Keynote Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Ben R. Jordan

Senior Director of Environmental Policy, Coca-Cola

Ben R. Jordan works as Senior Director of Environmental Policy for The Coca-Cola Company. In over 20 years at Coca-Cola, Ben has worked in both its North American and global organizations, traveling in over 40 countries. Ben has held roles focused on both internal operational issues and relationship-building with key stakeholders. In his current role, he has responsibilities for driving sustainability programs in Climate and Packaging.

Ben has participated actively in Coca-Cola's involvement with a number of leading environmental organizations, including the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES), World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and The Nature Conservancy.  Currently, Ben sits on the Member's Council of Bonsucro (the Better Sugarcane Initiative), the Board of Trustees of The Nature Conservancy in Georgia and Advisory Board of Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. He is a participant in the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Food Security and Agriculture Partners group and the Consumer Goods Forum Pulp and Paper Working Group.

Ben has Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and serves as an Educational Counselor for MIT, interviewing prospective undergraduate students from the Atlanta area. He has a Ph.D. in Public Policy (Environmental Policy specialty) from Georgia Tech, where he participates on an Arts Advisory Board. Ben is an adjunct instructor at Emory University.

Ben lives in Decatur, Georgia, with his wife, Mary Beth, and sons, Jack (12) and Parker (10). Ben's childhood on a peach farm in rural Georgia led to his interest in conservation and career in the environmental field.

Session Speakers

Will Arnold 

Quest Renewables 

With more than 12 years of solar industry experience across multiple leadership roles, Will Arnold is uniquely positioned to drive strategy and operational excellence at Quest. Over the course of six years at SolarCity, Will progressed through installation and support field roles before taking on the leadership and growth of operations in Los Angeles, CA, and later, Toronto, Ontario. Following SolarCity, Will spent time at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) as a Solar Technology Specialist, bringing Georgia Tech industry expertise that has helped shape the commercial application and products of Quest Renewables’ racking solutions. A graduate of Brown University with a degree in philosophy and an Atlanta native, Will also co-founded Orpheus Brewing, which opened on Piedmont Park in 2014.

Brittany Bennett

Executive Director, Engineers for a Sustainable World

Brittany Bennett is a social innovator and the Executive Director of Engineers for a Sustainable World. Brittany earned her degree in Engineering Science from Smith College in 2016. Since then, Brittany has gone out to engineer more sustainable communities through her work with ESW.

She has been a part of ESW for five years since 2012, starting in her first year at Smith College where she was a Chapter President. Brittany was involved in one of ESW-Smith's premiere projects - the design of a cargo bicycle to transport goods for Dining Services. After winning Smith's "Sustainable Leader" award, Brittany went on to become the first Director of Chapter Relations at ESW-Headquarters in 2013. As Director, Brittany restructured the relationship between ESW chapters and Headquarters. Brittany is also the author of ESW's Chapter Leader Guide. After a year with ESW-HQ, she decided to pursue her passion for K-12 education. Brittany created new STEM lesson plans, workshops, and other educational content for ESW. She was later promoted to Deputy Director, and eventually became the Executive Director of ESW. 


She designed and launched Build Day, a national endeavor to unite university students and communities for a day long build. ESW is piloting Build Day in 2018 at Oakland, Buffalo, and Detroit

Dr. Peter Byrley
Research Support Scientist, ORAU, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Peter Byrley is a scientist working at the Environmental Protection Agency in North Carolina. There, he studies the environmental and health effects of ultrafine particles and nanomaterials. He is also currently the Communications and Technology Director at Engineers for a Sustainable World.

He received his Ph.D. in chemical and environmental engineering from the University of California, Riverside where he studied nanofabrication of electrical devices using new thin film materials. There, he also served as a Climate Neutrality Fellow and the Graduate Student Sustainability Liaison for the campus. He received his bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from SUNY University at Buffalo.


