Facilitators

  Mary Ferdig, Sustainability Leadership
Mary A. Ferdig, Ph.D. is President of the Sustainability Leadership Institute, a Vermont-based nonprofit educational and service organization dedicated to offering an expanded view of leadership and developing associated capacity among leaders within organizations and communities who are committed to the work of co-creating a sustainable future. Ferdig is an organizational consultant/facilitator with 25 years of experience in business and nonprofit arenas, including ten years as senior staff and manager of the Human Resources and Organizational Development department at Omaha Public Power District in Nebraska. Mary's practice has grown out of an emerging view of leadership philosophy and practice linking complexity science with human systems and transformative change in an increasingly complex, interconnected world. In addition to her full time work with SLI projects, she is scheduled to teach Leadership for Sustainability as a Spring 2009 Honors Colloquium at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Ferdig has served as faculty associate at Benedictine University, Chicago, and External Examiner in the Doctoral Program University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, United Kingdom.


  Jay Leighter, Public Deliberation and Civic Participation
Jay Leighter, Ph.D., joined the Department of Communication Studies at Creighton University in 2006 where he teaches courses in cross-cultural communication, small group communication, interpersonal communication and public speaking. As an ethnographer of communication, he studies local public and political discourse and tries to understand how culture and communication intersect and influence the settings and scenes in which such communication takes place. Because public meetings are typical events for community decision making, his research draws heavily from political deliberation and small group communication research. Because community decision making often involves consideration of complex social, economic and environmental issues, his research also draws from environmental communication and sustainability literatures. He is a volunteer and consultant for the Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities, a member of the Green Omaha Coalition and, at Creighton, an active participant in several sustainability initiatives.

  W. Cecil Steward, Sustainability Expert
W. Cecil Steward, FAIA, is a world expert on sustainable development and sustainable design. Dean emeritus and emeritus professor of architecture and planning at the University of Nebraska College of Architecture in Lincoln, he is president and founder of the International North/North Network for Urban Sustainability and the Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities, Omaha/Lincoln. The Nebraska Sustainability Leadership Workshop is just one of the intiatives Steward has designed under the aegis of the Joslyn Institute. A past president of the national American Institute of Architects (AIA), Steward has served on the boards of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, the AIA and on the charter board of the Architectural Research Centers Consortium. He serves on the boards of directors of the Asia/Pacific Center for Architecture, the national Design Futures Council, and the steering committee of the United Nations Center for Human Settlements Best Practices Network and its international Dubai Award for Best Practices in Sustainable Development, among others.



Consultants

  Doug Bisson, Community Planning Manager
Doug Bisson serves as HDR’s Community Planning Manager and has expertise in urban design and redevelopment. He is an expert in bringing together key city leaders, business owners, and residents to stimulate economic development and neighborhood revitalization, often through the use of environmentally friendly, pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use development practices. He has been the Project Manager for several notable initiatives within the region, including Aksarben Village, Destination Midtown, the North Downtown Redevelopment Plan, and the Omaha Streetcar Feasibility Study. In addition, Doug serves on numerous community-based boards and is a member of the American Planning Association, American Institute of Certified Planners, and the Urban Land Institute.

   Ann S. Bleed, Water Resources
Ann S. Bleed, Ph.D, P.E., is Senior Program Manager at CDR Associates in Boulder, Colorado. She is one of two negotiators representing the State of Nebraska on a six-member team that settled Nebraska v. Wyoming, a complex interstate water lawsuit, before the U.S. Supreme Court. She served as State Hydrologist for the Nebraska Department of Water Resources, and later was named Deputy Director and Director of the department. Prior to her state service, Bleed taught senior and graduate-level courses in Integrated Resources Management and Natural Resources Policy at the University of Nebraska. She received her B.A. in Biology from Earlham College, her M.S. in Zoology from Penn State, her Ph.D. in Zoology with a focus on ecology and animal behavior from the University of Wisconsin, and her P.E. in Civil Engineering with an emphasis on hydrology and water resources management from the University of Nebraska. She is the author of numerous technical articles and project manager and editor of An Atlas of the Sandhills.

