Plenary and Invited Speakers

Plenary Speakers

Suzanne Shelton

President and CEO
Shelton Group
Suzanne Shelton

Suzanne Shelton is president and CEO of Shelton Group, the nation’s leading marketing communications agency focused exclusively on energy and the environment. Her vision is that every home and building in America is energy responsible and sustainability is ordinary – and she leads Shelton Group in creating a market advantage for the organizations that are creating that sustainable, responsible future. Shelton’s clients include Consumers Energy, Environmental Defense Fund, Kohler, CertainTeed Insulation and ExxonMobil Chemical.

With 25 years of experience under her belt, she’s a pro at helping her clients build brand affinity, market products and start movements. She speaks regularly at conferences, guest writes for the likes of Fast Company, Green Builder and GreenBiz, and has been quoted in Forbes, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and other top media outlets.

Cyrus Wadia

Vice President, Sustainable Business & Innovation
NIKE, Inc.
Cyrus Wadia

Cyrus Wadia, PhD is Vice President, Sustainable Business & Innovation, where he leads NIKE, Inc.’s global sustainability strategy. His team is at the forefront of scientific discovery and the incubation of sustainable products and technologies that minimize the company’s environmental footprint, turn risk into opportunity, and power and protect the future of sport.

Prior to joining Nike, Cyrus spent more than five years directing clean energy and materials policy within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He also served as the Co-Director of Cleantech to Market – a dual appointment with the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley and spent more than seven years in Silicon Valley as a tech entrepreneur.

Cyrus earned his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.S. and an S.B. in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Invited Speakers

Julie Haack

Assistant Department Head, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
University of Oregon
Haack, Julie

Julie Haack is the assistant department head and a senior instructor for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Oregon. As an educator her work focuses on designing curricula and creating educational experiences and professional development opportunities that use green chemistry and life cycle thinking to connect design and innovation to the science of sustainability. Currently she is exploring how systems thinking can be used to facilitate the integration of chemistry, design, business and communications to accelerate the creation and market adoption of more sustainable consumer products. Julie has a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Oregon and a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Utah.  She has been at the University of Oregon since 2000.

Erich Hester

Associate Professor
Virginia Tech
Hester, Erich

 Erich Hester is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg VA.  He teaches classes in water resources engineering, design of hydraulic structures, environmental hydraulics, and surface water-groundwater interaction.  Sustainability is a key theme in his classes, which encourage thinking beyond core disciplines to consider how water projects fit into a larger context with impact to a wide range of constituencies.  Dr. Hester’s core research focuses on water movement through stream, river, wetland, groundwater, and tidal systems, and how surface water and groundwater interact.  He studies how pollutants migrate through these systems, where pollutant attenuation by natural processes occurs, and how such attenuation can be enhanced by human actions to create a “sustainable landscape” through stream and river restoration, watershed restoration, stormwater management, and environmental planning.  He teams with other researchers to study how hydrologic systems interact with economic and social systems to determine the sustainability of urban and agricultural landscapes at the watershed scale.  Prior to academia he worked in the private sector on stream and river ecological habitat restoration, wetland restoration, stormwater management, river management, and pollutant mitigation.  He is a professional engineer in Virginia and Washington State.


Paul Mathew

Energy/Environmental Policy Staff; Scientist/Engineer
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
paul mathew

Paul Mathew is a Staff Scientist and Department Head of Whole Building Systems at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), where he conducts applied research and market transformation activities on energy use in buildings. His current work is focused on energy data analysis, benchmarking tools and techniques, and energy-related risk analysis. Prior to joining LBNL, he worked at Enron Energy Services and the Center for Building Performance at Carnegie Mellon University. He has authored over 100 technical papers, articles and reports. He received a U.S. presidential award for federal energy efficiency in 2007. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture, and a Ph.D. in Building Performance and Diagnostics from Carnegie Mellon University.

