Plenary Speakers

Governor Ralph Northam

Governor Ralph Northam Commonwealth of Virginia


Wednesday, March 27th
11:15 a.m. Gillis Theater, Marshall Hall

Before he was inaugurated as the 73rd Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Ralph Northam served as an Army doctor, pediatric neurologist, business owner, state Senator and Lieutenant Governor.

Governor Northam is the first native of the Eastern Shore to serve as Governor since Governor Henry A. Wise took office 1856. He is also the first VMI Keydet to serve as Governor since Governor Westmoreland Davis took office in 1918.

Governor Northam and First Lady Pamela Northam have two adult children: Wes, a neurosurgical resident in Chapel Hill, and Aubrey, a web developer in Richmond.

Bettina Ring

Bettina Ring, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry

Tuesday, March 26th

5:45 p.m. Hall of Valor, Marshall Hall

Governor Ralph S. Northam appointed Bettina Ring in 2018 to serve as the fourth Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry for the Commonwealth of Virginia. In this capacity, she supports the Governor’s mission of building a strong Virginia economy in agriculture and forestry, two of Virginia’s largest private industries, while also protecting the environment.

Prior to her appointment as Secretary, Ring was appointed by former Governor Terry McAuliffe to serve as the seventh State Forester of the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF). During her term leading the agency, Ring secured $27 million in funding for emergency response equipment used to fight forest fires and to assist localities and other state agencies. A Virginia native, Ring began her career with VDOF and held a number of leadership positions, including deputy state forester, during her 18 years with the agency.

Prior to VDOF, Bettina was the senior vice president of family forests at the American Forest Foundation, and served on the federal Forest Resource Coordinating Committee, which provides direction within the U.S. Department of Agriculture and with the private sector to effectively address national priorities for private forest management.

Bettina has also served as executive director of the Bay Area Open Space Council in San Francisco and was the executive director of the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts.   She holds a B.S. Degree in Forestry and Wildlife from Virginia Tech and a Masters of Business Administration from James Madison University.

Matt Strickler

Matthew Strickler, Secretary of Natural Resources

Tuesday, March 26th

5:45 pm, Hall of Valor, Marshall Hall

9:15 am, Gillis Theater Marshall Hall

Prior to joining the Administration, Matthew Strickler served as Senior Policy Advisor to Democratic members of the House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources. Originally from Lexington, VA, Matt graduated from Washington and Lee University and holds master’s degrees in public policy and marine science from the College of William and Mary and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. He was a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow in NOAA’s Office of International Affairs in 2007 and worked on U.S. Senator Mark Warner’s successful 2008 campaign. Immediately prior to his time on Capitol Hill, Matt worked in the Virginia General Assembly as a legislative assistant to then-state Senator Ralph Northam.

Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Director, Energy Affordability at Natural Resources Defense Council. J.D.

Thursday, 8:45 a.m.
Gillis Theater, Marshall Hall

Dawone Robinson focuses on promoting increased access to energy efficiency and renewable energy resources for multifamily and low-income households. As part of the Energy Efficiency for All project, Dawone helps organize state coalitions and provides educational support for organizations and individuals working on energy efficiency and renewable energy policies. In his previous role, Dawone served as Virginia policy director for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, an organization focusing on climate change impacts and clean energy solutions in Virginia. As a result of that work, Dawone was appointed to the Virginia Solar Development Authority by Governor Terry McAuliffe. Dawone received his bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University and a J.D. from Drake University Law School. He is based in Washington, D.C.

Presenters / Co-Presenters Bios

Wired Group Lead

Bio: Paul Alvarez leads the Wired Group, a collection of experts who are the leading providers of grid modernization expertise to US consumer, business, and environmental advocates in state utility proceedings.  He is the co-author of a recent GridLab whitepaper, “Modernizing the Grid in the Public Interest: A Guide for Virginia Stakeholders”. Paul has testified in dozens of state utility proceedings on grid modernization, from California to Massachusetts.  He has been active in the electric utility industry for almost 20 years, beginning as a developer of demand-side management and renewable energy programs for leading utility Xcel Energy. Paul is also the author of “Smart Grid Hype & Reality – A Systems Approach to Maximizing Customer Return on Utility Investment”, and the developer of the Utility EvaluatorTM, an internet-based application for benchmarking investor-owned utility performance and value creation.  He graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in finance and marketing, and from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business with a master’s degree in management.

Director of VA Coastal Policy Center at William and Mary Law School


Elizabeth Andrews is a professor at William & Mary Law School and Director of the Virginia Coastal Policy Center. She formerly served as Senior Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Environmental Section of the Virginia Office of the Attorney General, where she oversaw a team of attorneys representing and providing counsel to the Secretary of Natural Resources and the natural resources agencies of the Commonwealth. She also served as the Water Policy Manager for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, where she worked closely with the legislature, the regulated community and environmental organizations to address the water quality and quantity challenges facing Virginia, particularly its coastal areas.

Professor Andrews is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and received her Juris Doctor degree, summa cum laude, from the Washington College of Law at American University. She serves as the Virginia representative on the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Climate Resiliency Workgroup, and as faculty for the Virginia State Bar’s Professionalism Course for new attorneys. She was a member of the Alternative Management Structures Workgroup of the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee and for many years served as an appointed member of the Virginia Code Commission’s Administrative Law Advisory Committee. Professor Andrews is a graduate of the Leadership Fairfax program and is former Chair of both the Virginia State Bar’s Communications Committee and the Richmond Bar Association’s Energy and Environmental Law Section.

Policy and Market Development Associate, Greenlots

Bio: Tom Ashley, Vice President of Policy for Greenlots, leads the company’s policy, regulatory, and government affairs strategy and engagement, with a focus on growing the electric vehicle and electric vehicle charging markets by increasing investment in charging infrastructure.  Other priorities include expanding connectivity between electric vehicles and the grid, growing EV equity, and exploring the electric fleet and new mobility future. Tom has extensive experience in clean energy and transportation policy and planning. Prior to joining Greenlots, he served as the Director of Utility and Regulatory Affairs at PlugShare, where he focused on the policy frameworks necessary for vehicle-grid integration and has consulted for the Electric Drive Transportation Association.  He has also worked for numerous government bodies, including the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, the Office of Energy and Environmental Industries of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, the Vermont Department of Public Service’s Energy Efficiency Division, and the California Public Utilities Commission. Tom holds a Bachelor of Arts – Fine Arts from the University of Southern California and a Juris Doctor and Master of Studies in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School.

Stephen Atkins, Chief, Chickahominy Indian Tribe

Bio: Stephen R. Adkins is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, where he received his B.S. in Business Administration. He retired from E. I. DuPont in 2006 after 40 years of service and worked for the Commonwealth of Virginia as the Chief Deputy Director in the Human Resources Department under Governor Kaine’s Administration. Steve currently serves on the Board of Directors of Argent Credit Union and prior to joining the Board in 1998 assisted on the Supervisory Committee for 16 years. Steve is committed to community involvement as he volunteers with several other organizations: Board of Trustees of Bacone College; Chesapeake Conservancy-Advisory Council of the Henricus Foundation; Board of Deacons for Samaria Baptist Church; Jamestown Yorktown Foundation; Equity of Care Committee of the American Hospital Association; and Virginia Economic Development Partnership. Steve is married with five children and eight grandchildren. His hobbies and interests include traveling, guitar, reading, history, social justice, environmental conservation & preservation, and health care access.

Undergraduate Student, Roanoke College: Environmental Science and Economics

Bio: The work being presented here is for her senior honors project on the prevalence of plastic pollution in stream systems. She has participated in multiple research projects since college, including an REEU (Research extension and experience for undergraduates) program at Virginia Tech the summer of 2018 investigating watershed quality and stakeholder engagement as part of a team of researchers. This was a formative experience, allowing her to explore personal interests and acquire valuable knowledge and skills for the future. Gaining insight into the world of scientific research and its linkage to the public has shaped her research goals and the role of research for society. After graduation, Jessica plans to pursue a career that combines her experience and interests within the realm of natural resource management and create a more sustainable society in which the environment holds greater value.