   Rick Boldt, Business Recycling
Rick Boldt is Project Manager, Business Continuity/Campus Recycling Coordinator at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). His responsibilities over the past 29 years have included disaster planning, recycling, the vehicle fleet and environmental services administrative management. Mr. Boldt began UNMC's recycling program in 1989 and opened a campus recycling facility in 1993 where mixed paper and corrugated cardboard are baled. He holds an associate of arts degree in civil engineering and technology.

  Steven P. Case, Environmental Law
Attorney Steve Case's practice includes all aspects of environmental law. He assists clients in developing and maintaining management and auditing programs to cover all environmental requirements applicable to a client’s operations. This compliance assistance covers all environmental programs, including federal, state and municipal requirements. In addition, he represents clients on environmental matters in business transactions. This includes due diligence on purchasing/selling businesses and/or facilities, negotiating and obtaining environmental permits and approvals, and site investigations and remediation. Steve’s practice also includes over 20 years of experience in counseling clients regulated by governmental agencies. This counseling includes participation in agency hearings and rule making proceedings, as well as compliance matters and defending investigations.


  Jim Crandall, Cooperative Business Development Specialist
Jim Crandall serves as the Outreach Program Coordinator for the Nebraska Cooperative Development Center, an organization dedicated to addressing the needs of cooperative development in Nebraska. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in Agricultural Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His background includes teaching high school vocational agriculture, serving as an Extension Educator in Nebraska and Wyoming, as a territory manager for a livestock feed and animal health company in Nebraska and Kansas, and production agriculture. Jim is currently the chairperson of Cooperation Works, a national network of cooperative development centers across the United States.


  Christopher Decker, Environmental and Energy Economics
Dr. Christopher Decker is Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Professor Decker received his Ph.D. in Busines Economics from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business in 2000 and currently teaches Managerial Economics in UNO's MBA program, and Business and Economic Forecasting in UNO's Masters of Economics program. He has been named Outstanding Professor of the Year in 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2008. His research interests include environmental and energy economics, regional and land use economics, industrial organization and economic history. Dr. Decker has worked on several economic development and impact studies, including an impact study measuring immigrant populations' effect on Nebraska's economy, an impact study of the River City Roundup on the Omaha metropolitan economy, and an in-depth analysis of the transportation sector's contribution to rural Nebraska's economic growth and development. Before his professoriate, Dr. Decker worked for DRI/McGraw-Hill (now Global Insight) producing forecasts of energy prices and demand, long-range macroeconomic and demographic indicators, as well as commercial, industrial, residential and institutional building activity.

  Mona Eigbrett, Sustainable Training and Education
Mona Eigbrett is Sustainable Training and Education Manager at HDR. She focuses on sustainable design training and educational programming. For the past eight years she has worked with a national core team of sustainable design experts focused on promoting green design and construction strategies. Mona has developed and delivered training programs for many staff and a variety of clients, including the General Services Administration; the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and the California Department of General Services. She currently provides training nationally and internationally for the U.S. Air Force. Mona is a LEED Accredited Professional and a Founding Board Member of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Flatwater Chapter which serves Nebraska.

  Mary Ferdig, Sustainability Leadership
Mary A. Ferdig, Ph.D. is President of the Sustainability Leadership Institute, a Vermont-based nonprofit educational and service organization dedicated to offering an expanded view of leadership and developing associated capacity among leaders within organizations and communities who are committed to the work of co-creating a sustainable future. Ferdig is an organizational consultant/facilitator with 25 years of experience in business and nonprofit arenas, including ten years as senior staff and manager of the Human Resources and Organizational Development department at Omaha Public Power District in Nebraska. Mary's practice has grown out of an emerging view of leadership philosophy and practice linking complexity science with human systems and transformative change in an increasingly complex, interconnected world. In addition to her full time work with SLI projects, she is scheduled to teach Leadership for Sustainability as a Spring 2009 Honors Colloquium at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Ferdig has served as faculty associate at Benedictine University, Chicago, and External Examiner in the Doctoral Program University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, United Kingdom.

