15th ESW Annual Conference - Speakers
Program Manager | National Grid
Sara Cavanaugh is a Program Manager for Strategic Planning at National Grid. She works on the development and mobilization of strategies that address the decarbonization of the grid while continuing to capture value for customers and shareholders. Before National Grid, Sara helped operationalize and scale start-ups in hardware, software, food, and financial sectors. Her passion for sustainability and aptitude for entrepreneurship has driven her to take part in ensuring the infrastructure of the future is resilient and sustainable. In her free time, Sara enjoys playing soccer and exploring consciousness through philosophy and experience. She has her MBA from Babson College and resides in the Greater Boston Area.
Assistant Director | DEC Office of Climate Change
Mark D. Lowery, a 32-year veteran of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, is the assistant director of DEC’s Office of Climate Change, having joined the office as one of its original staff members in 2007. He has led several public outreach efforts, including those in support of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and State Sea Level Rise Task Force. He has overseen development of the Climate Smart Communities program and has led implementation of the Community Risk and Resiliency Act (CRRA). This work has included drafting a regulation to adopt official state sea-level rise projections and developing guidance for implementation of the CRRA. Mark currently leads the state’s Interagency Climate Adaptation and Resilience Work Group and is a member of the Climate Action Council’s Land Use and Local Government Advisory Panel. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pa., and a master’s degree in environmental and forest biology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, N.Y.
Founder & CEO | The GREEN Program
Melissa Lee is the Founder and CEO of The GREEN Program (TGP), an award-winning experiential education program for young leaders in sustainable development. For her work with TGP, Melissa was recognized by the National Association of Women Business Owners as the Environmental Advocate of the Year, Philadelphia magazine's Best of Philly® - Expander of Frontiers, and the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in Education. Melissa has served as a U.S. Global Schools Ambassador for the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and a Heinz Distinguished Lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh.
Melissa is driven by a desire to reshape higher education curricula to integrate the SDGs, hands-on experience, and build industry IQ for students. As CEO, Lee has expanded TGP beyond its roots as an experiential education program, partnering with the United Nations and leading universities to create a global, socially-conscious, public benefit company. TGP represents university students from 470 universities and 70 countries around the world, who are now employed at organizations such as General Electric, SpaceX, Tesla, Boeing, NASA, The Environmental Defense Fund, The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and more.
Under Melissa's leadership, TGP has been recognized for numerous awards:
- Best Education Abroad Provider by the Global Youth Travel Awards
- Sustainability International Impact Award by The PIEoneer Awards
- Company of the Year and COVID-19 Response: Education Hero of the Year by The Stevie Awards
- #1 Summer Study Abroad Program by StudyAbroad101
- Philadelphia’s Green Innovator of the Year by the Clean Air Council
- Top Young Companies Driving Social Change at the United Nations Social Innovation Summit and more.
Melissa also serves as a Board Member for several non-profits organizations, and is a Mentor to Veterans who are transitioning into the civilian workforce.
A second-generation Chinese-American, Melissa was born in Queens, NY. Today, she resides in Philadelphia, PA, where TGP is headquartered. As an enthusiast for our oceans, the future of education, and purposeful travel, Melissa is passionate about the management and sustainability of these industries.
Graduate Student | University of Hawaii
Sebastien Selarque is a graduate student enrolled at the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Renewable Energy and Island Sustainability Program, where engineering, economics, urban planning, and natural resource management form an interdisciplinary curriculum. Sebastien also works as a research assistant at the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, where he focuses on virtual power plant technologies. Sebastien also actively serves as the co-chair for the Climate Reality Project: O'ahu Chapter and as a program coordinator for Engineers for a Sustainable World's Professional Relations Department. Prior to his current roles, Sebastien served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guinea, West Africa. He received his bachelor's degree in Electrical Mechanical Engineering Technology from the Rochester Institute of Technology. During his undergraduate program, Sebastien interned for a total of 12 months as a manufacturing engineer at GE Aviation
GIS Specialist & Project Manager
After graduating from UC Berkeley in 2019, where she majored in Environmental Sciences and was a Project Lead for the ESW chapter, Kavya works for an engineering consulting firm as a GIS Specialist and Project Manager. She rejoined ESW as a Chapter Relations Coordinator in Feb 2021, where she works with the other (awesome) CRCs to connect chapters leaders to ESW-HQ and to its resources. She is excited about the ever-expanding role of engineering in environmentalism and sustainability, and loves working with students who feel the same way. In her free time, she pretends to play the violin, likes to attempt new vegetarian recipes, and is trying to read one new book a week.
