collaborative effort to build Austin's clean energy ecosystem into the "Clean Energy Capital of the World." Beceiro also serves as a founding board member of the Pecan Street, Inc. organization. Pecan Street is the nation's most advanced smart grid research consortium initiative. As the organization's board treasurer, Beceiro coordinates with other board members representing the City of Austin, Austin Energy, Environmental Defense Fund, and UT Austin on executing the Pecan Street mission of designing a new smart grid energy delivery system and utility business model in Austin, TX.

Paula Ivey | President, The CSR Group, LLC

Paula Ivey

The CSRG has played a leadership role globally in this rapidly evolving field. Paula has worked with dozens of Fortune 500 companies on Sustainability/CSR Strategy, supply chain management, Stakeholder Engagement, Sustainability Reporting, and CSR Communications. She has extensive knowledge of the leading metrics of sustainability and is currently writing a book on Supply Chain Responsibility with her publisher, Berrett-Koehler. Paula has been on the faculty at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas as well as held numerous speaking engagements nationally and internationally.

Tim Mohin | Director, Corporate Responsibility, AMD

Tim Mohin

Tim Mohin joined AMD as the Director of Corporate Responsibility in December 2009. In this role, Tim is responsible for the development of the company’s corporate responsibility strategy, oversees program execution, and heads the company’s cross-functional corporate responsibility advisory council. Tim also co-chairs a multi-stakeholder, industry-wide effort to assist with the implementation of federal legislation requiring the elimination of conflict minerals in electronics products. Prior to joining AMD, Tim led Apple’s Supplier Responsibility program; spent 12 years in multiple sustainability management positions with Intel Corporation, and worked for ten years in the Federal government with both the U.S. Senate and U.S. EPA. Tim serves on the board of directors of Net Impact and the Green Grid. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology from the State University of New York and a Masters degree in Environmental Management from Duke University.

Natalie Cofield | President & CEO, Capital City African American Chamber of Commerce

Natalie Cofield

Cofield is a professional who brings years of expertise in strategic planning, program development and management, public affairs and marketing for businesses, non-profit, micro-finance/enterprise, economic development entities. She has worked in major global markets including: Washington, DC, Los Angeles, CA, New York, NY and London, UK. She is a researcher, writer and published author on topics of entrepreneurship and industry development. In 2009, Cofield published The Pursuit of Entrepreneurship: a Guide For African American Entrepreneurs, commissioned by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and was a contributing author for the 2011 National Urban League State of Black America Report.

John King | Project Manager, CleanTX Foundation

John King

John works for the CleanTX Foundation, a non-profit that promotes Texas-based clean technology and sustainable energy entrepreneurship. CleanTX provides networking opportunities and educational content to empower professionals and enables executives, entrepreneurs, investors, analysts, and policy-makers to share real world experiences and challenges. John joins the CleanTX Foundation from The Texas Foundation for Innovative Communities (TFIC), a non-profit funded by the state of Texas to develop Texas' clean tech industry. As a Project Manager for TFIC, John was responsible for coordinating and implementing various Foundation deliverables, primarily focused on promoting initiatives intended to significantly accelerate the way Texas innovates, competes, and creates high-wage jobs in the emerging energy industries.

Gina LaMotte | Founding Executive Director, EcoRise Youth Innovations

Gina LaMotte

Gina LaMotte has over 13 years experience working in education and sustainable development. Five of these years she worked internationally with programs targeting at-risk youth in Brazil, India, Nepal and Guatemala. She has also worked on various innovative educational initiatives in the U.S. including adult immigrant programs in Harlem, New York, and Native American youth programs in Taos, New Mexico. While in graduate school at the University of Texas in Austin, Gina studied sustainable development and social entrepreneurship and completed the Certificate Program for Non-Profit Studies at the LBJ School for Public Affairs. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Education from Global College. In 2008, Gina became the founding Executive Director of EcoRise Youth Innovations (formerly UpLift Austin), a social venture which teaches environmental sustainability and design innovation within public schools. Gina is actively involved in Austin ISD's Environmental Stewardship Committee and co-founded the Consortium for Green Schools in Austin, Texas.