Chief Deputy, Department of Environmental Quality

Bio: Chris was appointed to the position of Chief Deputy of the Department of Environmental Quality in June, 2018. In addition to helping run the daily operations of the DEQ, Chris provides strategic communications and policy support for the agency and works across the Administration to promote climate action and a comprehensive climate agenda. In this role, Chris focuses broadly on transportation decarbonization, environmental and climate justice, and finalizing Virginia’s carbon rule to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. A native Virginian, Chris recently moved back to the Commonwealth after spending eight years at the forefront of climate and clean energy policy in the Northwest – first working for Climate Solutions, a regional climate and clean energy advocacy organization, and then as the lead transportation decarbonization advisor for the City of Seattle. He received his undergraduate degree from James Madison University and his MPA from Seattle University and lives in Henrico County with his wife and daughter.   

Director of Programs, EVgo

Bio: Marcy Bauer is Director of Program Operations for EVgo, the largest public fast-charging network in the US, and the company selected to build EV charging infrastructure under Virginia’s VW Settlement Appendix D. Marcy has been working in the clean transportation space for almost 10 years, and her experience spans the entire sector – consumer and fleet education on vehicles and charging, charging station site development and host engagement, public policy, utility engagement, OEM engagement, and industry analysis. Ms. Bauer earned her Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology from Vanderbilt University and her Master of Environmental Science from Miami University in Ohio. Marcy is on the Steering Committee for Plug-In NC and is involved in several clean transportation stakeholder and working groups throughout the Eastern region.

Director, Division of Environmental Enhancement, Virginia DEQ

Bio: Ms. Baxter directs the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Environmental Enhancement, which includes the agency’s Office of Pollution Prevention, Office of Environmental Impact Review and Long Range Priorities, and Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program. She has been with DEQ for thirty years. Current responsibilities include coordinating the agency’s strategic planning efforts as well as strategic partnerships with EPA Region 3 and the Department of Defense. Ms. Baxter received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and geography from the University of Delaware and a Masters degree in Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia.

Director, Office of Communities, Tribes and Environmental Assessment

Bio: Samantha Phillips Beers is the Director of the Office of Communities, Tribes, and Environmental Assessment. Samantha has been with the EPA since January 1991. Prior to her current position, she was the Director of the Office of Enforcement, Compliance, and Environmental Justice. She previously served as a Senior Attorney in the Office of Regional Counsel where she was the Environmental Justice legal advisor providing Environmental Justice legal advice to the leadership team. She served as the acting Deputy Director of EAID. Before coming to EPA, Ms. Phillips Beers was employed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing Department where she litigated employment and housing discrimination complaints. She earned a B.S. in Political Science from Haverford College and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law where she was an assistant editor of Ecology Law Quarterly. She is admitted to practice in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Deputy Coordinator, Office of Emergency Management

Bio: Robb K. Braidwood, C.E.M., C.F.M., MPA, currently serves as Deputy Coordinator of Emergency Management for the City of Chesapeake’s Office of Emergency Management.  For the last nine years, he has participated in the coordination and implementation of emergency services, plans and programs for the City of Chesapeake. He currently serves on several regional, State and Federal emergency management committees.  Prior to coming home to Tidewater, he worked for the City of Alexandria Fire Department for four years. He received his B.A. from Mary Washington College, Fredericksburg, VA and his M.P.A. from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK.

Director of Water Technology and Research, HRSD

Bio: Dr. Charles B. Bott joined HRSD in 2009 and is the Director of Water Technology and Research. He manages technology innovation and research and development for HRSD’s sixteen wastewater treatment plants (249 MGD combined capacity).  Dr. Bott is also an Adjunct Professor in the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech and Old Dominion University. He was formerly an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and a consulting engineer with Parsons Engineering Science.  Dr. Bott has a BS in Civil Engineering from the Virginia Military Institute, an MS in Environmental Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Virginia Tech. He is a fellow of the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and a member of the Science and Technology Advisory Committee to the Chesapeake Bay Program Executive Council.  Dr. Bott is a Professional Engineer in Virginia, a Board Certified Environmental Engineer, and a licensed Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator – Virginia Class I. He is a two time winner of the WEF Harrison Prescott Eddy Medal for outstanding contribution to wastewater principles/processes research, he was a previous member of the WEF Board of Trustees, and he is the current co-chair of The Water Research Foundation and WEF Leaders Innovation Forum for Technology (LIFT) program.  Charles’ technical interests include municipal and industrial wastewater treatment, as well as renewable energy generation. He has specific expertise in the areas of chemical and biological phosphorus removal, denitrification with alternative carbon sources, nitrification kinetics, nutrient recovery, deammonification/anammox, biological treatment process modeling and design, and biogas conditioning. Important areas of focus are mainstream shortcut nitrogen removal and technologies for potable reuse.


Bio: Heather Bourne is a Senior Environmental Scientist with LimnoTech’s Office in Washington, D.C. She has 20 years of experience in stormwater policy and NPDES permitting; the research, development, and implementation of watershed studies to evaluate point and nonpoint source issues; and conducting TMDL planning and implementation efforts. Heather manages the Richmond Integrated Planning and Permitting project with the City of Richmond. She has also managed support for multiple MS4-related projects at LimnoTech including Kansas City, Missouri; the Maryland State Highway Administration; the Maryland Aviation Administration; the DC Department of Energy and Environment’s revised monitoring program effort. Prior to her work at LimnoTech, Ms. Bourne served as an Environmental Monitoring Program Manager for the City of Oklahoma City’s Stormwater Quality Management Section.

Project Manager, OBG, part of Ramboll

Bio: Rachel Burris is a Project Manager with OBG, part of Ramboll. She has 13 years of experience in wastewater treatment design and permitting. Her primary areas of focus are wastewater modeling, pretreatment and NPDES permitting, and conceptual-level WWTP evaluations for industries and municipalities.

Recycle Fiber Supply Regional Manager, MidAtlantic, WestRock

Bio: 29 years in the recycling industry, 24 with WestRock.  Various past responsibilities include recycling plant manager, divisional safety/environmental manager, paper broker, implementation of a fiber quality receiving program at WestRock paper mills, mill buyer, & converting sales manager.  In the current role, responsible for secondary fiber supply into WestRock’s paper mills located in Lynchburg, Hopewell and West Point.

Water Resource Engineer, County of Albermarle

Bio: Stavros works in the environmental services division of Albemarle County, specializing in geospatial analysis, hydraulic and hydrologic modeling, MS4 reporting, grant project management, and capital improvement projects.

Virginia Environmental Justice Chair, NAACP

Bio: Karen Campblin is the Environment and Climate Justice Chair for the Virginia State Conference NAACP and the Co-chair for the Green New Deal VA. Karen provides resources and support to local communities to address environmental injustices, promote efforts to improve quality of life and health and advocate for transformative policy and program changes. Karen is focused on advocating for and protecting communities from harmful energy production processes and discriminatory practices.  Environmental Justice IS a Civil RIgor!

Staff Attorney, Southern Environmental Law Center

Bio: Will’s work at SELC focuses on promoting clean energy throughout Virginia, which involves litigation at the State Corporation Commission, collaborative efforts with the executive branch, and lobbying at the General Assembly. Will is also a board member of the Virginia Conservation Network and the Local Energy Alliance Program. Prior to joining SELC, he worked in Washington, DC and Charleston, SC on environmental litigation matters at two international law firms.  Will is a graduate of Middlebury College, from which he received a BA in 2004 and a Master’s degree in 2007. He graduated in 2009 from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was a member of the Virginia Environmental Law Journal. Will lives in Charlottesville with his wife and three-year-old son.

Director, Institute for Environmental Negotiation

Bio: At the Institute for Environmental Negotiation (IEN) since 1997, and Director since 2015, Tanya Denckla Cobb is an author, teacher, and seasoned mediator and facilitator in environmental public policy. IEN is a nationally recognized leader in fostering collaborative change across a broad range of issues through multi-agency and multi-stakeholder processes as well as through community outreach and engagement. IEN’s portfolio addresses a broad range of environmental, economic and social issues, including community resilience, race and social equity, water quality, and rural development. Team members are known for expertise in designing and facilitating collaborative processes, community-based research, and stakeholder engagement.

Environmental Programs Planner, Virginia DCR

Bio: Lynn Crump, PLA – Lynn is a registered landscape architect whose career spans planning, multi-disciplinary engineering, landscape construction, and nursery work. Her work at the DCR focuses on state park master planning, scenic asset identification and planning with Scenic Virginia, and focusing on Scenic River and — with VDOT — the Virginia Byway programs.

