6th Annual Leaders in Energy Green Jobs Forum
–Jobs for a Low-Carbon, Circular Economy–

Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
Thursday, August 22nd, 4:30 – 9 pm

(PLUS Green Career and Networking Workshops from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm)

Concerned about the critical state of climate change and the urgent need to shift our economy to one that is more low-carbon and less wasteful? Learn about what’s happening to grow the green economy in the national capital area (e.g., Maryland Clean Jobs Act creating solar and wind jobs, and more)! Hear about the first city in the US (Charlotte, NC) to have a circular economy plan! Obtain tips and advice from those who have landed or created green jobs at IFC, the World Bank, VEIC, and International Fund for Animal Welfare. Learn from those creating jobs to reduce food and plastic waste. Meet exhibitors who are hiring, providing training in green/clean tech and offering educational credentials, and career assistance.

This event is for people interested in green jobs and careers, those who want to use their careers to “be the difference,” or transform their existing work to be more green-centric, etc. This special event will serve job hunters, those working in cleantech/greentech, and green-learners/aspirers equally well!

The Green Jobs Forum is Leaders in Energy’s annual review of trends in recruiting, hiring, and career advancement in clean energy and sustainability occupations. This is one of our most popular annual events. Before the forum, we are also offering several Green Career and networking workshops during the day!

Green Jobs Forum Agenda
4:30 – 6:00 pm Exhibitors – including companies and educators
6:00 – 8:15 pm   Panels
8:15 – 9:00 pm Exhibitors and Networking

Plus Workshops to Advance Your Career
8:30 – 11:30 am  Green Career Workshop 1.0: What’s Your Green Career Plan?
12:15 – 1:15 pm  Fear is Your Copilot: Networking in Washington DC
1:30 – 4:30 pm    Green Career Workshop 2.0: What’s the Best “Fit” for Your Career Path?  

Location:  777 North Capitol St NE, Washington, DC at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

Welcoming Remarks by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments 

STEVE WALZ is the Director of Environmental Programs for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. He leads COG’s water, air quality, waste management, energy and climate teams serving localities across metropolitan Washington. He has over 40 years of experience with energy, sustainability and environmental protection. Previously, Steve was the Director of Regional Energy Planning with the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, and served as the Director of the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and Senior Energy Policy Advisor to Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, completing over 30 years of service at DMME. Steve has served on numerous commissions and boards including Chairman of the Governor’s Energy Policy Advisory Council, and on the Governor’s Climate Change Commission, the Commission on Energy and Environment, the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium Board, the Local Energy Alliance Program Board, and others. Prior to joining Virginia state government, Steve worked in energy and community development programs for public and private entities in Missouri and Nebraska.

Steve has a BS in Civil Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Meet Our Forum Speakers 

SAMUEL BEIRNE is the Energy Program Manager for the Wind and the Energy StoragTax Credit programs at the Maryland Energy Administration. Most recently, Samuel was MEAs intern for the 2016 legislative session where he worked on public policy initiatives. He previously held several internships with Washington, DC environmental and energy non-profits and with two members of the Maryland Delegation to the United States Congress. Samuel has a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in American History from Syracuse University. In his spare time, he brews his own beer and likes to explore Maryland’s best food scenes.

ALEX COOLEY -(MPA, Labor Market Research Manager)

Alex Cooley is the Manager, Labor Market Information Services at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). In this role, Alex provides College leadership and community partners with data to inform daily decision-making and guide strategic planning efforts, and conducts economic research and detailed analysis of the regional labor market to support the workforce needs of employers.

Alex provides his knowledge and expertise in labor market information to the northern Virginia community by developing publications, reports, and presentations for various workforce and economic development partners. Additionally, Alex manages a team responsible for career awareness activities in the northern Virginia region, working with K-12 school districts and higher education partners to distribute labor market information to support career pathway decisions. Prior to his current role, Alex worked as a research manager for a workforce development board and as a residential and commercial property manager.

