Aug 27 - 28, 2014


Fred Beach headshotFred C. Beach, Ph.D.

Assistant Director, Energy Technology & Policy, University of Texas, Austin

Dr. Beach is the Assistant Director for Energy & Technology Policy at the Energy Institute. He is responsible for supervising and conducting research and studies related to the interplay between the development of Energy Policy, Environmental Policy, and Technology Policy. Dr.

Beach also teaches Energy Technology Policy and International Energy Policy in the Cockrell School of Engineering and McCombs Business School.

Prior to joining The University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Beach served for twenty-five years in the United States Navy where he was a qualified Submariner, Naval Aviator, Surface Warfare Officer, and Acquisition Professional. Since retiring in 2003 he has also served as a consultant on defense-related topics for the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group, MITRE, Naval Research Advisory Committee, Naval Research Laboratory, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the Defense Science Board.

Christopher Crockett headshotChristopher S. Crockett, Ph.D., P.E.

Deputy Commissioner, Planning & Environmental Services Division, Philadelphia Water Department

Christopher S. Crockett, Ph.D., P.E., is the Deputy Commissioner of the Planning & Environmental Services Division at the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) which is responsible for the Green Cities/Clean Waters, capital planning, energy, wet weather, research and development, and laboratory programs at PWD.

Dr. Crockett has 20 years of experience in the water, stormwater, and wastewater industry participating and leading innovative projects to improve customer service, performance, revenue, environmental management, and regulatory compliance.  His accomplishments are many and include leading the award winning source water protection programs, development and implementation of new stormwater management requirements for development of impervious cover based stormwater billing for non-residential customers.   He is also a tireless champion for stream restoration and green street efforts.

Under Dr. Crockett's leadership, his teams continue to help move Philadelphia towards being the greenest city in the country.  These efforts include changing the concept of wastewater treatment to include energy and resource recovery.   These initiatives have created the first full scale sewer geothermal system in the United States, installed over 1,000 solar panels, recycled over 9 million gallons of aircraft de-icing fluid for biogas generation, and construction of the 5.6 mW Northeast biogas cogeneration facility that will provide 85% of the Northeast wastewater plant’s energy needs by harnessing its own biogas.


Abigail Hopper headshot

Abigail Ross Hopper, Esq.

Energy Advisor, Governor Martin O’Malley & Director, Maryland Energy Administration

Abigail Ross Hopper has served as Energy Advisor to Governor Martin O’Malley since 2010, and simultaneously as Director of the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) since 2012.

Dir. Hopper regularly advises the Governor on matters related to the State’s progressive renewable energy and energy efficiency goals. During her tenure she has led numerous initiatives addressing the Governor’s strategic policy goals to increasing renewable energy production, reduce energy consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Prior to her appointments, Director Hopper worked as Deputy General Counsel to the Maryland Public Service Commission as a liaison and advisor. Before entering public service, Dir. Hopper spent over nine years in private practice with the Washington D.C. firm Hogan and Hartson, LLP., and the Greenbelt, firm of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, as a specialist in complex litigation and corporate law.


Jonathan Koehn headshotJonathan Koehn

Regional Sustainability Coordinator, Community Planning & Sustainability, City of Boulder

Jonathan Koehn is the Regional Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Boulder, where he works to implement the city’s sustainability agenda, specifically in relation to climate action and energy.  He began his tenure in Boulder as the City’s Environmental Manager in 2006, with over 10 years experience working with state, regional and local governments and their constituencies domestically and internationally to develop strategic and tactical solutions to energy, economic and climate challenges. In recent months, he has also been a key staff member working on Boulder's energy efforts, managing the resource modeling components.  Jonathan often represents the city’s interests in front of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and has provided key testimony on issues such as resource planning, renewable energy, Smart Grid and demand-side management.  He was a lead author on the Colorado Solar Gardens Bill that was passed and implemented by the Colorado Legislature in 2010. Jonathan is a LEED Accredited Professional and holds degrees in Environmental Science, Biology and Marine Sciences. He is currently the Technical Advisory Committee Chair for Applied Solutions, and serves on multiple Boards including the Colorado Climate Network Steering Committee and the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA) Global Warming Committee.