Erin McDonald

Assistant Professor
Stanford University
Erin MacDonald

Erin MacDonald is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University and a leader of the MS Design Impact degree program. She received an M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan; and a B.S. with Honors in Materials Science and Engineering from Brown University. She was Postdoctoral Associate and Instructor at MIT from 2008 to 2009 and an Assistant Professor at Iowa State University from 2009 to 2014. MacDonald spent several years designing hiking products before returning to graduate school, and holds two patents on consumer product designs. She is the 2012 ASME Design Automation Committee Outstanding Young Investigator and a former NSF Graduate Fellow. MacDonald’s research integrates concepts from psychology, economics, and marketing into engineering design methods to better represent the user; an effort she terms "quantified cognitive empathy in design engineering." A main goal of her research is to increase the success of sustainable products and technologies by improving the representation of the consumer and other stakeholders in the design process.


Bill Reed

Regenesis Group
Bill Reed

Bill is an internationally recognized practitioner, teacher, and authority in integrative systems design, sustainability, and regenerative community planning and implementation. Bill is a principal in Regenesis – an organization working to lift human activities into full integration and evolution with living systems. His work centers on creating and implementing a whole and living-systems engagement and design process; realizing exponential value to the qualities of life within projects, communities and their ecosystem.

 An author of technical articles and contributor to many books on green design he is also a co-author of the seminal work, “Integrative Design Guide to Green Building.” He is a founding Board of Director of the US Green Building Council, a co-developer of the LEED Green Building Rating System, and is considered one of the leading thinkers and explorers in this field, Bill has consulted on over two hundred fifty green design commissions and regenerative development engagements. He frequently speaks at major planning, building, and design events as well as guest-lectures at universities throughout Europe and North America including Harvard, University of British Columbia, Universidad Iberoamericana, MIT, Princeton and UPenn.


Linda K Weavers

Ohio State University

Linda Weavers is the John C. Geupel Endowed Chair and Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering at The Ohio State University.  In addition, Dr. Weavers is co-Director of the Ohio Water Resources Center, the federally authorized and state-designated Water Resources Research Institute for the State of Ohio. 


Dr. Weavers’ research is multi-pronged with expertise in developing water and hazardous waste treatment technologies, promoting innovation in the water industry and determining fate of emerging contaminants in water systems. Current research projects investigate ultrasound for hazardous waste remediation, ultrasonic defouling of membranes, ultrasonic control of harmful algal blooms, fate of poly- and per-fluoro alkyl substances, and developing design standards for emerging water technologies.    She has received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), and the American Association of University Women Emerging Scholar Award for her research.


In addition to her research, Dr. Weavers coordinates the capstone course for environmental engineering and teaches a study abroad course on sustainability and resilience in Italy. Dr. Weavers founded and ran for six years an engineering summer camp for middle school girls.  She is past-president of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP). 

Eric Williams

Rochester Institute of Technology

Originally trained in theoretical physics, Eric Williams began work on sustainability assessment of technology at the United Nations University in Tokyo. Returning to the U.S. first to Carnegie Mellon and then to Arizona State University, he is now Professor at the Golisano Institute of Sustainability at Rochester Institute of Technology. Much of his prior research dealt with assessing and managing the sustainability of information technology, with emphases on life cycle assessment, material flows and global electronic waste. Eric’s recent research focuses on understanding progress and diffusion of emerging energy technologies, including grid modeling, experience curves and analyzing behavioral trends. He testified before Congress and has served on three National Academy of Science committees. Eric’s research has been widely covered in the media, outlets include the New York Times, the Washington Post and Scientific American.  


Plenary Panel Sessions

Behavioral Science and Engineering for Sustainability

Ines M.L. Azevedo

Carnegie Mellon University

Inês M.L. Azevedo is Full Professor in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. Prof. Azevedo is the PI and the co-Director for the Climate and Energy Decision Making Center. She has a B.Sc. in Environmental Engineering (2004), a M.Sc. in Engineering Policy and Management of Technology from the Technical University of Lisbon (IST-Portugal), and a Ph.D. in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University (2009). Prof. Azevedo’s research interests focus on how to transition to a sustainable, low carbon, affordable and equitable energy system. She combines engineering and technology analysis with economic and decision science approaches. She has published 70+ peer-reviewed publications that have been published in journals such as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Applied Energy, Environmental Science & Technology, Environmental Research Letters, Energy Policy and Energy Economics. She has participated as an author and committee member in several National Research Council reports from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (Assessment of Solid State Lighting, 2013; Assessment of Technologies for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles, Phase II, First Report, 2014 and Phase II, Final report). She has graduated 22 Ph.D. students and currently advises/co-advises 9 Ph.D. students in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy. Prof. Azevedo has received the World Economic Forum’s “Young Scientists under 40” award in 2014, and the C3E Women in Clean Energy Research Award in 2017. Papers from her research team have received awards in 2012, 2013 and 2014 at the International Symposium on Sustainable Systems & Technology, the best poster award at the 2015’s U.S. Association for Energy Economics conference and 2 awards at the 2014 Pike Powers competition.