Senior Scientist, Associate Professor, the College of William and Mary

Bio: Dr. Douglas A. DeBerry is a Research Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at the College of William and Mary, where he teaches courses in applied ecology and ecological restoration.  His research interests include wetland ecology and management, rare species conservation, ecological assessment using novel indices, invasion ecology, and floristic inventory. Doug serves on several boards and committees within the scientific and professional community, including the Flora of Virginia Executive Board, the Society of Wetland Scientists (current South Atlantic Chapter President), the Board of Editors for the peer-reviewed journal Northeastern Naturalist, and the Governor-appointed Board for Professional Wetland Delineators in Virginia.  He also serves as Senior Environmental Scientist for VHB.

Coordinator, Smithfield

Bio: Ruth DeBrito has worked for Smithfield for 23 years and is part of the Corporate Environmental and Sustainability.  She is Virginia born and raised, has B.S. Biology and Chemistry, M.S. Environmental Policy and Management with emphasis on Sustainability, and is part of the team which helps during transitions to ensure continuity of knowledge and records.  She volunteers with the Izaak Walton League of America, Boyscouts, and is currently a participant in the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Initiative and enjoys the outdoors whenever possible.

Director, Environmental Services and Safety

Bio: With over 30 years of Fire, Life Safety and Environmental experience, Timm Denning continues to share his knowledge, experience, and passion for Safety and Environmental with people everywhere. Timm teaches though life experience, humor, and a drive for excellence. A firefighter, HazMat responder, State Emergency Management Official, Emergency Services instructor, and Combat Firefighter with 6 combat tours to his credit he has taught thousands of classes. He leaped at the opportunity to expand his reach to speak for employees, managers and at governmental and corporate functions to further the focus on Environmental and Safety topics. His “clients” include industry, pharmaceuticals, Ag/Food businesses, construction, and the military. Comfortable in any setting his tailored presentations bring common sense focus to complex issues. Timm is currently the Safety and Environmental Manager for Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation. He lives in eastern North Carolina with his wife, three kids, and bulldog.

Branch Manager, Creative Conservation

Bio: Dustin currently manages the Roanoke Division for Creative Conservation. Prior to that, he was the President of Evergreen Insulation. Dustin has been involved in the construction industry for over fifteen years and specifically in the insulation industry for ten years. He has been involved with the Energy Star and Earthcraft Virginia program for residential construction since 2007. In 2010, he designed the insulation and air sealing package for the first Silver LEED Certified home in the New River Valley. In 2016, he helped design the insulation and air sealing packages for Earthcraft Virginia’s top three High-Performance Homes of the Year.

Senior Watershed Strategist

Bio: Olivia Devereux is a senior watershed strategist with expertise in BMP planning and implementation and development of linked watershed and BMP modeling systems. She has performed water quality assessments and facilitated environmental planning efforts throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. She is the scientific lead in developing the CAST tool and was the scientific lead in developing the first Chesapeake Bay Program Scenario Builder, the system that distributes nutrients to the land and was used to create inputs to the Watershed Model. She also has played a key role in other environmental planning and modeling initiatives.

Associate Principal Research Scientist, Virginia Transportation Research Council

Bio: Bridget Donaldson is an associate principal environmental research scientist with the Virginia Transportation Research Council, the research division of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).  She has a Masters of Science degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Tennessee. Her research for VDOT involves various topics in the environmental sciences and transportation, including wildlife crash mitigation and the environmental implications of stormwater culvert repair methods.

Senior, Roanoke College: Majoring in environmental studies and minoring in philosophy

Bio: Ryan has spent his time in school learning about how to best respond to the most pressing environmental issues in an interdisciplinary manner. Ryan most recently completed an internship with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, where he assisted the Foundation’s Policy Director in researching sanctuary related topics and tracking relevant federal legislation. Currently, he is working on a year-long project that aims to create an accurate carbon footprint for his school. From this, he intends to provide the school with a mitigation strategy. When he isn’t hard at work, Ryan can be found trail running on the AT or taking his mountain bike out for a spin. You can reach him at or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Founder of Water Words That Work LLC

Bio: Eric founded Water Words That Work LLC as a marketing and public relations firm for nature protection and pollution control organizations. Before launching Water Words That Work, Eric managed fundraising, media relations, and publishing activities for many conservation organizations. His past employers include Beaconfire Consulting, American Rivers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Eric’s skills include message development, online outreach, market research, training, and business development. He has appeared in countless media stories, including CNN and the New York Times. He is a frequent speaker at environmental, marketing, and technology conferences.

Ph.D., Marine Science Supervisor

Bio: Todd Egerton leads the Marine Science Branch of the Division of Shellfish Safety (DSS) within the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Environmental Health Services.  He began working with VDH in 2016 and is based out of the shellfish field office in Norfolk. DSS’s marine science work includes pollution source assessment of contamination impacting Virginia’s shellfish growing areas.  This has involved collaborative projects with OEHS staff as well as local health districts, municipal utilities and outside laboratories and non-profit organizations. In addition, Todd manages DSS’s Marine Biotoxin Control Plan, which monitors harmful algal blooms throughout the state and manages shellfish growing areas as part of the Virginia Harmful Algal Bloom Taskforce.  Prior to coming to VDH, Dr. Egerton led the Phytoplankton Analysis Laboratory at Old Dominion University, where he earned an MS in Biology and a Ph.D. in Ecological Sciences. Todd lives in Virginia Beach, with his wife and their two kids.

Climate Protection Program Manager for the City of Charlottesville

Bio: Susan Elliott is the Climate Protection Program Manager for the City of Charlottesville. The Climate Protection Program aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy use within the City of Charlottesville jurisdictional boundaries, including community and municipal activities. These efforts are in response to climate protection commitments and reduction goals adopted by the City, including the most recent commitment to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. Having worked with the City since 2012, Susan has been involved with greenhouse emission inventories, supporting and developing programs and services for the community, tracking and analyzing municipal emission reduction opportunities, and leading the City’s efforts under the Covenant to set a new emissions reduction goal and transition into climate action planning.

Prior to working at the City of Charlottesville, Susan worked at the County of Albemarle managing an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant. She has a Masters in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia, a BA from Wellesley College, and is working towards a Masters in Public Administration from Old Dominion University.

Professor of Marine Science, Fisheries Science Department Chair, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & Mary

Bio:  Mary holds a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences from Fordham University (New York, NY), and a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the University of Rhode Island (Kingston, RI).

Prior to her appointment at VIMS, Mary worked as a research scientist and program leader at several US Federal agencies, including the USGS and NOAA.

Mary’s current research focuses on understanding the production of fish populations in the Chesapeake Bay region, designing effective surveys for estimating abundance of fish, and unraveling the ecological effects of climate change on key species such as striped bass, summer flounder, and Atlantic croaker.

She is the author of more than 60 scientific publications and 75 technical reports, and the research program she directs is one of the largest at VIMS.

Mary is recognized as a leader in her field, particularly for her service with the American Fisheries Society (AFS); she served as President of AFS in 2007-2008 – the 7th woman to do so in the long history of this non-profit organization which is dedicated to advancing fisheries science.

In recognition of her scientific and professional leadership, she was elected Fellow of the American Fisheries Society; she was also honored with the Sette Award for Outstanding Marine Fishery Biologist by AFS and received a Bronze Medal from NOAA for her cutting-edge research on marine fishes.

More recently, she received the Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence at William & Mary.

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Director of the Regional Office

Bio: Tom has been with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for 30 years, all at DEQ’s Northern Regional Office in Prince William County.  For 18 years, Tom managed the regional office Water Permits Department overseeing wastewater permitting, pretreatment, construction assistance, stormwater, and biosolids programs.  In 2007 Tom was appointed the Director of the Regional Office and continues in that role overseeing all staff and programs for the regional office. Prior to DEQ, Tom worked for eight years with an environmental consulting firm.

Information Resources Manager, State Corporation Commission

Bio: Andy Farmer joined the State Corporation Commission in October 2000 to coordinate consumer education and information projects.  He currently manages the Virginia Energy Sense program. The program helps Virginians become smarter energy users and reduce their electricity consumption. Virginia Energy Sense gives consumers an accessible and informative source for energy conservation and efficiency information. The statewide initiative encourages Virginians to “value your power.”  Farmer came to the SCC from the Virginia Department of Transportation where he served for 11 years as a public affairs manager.  Before joining VDOT, Farmer was an information officer for the Virginia Department of Health, and before that, he was a reporter and assignment editor for television stations in Richmond, Virginia and Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Farmer is a graduate of Washington and Lee University with a double major in Journalism and American History.