Catlin Whitington | Planner, South by Southwest Festivals and Conferences

Catlin Whitington

Catlin Whitington is a planner with South by Southwest Festivals and Conferences and has a BA from the University of Texas at Austin in Urban Studies. He has worked to produce events in public places in Austin, Texas for 9 years and studied the effects of temporary infrastructure shock and peak demand that results from the influx of attendees during large events, particularly how events create downstream markets for service providers in waste management.

Karen Guz | Director of Conservation, San Antonio Water System

Karen Guz

Karen Guz is the Director of Conservation at San Antonio Water System. Her department is responsible for working with customers to acquire one billion gallons of water each year through proactive conservation education and incentive programs. Karen serves on several state and national water leadership committees including the Water Conservation Advisory Council and the Irrigator Advisory Council. She is a licensed irrigator and a Master Gardener. Karen has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Michigan and a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina in Charlotte.

Shelton Green | Founder, Good & Fair Clothing

Shelton Green

Why did he start Good & Fair? Even in his favorite pair of jeans, Shelton Green just wasn't comfortable. He didn't like the idea of people across the planet earning less than their work was worth for the sake of his tee shirts—or his button-downs or boxers. So he resolved in 2008 to go a year without buying clothes, rather than support an industry that often pays unfair wages. Now he's doing his best to steer clear of the global problems linked to the mass production of "fast fashion." Continuing to keep that commitment isn't always easy—but it's worth it. That's why Shelton founded Good & Fair Clothing. Finding clothing options that are good to the earth and fair to people can be tough and he wanted to simplify the search. G&FC clothes are designed with organic materials from collar to cuff and are produced with fair trade certified production.

Amy George | Founder and Chief Ozone Officer, BlueAvocado

Amy George

Amy George brings 20 years of experience in business, marketing, sales and sustainability to the role of Chief Ozone Officer for BlueAvocado, a firm that distributes lifestyle products that inspire change and reduce our environmental impact. George helped create BlueAvocado's triple-bottom line vision, develop the company's "One Planet" sustainability charter, and author its first sustainability report. In addition, George manages partnerships with national retailers including The Container Store, Whole Foods, and Bloomingdales, helping many retailers pioneer or grow their sustainable products category. As a Board member with the Sustainable Food Center, George was instrumental in founding the Austin Farmer's Market, ranked one of the top markets in the country. To date, the BlueAvocado has helped thousands avoid more than 46 million disposable items and upcycle more than 800 thousand post-consumer bottles into beautiful products, and enabled more than 300 loans to women microentrepreneurs around the world.

Michael Personett | Assistant Director, Watershed Protection, City of Austin

Michael Personett

Mr. Personett has had a diverse professional career spanning more than 30 years in the "water industry" with experience at the local, regional, and state levels of government and in the private sector. The focus of his career has been in the field of water resources planning and management. He is recognized as an expert in regional water supply planning, urban and agricultural water conservation, and drought contingency planning. Mike is currently an Assistant Director of the City of Austin's Watershed Protection Department. In this capacity he is responsible for various environmental protection programs including water quality education, surface and groundwater quality monitoring and evaluation, endangered species protection, stormwater discharge permitting, spills and complaints response, environmental remediation, stream restoration, and stormwater treatment. Mike has a Masters Degree in Public Affairs from the L.B.J. School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin.

Melissa Gray | Director of Sustainability, Rackspace Hosting

Melissa Gray

Melissa is responsible for driving the Global strategy to integrate environmental stewardship into the company. She has oversight to the Supply Chain, Product Development and Data Center design. Melissa joined Rackspace in October of 2009 bringing 15 years of experience in Enterprise Operations to guide development of Rackspace's multi-year strategic plan, working directly for the CEO. Prior to Rackspace, Gray has held various positions in Business Strategy and Operations for a Fortune 5 company, transforming complex legacy businesses through innovation. She holds 3 US and UE Software Patents.

