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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.

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Event Speakers, Moderators and Discussants 

We thank the members of our event planning committee for their time and effort to inclusively bring the best event and people together. 

Claude Griffin,  Rusty Bienevue,  Ann Taylor,  Matthew Camp,  Robert Bullard,  Mark Juedeman,  David Crossley,  Shawn McFarland,  Lester King,  John Anderson, and  Lilibeth Andre  


AndersonJohnpicsm.jpg  John Anderson    John Anderson is the Maurice Ewing Professor of Oceanography at Rice University and the Academic Director of the Shell Center for Sustainability. His current research interests are in 1) the recent retreat history of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and those factors that regulated ice sheet retreat, and 2) The evolution of the US Gulf Coast and response of coastal environments to global change. John has participated in 24 scientific expeditions to Antarctica. He has authored and co-authored over 200 refereed publications, edited 5 volumes and published two books, “Antarctic Marine Geology” (Cambridge University Press), and “Formation and Future of the Upper Texas Coast”.  John is past president of the Society of Sedimentary Research.  He has received several awards, including two Rice teaching awards, the Outstanding Educator Award of the Gulf Coast Geological Society and the 2007 Shepard Medal of the Society for Sedimentary Research.

Bullard pic sm  Robert Bullard    Robert D. Bullard is a Distinguished Professor and Dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University.  He is often called the “father of environmental justice.”  Bullard was featured in the July 2007 CNN People You Should Know. In 2008, Newsweek named him one of 13 Environmental Leaders of the Century.  In 2010, Planet Harmony named him one of “Ten African American Green Heroes.” And in 2012, he was featured in Katrina Fried’s Everyday Heroes: 50 Americans Changing the World One Nonprofit at a Time. He has written 18 books.  A few of his books include Dumping in Dixie (2000), Just Sustainabilities: Development in an Unequal World (2003), Highway Robbery (2004), Growing Smarter: Achieving Livable Communities, Environmental Justice, and Regional Equity (2007), The Black Metropolis in the Twenty-First Century: Race, Power, and the Politics of Place (2007), Race, Place and Environmental Justice After Hurricane Katrina: Struggles to Reclaim, Rebuild, and Revitalize New Orleans and the Gulf Coast (2009),  Environmental Health and Racial Equality in the United States:  Strategies for Building Just, Sustainable and Livable Communities (2011), and  The Wrong Complexion for Protection: How the Government Response to Disaster Endangers African American Communities (2012). 

DiazTony-lianalopez pic sm  Tony Diaz    Tony DiazEl Librotraficante, founded Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say in 1998.  He is the leader of the Librotraficantes-champions of Freedom of Speech, Intellectual Freedom, and Performance Protest. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and wrote the award-winning novel THE AZTEC LOVE GOD.  His current work THE PROTESTERS HANDBOOK is a multi media performance piece that ranges from text to blogs and videos to live performance. He also hosts the Nuestra Palabra Radio Program on 90.1 FM KPFT Houston, Texas. He was recently named the Director of Cultural Diversity at Lone Star College and will be starting their Mexican American Studies Program. Diaz has refined the tactics of the New Era activist-writer to make local, national and international news with several initiatives including: 1.) The Librotraficante Movement, which defies the Far Right attack on Ethnic Studies & Freedom of Speech. 2.) The Harris County ban on piñatas. 3.) Diaz co-founded Protectors of the Dream, which awards grants and free legal representation to youth of the Dream Act Movement. 4.) Diaz organized a Texas-wide coalition to stop Texas House Bill 1938 and Senate Bill 1128 which would have effectively dismantled Ethnic Studies and Women's Studies in Texas colleges.  Most recently Diaz spearheaded the initiative to create Gus Garcia Day. Gus Garcia was the first Mexican American to win a Supreme Court Case. Prior to Hernandez vs. Texas we were invisible. Now, we have been empowered to defend our culture from the classroom to the courtroom. 

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 Claude Griffin 
  Claude Griffin, social investment program manager for Shell Oil Company, US Country Chair Office, works with business units and functions to build and enhance the social investment portfolio, with a focus on environmental issues. Claude joined Shell in 2007 as a multi-category project manager for lubricant products. He also managed projects for B2B and Shell Lubricants Canada. Prior to joining Shell, he worked in various roles to support the successful environmental remediation of the Department of Energy Fernald Closure Project, now the Fernald Preserve. He holds a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from North Carolina A&T (NCA&T) State University. Claude has more than 25 years of project experience in commercial and government sectors. He serves on the Operating Committee of the Shell Center for Sustainability at Rice University and the Executive Committee of the US Business Council for Sustainable Development. He is a member of several network organizations and on the recruitment team for NCA&T State University.

