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Symposium Presenters

Symposium Presenters

The Georgia Institute of Technology Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design Conference: Climate Change and the Design of the Built Environment: Enterprising Approaches for Industry, Government, and Community.

Conference Hosts: Michael Gamble, Shan Arora, and Kim Cobb, along with the Kendeda Living Building Advisory Board

The symposium will be held virtually on March 4, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. - 5 p.m. EST. 

Michael Gamble

Associate Professor
Director, Georgia Tech Master of Architecture Program

Michael’s love of design at all scales is evident in his teaching, research and practice. 

He is a registered architect, director of the Master of Architecture Program at Georgia Tech’s School of Architecture, and creative director at Gamble + Gamble Architects in Atlanta. His design-driven research operates at a variety of scales, from house to city, with emphasis on innovation, alternative energy, and building technology pursued within the context of a larger concern for the creation of healthy, well-conceived environments. He has received numerous awards for excellence in design and scholarship. www.gg-architects.com

Michael was the first point of contact for the $30 million Living Building gift, a.k.a. Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design (KBISD), and actively participated in pre-planning and fund acquisition, design competition and team formation, all the way through building execution, implementation and certification.  He also led a series of interdisciplinary design studios that paralleled the effort, and chaired the Academic and Research Council connected to the project.  He is co-author of the novel organizational structure of the living building workgroups, now tested, and currently  serves as chair of the KBISD advisory council and leads the Living Building Pilot Project Program, comprised of faculty, researchers and students from across campus, now in round three of funding.

Michael’s research has received grants from The Alcoa Foundation, The Kendeda Foundation, Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development, the National Endowments of the Arts, and received First Prize for Research in an international competition sponsored by the Environmental Design and Research Association. Gamble has published essays on the design of the public realm in Harvard Design Magazine with W. Jude Leblanc.

Shan Arora

Director for The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design

Shan Arora arrived at Georgia Tech in July 2018 after spending eight years at Southface, where he honed a variety of skills related to sustainability. Most recently, he led the stakeholder engagement process for the City of Atlanta’s plan to transition to 100 percent clean energy by 2035. That effort engaged more than 3,500 people whose suggestions and concerns were incorporated in the plan, which is available at www.100atl.com.

Kim Cobb

Georgia Power Chair
ADVANCE Professor, College of Sciences
Director, Global Change Program

Kim Cobb’s research uses corals and cave stalagmites to probe the mechanisms of past, present, and future climate change. She received her B.A. from Yale University in 1996, and her Ph.D. in Oceanography from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in 2002. She spent two years at Caltech in the Department of Geological and Planetary Sciences before joining the faculty at Georgia Tech in 2004. Kim has sailed on multiple oceanographic cruises to the deep tropics and led caving expeditions to the rainforests of Borneo in support of her research. Kim has received numerous awards for her research, most notably a NSF CAREER Award in 2007, and a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2008. She sits on the international CLIVAR Pacific Panel, serves on the Advisory Council for the AAAS Leshner Institute for Public Engagement, and is one of the Lead Authors on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report. As a mother to four, Kim is a strong advocate for women in science. She is also devoted to the clear and frequent communication of climate change to the public through speaking engagements and social media.

Ruthie Yow

Service Learning and Partnerships Specialist
Serve Learn Sustain, Georgia Tech

Ruthie joined the Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain in 2017. In her capacity as Service Learning and Partnerships Specialist, her work focuses on deepening the capacity of faculty and students to understand and act on equity as central to the creation of sustainable communities.  Specifically, she supports course and project development around themes such as Water, Green Infrastructure, & Citizen Science; and Equitable and Sustainable Development.  She is a graduate of the inaugural Transformation Alliance Academy which trained participants to organize stakeholders around equitable transit-oriented development.  Her recent sustainability-related public scholarship includes the 2018 Saporta Report piece, "Citizen Scientists Gathering Information to Inform Policy Decisions in West Atlanta."

Dennis Creech

Fund Advisor for Sustainability, The Kendeda Fund


Dennis joined The Kendeda Fund in 2017 and serves as the fund advisor for a variety of sustainability initiatives in the southeast. In 1978, Dennis co-founded Southface, an Atlanta-based nonprofit promoting sustainable homes, workplaces and communities. He ran the organization for 38 years, and under his direction Southface has become a trusted partner to federal and local governments, utilities, businesses and nonprofits, as well as a valuable resource to consumers.