He has also written about nanomaterials and emerging technologies for the The Conversation Inc., an independent source of news and views from the academic and research community. In addition, he won 1st place in the Statewide University of California Grad Slam competition in 2016 with his talk entitled, “Renewable Nanopower: The New Age of Earth Abundant Electronics”. Though mainly a scientist and engineer, Peter sees the unlimited value of communicating science to the general public. In his free time, he enjoys reading nonfiction and traveling.

Jimmy Chahine 

Technical Asset Engineer, Covestro

Jimmy Chahine is a technical asset engineer at Covestro, Baytown industrial park. Jimmy manages control systems and instruments responsible for the safe and reliable operations of the plant.


Prior to Covestro, Jimmy graduated from the University of Houston-Downtown where he focused on research in the fields of energy management and off-grid systems. He initiated a project sponsored by US rep Sylvester Turner to develop a self-sustained irrigation system. The system was later adopted to provide fresh produce in "food desert" areas to the Houston food bank.

Alexander Dale 

Senior Officer, MIT Solve's Sustainability Pillar

Alexander Dale is the Senior Officer for MIT Solve’s Sustainability pillar, where he supports myriad people and organizations passionate about tackling food, energy, water, and climate challenges. He has an academic background in the life-cycle impacts of energy and water infrastructure, and a professional background in environmental policy, engineering education, and nonprofit management. 

Alexander was Executive Director of ESW from 2013 until 2015, and continues to serve on ESW’s board. From 2015 to 2017, he was a AAAS Policy Fellow hosted by the US EPA’s Transportation and Climate Division. He has also taught courses in social entrepreneurship, energy & science communication, and technical sustainability. 

Alexander was born in Massachusetts and raised in Pennsylvania. He has a Ph.D. in Civil & Environmental Engineering and a B.S.E. in Engineering Physics, both from the University of Pittsburgh.

Christy Dykstra

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Georgia Institute of Technology

Christy M. Dykstra received her Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering in 2017 from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and a recipient of the Water Environment Federation (WEF) Canham Graduate Studies Scholarship. She will be starting as an Assistant Professor in Environmental Engineering at San Diego State University in the Fall of 2018.

Her doctoral research focused on bioelectrochemical systems (BESs) for the conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) to methane (CH4) and her research interests include BES application to bioremediation, the recycling of CO2 to fuels or multi-carbon compounds, and nutrient recovery from wastewater.

Rex R. Hamre, LEED AP BD+C, O+M

Sustainability Director, JLL - Southeast


Rex Hamre is JLL’s Sustainability Director for the Southeast Region and is a LEED Accredited Professional. Rex leads a team of sustainability professionals managing local and national sustainability projects, including sustainability master planning, efficiency programs, and all LEED Rating Systems. His work focuses on leveraging the bottom‐line benefits of sustainability initiatives to achieve positive environmental impact.

Rex has served as sustainability manager in nearly all major asset classes, leading the development of operational sustainability and efficiency projects in commercial office, K‐12, higher‐Ed, multifamily residential, and professional sports.

As a sustainability manager at JLL, Rex led the development and implementation of the Braves SunTrust Park and Battery Sustainability Game Plan, delivering holistic efficiency benefits, cost savings, and multiple LEED Certifications. In 2015, he transitioned the Wells Fargo LEED program to a national JLL platform, serving 51 individual LEED projects in 2016.

Currently, Rex serves as sustainability manager for several major ground-up headquarters projects, including NCR and Mercedes-Benz USA. In 2017, he led the development the JLL/LaSalle LEED EBOM Volume program, completing a prototype for all JLL-managed LEED EBOM projects going forward.

Mr. Hamre holds a degree in Real Estate from The University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business. He is an active member of the Georgia Chapter of the USGBC, ULI-Atlanta, Southface Energy Institute, the Lifecycle Building Center, and is serving as board member of the Wylde Center, an Atlanta-area non-profit serving on the forefront of environmental education and managing urban greenspace.