Chris Krager, AIA | Principal, KRDB

Chris Krager

Chris Krager graduated from Michigan State University Business School in 1990 and worked in mortgage banking and real estate in Chicago for five years. He received his March First Professional from the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture in 1999. Krager formed KRDB (Krager & Associates, Design/Build), a develop/design/build company, in 2001 with the intention of creating financially accessible architecture, while focusing on sustainability in the urban environment. KRDB's work has been recognized locally and nationally with, amongst others, winning the AIA's prestiguous Firm Achievement Award in its first year (2001). Their work has been published in the New York Times, Dwell, Architectural Record, Residential Architect, and Metropolitan Home amongst others. KRDB has been featured in Karrie Jacob's book The Perfect $100,000 House, Susanna Sirefman's Modern Shoestring, and Kira Obolensky's Good House, Cheap House. Sol (Solutions Oriented Living) KRDB's most ambitious project to date, a 40 unit, net-zero project in East Austin, is currently under construction and 75% complete. Going beyond green building, Sol proposes a holistic model of sustainability that includes the social, economic and environmental elements of community.

Iga Hallberg | Principal, PivotMKTG, Advisor to Incenergy & HelioVolt

Iga Hallberg

Iga Hallberg is determined to help develop Austin as the "Cleantech Capital of the World". Her practice is focused on working with cleantech start-ups during pivotal stages of their development and growth. Iga is the former Vice President of Business Development and Marketing for HelioVolt Corporation, a next generation thin film solar panel manufacturer. During her time with HelioVolt, Iga was critical in raising over $200M in venture funding to launch the company's first operations in Austin. Prior to HelioVolt, Iga was a General Manager with NovaCentrix, an innovative nanoparticle application developer for the printable electronics industry. Her career in launching new products and markets started at 3M, where she held multiple marketing and business roles in the company's offices in Austin, St. Paul and Brussels. She is an active member of the Cleantech Council at the Austin Chamber of Commerce, a member of the O2 Committee for the American Lung Association, and a frequent speaker on the topic of fund raising for cleantech start-ups, and general solar industry trends.

Mike Hoffman | Regional Business Line Leader, Energy Management/ Sustainability, URS Corporation

Mike Hoffman

Mr. Hoffman has spent the majority of his consulting career working in the fields of sustainability planning, energy management, greenhouse gas emissions inventories, and renewable energy. He serves as the Regional Leader for the Energy Management and Sustainability Business Lines and also coordinates the region's efforts toward improving URS' internal sustainability. Mr. Hoffman specializes in energy management program design and implementation, energy data analytics, greenhouse gas inventory development, sustainability planning and metrics development, and utility-scale solar PV project technology assessment, economic modeling and project management. He recently managed the development of the City of Tulsa's first comprehensive Sustainability Plan which won a silver medal in the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) 2012 Engineering Excellence Awards.

Lucia Athens | Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Austin

Lucia Athens

Lucia Athens, Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Austin, has served as a leader in the green building movement for two decades. Recognized internationally as an authority on green practices, she is a licensed landscape architect as well as author of the book, “Building an Emerald City: A Guide to Creating Green Building Policies,” published in 2010 by Island Press. She began her career on the development team for the City of Austin’s Green Builder program, the first such program in the United States. Since then, she has served on many prestigious and policy-making boards including the National Board of Directors of the U.S. Green Building Council as well as chair of its Technical Committee on Site and Water Issues during the development of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.

Geoff Cline | Senior Attorney, Fowler Law Firm

Geoff Cline

Geoff Cline is a Senior Attorney with the Fowler Law Firm in Austin, TX, where his practice focuses on representation of creative individuals, businesses and organizations. He previously served as General Counsel for Patagonia, Inc. and Associate General Counsel for the House of Blues. Geoff's professional experience also includes work as a business strategist, writer and consultant in corporate social responsibility and organizational development. He is a former professional musician, graduate film student and the co-founder and Business Affairs executive of an independent record label, which is how he got to Austin ten years ago.

Drema Gross | Water Conservation Division Manager, Austin Water Utility

Drema Gross

Drema Gross holds degrees from Duke University in both environmental policy and English, obtained with the career goal of communicating clearly about complex science and environmental issues. Instead, she got into government work. A former radio DJ, music critic, retail clothing advisor, grocery store checker, accounting assistant and graphic designer with experience in energy and air quality issues, Ms. Gross has been with Austin Water since 2003. A native of southwest Virginia, she lives in northwest Austin with her husband, two children, a cat and a newly acquired dog. In her current role as manager of Austin's water conservation programs, Drema usually divides her time between meetings, meetings to prepare for meetings, and meetings to discuss what happened in other meetings. Which explains why, whenever she can, she enjoys speaking at conferences.