  James Goeke, Hydrogeologist
James Goeke is Professor, Survey Division, in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has served as a hydrogeologist in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln since 1970 and is stationed at the West Central Research and Extension Center in North Platte. His research focuses on the groundwater resources of central and southwestern Nebraska, groundwater management under conditions of scarcity, and the age of the Nebraska Sand Hills, which has contributed to models of the unconfined aquifers in the central Platte region and stream-aquifer studies in the Republican River Valley. Goeke has worked closely with the Natural Resources Districts in west-central Nebraska to develop and implement state-mandated groundwater management plans. His work with the Upper Republican NRD in southwestern Nebraska since the 1970s has focused on meeting the challenges of declining water tables and water restrictions, including a moratorium on well-drilling and groundwater metering. He also has assisted the Middle Republican and the Twin Platte NRDs with groundwater management issues. Goeke collaborates with the U.S. Geological Survey on the High Plains Regional Aquifer System Analysis and the High Plains National Water Quality Assessment programs. He is widely recognized for his efforts in preserving Nebraska’s water and other natural resources, including the Maurice Kremer award from the Nebraska Groundwater Foundation and the State Forester’s Award from the Nebraska Forest Service. Goeke received his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin and his M.S. from Colorado State University.

  Mark R. Gustafson, Rural Economic and Business Development
Mark Gustafson, Ph.D., Coordinator of Rural Economic and Business Development at the UNL Rural Initiative in Mead, received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Nebraska and a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics from the University of California at Berkeley. He has worked for the University of Rhode Island as a marketing consultant in Brazil, a University of California research associate on small farm marketing issues and county land use planning, and a consultant to the Omaha Bank of Cooperatives. For the past thirty years, he has been a farm owner and operator in Saunders County, Nebraska. He has served in a number of leadership roles at the local, state, multi-state and national level including president of his local school board, state president of Agriculture Builders of Nebraska, president of a three-state Land O' Lakes District 16 Board of Directors, secretary of the Land O' Lakes Policy Committee, chair of the twelve-state North Central Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching (CARET) Organization and as a member of the national CARET executive committee.

  Carrie Hakenkamp
Carrie Hakenkamp has been involved in the recycling industry for nearly 15 years and has been the Director of WasteCap Nebraska for 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Nebraska Lincoln with an emphasis in Sociology. Ms. Hakenkamp is an active promoter of waste reduction and recycling in the business community and has recently participated in the Institute for Conservation Leadership executive director training program. She is a former Chairperson of the Nebraska Industrial Coalition on Environment (NICE), former Co-Chair of the Rural Recycling Council of the National Recycling Coalition, and has served on the Advisory Committee for the Pollution Prevention Regional Information Center (P2ric). In her position at WasteCap, Carrie has been involved in planning fifteen electronics recycling collections, has performed over 100 waste assessments and has participated in several meetings, presentations and workshops related to waste reduction and recycling. In her spare time, Carrie enjoys gardening, water skiing, playing with her boys, ages 11 and 4 and last year became a PADI-certified SCUBA diver.

  Todd Hall, Energy Efficiency
J. Todd Hall is the Vice President of the Consumer Services Division, Lincoln Electric System (LES). As the head of the Consumer Services Division, Mr. Hall is responsible for directing LES’ Energy Services Consulting and Account Management; Consumer Accounting, Meter Reading, Billing, Credit & Collections, and Customer Service; New Products and Services; Electric Rates Program; Financial and Load Forecasting; and Community Economic Development. Mr. Hall brings over 22 years of experience in the energy/utility industry.  He has held management responsibilities with electric and natural gas utilities with service in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska and New Mexico.   His experience has been in regulated and unregulated energy companies throughout the Midwest and Western United States. Prior to joining LES 2002, Mr. Hall served as the chief executive officer for Nebraska Energy Services Company headquartered in Lincoln.  Mr. Hall holds a Bachelors of Science, Business Administration and currently is a Master’s candidate in Public Administration, Finance at the University of Nebraska.

