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Meet our Presenters


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Dr. Jalonne White-Newsome
Senior Director for Environmental Justice at the White House Council on Environmental Quality

A native of Detroit, Michigan, Dr. White-Newsome has tackled environmental challenges from a wide range of positions and perspectives, including in the grassroots environmental justice movement, environmental philanthropy, state government, private industry, and academia.


Most recently, Dr. White-Newsome founded and led Empowering a Green Environment and Economy, LLC (EGE2), a strategic consulting firm that focused on transforming communities by using people-centered solutions to combat climate change, improve public health, pursue environmental justice, and advance racial equity. Through EGE2, she and her team worked with a variety of institutions across the public and private sector to create policies, practices, and partnerships to better serve the needs of low-income communities, communities of color, and Indigenous communities.


Prior to creating EGE2, Dr. White-Newsome was a Senior Program Officer at the Kresge Foundation and created the Climate Resilience and Equitable Water Systems (CREWS) Initiative, the first, national grantmaking initiative focused at the intersection of climate change and water inequity. She also served as the first Director of Federal Policy for WE ACT for Environmental Justice, managing their federal policy office in Washington, D.C. She also provided leadership for the Environmental Justice Leadership Forum on Climate Change, a national coalition of environmental justice leaders. Dr. White-Newsome’s early environmental justice advocacy started in her work as a chemical engineer in private industry and remains a critical dimension of her research and advocacy related to air pollution, extreme heat, and flooding, focused on improving the health of low-income, communities of color.


Dr. White-Newsome earned a Ph.D. in environmental health sciences from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, a master’s degree in environmental engineering from Southern Methodist University, a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Northwestern University, and a certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University. She is a lecturer at The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, a lifetime member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and has been recognized by Grist and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters for her environmental justice advocacy. In 2022, she was named the Crains Detroit Most Notable Leader in Sustainability.

Keynote Speaker
Lunchtime Panelists

Join us for a celebration of our student design competition winners.  We will then host a  and a thought-provoking panel discussion on local circular economy efforts. As demand for materials increases, the circular economy is emerging as a sustainable solution to the linear "make-take-waste" lifecycle of most products. Explore a few of the ways in which our community is conserving resources through zero waste policy and practices.

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Michelle Jackson, Executive Director, Sustainable Community Farms

Bio: Michelle Jackson is a fourth-generation farmer and the founder of Sustainable Community Farms. 

 As the Executive Director of Sustainable Community Farms, she engages her community by organizing and presenting diverse platforms, for community members of all ages to participate in finding solutions to solving community issues.  Michelle works collaboratively to transform the urban landscape through diverse methods such as compost and compost systems.

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Chris Rutherford, Executive Director, Architectural Salvage Warehouse of Detroit

Bio: Rutherford serves as Executive Director of Architectural Salvage Warehouse of Detroit, founded Reclaim Detroit, is a Build Reuse Master Trainer, and past President of the Build Reuse Board of Directors. Rutherford is a College for Creative Studies graduate and former adjunct faculty, certified Interior Designer (NCIDQ® Certificate #27404), and State of Michigan Weatherization Inspector. Rutherford utilizes his passion and over 20 years of experience to lead the industry into the future.

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Grace Maves

Office of Campus Sustainability Wayne State University

Bio: Grace is a temporary Project Manager with Wayne State's Office of Campus Sustainability. In the past 4 years, much of her work has focused on leading the University's community-connected Compost Program and improving sustainable waste management. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science from Wayne State University with minors in Urban Sustainability and Urban Studies. She is passionate about connecting people of diverse backgrounds into the sustainability space to accelerate cross-beneficial progress.

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Samantha Pickering, Director of Field Education, Plastic Oceans International, Moderator

Bio: Samantha works as the Director of Education for Plastic Oceans International and is currently pursuing her masters in public health at Wayne State University where she is also a T-RUST fellow focusing in environmental health and urban sustainability. As a True Zero Waste Advisor, she concentrates on material life cycles and our relationship with solid waste and its management. She is passionate about community engagement and interdisciplinary collaboration as sustainability issues are complex in character and require holistic solutions for long-term change

Michelle Jackson
Chris Rutherford
Grace Maves
Samantha Pickering


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Angela A. Moore

Catalyst Partners

Presentation: Importance of Social Equity in Green Building Practices

Bio: Angela A. Moore is a sustainability consultant for Catalyst Partners. Angela’s sustainability work is centered on project management, with a focus on social equity in the built environment. She holds a Master of Public Policy Administration from University of Missouri-St. Louis, Angela utilizes her educational background to bridge sustainability, policy and community together.

