September 9 | 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Event Program

See presentation details and speaker bios and headshots below.

Parking information will be sent to registrants in the lead up to the event.

**Due to continued interest in this event, we are opening up registration for a virtual broadcast. Use the button below to register and we will send you a Zoom link to view the conference on the day of the event.**

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Basil Seggos
Commissioner
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

Keynote Remarks

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos will highlight the importance of state-local relationships to identifying and implementing innovative policy solutions. The remarks will also show how we are mobilizing the financial, expert, and material resources necessary across state and local programs and illustrate how New York’s local governments can continue to advance sustainable policy in the context of major state and federal initiatives, such as the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

Read the Commissioner’s bio here.

  • 8:00 AM – 8:40 AM

    Coffee Hour, Networking, and Welcoming Remarks

    Welcoming remarks will be offered by Bob Megna, president of the Rockefeller Institute of Government, and Joanie Mahoney, president of the SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry.

  • 8:45 AM – 9:30 AM

    Panel 1 | State-Local Climate and Energy Programs

    Moderator: Joanie Mahoney, president, SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry

    NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities Program and DEC Climate Smart Communities Program

    • Amanda Mazzoni, principal planner, Energy Management Program, Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board

    Bridging the Policy Gap to Climate Change Adaptation in Rural Areas

    • Steve Powers, chair, New Lebanon Climate Smart Communities Task Force

    • Rebecca Morgenstern Brenner, senior lecturer, Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy, Cornell University

    Campus-Community Partnerships in Climate Action Planning: Lessons from the Field

    • John Pumilio, director of sustainability, Colgate University

  • 9:40 AM – 10:25 AM

    Panel 2 | Integrating Innovations to Address Sustainability

    Moderator: Laura Rabinow, deputy director of research, Rockefeller Institute of Government

    Urban Forestry Methods for Assessing and Addressing Community Vulnerability to Heat Waves

    • Theodore Endreny, professor of environmental resources engineering, SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry

    • Lemir Teron, Richard P. Nathan public policy fellow, Rockefeller Institute of Government, & assistant professor, SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry

    Community-Scale Clean Thermal Energy Networks

    • William Xia, assistant director, Clean Heating and Cooling, NYSERDA

    Sustainability and Solar: A Case Study of White Plains, NY

    • Thomas Roach, mayor, City of White Plains

  • 10:35 AM – 11:20 AM

    Panel 3 | Financing Sustainability Policies

    Moderator: Bob Megna, president, Rockefeller Institute of Government

    Green Infrastructure, Stormwater, and the Financialization of Municipal Environmental Governance

    • Josh Cousins, assistant professor of environmental studies, SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry

    Cohoes NY: Floating Solar + Decarbonizing Historic Buildings = Generating Energy Savings & Economic Opportunity

    • Joseph Seman-Graves, city planner, City of Cohoes, New York

    Financing Energy Efficiency Projects for Private Buildings

    • Sarah Smiley, director of municipal membership and transaction manager, Energy Improvement Corporation (EIC) New York

  • 11:20 AM – 12:25 PM

    Lunch & Keynote Remarks

    Keynote remarks will be delivered by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos.

    Lunch will be provided.

  • 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

    Panel 4 | Sustainability and the Built Environment

    Moderator: Rachel Leibowitz, assistant professor and co-director, Center for Cultural Landscape Preservation, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

    Preservation, Reuse, and Deconstruction: Sustainability and the Built Environment

    • Jennifer Minner, director of graduate studies and associate professor, City and Regional Planning, Cornell University

    • Andrew Roblee, president, Preservation Association of Central New York (PACNY)

    • Gretchen Worth, project director, Susan Christopherson Center for Community Planning

    Policy Solutions for Supporting the Use of Sustainable Building Materials in Public Construction Products: A Case Study of the Village of Hastings-on-Hudson, NY

    • Matt Adams, fellow, Rockefeller Institute of Government

    • Nicola Armacost, mayor, Hasting-on-Hudson, New York

  • 1:40 PM – 2:25 PM

    Panel 5 | Educational Partnerships and Initiatives

    Moderator: Laura Schultz, executive director of research, Rockefeller Institute of Government

    Libraries as Sustainability Partners

    • Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, executive director, Mid-Hudson Library System and President, Sustainable Libraries Initiative

    Innovations in Sustainable Procurement: A Campus Green Purchasing Guide’s Role in Achieving Buy-in for Mandatory Procurement Standards

    • Susan Fassler, director of sustainable operations, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

