Summit on Sustainability 2021

Morning Plenary Session:

Breakout Session:

Educate, Engage & Redesign: Innovative Community Recycling, Composting & Waste Reducing Programs in Action

Breakout Session:

Sustainability & Economic Development

Lunch Plenary Session:

Breakout Session:

Sustainable2050 & Beyond: Leveraging Common Goals, Collaboration & Creativity for Sustainable Outcomes

Breakout Session:

Residents that Lead: Advancing Local Waste Reduction Solutions

The Summit on Sustainability is MORPC’s signature environmental conference, bringing hundreds of community leaders together to explore and share sustainable ideas and solutions, and to celebrate individuals and collaborative sustainability efforts with the Green Region Awards.

Dana Bourland

The Summit will feature keynote speaker Dana Bourland during the morning plenary session.

Dana Bourland is committed to solving our housing and climate crises in ways that advance racial, economic, and environmental justice. Over her career she has worked at the intersection of systems related to health, poverty, and the environment.

Most recently, Dana led the creation of the environment program at The JPB Foundation, which us one of the largest private foundations in the US. Dana is also the author of Gray to Green Communities.

The conference will include breakout sessions that focus on energy, water quality, materials management, active transportation, land-use development, air quality, social equity, economic development, weatherization, and policy.

During the lunch plenary session hear from local speakers that will provide Pecha Kucha style presentations while sharing real-life solutions and self-sustaining practices that will make our communities better today and tomorrow.


Regional Sustainability Awards






Keynote Speaker Dana Bourland

Room: Hopkins
Title: Harnessing the Air Quality Revolution: Low Cost Sensors, Equity, and Governance
Sponsored by Ramboll
Description: Over the past decade, there has been exponential growth in low-cost air pollution sensing technology. But what are the best applications of this new technology? And are there unintended consequences of this new real time data source? Join us as we explore questions of how to effectively communicate this new data and how more environmental data can support our health, justice in our communities, and the ways we govern.
Moderator: Ayah Hassan, Ramboll
Speakers: Huyen Le, The Ohio State University; Fern Uennatornwaranggoon, Environmental Defense Fund; Courtney Taylor, Ramboll

Room: Burkhart B
Title: LinkUs: A Mobility Plan for Central Ohio’s Sustainable Future
Sponsored by COTA
Description: LinkUS seeks to provide a complete mobility system along key regional corridors in response to the challenges facing a growing region, including managing traffic congestion, ensuring equitable access to jobs and housing, promoting economic vitality, and improved sustainability, and builds on numerous previous regional planning efforts. Join representatives from the project development team as they outline the opportunities and path forward in implementing this exciting vision.
Moderator: Leah Evans, Homeport
Speakers: Kim Sharp, COTA; Justin Goodwin, City of Columbus, and John Gardocki, MORPC

Room: Elijah Pierce A
Title: Building a more Equitable Community
Sponsored by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
Description: This session will address how institutions and organizations are incorporating social equity into their policies, procedures, and bodies of work to ensure fair opportunities for all. It will also examine the social determinants of health that contribute to disparities and inequities in underserved and historically marginalized communities as it relates to issues such as housing, education, and mobility. Additionally, panelists will discuss equitable recovery from the current economic and health crisis, which COVID-19 has elevated to a national awareness.
Moderator: Niel Jurist, MORPC
Speakers: Lisa Dent, Franklin County Public Health; Nichole Barnes Marshall, Bath & Body Works; and Joshua J. Joseph, MD, MPH, FAHA, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Room: Burkhart A
Title: Educate, Engage, and Redesign – Innovative Community Recycling, Composting, and Waste Reducing Programs in Action
Sponsored by SWACO
Description: Over the last year, SWACO has partnered with Upper Arlington, Gahanna, and Whitehall to implement three different programs, all with a focus on community education and engagement.  Come learn how these innovative new programs are shaping the future of waste management in Central Ohio.
Moderator: Kyle O’Keefe, SWACO
Speakers: Zach Woodruff, City of Whitehall; Katy Rees, City of Upper Arlington; and D. Grant Crawford, City of Gahanna

Room: Elijah Pierce B
Title: Funding for the Future: Water Infrastructure Financing in Ohio
Sponsored by Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
Description: This presentation will examine the State’s water infrastructure needs and explore some of the existing and potential funding solutions
Moderator: Jon Bernstein, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
Speaker: Jon Bernstein, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency

Room: Hopkins
Title: Return of Trail Town Investments
Sponsored by MurphyEpson
Description: A recent Central Ohio Greenways Impact of Trails Study reveals the true value and return on investment of a fully connected trail network in large cities and small towns alike. Join us to learn more about the bottom line and what leaders are doing to market and encourage trail use – and bring in big bucks in the process!
Moderator: Marie Keister, Murphy Epson
Speakers: Eric Oberg, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy; Leah Evans, Homeport; Samson Habte, Trail Advocate & User; Wayne Roberts, Friends of Madison County Parks & Trails