Recognized as a national leader in sustainability, Dennis has received numerous professional awards, including the prestigious Hanley Award for Leadership in Sustainable Housing, the Argon Award for Leadership in Sustainability, the Energy and Environmental Building Alliance Legacy Award, the Residential Energy Services Network Leadership Award, and lifetime achievement awards from the Atlanta Business Chronicle, GreenLaw, Georgia Interfaith Power and Light, the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association and Urban Land Institute, Atlanta District. He has been designated by Georgia Trend as one of the “100 Most Influential Georgians.”

Sarah Watson

Deputy Director of Citizens Planning Housing Council

Sarah Watson is a housing professional who has built a diverse and unique career in housing policy in a wide variety of housing roles in both London and New York. In London, she worked in the development and management of affordable housing and urban renewal – specializing in using resident involvement to improve housing management policies and programs.

In New York, Sarah has worked at CHPC since 2007. She began as a Policy Analyst conducting research and analysis of NYC’s complex housing marketplace. More recently she has taken on a leadership role, devising and shaping CHPC’s research and education initiatives and ensuring they have a real impact in public policy. Sarah is the author and manager of the Making Room initiative, a new approach to housing policy that seeks to match the design of a city’s housing with the needs of its households, was the content curator for the Making Room exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York, and the new national exhibition at the National Building Museum, is responsible for the work of the Zoning Committee and many other policy projects.

Sarah is a frequent speaker, guest lecturer, and panelist and co-teaches a housing policy class at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. Sarah holds an M.Sc. in Housing and Regeneration Policy from the London School of Economics.

Odetta MacLeish-White

Center for Community Progress, Director for Georgia Operations

Odetta MacLeish-White is the Managing Director of the TransFormation Alliance, a partnership of nonprofits, government agencies, and businesses working to ensure that opportunities and benefits provided by investment in transit communities are made available to ALL residents. The Alliance’s work is driven by racial equity and seeks to partner with residents of impacted communities in shaping better health, climate, and economic outcomes through arts & culture-based community engagement, and by improving housing, transit and jobs access. Prior to joining the TransFormation Alliance, Odetta was a Senior Program Director with Enterprise Community Partners in their Southeast market. She supported comprehensive community stabilization efforts around the country with a focus on equitable Transit Oriented Development initiatives and nonprofit capacity building in the state of Georgia and the Southeast. Odetta has also served as a community development specialist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and was the staff director for Florida’s Affordable Housing Study Commission.

Ray Gastil

Remaking Cities Institute

Ray Gastil directs the Remaking Cities Institute (RCI) at Carnegie Mellon University, School of Architecture, where he holds the David Lewis/Heinz Endowments Directorship of Urban Design and Regional Engagement. RCI focuses on community engagement, urban design and mobility adapted to emerging technologies, reuse of legacy structures, health and resilience towards a more just, equitable, and responsive urbanism. Current RCI sponsored research includes projects address mobility, community development, and equity in urban centers and corridors. 

Gastil previously served as Pittsburgh City Planning Director from 2014 to 2019, where he led initiatives in affordable and inclusive housing, special district, waterfront, and neighborhood planning, as well as comprehensive planning, open space, public art, complete streets, and planning related to mobility, contributing leadership to Pittsburgh’s initiatives for equity, climate resilience, and sustainability across multiple platforms. He also served as a Historic Review Commissioner. He held similar positions in Seattle, where he led planning for light-rail neighborhoods, and as Director, Manhattan Office of the New York City Department of City Planning, with significant responsibilities for commercial, residential, and academic district planning. He was the founding Executive Director of the Van Alen Institute: Projects in Public Architecture in New York City from 1995 to 2004. In this role he led exhibitions, publications, and design competitions, including Open: New Designs for Public Space and Beyond the Edge: New York’s New Waterfront and led forums, exhibitions on rebuilding and renewal. Earlier, he served as transit-oriented and regional design director for Regional Plan Association. His recent publications include "Complexity and Continuity in the Transformation of Pittsburgh's Rivers and Waterfronts in River Cities, City Rivers (Harvard 2018). 

Joe Greco

Lord Aeck Sargent, A Katerra Company

As president of Lord Aeck Sargent, a Katerra Company, Joe Greco has been involved in the design of many of the firm’s significant and most sustainable projects. Now at over 30 years with Lord Aeck Sargent (LAS), he has helped shape the firm’s trajectory and design reputation since becoming a Principal in 2000. 

