Debra Sachs, Executive Director, MS in Natural Resource Planning. Deb has managed non-profits and consulted on numerous planning and sustainability projects for governments, NGO’s and businesses for more than 25 years. In the mid 90’s, Deb pioneered climate action planning, co-authored climate action plans and has provided science-based technical assistance since. In 2010, Deb co-founded Community Climate Action, Inc., a 501c3 whose focus was on education, outreach and public engagement to mitigate the threat of global climate change. Today she continues to share experiences as co-founder of Vermont Energy & Climate Action Network and Vermont Transportation Efficiency Network. To help meet today’s need to accelerate net zero strategies, Community Climate Action was renamed to Net Zero Vermont in 2016. Deb also oversees a small consulting firm, EcoStrategies, providing government, business and NGO clients with technical assistance in sustainability practices, transportation efficiency and renewable energy development. Deb serves on the boards of Vermont Rail Action Network, Vermont Transportation Efficiency Network and is past board chair of Community Resilience Organizations.
Barbara D. Conrey, AIA, Montpelier, VT is an award-winning architect and professor at Vermont Technical College (VTC) where she taught sustainable design for 18 years. She recently led student teams to develop a plan to repurpose downtown parking lots to Net Zero buildings, which was presented to city officials. Barbara is past president of the New England and Vermont chapters of the American Institute of Architects, and served on the Architectural Licensing Board for the State of Vermont. Presently, Barbara, serves on the Montpelier Planning Commission and on the Energy Advisory Committee. She is contributing her architectural sustainable design knowledge, experience and professional network to advance the Net Zero Vermont's mission.
Valerie Fletcher, Executive Director, Institute for Human-Centered Design, Boston, MA. As Executive Director of the Institute for Human Centered Design, Ms. Fletcher has helped build a global non-profit founded in 1978. Her company is committed to advancing the role of excellence in design, expanding opportunity and enhancing experience for people of all ages, abilities and cultures. Fletcher has a Master’s in Ethics and Public Policy from Harvard University. Valerie is contributing her expertise in human-centered design, recruiting national architectural talent and providing guidance to the project team.
Peter Plumeau, Vice President, Economic Development Research Group, Inc., leads the firm’s metropolitan planning, policy, and strategy practice where he focuses on developing approaches for harmonizing transportation system plans with community design and economic development. His experience includes helping planners integrate multi-modal mobility needs, including goods movement and non-motorized modes, into complete streets plans and advising policy-makers on the relationship of transportation efficiency to community economic vitality. He has authored or co-authored numerous research reports and guidebooks on transportation planning, policy analysis, and goods movement for the Transportation Research Board (TRB), the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Canadian Trucking Association, the American Planning Association, and Transport Canada. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the University at Albany and a BA from the University of Vermont.
Donna Rizzo, Director, is a faculty member in the School of Engineering at the University of Vermont. Her research focuses on the development of new computational tools to improve the understanding of human-induced changes on natural systems and the way decisions are made about natural resources.
In 1995, Donna co-founded a small Vermont business to help speed the diffusion of research and new technologies in environmental practice. Since joining UVM in the fall of 2002, she has advanced numerous computational approaches to address multi-scale environmental problems including predicting local disease risk, watershed classification, and soils capacity.
Liz Vogel, President & CEO of Dots Inc. Enterprises, focuses on connecting the dots between people and the information and tools they need to be successful. Prior to establishing Dots, Inc., her work transitions consulting firm, Liz helped guide individual and organization-wide transitions at Keurig Green Mountain and Competitive Computing. She holds a MEd in Counseling and Psychology and a BA in Organizational Communication and Development.
Richard Madrak, Board Chair, and President of Waste Resource Recovery, Inc., a Connecticut B Corp specializing in implementing, researching and consulting on novel waste to energy projects and demonstrations in CT and RI municipalities. Rich works with pioneering inventors, universities, National Labs, and businesses to commercialize products and technologies. In 2014, Rich researched three decades of state-commissioned studies on the viability of light passenger rail service in VT. He concluded that a near carbon neutral passenger rail service could be successful. Rich is committed to stimulating economic development, connecting people, commerce and communities; expanded mobility, service industries, and infrastructure to improve convenient connectivity.
David Blittersdorf, Director and Treasurer/Secretary, is President/CEO, AllEarth Renewables. David is an entrepreneur and engineer with three decades of experience in the renewable energy industry, seeking to help prepare humanity for future energy constraints. His first company–NRG Systems, became a global leader in wind measurement technology. Since 2004, he has been President/CEO AllEarth Renewables, and has built two utility-scale solar farms and a 10 MW wind farm that supplies nearly 10% of Burlington, Vermont’s power. David serves on the boards of the Post Carbon Institute, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility and Renewable Energy Vermont; he also chairs the board of advisors for UVM’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, and is a member of the advisory board for the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Paul Comey, Director, is retired VP of Environmental Affairs for Keurig Green Mountain. Paul ensured the company’s sites were in environmental compliance and contributed to the company’s environmental, financial and social bottom lines. Paul works to integrate environmental management systems (EMS), which lower corporate carbon emissions. Paul founded and continues to manage Baseline Solutions, a consulting company recommending bottom line improvements in manufacturing operations, pollution compliance; and equipment design and process layout. Paul graduated from Boston State College with a major in sociology and a minor in education. After teaching for four years he was awarded a fellowship to Fitchburg State College, earning a Masters in Engineering.
Ken Jones, Director, is Economic Research Analyst at the VT Agency of Commerce and Community Development, continuing a career in public policy and decision-making. He is a founding director of Montpelier’s Energy Advisory Committee and is a long-time resident of Montpelier. Ken is an experienced Policy Analyst in state government and the nonprofit sectors. Ken received university degrees in Chemistry, Biochemistry and Public Policy. He also serves on the Montpelier School Board and is working towards guiding Montpelier to a Net Zero future.
Trish Sears, Director, is Co-Founder, President & CEO, NEKTI Consulting. Northeast Kingdom Tamarack, Inc. specializes in forming strategic partnerships to leverage funding and other resources and in representing corporations, projects, programs and organizations to donors, state, the U.S. and foreign governments, multilateral organizations, and the media. Trish is a member of the board of directors of the Gilman Housing Trust, president and chair of AARP Vermont Executive Council, and publisher of Newport Daily Express (NDE), which serves 25 communities in the Kingdom: Albany, Barton, Beebe, Brighton, Brownington, Charleston, Coventry, Craftsbury, Derby, Derby Line, Evansville, Glover, Greensboro, Holland, Irasburg, Jay, Lowell, Morgan, Newport City, Newport Town, North Troy, Orleans, Troy, Westfield and Westmore.