    Engaged Humanities: Youth-Focused Engagement as Collective Action and Coalition Building

    • Jacob Gedetsis, coordinator, Writing Resource Center, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry; co-founder/director, Write Out

  • 2:35 PM – 3:20 PM

    Panel 6 | Decision-making and Planning at the Local Level

    Moderator: Lisa Parshall, professor of political science, Daemen College & fellow, Rockefeller Institute of Government

    Invest in Trails and the Public Will Respond

    • Travis Glazier, director, Office of Environment, Onondaga County

    • Dan Kwasnowski, planning director, Syracuse-Onondaga County Planning Agency

    Preventing and Reducing Wasted Food in Counties, Towns, and Villages—Case Studies from the Rochester and Albany Metro Regions

    • Kaitlin Stack Whitney, fellow, Rockefeller Institute of Government

    • Ariella Knight, MFA industrial design candidate, Rochester Institute of Technology

    Financing Green Space Land Using Purchases for Local Governments Using Municipal Bonds

    • Kevin Bronner, public service professor, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany

  • 3:20 PM – 3:30 PM

    Closing Remarks

    Closing remarks will be offered by Laura Rabinow, deputy director of research at the Rockefeller Institute of Government.

Presenters

Matthew Adams

Matthew Adams

Fellow, Rockefeller Institute of Government

Matthew Adams is an associate professor and co-director of the materials and structures (MatSLab) at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, New Jersey. His research focuses on the sustainability, resiliency, and long-term durability of innovative cement-based materials. He also studies how governmental policy both supports and hinders the adoption of sustainable practices in construction. He is a fellow of the American Concrete Institute, where he is currently chairman of the Committee on Recycled Materials in Concrete; and he is also a member of ASTM, International where he chairs the Subcommittee on Testing for Strength of Concrete. He was named a Richard P. Nathan Policy fellow at the Rockefeller Institute for Government in 2020. Adams has received research funding from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New Jersey Department of Transportation, the American Concrete Institute Foundation, and the US Department of Transportation.

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Nicola Armacost

Nicola Armacost

Mayor, Hasting-on-Hudson, New York

Nicola Armacost has served as the mayor of Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, since 2019, and before that as trustee since 2009. As mayor, she has championed sustainability initiatives and building local resiliency to climate change. Under her leadership, Hastings-on-Hudson is currently the highest-ranking Clean Energy Community (CEC) and Climate Smart Community (CSC) in New York State. The municipality adopted the New York Stretch Energy Code; expanded financing for energy efficiency through Open C-PACE financing; passed a Low-Embodied Carbon Concrete Resolution; invested in EVs, alternative fuel infrastructure and resiliency planning; promoted “buy local” initiatives; dedicated over 85 percent of municipal-owned open space as parkland; and supported local pollinator pathway initiatives.

Mayor Armacost is also the managing director of Arc Finance, whose mission is to link the fields of finance, energy, water, and sanitation. Arc’s financial institution partners have provided access to clean energy for over 4.5 million people in a range of countries including Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Nicaragua, and Haiti. Arc’s partners offer financing for distributed solar, roof-top solar, e-vehicles, as well as micro- and mini-grids. Previously, she worked at Women’s World Banking, a global microfinance network, and is an advisor to a number of companies focused on the off-grid energy space.

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Kevin M. Bronner

Kevin M. Bronner

Public Service Professor, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany

Kevin M. Bronner has served as public service professor and adjunct professor at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany since 1995. He has taught courses in governmental accounting, microeconomics, strategic planning, financial management, the operations of the capital markets, and on regulation issues. He is a public finance expert in the areas of governmental accounting and financial management.

From 1970 to 2003, he served on the staff of utility related agencies including the New York State Department of Public Service, the New York State Energy Office, and the New York State Consumer Protection Board. He participated in the areas of accounting and finance for electric and natural gas, steam, water, and telephone companies. He was also recognized as an expert quantifier and computed the largest dollar amount disallowances for utilities in the history of the New York State Public Service Commission. He worked on numerous financial, operational audits, and management audits, where he detected internal control violations and developed recommendations and an implementation plan to correct them. He was also instrumental in introducing competition for New York State utilities. In addition, he also participated in the first energy master plan for New York State in the 1970s. Bronner worked for several years at the State University of New York Research Foundation. He also served for eight years as a councilperson for the Town of Colonie. 

