Rice University logoShell Center for Sustainability
Top blue bar image
  • Shell Center for Sustainability
  • Shell Center for Sustainability
  • Shell Center for Sustainability
Facebook btnRSS


The Shell Center for Sustainability's mission is to foster an interdisciplinary program of research, outreach, and education to address actions that can be taken to ensure the sustainable development of communities' living standards, interpreted broadly, to encompass all factors affecting the overall quality of life.

Houston's Air Research Conference

Speakers & Moderators

 Cohan sm 
Daniel Cohan, Ph. D.

Assistant professor of environmental engineering at Rice University.  His research specializes in the development of photochemical models and their application to air quality management, uncertainty analysis, and health impact studies.  Dr. Cohan implemented a high-order sensitivity analysis method into an air quality model and developed techniques for its application to control strategy optimization. Before joining Rice, Dr. Cohan helped develop state policies for mercury and air quality attainment at the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. He received a B.A. in applied mathematics from Harvard University, a Ph.D. in atmospheric chemistry from Georgia Tech, and served as a Fulbright Scholar to Australia at the Cooperative Research Centre for Southern Hemisphere Meteorology.

 ecraft sm 
Elena Craft, Ph. D.

Air quality specialist with the Climate & Air Program at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a non-profit, non-governmental, and non-partisan environmental organization. Since 1967, EDF has linked science, economics, and law to solve today’s most relevant environmental problems. Dr. Craft works on air quality issues around the Houston area, and concentrates specifically on reducing diesel pollutant emissions along the Houston Ship channel. She also works on a statewide Clean School Bus Initiative and advocates for the use of clean contracting equipment in city projects. Dr. Craft’s background is in molecular toxicology and she is ultimately concerned with human health. She has a B.S. in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in biology and a M.S. degree in toxicology from NC State University. She also received a PhD in molecular toxicology from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. Her research experience includes working with compounds such as PCBs, dioxin, and metals, and examining their health effects as they relate to environmental exposures. In addition, she has worked for both the neurotoxicology division of the US EPA and the laboratory of molecular toxicology at National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in RTP, NC, focusing in the areas of proteins, metals, and molecular biology.

 Ensor sm 
Katherine Bennett Ensor, Ph. D.

Professor and Chair of Statistics and Director of the Center for Computational Finance and Economic Systems. She received her B.S.E. and M.S. degrees in mathematics from Arkansas State University, and earned her Ph.D. in Statistics from Texas A&M University in 1986. She joined Rice University in 1987 and has served as the chair of the Department of Statistics for the past eight years. Ensor is an accomplished researcher and teacher in the technical disciplines of statistics. She develops new methodologies to assist in the focus areas of environmental statistics and financial modeling. She has a long history of research in air quality evaluation, focusing on the Houston area. Having spent a good bit of time understanding the complexities of this system, in a recent paper "Outlier Detection in Environmental Monitoring Network Data; An Application to Ambient Ozone Measurements for Houston, Texas" she developed a strategy for real time identification of unusual spikes in ozone levels for the Houston area. For the past few years she has worked with the City of Houston to put this technology into practice.

 Bob eury sm 
Robert M. Eury

For twenty-five years Robert M. Eury has served as President of Central Houston, Inc., a private, non-profit corporation, formed to lead the planning and implementation of the redevelopment of Houston’s central city area—principally downtown.  Mr. Eury is also the Executive Director of the Houston Downtown Management District, a special assessment district within downtown Houston. Mr. Eury was Vice President and Director of Research Development for Rice Center prior to starting Central Houston in 1983.  During his nine years with Rice Center, his research focused on: land use/transportation joint development, urban services delivery, development regulation, and environmental design.  Prior to joining Rice Center in 1974, Mr. Eury served as Director of Community Planning Studies for the Urban Studies Center, University of Louisville, Kentucky. Mr. Eury holds a Master of Architecture in Urban Design from Rice University and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Cincinnati. He is active in numerous community organizations holding executive and board positions. These include Blueprint Houston, Center for Houston's Future, Buffalo Bayou Partnership, and the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation.