JobVirginia Department of Forestry, State Forester

Bio: Rob Farrell was appointed State Forester of Virginia by Governor Ralph Northam in January 2018.  Prior to this, he served as the Deputy State Forester for the past five years. Rob joined the Department of Forestry as the Area Forester for Gloucester and Mathews Counties in 2000.  In 2007 he moved to the DOF headquarters in Charlottesville as the director of the new forestland conservation program. Prior to the DOF, Rob worked as an arborist and urban forester in Maryland and Virginia.  He is a Certified Arborist and has a B.S. and M.S. in Forestry from Virginia Tech.

Virginia Communications Coordinator, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Bio: Kenny Fletcher lives in Richmond but grew up on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. He is currently the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Virginia Communications Coordinator. In this role, he works with the press, writes stories, takes photos and videos, and promotes CBF’s work to the public.

Senior, James Madison University: Integrated Science and Technology

Bio: He is a student in the College of Integrated Science and Engineering and is majoring in Integrated Science and Technology, a STEM-based holistic problem-solving major, and focusing on production systems. Kevin enjoys working on his undergraduate research project “Improving Fuel Economy and Reducing Emissions on a Modern Fuel Injected Engine Running 10% Ethanol” because of its environmental benefits, hands-on nature, and the chance to learn new skills. He hopes to pursue a career in manufacturing, logistics, or green technologies.

Business Partnership Management, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

Bio: Kate Fritz has lived in 5 of the 7 Chesapeake Bay watershed jurisdictions, and now calls Annapolis, MD her home. The last four years of Kate’s career has been spent leading non-profits, and she is currently serving as the Executive Director of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, a regional boots on the ground environmental restoration group operating in all seven Chesapeake Bay jurisdictions.  Kate earned an Executive Master of Natural Resources focused on Leadership in Sustainability from Virginia Tech, as well as a master’s degree in Environmental Management from the University Of Maryland University College. Kate has also held positions in both the private and public sectors, starting her career as a Field Biologist, and then working for seven years in the Planning Department in Prince George’s County, MD. Kate currently serves on many Boards in her community, including the Women’s Giving Circle, the St. Mary’s College of Maryland Alumni Association, and the Maryland Sportsman’s Foundation.

Environmental Specialist, Prince William County Risk Management Division

Bio: Anthony’s duties as an Environmental Specialist include facilitating environmental programs for county departments along with providing internal training to ensure environmental initiatives and regulatory compliance are met. Anthony along with two other co-workers manage the EMS (Environmental Management Systems) for county facilities to minimize waste generation, recommend best practices, improve energy cost savings and strengthening knowledge of environmental laws.

Deputy Chief of Fisheries, Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Bio: Patrick Geer is the Deputy Chief of the Fishery Management Division for the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.  Pat is responsible for policy making for the management of specific commercial and recreational fisheries. Prior to VMRC, he was Chief of Marine Fisheries for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Coastal Resources Division (GADNR CRD), Manager of GADNR’s Research Program, and Principal Investigator of numerous fishery surveys at the College of William and Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science.  He has served the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) both as a Georgia Commissioner and presently as a Virginia administrative proxy. Pat graduated with a Masters in Biological Oceanography from Old Dominion University and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from SUNY Oswego.

Strategic Development & Government Relations, Lime

Bio: Maggie Gendron joined Lime in 2017 after serving as a long time staff member for Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in the United States Senate. Maggie’s position with Leahy as a legislative assistant in transportation policy provided her insight and input on the rollout of smart city initiatives and national rural and urban redevelopment projects. Maggie received her B.A. in marketing and graphic design from Penn State University, and her masters in public administration from the University of Vermont. She loves bike touring on JuneBug, her Surly Long Haul Trucker, and she believes in Lime’s vision to change how we collectively think about mobility. Through innovation and partnerships, we have more and more options to help people move around and connect to their city in more affordable and convenient ways. So let’s use that momentum to make some changes in our urban landscape!

Director, Division of Soil and Water Conservation

Bio: As the Director, Division of Soil and Water Conservation for Virginia DCR since 2014, Darryl provides oversight to the development and implementation of statewide programs designed to prevent the degradation of the waters of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Partners primarily with Virginia’s 47 soil and water conservation districts as well as with farmers, urban and suburban landowners, and other state and federal agencies in order to reduce runoff that contains nutrients, sediments, bacteria, and chemicals which threaten water quality.  These programs include agricultural and urban nutrient management, financial incentive programs, District flood control dams, Resource Management Plans, and agricultural Best Management Practices. Previously, he was the regional Operations Manager – Virginia DCR from 2011-2014 and provided oversight of field implementation of DCR’s Urban Stormwater Management and agricultural nonpoint source pollution control programs through the supervision of seven Regional Managers.

Coastal Analyst, HRPDCVA

Bio: Ms. Ashley Gordon is a coastal analyst for the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, the regional planning organization for southeastern Virginia. Her work at the HRPDC primarily supports the region’s coastal resilience program, including policy development, research and analysis, and coordination with local governments and state agencies. She also supports the agency’s coastal resources management efforts. She graduated from Duke University with a Master’s degree in Environmental Management with a Coastal Concentration and from Miami University (OH) with a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology and Environmental Science.

Senior Staff Environmental Engineer, Lockheed Martin

Bio: Mr. Gunnarson is a senior staff environmental and chemical engineer for Lockheed Martin in Manassas, Virginia where he has held a variety of technical and management positions.  His specialties include environmental remediation, large project construction management, environmental management systems and auditing. He received his B. S. in Environmental Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is a Registered Professional Engineer in Virginia.

Senior Project Scientist, Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography, Old Dominion University

Bio: Prior to arriving at ODU, Hagerman was a research faculty member at the Virginia Tech Advanced Research Institute in Hampton. While there, he served on the front-end engineering design team for the offshore wind demonstration project led by Dominion Energy, where he prepared work scopes and reviewed work products for the metocean (meteorology and physical oceanography) design basis. Now named the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project, these two demonstration turbines are scheduled for installation on Virginia’s research lease in 2020.  George has over 38 years’ experience researching marine renewable energy systems, including offshore wind power, wave power, tidal power, and ocean thermal energy conversion.

Senior, James Madison University: Majoring in Integrated Sciences and Technology

Bio: Haji has a desire to pursue a carrier in the automotive industry. His capstone team is working on a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Currently, he as an automotive technician for Nissan and hopes to open a local mechanic shop in the valley.

Sithl, Sr Mgr, Business Process Excellence

Bio: In mid-February 2018, STIHL Inc. welcomed Ted Handler as the new Senior Manager for Business Process Excellence.  Ted works with the senior management team to create and lead process improvement efforts across the company. Ted’s 20 plus years of proven military leadership in both the United States Marine Corps and Special Operations Forces is helping STIHL Incorporated realize their vision and strategic focus on innovation and application of improvement principles and standards.  Along with his military experience, Ted also has a unique background in sales and manufacturing from time spent in Austria working at Kuchler Electronics GmBH., as well as experience in the financial markets having worked for UBS.

Graduate Coastal Resilience Fellow, Virginia Sea Grant/Clark Nexsen

Bio: Zane Havens has done a little bit of everything. From volunteering with a traditional Polynesian sailing canoe to owning a beer distribution company, his interests are not bounded by the Earth Science bachelor’s he received from Albion College in 2012 or the Environmental Science Ph.D. he is currently pursuing at the University of Virginia.  Originally from Albion, MI, Zane has worked as a Marketing Assistant with Patriot Solar Group in his hometown, as a hydrologist with the Bureau of Land Management in Colorado, and as a Stewardship Coordinator in Fredericksburg, VA with the non-profit American Canoe Association. He has carried his eclectic passions and varied experiences into his current position as the Post Graduate Coastal Resilience Fellow with Virginia Sea Grant, where he has been studying innovative solutions for coastal flooding and sea level rise alongside his host organization, Clark Nexsen.

General Manager, HRSD

Bio: Ted Henifin joined HRSD in 2006, as General Manager. He previously served as the Director of Public Works for the City of Hampton, Virginia. Henifin holds a bachelor’s of science in civil engineering from the University of Virginia. He is a registered professional engineer and is a member of the board of directors for the National Association of Clean Water Agencies and the Virginia Association of Municipal Wastewater Agencies.