He has produced numerous public finance analyses that studied issues such as the New York State property tax cap, the Office of the New York State Comptroller’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System, and accounting issues for other post-employment benefits. He has presented comments to the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) on numerous issues and he has testified before the GASB. He examines bond rating changes for local governments in New York State and has analyzed numerous audits conducted by the Office of the New York State Comptroller for local governments. He has also presented comments to Moody’s Investor’s Service concerning their bond rating methodology for state and local governments.

During 2022, he acted as a moderator for the Federal Reserve Panel at the University at Albany and he also participated in a training program for the members of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary staff during July.

Kevin holds a Bachelor’s degree in business administration-accounting, a Master’s degree in public finance, and a Ph.D. in public administration from the State University of New York at Albany.

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Theodore Endreny

Theodore Endreny

Professor, Department of Environmental Resources Engineering, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Theodore Endreny is a professor in the Department of Environmental Resources Engineering at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF). His scholarship involves developing i-Tree software to guide strategic land cover changes that deliver needed ecosystem services, reduce pollution, and improve human well-being. Endreny teaches courses in engineering hydrology and hydraulics, river form and process, and applications of i-Tree tools. He is a member of the National Academies Grand Challenge Scholars Program, Engineers Without Borders, provides university service for SUNY ESF, and serves on the editorial board for npj Urban Sustainability, Hydrological Processes, and the International Journal for River Basin Management. He was the recipient of a SUNY Chancellor’s Internationalization Award, the US nominee for the IEEE GHTC Global Humanitarian Engineer of the Year, Management Innovation Award for the i-Tree Hydro model from New York American Public Works Association, and the Fulbright Commission Distinguished Chair in Environmental Sciences at Parthenope University, Italy. Endreny earned a BS in natural resources management at Cornell University, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in river basin management in Trujillo, Honduras, and as a research associate with the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, DC. He earned an MS in soil and water engineering from North Carolina State University as a research scholar with the Environmental Protection Agency and earned a PhD in water resources engineering from Princeton University as a research scholar with the National Aeronautics Space Administration.

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Susan Fassler

Susan Fassler

Director of Sustainable Operations, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Susan Fassler serves as the director of sustainable operations at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), where she manages custodial and grounds operations and leads the college’s Office of Sustainability. She also co-chairs the statewide UUP Environmental Issues and Advocacy Committee and sits on the board of the Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust. She holds a BS in environmental studies and a MPS in environmental science, both from ESF, and a master’s in public administration from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

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Jacob Gedetsis

Jacob Gedetsis

Writing Resource Center Coordinator, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and co-founder/director of Write Out

Jacob Gedetsis coordinates SUNY ESF’s Writing Resource Center and teaches environmental writing and research courses in its Writing, Rhetoric, and Communications program. Gedetsis is the co-founder and director of Write Out, a community writing collective that partners local writers, artists, and university students with youth-focused after-school programs in Syracuse.  Write Out holds weekly, year-round writing and storytelling workshops with students from the ages of 6-18. His work centers on community-engaged scholarship and creative work that uses participatory, action-based methodologies for humanities research, coalition building, and collective action. He is particularly interested in how public arts and environmental humanities projects generate a more inclusive and connected community through creative expression.

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Travis R. Glazier

Travis R. Glazier

Director, Office of Environment for Onondaga County

Travis R. Glazier was appointed by the county executive to serve as director of the Office of Environment for Onondaga County in March of 2015. In this role, Glazier is responsible for county policy matters related to environmental protection, rehabilitation, and preservation. In addition, the director acts as the liaison between the county, state, and federal governments, as well as private interests, in environmental matters on behalf of the county executive. The Office of Environment is a chartered department whereby the director is also responsible for ensuring federal and state directives are followed by the county.

Glazier started his career with Onondaga County in 2010 working for the Department of Water Environment Protection (WEP). In 2011, he was appointed by the county executive to serve as the director of intergovernmental relations and in 2014, was appointed to the position of deputy commissioner of facilities management.

Prior to serving on the county executive’s senior staff, Glazier founded a small internet company, CampaignBase.com, where he was CEO from 2005-10. The company specialized in website software for political organizations, nonprofits, and advocacy groups.

From 2002-05, Glazier served on the district staff of Congressman Sherwood Boehlert (NY24), where he worked on issues related to the Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), veterans, the US Department of Defense, and the US Department Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Glazier is a lifelong resident of upstate New York and holds a BA in politics with a minor in environmental studies from SUNY Potsdam and an executive master’s in public administration (EMPA) from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. He is a member of the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency (OCCRA) Board and a former member of the Onondaga Citizens League (OCL) Board. He and his wife, Christa, reside in Liverpool with their sons Gabriel and Sebastian.