Mr. Hamre is also an active member of the Atlanta commercial real estate community, having worked with BOMA, NAIOP,  and the Atlanta EPA/DOE Better Buildings Challenge.

Ashlie James

Executive Director, Atlanta GLOW

ASHLIE JAMES ​has 13 years of combined professional and volunteer experience serving charitable and educational institutions through ​nonprofit administration, grant writing, consulting, communications, program management, and more. After years of volunteer service, in order to compliment these experiences with the professional competence, she charted her career away from financial management into a new direction and aggressively pursued and received a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Ministry and a Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management and Leadership.


Today she is the Executive Director of Atlanta GLOW, a nonprofit mentoring organization she founded in 2014 to inspire low-income young women and girls to pursue excellence in their careers and education. Through this platform, Ashlie shares her story with college- and career-bound women about how she rose above community odds to pursue an education and exciting career in nonprofit leadership and community development. Since inception, Atlanta GLOW has impacted more than 550 youth and young adults, and has engaged over 450 volunteers.


With both practical and academic credentials at hand, Ashlie consults with charitable and educational institutions of all sizes and scopes. However, fueled by passion, focus, and a spirit of excellence, what brings her the greatest pleasure is empowering and equipping small and moderately sized social and charitable organizations with the capacity to locate and leverage funding, perfect their messaging and communications, and maximize opportunities for growth and efficiency. In her spare time, she also enjoys writing for a number of publications contributing to the national conversation on topics such as education, leadership, faith, community development, and advocacy for women and girls.

Betty Jean Jordan, PE, MS4CECI

Executive Director, Georgia Society of Professional Engineers

Betty Jean is a civil engineering graduate of Georgia Tech (BCE ’93 and MSCE ’94, Hydraulics and Hydrology).  Her professional expertise includes stormwater management and erosion and sedimentation (E&S) control.  


After spending most of her career in private consulting, she currently serves as the Executive Director of the Georgia Society of Professional Engineers and teaches E&S control certification classes with the NPDES Training Institute.  


When she isn’t working, she is usually on her bicycle, often accompanied by her husband Robert.

Jeffrey Landau

Projects Director, Agritecture

Jeffrey Landau is the Projects Director at Agritecture, an urban agriculture consulting firm specializing in the design and feasibility of commercial urban agriculture projects. As Projects Director, Jeffrey oversees Agritecture's consulting engagements and special projects.


Jeffrey works with clients to develop their goals, refine their business plan, and provide engineering support in the design process. He obtained his BSc in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. While at Georgia Tech, Jeffrey completed a one-year Co-Op with Delta Air Lines and volunteered extensively with urban agricultural non-profit organizations in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Jeff Lee
Program Manager, Autodesk

Jeff Lee is a Program Manager for the Field Engagement team in the Autodesk Education group. His focus is on establishing and maintaining relationships with key Engineering and Design Schools throughout the US and has a passion for new product design and introduction.


Prior to Autodesk, Jeff received his bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech and his master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley.

Mandy Mahoney
President, Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance

Mandy Mahoney has served as president of the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance since March 2013, and was previously its vice president of policy and operations.

Prior to joining SEEA in 2011, Mandy served as director of sustainability for the City of Atlanta under Mayors Reed and Franklin. She holds a master’s degree in environmental management from Duke University, and earned a law degree and a bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental studies from Emory University.

Selected to Georgia Trend’s 2016 “40 under 40” list and the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2014 “40 under 40” list, Mandy is also a graduate of LEAD Atlanta 2010; the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership 2010; and the 2011 American Council on Germany’s Young Leaders Program. She serves on the boards of the Piedmont Park Conservancy, the Turner Environmental Law Clinic, and the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE). She and her husband Sean are the proud parents of Paul.

Emanuele Massetti, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, School of Public Policy

Emanuele Massetti is Assistant Professor at the School of Public Policy of the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he teaches Introduction to Statistics (undergraduate), Environmental Economics (graduate) and Cost-Benefit Analysis (graduate and undergraduate).