Brand and Impact Director | Cotopaxi
In her role as Brand and Impact Director, Annie steers the Cotopaxi’s giving and community efforts and works to create a symbiotic relationship between suppliers, customers, and peers. With a decade of experience in corporate social responsibility, Annie makes sure that every aspect of Cotopaxi’s brand is leveraged to generate a positive benefit to society and the communities the company touches. She is a graduate of Columbia University and Master's candidate at Cambridge University and a native of Park City, UT.
Assistant Professor | RIT
Dr. Nathan Williams is an Assistant Professor at the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at the Rochester Institute of Technology. His research focuses on African energy systems with a particular interest in the use of renewable and decentralized energy technologies to expand access to electricity. His work has applied various methods including techno-economic modeling, risk analysis and machine learning. More broadly, he is interested in how infrastructure systems in the Global South can be planned in an integrated and sustainable manner to support social and economic development in underserved communities.
Miguel Fraga is a sustainability professional with a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Leadership degrees from The University of Texas at El Paso. His experience includes project management, renewable energy policy, proposal writing, bilingual public engagement, and data visualization. Miguel recently managed a Green Infrastructure grant funded by the National Recreation and Park Association where he prepared bilingual educational workshops in English and Spanish to educate residents about the benefits of passive rainwater harvesting, desert-adaptive pollinator plants, and wildlife habitats. Miguel has also assisted in the engineering and community engagement aspects of the development of new trail segments for the Paso del Norte Trail, a 68-mile county-wide multi-use hike and bike trail in El Paso County. He is the elected Chair of the City of El Paso Regional Renewable Advisory Council and a board member of the Engineers for a Sustainable World Board of Directors.
ANA MARIA ALVARADO MOCTEZUMA
Student | University of Auckland
I was born and raised in Torreon, Mexico. There, I completed a bachelor’s in industrial engineering. The lack of opportunities and drug-related violence in my city made me look for experiences overseas. I worked as a high school teacher in the Dominican Republic and later was awarded a scholarship to study in New Zealand by the Mexican government. I recently completed a master’s degree in Energy at the University of Auckland. I am currently living in New Zealand and working for Fisher and Paykel Healthcare.
VANESA MENESES MORA
Product Development Engineer | Wright Medical
I was born in San Jose, Costa Rica in 1993. Since elementary school. I showed a big interest in math and science. This passion made me chose mechanical engineering as a major at the University of Costa Rica. Afterward, I won a scholarship from the New Zealand government to take a Master of Energy at the University of Auckland. I am currently living in Costa Rica, where I work as a Product Development Engineer in Wright Medical.
Besides the academic and professional life, I enjoy practicing mountain biking, doing hikes in National Parks, and playing the violin and guitar.
Chief Sustainability Officer | University at Buffalo
As UB’s inaugural chief sustainability officer since 2011, Ryan McPherson has created a culture of innovative and collaborative sustainability at UB and implemented strategies to help position the university as a sustainability leader in the community, state and nation, as well as across higher education. Among his chief priorities has been setting 10 key strategies to implement within the next decade as part of the university’s climate action plan. He also has worked to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals across campus and New York as part of the broader work to create the next generation of change agents who are building the future we seek. In part under McPherson’s oversight, UB has already achieved one of its sustainability goals: 100% of the electricity the university uses comes from clean, renewable sources, an achievement that has helped UB reduce its carbon footprint by 35% and put the university on the path to climate neutrality by 2030. During McPherson’s tenure, UB has received the Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, won Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” competition, and most recently was rated No. 1 — among 376 colleges and universities — by the Times Higher Education Impact Assessment among U.S. universities in taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
High School Engineering Student, Inventor, Aspiring Social Entrepreneur
Brody Rountree is a high school engineering student, inventor, and aspiring social entrepreneur from Illinois. Passionate about sustainable design and concerned for the environment, he plans to study mechanical engineering (with minors in materials science and product design) to address global climate change and environmental issues through creative design thinking and innovative engineering solutions. He is also interested in advancing green developments in impact design. In his senior year, he is engaging in original research, executing a mechanical engineering project, in which he designs and builds specially “modded” auger-equipped mountain bikes that can be used by mountain biker volunteers to replant unstable hard-to-reach slopes damaged by wildfires in the American west. Brody is the founder of a social enterprise linked to this project, called “Bike for the Trees.” This organization galvanizes support for forest recovery and restoration from mountain bikers who love forests and wish to promote their health and resilience today and for future generations. Brody is an avid mountain biker and climber and welcomes connections with other bikers, climbers, and engineers who share these interests. Feel free to contact Brody at .