Victor B. Flatt, J.D.

Inaugural holder of the A.L. O’Quinn Chair in Environmental Law and Director of the Center for Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources at the University of Houston Law Center, where has also served as the Associate Dean.  He has taught as a Visiting Professor at the University of Washington, Seattle University, the University of Georgia, and will be the Taft Distinguished Visiting Professor of Environmental Law at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill this Fall.  After graduating from Northwestern University Law School, he clerked for the Honorable Danny J. Boggs on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, was in private practice in Seattle at Hillis Clark Martin & Peterson, and also worked for the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division I. Professor Flatt has published extensively on issues in environmental law in numerous journals, including Washington Law Review, University of Notre Dame Law Review, Ecology Law Quarterly, and Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy.  Five of his articles have been recognized as finalists or winners in the year’s best environmental law review articles.  He recently served as Attorney of Record for amici Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Kerry, and Barbara Boxer, in the successful challenge to the Bush Administration’s NSR rules under the Clean Air Act.


Griffin sm 

Robert Griffin, Ph. D.

Associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rice University.  His research focuses on the atmospheric chemistry and effects of organic species, particularly with respect to aerosols.  He is author/co-author of more than forty scientific manuscripts. Dr. Griffin received his B.S. summa cum laude in chemical engineering from Tufts University in 1993.  For two years prior to attending graduate school, Dr. Griffin was a Research Associate with Arthur D. Little, Inc., a management and technology consulting firm.  He received an M.S. in 1997 and a Ph.D. in 2000 (both in chemical engineering) from the California Institute of Technology.  Before arriving at Rice, Dr. Griffin was an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke University and an assistant/associate professor in the Climate Change Research Center/Department of Earth Sciences at the University of New Hampshire.  He is a member of the American Association of Aerosol Research, the American Chemical Society, and the American Geophysical Union.  Awards include a National Science Foundation Career Award and a National Center for Atmospheric Research Advanced Studies Program Faculty Fellowship.

 Peter Hartley sm 
Peter Hartley, Ph. D.

Awarded the George and Cynthia Mitchell chair in 2007, when he was also appointed as Academic Director of the Shell Center for Sustainability. He completed an honors degree in mathematics in 1974, and a Masters Degree in Economics in 1977, at the Australian National University. He worked for the Priorities Review Staff and the Economic Division of the Prime Minister's Department in the Australian Government before coming to study at the University of Chicago, where he obtained a Ph.D. in Economics in 1980. From 1980 to 1986 he was an Assistant Professor of Economics at Princeton University. He moved to Rice University as an Associate Professor of Economics in August 1986 and was promoted to a Full Professor in 1993. He was chair of the Department of Economics at Rice from 2000 to 2005. Peter is also a Rice Scholar of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, where he works in the Energy Studies Program. Peter's research has covered a number of areas, but has recently focused on energy economics. He has also been involved in public policy debates and as an advisor to governments and private firms on energy and environmental issues.

 Bob Harriss sm 
Robert Harriss, Ph. D.

President and CEO of the Houston Advanced Research Center, an institution devoted to sustainability science, engineering, and policy research. He is an educator and researcher with a passion for finding solutions to how we can be more adaptive, resilient, and sustainable in this era of unprecedented global change. Bob has spent much of his career as an environmental scientist studying the biogeochemistry of coastal ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico, sources of methane from wetlands, and atmospheric chemistry in the Amazon Basin of Brazil and the North American Arctic. Using measurements from ships, aircraft, and satellites he has attempted to describe and model how “earth systems” work. Former students and colleagues at Florida State University, the University of New Hampshire, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and NASA contributed to this work. Bob also served for three years as Science Director of the Earth Science Program at NASA Headquarters. He is a Texan with family ties to Brownsville, Galveston, and Waco and received a doctoral degree in Geology from Rice University.