President, SolUnesco, LLC

Bio: Jon is the president and co-founder of SolUnesco and leads project origination, operations, finance, development, and administration with his extensive experience in commercial construction, solar PV energy system installation, solar policy, project management, construction engineering and estimating, and CAD/GIS. Jon’s industry involvement includes memberships on the VAEIC Executive Board, the Virginia Solar Energy Development Authority, the National Roofing Contractors Association RISE, the Virginia Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, the Green Building Committee, and the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce Green Business Initiative Committee. Jon holds a BS in Architectural Engineering and a certification in Rooftop Photovoltaic Systems from Pennsylvania State University, and he is a Certified Solar Roofing Professional in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Principal, Hirschman & Environment, LLC

Bio: David J. Hirschman manages Hirschman Water & Environment, LLC, a consulting firm located in Charlottesville, VA, specializing in water resources planning and management in the public, private, academic, and non-profit sectors.

Founder/CEO, Sabreez PBC

Bio: Scott is a Geologist with a background in environmental consulting, real estate management, and energy services. Scott formed Sabreez in 2014 after conducting a study of the California renewable energy market and a study of energy consumers in California’s Central Valley. Sabreez formed as a Public Benefit Corporation in May of 2018 and released it’s Clean Energy Factor API in 2018. Scott is dedicated to accelerating the integration of renewable energy into people’s lives in a sustainable manner by providing reliable and accurate real-time data in a consumer-friendly format. Our Clean Energy Factor can be shown on a range of consumer-facing platforms, and presented through forecasting, offered as a clean energy switch, and used to engage consumers through gamification. Sabreez is building our team out of the 1717 Innovation Center located in Richmond, Virginia. Scott lives in Short Pump, Virginia with his wife Christina and two daughters, Elsa and Alina. Scott enjoys sailing, cooking, and classical piano studies when he’s not propagating Sabreez’s sustainable energy message.

Principal Project Manager, Jacobs Water Business Group

Bio: He obtained his BS in geology in 1994 from James Madison University and MS from Old Dominion University in 2002.  He has lead various groundwater supply efforts in the Coastal Plain of Virginia including groundwater withdrawal permitting, investigations, supply development, ASR investigation projects, the design of well facilities and operation and maintenance for large municipal withdrawals as well as small community water systems; he has worked on SWIFT since the project started in 2014.

Program Manager, Asset Management, VHB

Bio: He has 18 years of experience helping maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of transportation on the local, state, and national level. David has demonstrated proficiency in transportation asset management, maintenance optimization and budgeting, data collection, long-range planning for DOTs and MPOs, and geographic information system (GIS). He is familiar with multiple asset management, decision support, and maintenance systems – including the design and implementation of VHB’s SAM IS (Smart Asset Management and Inventory System).

Executive Director, Central Virginia Waste Management Authority

Bio: Kimberly A. Hynes is the Executive Director of the Central Virginia Waste Management Authority (CVWMA), a position she has held for over 12 years. The CVWMA is a public service authority that implements solid waste management and recycling programs for thirteen local governments. She has served the organization for over 23 years, previously serving as the agency’s deputy executive director and director of administration and finance.

Hynes serves on the Board the for the Old Dominion Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) currently serving as Treasurer and on the Board for Keep Virginia Beautiful, as past Chairman. She participated in the Leadership Metro Richmond Class of 2007, is a licensed Certified Public Accountant. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from James Madison University.

Senior Associate, Hazen and Sawyer

Bio: Lisa Jeffrey is a Senior Associate and the stormwater business leader for Hazen and Sawyer’s Chesapeake Region.  She has experience in stormwater, watershed and floodplain management with a concentration in NPDES and TMDL compliance. Lisa holds a BS in Biology and Geology from Colgate University and an MS in Water Resource Engineering from MIT.

Principal Water Resources Engineer, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission

Bio: Whitney Katchmark joined the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC) in 2006. Ms. Katchmark leads the Water Resources department which coordinates multi-jurisdictional efforts in the areas of drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, sea level rise, coastal zone management, and water quality. Ms. Katchmark received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Virginia.  Prior to joining HRPDC, she worked for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command for eight years. HRPDC is one of 21 Planning District Commissions in the Commonwealth of Virginia and represents the region’s seventeen local governments. The purpose of planning district commissions, as set out in the Code of Virginia is to encourage and facilitate local government cooperation and state-local cooperation in addressing a regional-basis problem of greater than local significance.

Lighting Channel Manager, Franklin Energy

Bio: Kyle Kichura entered the lighting industry in 2004, working for a distributor specializing in lighting efficiency and design.  Prior to joining Franklin Energy, he spent 6 years at a manufacturer specialized in custom and architectural-grade luminaires working closely with design engineers and specifiers.  His last 4.5 years have been spent working in the utility program implementation industry, providing guidance on lighting product qualification, lighting incentive offerings, and measure development.  Kyle also represents Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy program during DesignLights Consortium™ (DLC) technical committee meetings. He holds a BBA from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, is Lighting Certified (LC) through the National Council on Qualifications for the Lighting Professions (NCQLP), and a Member of the IES.

Assistant Director, Virginia Coastal Policy Center and William and Mary Law School

Bio: Angela King is Assistant Director at the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at William & Mary Law School. She formerly served as asst attorney general in the Virginia Office of the Attorney General and assistant county attorney for James City County.

Commander, Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Bio: Colonel Patrick V. Kinsman assumed duty as the 59th commander of the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, on June 13, 2018. As the commander, he oversees the district’s civil works, military construction, regulatory, and emergency operations missions, and is responsible for more than 350 employees in Norfolk and in resident offices throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Project Engineer, OBG

Bio: Christopher Konen Jr., P.E., is a Project Engineer with OBG, part of Ramboll, who provides consulting services for firms in a variety of industries and programs (air, spill prevention, RCRA, EPCRA).  He has acted as a liaison between clients and regulatory agencies, and developed custom compliance management systems and minimized regulatory requirements through strategic planning.

Director, Office of Water Supply Management, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

Bio: Scott Kudlas manages the Office of Water Supply at DEQ. He has 33 years of experience as an environmental planning professional focusing on a variety of land-use, water quantity, and water quality issues.  Scott has spent the last 26 years in Virginia state government in various management and policy positions at DEQ, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, and the Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Department. Prior to his state service, Scott worked for several local governments in multiple states and for a private sector land planning firm.  He is the longest serving member of the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin. He is an active member of the American Water Resources Association; he serves as a Director of the Board and lead faculty for their National Leadership Institute for State Officials. He is also a graduate of the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute. He enjoys working with people to find creative water solutions, tending his Japanese Garden, cooking for his wife and daughter, and helping out with his daughter’s crew team.

Director, Environmental Affairs, Smithfield Inc.

Bio: 27 years of experience in the environmental field with the last 21 at Smithfield Foods, Inc. Administer regulatory compliance programs for our facilities and farms in the U.S., Poland, Romania, and Mexico. Provide technical assistance, training, and mentoring to facility Environmental Coordinators and management teams for environmental regulatory reporting, permitting, compliance assurance, ISO 14001:2015, and sustainability initiatives. Conduct ISO 14001:2015 Internal Environmental Audits.

Other: North American Meat Institute Environmental Committee Chairman (2017-Present), Vice Chair (2015-16), Technical Chair (2011-14), ISO 14001:2015 Lead Auditor, Virginia Department Of Health – Waterworks Regulatory Advisory Panel (2014-Present), Virginia Waterworks Advisory Committee (1997–Present), Mission H2O Groundwater Subgroup (2014-2017), USA Swimming Official (2013-14), Environmental Protection Agency- Excellence in Environmental Education Award (1993) Virginia Military Institute, BSME (Class of 1988). Married to Meg. Three children Matthew (19), Margaret (17), & Caroline (16).

Student, Bridgwater College

Bio: Devin Lattimore is a senior at Bridgewater College, completing the last semester of his undergraduate degree in Environmental Science. During his time at Bridgewater, he has gained leadership experience through being a Resident Advisor, Bible study leader, and Intramural Coordinator. Devin has interned with the Office of Sustainability at Bridgewater College and most recently, with the Department of Environmental Quality in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He currently serves as a Teacher’s Aide at the campus greenhouse assisting with horticultural management. After graduation, he plans to pursue a career in freshwater conservation while furthering his photography/videography business.