Fred Laskey headshotFred Laskey

Executive Director, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA)

Before joining MWRA in June 2001, Mr. Laskey served as Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue from 1991 to 2001, managing the Commonwealth's tax administration, child support enforcement and local services. He served as Secretary of Administration and Finance from 1998 to 1999. As Secretary, he was the Governor's chief financial advisor, with oversight of the state's $20 billion annual budget and managed the Cabinet Secretariat that oversees the entire state workforce. Before joining the Cabinet, Mr. Laskey served as Senior Deputy Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue from 1994 to 1998, and was designated by the Commissioner to serve as Assistant Secretary in the Executive Office for Administration and Finance. Mr. Laskey holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.


Jon Mitchell headshot

The Honorable Jonathan F. Mitchell

Mayor, City of New Bedford

Taking office in January 2012, Jon Mitchell is New Bedford’s 38th Mayor. Jon’s roots are deeply embedded in the City. He was born in New Bedford in 1969, and hails from a local fishing family that included his grandfather, Alexander Mitchell, whose name is inscribed at the Seaman’s Bethel with other local fishermen lost to the sea. The son of public school teachers, Jon was raised in New Bedford and North Dartmouth, and attended local public schools.

After graduating from Dartmouth High School, where he was the captain of the basketball team and a three year letterman in football, Jon went off to Harvard College. After graduating from Harvard with a degree in economics, Jon went to work in Washington, D.C. for a year, and remained there to attend law school at George Washington University. Upon graduation, Jon went to work as a federal prosecutor in the United States Department of Justice, having been selected to the prestigious Attorney General’s Honor Program, one of only five attorneys chosen from over 1,500 applicants. As one of the youngest federal prosecutors in the country, Jon successfully prosecuted violent crime cases in the District of Columbia, as well as major white collar crime cases.


Aric Nesbitt headshotThe Honorable Aric Nesbitt

Michigan State Representative, 66th District

State Rep. Aric Nesbitt was first elected to the Michigan House in November 2010. He represents the new 66th District, which includes all of Van Buren County, and Alamo Township, Cooper Township and the city of Parchment in Kalamazoo County.

Nesbitt is a graduate of Lawton High School, attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College during high school, and worked his way through Hillsdale College, earning a bachelor’s degree in economics. He also has a master’s degree in international business.

Nesbitt most recently was the lead Republican staffer for the bipartisan Congressional Natural Gas Caucus, which is dedicated to more American jobs and less foreign oil, and the Congressional Steel Caucus, which is working to protect American manufacturing jobs. He also worked as a legislative director in the U.S. House of Representatives. Early in his career, Nesbitt worked for former State Representative and State Senator Tom George. Rep. Nesbitt is chair of the House Energy and Technology Committee and also serves on the Commerce, Insurance and Tax Policy committees.


Erin_OConnell-Diaz_headshotErin O’Connell-Diaz

Senior Fellow, Governing; Commissioner Emeritus, Illinois Commerce Commission

Erin O’Connell-Diaz served two terms as a Commissioner of the Illinois Commerce Commission. During her terms of office Illinois became a leader in the nation for its rail safety education and grid modernization programs. She also steered the state to become home to one of the nation’s most successful competitive electric and gas markets. She served as Chair for the ICC committees on Consumer Outreach, Water, Electric Vehicle Initiatives, and Transportation/Rail-Safety. She was instrumental in collaborative process focused on Illinois’ development of a competitive electric supply market. O’Connell-Diaz was the lead regulator to several USAID/Department of Energy partnerships programs, notably in Brazil and Kosovo. Currently she is a member of the Harvard Electric Policy Group and the New Mexico State University Public Utilities Advisory Council.