  Twyla Hansen, sustainable agriculture, organic certification
Twyla Hansen is quality system administrator at Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA), an internationally accredited organic certification agency in Lincoln, Nebraska. She earned a M.Ag. degree in sustainable agriculture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2007. Her series of educational papers on the on the environmental, social and economic implications of farmland conversion in eastern Nebraska, “Multifunctional Rural Landscapes,” co-written with Dr. Charles Francis, UNL Professor of Agronomy and Horticulture, is available on the Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities web site www.ecospheres.com. Twyla is an associate fellow of the Center for Great Plains Studies, and has served as a community volunteer for the Lincoln Water Conservation Task Force, Community Forestry Advisory Board, Nebraska Statewide Arboretum and others. She lives, works and writes in Lincoln, where her wooded acre is maintained as an urban wildlife habitat, recognized in 1994 by the Mayor’s Landscape Conservation Award.

   Tim Hemsath, AIA, LEED AP
Tim Hemsath is a practicing architect and Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, College of Architecture. Dr. Hemsath has worked professionally in Philadelphia and Omaha as a project architect and currently runs a small collaborative design practice. In the fall of 2007 he joined the faculty at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Architecture as an assistant professor, filling its first digital design position and providing leadership in the realm of digital fabrication. Recently, he has presented at the American Institute of Architects National Convention in addition to co-authoring an AIA white paper on the Future of Architectural Education. He has several papers pending publication on the pedagogy of BIM in beginning design. He currently serves as Chair of the Nebraska Flatwater Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council promoting green building practices, policy and technology in Nebraska.

   Rachael Herpel, Water Education/Outreach Specialist
Rachael Herpel is the liaison between Univerity of Nebraska-Lincoln water faculty and the Nebraska Natural Resources Districts, the Nebraska Legislature, and other water resources decision-makers from across the State. Her primary focus is to create stronger linkages between policy and science. With a B.A. in political science from UNL and a masters in community and regional planning from UNL, Herpel has worked as Community Programs Director for the Groundwater Foundation, program coordinator and educator for the Platte Watershed Program, and project specialist for the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District. She is a member of the American Water Works Association, where she has worked on the Source Water Protection Committee, the Research Foundation Project Advisory Committee, and the Public Interest Advisory Forum. She is the recipient of the U.S. Department of Interior’s Cooperatie Conservation Award and the American Society of Agricultural Engineer’s Blue Ribbon Award for Educational Aids for the Platte watershed program website.

  Danielle Hill, Housing and Micro-Enterprise Development
Danielle Hill has served as the executive director of the Nebraska Housing Developers Association in Lincoln since 1997. The Association works to champion affordable housing by providing training and technical assistance; managing statewide collaborative housing initiatives and influencing policy through advocacy and awareness. Prior to working for the Association, Danielle served as a development consultant for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. Her areas of focus were affordable housing, tribal development, fair housing, and micro-enterprise.

  Dr. Andrew Lang Jameton, Environmental Health, Community Gardening
Dr. Andrew Jameton teaches at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in the College of Public Health, and conducts research on global ethical issues in health care and public health, such as equality, environment, ecological medicine, and global climate change. He is the author, with Jessica Pierce, of The Ethics of Environmentally Responsible Health Care, and author of Nursing Practice: the Ethical Issues. He teaches the Ethics in Health Care course and supervises graduate students in the MSIA PhD program. He has initiated courses titled Philosophy and History of Public Health, and Climate Change, Sustainability, and Public Health. He is helping to build a course on professionalism and cultural competence. Dr. Jameton also is active in public service. He is on the planning committees at the new College of Public Health for the environmental Ph.D. program, and for the new Center for Humanities, Health, and Society, and others. Medical Ethics and the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committees. Board Chair, City Sprouts, an inner city community gardening project.