 Elizabeth Hendler sm 
Elizabeth Hendler

Environmental consultant specializing in Houston air quality issues.  For the past seven years, she has served as the Project Manager for the BCCA Appeal Group and the 8-Hour Ozone SIP Coalition, where her duties include development and oversight of the projects’ research and technical projects, administration, and external communications.  She is also currently serving as the Project Coordinator for the Houston Exposure to Air Toxics Study (HEATS)—the largest and most comprehensive integrated personal exposure air toxics study conducted to date in the Houston region.  Ms. Hendler also served as the Project Manager for the Mickey Leland National Urban Air Toxics Research Center’s Air Toxics Workshops I, II, and III.  From 2000 to 2001, she managed the Greater Houston Partnership’s Environment Program, which included oversight of the Partnership’s technical, scientific, and economic research functions related to the Houston ozone air quality plan.  Ms. Hendler worked for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality from 1993-1999 on air quality and strategic planning issues.  Her fields of expertise include the Houston and Beaumont air quality plans, the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new air quality standards, and other air policy issues.

 Aston Hinds sm 
Aston Hinds, Ph. D.

Environmental Affairs Manager for the Port of Houston Authority, in Houston, Texas. He was formerly the Vice President, Global Health, Safety and Environment, for Halliburton Company. Dr. Hinds is an internationally recognized Environmental Specialist, and a Technical Advisor to industry, trade associations, as well as federal, state and local governmental agencies.  He is the author of over 60 publications covering various environmental subjects and is certified by the Project Management Institute, as a Project Management Professional.  Over the past 25 years, Dr. Hinds has worked for both government and industry in areas such as technology development, pollution prevention, soil and groundwater remediation, the design and implementation of Environmental Management Systems, sustainable development and corporate social responsibility. He is active in several scientific/engineering societies and industry associations; and is the former Chairman of the National Ocean Industry Association (NOIA), Environmental Conservation and Safety Committee; and has served on The Board of Directors of the Petroleum Equipment Suppliers Association, and The Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. He received his doctorate in Environmental Science from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, and is a graduate of the Rice University Management Program and the Advanced Management Institute.

 K Johnson sm 
C. Kirk Johnson

Plant Manager for Texas Petrochemicals Houston Operations.  Mr. Johnson has nearly 30 years of experience in production engineering, quality program management and operations supervision.  In his current position, Mr. Johnson oversees more than 400 full-time employees and contractors on site.  His primary responsibilities are focused on driving continuous improvement in work processes and behaviors that are geared towards operations efficiency, environmental improvement, safety performance and accountability.  Under his direction, the Houston Operations has developed several new work processes and programs that include an Environmental Improvement Team, a Mechanical Reliability and Integrity Group and an Accountability Process. Mr. Johnson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Auburn University.  His ongoing executive education includes programs through the Darden School, University of Virginia.   He currently serves as a board member for East Harris County Manufacturers Association and is the Houston Outreach Chairman for the organization.  Mr. Johnson is also a member of the Houston Community Advisory Panel. Texas Petrochemicals is a Houston based petrochemical company that provides a diverse range of quality products and services into performance, specialty and intermediate manufacturing markets worldwide.  The Company has manufacturing facilities in the industrial corridor adjacent to the Houston Ship Channel, Port Neches and Baytown, Texas and operates a product terminal in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

 Richard Johnson sm 
Richard Johnson

Director of Sustainability for Rice Univeristy. In this role he coordinates, supports, leads, and provides technical assistance for a broad range of campus sustainability initiatives, including high-performance "green" building, recycling, energy conservation, and environmental education. Richard also serves as the Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Environment and Society (CSES). Richard holds an appointment as a Complimentary Lecturer of Environment and Society and has taught several classes at Rice. Richard is also a research fellow for the Center on Race, Religion, and Urban Life. Richard received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Rice University, and a Masters in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia.

 M Knudson 
Myron Knudson, P. E.

