Co-Founder & President, Living City Block
After 25 years working in film and television production, marketing, and project management, Llewellyn Wells founded Living City Block, LLC. While in Los Angeles, Llew produced or production managed 16 films and 6 television series with his most famous being The West Wing. Llew was one of 5 original producers of The West Wing, winning 5 Emmy Awards, 1 Golden Globe and 2 Producers Guild Awards.
Currently, Llew is the Founder and President of Living City Block. As Vice President of Communications at the Rocky Mountain Institute (an environmental think tank), Llew was able formulate a plan to sustainably alter an area of historic Lower Downtown Denver – which ultimately became Living City Block. Currently, Living City Block has three pilot projects in three different cities in the United States: Denver, Co; Washington D.C., and Brooklyn, New York. Llew’s ambitions to create cleaner, healthier and more profitable cities don’t stop there; he is always looking for other Living City Block sister cities – both in the United States and internationally.
Environmental Planner, Coordinator of the S.W.I.M Coalition
Kate Zidar is an Environmental Planner with a professional focus on solid waste management, urban agriculture and stormwater management. She serves as a board member of the Newtown Creek Alliance, where she works to strike a balance between waterfront access, environmental health and economic development in and around New York City’s most polluted waterway. Kate coordinates the Stormwater Infrastructure Matters (S.W.I.M.) Coalition, a citywide organization of public, private and non-profit partners committed to dedicated to ensuring swimmable, fishable waters around New York City through sustainable stormwater management practices in upland communities. Kate holds a Masters Degree in City and Regional Planning from Pratt Institute, and teaches alongside her mentors at Pratt’s Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment.
Managing Partner, Co-Founder, Brooklyn Grange Farm
Gwen Schantz is an experienced urban farmer, a long-time sustainable food advocate, and co-founder of the Bushwick Food Cooperative & CSA. Gwen is also Co-Founder of Brooklyn Grange, a one- acre commercial farm in Queens. Brooklyn Grange’s purpose is to make farming become a more thriving and viable industry in the urban setting, also aiming to promote city farmers by providing them with a living wage and reliable livelihood.
Gwen Schantz is a freelance writer and environmental consultant based in Brooklyn, New York. Her background is in sustainable food and agriculture, water conservation and international sustainable development, and she has lived and worked in West Africa and Southeast Asia. Gwen has a Bachelors Degree in International Studies from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY
Senior Planner, Energy Policy Program, Regional Planning Association
With a BA in Urban Studies and Hispanic Studies from Vassar College, Jessie specializes in urban regional policy and planning. In particular Jessie is interested in sustainability and energy policy, which explains her involvement launching the new Energy Policy Program with the Regional Planning Association. In 2007, she completed her Masters at the London School of Economics in Environment and Development Studies. She was subsequently selected as a Sustainability Fellow to work at Oregon’s Portland Development Commission. More recently, she worked as a cluster specialist at Economic Competitiveness Group working on competitiveness strategies for global city-regions, particularly the clean-tech sector. Jessie’s work helps to foster effective public/private partnerships that enhance the sustainability and economic competitiveness of city-regions in measurable ways.
Creative and Technology Director, Regional Planning Association
Jeff Ferzoco is RPA’s Creative and Technology Director. He has managed the development and production of more than 100 publications and directs the portfolio of RPA websites. Jeff also leads development of RPA’s communication directions as well as helping RPA navigate the new tools and technologies available to planners. Prior to joining RPA, Mr. Ferzoco was a part of the graphics department of Newsweek magazine, working with editorial staff to make clearer each week’s news stories.
This year, Jeff has been busy developing a program at RPA to see how games and data visualization can influence planning and educate planning concepts, as well as how we can harness the exciting streams of data emerging from cities.
Founder & Principal, Urban Process Design
Luc Vrolijks is the founder and principal of Urban Progress Design, an urban planning and advisory company based in New York and Amsterdam. Earning a Masters degree in urban planning and design from the University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands, Luc is an urban designer and planner with in-depth knowledge of urban design, sustainability and strategic planning issues. Luc has over 20 years of experience in urban sustainability, development planning and city regeneration in Europe and elsewhere. With Urban Progress Design he applies his Dutch and international expertise to deliver climate adaptation, sustainability planning and innovative urban development and regeneration strategies to the US market.
