Want to See How Universities and Businesses are Modeling Sustainable Solutions that All of Us Can Put to Use?

Want to See How Universities and Businesses are Modeling Sustainable Solutions that All of Us Can Put to Use?

Janine Finnell By JANINE FINNELL


Attend the Clean Energy & Sustainability Extravaganza

Friday, Feb. 28, 2020 – at the University of Maryland!

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If you work in the clean energy and sustainability fields or are interested in learning more about these topics, please join us at the 6th Clean Energy & Sustainability Extravaganza!

This event is offered by Leaders in Energy and the Association of Energy Engineers National Capital Chapter (AEE NCC), with support from the AEE NCC Student Chapter and the Center for Environmental Energy Engineering (CEEE) at the University of Maryland (UMD)

CALLED TO ACTION! Increasingly, we hear the mandate for the world’s energy needs to be provided cleanly and renewably in ways that can be sustained by the global economy and the planet. Scientists continue to issue warnings about the limited amount of time and the growing urgency to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to keep our planet habitable.

2020 Clean Energy & Sustainability Extravaganza focus: “Innovative Trends on University Campuses in Clean Energy & Sustainability” and “Perspectives on Advancing Gender Parity in the Energy Industry.”

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Speakers from universities and businesses in the region will share their collaborative initiatives taking place on campuses, which have powerful applications we can use in our communities. Together these applications can help grow a green economy and scale change to accelerate the delivery of solutions for a more sustainable world – as envisioned by the United Nations (UN) sustainable development goals.


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Our keynote speaker, Dr. Reinhard Radermacher, Director for the CEEE, has numerous patents in clean energy technology. In his work at UMD and in his energy business which began as a UMD start-up in 2002, Optimized Thermal Systems (OTS), he emphasizes the use of advanced optimization techniques to identify next-generation solutions for energy conversion equipment. This includes a focus on addressing refrigerant and emissions challenges as well as developing new system configurations for energy-efficient heat pumps and air conditioners.

Master of Ceremonies will be Solome Girma, Director, Program Management Office at the District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility and AEE NCC Board Member. John Gaffigan, Leaders in Energy, Green Tech Business Lead, will kick off the University and Business Showcase.


We will hear from Greg Farley, Director of University Sustainability, George Mason University; Tanvi Gadvia, UMD Office of Sustainability, Guy Kilpatric, UMD “Terp Farm,” Lead Agricultural Technician, and Marta Woldu, UMD Department of Transportation Services. They will discuss various initiatives for reducing carbon emissions and becoming more sustainable, including local food-to-cafeteria efforts, composting/food waste reduction, and sustainable transportation.

Multi-faceted university sustainability initiatives will be highlighted. We will learn how the four-season Terp Farm at the UMD is integrating nutritious, sustainable, and local food into campus dining operations, while also educating students. Innovative sustainable transportation programs–which unite technology, policy, and incentives—will be highlighted. Student panelists, Andrew Nixon and Pat Fox, will highlight their research initiatives in wind and kite power systems. (Here is a video description of how a kite power system works, from KPS in Scotland). Dr. Elvin Yuzugullu, Adjunct Professor at George Washington University and Project Manager, General Dynamics Information Technology, will be the moderator of the University Showcase Panel.


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 The DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland and Northern Virginia) may be a promising region for clean energy and green tech initiatives to flourish. The Brookings Institution has ranked the Washington, D.C. region among the top ten in cleantech venture capital investment. With the release of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute’s new report with recommendations on increasing clean energy innovation in the state, more initiatives may be on the horizon.


Sean Casey, AECOM; Tom Horner, VP and Co-founder, Water Management Inc.; Aakansha Lam, Founder, and Managing Director of Energy Scalable; Mike Markofsky, Northeast Regional Manager, Shannon Global Energy Solutions; and Eric Oliver, Founder, Earthwide.

Panelists will discuss a diverse range of projects they are implementing on university campuses in the region and around the U.S., including the University of Colorado. Examples include energy planning for carbon neutrality and smart city applications, microgrids, energy efficiency, and water efficiency.

Cara Martin, COO of Optimized Thermal Systems, which was founded by our keynote speaker Dr. Radermacher, will moderate the business panel. Ms. Martin is a UMD Mechanical Engineering alumnus.

MEET OUR Innovative Exhibitors, AVAILABLE THROUGhOUT THE EVENT (Except when panels are in session)

Energy and green building companies AECOM and Boland; Earthwide; Your Business Our World (connects businesses offering green services with interested consumers to foster a green economy); Refrigeration Technologies; Shannon Global Energy Solutions; and Water Management Inc.

Clean energy organizations, including Advanced Biofuels USA; AEE NCC UMD Student Chapter and ASHRAE student chapter; UN Sustainable Development Goals: Leave No One Behind; and Leaders in Energy.


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We’ll examine how increasing gender parity in the energy industry can be an important driver in accelerating the clean energy transition.

Ida Namur, Vice President of the AEE NCC and with AECOM will make welcoming remarks, along with Dr. Farah Singer, Student-Faculty Advisor of the AEE NCC UMD Student Chapter.

The panel features:

Janine Helwig, Director, Utilities & Engineering, Facilities Planning, Construction, & Management, The George Washington University,

Laurie Wiegand-Jackson, Owner and President, Utility Advantage and Chair of The Board Of Directors at Council for Women in Energy & Environmental Leadership, and

Janine Finnell, Executive Director, Leaders in Energy (the article’s author).

This year a man joins our women’s leadership panel to share his perspectives on gender issues! Ben Rupert is President of BJR Energy Management and is also a past president of the Association of Energy Engineers’ Pacific Northwest Chapter.

The panel moderator will be Ida Namur, Associate Vice President and Operations Manager for AECOM’s Southeast Energy Services and AEE NCC Vice President.

Our sponsors include Edison Energy and Boland, companies which are supportive of women in the energy industry.


·        Engaging with others who are sustainability-minded, including the opportunity to  get hot tips and leads on job prospects

·        Learning about new initiatives, technologies, and policies that are helping to bring about the clean energy transition

·        Purchasing a clean energy product or service for your campus or industrial application.

The general admission ticket includes the women’s leadership luncheon, showcase, and refreshments. There are also volunteer opportunities in exchange for a complimentary ticket to attend.

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Join us on February 28th! Learn more about our program, speakers, and registration here.

Time and Location: The event will be held on Friday, February 28, 2020, from 11 am – 6 pm. The location is the A. James Clark Hall, 8278 Paint Branch Drive, College Park, 20742. There is a university shuttle that can take you to the event from the College Park Metro Station. There is also parking near the venue.



Increasingly, LOCAL GOVERNMENTS ARE TAKING ACTION to address what they see as a lack of federal action on climate change. It’s been reported that the city of Takoma Park, Maryland is contemplating the first-in-nation ban on fossil fuels (Washington Post on 2/22/20) as part of a proposed 2020 Climate Emergency Response Act.



Author background: Janine Finnell serves as the Executive Director of Leaders in Energy, a nonprofit organization based in the Washington, DC working to advance clean energy and sustainable solutions. She would like to acknowledge the contributions of Carol McCaffrey and Dr. Elvin Yuzugullu in developing this article.

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