SARAH BARR ENGEL
Solar Development Engineer | EDF Renewables
Sarah Barr Engel is a solar development engineer at EDF Renewables, where she works on site plans and production estimates for small-scale commercial and utility solar projects. She received her M.S. in Energy, Civil Infrastructure, and Climate from UC Berkeley in May 2020 and her B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Cornell University in 2018, where she was part of Engineers for a Sustainable World for 4 years before joining the ESW leadership team. Sarah was a CRC for 2 years and now is the Director of Student Membership. Outside of work and ESW, Sarah enjoys hiking, baking, and trying new DC coffee shops with friends.
Civil Engineer | Civil Design Consultants
Michael holds a B.S. in civil engineering and a M.S. in community and regional planning from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a practicing civil engineer with Civil Design Consultants in Santa Rosa, California helping to design site infrastructure and put together construction drawings primarily for housing projects in the North San Francisco Bay Area. Passionate about sustainable storm water management, he is happy to be working on projects in a region where frequent rain event mitigation is required. Michael is currently the Professional Recruitment Manager in the Professional Membership Department of ESW. Volunteering for ESW for 2.5 years, he has worked on improving the professional member experience as a coordinator and director in his department. When he is not working, Michael spends most of his time with his wife and two cats.
Student Engagement | ClimateVoice
Tessa heads the Student Engagement Team at ClimateVoice, a nonprofit that aims to mobilize the workforce to urge companies to go "all in on climate" both in their internal operations and policy commitments. ClimateVoice has many ways to actively involve students in the theory of change so please reach out directly via Linkedin at any time before, after, or during the conference! In addition to her work at ClimateVoice, Tessa is an Associate at Rocky Mountain Institute on the Breakthrough Technologies team, working to implement and scale emerging clean energy technologies.
Executive Director | The Endeavor Centre
Chris Magwood is obsessed with helping reverse climate change by making carbon-storing buildings that are also healthy, beautiful, efficient and inspiring. Chris is currently the executive director of The Endeavour Centre, a not-for-profit sustainable building school in Peterborough, Ontario. The school runs a full-time certificate program – Sustainable Building and Design – and hosts dozens of hands-on workshops annually. In 2019, he helped to establish Builders for Climate Action, which will be rolling out a set of tools and policy options to help governments, designers and builders reverse climate change with their buildings. Chris has authored seven books on sustainable building, including Essential Sustainable Home Design (2017). He is co-editor of the Sustainable Building Essentials series from New Society Publishers, and he contributed a chapter to the book The New Carbon Architecture. In 1998 he co-founded Camel’s Back Construction, and over eight years helped to design and/or build more than 30 homes and commercial buildings, mostly with straw bales and often with renewable energy systems. Chris has completed an MA at Trent University. His thesis, Opportunities for Carbon Removal and Storage in Building Materials which was published in the fall of 2019. Chris is an active speaker and workshop instructor in Canada and internationally.
Inventor & Author
I was born in 1984 in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. I am the second of 13 siblings; I grew up in a very good family that taught us to work hard for things and at the same time to try to be good to others; I studied Middle and High School in the Instituto Real de San Luis, an outstanding school in San Luis Potosí with excellent engineers as teachers of High School. When I was 18 years old, I went to study Laws at the University of Monterrey in Monterrey. I looked for a Master's in Business Law, and later I married Lluvia in 2010. We have a beautiful daughter named Daniela. When she was born, I had just finished a novel that I wrote called "El Libro Azul." In 2017, we decided to prepare everything to go live elsewhere. We chose New Zealand, I applied to study the Master of Energy at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and I was admitted. During the master's, I invented a power generation model based on gravity and hydroelectric use and geothermal energy. I have awesome friends from the Uni that helped me with my invention. I was awarded the best thesis award at the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Auckland (3 Minutes Thesis competition), graduated with honors. In November last, year; I exhibited my invention at the 42nd Geothermal convention the Bay of Islands in New Zealand.
CHRIS ALICE KRATZER
Engineer, Scientist, Entrepreneur & Author
Chris Alice Kratzer is an engineer, scientist, entrepreneur, & author. She started her own business in sustainable product engineering in 2020. Visit OwlflyLLC.com for more details (we're hiring!). She's also a wasp scientist (or more formally, a "Hymenopterist"), and her new book - "The Social Wasps of North America" - will be available this summer through Pollination Press. Yes, it includes the giant hornets. Chris volunteers as the Technology Coordinator for ESW HQ.