Senior Policy Advisor to the Regional Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency, Region 6. Mr. Knudson is a registered Professional Engineer in Texas, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.  He has served as a Commissioned Office (Engineer) with the US Public Health Service from 1962 to 1966, with the Federal Water Pollution Control Administration from 1966 to 1970 and from 1970 until the present time with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Mr. Knudson served as Director, Surveillance and Analysis Division, Region 6, Dallas, Texas, from March 13, 1975 until May 19, 1979, as Director, Water Management Division, Region 6, Dallas, Texas, from May 20, 1979 until July 22, 1995 and as Director, Superfund Division from July 23, 1995 until December 14, 2003. He was appointed as Senior Policy Advisor to the Regional Administrator on December 15, 2003 and continues in that position. Mr. Knudson is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers; the Water Environment Federation; the American Water Works Association; the North Texas Association of Environmental Professionals; and the National Society of Professional Engineers. Mr. Knudson earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1962 from the University of Texas at Austin, and his Master of Science in Civil Engineering (Environmental Option) in 1968 from Northeastern University in Boston.

 David Leebron sm 
David Leebron

Seventh president of Rice University since July 1, 2004. Leebron is leading Rice through a period of growth based on the 10-point Vision for the Second Century he launched during his first three years in office. The wooded 285-acre campus in the heart of Houston is undergoing some $850 million in construction projects to add two new residential colleges to house a 30 percent growth in the undergraduate student body, a 10-story research center to deepen Rice's collaboratin with the Texas Medical Center, physics and sociology buildings, and new campus amenities including a libary-based pavilion and recreation center. Leebron has emphasized building Rice's international presence with active outreach to Asia and Latin America and, at the same time, has strengthened the university's local impact with multiple programs that connect students and faculty with Houston. Leebron is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He began teaching in 1980 at the UCLA School of Law and in 1983 at the NYU law school. In 1989 Leebron joined the faculty of Columbia University School of Law where in 1996, he was appointed dean. Currently part of the political science faculty at Rice, Leebron is an expert on international human rights, trade and corporate finance.

 Levy sm 
Robert Levy, Ph. D.

Director of Industry Professionals for Clean Air in Houston.  Previously Robert Levy was an executive with two process technology start-up companies:  UniPure Corporation and Energy BioSystems Corporation.  Earlier in his career he served as Vice President, Technology Development, for the M.W. Kellogg Co., with responsibility for acquisition, development and commercialization of a wide range of refining, chemicals and fertilizer processes.  Prior to Kellogg, Dr. Levy had a 19-year career with Exxon Corporation, which included responsibility for residuum conversion process technologies, management of synthetic fuels engineering and management of the technical services department at a large offshore refinery.  He received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University.

 Stephen Linder sm 
Stephen Linder, Ph. D.

Professor at the University of Texas School of Public Health with appointments in three Divisions at the School -- Management, Policy and Community Health, Health Promotion and Behavioral Science, and Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences.  Dr. Linder is also the Associate Director of the Institute for Health Policy.   He received his doctorate in political science from the University of Iowa and was trained in mediation at the University of Texas Law School and in leadership at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.  He was on the faculty of UCLA and Tulane University before coming to the School of Public Health in 1984.  In 2004 he was named a Piper Professor by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation for excellence in teaching.   He has served on the Texas Public Utility Commission’s Study Panel on Electric and Magnetic Field Effects, on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Electric Power Research Institute and on the Environmental Advisory and Clean Air Committees of the Greater Houston Partnership.  His recent research has focused on risk theory and risk communications, adaptation to climate change, and currently on the assessment of air toxics in the Greater Houston Area.  He is the lead investigator and organizer of the Knowledge Translation Initiative funded by the ExxonMobil Foundation through the Institute for Health Policy.