Emanuele is a CESifo Research Network Affiliate, an Associate REsearcher at Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) and Affiliate Researcher at the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC).

Before joining Georgia Tech Emanuele was Senior Researcher at the Sustainable Development Unit of Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).

He holds a PhD in Economics from Catholic University of Milan, a MSc in Economics from University College London and a MA in Economics from Brown University. In 2011-2013 Emanuele was Postdoctoral Fellow at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

His main research interests are in Environmental, Energy and Agricultural Economics and he is one of the authors of WITCH, an Integrated Assessment Model to study optimal climate mitigation policies. His research work now focuses on methods to estimate impacts of and adaptation to climate change.

Emanuele has worked as consultant for the EBRD, the OECD, the UNDP and the UNEP. In 2011-2014 he was Lead Author for the Working Group III of the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC.

Steven C. McCutcheon, PhD, PE(Louisiana), D.WRE(retired), F.EWRI, F.ASCE

President and Founder, Hydrologic and Environmental Engineering, Athens, Georgia

Steven McCutcheon is an international expert in ecological, environmental, and civil engineering; ecotoxicity; toxic waste management including bio and phy­toremediation; contaminant fate and transport and exposure and risk assessment in surface and ground water; water qual­ity; hydrodynamics and sediment transport; hydrology; water resources; sustainability; and climate change. Dr. McCutcheon is renowned as a pioneer of sustainable hazardous waste cleanup. Critically acclaimed, his third book and several papers define the newer field of phytoremediation. As a National Expert and Senior Environmental Engineer (retired) with 37 years of experience with the USEPA and US Geological Survey, Dr. McCutcheon wrote technical guidance on waste management and served on working groups that prepared federal regulations.


Author of 4 books and 274 other publications, Steven McCutcheon was the award-winning editor of Environmental Engineering, co-edi­tor of Envi­ronmen­tal Science and Pollution Re­search, and is associate editor of the International Journal of Phytoremediation (with service on four other journal editorial boards). He was awarded $6m for consulting and research. Dr. McCutcheon was a Senior Director of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), President of the Ameri­can Ecologi­cal En­gi­neering Society, founding diplomate of the Ameri­can Academy of Water Resources Engi­neers, founding fellow ASCE Environmental and Water Resources Institute, inducted into the Order of the Engi­neer, and charter member of the International Society of Environmental Ethics. Dr. McCutcheon was elected a fellow of ASCE in 2015.

His more than 20 awards (two international awards), include: American Chemi­cal Society and Associa­tion for Air and Waste Management—USEPA Science Achievement Awards in (1) Chemistry and (2) Waste Management; ASCE—Gov­ern­ment Civil Engineer, Torrens (out­standing journal edi­tor), Young Civil Engineer in Government, Geor­gia 2008 Civil Engineer; National Soci­ety of Professional Engineers—1992 Engineer of Year in the USEPA; Georgia Engineers Week—2016 Lifetime Achievement in Engineering and 2004 Engineer of the Year in Government; and EPA Special Achieve­ment awards—(1) Bioremediation of Alaska EXXON VALDEZ Oil Spill and (2) Sacra­mento River Fungicide Spill. Dr. McCutcheon testified before the West Virginia Leg­islature Forest Man­agement Re­view Commission (and advised the State Forester and Governor); Alberta and Canada Joint Scien­tific Board on Oil Sands Min­ing (and advised the Canadian Oil Sands Innovation Alliance on ecotoxicity). His expert testimony was cited by the Loui­siana Su­preme Court and in Federal Court (led to settlement of almost 1000 homeowner claims after Hurricane Katrina).