Alex serves on the Board of Directors for the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) and the Maryland Future Business Leaders of America, and is a member of the International Economic Development Council and the Virginia Economic Developers Association. A North Carolina native, Alex holds a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He enjoys spending his free time outdoors, and you can usually find him on the weekends camping, hiking, or relaxing on a beach!

TOMMY WELLS -(Director, District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment)

Tommy Wells is the director of the Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE). Appointed January 2015, he is chiefly responsible for protecting the environment and conserving the natural resources of the District of Columbia. Tommy’s team is comprised of approximately 300 environmental professionals collectively working to improve the quality of life for residents and the natural inhabitants of the Nation’s Capital. Most recently, Tommy served as the DC Councilmember representing Ward 6—a position he held since 2006. During his time on Council, he garnered broad support for his efforts to make the District livable and walkable for all.

Known for his neighborhood-focused development, Tommy championed efforts to ensure availability of public transit, including the construction of new streetcar lines and the expansion of the DC Circulator. As Chair of the DC Council Committee on Transportation and the Environment, he worked to double the city’s Capital Bikeshare program. In 2009, Tommy crafted The Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Act of 2009, to implement $0.05 fee on disposable bags. This landmark legislation prompted thousands of District residents to curb the use of plastic bags and instead opt for reusable, green alternatives. Seventy-five percent of DC residents reported a decrease in their use of disposable bags once the bill took effect on January 1, 2010. The legislation also established a fund to restore District water bodies, including the Anacostia River; support the distribution of reusable bags in the District; install trash traps; and provide environmental education for District students. These and other efforts, championed by Tommy, have helped position the District as a model for sustainable green living for jurisdictions nationwide.

A passionate innovator and student of cutting edge solutions, Tommy earned his law degree from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University in 1991 and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Minnesota in 1983.

EMILY YATES is an Founder + Principal of Urban Revolution Group, Emily Yates is working to help cities position themselves as globally competitive by utilizing a systems approach to develop strategies, projects and programs that exist within the intersection of sustainability, technology, and economic development. Most recently, Emily was Deputy Director with Envision Charlotte where she was responsible for leading the development of the Circular Charlotte strategy, which made Charlotte the first city in the US to have a citywide circular economy strategy, in addition to other local programming that created a smarter, more sustainable Charlotte.

Emily’s career work has focused on the intersection of economic development, smart and sustainable cities, and civic engagement. She has held a variety of positions in Europe and North America, including urban planning positions with both the District of Columbia and the city of Cleveland planning offices. Emily was a recipient of the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt German Chancellor/ Bundeskanzler Fellowship, which funded a year of research focused on German approaches to the implementation of sustainability policy and climate change adaptation in brownfield development. Emily holds a Bachelors of Science in Landscape Architecture from Arizona State University. She is a member of the Emerging Leaders in Energy and Environmental Policy (ELEEP) Network.

JANINE FINNELL – Moderator (Executive Director of Leaders in Energy)

Janine draws upon an extensive domestic and international career in policy and research, program management, communications, outreach, and management consulting in the energy and sustainability fields. Her experience includes working at a state energy office, serving as a Foreign Service Officer at the U.S. Agency for International Development, and employment at IBM, DynCorp International, the Institute of Energy Analysis, and consulting to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as non-governmental organizations, DOE national laboratories, and the electric utility industry.

Panel 2: Speakers Who Have Landed or Created Green Jobs

Low-Carbon/Clean Energy

BARBARA ENGLEHART is a senior project finance controller at IFC with a focus on disaster management, resiliency, and sustainability. ICF International, Inc. is a global consulting and technology services company headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, with approximately 5,000 employees working in more than 65 offices around the globe. She serves on the Board of Leaders in Energy. She is a member of the Arlington Public School Sustainability Advisory Committee, Lubber Run Farmers Market Committee and adviser to the award-winning Arlington Energy Master program. She is also a volunteer for Career Confidence.