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Rob Hopkins 
  Rob Hopkins is recognized globally for his grassroots work in promoting community resilience in the light of peak oil and climate change. He is the co-founder of Transition Town Totnes and the Transition Network, and author of the best-selling The Transition Handbook. Rob was the winner of the 2008 Schumacher Award, is an Ashoka Fellow and a Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute, and was named by the Independent as one of the UK’s top 100 environmentalists. He is the winner of the 2009 Observer Ethical Award for the Grassroots Campaigner category, and in December 2009 was voted the Energy Saving Trust/Guardian’s ‘Green Community Hero’. In February 2012, Rob and the Transition Network were among NESTA and The Observer’s list of ‘Britain’s 50 New Radicals’. He is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Plymouth. His new book, The Power of Just Doing Stuff: How Local Action Can Change the World was published in June of 2013. 

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John Jacob 
  Dr. John Jacob is the director of the Texas Coastal Watershed Program, and Professor and Extension Specialist with a joint appointment with the Texas A&M Sea Grant Program and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service through the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Science. His current project, Coastal CHARM (Community Health and Resource Management), focuses on enabling coastal communities in Texas to improve quality of life in cities and towns while preserving and enhancing the natural coastal environment. Jacob holds  B.S. and M.S. degrees from Texas Tech University, and a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University, all in soils and natural resources. He is registered as a Professional Geoscientist with the State of Texas and is a Professional Wetland Scientist. Jacob is a recognized expert on Texas wetlands, having been active in consulting and research aspects of wetlands for more than 20 years.  Jacob is co-author of the Texas Coastal Wetland guidebook, as well as the Texas Sea Grant Resilient Coast series on the built environment and wetlands. Past projects include the development of the “Eco-Logic” Habitat map of the 8-county Houston region. Jacob was a lead participant in one of the first published research projects following the Supreme Court Rapanos decision addressing the issue of the hydrologic (and therefore regulatory) significance of a large class of wetlands on the Upper Gulf Coast of Texas.   

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Mark Juedeman 

Mark Juedeman retired in 2010 from a 30+ year career with Shell, where he worked as a Senior Staff Geophysicist on exploration and development projects in domestic onshore and offshore, the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico, and Deepwater Brazil. He has a BS in Earth Science/Geophysics from Montana State University and an MS in Geology from the University of Houston, and completed the program in Applied Geohydrology at the University of New Orleans. Mark and his family have lived in both Houston and New Orleans. While in New Orleans, Mark was involved with bicycle advocacy as a board member of the Metro Bicycle Coalition, environmental advocacy as a volunteer and board member of The Green Project, and education as board member and board chair of St. Paul's Episcopal School. Since returning to Houston he has become a founding member of Transition Houston (part of the global Transition movement to address climate change, peak oil, and economic instability), a member of the executive committee of the Houston Food Policy Workgroup, and a Board member of Urban Harvest.  Mark teaches at the University of Houston as adjunct faculty in the Department of Petroleum Engineering.  

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 Lester King 
  Dr. King specializes in sustainable development planning and creating context sensitive solutions for urban development. He is a certified planner with experience in community development; master planning and sustainability planning. Dr. King has experience with leading consensus building strategies for public participation/ community involvement support for the identification and delineation of planning objectives at the federal, state, and municipal project level.  He has experience with developing sustainability indicators and has contributed to local, national and international efforts to develop sustainability planning systems. 