Gregorio Casar | Business Liaison, Workers Defense Project

Gregorio Casar

Gregorio Casar is the Business Liaison with the Workers Defense Project. He works alongside WDP's membership of almost 1,000 low-income workers to give voice to these working families' needs and employment issues. After working in the Charlottesville, Virginia school system, he became interested in how responsible business practices could positively impact the educations of at-risk youth and create opportunities for their communities. He now works alongside construction businesses and developers to provide Green Jobs certification, encouraging sustainable employment practices and high-quality construction.

Valerie Broussard | Forager, W Austin

Valerie Broussard

A Louisiana native, Valerie Broussard spent 11 years in New York City as a chef, food stylist and writer. She then completed an MA in Food Culture and Communications from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Parma, Italy before moving to Austin, where she most recently was the Organic Food Coordinator at Barr Mansion and volunteers as Slow Food Austin's Biodiversity Chair. Valerie joined W Austin as Forager, sourcing local ingredients from nearby farms, and cheeses, mustards and even hot sauce from artisanal producers.

Trenzio Turner | Senior Vice President and Group Account Director, Sanders\Wingo

Trenzio Turner

Trenzio Turner, a partner, senior vice president and group account director at Austin's Sanders\Wingo, made his name in the communications industry working on a wide range of client categories, including AT&T, Lennox Industries and U.S. Air Force. His background in media services offers clients and colleagues a unique perspective, especially with his recent work during the rapid expansion of mobile communication. No stranger to green messaging, Turner worked with Chevrolet's Gas Friendly to Gas Free campaign, focusing on the company's promotion of fuel efficiencies and hybrid technology.

Brandi Clark Burton | Founder & Chief Inspiration Officer, Austin EcoNetwork

Brandi Clark Burton

Brandi Clark Burton, founder of the Austin EcoNetwork has been called a "Human switchboard for all things green in Austin" by the Austin Chronicle. She is an inspiring public speaker, trusted advisor to elected officials and City leaders, and a serial social entrepreneur who has founded or launched more than a dozen companies, organizations and first-time events. All this activity has garnered her numerous awards and accolades such as being voted "Best Environmentalist in Austin" (three times) in the Austin Chronicle Reader's Poll, earning the Austin Business Journal's 2009 Green Advocate Award, winning the 2009 Austin Under 40 Community Service Award, receiving the City of Austin's 2011 Environmental Awareness Award (Individual Achievement), and most recently being awarded the 2012 International Women's Day Award for the Environment.

Marc Coudert, LEED AP | Environmental Program Coordinator, Office of Sustainability, City of Austin

Marc Coudert

Marc Coudert is an Environmental Programs Coordinator with the City of Austin Office of Sustainability, where he helped create the Austin Green Business Leaders and the local carbon offsets Challenge Grant. Before moving to Austin in 2009, Marc was an urban planner and intern architect in Upstate New York and California where he helped local officials, developers and citizen groups achieve common sustainable goals. Along the way, Marc has incorporated environmental issues into his professional and extracurricular activities. He organized the Green Material Expos in Troy, New York with the American Institute of Architects and lectured on issues of sustainable urban design as an adjunct professor at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute School of Architecture.

Jennifer Walls | Deputy Fleet Officer, City of Austin

Jennifer Walls

Jennifer Walls is the Deputy Fleet Officer for the City of Austin. Her responsibilities include management oversight of the Vehicle Maintenance, and Vehicle support divisions of Fleet. These divisions are responsible for the acquisition, maintenance, fueling and disposal process for the city's 5400 vehicles and pieces of equipment. In her capacity as Deputy Fleet Officer Jennifer is responsible for implementing the City's environmental initiatives through the development of policies and procedures designed to reduce emissions in the city fleet. She has been a member of the Fleet team for 12 years and is a member of NAFA (National Association of Fleet Administrators) and a board member with RMFMA (Rocky Mountain Fleet Management Association). She has earned the CAFM (Certified Automotive Fleet Manager) designation.

Jim Walker | Director of Sustainability, University of Texas at Austin

Jim Walker

Jim Walker was appointed the Director of Sustainability for the University of Texas at Austin in April, 2009. The appointment furthers UT’s commitment to a greener campus and to integrating sustainable practices into daily operations, as well as to find solutions to challenges facing the campus and the broader urban area in which it exists. Jim works closely with the President's Sustainability Steering Committee and meets frequently with on- and off-campus stakeholders to extend existing sustainability efforts and identify new opportunities for collaboration. Since 2007 he also has been a Research Fellow at the Center for Sustainable Development at the University of Texas at Austin, School of Architecture.