He was consulted by the Housing Minister of Sri Lanka on tsunami damage; U.S. Army Corps of Engi­neers for invited testimony on dredging; and briefed Italian and Australian agencies on sus­tainable haz­ardous waste cleanup. University appointments and advisement occurred at Clemson, Georgia, Tulane, Vanderbilt, Alabama, Parma (Italy), South Carolina, Florida International, Texas-El Paso, Rice, Iowa, Georgia Tech, Auburn, Mississippi, Roorkee (India), Central Queensland (Aus­tralia), Mel­bourne, and Baku State University (Azerbaijan). Invited lectures (>350) were presented in Azerbaijan, Australia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, China, Italy, Canada, Egypt, UK, and US. His consulting changed water quality management in Italy, China, and Korea.

Chandler Milhollin

Regional Energy Star and IAQ Engineer, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Chandler Milhollin is an environmental engineer with the US EPA in the Air, Pesticides, and Toxics Management Division. She is the lead ENERGY STAR and Radon Coordinator for Region 4 (the Southeast). Chandler specifically focuses on reducing energy consumption in facilities while ensuring indoor air quality measures are considered throughout the process.


She hopes that her work will continue to push the boundaries of energy efficiency while being cognizant of the health of the occupants. While not a native to the Atlanta area, Chandler graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering and now considers Atlanta her hometown.


Emily Morris

Founder and CEO, Emrgy Inc.

Emily Morris is the Founder & CEO of Emrgy Inc., an energy technology company that is disrupting distributed power generation and delivery using modular hydropower systems. Since founding Emrgy in 2014, Emily has secured $3.7 million in funding to bring Emrgy to market. 

Emily led Emrgy to become the first company inducted into the City of Atlanta’s Innovation Center to test and demonstrate new technologies on municipal infrastructure, and the first company to receive equity investment directly from the City of Atlanta. In 2017, she led Emrgy to install the first distributed hydropower array in the United States with the City of Denver and the US Bureau of Reclamation.

Emily is the Principal Investigator on US Department of Energy-sponsored contracts valued over $1.9 million, including “Research and Development on Innovative Technologies in Low Impact Hydropower”. She is also named as an inventor on 5 patents pending.

Emily Morris comes to Emrgy from AMT, Inc., where she managed over $10 million in research and development contracts to build new technologies for energy, military and transportation innovation over 6 years. Emily has been active in a range of entrepreneurial activities and has founded, advised, and/or led multiple startup for-profit and non-profit ventures totaling over $1 million in annual proceeds, including a non-profit focused on pediatric cancer and an award-winning underground restaurant. 

Emily is accredited as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) professional. In her community, Emily serves on the Board of Directors for Blue Skies Ministries, Inc. as well as the Childcare Volunteer Coordinator for the City of Refuge women’s homeless shelter.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle named Emily “Top 30 Under 30” in 2015, and she was awarded the Female Entrepreneur Award at WICERs 2016. Emily led Emrgy to be awarded Georgia’s Top Startup in 2017, and the Company has won 2 venture capital-backed cleantech startup accelerators. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Science in Human and Organizational Development with a Minor in Corporate Strategy.


Ernest William Tollner, PhD, PE
Professor of Agricultural Engineering, University of Georgia

Professor  of  agricultural  engineering  in  the  school  of  environmental,  civil,  agricultural,  and  mechanical  engineering at  the  University  of  Georgia,  Dr.  Tollner  has  been  in  higher  education  since  the  mid-1970s  when  he  began  as  a teaching  assistant  at  the University of Kentucky.  Taken  on  board  at  his  current  school  in  1980,  he  progressed  from assistant  to  associate  professor  during  his  first  10  years  in  the  classroom,  eventually  becoming  a  full  professor  in 1990.  Between  2000  and  2005,  he  also  served  as  the  graduate  coordinator  before  becoming  the  director  of  graduate programs  and  research  in  the  department  of  civil  engineering  from  2012  to  2014.  Responsible  for  coordinating  the bioconversion  laboratory  construction, at the  University  of  Georgia,  Dr.  Tollner  is  also  a  former  chairman  of  the college of agriculture  faculty  council.