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Ben Dueweke

Energy Waste Reduction Committee

Presentation: Detroit Energy Benchmarking Ordinance

Bio: Ben is the Director of Community Partnerships at Walker-Miller Energy Services. Together with Kendal Kuneman from the Detroit 2030 District, they formed the Energy Waste Reduction (EWR) Committee of the Detroit City Council Green Task Force over 4 years ago and have been actively leading efforts to pass an energy and water benchmarking and transparency ordinance in Detroit.

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Christopher Heine, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP

Catalyst Partners

Presentation: Talkin’ Trash – Solving the Challenges of Waste Diversion in Commercial Tenant Spaces

Bio: A licensed architect with 20 yrs in the industry, Chris Heine is a champion for healthy, sustainable design at SmithGroup, where he has served as Chair of the AIA Detroit Committee on the Environment (COTE) since 2017.

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Idrees Mutahr

City of Detroit - General Services Department

Presentation: Promoting Equity Through Non-Motorized Transportation

Bio: Idrees Mutahr is a Project Manager for the Joe Louis Greenway at the City of Detroit. He joined the team in early 2022, previously working in communications for the transit advocacy organization Motor City Freedom Riders. Prior to that role, he was a participant in the Challenge Detroit fellowship program. Idrees is a graduate of Wayne State University with a degree in Industrial Design.

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Julie Lyons Bricker, LEED AP O+M

City of Royal Oak

Presentation: Lessons Learned in Municipal Sustainability Work

Bio: Julie Lyons Bricker, LEED AP O+M, is the Energy & Sustainability Manager for the city of Royal Oak, MI. She has been involved with sustainability work for 15+ years & championed the city’s 2020 LEED for Cities Certified designation. Julie is a member of USGBC Detroit and participated as the board treasurer and Heartland Regional Rep. She is a Michigan Tech grad. and holds a PMP certification.

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Kyle Peczynski &Mark Bennett

Catalyst Partners

Presentation: All-Electric Home in Detroit

Bio: Kyle Peczynski has been involved with C-PACE financing since 2014, helping to originate and close many of Michigan's C-PACE financings to date, including Lafayette West. Mark Bennett is the developer of Lafayette West and 1,100 other units across nine multifamily properties.


Loretta Powell

Little Detroit Community Garden/Eastside Community Network

Presentation: Cultivating Connections in the Goodstock Community

Bio: Loretta Powell is a proud resident of the Goodstock community on Detroit's eastside since 1967. She works for Detroit Public Schools as a Pre-K assistant. Loretta is a community leader, serving on multiple committees through Eastside Community Network, is a LEAP Sustainability Fellow, and member of the Canfield Alliance Network block club. She loves her family and friends.

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Najahyia Chinchilla, AIA, LEED AP &Jan Culberston

Gensler/A3C - Collaborative Architecture

Presentation: Net Zero Now

Bios: Najahyia Chinchilla is a licensed architect at Gensler with 15 yrs of experience in COB, workplace strategy and design, and NCR leader of the Gensler Cities Climate Challenge.

Jan Culbertson has over 37 yrs of experience in architecture and is the Leadership Chair at Ann Arbor 2030 District.

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Tammara Howard

What About Us Inc. and Belvidere Youth Block Club// Eastside Community Network

Presentation: Working together matters: Sustainability and community in Goodstock

Bio: Tammara Howard is the founder/ED of What About Us, Inc. and Belvidere Community Youth Block Club. She serves on many boards, partners with community organizations, and is a respected leader in her neighborhood. She has been a resident of the south eastside for 52 years and is a proud parent and grandparent. Tammara works to ensure her neighbors have the resources needed to build strong families.