DAVID GELMAN is currently the Business Development Manager for the Mid-Atlantic for VEIC. He has over 30 years of involvement in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and particularly alternative fuels for transportation, working with Federal, state, and local governments; private industry; associations and institutions; and other clients. He has also served as Vice President of three small- to mid-size consulting firms, and combines both engineering and legal backgrounds. VEIC is a sustainable energy company with a mission to enhance the economic, environmental, and societal benefits of clean and efficient energy use for all people. David is a regulatory/legislative attorney, policy analyst, senior project manager, and mechanical engineer with experience in advanced technologies, particularly clean energy and transportation. VEIC is headquartered in Vermont with offices in Ohio, Washington D.C., and New York state and is the parent company of the DC Sustainable Energy Utility. Fun fact – he’s known Leader in Energy Executive Director Janine Finnell since 1986!

Circular Economy

CHARLES GIRARD is an international energy and finance strategist who partners with CEOs, executives, and solopreneurs to achieve their projects. Charles currently serves as an Energy Advisor at the World Bank and has served as the U.S. Lead Energy & Economics Attache for the Quebec Government in Washington D.C. for many years. Prior to this, he spent over a decade working with international billion-dollar businesses, organizations, and start-ups. Charles knows what drives the energy revolution and the bottom line. As CEO of Urbariam, Charles worked with companies in over 25 countries with their projects. Charles is also a certified MBTI business coach, an Energy and Environment Commissioner for Arlington and a Foreign Service Institute Adjunct Faculty Professor.

Charles holds an MBA from ESCP Europe and a bachelor’s degree from McGill University. In his free time, Charles loves to bike with his wife and two kids.

ERIN MCGEOY is the co-founder and CEO of Last Call, an online platform that connects users with discounted unsold food from restaurants. Erin was inspired to start Last Call after struggling to afford regular meals as a Division 1 water polo player, despite receiving a scholarship at George Washington University, where she studied Marketing and Sustainability. She developed many innovative ways to access more affordable food while in college: a self-proclaimed “freegan”, Erin subscribed to as many university listservs as possible to locate and plan her day around events that offered free food. After she created a Facebook group called “Free Food in Foggy Bottom” to share her strategies with others, Erin realized that her situation was not unique. The group rapidly grew to 500 users at the same time reports on hunger among college students were starting to appear in the media. After closely studying the negative environmental impacts of food waste while working at the World Wildlife Fund, she decided to focus her energy in order to solve what she saw as two huge social inefficiencies: college food insecurity and wasted food.


RODGER CORREA is a Communications and Marketing professional with nearly two decades of experience at both the national and international levels. Currently, Rodger serves as US Communications Director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, a global non-profit that operates in over 40 countries across the globe with the mission of helping both animals and people thrive together. Having begun his career in Corporate America, Rodger was driven by a passion for the sciences, biodiversity, sustainability, and clean energy. His travels for IFAW have taken him across the globe from participating in anti-poaching initiatives in Africa (in Kenya, Malawi, and Zambia) to studying grey whale populations in Baja, Mexico, to testing rope-less fishing technology off the shores of Cape Cod to promote sustainable fisheries and improve right whale habitats. Originally a native of Chile, he has lived both here and abroad, but calls Washington, DC home.

SPENCER SCHECHT (Moderator) is Membership Experience Manager, Smart Electric Power Alliance. Spencer was one of our panelists last year!

Exhibitors (Including Companies, Educators,
and Career Assistance Organizations)



Green Career Workshop 1.0: What’s Your Green Career Plan?  (8:30 – 11:30 am)

Our Green Career Workshop will provide you with insights on your career strengths and preferences and how these can be tailored for application to the new “green” economy, e,g, clean energy, sustainability, circular economy, resiliency, etc. It provides experiential activities designed to guide you in developing an actionable career plan. Registration includes a workbook with exercises and resources.