Marisa Henry

PhD Student
Johns Hopkins University

Marisa L. Henry is a PhD student in the Department of Environmental Health & Engineering at Johns Hopkins University and a graduate research assistant with the Environmental Program Innovations Collaborative (EPIC) directed by Dr. Paul Ferraro. She is interested in interdisciplinary research applying insights from behavioral science to create evidence-based policies, programs, and technologies for social and environmental good. She has worked on projects including estimating the causal effect of electronic home energy reports on residential electricity consumption; designing and testing a prototype thermal cooker to reduce household air pollution in rural Peru; and is currently working on the design and implementation of a field experiment to estimate the effect of peer comparisons on polluting facilities. While completing her PhD, Marisa is also pursuing an MSE in applied mathematics & statistics from Hopkins and serves as an advisor to an Engineers Without Borders team. Marisa holds a BS in environmental & ecological engineering from Purdue University and an MPhil in engineering for sustainable development from the University of Cambridge, where she was a 2016 Gates Cambridge Scholar.

Leidy Klotz

Associate Professor
University of Virginia

Leidy is the Copenhaver Associate Professor at the University of Virginia, where he has a joint appointment across three Schools: Engineering, Architecture, and Business. His wide-ranging research is filling in unexplored overlaps between design and behavioral science. For this interdisciplinary expertise, Leidy has earned a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation, as well as one of the very first awards through the NSF’s INSPIRE program. He was recognized nationally as one of 40-under-40 professors who inspire and has received several institution-level teaching awards for his classroom teaching and research mentoring.

A decade into his career as a professor, Leidy has written over 60 peer-reviewed articles, a peer-reviewed book, and an increasing number of articles to share these insights with a popular audience. He is also building a research-to-practice community around his scholarship. At the University of Virginia, he co-founded and co-directs the Convergent Behavioral Science Initiative, which engages and supports dozens of faculty and students doing applied, interdisciplinary research. And, as co-chair of an ongoing expert panel, convened by the journal Nature Sustainability, Leidy is bringing together scholars, funders, media, and practitioners in order to keep advancing behavioral science for design. He’s advised 20 doctoral students who influence thousands of students every year and all over the world and, before becoming a professor, Leidy played for Pittsburgh's professional soccer team.

Sustainability on Campus

Mick Dalrymple

Director, University Sustainability Practices and Senior Sustainability Scientist
Arizona State University
M Dalrymple

As Director of University Sustainability Practices and Deputy Sustainability Operations Officer at Arizona State University, Mick Dalrymple leads a high-performing team to assist the 120,000+ member ASU community in reaching its ambitious sustainability goals. A focus on collaboration, metrics, policy, implementation, and the development of a culture of sustainability has powered the significant progress ASU has achieved to date. Previously, Dalrymple created and led project teams to address sustainability challenges and opportunities in Albania, Guatemala, Italy and the U.S. related to circular economy, green schools, energy efficiency, sustainable neighborhoods, algal biofuels, and aquifer sustainability. Dalrymple committed himself to sustainability action in 2001 during a successful career in film and television production and as a produced screenwriter. He co-founded an environmental building materials business, has served as a local and national board member of the US Green Building Council, and currently teaches a graduate/undergraduate workshop course on Designing a Living BuildingTM.

Aurora Sharrard

Director of Sustainability
University of Pittsburgh
 Aurora Sharrard

Dr. Aurora Sharrard is the Director of Sustainability at the University of Pittsburgh, tasked with enabling the University’s first Sustainability Plan, which was developed with the guidance of a broad-based committee of faculty, staff, students, and administrators in accord with the University’s strategic priorities.  Formalizing decades of green initiatives, the Pitt Sustainability Plan outlines a host of measurable goals including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, incorporating sustainability into the curriculum, sharing progress publicly, and creating a culture of sustainability on campus.