Board of Advisors and Principal at E3NYC
Tom specializes in cities, buildings, transit and energy. He has created hundreds of millions in investment value from complicated assignments worldwide. He reclaimed property once confiscated by the Third Reich (Leipzig, Germany), turned a disused retail center into a highly successful niche trade mart (London, UK), developed an urban alternative energy power plant prototype (Shanghai, China) and a sustainable economic model for less developed areas. He has worked in the public sector with the NYC Department of City Planning, developed facilities strategies for two Fortune 25 companies to enable the global roll-out of alternatively powered vehicles (fuel cell, electric), and is on a team recently shortlisted for the NYC Bikeshare. He has recently participated on a government-sponsored Chinese Energy Technology Trade Mission, and is founder of E3NYC, a highly inclusive framework plan designed to accelerate the roll-out of cleantech. Tom holds an MBA from Harvard, a Master of Architecture from Yale and a BS Architecture from Virginia.
LAREN YARMUTH, LEED-AP BD&CP
Lauren Yarmuth is co-founder and Principal of YRG. With over ten years of experience spearheading the sustainability industry, she is a recognized leader skilled at helping people, companies, buildings, and communities to implement and benefit from sustainability-focused solutions. An architect by training, Lauren applies her diverse project experience and whole-systems approach to engage, align, inform and inspire teams of people to develop creative approaches to realize greater success in their work and communities.
Lauren is U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Faculty and has taught public and private sustainability-related trainings all over the world. Lauren also serves as
faculty at both Columbia University and New York University where she teaches green building-related courses. Ms. Yarmuth has worked with the LEED Rating System since its inception: supporting hundreds of projects nationally and internationally to earn LEED certification and performing technical consulting to USGBC for project certification reviews, credit interpretation (CIR) responses, Reference Guide content development, and training curriculum.
GREGORY B. STARK, P.E., LEED AP
Senior Engineer, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
After earning his Bachelor’s of Science in Chemical Engineering as well as his Masters in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University, Greg Stark went on to accomplish a great deal in the field of energy, management consulting, and higher education. Currently employed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Greg joined the staff in 2008, and since then has worked as a senior engineer in the Commercial Buildings Group. Some CBP Partners that Greg has worked with include Best Buy, Kohl’s, Living City Block, Target, Walmart, and Whole Foods Market.
Greg has also worked in Eastern Europe as part of a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) program, where he used his expertise in engineering and management to help Lithuanian companies make the transition from a centralized to a free market economy. Greg has also returned back to his alma mater, Purdue University, as well as the Boston Architectural Center to advise students in their work in business related topics.
MICHAEL SAHM, LEED AP
UTC Fellow, Integrated Solutions Engineering, United Technologies Corporation
Dr. Michael Sahm is a UTC Fellow responsible for Solutions Engineering for the United Technologies Corporation (UTC) Integrated Building Solutions organization. In this capacity, Dr. Sahm is responsible for systems engineering for a wide range of applications ranging from building scale to eco-city concept design and development. Dr. Sahm supports the UTC businesses throughout the full range of commercial building products, systems and services.
Dr. Sahm is a practicing Mechanical Engineer, operating in the areas of sustainable building system design and advanced building system equipment. His areas of expertise include systems integration, energy conversion systems, integrated cooling, heating and power systems, Turbomachinery and applied thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer. Dr. Sahm joined UTC in 1983 in the Pratt & Whitney engine business, has worked for Carrier and UTC Research, holds 40 US patents, has been a practicing engineer for 30 years and is a LEED Accredited Professional.
CEO, New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation
Susan Leeds is currently serving as CEO of the New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation. Using $37 million in Federal funds – and leveraging additional capital from private and philanthropic sources – this new non-profit corporation will provide a source of energy efficiency information and financing solutions for a wide variety of NYC property owners. Prior to joining NYCEEC, Susan developed a funding strategy for an energy efficiency project developer and advised a major national bank on product opportunities in energy efficiency finance. Susan is a seasoned professional with seventeen+ years of experience in financial markets; she also managed financial sector advocacy for NRDC, one of the nation’s leading environmental organizations.