Joe has served as project or design principal on many of LAS’s award-winning projects, across a wide range of building types over the last two decades. 

Now with a broader focus on expanding a firm design culture built on the pursuit of Responsive Design, based on the firm’s Design Core Values - LAS seeks imaginative design solutions that holistically integrate complex and technical program requirements in poetic ways to create enduring and regenerative spaces, mindful of their place, time and context. 

Joe earned his Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Georgia Tech and his Master of Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects, is LEED Accredited and is a National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) certificate holder.

Ulf Meyer

Architect/Writer, Berlin

Ulf Meyer has lectured extensively at universities and cultural centers in Europe, the USA and Canada as well as Japan, China, Belgium, Norway, Hungary, the Netherlands, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Italy, the Philippines and Taiwan. He has taught at the Bauhaus Graduate School of Design in Dessau/Germany and at summer schools with the Middle Eastern Technical University of Ankara/Turkey, the Georgia Institute of Technology of Atlanta/Georgia, the Rice Design Alliance of Houston/Texas and the University of Kansas Lawrence/Kansas (USA). 

Susannah Drake


Susannah C. Drake is a principal and founder of DLANDstudio, a leading multidisciplinary design firm. With qualifications in both architecture and landscape architecture, Susannah specializes in complex projects that require a synthesized, analytical, and research-based approach. All of her designs engage diverse systems to create ecologically and socially progressive projects that are equally well-crafted and beautiful.

Susannah is a leader in resilient urban design and has dedicated much of her practice to developing and implementing design strategies to confront the impacts of climate change. The Gowanus Canal Sponge Park is a working landscape that improves the environment of the EPA Superfund site over time and Rising Currents, a collaboration with ARO Architects in MoMA’s 2010 “A New Urban Ground” exhibition, set a design precedent in urban waterfront resiliency.

Susannah’s research has been at the forefront of innovation on urban ecological infrastructure. Her exploration of campus landscape design and large-scale urban infrastructure has received funding through grants from the Graham Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the New York State Council on the Arts.

Jason F. McLennan

Founder – International Living Future Institute, CEO McLennan Design 

Considered one of the world’s most influential individuals in the field of architecture and green building movement today, Jason is a highly sought out designer, consultant and thought leader around the planet.  He is the recipient of the prestigious Buckminster Fuller Prize (the planet’s top prize for socially responsible design).  He has been called the ‘Steve Jobs’ of the green building industry, a “World Changer” by GreenBiz magazine and has been selected as the Award of Excellence winner for Engineering News Record- one of the only individuals in the architecture profession to have won the award in its 52-year history.

McLennan is the creator of the Living Building Challenge – the most stringent and progressive green building program in existence, as well as a primary author of the WELL Building Standard, which is sweeping the globe.  He is the author of six books on Sustainability and Design – used by thousands of practitioners each year, including the Philosophy of Sustainable Design, which is considered the ‘bible’ for green building’ – and is both an Ashoka Fellow and Senior Fellow of the Design Future’s Council.  He has been selected by Yes! Magazine as one of ‘15 people shaping the world’ and works closely with world leaders, Fortune 500 companies, leading NGO’s, major universities, celebrities and influential development companies –all in the pursuit of a world that is socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative. He serves as the Chairman of the International Living Future Institute and is the CEO of McLennan Design – his own architectural and planning practice designing some of the world’s most advanced green buildings.  McLennan’s work has been published in dozens of journals, magazines and newspapers around the world.

Beth Ament

Associate Director, Market Transformation + Development U.S. Green Building Council 

Beth Ament is the Associate Director of Market Transformation and Development for USGBC. Beth has more than ten years of experience in Transportation Demand Management, community outreach, project management, sustainability consulting, and team management. She recently worked with the USGBC Georgia community as an independent contractor managing the Host Committee and coordinating education and networking events leading up to Greenbuild 2019. Prior to her work at USGBC, she led the Creative Team, at a civil engineering firm, organizing, and facilitating strategic public engagement and education for the More MARTA Atlanta program.