Blake Jones is a self-described “clean energy geek” and “cooperative geek.” He began his career in 1996 working as a civil engineer for Halliburton in the oil and gas industry. He then spent three years in Nepal implementing solar, wind, hydro, and electric vehicle technologies. Since returning to the USA in late 2004, he has co-founded four cooperatives: (1) Namasté Solar, an employee-owned cooperative and certified B-Corp that designs and installs solar electric systems; (2) Clean Energy Credit Union, a federally chartered credit union that provides loans exclusively for clean energy and energy-saving projects throughout the USA; (3) Amicus Solar Cooperative, a purchasing cooperative and certified B-Corp that is democratically owned by 60+ solar installation companies throughout North America; and (4) Kachuwa Impact Fund, an investment cooperative and impact investing fund with multiple impact themes including renewable energy, cooperatives, certified B-Corps, and companies owned by women, people of color, and/or employees. Blake is a 2010 Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” award recipient and has a BE in Civil Engineering from Vanderbilt University.
Technical Services & Sustainability Engineer | St. Marys Cement LLC, A Votorantim Cimentos Company
Shawn is a Technical Services Engineer for St Marys Cement for WNY, NW PA and Ohio. Has a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from Ryerson University in Toronto Ontario Canada. Also has a Civil Engineering Technologist diploma from Mohawk College in Hamilton Ontario Canada. Has had the privilege of working with both American and Canadian concrete industry partners. He is involved with PCA Sustainability committee co chair, SCA Great Lakes and Marketing Technical Committees, Ohio Concrete Technical Committee, PENNDOT/PACA Cementitious improvement community and is involved with the MIT sustainability hub and the Global Cement and Concrete Association.
Been involved with industry LCA’s for Portland Cement Association, Slag Cement Association, Canadian Ready Mix Concrete Association, National Ready Mix Association. For North America’s PCR for EPD’s, Shawn is the chair for the NSF Portland Cement, Blended Cements, Masonry and stucco cement which is looking was published in 2020 and PCA Industry EPD’s to be published March 2021. Active member on the PCA PLC task group.
Technical Services Supervisor | VCNA United Materials for the Greater Buffalo Area
Has an Associate Degree from Alfred State College, and Bachelor from SUNY Brockport in Environmental Earth Science. Started in Testing and Inspection before transitioning to Ready Mixed Concrete supply in 2000.
Has 25 years in Construction Industry primarily in Ready Mixed Concrete Technologies. Actively participates in several Industry associations and Chairs the New York Construction Materials Association, Technical Committee.
Senior Recruiter | Peace Corps
Anne Tatarsky is a Senior Recruiter serving Western New York since 2015. She graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO, with a B.A. in Geography and was introduced to Peace Corps as a high school student and carried her drive to join throughout her college education.
Anne served as an Environmental Education Volunteer in a rural coffee farming community in the Dominican Republic. Her projects included building fuel-efficient cook stoves, installing bio-sand water filters, working with students on environmental issues, recycling, and creating community art projects. Additionally, she aided her project partner in educating local coffee farmers about the use of organic alternatives to pesticides to control invasive pests.
High Performance Building Analyst | CannonDesign
Amir’s passion for energy efficiency in buildings, combined with his numerical simulation background, provides clients with data-driven insights. He is a self-proclaimed energy data geek, intrapreneur and CannonDesign’s integrated High Performance Building Analyst. He is continually pushing the boundaries of data analytics to support the design of high-performance buildings and campuses. He is known for bringing innovative ideas to the table while simplifying the technical data about project performance into actionable information for project stakeholders. His professional passion is help integrate advanced computational methods within the building design process that would accelerate the adoption of net-zero and positive-energy designs.
Principal & Sustainability Consultant
Roxanne is a licensed Architect, Certified Specification Writer, & LEED-Accredited Professional with 28 years of experience working in Canada & the U.S. In 2012, she founded DesignSynergies, an Interior Architecture practice centered on the principles of sustainable and resilient design. Her diverse portfolio of projects demonstrates a collaborative approach and attention to detail with a commitment to integrated project design. Along with her architectural work, Roxanne's experience includes managing the LEED certification process, consulting with manufacturers about greening their products, writing LEED specifications, developing education programs, and scriptwriting for a green renovation TV series. Roxanne has served on a number of AIA and USGBC committees and boards, and is currently a ProReviewer for GBCI’s continuing education program.