 EMM sm 
Elena Marks, J.D, MPH

Appointed by Mayor Bill White to serve the Director of Health Policy for the City of Houston in January 2004.   Her responsibilities include oversight of the City’s Health and Human Services Department and the Office of Environmental Programming and coordination of environmental activities across all City departments.  Ms. Marks holds a Bachelor’s degree from Emory University, a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law, and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Texas School of Public Health.  Prior to joining the Mayor’s staff, Ms. Marks practiced trial and appellate law with major law firms, started and directed a successful legal placement business, and developed strategic, long range, and operating plans for service lines and system centers at St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System.

 JNG sm 
John Nielsen-Gammmon, Ph. D.

Holds a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  After a brief period as a researcher at the State University of New York at Albany, he joined the faculty at Texas A&M University in 1991.  He was appointed Texas State Climatologist by then-Governor George W. Bush in 2000. Dr. Nielsen-Gammon’s weather-related research involves studies of such phenomena as jet streams, extreme rainfall events, and coastal circulation systems.  His air quality research includes field forecasting support, numerical simulation, and diagnostic analysis of ozone events in Houston and Dallas for the Texas Air Quality Studies (TexAQS) in 2000 and 2005-2006.  Since becoming Texas State Climatologist in 2000, Dr. Nielsen-Gammon has worked on drought monitoring and forecasting, air pollution climatology, and improvements to the climate data record.  He teaches courses in weather analysis, weather forecasting, and atmospheric dynamics. Dr. Nielsen-Gammon was named a Presidential Faculty Fellow by the National Science Foundation and the White House in 1996, and has also received a Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching at Texas A&M University from the Association of Former Students.

 Olaguer sm 
Jay Olaguer, Ph. D.

A Ph.D. in Meteorology from MIT. He has designed and built complex 3-D models of the global atmosphere with climate dynamics, chemistry, and multi-media (i.e., air-soil-water) interactions. He has also assisted in the construction of human exposure models and been involved in the development and implementation of air pollution policies, including those pertaining to stratospheric ozone protection, climate change, and regional and local air quality. Dr. Olaguer has been a major contributor to various industry, state, federal, and international panels evaluating, planning, funding, or overseeing research on atmospheric pollution. This includes the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the California Air Resources Board's Reactivity Research Advisory Committee, and the NARSTO Reactivity Research Work Group. Dr. Olaguer also served on the editorial board of the peer-reviewed science journal, Environmental Science and Pollution Research- International. Dr. Olaguer has been especially involved in the issue of long-range transport of air pollution, and its implications for tropospheric ozone, climate, and air toxics. He has broad experience working with various stakeholders, including the research and consulting communities, the chemical industry, and regulatory agencies. Dr. Olaguer is currently a Senior Research Scientist at the Houston Advanced Research Center, where he is responsible for directing air quality research under the aegis of the Texas Environmental Research Consortium.
 H Palacio sm 
Herminia Palacio, M. D., MPH.
Executive Director of Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services (HCPHES), the local health department for approximately 1.8 million people. Palacio received her medical degree from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where she was also inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.  She completed her residency at the University of California San Francisco.  As a Board Certified Internist, Palacio obtained a Masters of Public Health from the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health.  She authored numerous articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and currently holds faculty appointments at the Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas School of Public Health. A local public health authority, Palacio provides oversight for a variety of public health emergency responses such as the Medical Branch Director for the Astrodome/Reliant Park mega-shelter operation for over 27,000 evacuees from Hurricane Katrina; as Incident Commander for the public health response to many infectious disease incidents and environmental incidents; and is currently tasked with playing a lead role in local pandemic influenza preparedness planning. She remains active in local, state and national public health policy, and has served as President of the Texas Association of Local Health Officials (2005-2006) and is currently on both the Board of Directors and the Chronic Disease Prevention Workgroup of the National Association of County and City Health Officials.  Palacio was awarded the Excellence in Health Administration Award by the American Public Health Association in 2007.