Department of Public Utilities

Bio: Grace LeRose works at the Department of Public Utilities for the City of Richmond. She is the Program Manager for Environmental Compliance and Regulatory Affairs. She is currently focusing on Stormwater issues and TMDL Compliance. Before this assignment, she was the Acting Environmental Manager responsible for the Water and Wastewater Laboratories as well as the Industrial Waste & Pretreatment Group. Before coming to the City, Ms. LeRose was the Chief Chemist for the Hopewell Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility. She is the Past President for the Virginia Water Environment Association, Virginia’s premier professional association for wastewater and stormwater professionals. Ms. LeRose holds a BS in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Research Scientist, Virginia Transportation Research Council

Bio: Lewis Lloyd is a Research Scientist for the Virginia Transportation Research Council.  In 2017 Lewis graduated from the University of Virginia with his master’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering.  His research at UVA was focused on lightly contaminated media reuse and stormwater management. As a member of the Research Council’s environmental team, Lewis’s research focuses include stormwater management, waste management, and beneficial reuse.

Electric Transmission Communication Consultant, Dominion Energy

Bio: Greg oversees all aspects of Dominion Energy’s public engagement efforts in support of electric transmission projects and other business initiatives. In his role, Greg leads the communications sub-team of internal partners such as media affairs and government affairs representatives to plan and execute strategic stakeholder involvement and communications. He has served on the company’s Environmental Justice Working Group since 2017. He holds a BS degree in political science from Gettysburg College and has more than 15 years of strategic communication experience.

Research Assistant Professional, Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Lecturer, School of Public and International Affairs, Virginia Tech



Ohio State University Ph.D. 2002


Research Assistant Professional, Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation: Lecturer, School of Public and International Affairs, Virginia Tech

Assistant Professor, Director, Energy Programs, Jefferson Community College

Assistant Professor, Director, Center for Energy and Natural Resources, American University in Kosovo/Rochester Institute of Technology

Publications a few of his publications are Environmental Learning: Reflections of practice, research and theory, and National Environmental Literacy Assessment in Four Countries: Israel, Korea, Turkey and the USA

Activities includes being the founder and leader of the Virginia Tech Sustainable Renewable Energy Siting project

Principal Geologist, Eastern Shore of Virginia Groundwater Committee / Arcadis

Bio: Britt McMillan, a Principal Geologist with ARCADIS, has worked toward the development, protection, and preservation of groundwater resources in the US and internationally for over the past 30-years, with a focus on the Coastal Plain of Virginia.  Since 1996, Mr. McMillan has served as the Technical Advisor to the Eastern Shore of Virginia Groundwater Committee, a bi-County Committee established to protect and preserve groundwater in the Sole Source Aquifer. Over this time, Mr. McMillan has assisted the two Counties in promoting numerous research, education, regulatory, and resource protection measures for the sustainable use of the groundwater that are practical and cost-effective on the Shore.

Hydrologist,  USGS

Bio: Kurt is a Supervisory Hydrologist in the Virginia-West Virginia USGS Water Science Center where he oversees groundwater studies ranging from the Appalachian Region to the Coastal Plain. Kurt’s current work focuses on the development of regional water budgets, use of geophysical data to constrain hydrogeologic models and development of novel approaches for groundwater monitoring.  Kurt serves as secretary of the International Standards Organization Committee on groundwater, USGS Water to Work Program Science Team Lead, and in 2016 he organized the Hampton Roads Water Symposium to discuss water-related issues in coastal environments of Virginia. Kurt has authored or coauthored over 20 publications and has presented this work at many national and regional conferences.

Senior, James Madison University: Majoring in Integrated Science and Technology

Bio: He is working toward completion of his undergraduate studies in Integrated Science and Technology (ISAT) with a concentration in energy in May of 2019. Currently, he and his team are working on a project to make a Harley Davidson efficiently run on a gasoline-based fuel with 10% ethanol in hopes of lowering the emission and increasing the fuel mileage. After graduation, Cordell hopes to find a career that will allow him to help provide clean energy in the transportation or residential sector.

Senior Regional Planner, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission

Bio: Ben McFarlane is a Senior Regional Planner for the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, the regional planning organization for southeastern Virginia. Mr. McFarlane has been with the HRPDC for over ten years, working primarily on the Commission’s coastal zone management, coastal resiliency, and joint land use study programs. Mr. McFarlane is a member of the Virginia Coastal Policy Team, which advises the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program on policy and funding priorities. He received a B.A. in Economics and a Master’s of Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and is a Certified Floodplain Manager.

Marine Scientist, Center for Coastal Resources Management, VIMS

Bio: Molly Mitchell is a marine scientist at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.  She is actively engaged in both research and advisory efforts to help the state and localities to manage natural resources in the Bay and understand the impacts of different decision-making pathways. Her recent research focuses particularly on sea level rise impacts on natural systems and the built environment.  She works with managers throughout Virginia and the Bay to help understand the risks, vulnerabilities and potential adaptations to sea level rise. She holds a BS in Biology and Environmental Science and an MS and Ph.D. in Marine Science from the College of William and Mary.

Account Director, West Cary Group

Bio: Susan Mitchell is Senior Account Director at West Cary Group, a Richmond-based marketing firm, where she leads the communications and outreach teams for RVAH2O, City of Richmond’s Department of Public Utilities’ clean water initiative, and for RiverRenew, City of Alexandria’s CSO remediation program being managed by Alexandria Renew Enterprises. Susan helps bring relevance and meaning to public works programs through branding, outreach, transparent communications, and information channels tailored to different stakeholders’ needs. For nearly twenty years, she has worked with regional planning and development offices, environmental and educational non-profits, and transportation and tourism concerns. Susan is a 2019 VNRLI Fellow and a recent graduate of CBF’s VoiCes program.

Principal Ecosystem Services

Bio: Kip is a water resources engineer with a focus in ecological restoration design and stormwater management. He has worked on a wide range of projects including stream and wetland design, watershed planning, and urban stormwater management.

Senior, Radford University: Majoring in sociology, Minoring in psychology/women’s and gender studies

Bio: Mya Murphy, a Washington, D.C. native, is a senior at Radford University studying sociology with a double minor in psychology and women’s and gender studies. While in college, Mya is currently a team leader for the mentoring organization, Appalachian Arts and Studies in the Schools (AASIS), which helps high school students in Southwest, VA prepare for college. She also serves as a resident assistant, a research assistant at the Center for Social and Cultural Research, and the Deputy Secretary of Sustainability in Student Government.

Senior Managing Consultant, Ramboll Inc.

Bio: Christine Ng is a Senior Managing Consultant in Ramboll’s Arlington, Virginia office.  For the past 12 years, she has provided a diverse range of environmental consulting services to private and public sector clients, including data analysis, permitting and compliance assistance, compliance auditing, due diligence, enforcement and litigation support, and environmental, health, and safety (EHS) management training and strategy.  Christine has a Ph.D. in Technology, Management and Policy, an SM in Technology and Policy, and an SM in Civil and Environmental Engineering, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She also has a BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley.

Virginia Offshore Wind Research Opportunities in Metocean and Environmental Sciences

Bio: Will Payne serves as Chief Deputy of Virginia’s Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, primarily focused on economic development opportunities in the Commonwealth’s energy sector. He was previously the principal of Bull Moose Strategies, a consulting firm specializing in strategic communications, building bipartisan coalitions and connecting people through politics. He is a 2001 graduate of The College of William & Mary and in 2005 was named a fellow of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia. Will serves as Vice Rector of William & Mary’s Board of Visitors and is currently serves as Chair of the Administration, Buildings and Grounds Committee. In 2015, Will published his first book, Mark Warner the Dealmaker, an independent biography of former Virginia Governor and current U.S. Senator Mark Warner detailing lessons in leadership at the intersection of business and politics.

Assistant Research Professor in the Departments of Health Policy and Management in the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University

Bio: Janet Phoenix, M.D., M.P.H, MS. is an Assistant Research Professor in the Departments of Health Policy and Management in the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University.  She is a physician by training who has managed research, risk communication, and health prevention and promotion programs for many organizations. Dr. Phoenix is currently conducting research in children’s environmental health, with an emphasis on community-based participatory methods such as health impact analysis. Her research includes the impact of housing triggers on childhood asthma. She is part of a Community Advisory Group conducting a Health Impact Assessment of a formerly coal-fired power plant in Washington D.C. She received her B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Colorado in Denver and attended medical school at Howard University. She has a Masters in Clinical and Translational Sciences. Dr. Phoenix also completed a Masters of Public Health from the Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. Prior to coming to George Washington University, Dr. Phoenix served on two federal advisory committees, the CDC Lead Poisoning Advisory Committee, and the EPA Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee. She currently serves on the Board of the Healthy Schools Network and Greenseal. In 2017 she was appointed to the Virginia Advisory Council on Environmental Justice and was elected Chair.