Co-Owner and Head Maltster | Niagara Malt LLC
Greetings! I am Bob Johnson, Co-owner and head maltster at Niagara Malt LLC in Lockport, NY. I am a plant ecologist by training and profession and now a recently “retired” professor. My interest in seed physiology and appreciation of craft beer was a natural segue into producing brewer’s malt, which has become my second career. Malt is the “heart of beer”, providing brewers with the enzymes, starch and flavor/color that define the many styles of brewed products. The process is also energy intensive, so I soon became involved in efforts to improve my sustainability. Using a hybrid wood pellet gasification boiler – electric system and roof mounted solar system, I am happy to say my process is now carbon-neutral….Cheers!
CEO | Optimus Technologies, Inc.
Colin is a veteran of the renewable fuels industry. Prior to becoming CEO of Optimus, he was the founder and CEO of Fossil Free Fuel, a renewable fuel company, and was the Director of Research and Technology at Steel City Biofuels, a biodiesel program of Penn State University. Colin is the co-inventor on a number of Optimus patents, holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, and earned a certificate in Entrepreneurial Leadership from Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. Colin has consulted and given lectures on biofuels, product development, the low-carbon economy and a variety of other topics for non-profits, government agencies, corporations, and universities throughout the country. When he finds a few minutes of free time, he enjoys building and deconstructing almost anything, playing soccer, riding his motorcycle, and mountain biking.
Sustainability Coordinator | Erie County Department of Environment
Tracy Skalski is the Sustainability Coordinator in the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning. She has a bachelors degree in Environmental Earth Science, has over 15 years of professional experience in the environmental field, and since 2015 has concentrated on environmental sustainability and climate change. She helped developed the County's Climate Action and Sustainability Plan for internal operations, coordinated efforts as the County became a 'Bronze Certified' Climate Smart Community, and is currently developing the Erie County Community Climate Action Plan.
Senior Sustainability Strategist | Quantis
Amanda Pike is a Senior Sustainability Strategist with Quantis and a founder of their US team. She partners with organizations, like Disney, Kimberly-Clark and Tillamook, to design their visions for sustainability and apply the latest science to bring those visions to life. Amanda believes we can empower sustainability professionals to do the best work of their lives and the most important work of our time by focusing on meaningful metrics and resilient workplaces.
Environmental Engineering Professor | University at Buffalo
John D. Atkinson is an environmental engineering professor at the University at Buffalo, where he created the University’s most popular study abroad course and has been recognized as an Early Career Teacher of the Year, Outstanding Director, Experiential Learning Faculty Fellow, and Best Undergraduate Mentor. He is also a past TEDxBuffalo speaker. His work is driven by an overarching desire to more sustainably produce and consume, resulting in a diverse portfolio of publications and seminars. With on-going funding from New York State and the U.S. National Science Foundation, as well as local industry, he is currently researching within the broad field of waste management, using life cycle analysis tools to investigate plastics and tire recycling, waste disposal options, and energy recovery. His work targets real-world problems that impact everyday life, aiming to make engineering more thoughtful and accessible. John emboldens lifestyle changes that promote sustainability. He encourages his students to expand their comfort zones, holistically problem solve, and embrace their creativity through engineering design.
Sustainability Engagement Coordinator | University at Buffalo
Derek Nichols is the Sustainability Engagement Coordinator at the University at Buffalo. In the field of sustainability, you have to wear many hats. He is tasked with many different components of making the University more sustainable, but the bulk of his work pertains to counting greenhouse gas emissions, facilitating renewable energy projects, the campus’ food system, and communicating all of this to the campus’ stakeholders. He has his Masters in Urban Planning and teaches Food Systems Planning for the School of Architecture and Urban Planning. Prior to working for the University, Derek worked for the non-profit Grassroots Gardens WNY which helped neighborhoods reclaim vacant space and turn them into gardens of neighborhood empowerment.
Environmental Economist | RENEW Institute at University at Buffalo
Michael Shelly is an environmental/ecological economist and Research Assistant Professor in the RENEW Institute at the University at Buffalo. He is the instructor for a graduate level course in environmental and sustainability economics that features the economics of climate change. Prior to coming to the University at Buffalo, he worked in the environmental consulting industry for over 20 years, and completed environmental, health, infrastructure and energy projects on five continents.