Aviva Rahmani is an ecological artist who works with scientists to design solutions to degraded environments. She began her career as a performance artist in the late sixties, is an Affiliate at the Institute for Arctic and Alpine research (INSTAAR), University of Colorado at Boulder (UCB) and a researcher with the Zurich-Node group of the University of Plymouth, United Kingdom. The artist holds a Masters from the California Institute of the Arts, where she was a teaching assistant to Allan Kaprow and Mort Sobotnick. Internationally known, exhibited and published for her installations, remediation earthworks and environmental art activism, she has over 40 years collaborative experience with scientists. Best known for her seminal work, Ghost Nets 1990-2000 (www.ghostnets.com), Rahmani received an Arts and Healing Network 2009 award for her work on water. Her current new media project on the impact of extractive industries and climate change, Gulf to Gulf (2009- present), is a collaboration with scientists and is fiscally sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts. Previous ecological art projects have resulted in the restoration of a former dump site to a flourishing wetlands system (Ghost Nets) and helped catalyze a USDA expenditure of $500,000 to restore 26 acres of critical wetlands habitat (the Blue Rocks project) in the Gulf of Maine.
The artist has taught, lectured, and been in residence at many colleges and universities, including New York University and the New School for Social Research, New York City, New York. In 2009, she began presenting performance workshops on her theoretical approach to environmental restoration, “Trigger Point Theory as Aesthetic Activism. ” The first event was at the Survival Academy, Copenhagen, Denmark, as part of her participation as a formal observer for UCB at the United Nations IPCC conference on climate change.
THOMAS JOST, AICP, LEED AP
Senior Project Manager/Senior Urban Strategist, Parsons Brinckerhoff
As a Senior Urban Strategist at Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB), Tom Jost has managed some of the most dynamic and transformative projects shaping the future of urban communities in the region. His broad experience includes urban and regional planning, economic development, urban design, architecture and landscape architecture. His focus is on solving the challenges faced by cities in adapting to a changing environment and an economy.
Mr. Jost managed the design and construction of the High Line, the St. George Ferry Terminal, and Hunters Point South Waterfront Park and Street system as well as a variety of other plans for sustainable futures. Some of these projects include the LI 2035 Sustainability Plan for America’s First Suburb, Destiny Carbon Neutral Eco-City in Florida, a stormwater and energy management plan for Xochimilco Park in Mexico City, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site and Fresh Kills Park: Landfill to Lifescape Master Plan.
Policy Advisor at Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability and Writer
Ibrahim Abdul-Matin has been a policy advisor in the Mayor’s Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability since March 2010. He is responsible for outreach and engagement to develop the network required to create a greener, greater, New York as embodied in PlaNYC.
Ibrahim is the author of the book, “Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet.” (Nov 2010). He has appeared on FOX News, ABC News’ “This Week,” and is regular contributor on public radio’s morning news show, “The Takeaway.” His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, CNN.com, The Daily Beast, GOOD Magazine, ColorLines, Wiretap, and Elan Magazine. “Green Deen” has been featured on the Brian Lehrer Show, The Global Grind, Energy Now, Center for American Progress, and America.gov. In 2002 he edited a national directory of youth activism titled, “The Future 500: Youth Organizing and Activism in the United States”. Ibrahim has served as an environmental policy consultant to Green for All and Green City Force, a community organizer with Corporate Accountability International, a technology organizer with the Movement Strategy Center, and as a trainer and youth educator with Outward Bound. In 2003, he was the Director of Youth Programs at the Prospect Park Alliance where he helped establish the Brooklyn Academy for Science and the Environment. Ibrahim received a MPA from Baruch College and was a 2008 National Urban Fellow.
Senior Project Manager, Terrapin Bright Green
Catie Ryan is a Senior Project Manager at Terrapin Bright Green, and a growing voice in the sustainability and green design community. Catie received a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Design and Chinese Studies from Connecticut College, in New London, CT. After working for five years in corporate identity design, Catie joined the U.S. Peace Corps and moved to Thailand to pursue a growing interest in environmental sustainability. In 2006, she began her master’s degree in Sustainable International Development at Brandeis University, outside Boston, where she focused on social policy and natural resource management in the urban environment. While pursuing her Masters, she worked as the Urban Ecology Field Manager for Idaho-based Ecosystem Sciences Foundation, for which she collaborated with the Dirección de Ecología y Medio Ambiente (Department of Ecology and Environment) and the Dirección de Desarrollo Urbano y Ordenamiento Territorial (Directorate of Urban Development and Land Management) in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico. Her thesis focused on stormwater management for San Miguel’s historic district and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Since joining the staff of Terrapin Bright Green in 2008, Catie has supported Environmental Opportunities Charrettes, drafted green guidelines, authored reports for clients on sustainable strategies, resources, and products, and developed illustrative graphics of environmental issues. Catie was principal in the research, analysis, design, and authoring of a state-of-the-industry environmental report on algal biofuels for the Natural Resources Defense Council.