Fiber Sustainability Manager, WestRock

Bio:  Employed in the forest industry for 22 years.  Roles have involved: Landowner Assistance, Forest Products Marketing, and numerous roles in industrial forestland management.

In his current role, I manage WestRock’s fiber sourcing and chain of custody certification programs for paper mills in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.  He is also the group manager for an Independently Managed Group (IMG) in the American Tree Farm System with 147,000 acres owned by 62 private landowners.

He is a Certified Forester through the Society of American Foresters and a Registered Forester in North Carolina and West Virginia.

Executive Director, Scenic Virginia

Bio: Leighton Powell – Leighton is the longtime executive director of Scenic Virginia, the statewide conservation organization dedicated solely to the preservation, protection, and enhancement of the scenic beauty of the Commonwealth. Scenic Virginia celebrated its 20th Anniversary in May 2018.

Director, Land and Community Program, Southern Environmental Law Center

Bio: Trip Pollard is a senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that works in Virginia and five other southern states to protect the natural areas and resources of the South.  He is the director of SELC’s Land and Community Program, which promotes smarter growth and sustainable transportation throughout this region. Trip has been a leader in efforts to shape land use, transportation, and energy projects and policies throughout the Southeast.  He also has written dozens of reports and articles, including Damage Control: Adapting Transportation to a Changing Climate; Sustainable Communities: Building for the Future of the Greater Richmond Region; and a chapter on transportation in the book Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States. Trip has served on numerous state and local government commissions and advisory bodies, as well as on the board of many organizations.

Director of Generation Construction, Dominion Energy.

Bio: Ruth is responsible for the design and construction of renewable generation facilities for the company, bringing over 2 Gigawatts of new renewable energy to regulated and unregulated customers over the last 6 years.  She has had spent her energy career in the energy industry, focused on process improvement, financial management, power plant operations, and customer service roles. She holds a Professional Engineering license in the Commonwealth of Virginia and graduated with a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech.  She is passionate about fair treatment and meaningful involvement of team members and customers and served as a member of Dominion Energy’s Environmental Justice Working Group.

Office of Pollution Prevention, Virginia DEQ

Bio: Ms. Quinn manages the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of Pollution Prevention, which promotes green practices that go beyond regulatory requirements through programs including the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program, Virginia Green, and the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards.  Prior to working with Va DEQ, she gained experience working with industry and municipalities on compliance and environment management systems. Ms. Quinn has a Masters degree in Environmental Studies from Virginia Commonwealth Universia and an Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from the University of Mary Washington.

Executive Director, Virginia Conservation Network

Bio: Mary has a decade of experience running campaigns to protect the environment. As the Executive Director, Mary works with Virginia Conservation Network’s 100+ partner organizations as a strategic facilitator to help Virginia’s conservation community speak with one voice. Before joining VCN, Mary worked for five years with Environment America and the Public Interest Network running political and conservation field campaigns to protect some of America’s last untouched landscapes. She cut her teeth organizing in Virginia for the Sierra Club playing a lead role in mobilizing one of the most effective grassroots organizing campaigns in Virginia to Keep the Ban on uranium mining. Mary got her start with environmental campaign work with Green Corps, the field school for environmental organizing. She now sits on the Board for Green Corps. Mary graduated summa cum laude from the University of San Francisco

Professor of Marine Science, Chair Department of Aquatic Health Sciences, VIMS


Educational background:

  • B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
  • Ph.D. in in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology with a minor in Genetics from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Publications: >110 peer-reviewed scientific publications

Mentorship: 10 post-doctoral research associates, 17 graduate students, 14 undergraduate students, 6 high school students

Research Program: I conduct molecular genetic studies on aquacultured shellfish species and aquatic pathogens of humans and shellfish. A primary focus of my research is monitoring for, molecular detection of, and examining the biological impacts of harmful algal bloom (HAB) species. A key component is the development and optimization of molecular diagnostics for viral, bacterial, and protistan organisms, including HABs, in environmental matrices such as marine and estuarine water and sediments, and in shellfish. Molecular genetic tools are used to do source tracking, transmission studies, and ecological experiments.

Proterra, Regional Sales Director

Bio: Eric Reynolds is the Southeast Regional Sales Director at Proterra. Eric brings more than 15 years of transportation and logistics knowledge to Proterra.  As a regional sales director, Eric is passionate about innovation in public transit and is committed to helping fleets transition to zero-emission battery electric buses. Before joining Proterra, he was Business Development Manager for Ryder Systems, Inc. He attended Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing Management.

Virginia State Director, Program Manager, Mitigation Solutions

Bio: Ms. Richards is responsible for implementing mitigation and other conservation acquisitions projects for The Conservation Fund with partners throughout Virginia.  She also coordinates the activities of the Fund’s Acquisitions field staff who are engaged in deploying mitigation solutions across the country. Her experience with land trusts includes chairing the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, as well as more than 10 years of leadership with Virginia’s United Land Trusts (VaULT).  Prior to coming to the Fund, she developed and managed robust land conservation programs at the Piedmont Environmental Council and Potomac Conservancy. She also coordinated species conservation and reintroduction programs for Defenders of Wildlife. Ms. Richards was appointed to the Virginia Board of Forestry in 2018 by Governor Northam.Ms. Richards holds a Masters of Environmental Management from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a B.A. in Political Science and Environmental Policy from American University.

Water Quality Standards Scientist, Virginia DEQ

Bio: Tish Robertson is the Water Quality Standards Scientist for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Richmond, VA.  She has been with DEQ for twelve years, serving as the Chesapeake Bay Program Analyst and Water Quality Assessment Coordinator before moving into her current role.  Tish provides technical oversight in the development and implementation of the Commonwealth’s Water Quality Standards—the regulatory provisions that protect surface waters from the harmful effects of pollutants.   Tish holds a B.S in Applied Biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Biology from Rutgers University-Newark.

Deputy Regional Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 3 – Mid-Atlantic

Bio: Cecil Rodrigues is the Deputy Regional Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 3.  As the Deputy Regional Administrator, Cecil oversees the Compliance Assurance Program throughout the region, promotes and encourages scientific projects with Region 2 states and the Office of Research and Development.  Prior to his current position, Cecil served as the Hazardous Site Cleanup Division Director, Acting Deputy Assistant Regional Administrator, and Acting Chief of the Information Systems Branch.  As an attorney, Cecil spent the early part of his career in Region 3’s Office of Regional Counsel and served in several leadership positions.  Cecil received his B.A. in Political Science from Adelphi University and his J.D. from the New York Law School.   Cecil and his wife Jeanne are proud parents of three children, Kaitlin, Kelly, and Brian.

Hazardous Waste Program Manager, Office of Financial Responsibility and Waste Programs, DEQ

Bio: Leslie Romanchik is currently the Hazardous Waste Program Manager in the Office of Financial Responsibility and Waste Programs at the Department of Environmental Quality.  She is responsible for the management and oversight of hazardous waste permitting and compliance programs. Having been with the state for over 30 years, she has worked in a variety of technical, supervisory, and management positions within the DEQ and predecessor Agencies. Leslie has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.

Endangered Species Biologist, Virginia Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Bio: Cindy received her degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia and Oklahoma State University. She joined the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1991 as an endangered species biologist in the Virginia Field Office. She has continued to work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since that time. She has served as the Southwestern Region’s Section 7 Coordinator in Albuquerque, NM, and supervised the recovery of endemic listed species, such as the Key Largo woodrat, Everglade snail kite, and Florida panther in her position as Endangered Species Supervisor in the South Florida Ecological Services Office. Since 2009, Cindy has been the Field Supervisor for Virginia Ecological Services

Executive Director, Virginia’s United Land Trust

Bio: Ellen Shepard has worked as Virginia’s United Land Trusts’ executive director since July 2016.  She has worked on conservation issues in various capacities including serving as executive director of the Virginia Conservation Network and conservation organizer for the Sierra Club.  From 2009-2016 Ellen served as co-chair of the Linwood Holton Elementary School’s outdoor classroom project where she worked with hundreds of children, teachers, and community partners. Ellen is a James Madison University graduate.  She completed the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute. Ellen lives in Richmond with her husband and two boys.