As such, Dr. Sharrard leads the newly formed Office of Sustainability in support of University-wide sustainability strategy, activities, policies, collaborations, and partnerships. She builds on existing successes to position the University of Pittsburgh as a sustainability leader at the city, state, regional, national, and international scales.

Prior to joining the University, Dr. Sharrard worked at Green Building Alliance (GBA) for 11 years, ultimately serving as its Executive Director.  She led the nonprofit organization in advancing innovation in the built environment by empowering people to create environmentally, economically, and socially vibrant places.  With a staff of 14 and an annual budget ~$2 million, GBA is one of the oldest regional green building and organizations in the United States, with a focus on innovative, evidence-based, and collaborative work throughout Western Pennsylvania.  

In her time at GBA, Dr. Sharrard co-founded the Pittsburgh 2030 District, which boasts 500+ buildings aspiring towards measured high performance of 50% reductions in energy use, water consumption, and transportation emissions by the year 2030.  The University of Pittsburgh was a Founding Property Partner of the Pittsburgh 2030 District’s Oakland boundary – and embraced 2030 Challenge goals University-wide with the Pitt Sustainability Plan. A nationally recognized green building and sustainability expert, Dr. Sharrard has provided strategic and technical support to innumerable regional green building and sustainability projects, most notably Hazelwood Green, the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, and Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.  

Starting in 2007, Dr. Sharrard led several other notable GBA programs, including the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative (PCI), Product Innovation Grants, DASH, and Pittsburgh Green Story. Dr. Sharrard convened PCI and the Higher Education Climate Consortium for a number of years, helping deliver three Pittsburgh Climate Action Plans and two citywide greenhouse gas inventory; she is still an active PCI Partner.  With GBA’s Product Innovation Grant program, Aurora led award of $1.2 million to 24 recipients working to commercialize innovative green building products across Pennsylvania.  Through 2012, Aurora spearheaded the GBA-led national conversation to build DASH: Database for Analyzing Sustainable and High Performance Buildings.  This evidence-based web tool worked to provide building industry professionals with building performance information that enables better decision-making about building design, construction, operations, and maintenance across the triple bottom line.  In 2017, Dr. Sharrard relaunched Pittsburgh Green Story, a media-focused effort to promote the region’s sustainability achievements and advantages. 

Dr. Sharrard serves on the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services’ Board of Directors, the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership’s Advisory Team, the International Living Future Institute’s Pittsburgh Living Product Hub Advisory Council, and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development’s Community & Sustainability Committee.  She still finds time to peer review papers for academic journals and has multiple academic and nonacademic publications of her own.

Dr. Aurora Sharrard holds a Master’s and PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering with an emphasis in Green Design from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Tulane University.  She has previously been recognized with the Pittsburgh Magazine 40 Under 40 Award, Pittsburgh Business Times Women in Energy Award and BusinessWomen First Award, and 40 Under 40 Pennsylvania Environmental Leaders Award.  Dr. Sharrard was also a finalist for the Greater Pittsburgh Athena Young Professional Award and is an alumna of Leadership Pittsburgh.  She is a LEED AP (BD+C) and is Living Future Accredited (LFA).    

Aurora lives in Pittsburgh with her husband Jesse and sons, Angstrom and Faraday.  She loves breakfast, enjoys costumes, and looks forward to someday completing renovations on her 113-year-old house.

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. He works closely with the President's Sustainability Steering Committee on implementation of the UT Austin Sustainability Master Plan and is the university’s USGBC Liaison and  owner’s representative regarding LEED and SITES on new capital projects.    

Jim has a Masters in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Austin and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. In 2011, the AIA Austin Chapter presented him the Edwin Waller Award for Public Architecture and the Texas Society of Architects granted him Honorary Membership.  

Jim currently serves on the boards of the Mueller Foundation, the USGBC Texas Chapter, Earth Day Austin, and as Chair of the City of Austin Joint Sustainability Committee working on implementation of the Austin Community Climate Plan.   

Jim is originally from Oregon and accidently moved to Austin in 1992. He was soon introduced to sustainability by Pliny Fisk and Gail Vittori, LEED Fellow, at the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, and soon after by Lars Stanley, FAIA, LEED AP and Girard Kinney, AIA.



Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation
University of Pittsburgh
Swanson School of Engineering
153 Benedum Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15261


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