  Rocky J. Keehn, Engineer, Stormwater Management, Low-Impact Development
Rocky J. Keehn, is a senior principal in the engineering and architecture firm Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. (SEH) and heads its Omaha office. The employee-owned firm headquartered in Minneapolis, has consulted on projects in both the public and private sectors for more than 77 years. SEH offers expertise in civil engineering, construction management, transportation, roadway, bridge, aviation, civil engineering, design/build, environmental, municipal and water/wastewater projects. Keehn was a member of the Minnesota Water Resources Committee, past president of the Minnesota ASCE, and has been involved in the development of cutting edge stormwater topics. He also taught a course on stormwater pond design which included a component on BMP and LID concepts. He specializes in stormwater and sustainability issues and is a Civil LEED AP in Nebraska.

  Alan S. Kolok
Dr. Alan S. Kolok currently holds a joint appointment as a professor of Biology at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and as a professor of Environmental Health in the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Professor Kolok received his Ph.D. in Environmental Organismic and Population Biology at the University of Colorado in 1991. He currently teaches courses in Physiology, Toxicology and Environmental Science at both UNO and UNMC. His research interests focus on aquatic contaminants in Nebraska waterways, and his research has environmental as well as human health implications. His expertise is with the biological effects of emerging contaminants. Emerging contaminants are often: from non-point sources (i.e., storm water runoff), difficult to detect, occurring in the waste as complex mixtures, and have unknown or unusual interactions with humans and biota. Dr. Kolok is also the organizer of the Nebraska Emerging Contaminant Working Group, which includes academics as well as government and non-governmental employees.

  Mike Kros, Architect, Green Building
Mr. Kros is a registered Architect and Senior Associate at DLR Group.  He has over 15 years experience in the design and construction industry.  Mike holds a BS Architectural Studies and a Masters in Architecture both from the University of Nebraska Lincoln and is a LEED Accredited Professional.  He was president of AIA Omaha in 2004.  Mike serves on the Flatwater Advocacy Committee.

  Denise Kuehn, Utility Engineer, Energy Efficiency
Denise Kuehn is the Manager of Demand Side and Sustainable Management for the Omaha Public Power District and has 20 years of experience in the energy and power market. Denise holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Nebraska Lincoln and has EIT professional certification in the State of Nebraska. She has held numerous leadership positions within the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers and is active the International Facilities Management Association, Building Owners and Managers Association, Junior League of Omaha, and the ICAN Defining Women Program.


  Sharon S. Baum Kuska, Sustainability and Architectural Design
Dr. Sharon Kuska is a professor of architecture in the College of Architecture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she teaches courses in sustainability, design and structures. She also serves as Vice President of the Joslyn Castle Institute for Sustainable Communities (JCI), and is the Associate Director of the Nebraska Center for Sustainable Construction (NCSC), an initiative within the JCI. In addition, Dr. Kuska has served on the National Council of Architectural Registration Board (NCARB) and as past president of the Nebraska Society of Professional Engineers. Several notable projects have benefited from Dr. Kuska’s research or direct involvement, including the development of the North/North Network for Urban Sustainability and Leadership, established through affiliation with the United Nations HABITAT Best Practices and Local Leadership Committee, establishment of the Center for Building Integration and projects involving steel bridge and high-strength concrete column design. Dr. Kuska is a registered civil engineer in the State of Nebraska, and has worked professionally at the architectural office of Bahr Vermeer & Haecker in Lincoln. She is an accredited LEED professional.