Room: Burkhart A
Title: Sustainability and Economic Development
Description: The economic development impacts of sustainability have seen transformative change, with financial and corporate resources supporting sustainable practices and initiatives to a greater degree than ever before, and consumers and job seekers are also more likely to engage with economic development ecosystems that prioritize the preservation of natural resources and environmental neutrality. This panel will explore the connections between sustainability and economic development, with a focus on business and long-range planning activities that can support sustainable development.
Moderator: Ted Geer, MORPC
Speaker: Mike McCann, Rev1 Ventures; Brian King, Advanced Drainage Systems; and Jeff Wilkins, Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio

Room: Burkhart B
Title: Policies, Programs, Progress: The Regional Housing Strategy One Year Later
Description: As the Regional Housing Strategy marks one full year since its release, we reflect on Central Ohio’s trials and triumphs on the way to advancing the region’s vision of housing as a platform for equitable growth and recovery.
Moderator: Rebecca Garrett, MORPC
Speakers: Carlie Boos, Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio; Ben Horne, Legal Aid Society of Columbus; and Carolyn Thurman, City of Westerville

Room: Elijah Pierce A
Title: Environment, Economy, & Equity: Working Together for a Clean Energy Future
Description: Solar energy on both a small and large scale has incredible potential for creating jobs and strengthening the economy and adopting a lens of equity will ensure that diverse perspectives are included in the development of clean energy projects, and that we are reducing the pollution and costs from energy consumption that disproportionately impacts low-income and communities of color. Join us to learn about the work businesses and organizations are doing, and how you can contribute to a sustainable energy future for everyone in Ohio.
Moderator: Randi Leppla, Ohio Environmental Council.
Speakers: Geoff Greenfield, Third Sun Solar LLC; and Tristan Rader, Solar United Neighbors

Room: Elijah Pierce B
Title: Ohio Materials Marketplace and More!
Sponsored by Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
Description: The Ohio Materials Marketplace aims to create a closed-loop, collaborative network of businesses, organizations, and entrepreneurs where one organization’s hard-to-recycle wastes and by-products becomes another organization’s raw material. Learn more about this platform and the Circular Economy, as well as other sustainable materials management-related programs at the national level, including the U.S. Plastics Pact and U.S. EPA’s National Recycling Strategy.
Moderator: Dave Foulkes, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
Speakers: Dave Foulkes, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency

State of Sustainability in Central Ohio

Pecha Kucha Speakers:

  • Ty Marsh, SWACO
  • Jennifer Fish, FSWCD
  • Mona Barber, Compost Clubhouse
  • Carolyn Thurman, City of Westerville
  • Derek Anderson, City of Columbus

Room: Burkhart A
Title: Sustainable2050 and Beyond: Leveraging Common Goals, Collaboration, and Creativity for Sustainable Outcomes
Description: Across central Ohio, thirty-four local governments and regional organizations are collectively working to advance sustainability and quality of life through their commitment to the Regional Sustainability Agenda. This session will feature examples from central Ohio and beyond, including Grove City’s sustainability plan in partnership with The Ohio State University, the City of Columbus’s successful clean energy aggregation program, and the City of Toledo’s initiatives earning them recognition in Site Selection’s annual Sustainability Rankings.
Moderator: Megha Sinha, NBBJ
Speakers: Linda Rosine, City of Grove City; Erin Beck, City of Columbus; and Melissa Greene Hopfer, Board of Lucas County Commissioners and Toledo-Lucas County Sustainability Commission

Room: Burkhart B
Title: Scenario Planning and Impact Assessment with ArcGIS Urban
Description: In our changing world, we have a lot of work to do as we plan for housing and transportation – all with sustainability, equity, and economics in mind. MORPC is working on a pilot with Esri to create 3-D base mapping to be used in ArcGIS Urban – a web-based scenario-planning and impact assessment tool.  Learn more from Esri’s Christine Ma about the capabilities of Urban, and hear local perspectives about potential applications for the tool as we plan for more sustainable, equitable, and efficient growth.
Moderator: Adam Porr, CURA
Speakers: Harvey Miller, CURA; Christine Ma, Esri; and Devayani Puranik, COTA

Room: Hopkins
Title: Key Sustainability Initiatives In State Government
Sponsored by Kegler, Brown, Hill + Ritter
Description: This panel will discuss pending legislation – HB 389 – that focuses on the effort to reinvent the state’s energy efficiency program, as well as the implementation of programs that will repurpose brownfields and make other improvements to infrastructure – ultimately improving our water quality.  Find out how these goals are unifying Republicans, Democrats, environmentalists, and the energy industry to a cleaner future with the potential to save money and create jobs.
Moderator: Steve Tugend, Kegler, Brown, Hill + Ritter
Speakers: Representative David Leland, District 22; Representative Kristin Boggs, District 18; Megan Meadows, Ohio Department of Development