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Ariella Knight

Ariella Knight

MFA Industrial Design Candidate, Rochester Institute of Technology, New York

Ariella Knight is a MFA industrial design candidate at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. With a broad arts/tech background, her current work focuses on access and sustainability and explores how social and disruptive design can facilitate new and more equitable systems and products. Most recently, her Compostable Kidswear centered apparel end of life and explored how using biofibers such as milkweed and cattail could decouple fabric blends in outdoor kidswear.

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Dan Kwasnowski

Dan Kwasnowski

Planning Director, Syracuse-Onondaga County Planning Agency

Dan Kwasnowski is the planning director for the Syracuse-Onondaga County Planning Agency or SOCPA, a combined city/county planning agency. He lives in the Village of Marcellus, New York, with his wife Karen and two children, Jonah and Colden. Kwasnowski is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and has been working as a planner in varying applications for 21 years including as a town planner/director for eight years, a private consulting planner and entrepreneur for six years, a river restoration specialist, a hydropower regulatory and environmental specialist, and as the executive director of a land trust in Lake Placid. He is an avid mountain and road cyclist with volunteer experience planning, designing, and building a variety of mountain bike and multiuse trails and trail systems.

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Rachel Leibowitz

Rachel Leibowitz

Assistant Professor and Co-Director, Center for Cultural Landscape Preservation, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Rachel Leibowitz is an assistant professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse and is a co-director of its Center for Cultural Landscape Preservation. She has taught courses in the history of architecture and landscape architecture at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her prior practice in design and in public history includes positions at two Chicago architecture firms; the Historic Preservation Division of the City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development; and the state historic preservation offices of Texas and Illinois. Most recently, Leibowitz served for five years as the deputy state historic preservation officer and head of the Preservation Services Division for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. She has received fellowships from the Smithsonian Institution, the American Council of Learned Societies/Luce Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, and the Society of Architectural Historians, among others. She currently serves on the boards of the Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation, the Preservation Association of Central New York, and the Barry Lopez Foundation for Art + Environment, and she is the book review editor for Buildings + Landscapes, the journal of the Vernacular Architecture Forum.

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Amanda Mazzoni

Amanda Mazzoni

Principal Planner, Energy Management Program, Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board

Amanda Mazzoni is a principal planner in the Energy Management Program of the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board (CNY RPDB).  She is one of the statewide NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities (CEC) coordinators, serving municipalities throughout the five counties of Central New York, which includes Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, and Oswego Counties. As a CEC coordinator, Amanda assists municipalities in completing clean energy projects, including installing EV charging stations, converting streetlights to LEDs, building efficiency upgrades, and renewable energy projects. Prior to working as a CEC coordinator, Amanda assisted municipalities in developing greenhouse gas inventories and climate action plans as part of the Climate Smart Communities (CSC) Pilot Program, which has since developed into the broader CSC Certification Program and now the CSC Coordinator Program.

Mazzoni received her master’s degree in the spring of 2013 in environmental studies with a policy focus from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She has been working at the CNY RPDB in the Energy Management Program since then.

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Jennifer Minner

Jennifer Minner

Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor, City and Regional Planning, Cornell University

Jennifer Minner is director of graduate studies and associate professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University. She directs the Just Places Lab, an interdisciplinary platform for research and creative action centered on community memory, public imagination, and the socially just care of places. Her research and teaching focus on equitable land use and historic preservation planning. She is one of the founding partners of the Circularity, Reuse, and Zero Waste Development (CR0WD) network. She has chaired the City of Olympia Washington Heritage Commission and has served on the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Commission. Minner investigates sustainable urban change, building and building material reuse, landscape adaptation, and community memory in all manner of places—at demolition and deconstruction sites, in future scenarios, and in reflections of the city in art. She holds a PhD in community and regional planning from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s in urban and regional planning from Portland State University and a bachelor’s in anthropology from the University of Washington.