Mark Stodola headshotThe Honorable Mark Stodola

Mayor, City of Little Rock, Arkansas

Mark Stodola was elected as Mayor for the City of Little Rock, beginning his term in January 2007 and re-elected to a 2nd term beginning in 2011, capturing 84% of the vote. As Mayor, he has helped prioritize public safety as the City’s first and foremost obligation, resulting in substantial decreases in violent crime and property crime. Since Mayor Stodola took office, the City’s homicide rate has fallen more than 50% with the violent crime rate falling 34%.
The Mayor has partnered with the State Arkansas Economic Development Commission and the Chamber of Commerce to bring over $1 billion in new capital investment to the City and more than 4,100 new jobs since taking office.  In 2009, he crafted a major bond initiative that resulted in $6.9 million dollars in improvements to the City's park system.  In addition, in 2011, he led a successful campaign to increase the City's sales tax garnering an 8% point win in the midst of the greatest economic upheaval since the Great Depression.  
Mayor Stodola has been key in promoting the revitalization of Little Rock's Main Street, resulting in the City having been awarded a "Greening of America's Capitals Grant" from the Environmental Protection Agency and an "Our Town Grant" from the national Endowment for the Arts for the creation of an Arts District in the heart of the downtown core.


Brian Swett headshot

Brian Swett

LEED AP, Chief of Environment, Energy & Open Space, City of Boston

Brian Swett is Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Space for the City of Boston. Over the last year, Mr. Swett has led a variety of major policy and program initiatives in Boston including developing and passing a building energy disclosure ordinance, launching Greenovate Boston, a sustainability education and outreach initiative, and kicking off Climate Ready Boston, a set of climate preparedness initiatives. Mr. Swett is also leading efforts to update the City’s Climate Action Plan, which is due in 2014. Prior to his appointment with the City, Mr. Swett oversaw sustainability related initiatives at Boston Properties, worked for an environmental justice nonprofit, two socially responsible investment firms, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, and several offices in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


Chad Vander Veen headshotChad Vander Veen

Editor, FutureStructure

Chad Vander Veen is the editor of FutureStructure, a new media platform from e.Republic, publishers of Governing and Government Technology. FutureStructure is aimed at thinking through and solving the challenges faced in building economically and socially robust communities by examining the intersection of ideas, infrastructure and technology. Previously, Vander Veen served as a Public Information Officer at the California High-Speed Rail Authority and Associate Editor of Government Technology. He was also a candidate for the California State Assembly in 2010, a race he lost handily. Vander Veen graduated from the University of Redlands with a degree in Government. He lives in Folsom, Calif., with his wife and two sons.


Rebecca West headshotRebecca West

Chief Operating Officer, Spartanburg Water, South Carolina

Rebecca West is the Chief Operating Officer for Spartanburg Water in Spartanburg, S.C. and has served in the water profession for over 28 years. At Spartanburg Water, Rebecca is responsible for a division of 7 reclaimed water facilities and 3 drinking water facilities and their associated collection and distribution systems, biosolids and residuals management, and three drinking water reservoirs.

Rebecca is a Past President of the Water Environment Federation and has authored and presented numerous papers across the US and in other parts of the world on topics related to water. Likewise, Rebecca participated in a People to People Delegation of Water Professionals to China in 2000 and led a Delegation of Water Professionals to South Africa in 2009.  Rebecca presently serves as the Chair of the  SCAWWA Water Utility Council, the Chair of AWWA’s Water Reuse Committee and is on the Board of Directors for the SC Water Quality Association.

Rebecca is a member of the American Water Works Association, International Water Association, the Water Environment Federation and the Business and Professional Women/USA.


Robert Zimmerman headshotRobert L. Zimmerman, Jr.

Executive Director, Charles River Watershed Association

Bob joined CRWA as Executive Director in December 1990. Under his direction, CRWA has initiated groundbreaking ecosystem analyses and land-planning studies, helped reform land and water regulation, developed restorative technologies, and won major battles to restore and protect the Charles and its parklands. He received the International Riverprize on behalf of the Charles and CRWA in 2011. A long-time member of the Massachusetts Water Resources Commission and MassDEP Fees and Programs Advisory Committee, he also serves on the Board of River Network, and is a past Board chair of EarthShare New England and former Board member of EarthShare of America. Bob served two terms as an elected member of the Town of Littleton Board of Health. He lectures widely and teaches on water sustainability and transforming traditional water infrastructure to restorative and sustainable systems.