Keynote Address: Katharine Heyhoe

Sponsored by the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue at Xavier University

View video here.

Katharine Hayhoe is an accomplished scientist who studies climate change and why it matters to us here and now. Her PBS Digital Series Global Weirding, now in its second season, tackles tough questions at the intersection of climate, politics, and faith. A remarkable communicator, Katharine has been recognized by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, by Foreign Policy as one of their 100 global thinkers; by POLITICO, as one of their thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics, and most recently by FORTUNE, as one of the world’s greatest leaders.

Katharine is a professor of Political Science and directs the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. She currently serves as a lead author for the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s Climate Science Special Report and the Fourth U.S. National Climate Assessment, and has over 120 peer-reviewed publications on climate science, impacts, and communication. Her research currently focuses on establishing a scientific basis for assessing the regional to local-scale impacts of climate change on human systems and the natural environment. To this end, she analyzes observations, compares future scenarios, evaluates global and regional climate models, builds and assesses statistical downscaling models, and constantly strives to develop better ways of translating climate projections into information relevant to agriculture, ecosystems, energy, infrastructure, public health, and water resources.

She is also the founder and CEO of ATMOS Research, which bridges the gap between scientists and stakeholders to provide relevant, state-of-the-art information on how climate change will affect our lives to a broad range of non-profit, industry and government clients. She holds a B.Sc. in Physics from the University of Toronto and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from the University of Illinois.

Morning Breakout: Extreme Weather Preparedness

Sponsored by: Three Corners Capital

Cincinnati’s weather is getting warmer, wetter, and wilder. That means flooded homes and businesses, and medical emergencies for our most vulnerable neighbors and family members. And we’ve got it good compared to coastal communities and hot dry regions.

Moderator: Kelly Carr, Assistant to the City Manager, City of Cincinnati


Larry Falkin, Director of Environment and Sustainability, City of Cincinnati

Mark Hanlon, Director of Utilities and Energy, Office of Physical Plant, Xavier University

Morgan Peterson, Planning Specialist, Hamilton County Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency

Morning Breakout: Green Cincinnati Plan

Sponsored by: Melink

What are Cincinnati’s top strategies to reduce our carbon footprint? At the 2016 Summit, Paul Hawken presented DRAWDOWN – the 100 hundred most effective strategies to reverse global warming. Since that time, the Cincinnati community has been busy preparing the Green Cincinnati Plan - our roadmap to build a more sustainable, equitable, resilient future for our city. Applying the Drawdown thinking, we will discuss Cincinnati’s plan to reduce our carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, focusing on the highest impact recommendations. We invite you to be a part of the conversation as we move from plan to action.

Moderator: Oliver Kroner, Sustainability Coordinator, City of Cincinnati


Zack Huhn, CEO, Venture Smarter

Michael Forrester, Energy Manager, City of Cincinnati

Tremaine Phillips, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Empower Saves

Morning Breakout: The Connected Region

Sponsored by: Enterprise RideShare

Earlier this year, the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber launched The Connected Region, a vision for our region’s transportation future. The vision is focused on five key principles that will guide us into the future. This session will review the regional vision for transportation, and facilitate discussion among participants about what success looks like in achieving each principle of the vision. The goal will be to clearly articulate the role that professionals in the sustainability field and advocates for sustainability across the region can play in helping connect people to jobs, education, health care and all that the Cincinnati region has to offer.


Pete Metz, Transportation Policy & Coalition Manager, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber

Morning Breakout: Growing Sustainable Jobs and Infrastructures in a Green World

Sponsored by: Hamilton County Planning + Development

Cincinnati wants to build the largest municipally-sponsored solar panel project in Ohio. We hear discussions about wind power, converting waste into energy, resilient landscapes, and the green building industry. It seems green collar jobs are the way of the future, but how can the blue collar man get involved? And what do small businesses need to do to get the green job sector? This workshop will focus on the changes taking place and how small businesses and employers are using emerging technologies and ideas to grow their business and employee base.

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


Leslie Schehl, Watershed Operations, Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati

Rose Seeger, Owner, Green City Resources

Tanner Yess, Program Director, Groundwork Mill Creek - Cincinnati

Seth Parker, Director, Melink Solar and Geo

Morning Breakout: Innovative Partnerships to Reduce Food Waste

Sponsored by: 84.51°

The U.S. spends $218 billion a year, growing, processing, transporting, and disposing of food that is never eaten; while 1 in 7 individuals is food insecure. Gaps in the food system process have been identified, generating opportunities for resilient solutions. Join us for a discussion on how businesses, both big and small, are innovating through partnerships and reaping economic value in preventing, recovering, and recycling wasted food.