  Daniel Lawse, Community Sustainability and Energy Efficiency
Daniel Lawse has served as the Coordinator of Sustainable Practices at Metropolitan Community College since June of 2009, where he has instituted a number of sustainability initiatives, including several new classes in Sustainable Energy Technology, Residential Energy Management and Green Living Workshops through Continuing Education. Daniel is actively engaged in the greater Omaha sustainability efforts. He sits on the Building Construction and Resource Conservation Subcommittees for Environment Omaha, Activate Omaha's Leadership Team, Omaha by Design's Livability Roundtable, and is founding member of the Green Neighborhood Council and the Green Omaha Coalition. Lawse also is a principal and founder of Omaha's first sustainability consulting firm, the Verdis Group. With his business partner Craig Moody, their mission is to help organizations make true green decisions. By focusing on the five main elements of sustainability–food, water, energy, transportation and stuff–the Verdis Group assists organizations of all shapes and sizes in improving their triple bottom line. As a Home Energy Rater, Daniel has helped Omaha residents to save energy through the Neighborhood Energy Savings Program.

  Jay Leighter, Public Deliberation and Civic Participation
Jay Leighter, Ph.D., joined the Department of Communication Studies at Creighton University in 2006 where he teaches courses in cross-cultural communication, small group communication, interpersonal communication and public speaking. As an ethnographer of communication, he studies local public and political discourse and tries to understand how culture and communication intersect and influence the settings and scenes in which such communication takes place. Because public meetings are typical events for community decision making, his research draws heavily from political deliberation and small group communication research. Because community decision making often involves consideration of complex social, economic and environmental issues, his research also draws from environmental communication and sustainability literatures. He is a volunteer and consultant for the Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities, a member of the Green Omaha Coalition and, at Creighton, an active participant in several sustainability initiatives.

   Mingsheng Liu, Building and Industry Energy Conservation, Water Resources
Dr. Mingsheng Liu, has a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University. He is a professor at the Department of Architectural Engineering, University of Nebraska, and the Director of Energy Systems Laboratory. He is the primary founder of the Continuous Commissioning Technology (CC®). He is the cofounder of the Bes-tech inc, a primary energy conservation company, and DTL LLC, an Nebraska Automation Control Manufacturing company. His primary expert areas are: building and industry energy conservation and water resource conservation. His research areas are (1) HVAC equipment and systems, (2) optimal control and operation of building energy systems, (3) building commissioning, and (4) renewable and sustainable energy and utilization.

  Barbara Luna
Barbara Luna is the Marketing and Sustainability Director for FBG Service Corporation.  FBG is a janitorial and facility management company with seven branch offices that provide green cleaning, and from their corporate offices in Omaha, provide facility management services nationwide.  She is serving her fourth year on the board of Nebraska's Flatwater chapter of the USGBC and serves as their Regional Representative, also for the fourth year.  Barbara also serves on the board of the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) Utilities Council as the VP of Programs and Education.  FBG provides facility services to many utility companies and works with them on sustainability programs and training.

  Mike McMeekin, Environmental Engineering
Mike McMeekin, a Civil and Environmental Engineer, is President of Lamp, Rynearson & Associates, Inc., an engineering, planning and surveying firm located in Omaha, Nebraska. He has more than 30 years of professional engineering experience and has played a leadership role in a number of signature projects in the Omaha area, including the Qwest Center Omaha and Riverfront Redevelopment, Rosenblatt Stadium, and the redevelopment of Aksarben. Mike is a graduate of the American Council of Engineering Companies’ Senior Executives Institute, an advanced management, leadership, and public policy training program for current and emerging leaders of engineering and architectural firms. He serves as a Board of Directors member of both the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce and Omaha by Design. Mike is currently leading two major sustainability initiatives. He is leading a team developing a Sustainability Guidance Document for the City of Omaha Combined Sewer Overflow Control Program, and he is assisting in leadership of the development of an Environmental Element to the City of Omaha Master Plan, a joint effort of the City of Omaha and Omaha by Design.