Susan Ghertner | Director of Environmental Affairs, H-E-B

Susan Ghertner

Susan Ghertner is the Director of Environmental Affairs for H-E-B. In that role she is responsible for assuring that all facilities and stores are in compliance with federal, state, and local environmental regulations. She designs and manages H-E-B's award-winning environmental stewardship initiatives and leads the company's environmental outreach efforts. Susan has held various positions in the private, public and non-profit sectors. Immediately prior to H-E-B, she directed the Texas General Land Office's alternative fuels program. In that role, she represented the Land Commissioner on the statewide Fuel Cell Advisory committee and the Texas Alternative Fuel Council. During her tenure with the Land Office, she also led the award-winning Texas Adopt-A-Beach Program and the river and lake cleanup programs.

Barrett Michael | Copywriter, GSD&M

Barrett Michael

Barrett Michael is a writer at GSD&M, an advertising agency based in Austin, TX. He works on numerous national accounts, including marketing projects for green products and services. Most recently, he helped develop a campaign for the U.S. Department of Energy, which was designed to inspire mainstream Americans to start saving energy. Before GSD&M, Barrett lived in Atlanta, GA, where he was a new media consultant for non-profits and green businesses.

Shalini Ramanathan | VP of Development, RES Americas

Shalini Ramanathan

Shalini Ramanathan is VP of Development for RES Americas, a leading developer and constructor of wind and solar projects. RES recently completed construction of the 30 MW Webberville Solar project, which delivers power to Austin Energy customers. Ms. Ramanathan has closed deals with more than $1B in transaction value and leads a RES team working on renewable power projects across the South Central U.S. She previously worked for the British company CAMCO in Nairobi, Kenya and for the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Washington, DC. In those positions, she worked on biomass power, solar thermal, and biofuels projects in Southern Africa and Asia. In 2010, she served as Texas Regulatory Chair for the Wind Coalition, an industry trade group. She is currently a Next Generation Fellow with the Strauss Center at UT's LBJ School of Public Affairs and a regular contributor to Quora discussions on renewable power.

Jake Stewart | Director, Sustainable Urban Agriculture & Community Garden Program

Jake Stewart

Jake Stewart has over 10 years experience in localized sustainable systems, including renewable energy, climate adaptation, appropriate technology and sustainable food security, in the private, non-profit and public sectors. Prior to leading the City of Austin's new Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Community Garden Program, Stewart helped launch the Mayor's Climate protection program and was deeply involved in smart grid development efforts. He has founded two non-profits and was formerly an international sustainability consultant and Vice President at Organic Fuels International. He is widely known for his dissertation project developing the world's first renewably powered biofuel production facility. The localized project represented the first time a municipality had embarked on an effort to produce its own renewable fuel from waste and locally grown, sustainable oil-seed crops. It has garnered international attention as a model for decentralized renewable energy/sustainable systems, and Stewart was awarded the EPA Project of the Year for his work.

Raul Garza | Co-Founder & Creative Director of TKO Advertising

Raul Garza

Raul Garza is co-founder and creative director of TKO Advertising, an innovative, Austin-based brand solutions company. Recently, Raul led the brand launch for sustainable-lifestyle company BlueAvocado. He participated in a sustainable foods national campaign for Whole Foods Market, and managed a "green lifestyles" smartphone application development for Whole Foods' Whole Planet Foundation. He also played key roles in the General Market + Latino campaign for Texas General Land Office's Beachwatch Program, and the Austin Parks Foundation brand design. Raul is a founding member of Austin Green Art, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about important environmental issues via hands-on, creative, community-based programming and events.

Scott Talkington | Co-Owner, House Pizzeria

Scott Talkington

An independent pizzeria in Austin, Texas, House Pizzeria operates in a former stand-alone fast food building. The building's re-use earned an Austin Energy Green Building 4-star rating in 2009, and features a porch structure built from recycled shipping crates and tables and countertops that were once basketball courts. Fifteen percent of the total materials cost was for salvaged building materials, and 11% of the materials were recycled materials. The renovation project also employed a Construction Waste Management Plan that diverted 86% of the waste from the landfill. Waste reduction programs in place since the restaurant opened minimize operational waste generated and divert the majority of material to recycling and composting facilities. House Pizzeria utilizes a single City of Austin 96-gallon cart.