Senior Environmental Scientist, VHB

Bio:  Chris Senfield is a Senior Environmental Scientist for VHB, where he manages projects and tasks for environmental services in the Mid-Atlantic region.  Chris specializes in natural resource inventory and assessment, ecological restoration, wetland ecology, threatened and endangered species surveys, invasive species management, and environmental permitting, with nearly 20 years of combined experience as a professional scientist.  He is a certified Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS) and Professional Wetland Delineator (PWD), and he holds several approvals from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct surveys for threatened and endangered species in Virginia. Chris lives in Richmond, VA and volunteers locally as VHB’s campus ambassador for the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University in support of sustainability programs and undergraduate career development.

Principal Planner, City of Norfolk

Bio: Jeremy Sharp is the Principal Planner for the City of Norfolk’s Department of City Planning, in the Long Range Planning Division. He is the Project manager for Norfolk’s Zoning Ordinance Update, a complete re-write of the city’s zoning code, and for Vision 2100, a very long-range, resiliency-focused vision the city and the Co-project manager for plaNorfolk2030, the 2013 update of Norfolk’s comprehensive plan. Jeremy Has assisted in the development and implementation of multiple neighborhood plans, plan amendments, and ordinance revisions. Prior to beginning work in Norfolk in 2008, he served as an Associate Planner for Augusta County, Virginia. He has helped develop Augusta’s 2007 Comprehensive Plan Update, a county-wide economic development strategy, and a small area plan for the county’s fastest-growing community. Jeremy earned a bachelor’s degree in Urban Affairs and a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Tech.

Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at the University of Mary Washington

Bio: He normally studies international issues. However, his present research stems from a personal interest in conservation and land use in Stafford County, where he was raised on a small family farm. Dr. Singh serves on the Board of Directors of the non-profit Northern Virginia Conservation Trust.

Anthropologist; Tribal Liaison Pamunkey Indian Tribe; Associate Researcher, American Indian Resource Center, College of William

Bio: Dr. Ashley Spivey is a member of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe and is a working anthropologist. Dr. Spivey currently serves as both the Tribal Liaison and an Associate Researcher with the American Indian Resource Center at the College of William and Mary. Dr. Spivey graduated from James Madison University with Honors and earned a B.A. in Anthropology in 2007. In 2009 she received her M.A. and in 2017, Dr. Spivey completed her Ph.D. in Anthropology at the College of William and Mary and her dissertation is entitled “Knowing the Land, Working the River and Digging for Clay: Pamunkey Indian Subsistence Practices and the Market Economy 1800-1900.” Ashley has received several awards for her dissertation research including the Society for American Archaeology’s Native American Graduate Archaeology Scholarship and the Southern Regional Education Board’s Dissertation Fellowship. As an Indigenous person and an anthropologist, Dr. Spivey is dedicated to the practice of advocating for and collaborating with, Native communities in archaeological and anthropological research to encourage the development and support of tribal leaders in the preservation, conservation, and protection of Indigenous cultural and historic resources.

Compliance Coordinator, Virginia DEQ

Bio: Graduated from VCU with a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning (MURP).  Over 18 years of experience working with erosion and sediment control and stormwater management programs and regulations in Virginia.  This includes work with local government, a national home-builder and two state agencies, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

Dominion Energy, Energy Technology Advisor

Bio: Kate Staples is a program manager for Dominion Energy Virginia’s new technology and renewable energy programs. Previously, she developed and implemented demand-side management programs for Dominion Energy’s residential and non-residential customers.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Business from Virginia Tech and her MBA from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a Six Sigma Green Belt and received her Certified Energy Manager certification in 2014.

Director of Policy, Wetlands Watch

Bio: Mary-Carson Stiff is Director of Policy at Wetlands Watch where she specializes in the National Flood Insurance Program and helps advise local governments as they plan for sea level rise adaptation. She is a Certified Floodplain Manager, Chair of the Coastal Virginia Community Rating System Workgroup, & Board Member of the Virginia Floodplain Managers Association. Before joining Wetlands Watch she worked as Consulting Manager for Policy & Programs for the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at William & Mary Law School, where she obtained a J.D. in 2013. Mary-Carson graduated from Bates College with a B.A. in English Literature in 2008.

Sustainability Specialist, AECOM

Bio: Claire Still is a Sustainability Specialist at AECOM. In this position, Ms. Still provides support to private and public sector clients to build, improve, monitor, and evaluate their sustainability to work towards more resilient practices. This includes working with clients to assess their vulnerability to climate change and to evaluate potential adaptation strategies. Prior to AECOM, Claire received her Master of Public Health with a focus on Environmental Health and the importance of local governance to the sustainability of health interventions. She has also worked for CARE, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Geological Survey, and Green Corps.

Sr. Environmental Engineer, Spotsylvania County, Virginia

Bio: Sr. Environmental Engineer with Spotsylvania County, Virginia, has 40 years. Experience in the civil engineering field.  He specializes in drainage, stormwater management, erosion & sediment control, and shoreline restoration.  He has worked for various localities, private sector engineers, and was a former VDOT District Drainage engineers.

Executive Director, Chesapeake Bay Commission

Bio: Ann Swanson has served as a leader in the Bay restoration for nearly 35 years, the last 29 as the Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, a tri-state legislative authority serving the states of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. It is the Commission’s responsibility to sponsor legislation at the state level and to work with state legislators, members of the U.S. Congress, and the federal and state regulatory agencies to coordinate programs aimed at restoring the Chesapeake Bay.

Although Ann operates in a highly political environment, she is trained in the sciences. A trained wildlife biologist and forest ecologist, she graduated with honors from the University of Vermont and Yale University; she served as a member of the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources for 23 years and as its Chairman for 11. Among her many awards, in 2001, she was awarded the Bay region’s highest Conservation Award, Conservationist of the Year, in 2008 was recognized by general assembly resolutions in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, in 2011 was awarded the YMCA Outstanding Women in Industry Twin Award, in May 2012 received an honorary doctorate from the University of Vermont, in 2013 received the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Leadership Award, and in 2015 she was recognized as an Admiral of the Chesapeake Bay in the state of Maryland. Ann has been married for 32 years, is a published illustrator, an accomplished gardener, backpacker, sea kayaker, and is a mother of two boys.

Manager – New Technology and Renewable Programs, Power Delivery Group

Bio: Derek is responsible for developing renewable energy programs and integrating new technologies such as distributed generation and electric vehicles within Dominion Energy’s Virginia regulated service territory. Additionally, he is leading efforts to develop Dominion Energy Virginia’s Grid Transformation Plan. Wenger joined the company as an intern in 2008. Upon graduation, he worked in the Customer Service organization, where he held various analyst positions. He moved to the Electric Distribution Finance team in 2010 and was promoted to Manager–Electric Distribution Financial and Business Services in 2014 where he was responsible for reporting, analytics, and planning for the Electric Distribution organization.  Wenger transitioned to his current role in September 2017. Wenger serves on the Board of Directors for NC GreenPower which is a nonprofit with a mission of improving the environment by supporting renewable energy projects and providing grant funding for solar installations at schools throughout NC. Wenger earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, majoring in Management from Christopher Newport University.

Bio: Ms. Whitken provides strategic planning and management of complex energy projects involving a wide range of technical and regulatory issues throughout the United States.  For E & E, Ms. Whitken has lead projects for renewable energy, LNG export, carbon sequestration, and natural gas power. Ms. Whitken holds a Bachelor of Engineering Degree in Civil/Environmental Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology.

Director of Center for Social and Cultural Research, Radford University

Bio: Associate Professor of Sociology at Radford University. Her primary teaching responsibilities include research methods, medical sociology, and survey research. Her research interests include the scholarship of teaching and learning, sustainability and recycling, and campus climate. She also directs the Center for Social and Cultural Research at Radford University which provides research consulting services to campus and community partners.

Founder & President, Green Water-Infrastructure Academy

Bio: Dr. Tamim Younos is Founder & President of the Green Water-Infrastructure Academy, a nonprofit organization in Washington D.C. which focuses on decentralized water & energy infrastructure in urban environments. Tamim earned a Doctoral of Engineering Degree in Urban and Environmental Engineering; has served as a Principal Investigator for over 30 research and educational projects, and authored/co-authored more than 150 publications, and has edited seven books on water science topics.  His professional recognitions include the American Water Resources Association (AWRA) Icko Iben Award, Fulbright Visiting Scholar Award, and Japan Society for Promotion of Science Award. Tamim is a former Research Professor of Water Resources and Interim Director of Virginia Water Resources Research Center at Virginia Tech.

2019 Co-Hosts and Supporting Organizations