Moderator: Lauren Campbell Kong, Waste Reduction Action Team Co-Chair and Founder/CEO, BrainBox Ltd.


Suzy DeYoung, Founder, La Soupe

Lisa Zwack, Head of Sustainability, Kroger

Larry Fradkin, Senior Environmental Engineer, Go Zero

Kevin Morris, Assistant Food Service Director, University of Cincinnati

Sustainability Awards Ceremony

Sponsored by: Duke Energy

Plenary Session: Resilience: How can our Cities and Businesses Adapt to Climate Change?

Sponsored by: TriHealth

The panel will feature Resilience Directors from three cities along with our plenary speaker Katherine Hayhoe. We will explore why resilience has emerged as such an important term for cities around the USA and the world and some of the strategies that are being employed to make our cities more resilient as they face a range of critical issues.

Moderator: James P Buchanan, PhD, University Professor and Executive Director, The Edward B. Brueggeman Center for Dialogue


Katharine Hayhoe, Climate Scientist, Texas Tech University

Grant Ervin, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Pittsburgh

Eric Friedlander, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Louisville

Afternoon Breakout: Building Regional Resilience

Sponsored by: Great Parks of Hamilton County

Building regional resilience requires new ways of thinking and cooperating across sectors. What role do private-public partnerships play, and what strategies can help them be effective, transparent, efficient, and equitable? Learn from the challenges and successes of peer cities in this discussion where we dive deeper into the plenary panel conversation.

Moderator: Charlie Gonzalez, Winter-Cohen Bruggeman Research Fellow, Regenerative Cities


Grant Ervin, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Pittsburgh, PA

Eric Friedlander, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Louisville, KY

Afternoon Breakout: Local Food: How individuals, institutions, farmers, and food entrepreneurs can plug into Greater Cincinnati's local food economy

Sponsored by: ATA Beilharz Architects

Learn about how you can engage in current efforts aimed at doubling the production and consumption of food grown within our region. In this session, you'll have a chance hear from Green Umbrella's Local Food Action Team about measures of success so far, then break into small groups to discuss resources and strategies for individuals, institutions, farmers, and food entrepreneurs to grow the local food economy. This will be facilitated as an open space session where the discussion will be driven by those present in the room, but possible topics include:
  • how to find locally grown food in Greater Cincinnati;
  • tips to shift 10% of your food budget to local food;
  • a one-stop-shop for institutions to purchase local food in quantities needed while supporting multiple local farmers and food artisans;
  • how farmers and food entrepreneurs can access land for growing, training for food safety regulations, and opportunities for direct-to-consumer and wholesale sales.

Afternoon Breakout: Just How Sustainable is your Business?

Sponsored by: Cintas Corporation

Sustainability is transforming the way many businesses operate today, and can help achieve the triple bottom line of planet, people, and profit. Business owners who understand how to incorporate green initiatives and sustainability are saving time, energy and money. How can a small business owner benefit from a new way of operating? What resources and tools are available? Learn from current businesses, big and small, that are doing what they can to be as green as possible, how they are incorporating resiliency into their sustainability plans, and how all of it is good for business. This diverse panel will largely focus on YOUR questions, so come armed with what you are dying to know to help your business increase its sustainability efforts, employee engagement, and increased partnerships.

Moderator: Icy Williams, President/CEO, ATMOS360, Inc.


Craig Davis, President, Melink

Chad Edwards, Principal, Emersion Design

Scott Hassell, Director of Environmental Sustainability, Fifth Third Bank

Krista Jaeger, Manager of Sustainability, Cintas Corporation

Michael Pahutski, Regional Director, Duke Energy

Shannon Quinn, Global Water Stewardship Leader, P&G

Afternoon Breakout: A Sustainability District in Downtown Cincinnati

Sponsored by: ClearArc Capital

In an effort to craft environmental and health solutions for some of the region’s largest businesses, Cincinnati 2030 has begun the process to create a downtown sustainability district. This model will focus primarily around energy, water, transportation, and health outcomes. A sustainability district not only improves outcomes for building owners, but will create healthier, more sustainable spaces for people to live, work, and play. Come learn how you can contribute to this new model for urban sustainability.


Members of Cincinnati 2030 will provide a project overview and then facilitate group discussions on creating an ideal sustainability district for our downtown core. Facilitators will include Elizabeth Rojas (Principal, Rojas Design), Joey Maiocco (Brand Producer, Newsy), Carl Sterner (Director, Sol Design + Consulting), and Jeremy Faust (Sustainability Leader, Fifth Third Bank)

Sustainability Awards Reception

Sponsored by: USGBC and P&G