Zach Baumer | Manager, Austin Climate Protection Program, Office of Sustainability, City of Austin

Zach Baumer

Zach Baumer directs the City of Austin's climate action efforts, seeking to provide a national model for excellence. He manages the climate program staff and provides strategic direction and oversight of Austin Climate Protection Plan implementation for internal city operations. For City departments, he and his staff oversee tracking of carbon footprints and greenhouse gas emission reduction efforts. For the community as a whole, they track an inventory of GHG emissions, provide annual reporting, and spearhead city-wide initiatives to reduce GHG emissions and prepare for the local impacts of climate change. They work with community partners to raise awareness, motivate positive action, and advance long-term regional sustainability.

Mark Simmons | Director of the Ecosystem Design Group, University of Texas at Austin

Mark Simmons

Mark Simmons is Director of the Ecosystem Design Group at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas. He graduated from University of Cape Town with a M.Sc. in Botany, and received his Ecology Ph.D. from Texas A&M University. His research and consulting projects which focus on sustainable and regenerative landscapes, including green roofs, native turfgrass, urban prairies, prescribed fire, invasive species control, and urban green space restoration, and consults with local and national clients including, Army Corps of Engineers, George Bush Presidential Center, NASA, and the National Park Service. He teaches university graduate courses and professional workshops in and sustainable landscape design and ecological restoration and sits on several local and national advisory and technical committees including the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES™).

Mark S. Wochner, PHD | President, Black Star Co-op

Mark Wochner

Mark S. Wochner has been the President of the Board of Directors of The Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery in Austin TX, the world's first co-operatively owned and worker self-managed brewpub since 2009. In addition, he serves on the Board of Directors of Wheatsville Co-op and is a founding member of the Austin Co-op Think Tank. Professionally, he is a research scientist at the University of Texas at Austin with a PhD in acoustics and is a co-founder of AdBm Technologies, LLC, an underwater noise abatement start-up company.

Scott Kuryak | Principal and Co-Founder, House+Earth

Scott Kuryak

Scott is a principal and co-founder of the local retail store, House+Earth. Founded in 2010, House+Earth is a source for environmentally-preferable building materials and healthy home products. The store serves both as a meeting place for and supporter of community groups involved in sustainability efforts and plays an active role in a variety of Austin's green initiatives. Raised in Austin, Scott's appreciation for the city's unique environmental and cultural landscape is reflected in the variety of organizations he is involved with as a LEED GA, a real estate consultant (EcoBroker designee), and community volunteer. Scott holds a BBA in Marketing from Texas Tech University.

Doug Lewin | Executive Director, SPEER

Doug Lewin

Doug Lewin has been with Good Company Associates for over 2 years and was designated SPEER's Executive Director in 2011. Doug has always been passionate about increasing energy efficiency in Texas and Oklahoma. He serves as the primary coordinator for all of SPEER's efforts. Doug has spent much of the last two years coordinating clean energy job training for the Green Corridor Collaborative, a cooperative effort involving seven community college districts and eight regional workforce boards. He learned early on that energy efficiency holds tremendous potential for job creation and economic growth and brings his experience in that effort to SPEER's education and training efforts. Doug joined Good Company Associates, a clean energy business development consulting firm, over two years ago; there, he works with a variety of clients on smart grid, renewable energy, alternative transportation, and, of course, energy efficiency and demand response.

John Strybos, P.E. | Associate Vice Chancellor of Facilities, Alamo Community College District


John W. Strybos, P.E., has been the Associate Vice Chancellor of Facilities for Alamo Colleges since December 2003. He earned a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Accounting from the University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas. He also earned a Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the Texas A&M University at College Station, Texas. His professional affiliations include membership in the Association of Physical Plant Administrators (APPA). His experience includes over 28 years of Engineering/Project Management, Construction Management, and Education Facilities/Construction and Design. He supervises, establishes and maintains work procedures and guidelines for the Operation and Maintenance of District Facilities. In his role as Director, he interfaces with the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services/Chief Financial Officer, the Board of Trustees, and other ACCD departments to insure proper coordination, monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the $450,000,000 Capital Improvement Program (CIP). He has direct responsibility for an annual operating budget of approximately $20,000,000 and 300 personnel. In addition to his employment with the ACCD, Mr. Strybos teaches Civil Engineering classes at the University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas.