LesterJimsmpic  Jim Lester    Dr. Jim Lester holds a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Texas at Austin and is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC). Previously, he served as Vice President and chief operating officer of HARC. He joined HARC in 2002 as the Director of HARC’s Environment Group. Dr. Lester is responsible for strategic direction of HARC’s programs which are designed to make more sustainable our management of water, air and natural resources. From 1975 to 2002 he was a faculty member and administrator in the University of Houston System where he held administrative positions at the University of Houston-Clear Lake as a Dean, Associate Vice President, and Director of the Environmental Institute of Houston. During his tenure at HARC, Dr. Lester has been engaged in projects that analyze compilations of datasets from multiple sources to obtain new insights for watershed or landscape management. He also has served in a leadership capacity for the HARC program on air quality science. Dr. Lester serves in an advisory capacity to a variety of organizations. He serves as the Chair of the Monitoring and Research Committee of the Galveston Bay Estuary Program, vice chair of the Trinity San Jacinto Basin and Bay Expert Science Team on environmental flows, and on advisory committees for the Texas Sea Grant Program, Texas A&M University College of Geosciences, and the Texas Environmental Research Consortium.

LewisCarolApicsmCarol Abel Lewis    Carol Abel Lewis is a Professor in Transportation Studies and Director of the Center for Transportation Training and Research at Texas Southern University (TSU). Since 1988, she has educated students in transportation fundamentals, operations, policy and management. Lewis conducts research regarding public transit, smart growth, land use and development, strategic planning and land value effects of transportation decisions. In March 2008, Lewis was asked to serve as principal investigator for TSU’s designation by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as a Petrochemical Transportation Security Center of Excellence. She is also the principal TSU researcher in the DHS Disasters, Coastal Infrastructure, and Emergency Management Center (Coastal Disasters). Prior to beginning at TSU, Lewis spent 15 years as manager and director of planning at the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County. Houston’s Mayor Annise Parker appointed Lewis to the Gulf Coast Rail District Board in June 2010. She previously served as transportation advisor to former Houston Mayor Bill White, and as Chair of the City’s Planning Commission. Other appointments include the Governor’s Task Force on Emergency Evacuation in 2005 by Governor Rick Perry and the METRO Board in 2002 by Mayor Lee Brown. Lewis holds a PhD from the University of Houston and bachelors and masters degrees from the University of Iowa. 

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Jason Roberts 
  Jason Roberts was the founder of the Oak Cliff Transit Authority, originator of the Better Block Project, co-founder of the Art Conspiracy and Bike Friendly Oak Cliff, and recent candidate for US Congress. In 2006, Jason formed the non-profit organization, Oak Cliff Transit Authority, to revive the Dallas streetcar system, and later spearheaded the city's effort in garnering a $23 Million dollar TIGER stimulus grant from the FTA to help reintroduce a modern streetcar system to Dallas. In 2010, Jason organized a series of "Better Block" projects, taking blighted blocks with vacant properties in Southern Dallas and converting them into temporary walkable districts with pop-up businesses, bike lanes, cafe seating, and landscaping. The project has now become an international movement occurring everywhere from Melbourne, Australia to Tehran, Iran, and has been featured in the New York Times, Dwell magazine, TED Talks and National Public Radio. Jason’s consulting firm, Team Better Block, was showcased in the US Pavilion at the 2012 Venice Biennale.

Susan Rogers 
  Susan Rogers is the Director of the Community Design Resource Center (CDRC) at the University of Houston’s College of Architecture and an Assistant Professor.  Her research, teaching, and practice focus on design as a strategy for community change, exploring the seams between design, justice and the public interest. The CDRC, founded in 2005, has partnered with dozens of community-based and non-profit organizations across the city of Houston as a means to develop collaborative and pragmatic solutions to design challenges. She is the coauthor of “An Architecture of Change,” the Introduction to Expanding Architecture: Design as Activism, edited by Bryan Bell and Katie Wakeford.  Her work has been published in Urban Design International, Places Journal, ii the International Journal of Interior Architecture + Spatial Design, ArtLies, Cite: The Architecture and Design Review of Houston, and most recently her essay “Strategrams” was published in the fifth volume of the Urban Infill series, Diagrammatically.