Angela Moore | Anne Cox
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A3C Collaborative Architecture

Presentation: Roof top Oasis - a transformation for health & wellness

Bio: Anne M. Cox, AIA, ACHA, EDAC, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP is an architect and healthcare planner with over 30 years experience designing environments that enhance the human experience.

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Brittany Fiema, PE, LEED Green Associate & Francesca Price, PE, LEED Green Associate 


Presentation: Connecting Past & Future: Designing for NetZero at Edsel & Eleanor Ford House

Bios: Brittany Fiema and Francesca Price are licensed professional engineers based in Detroit, Michigan. With over 20 years of experience combined, each bring a passion for sustainable, resilient design while solving their clients’ biggest needs.

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Danielle Todd

Catalyst Partners

Presentation: Higher Purpose: How to maximize urban food streams

Bio: Danielle founded Make Food Not Waste in 2017 to address climate change. Prior to Make Food Not Waste, Danielle worked in communications at an environmental nonprofit and in business development in the for-profit industry. She holds an MBA from Wayne State University and a BA from the University of Michigan.

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Joel Howrani Heeres and Ricky Ackerman

City of Detroit/Public Sector Consultants and East Side Community Network

Presentation: Improving Community Resiliency through Resilience Hub Networks

Bio: Joel Howrani Heeres is the Director of Climate and Sustainability at Public Sector Consultants. As Director of Detroit’s Sustainability Office for 5 years, He led the effort to develop Detroit’s first sustainability plan, the Sustainability Action Agenda (2019), which outlines a strategic roadmap to create a more sustainable city.

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Kendal Kuneman + Chris McTaggart

Kendal Kuneman + Dream DET, LLC

Presentation: All-Electric Home in Detroit

Bio: Kendal is passionate about rethinking how we transition and rebuild our homes, buildings and communities to be resilient and prepared for increased extreme weather due to climate change. She has a B.S. in Architecture from the University of Michigan and a M.S. in Design Build from Auburn University. She is the GLREA Board President and Chairs the EWR Committee of the Detroit Green Task Force.

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Kyle Rieth &Chaderique Menard

Kyle - Catalyst Partners & Chaderique - NORR

Presentation: Wayne State University STEM Innovation Learning Center achieves LEED Gold

Bios: Kyle leads the Building Performance team, manages the energy auditing, and modeling efforts and is well credentialed as a Commissioning Authority.

Chad leads diverse project teams in the exploration of program and scope, seeking opportunities for improved function, maintenance, comfort, and the ongoing well-being of users and the environment.

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Madi Kraus

City of Detroit Department of Public Works

Presentation: Detroit Recycles

Bio: Madi Kraus is the Recycling Coordinator for Detroit. She has a BS in Neuroscience from Michigan State and a Masters of the Environment in Sustainability Planning and Management from University of Colorado Boulder. Madi is the chair of the Green Task Force Construction & Demolition Subcommittee, a TRUE Zero Waste Advisor, and formerly the Director of Community Engagement at Green Living Science.

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Patrick Crouch

Catalyst Partners

Presentation: Elmwood Circle Forest: Habitat Restoration in the Shadow of Incineration

Bio: Patrick Crouch is the Landscape Innovation Manager with the Land Use and Sustainability department at Detroit Future City (DFC). In this role, Patrick manages project development and implementation, including providing technical assistance, and creating community-focused educational programming, tools and resources to vacant land transformation initiatives.

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Tim Skrotzki and Ali Dirul

Elevate and Ryter Cooperative Industries

Presentation: Resilient Eastside Initiative

Bios: Tim Skrotzki is Senior Market Lead for Elevate a nonprofit dedicated to promoting smarter energy use for all.


Ali Dirul, Founder and Engineering Director for Ryter Cooperative Industries a Highland Park renewable energy project management firm.

Ben Dueweke
Christopher Heine
Idrees Mutahr
Julie Lyons
Kyle & Mark
Madi Kraus
Tammara Howard
Najahyia & Jan
Anne Cox
Brittany & Francesca
Danille Todd
Joel & Ricky
Kendal & Chris
Kyle & Chaderique
Loretta Powell
Patrick Crouch
Tim & Ali
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