Co-Founder | Existential Toolkit for Climate Justice Educators
Sarah Jaquette Ray's current work brings together climate justice and psychology. She is co-founder of the Existential Toolkit for Climate Justice Educators, co-lead on an open-access online teaching resource, NXTerra: Transformative Education for Climate Action, and works with students, activists, professionals, and educators to support the climate generation. In 2020, she published a book for the climate generation on this research, A Field Guide to Climate Change: How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet. She has been Program Leader of the Environmental Studies Program at Humboldt State University since 2013, and is also author of The Ecological Other: Environmental Exclusion in American Culture (University of Arizona, 2013) and co-editor of three collections: Critical Norths: Space, Nature, Theory (2017), Disability Studies & the Environmental Humanities: Toward an Eco-Crip Theory (2017), and Latinx Environmentalisms: Place, Justice, and the Decolonial (2019).
DR. NICK GILEWSKI
Operations | New York State Power Authority
Dr. Nick E. Gilewski holds both an Undergraduate Degree (B.E.E.T., 2008) and a Master’s Degree (M.S.I.T., 2011) in Industrial Engineering from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. He also earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (M.B.A., 2016) from Medaille College, Buffalo, New York. Lastly, he successfully defended his dissertation on November 19, 2019 receiving his PhD. from Niagara University, Lewiston New York. Dr. Gilewski is currently employed at the New York State Power Authority where he facilitates and manages operations in the Lewiston, New York control room. He has over 20 years’ experience in managing union and non-union employees. Nick also possesses a Six Sigma Green Belt Certification (2017) related to organizational continuous improvement, statistical quality control, and lean manufacturing.
Civil Engineering Technology Professor | Rochester Institute of Technology
Prior to 1996, Scott Wolcott worked for 10 years as a civil/environmental engineer in the Buffalo area. Since 1996, he’s worked at Rochester Institute of Technology as a faculty member and past program coordinator in the civil engineering technology program. While primarily teaching environmental engineering and water resource courses, Professor Wolcott has also been involved in agent-based modeling in an ecological conservation context; environmental management symposia in Hungary, Croatia, Germany and Italy; and the development and implementation of study abroad programs in Ireland, Croatia and Sweden. He is currently (for the past decade) pursuing a PhD in Ecological Engineering from SUNY ESF.
James retired as Town Engineer in June 2019 working as a licensed civil engineer in the Town of Tonawanda for 30 years. James managed many of the town’s planning, engineering and public works projects totaling in the tens of millions of dollars. From 2000 to 2010, James was the town’s network and database administrator. In 2010, James was appointed to the Office of Town Engineer and Floodplain Administrator and was involved with waterfront sustainability initiatives along with the daily public works duties. In addition, he was also the town’s Geographic Information System (GIS) manager. He has been a member of ITE since 1989 and is a founding member of the Western NY GIS User Group. Project highlights while at Tonawanda included development and construction of over 23 miles of multi-use trails including the hallmark Tonawanda Rail Trail. Design and construction of beneficial reuse of recycled asphalt millings for multi-use trail base along Western NY’s largest rain garden. Design and construction of the 1.5-mile pervious pavement multi-use trail at Lincoln Park which became the winner of the 2018 WNY APWA Project of the year Award in the Environmental Category and 2019 NIS GIS Association GIS Champion and received the 2019 WNY and New York State APWA Citation for Exemplary Service to Public Works . James also initiated the town’s 2 MW solar array project on their landfill, managed several brownfield redevelopment projects, launched the forthcoming LED street light conversion, mini-roundabout intersection conversions and electric vehicle charging stations. In 2020, James established Mode Choice Engineering, PLLC focusing on alternative transportation solutions and became part of the staff at GObike Buffalo as their in-house engineer assisting with alternative transportation advocacy planning and design. James also serves as chairman of the Rotary of the Tonawandas and volunteers with the Niagara River Greenway, Greater Buffalo Wellness Institute and the Clean Air Coalition of WNY.
Executive Director | Climate Tech Action Network
Matthew Gordon is the founder and Executive Director of Climate Tech Action Network (), a 501(c)6 non-profit that provides mentorship and resources to engineers, scientists, and entrepreneurs who are seeking to use their skills to help combat the climate crisis. In addition, he is a Principal Engineer at Kairos Aerospace (), and works on detecting and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. Dr. Gordon received his AB in physics from Princeton, and his doctorate in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he specialized in single-molecule imaging and genetic sequencing. He is a dad to twin toddlers, and moonlights as Chief Entropy Officer at Hydrocarbon Collective () where he makes interactive kinetic sculptures.