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Christof Spieler 
  Christof Spieler, PE, LEED AP is a member of the board of directors of Houston's Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO), a Vice President and Director of Planning at Morris, and a Senior Lecturer at the Rice University School of Architecture. At Morris, he has led land use and transportation planning projects in a variety of settings including Galveston, Downtown Houston, and Sugar Land. As the chair of METRO's Strategic Planning committee, he initiated the Transit System Reimagining process, a blank sheet re-design of the entire bus system. Since Mayor Annise Parker appointed him the board in 2010, METRO has successfully obtained a $900 million in federal funding for light rail, increased transparency, and put Houston transit on a firm financial footing. Mr. Spieler has written and spoken extensively on transit and urban planning and has helped Houston neighborhoods shape transportation projects. As a member of the American Public Transit Association's Sustainability and Urban Design Working Group, he has helped draft national standards on transit and urban design. He serves as a subcommittee chair for the Central Houston Transportation Committee, technical advisor to the Citizens' Transportation Coalition, and a member of the Houston USGBC LEED-ND committee. He has worked extensively with the East End Chamber of Commerce Rail Subcommittee, the Super Neighborhood 22 Transportation Committee, and Richmondrail.org. Mr. Spieler holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Rice University and is a licensed professional engineer. 

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Adrian Shelley 
  Adrian Shelley is a native Texan from the City of Houston. He attended Trinity University in San Antonio, where he graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in English and Philosophy. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Texas School of Law. Adrian served on the University of Texas Environmental Law Clinic, where he conducted research for a Clean Air Act Citizen suit against a Houston chemical plant. That suit resulted in a multimillion dollar settlement. During and after law school, Adrian interned for the Save Our Springs Alliance, the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice, and Air Alliance Houston. He is a two-time recipient of the Texas Legal Fellowship, a recipient of the Joe R. and Teresa L. Long Legal Fellowship. Adrian served as the Environmental Director and Counsel for State Representative Jessica Farrar during the 82nd session of the Texas Legislature. He has worked in the field of Clean Air Act litigation for several groups, including the Environmental Integrity Project. In 2010, Adrian completed a legal fellowship with Air Alliance Houston, conducting research on flexible air permits at several Texas refineries. He joined Air Alliance permanently in 2012 as the Community Outreach Coordinator. He now serves as Executive Director for Air Alliance Houston.

Val Marmillion  
  Val Marmillion is president and founder of MCo. He is the Managing Director of the America's WETLAND Foundation. He is recognized as one of the top campaign strategists in the country. Under his leadership, Marmillion + Company has emerged as one of the nation’s premiere strategic communications firms. Marmillion has led several ambitious strategic planning efforts for various clients that resulted in successful public education campaigns, including the American Psychological Association, UCLA, The National Association of Counties, The National Endowment for the Arts, the J. Paul Getty Trust, and the State of Louisiana. A highly skilled professional facilitator, his experience includes moderating panel discussions, focus groups and strategic planning sessions for clients such as the Texas General Land Office, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, and the Office of Senator Mary Landrieu. Prior to establishing Marmillion + Company in 1989, Mr. Marmillion was a partner in the public relations and public consulting firm of Hunt/Marmillion and Associates, which was later acquired by Ogilvy and Mather Worldwide. He also previously worked in Washington, D.C. where he served on the staffs of the late Senator Allen J. Ellender, Senator Elaine S. Edwards, and Congressman Burt Talcott and as Chief of Staff for then Congressman (now Former Senator) John B. Breaux.

Pizarro pic sm  Rafael Pizarro    Dr Rafael Pizarro (PhD) is Associate Professor of Urban Design at Texas Southern University in the Department of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy, School of Public Affairs.  Dr Pizarro has been Visiting Professor at the Technical University of Berlin (Germany) and Assistant Professor at the University of Sydney (Australia).  He has previously taught as Part-time Lecturer at the University of Southern California (USA) and at three universities in his native Colombia.  Dr. Pizarro received his PhD in Planning from the University of Southern California, holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Planning from Arizona State University, and a Professional Bachelor Degree in Architecture from Javeriana University in Bogota.  He has also been a professional planner for the City of Phoenix (AZ) and an architect in Colombia.  His research focuses on sustainable cities with emphasis on the production of green neighborhoods.  He is the author or co-author of more than 25 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and has co-edited Dialogues in Urban Planning: Towards Sustainable Regions (Sydney University Press 2008) and Southern California and the World (Praeger 2002). He has been member of the Australian National City & Regional Planning Research Group on Climate Change and the Group for Academic Studies and Research on Colombian Caribbean Cities.

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Albert Pope 
  Albert Pope is the Gus Sessions Wortham Professor of Architecture at the Rice University School of Architecture. Professor Pope is an architect and author who has written extensively on the problems and prospects of the contemporary Megalopolis. He is the author of Ladders, published by Princeton Architectural Press.


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