Sustainability Summit 2017: Synergy Sessions

Synergy Session 1: 10-11:45 a.m.

Paul Quinn College — We Over Me Farm

James Hunter

The presentation will cover the history, operations and future plans for the Paul Quinn College, We Over Me Farm. In March 2010, Paul Quinn College decided to convert its football field into an organic farm. The move symbolized the college's dedication to a team of a different kind — the team of individuals and organizations fighting to end food insecurity and injustice in the United States. Originally located in a food desert, the Farm has produced more than 40,000 pounds of organic produce since its inception, and 15 percent of this produce has been donated to neighborhood charitable organizations. The rest supports community members, the college and restaurants and grocers throughout Dallas. Under the guidance of the farm director, the Farm is operated and maintained entirely by Paul Quinn student-employees, who engage in all farm activities, from business planning to marketing. The Farm thus serves as a model of socially and environmentally driven servant leadership.

Backyard Biospheres

Joyce Connelley, Marshall Grain Co.

While many of us have heard about the plight of the European honeybee and the Monarch butterfly, what most don't realize is that there are hundreds of other species of insects, reptiles and even mammals whose numbers are rapidly dwindling. There are two main reasons for their decline: Habitat loss and pesticide use. Both are easy to fix! All you have to do is start thinking of your home as an oasis — a mini nature center that is self-sustaining. We can never return the prairie to what it once was, but by building “oases”  we can begin to replace some of the lost habitat used by both migratory and stationary species. While the Monarch Waystation Project and Million Pollinator Garden Challenge focus on plantings for migratory species along the main North American Flyway, my presentation will present solutions that backyard gardeners can use to sustain the full range of native animals.

Urban Farming/Gardening

Synergy Session 2: 1-2:45 p.m.

Bicycling, DART and Mobility Alternatives


  • Jared White, city of Dallas alternative transportation program manager
  • Rob Parks, DART senior manager of passenger support 
  • Alex Karjeker, senior public policy associate, Uber
  • Bud Melton (moderator), Halff Associates, Inc.   

Alternative transportation and mobility options are changing rapidly and becoming far more sustainable. This panel will explore some of the ways we connect from trip origins to destinations. Dallas Area Rapid Transit is pursuing innovative approaches to mobility to help reduce the dependency on the single occupant automobile within the North Texas Region. The city of Dallas is making plans for improving bicycle and pedestrian accommodation. The focus of this panel is on what many refer to as the experience of the “Last Mile” of any trip, and the array of changes that are emerging to help make cities more navigable, bikeable and walkable without driving alone. 

Jared White joined the Dallas Park and Recreation Department in 2006 overseeing the continued implementation of the city’s Trail Network Master Plan. Now with the Mobility and Street Services Department, White coordinates the overall planning and implementation of the Dallas Bikeway System, including both on-street bicycle routes and trails. His work includes coordination of bicycle transportation related projects among other government agencies including Dallas County, TxDOT and DART. Before joining the city of Dallas, he spent seven years at the North Central Texas Council of Governments in planning and funding of regional bicycle and pedestrian transportation projects.

Robert B. Parks, AICP, is senior manager of passenger support in the Growth and Regional Development Department at DART, where he has worked since 1985. He worked previously for ATE Management and Service Company, and for transit authorities in New Orleans and San Antonio. He has spent his entire career serving the transit passenger, leading projects and supervising in the areas of service, policy and bus facilities planning and implementation. He holds a Master of City and Regional Planning degree in Transportation Planning and Policy Analysis from Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Pomona College in Claremont, California.

Alexander Karjeker is a policy associate with Uber, based out of his hometown, Houston. He works with community stakeholders and government officials to leverage the Uber network and improve local transportation and mobility. Before joining Uber, Karjeker worked at Morgan Stanley and helped transportation agencies gain access to capital markets. He studied at Georgetown and the University of Texas at Austin.