Gerd Diewald | Store Manager, IKEA Round Rock

Gerd Diewald

Gerd Diewald is the store manager for the IKEA Round Rock location. Gerd has managed the Round Rock IKEA since 2009, and is currently overseeing a 50,000 square foot expansion of the store's warehouse. Gerd has been with IKEA for the past 17 years, holding management positions in the Tempe, Arizona IKEA store and at the IKEA Service Office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A native of Germany, Gerd began his journey with IKEA as a manager in that country. IKEA is the world's leading furniture retailer. The company believes that showing responsibility for people and the environment is a condition for doing good business. This means that IKEA low prices must not be at the expense of people or the environment—low price but not at any price. IKEA understands that taking responsibility is an integrated part of doing business, and a cornerstone of the company's vision and business idea. IKEA believes in doing more with less, listening to and learning from others, and being fair and honest in everything it does.

Dean Tuel | VP of Business Development , Xtreme Power

Dean Tuel

Dean M. Tuel is Vice President of Business Development for Xtreme Power (XP), a developer of digital power management and energy storage solutions. XP recently announced agreement to develop a 36-Megawatt Storage System for Duke Energy at their Notrees Wind Farm in West Texas. Mr. Tuel has over 20 years of experience in the renewables, power and gas industries of both Europe and North America. Prior to joining Xtreme Power, Tuel was the Vice President of Energy Marketing for four years with E.ON Climate and Renewables, a wind and solar developer out of Austin, Texas and Dusseldorf, Germany. In this role he served as the lead officer overseeing the negotiation of over $2 billion of transactions for 2,000 MWs of wind generation throughout North America. He previously worked for Cargill Energy, Aquila Merchant Services and Enron Europe Ltd. Within these companies he was responsible for developing business expansion into the newly deregulated power and gas industries within both Europe and North America.

Scooter Mangold | Vice President of Design & Engineering, SeaWorld San Antonio

Scooter Mangold is currently the Vice President of Design & Engineering at SeaWorld San Antonio. Scooter oversees maintenance, landscaping, and creative development at the park. Scooter implements conservation initiatives with all utilities including water, energy and alternative fuels. Scooter has been a board member of CPS Energy's Business Advisory Committee, San Antonio Water System's Community Conservation Committee, Amusement Industry, Manufacturers, and Suppliers Education Committee, and American Standards of Testing Materials F-24 (Amusement Rides and Devices) Committee.

Skip Connett | Founder, Green Gate Farms

Skip Connett is the owner of Green Gate Farms, a certified organic vegetable operation with land in East Austin and Bastrop County. Connett's career has spanned journalism, public health and farming. He has served on advisory boards for the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and the Texas Department of Agriculture. In addition to its 125-member CSA, Green Gate offers numerous educational activities, including tours, farm camps, workshops, and community events. In 2011 it launched the New Farm Institute and became the first incubator farm in Texas.

Matthew Toavs | Senior Programmer Analyst of Retail Reporting and Midwest Green Mission Specialist, Whole Foods Market

As Senior Programmer Analyst in Business Intelligence, Midwest Green Mission Specialist and member of the Global Green Mission Leadership Team for Whole Foods Market, Matthew brings academic and practical experience in sustainable agriculture and environmental education to the task of helping Whole Foods Market evolve into a more sustainable company. Matthew holds a Master of Science degree in sustainable agriculture from the University of London's Imperial College at Wye in County Kent, England and a Bachelor of Science degree in natural history outdoor education from Northland College in Ashland, WI.

Paul Yanosy | President & Co-Founder, TreeHouse Inc.

Paul serves as President of TreeHouse, working with an amazing team of people. Previously, he spent four years in commercial litigation with Sidley Austin LLP in New York and San Francisco, helping resolve various high-stakes disputes. In a previous life he worked on Capitol Hill. He has also volunteered as a legal advocate in Africa with International Justice Mission. He is a graduate of Duke University and the University of Virginia School of Law.

Click here to view our Featured Speakers from GoGreen Austin '11.