  Lisa Pennisi, Eco-Tourism, Agri-Tourism and Natural Resources Education & Recreation
Dr. Lisa Pennisi is an Assistant Professor of Natural Resources Tourism and Recreation in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communication (AgLEC). Dr. Pennisi received her Doctorate in Tourism and Natural Resource Recreation from the University of Florida , Masters in Environmental Science from Miami University Ohio , and her Bachelors degree from the University of Central Florida . Dr. Pennisi has 12 years of experience in Eco-tourism and Natural Resources Education and Recreation; including managing and starting a nature center in Palm Beach County , Florida . Lisa has taught Agricultural Education at the high school level, and has experience working at a Heritage Farm. In addition to teaching, Dr. Pennisi has an appointment with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Cooperative Extension working to promote Nature-Based Tourism and Agri-tourism in Nebraska . Dr. Pennisi’s research interests include environmentally responsible behavior and tourism, connection to nature, community involvement, perceptions in tourism development, visitor education, communication and behavior. She also has a strong interest in approaching conservation, public relations, and visitor management issues using diverse methods that draw upon conservation psychology, communications, education, and social marketing.

  Courtney Quinn, Behavior and Sustainability
Courtney Quinn is a graduate research assistant at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a joint appointment in the School of Natural Resources and the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication. Her specialization is the “Human Dimensions” of Natural Resources and with a research focus on behavior change to increase the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices. She has a B.A. in Environmental Policy from Drake University in Des Moines, IA. Courtney has worked as an educator and for multiple non-profits. Her current research interests include environmental leadership for sustainable agriculture, leadership for large-scale behavior change, and sustainable local food networks. Courtney has presented her research nationally and internationally. Her professional goal is to help people make the connections between seemingly disparate environmental problems as well as their solutions. Courtney was named Meritorious Graduate Student in 2008 by the School of Natural Resources.


  Sandra K. Scofield, Rural Economics
Sandra K. Scofield is Director of the UNL Nebraska Rural Initiative, a program devoted to stabilizing and enhancing the economy and quality of life in non-metropolitian areas through the use of University knowledge and research. Her background contains experience in education, business, government and agriculture. Scofield's government service includes seven years as a state senator from northwest Nebraska and time as chief of staff to former Nebraska Governor Ben Nelson. She has experience as a teacher of economics and history, a television writer, a partner in a business start up, worked in a Fortune 500 subsidiary, and owns and manages the farm where she grew up in northwest Nebraska. In 2004, Scofield was awarded the Nebraska Business Development Center's Distinguished Service Award. In 2007, she was awarded the CJ Schweitzer Friend of the Nebraska Grape and Wine Industry award. Other accomplishments that relate to the well being of rural Nebraska include sponsoring and passing the Nebraska Farm Winery Act; passing legislation that led to the creation of LB 840 which allows communities to use sales tax revenue to promote economic development, and successfully championing the funding of a variety of activities important to rural Nebraska such as protecting Nebraska water rights, community based juvenile corrections, highway construction and upgrades, higher education and distance learning technology.


  W. Cecil Steward, Sustainability Expert
W. Cecil Steward, FAIA, is a world expert on sustainable development and sustainable design. Dean emeritus and emeritus professor of architecture and planning at the University of Nebraska College of Architecture in Lincoln, he is president and founder of the International North/North Network for Urban Sustainability and the Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities, Omaha/Lincoln. The Nebraska Sustainability Leadership Workshop is just one of the intiatives Steward has designed under the aegis of the Joslyn Institute. A past president of the national American Institute of Architects (AIA), Steward has served on the boards of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, the AIA and on the charter board of the Architectural Research Centers Consortium. He serves on the boards of directors of the Asia/Pacific Center for Architecture, the national Design Futures Council, and the steering committee of the United Nations Center for Human Settlements Best Practices Network and its international Dubai Award for Best Practices in Sustainable Development, among others.