   KP sm 
Karl Pepple

Houston’s first Director of Environmental Programming. This position was created in 2005 by Mayor Bill White to address the growing environmental needs of a major metropolitan area. Karl reports to Elena Marks, Director of Health and Environmental Policy. His work addresses areas such as air pollution reduction, recycling programs, water quality, and urban heat islands. Prior to working in the Mayor’s office, Karl was the Air Quality Coordinator for the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC).  Karl completed his undergraduate and masters degrees at the University of Oklahoma. While a student, he earned a BA in Letters, a BS in Environmental Science, and an MS in Environmental Science. He continues to enjoy the challenges of higher education, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science through the Institute of Multi-Dimensional Air Quality Studies at the University of Houston.

  loren raun sm 
Loren Hopkins Raun, Ph. D.

Teaches graduate applied environmental statistics and human health risk assessment at Rice University in Houston and serves as the Senior Environmental Analyst for the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Programming in the City of Houston.  Her work for Mayor Bill White has focused on air pollution reduction measures through efforts such as a voluntary benzene reduction plan for industry and incorporation of hazardous air pollutant control through a city ordinance. Loren has 20 years of experience in the environmental field as a consultant for private industry, academician, and government contractor/employee.  Her expertise lies in environmental statistics, human-health risk assessment and contaminant modeling. 

David Schanbacher, P. E.

Chief Engineer for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, providing oversight and guidance on engineering standards of the agency and coordinating major engineering initiatives and studies.  He has received certification as a registered professional engineer in the State of Texas. The Chief Engineer also serves as Deputy Director of the Chief Engineer=s Office, which consists of engineering and technical experts, the Toxicology Section, the Air Quality Planning and Implementation Division (responsible for the State Implementation Plans), the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Program, the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, and the Galveston Bay Estuary Program. Mr. Schanbacher has served as special assistant to the Office of Air Quality and the Office of the Executive Director at the TCEQ, and as a permit engineer in the New Source Review Program before becoming Chief Engineer.  Mr. Schanbacher previously spent several years in various engineering positions in the chemical industry and the oil and gas industry before joining the Texas Air Control Board, a predecessor agency of the TCEQ, in 1992. Mr. Schanbacher received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Missouri and a Masters Degree in Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

 bob Stein sm 
Robert Stein, Ph. D.

Lena Gohlman Fox Professor of Political Science at Rice University, Faculty Director of the Center for Civic Engagement. Professor Stein is an expert on urban politics and public policy. A well-known and respected political analyst who has been featured on local and national television and radio news shows during political campaigns since 1983, Stein received a bachelor of arts degree from Ohio Wesleyan University. He earning a master of arts and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. After a year as assistant professor at the University of Georgia, Stein came to Rice as an assistant professor of political science. He was named a professor and served as chair of the political science department. Stein was dean of the School of Social Sciences. He has served on numerous editorial boards including the American Political Science Review. His work has appeared in a wide range of scholarly journals, articles and book chapters. He has been awarded multiple grants. He received a special award from the Urban Politics and Policy Section of the American Political Science Association for his book "Urban Alternatives: Private and Public Markets in the Provision of Local Services" in 1990. Stein was co-author of "Perpetuating the Pork Barrel: Policy Subsystems and American Democracy," published in 1995. During his years at Rice, Stein has received numerous awards, including the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching.

 T Stock sm 
Thomas H. Stock, Ph. D.