Specializing  in  natural  resources  engineering,  watershed  assessment,  and  post-harvest  quality,  Dr.  Tollner’ s  overall area  of  interest  is  to  discover  system  descriptions  of  hydrologic  systems  with  the  goal  of  improving  water  resource management  and  watershed  ecological  health.  His  studies  have  resulted  in  numerous  published  articles  throughout the  years,  including  in  the  Applied  Engineering  in  Agriculture,  the  Journal  of  Food  Engineering,  and  the  Journal  of the  American  Water  Resources  Association.  Additionally,  he  has  served  as  a  technical  reviewer,  guest  editor, associate  editor,  and  other  roles  for  many  of  these  publications.

Active  as  a  longstanding  member  of  the  American  Society  of  Agricultural  and  Biological  Engineering,  for  which  he chaired  the  Georgia  section  and  the  ethics  committee,  Dr.  Tollner  is  also  a  member  of  various  other  professional organizations  such  as  the  American  Society  of  Agricultural  Engineers  and  the  American  Society  of  Engineering Education.  He was elected Fellow of ASABE in 2013. He  is  also  active  on  a  number  of  local committees,  including  the  executive  and  steering  committee  for  the River  Basin  Center,  and  is  dean  of  students  for  the  Student  Judiciary  Training  Program  since  2014.  Furthermore,  he has  been  on  the  American  Society  of  Civil  Engineers-NRCS  Task  Force  to  revise  the  hydrology  section  of  the NRCS National  Engineering Handbook.

A  registered  professional  engineer  in  the  state  of  Georgia,  certified  class  III  biological  treatment  plant  operator,  and certified  level  II  storm  water  designer,  Dr.  Tollner  earned  a  Bachelor  and  Master  of  Science  in  Agricultural Engineering  at  the  University  of  Kentucky,  followed  by  a  PhD  in  Agricultural  Engineering  at  Auburn  University, between  the  years  of  1972  and  1980.  He  has  received  countless  awards  for  both  education  and  engineering,  such  as  a 1986  Commendation  Award  by  the  Soil  Conservation  Society  and  a  2009  Best  Paper  Award  by  the  American Society  for  Engineering  Education,  among  many  others.  He was also a co-winner of the U.S.  Secretary  of Agriculture  Service  Award  NE-1008  in  2003,  and  was  named  to  the  Order  of  the  Engineer  in  2006.

Tim Trefzer
Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility, GWCC

As head of environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility for the Georgia Dome, Georgia World Congress Center, Centennial Olympic Park, and the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center since 2010, Tim has overseen improved facility operations, reduced impacts of hosted events, and worked with stakeholders to improve the well-being of the community.


As a LEED Accredited Professional, he administered the GWCC’s LEED Silver certification in 2014 and LEED Gold recertification in 2017, making it the largest LEED certified convention center in the world. In 2017 he also guided the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center to LEED Gold certification.


Tim is also intimately engrained in sports sustainability. He chaired the NCAA Men’s Final Four sustainability committee in 2013, garnering the moniker “greenest Final Four in history.” Since 2015, he has consulted for the College Football Playoff and Super Bowl, managing various aspects of the sustainability efforts placed around these mega sporting events. For the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship and Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta, Tim is sustainability chair for the Atlanta Football Host Committee and Atlanta Super Bowl LIII Host Committee.


Tim is a Faculty Associate at Arizona State University where he teaches the Global Context of Sustainability courses of the online Master’s for Sustainability Leadership program. He also teaches Sustainable Operations in Hospitality for Georgia State University’s Master’s of Hospitality Management.


He holds degrees from Florida State University and Arizona State University.

Evan Yendell

Process Engineer, Covestro

Evan Yendell is a Process engineer at Covestro Baytown Industrial Park.  He provides engineering support to 4 operating units in the Polyurethanes production process to support safe operations while also looking for opportunities to improve the overall efficiency of the process by reducing energy consumption and wastes.  Before moving into the process engineering role he acted as a Project Engineer at the Baytown site managing CAPEX improvement projects from scope development up through execution and start-up.


He received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas and is a certified Project Management Professional.

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