Moderator Bud Melton, a longtime specialist in mobility alternatives, will guide the panel through a variety of approaches and perspectives centered on the subject of emerging mobility options and exploring why people choose which. He works with Halff’s North Texas Planning and Landscape Architecture division, is a trustee for the Texas Trees Foundation as well as the Deep Ellum Foundation and is a member of Urban Land Institute’s North Texas TOD Product Council. As an AIA Dallas Allied Member, Bud serves on the nation’s seventh largest chapter’s Columns magazine editorial advisory board.

Alternative Transportation and Mobility

From Recovery to Resiliency: Lessons Learned From Hurricanes Harvey and Katrina  


  • Amy King, CEO and co-founder, GoodWork; CEO Nested Strategies
  • Marina V. Badoian-Kriticos, regional program advisor (Southeast Texas), Texas PACE Authority
  • Clare Duncan, program officer, LISC Houston
  • Diana Souza, design leader, Green Rebellion

How can Texans collaborate in an unprecedented way to share resources, build smarter and prepare for the worst-case scenarios to help everyone not just survive but also thrive? Are we taking previous disasters’ lessons learned into account when we rebuild?

In a year where record-breaking, indiscriminate natural disasters have affected many Texas cities, most public policy, urban planners, resiliency officers, builders and other practitioners are taking a hard look at the most complex urban and coastal issues around stormwater management, zoning and building practices.

We’ve convened four leaders to present case studies and lessons learned in Hurricane Katrina and Houston’s Tropical Storm Alison rebuilding efforts, contrasted with some of the current challenges facing Houston post-Harvey. Audience members will then participate in a Q&A and panel discussion with the speakers.

Amy King Amy King is CEO and co-founder of GoodWork, a LEED and WELL registered coworking community in Dallas, designed as a flexible space for incubating entrepreneurial ideas and cultivating triple bottom line companies. She is a work futurist, community builder and brand storyteller with more than 20 years of advertising, communications and marketing experience in the private and nonprofit sectors, championing sustainable practices and storytelling for impact. Most recently, she worked for U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), where she launched the USGBC Leadership Institute, spearheaded the consulting support for the USGBC chapter organizations, and led green rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina.

Clare Duncan supports Houston LISC's communications, fund development and policy efforts. Previous to joining LISC, she spent six years in Washington, D.C., focusing on affordable housing and community development issues. Most recently, she worked as a policy & program manager at Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF), a network of high-capacity nonprofit developers. At SAHF, she managed its Outcomes Initiative, an effort to improve and expand resident services through an outcomes-driven approach. Clare also supported SAHF’s policy initiatives and managed many of the peer networks for SAHF's 11 members. Before joining SAHF, Clare was a policy associate at the National Housing Conference, where she convened NHC members on a broad range of affordable housing issues including foreclosure prevention and neighborhood stabilization, energy efficiency and the intersection of housing and transportation policy. During graduate school, she assisted Texas state Sen. Judith Zaffirini on her Health and Human Services legislation during the 2009 Texas session and worked for the Texas Association of Community Development Corporations on its policy and research efforts. Clare received her Master in Public Affairs degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame.

Marina Badoian-Kriticos serves as a member of Texas PACE Authority through HARC (Houston Advanced Research Center). Previously at the Institute for Market Transformation, Marina was a City Energy Project senior city advisor where she focused on expanding energy and water efficiency in the built environment and helped the city of Houston develop programs and policies that will lead to a healthier and more prosperous city. As the sustainability director for the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), Marina drove sustainability initiatives and developed tools for market innovation.

Diana SouzaDiana Souza, a creative communications strategist, has worked as a leader and innovator on creative design teams in New York, New Orleans and Dallas. With a passion to serve social causes through the visual arts, she enjoys inspiring college students to use their skills for the higher good. Diana has authored and designed a study guide for instructors, “Sustainable Design: A Womanual for Designers & Change Agents” (available at She is design leader of the sustainable design group Green Rebellion.