  Sharon Tocchini, Corporate Sustainability Manager
Shannon Tocchini is the Corporate Sustainability Manager for HDR Inc. Her focus is primarily on HDR's internal practices and programs, implementing/integrating sustainable practices company-wide, as well as providing leadership throughout the sustainable business program. Shannon has calculated the company’s carbon footprint following the GHG protocol, expanding the scope of these calculations as new methodologies/factors and improved underlying data becomes available. Shannon is working with HDR leadership to identify targets and actions for reduction of HDR’s impacts as captured by the carbon footprint. Shannon’s previous experience includes more than a dozen years in development, implementation and management of environmental management systems, training, compliance and operating standards, regulatory innovation and leadership programs, GHG accounting and environmental/ sustainability performance reporting for a large building products manufacturer.


  Milan Wall, Communications and Leadership Development
Milan Wall, Co-Director of the Heartland Center for Leadership Development, is a management and communications expert with more than 30 years experience in dealing with the critical issues facing American society and culture. Mr. Wall has been a newspaper reporter and editorial columnist, a university lecturer and a speaker at regional and national conferences on such topics as educational leadership, economic development and uses of technology in education. Before he helped found the Heartland Center, he was Executive Vice President of the University of Mid-America, a multi-state consortium that was recognized internationally for its imaginative approaches to adult education. With Dr. Vicki Luther, he is co-author of a number of publications on leadership and community development, including The Entrepreneurial Community: A Strategic Leadership Approach to Community Survival, Clues to Rural Community Survival and Schools as Entrepreneurs: Helping Small Towns Survive. Previously, he served as editor of the Nebraska School Leader, which won three national awards for excellence among state publications on education during his tenure. In 1993, Mr. Wall was honored with the Award of Excellence, the distinguished alumni recognition of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Teachers College. In addition to airports and airplanes, Milan spends as much time as possible trout fishing at a secret location in Wyoming he refuses to divulge! 

  Kristi Wamstad-Evans, National Sustainable Solutions Program Coordinator
As National Sustainable Solutions Program Coordinator for HDR, Ms. Wamstad-Evans is directly involved in the day-to-day activities associated with sustainable business development, as it applies to HDR's Architecture and Engineering projects and internal practices. With over 15 years experience in sustainability and group facilitation, Ms. Wamstad-Evans is very knowledgeable on not only what sustainability is, but how to make implementation work. While working with a $1.3 billion bridge repair and replacement program in Oregon, she was instrumental in the coordination of integrated team dynamics and development of performance metrics for sustainability. The effort,known as Context Sensitive and Sustainable Solutions (CS3), has won awards from national transportation organization and received nation-wide recognition as a model for project delivery. While studying in UNL's Masters of Community and Regional Planning program, Ms. Wamstad-Evans delivered a professional project reviewing green building programs from throughout the country and developing recommendations for a programmatic approach to green building in Nebraska.

  Michaella Wittmann, Sustainable Design Solutions
As the founder and director of HDR Sustainable Design Solutions, Ms. Wittmann has been a leader in the sustainability and green building industry for more than twelve years. A strong proponent of matching sustainable strategies to the goals and characteristics of each project, she has worked closely with a multitude of clients to balance environmental, economic, and social equity goals. Her aptitude for leadership, innovation, and integration have led clients in all industry sectors to the successful completion of projects that have benefits such as reduced environmental impact, increased productivity, improved quality and reduced operations and maintenance expenditures. Ms. Wittmann has worked on over 20 LEED projects, written sustainable guidelines for government agencies and organizations, trained over 3000 people in various aspects of sustainability, and integrated sustainability into multi-million dollar infrastructure projects.

  Scott Yahnke, Green Building
Scott Yahnke is a Realtor® with CBSHOME Real Estate Co. in Omaha, Nebraska. He is a member of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), Nebraska State Home Builders Association (NSHBA), Metropolitan Omaha Builders Association's (MOBA) Green Building Council, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the Green Omaha Coalition, and the Council for New Urbanism and Sustainable Development. He has created a business plan that has the potential to significantly increase sustainability and energy efficiency in new-home construction in the Omaha metropolitan area.

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