Associate Professor of Environmental Sciences in the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Texas School of Public Health.  Dr. Stock received a Ph. D. degree in biophysical chemistry from Cornell University, and a postdoctoral MPH in industrial hygiene/toxicology from the University of Texas School of Public Health.  He teaches courses on air pollution and environmental measurements, and is a Certified Industrial Hygienist.  His research interests involve the assessment of human exposure to environmental pollutants in the community and workplace, with special emphasis on indoor and outdoor air quality.  He has been involved in a number of large community studies of exposures to a variety of air pollutants, as well as their health effects.  Over the last ten years, his research has focused on the use of passive air sampling for air toxics, for both exposure assessment and the determination of spatial variation of ambient concentrations.  He currently serves as co-PI for the Houston Exposure to Air Toxics Study (HEATS), an intensive study of personal, indoor and outdoor concentrations of VOCs for a representative sample of the residents of two Houston areas, one highly impacted by petrochemical facilities, the other not.  Dr. Stock served as a member of the Mayor’s Task Force on the Health Effects of Air Pollution.
  Sullivan sm 
John Sullivan, Ph. D.
Serves on the faculty of the Department of Preventive Medicine & Community Health. Dr. Sullivan co-directs Public Forum & Toxics Assistance through the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Center in Environmental Toxicology at University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.  He uses Augusto Boal’s Forum Theater techniques to teach toxicological concepts and create public dialogues on risk perception and the health effects of toxic exposures.  He formerly directed Theater Degree Zero (Tucson AZ), and Seattle Public Theater’s applied theater wing.

James Tobin

Ph.D. student, Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, advisor John Nielsen-Gammon. Received his B.S. Meteorology from Penn State University in 2001. His research interests lie anywhere in the realm of atmospheric sciences where statistical methods are applied, particularly air quality and forecasting.  His dissertation will focus on the relationship between meteorology and peak 8-hr ozone with some specific attention paid to the EPA non-attainment regions in Texas.  Some of the findings he hopes to include in his dissertation are the role meteorological conditions play in controlling 8-hr peak ozone, a climatological trend for peak 8-hr ozone controlling for meteorological conditions, and an accurate statistical model to predict peak 8-hr ozone based on commonly observed or predicted meteorological variables.  He expects to complete his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences as well as a M.S. in Statistics in 2009. Mr. Tobn is presenting for Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon.

Jonathan B. Ward Jr., Ph. D.

Professor, Director of the Division of Environmental Toxicology, and the Director of the NIEHS Environmental Toxicology Center and the Sealy Center for Environmental Health and Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. His research addresses human sensitivity to genotoxic effects of 1,3-butadiene and similar chemicals. He investigates exposed human populations using biological markers of exposure, effect, and genetic susceptibility. In addition, his research includes analogous studies in mice with genetic modifications in biotransformation and DNA repair. He is also participating in several activities addressing air quality in the greater Houston region. He was a member of the Houston Mayor’s Task Force on improving air quality, and co-authored a study of air quality guidelines for hazardous air pollutants, He is also a  member of the Board of Directors of the Texas Environmental Research Consortium. Dr. Ward received his AB degree in Biology from Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA, an MS in Bacteriology from the University of Idaho, and Ph.D. in Microbial Genetics from Cornell University. He had post-doctoral training at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, and UTMB.

 Mayor Bill White sm 
Mayor Bill White

Mayor White's leadership has brought Houston together, as shown by his overwhelming re-election to a third term. He uses business practices every day at City Hall to improve service and get things done. He has aggressively attacked our community's most difficult challenges, such as investment in neighborhood drainage, reform of municipal pensions, holding the line on property taxes with rate cuts and increased senior exemptions, attacking crime hot spots and even faster removal of stalled vehicles to reduce wrecks and traffic congestion. Americans witnessed Mayor White's hands-on management style when he helped lead Houston's competent, compassionate response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Now in his third term, Mayor White is accelerating work to revitalize our City's most neglected neighborhoods, with foreclosure and hundreds of new housing starts on thousands of abandoned properties. He also initiated a program to weatherize thousands of homes in older neighborhoods, saving homeowners an average of 20 percent on their electricity bills. In addition, Mayor White has aggressive programs to enforce pollution laws, reduce the flooding impact of new developments, raise high school graduation rates, and encourage more flexible working hours. Before serving as mayor, White built one of the region's most successful businesses. Previously he served as Deputy Secretary of Energy of the United States, where he helped diversify national energy supplies and saved taxpayers billions of dollars with management reforms. Earlier in his career, he helped build and manage one of the nation's most successful law firms.