Keynote Address: Van Jones

Sponsored by the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue at Xavier University

View video here.

Van Jones is a globally recognized, award-winning leader in the green economy. Best-selling author of the definitive book on green jobs, The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems, Jones was also the main advocate for the Green Jobs Act. Signed into law by George W. Bush in 2007, this was the first piece of federal legislation to codify the term “green jobs.”

In 2009, Jones worked as the green jobs advisor to President Barack Obama. In this role, Jones helped to lead the inter-agency process that oversaw the multi-billion dollar investment in skills training and jobs development within the environmental and green energy sectors. Since then, Jones has co-founded successful social enterprises, including Green For All, which works on building an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty, and Rebuild The Dream, a 21st Century “think tank” that champions innovative solutions to fix the U.S. economy and uplift the next generation.

A featured TED speaker, Jones has been honored with numerous awards and spotlighted on several lists of high achievers, including: the World Economic Forum’s “Young Global Leader” designation; Rolling Stone’s 2012 “12 Leaders Who Get Things Done”; TIME’s 2009 “100 Most Influential People in The World”; and the Root’s 2014 “The Root 100.” He is presently a fellow at the MIT Media Lab and a CNN political contributor.

Morning Breakout: Bicycle Equity: Fairness and Justice in Active Transportation Planning and Design

Sponsored by: Hamilton County Planning + Development

A new bicycle advocacy movement has been growing across the US, and it’s putting equity at the forefront. A safe, strong, biking and walking community produces significant social gains – reducing health disparities, significantly lowering household transportation expenses, creating jobs and providing access to employment, lowering air and noise pollution, reducing mental health problems, and reducing violence by improving social cohesion. However, often the communities who could benefit the most from this type of infrastructure are the same communities being neglected in the planning process. This panel will highlight work being done locally on the Mill Creek Greenway and will outline the vision for what equitable access to trails moving forward could look like.

Moderator: Wade Johnston, Director, Tri-State Trails


Megan Folkerth, Program Officer, Interact for Health

Ellen Berninger, CHES, Active Living Coordinator/Public Health Educator, Cincinnati Health Department

Tanner Yess, Program Director, Groundwork Mill Creek – Cincinnati</p

Morning Breakout: The New Digital Workforce

Sponsored by: Siemens Industry, Inc.

We tend to think of our cities as physical spaces, made up of roads and bridges, factories and buildings, traffic lights, sewers, and sidewalks. But layered throughout our urban landscape is a web of often-unseen fiber-optic cables, smart meters, sensors, and connected devices. Taken together, this digital infrastructure connects us to one another, to businesses, to schools, and to our government, and is beginning to solve urban sustainability and resiliency challenges in entirely new ways.

There is an urgent need to develop a new digital workforce. As STEM jobs are projected to grow at a rate almost double to non-STEM occupations over the next twenty years, experts forecast a critical shortage of skilled workers in many sectors of the new digital economy. How can we develop a broad and diverse skilled workforce in this region to meet the challenge? How do we engage educators and business leaders in matching current and future jobs and skill development?

Moderator: Mary G. Adams, Program Manager, Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative


Laura Mitchell, Incoming Superintendent, Current Deputy Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer, Cincinnati Public Schools

Stephen Tucker, Director of Industry Partnerships, Partners for a Competitive Workforce

Charles Cohen, Sustainability Education Director, Siemens Industry, Inc., Building Technologies Division (Buffalo Grove, IL)

Larry Feist, Professor and Program Chair, Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology and Applied Technology Specialist, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

View presentation here.

Turning Trash Into Treasure: Exploring the Reuse Economy and the Impact of Recovery

Sponsored by: Cintas Corporation

The old adage ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ couldn’t be more true with the emerging reuse economy. Join us for a discussion about the creative ways individuals and organizations are capitalizing on reusing materials and maximizing their sustainability footprint in the process. We will also look at how these efforts intersect with equity, address community problems and create equitable opportunities for all.

Moderator: MaryEllen Etienne, Regional Director, US Green Building Council Ohio


Nicole McGee, Artistic Director and co-founder, Upcycle Parts Shop

David Dreith, Chief Operating Officer, Easter Seals

Zachary Holl, Executive Director, ReUse Industries

Bob Gedert, Senior Recycling Consultant, Resource Recycling Systems

Cincinnati Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Sustainability Awards Ceremony

Sponsored by: Donovan Energy

View video here.

The City of Cincinnati continues efforts to recognize the outstanding contributions of small and large businesses that are advancing sustainability. At the Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit, the City celebrates people and companies that demonstrate unique vision, innovation and achievement in support of the Green Cincinnati Plan, Greater Cincinnati’s regional economy and the sustainable development of our small business community.

Presented by Markiea Carter, Director, and Valeria Cummings Swope, Community Liaison, Department of Economic Inclusion, City of Cincinnati

Learn more about these awards here.

Plenary Session: How Can a City’s Sustainability Projects Benefit Everyone?

Sponsored by: U.S. Green Building Council – Southwest Ohio Region

View video here.

Most well designed sustainability programs save more money than they cost, but do the savings go to those who have the least? The green economy has a great record of job creation, but does it create jobs for those most in need of work? Hear success stories from Cincinnati and elsewhere, and a discussion of how equity can become more universal in the City’s sustainability work.

