MORPC Announces 2017 Green Region Award Winners at Summit on Sustainability

November 21, 2017
Every year, MORPC’s Summit on Sustainability offers an opportunity to honor and recognize the individuals and organizations that have made Central Ohio a more sustainable region. While the Summit features a variety of keynote speakers and breakout sessions on a variety of topics, one of the highlights of the day is the presentation of the Green Region Awards.
green region awards

William (Bill) A. Lewis, Jr Green Mobility Award

The William (Bill) A. Lewis, Jr Green Mobility Award recognizes an individual exemplifying outstanding work towards creating a world-class multi-modal transportation system for Central Ohio.

This year’s award was presented to Julie Walcoff Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Active Transportation Program Manager. For the past 10 years, Walcoff has managed ODOT’s Safe Routes to Schools program establishing one of the most successful data-driven programs in the country. Overseeing $64 million worth of active transportation infrastructure projects, she has spent the past five years building many of Ohio’s active transportation programs and initiatives from the ground up. Walcoff’s relationship with the Ohio Department of Health leveraged millions of the Center for Disease Control funds for active transportation projects, moving Ohio from 32nd place to 16th place in the Bicycle Friendly State Program. She continues to build a “complete streets mentality” throughout the state by supporting robust training programs and manage the implementation of U.S. Bicycle Route 50, which will dedicate hundreds of miles for cycling in Ohio.

Green Leader Award

The Green Leader Award recognizes an individual or entity exemplifying outstanding leadership and innovation in seeking comprehensive sustainability solutions to address key challenges facing the region.

Susan Ashbrook is the recipient of the Green Leader Award. As the Assistant Director for the City of Columbus Department of Public Utilities, Ashbrook is a champion for sustainability. One of her most notable accomplishments has been Blueprint Columbus – a groundbreaking green infrastructure plan. Blueprint is a new holistic approach to eliminating sewer overflows into the region’s rivers and managing storm water to prevent it from entering sanitary sewers. The plan is innovative because it circumvents the need to dig massive tunnels to contain storm water overflows by instead creating significant amounts of green infrastructure, such as bioswales, rain gardens, porous pavement streets, parks and other neighborhood amenities.

Some of Ashbrook’s other notable initiatives include Branch Out Columbus, an initiative to plant 300,000 trees in the next five years and GreenSpot, a flagship green program for the city. She was instrumental in forming the city’s Environmental Steward office, an advocate for the American Municipal Power EcoSmart Choice green-pricing program and involved in the application for Smart Cities.

Green Collaborative Achievement Award

The Green Collaborative Achievement Award recognizes a group of entities or individuals who have shown effectiveness in producing environmental accomplishments through a collaborative effort.

The Ohio State University’s Student Sustainability Council was presented the Green Collaborative Achievement Award. OSU’s Student Sustainability Council is a group of approximately 25 registered student organizations that meet regularly to discuss issues around sustainability. With a goal of raising the sustainability awareness and activism of all students, OSU’s Sustainability Council hosted “Time for Change Week 2017”. By bringing together the council’s member organizations and numerous entities across campus, the students planned and managed more than 15 events for the week promoting various ways to address, improve and raise awareness of sustainability on Ohio State’s campuses.

We are grateful for these many contributions to our community and look forward to another year of moving forward with sustainability initiatives across Central Ohio.

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