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Rebecca Morgenstern Brenner

Rebecca Morgenstern Brenner

Senior Lecturer, Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy at Cornell University

Rebecca Morgenstern Brenner, MPA, is a senior lecturer in the Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy at Cornell University. At Cornell, she has additional roles as a Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability Faculty fellow, an Engaged Cornell Faculty fellow in the Einhorn Center for Community Engagement, and a Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies faculty associate. At Cornell University, Rebecca teaches courses on disaster policy, environmental policy, environmental justice, vulnerability and resilience, project management, design thinking, and consulting for government and nonprofit organizations. Her research and practice focus on translating values into practice and policy, and working with communities to reduce vulnerability and build resilience. To do this, she collaborates with international and domestic partners to build innovative approaches that address and improve social and environmental conditions. Her current research and practice include managed retreat and equity, environmental justice, bridging policy with science for flooding and wildfire management, climate change education, environmental policy, energy policy, project management, and building disaster resilience with vulnerable communities. In addition to her teaching and research, Brenner has extensive experience internationally and domestically conducting environmental and socioeconomic analysis with community organizations, businesses, nonprofit organizations, as well as federal, state, and local government agencies. She also serves as a co-lead for the FEMA Higher Education Service-Learning and Leadership Special Interest Group.

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Steve Powers

Steve Powers

Chair, New Lebanon Climate Smart Communities Task Force

Steve Powers was born and raised in Philadelphia. After college, where he majored in environmental studies and did a work-study at the EPA, he took off for Asia and spent the next 18 years living in Nepal, working as a mountain guide and organizer of treks and expeditions. In Nepal, he helped set up and run the Kathmandu Environmental Education Project (KEEP) to educate local guides and tourists on how to mitigate their environmental footprint while in the Himalayas. In addition to serving as chair of New Lebanon’s Climate Smart Communities Task Force, Powers also serves on the town’s Conservation Advisory Council and Zoning Rewrite Committee. He is also treasurer of the Chandra Gurung Conservation Trust, which mentors up-and-coming conservationists in Nepal. He continues to operate and organize tours worldwide through his company, Hidden Treasure Tours.

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John Pumilio

John Pumilio

Director of Sustainability, Colgate University

John Pumilio, LEED green associate, certified energy manager, and certified health coach, is the director of sustainability at Colgate University. Since 2009, he has led Colgate’s sustainability program and effort to achieve carbon neutrality by 2019. Over that time, the university has reduced its campus carbon footprint by 46 percent and in 2019 became the first college or university in New York State to achieve carbon neutrality. Successes to date include a reduction in energy, water, and paper consumption while increasing renewable energy, recycling, and overall awareness of sustainability on campus. In 2016, John co-founded (with Chris Henke) the Hamilton Climate Preparedness Working Group and has been working closely with the Town and Village of Hamilton, New York, to achieve and maintain New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Climate Smart Certification.

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Tom Roach

Tom Roach

Mayor, City of White Plains

Tom Roach has served as mayor for the City of White Plains, New York, since 2011. Tom has spearheaded critical renewable energy initiatives including streamlining the residential solar permitting process and completing a large-scale community solar portfolio using nine city-owned sites, the largest municipal solar energy deployment in Westchester County, New York. The 6.8 megawatt (MW) community solar portfolio will triple the amount of solar energy produced in Westchester County. Today, under Mayor Roach’s leadership the City of White Plains’ total solar generation capacity is 13.5 MW, which amounts to approximately 220 watts per capita, placing White Plains among the top 10 cities in the nation for solar generation.

His environmental and sustainability initiatives also include the banning of the dirtiest heating oils; creating the first dedicated bike lanes in Westchester County; establishing a network of electric vehicle charging stations in municipally-owned parking structures; replacing all of the city’s street lights, as well as the lighting in several city-owned garages, with LEDs; initiating textile recycling; and designing and constructing a pollinator meadow.

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Andrew Roblee

Andrew Roblee

Founder and President, Roblee Historic Preservation

Andrew Roblee is the founder and president of Roblee Historic Preservation, based in Auburn, NY. Roblee holds an MA in historic preservation planning from Cornell University and a BA in history from Wells College. He lives in Auburn with his wife, Devon, and his two boys, Alex and Arthur. Roblee has served on the City of Auburn Historic Resources Review Board, as the current president of the Preservation Association of Central New York (PACNY), and as a member of the Circularity, Reuse, and Zero Waste Development (CR0WD) working group. Roblee is a believer in the idea that all disciplines are connected and can inform each other, no matter how different they may seem. He also enjoys long-winded discussions about historical trivia, reading about old plaster, staring at buildings, and writing mediocre songs on the piano and guitar.