Moderator: Van Jones


Larry Falkin, Director of Office of Environment & Sustainability, City of Cincinnati

Alice Kennedy, Deputy Commissioner for Green, Healthy and Sustainable Homes, Baltimore Department of Housing and Community Development

Robert Bell, Economic Inclusion Coordinator, Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority

Afternoon Breakout: Equitable Access to Transportation – Connecting Residents to Jobs and to Healthcare

Sponsored by: TriHealth

This session will provide an overview of how transportation planning decisions include, engage, and address the needs of our underserved populations. This session will include perspectives from transit providers and public health officials.

Moderator: Florence Parker, Public Involvement Specialist, OKI Regional Council of Governments


John Gardocki, Service Analyst, SORTA/Metro

Frank Busofsky, Manager of Planning, TANK

Matthew Dutkevicz, Executive Director, Butler County Regional Transit Authority

Joshua Sikich, AICP, LEED AP, Transit System Redesign Project Manager, Central Ohio Transit Authority

Ellen Berninger, CHES, Active Living Coordinator/Public Health Educator, Cincinnati Health Department

View presentation here.

Afternoon Breakout: Neighborhood Well-Being – Where Equity Meets Sustainability

Sponsored by: Duke Energy

Neighborhood Economic development has become a concern for a growing number of groups and organizations in Cincinnati. The question is how to allow neighborhoods take charge of their own economic destinies and how we in the broader community might work together to empower them in these efforts. One of the issues that continues to emerge is that economic development rarely includes environmentally sustainable development and the special opportunities this type of integration open up. The panel will bring together a number or leaders from our community working on neighborhood economic development to discuss their approaches and to explore how these might be done in more environmentally conscientious ways.

Moderator: James Buchanan, Director of the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue, Xavier University


Peter Block, Designed Learning Consulting and author ‎of Abundant Community

Derek Peebles, Director, Economics of Compassion Initiative

Owen Raisch, Director, X-LINK and D’Artagnan Enterprises at Xavier University

Afternoon Breakout: Beer, Beef and Biscuits – Exploring the Circular Economy of Sustainability Between Local Breweries, Farmers and Small Businesses

Sponsored by: MadTree Brewing

Spent grains from breweries no longer have to end up in the landfill. Come join us and learn about the Food Recovery Hierarchy and how MadTree Brewing, Reinhardt Family Farm and Brewhaus Dog Bones are repurposing this resource to feed animals and grow their businesses, with an eye to equity.

Moderator: Holly Christmann, Director, Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services


Austin Hietpas, Brewer, MadTree Brewing

John Reinhardt, Owner, Reinhardt Farms

Lisa Graham, Chief Baking Officer, The Brewhaus Baking Company

View presentation here.

Afternoon Breakout: Changing the Landscape, Changing Lives

Sponsored by: ClearArc Capital

This workshop will focus on how neighborhoods are embracing sustainability as they are transformed/revitalized. This workshop will look at ways existing businesses learn new skills to create “sustainable communities”, how energy conservation and weatherization turns into green savings for homeowners, what that looks like in various communities, and why sustainable communities are the way of the future.

Moderator: Scott Hassell, Director of Environmental Sustainability, Fifth Third Bank


Alice Kennedy, Deputy Commissioner for Green, Healthy and Sustainable Homes, Baltimore Department of Housing and Community Development

Sister Barbara Busch, Executive Director, Working in Neighborhoods

Jock Pitts, President, People Working Cooperatively

View presentation here.

Afternoon Breakout: The Green Cincinnati Plan – An Opportunity to Advance Sustainability and Equity through Policy

Sponsored by: Melink

The Green Cincinnati Plan is the City of Cincinnati’s playbook for sustainability and resilience, and the development of the 2018 Plan is currently underway. In this session we will hear from regional experts on the local impacts of climate change – who it will affect, and why it is a pressing equity issue. We will open the floor for group conversation on ways to shape the 2018 Plan to address sustainability and equity goals.

Moderator: Oliver Kroner, Sustainability Coordinator, City of Cincinnati


Gérald R. Checco, Director, Metropolitan Sewer District of Cincinnati

Markiea Carter, Director, Department of Economic Inclusion, City of Cincinnati

Michaela Oldfield, Director, Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council

View presentation here.

Afternoon Breakout: Building Equity for the Future

Sponsored by: Three Corners Capital

Building sustainable communities includes economic development, community partners and diverse businesses working together to address socioeconomic disparities in building affordable housing and green neighborhoods. The session provides an understanding of the opportunities and challenges of economic development from different perspectives as organizations and businesses of all sizes strive to advance sustainability and economic inequality. Strategies will be discussed for inclusion of diverse businesses, community partners and reorienting the sustainable future of neighborhoods.

Moderator: Valeria Cumming Swope, Community Liaison, Department of Economic Inclusion, City of Cincinnati


Kevin Wright, Executive Director, Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation

David Thompson, Chief Development Officer, The Model Group

Robert Bell, Economic Inclusion Coordinator, Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority

View presentation here.

Cincinnati SBE Sustainability Awards Reception

Sponsored by Greenacres Foundation

Celebrate the SBE Award Winners: All Summit attendees are welcome to join us after the Summit for this reception held in the upstairs lobby of Cintas Center. Meet and greet the small business award winners and finalists and network with other Summit attendees.