Andres Villegas

President & CEO of Georgia Forestry Association 

Andres Villegas is President and CEO of the Georgia Forestry Association and Georgia Forestry Foundation. In this capacity, he is responsible for advocating for the Georgia’s $35.9 billion forest products industry. Through his leadership, the Georgia Forestry Association is focused on creating value for the entire forestry supply chain and ensuring that Georgia’s 22 million acres of working forests continue to contribute jobs, clean air, drinking water and wildlife habitat to the citizens of the state and nation. Andres has extensive private, public and NGO sector experience in forestry and natural resources having held domestic and international positions with Weyerhaeuser, Chevron, The Langdale Company, and the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Andres received a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from The University of Georgia and an Executive Certificate of Management and Leadership from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management. Andres’ responsibilities include: Executive Committee, Board of Directors, Georgia Forestry Foundation, Government and regulatory affairs, strategic planning, ForestPAC, Staff development, Wise Owl Award Committee. 

Shane Totten

Director Southface Institute 

M. Shane Totten, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, is the Director of Education, Research and Incubation at Southface. He provides senior leadership to the research and incubation and education and training teams. He Identifies and develops new programming for Southface and partners. Shane leades the efforts to identify and develop education, training, and research opportunities to pursue Southface’s vision of a regenerative economy, responsible resource use, and a healthy built environment for all. Identify, develop, and maintain partnerships and opportunities to amplify Southface’s programs and services. 

A graduate of the School of Design at NC State University, Shane has over 29 years of experience in architecture, interior design, urban planning, historic preservation, building systems consulting, and sustainable design. His diverse professional experience includes teaching in higher education and public sector work in urban planning, downtown revitalization, historic preservation, and sustainability planning and implementation. His private sector work includes architectural consulting and practice, sustainability consulting, envelope commissioning review, and real estate portfolio management and strategy. 

Currently, Shane serves as Chair of the Georgia community's Market Leadership Advisory Board, the City of East Point's Downtown Development Authority and the Steering Committee for the AIDS Vaccine 200 charity ride. In the recent past he has volunteered as a director of the Atlanta branch of the Georgia US Green Building Council, a facilities auditor for Georgia Interfaith Power & Light, and a Lead Partner of the Sustainable Atlanta Initiative’s Sustainable Building Ordinance Task Force.

Molly Aeck

Managing Director of New Ventures, SOUTHERN COMPANY

Aeck, new ventures director for Southern Company, has been recognized by industry magazine “Public Utilities Fortnightly” on its special inaugural “Fortnightly Under Forty” list saluting “the next generation of up-and-comers in the utilities industry.” 

The magazine noted that Aeck, who among other things focuses on strategic investing, emerging technology and business model innovation, established a platform allowing Southern Company to “take an active role in the industry’s innovation equity fund Energy Impact Partners (EIP) by assisting in strategy development and fund investing priorities. She then worked to create cross-functional teams across the utility to analyze potential technology investments and make recommendations to the fund on which emerging companies represent the greatest potential opportunity.” 

Along with overseeing the company’s investment in EIP, Aeck works closely with PowerSecure and supports Southern Company’s regulated operating companies in the origination and development of new business ventures. 

Aeck is a Fulbright Scholar with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University and a master’s degree from Columbia Business School. In 2004, she received a MAP Sustainable Energy Fellowship from Stanford to lead renewable energy research and consulting for the Worldwatch Institute. She spent the next decade working in clean energy project development and technology investing including at EcoSecurities, a carbon finance startup that was acquired by JPMorgan, and Allotrope Partners, a Bay Area venture capital firm. 

Michael Oxman

Managing Director of the Ray C. Anderson, Center for Sustainable Business Technology


Michael joined Scheller College in 2016 as the Managing Director of the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business where he teaches business sustainability courses and oversees industry outreach, partnerships, and educational initiatives. 

Prior to joining Scheller, Michael spent over twenty five years working at the intersection of international business, sustainability, and risk management including serving in leadership roles at Acorn International LLC and Business for Social Responsibility (BSR). In these roles, he advised a broad range of international energy and mining companies on local content, social impact, risk management, community engagement, reporting, CSR and human rights initiatives. Michael also has extensive commercial experience through his work at Chevron, Price Waterhouse, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) in political risk, fiscal analysis, and strategic planning functions. Michael's career spans assignments in the US and a broad range of international locations including two overseas residential assignments in Central Asia. 

Michael has an MBA from Rice University, an MIA in international political economy from Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and a B.A. from Trinity College in Russian Area Studies. He is also an active member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Sustainable Development Technical Section.

Safety Net Media Inquiries

Media Inquiries

Ann Hoevel
Director of Communications
College of Design
E-mail Ann Hoevel
+1 404-385-0693