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Joseph Seman-Graves

Joseph Seman-Graves

City Planner, City of Cohoes, New York

Joseph Seman-Graves is an urban planner and economic development specialist with the City of Cohoes, New York, where he primarily focuses on community planning, sustainable economic development strategies, and project implementation. Seman-Graves works to incorporate fiscal responsibility and sustainable innovation into comprehensive planning to increase community resiliency and sustainability. Holding a Master’s of urban and regional planning from the State University of New York at Albany, Seman-Graves works to positively impact communities by helping to make them livable, equitable, and sustainable through sound planning and collaborative implementation. Specific areas of interest include public policy, sustainable economic development solutions, and area-wide brownfield remediation strategies.

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Sarah Smiley

Sarah Smiley

Director of Municipal Membership and Transaction Manager, Energy Improvement Corporation (EIC) New York

Sarah Smiley is director of municipal membership and transaction manager for Energy Improvement Corporation (EIC), a non-profit local development corporation which administers Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing on behalf of its member municipalities across New York State. Sarah joined EIC in 2017 and manages the rollout of Open C-PACE, EIC’s open market commercial PACE program. Sarah works with local governments and community stakeholders to activate this innovative finance tool that can transform buildings through energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy and that encourages sustainable development. In October of 2020, Sarah took on the role of transactions manager, working with Open C-PACE capital providers to facilitate the finance application and closing process.

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Rebekkah Smith Aldrich

Rebekkah Smith Aldrich

Executive Director, Mid-Hudson Library System and President, Sustainable Libraries Initiative

Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, MLS, LEED AP, is the executive director of the Mid-Hudson Library System serving Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Putnam, and Ulster Counties in New York and is the co-founder and current president of the Sustainable Libraries Initiative (SLI). For over 20 years, she has worked with public libraries across the globe to ensure library services are relevant and responsive so that our communities thrive. She is active in the New York Library Association (NYLA), currently serving on their Legislative Committee; and in the American Library Association (ALA), most recently chairing their new Council Committee on Sustainability, and serving on the board of the Center for the Future of Libraries. She was recognized as a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2010 and was recognized with the NYLA Outstanding Service to Libraries Award in 2018. Aldrich is an adjunct professor at the Palmer School of Library and Information Science at Long Island University and has written three books: Sustainable Thinking; Resilience; and Libraries and Sustainability: Programs and Practices for Community Impact. She has been invited to speak around the world on the topic of libraries and sustainability.

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Kaitlin Stack Whitney

Kaitlin Stack Whitney

Assistant Professor of Science, Technology & Society, Rochester Institute of Technology & Fellow, Rockefeller Institute of Government

Kaitlin Stack Whitney is an assistant professor of science, technology and society at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Part of her research portfolio focuses on how science informs state and local environmental policy, in topics such as pollinator protection and food waste. She previously worked for the US Environmental Protection Agency in the Office of Pesticide Programs and Office of International and Tribal Affairs.

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Lemir Teron

Lemir Teron

Assistant Professor, SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry (ESF) & Richard P. Nathan Public Policy Fellow, Rockefeller Institute of Government

Dr. Lemir Teron is a faculty member at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF). His research focuses on urban sustainability, energy policy, and environmental justice.  He received his PhD from the University of Delaware and completed a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) supported postdoc at the Environmental Cooperative Science Center at Florida A&M University. He currently serves on the energy working group of the forthcoming New York State Climate Impacts Assessment. Teron was awarded the 2019 Distinguished Faculty Member for Teaching Excellence Award by the SUNY ESF Undergraduate Student Association and he received a 2020 Unsung Hero Award at the 35th Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in Syracuse, New York, for his commitment to racial and environmental justice.

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Gretchen Worth

Gretchen Worth

Director, Susan Christopherson Center for Community Planning

Gretchen Worth is the director of the Susan Christopherson Center for Community Planning, which supports communities across New York State on planning issues at the intersection of climate resiliency, equity, and the built environment. The Christopherson Center is a founding partner of CR0WD (Circularity, Reuse, Zero Waste Development), a collaborative network advocating for more sustainable treatment of our built environment—including the development of a circular construction economy in which deconstruction and building material reuse are the norm, rather than demolition and the creation of vast amounts of landfill waste. Worth has a BA in journalism and master’s degrees in historic preservation planning and global development. She is a member of Cornell University’s inaugural Einhorn Center Alumni Advisory Group. Having lived and worked in Asia for more than 25 years, she maintains her ties to the region through her board affiliation with Restoration Works International (RWI), which partners with communities in Asia and the US to restore their important sites. She is also an advisor to the Southeast Asian Cultural Heritage Alliance, SEACHA, an association of cultural heritage organizations from the 10 ASEAN countries, which promotes community-government partnerships for effective cultural heritage management.

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