In this workshop you will:
– Complete activities that guide you in identifying your core career assets – your strengths, skills, abilities, and knowledge – that you can offer a potential employer
– Begin to develop a career plan appropriate for your career level
– Network with fellow Leaders in Energy members who can be a career resource for you
– Engage in group discussion about the context around your career in the Green Economy
– Review useful resources

We will network with others about our mutual career journeys, focus on what inspires you about the Green Economy and the marketplace needs/opportunities right now, discuss your work values as they relate to your career needs, begin to develop a career plan, and identify the next steps you need to take on your career goals.

INSTRUCTOR: BETH OFFENBACKER, Ph.D., is the Director of Training and Development for Leaders in Energy. She has more than 25 years of experience in training, coaching, talent development, engagement, community relations, marketing, and project management experience. Beth’s core expertise is in developing and implementing talent management and development programs for emerging, established, and senior-level professionals. Beth has taught a number of green career workshops as well as the Green Career Momentum program for Leaders in Energy.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications at the State University of New York at Brockport and a master’s degree in public communications at American University.  Her doctorate is from Virginia Tech’s Center for Public Administration and Policy. Beth is also the Founder and Principle of Waterford, Inc. Waterford’s mission is to create stronger, more successful companies, nonprofits, and communities.

Fear is Your Copilot: Networking in Washington DC   (12:15 – 1:15 pm)

Description: Networking. You’ve been told its so important to landing that next job, the right internship, or access to in-demand people. But where do you even begin? How can I understand this process? And why does just thinking about a room full of strangers in professional dress make me so nervous?! This session will tackle these questions and more with a balance of theory, strategies, and group participation. Learn how to beat the stress and thrive in these social situations. Feel free to bring your lunch! And business cards,

We will network with others about our mutual career journeys, focus on what inspires you as a Green Leader and the marketplace needs/opportunities right now, and identify the next steps you need to take on your career goals.

This workshop is offered by DC Green Drinks.

INSTRUCTOR: SPENCER SCHECHT, is an early-career climate and energy professional serving as the Member Experience Manager at the Smart Electric Power Alliance. Spencer spent two years at the DC Sustainable Energy Utility helping some of the largest institutions in the nation’s capital adopt energy efficiency measures. He has also worked on programs with The World Bank and The Natural Resource Defense Council around renewable energy domestically and abroad.

Spencer holds a B.S. in biological sciences from the University of Maryland, College Park, an M.A. in International Affairs from the School of International Service at American University, as well as an M.A. in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development from the University for Peace in Costa Rica.

Green Career Workshop 2.0: What’s the Best “Fit” for Your Career Path?  (1:30 – 4:30 pm)

This workshop builds on the insights and practices from the Leaders in Energy Green Career Workshop and we encourage you to take this workshop as a prerequisite, although it is not required.  Participants will be asked to bring their Green Career Plan, developed in the Green Career Workshop 1.0, as a foundation for the Green Career 2.0 workshop.

This workshop provides experiential activities designed to guide you in the next step on your actionable career plan. In this workshop you will:
– Identify your specific area or areas of specialization as a Green Leader
– Complete activities that guide you in identifying the technical, managerial, and individual leadership competencies – the knowledge, skills, and abilities – that you need to be successful in your area or areas of specialty
– Develop, or further hone, a strategy for moving your career along your chosen career path, based on your career level
– Identify how to assess potential employers on a five-part scale for “fit” with your career path
– Network with fellow Green Leaders who can be a career resource for you
– Engage in group discussion about the context around your career as a Green Leader
– Review useful resources

We will network with others about our mutual career journeys, focus on what inspires you as a Green Leader and the marketplace needs/opportunities right now, and identify the next steps you need to take on your career goals.

INSTRUCTOR: BETH OFFENBACKER, Ph.D., (see bio in above Green Career Workshop 1.0)