Room: Elijah Pierce A
Title: Addressing Inequities in Transportation Access
Sponsored by Transit Columbus
Description: Decades of prioritizing infrastructure for automobiles and lack of investment in certain communities has created a system where minority, immigrant, and low-income populations are forced to travel in unsafe conditions to reach necessary goods and services, contributing to disproportionate fatality rates. This session is intended to be a conversation about how we can better serve all people living in our region and ensure that we all have equitable access to safe transportation.
Moderator: Tobi Otulana, Planner, Toole Design
Speakers: Jeremy Hollon, Community Partnerships Community Refugee & Immigration Services (CRIS); Rachael Kusak, Community Refugee & Immigration Services (CRIS); Abdi Soofe, City of Columbus; and Dana Dorsey, City of Columbus; Aslyne Rodriguez, COTA

Room: Elijah Piece B
Title: Recycling and Litter Prevention Funding Opportunities
Sponsored by Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
Description: Ohio EPA will provide an overview of their Recycle Ohio Grant Program’s 2022 grant cycle and highlight some past projects. There will also be an update on Ohio EPA’s multi-year Curbside Recycling Contamination Reduction Project and what’s next.
Moderator: Dave Foulkes, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
Speakers: Dave Foulkes, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency; and Marie Barnett, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency

Room: Burkhart A
Title: Residents that Lead: Advancing Local Waste Reduction Solutions
Sponsored by SWACO
Description: Resident-based environmental sustainability groups and local government advisory committees in Central Ohio are supporting and advancing environmental sustainability in their communities and coming together to share their success stories and challenges. This session will spotlight initiatives around waste reduction, composting, and recycling. Through the discussion we hope to identify common goals, needs, and opportunities for collaborating around waste reduction, as well as broader sustainability priorities.
Moderator: Kyle O’Keefe, SWACO
Speakers: Elizabeth Ellman, Bexley Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee; Ingrid Wood, Sustainable Delaware Ohio; and Kristen Hosni, Hilliard Environmental Sustainability Commission

Room: Burkhart B
Title: Building Active Transportation Infrastructure For all of Our Neighbors
Description: As Central Ohio invests in active transportation, such as bike lanes, sidewalks, and trails, it is imperative that the region builds networks and infrastructure that accommodates all our neighbors and friends, regardless of age, ability, and economic situation. Representatives from our region will discuss perspectives on the challenges of using high stress streets, opportunities to create safe streets for all, and strategies and partnerships to capture funding.
Moderator: Lori Duguid, Ohio Department of Transportation
Speakers: Mike Andrako, Franklin County Engineer’s Office; Sally Sharrow, Toole Design; and Stephen Patchan, MORPC

Room: Elijah Pierce A
Title: Diversity in Environmental Sustainability – Promoting Inclusivity and Participation in Water Planning and Management
Description: Not having access to clean, affordable, and abundant water undermines opportunity and human dignity, and environmental threats including water shortages, climate change, and water quality affect all sections of the public. Join us for a discussion about why representation and ensuring inclusion of a diverse cross-section of the population – especially minority groups like women and people of color – in the water planning and management, and sustainability industries is crucial to maintaining resource equity across cultures and demographics.
Moderator: Kari Mackenbach, MS Consultants
Speakers: Crystal M.C. Davis, Alliance for the Great Lakes; and Laquania Graham, Cleveland Water

Room: Elijah Pierce B
Title: How Weatherization is Key in Sustaining Affordable Housing
Description: Central Ohio is growing, and there is a severe lack of affordable housing options. With a deficit of over 40,000 units, the focus has primarily been on building more to solve this issue. While building is key, the importance of maintaining existing affordable housing units is often overlooked. Weatherization and Home Repair programs are key to maintaining existing affordable units. Learn how these programs work and how they help families remain in affordable housing units.
Moderator: Robert Williams, MORPC
Speakers: Robert Williams, MORPC; Tim Murphy, MORPC

Thank you Sponsors:

Presenting Sponsor:


Program Sponsor:

Network Sponsor:

Supporting Sponsors:


Ohio Environmental Protection Agency

Morning Plenary Sponsor:

Columbus State Community College

Breakout Session Sponsors:

Kegler, Brown, Hill + Ritter



The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Transit Columbus




Ohio Environmental Protection Agency

Ohio University


For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Amanda McEldowney at

Other Upcoming Meetings

August 8, 2024, 1:30pm - 3:00pm

September 12, 2024, 1:30pm - 3:00pm

October 10, 2024, 1:30pm - 3:00pm

November 14, 2024, 1:30pm - 3:00pm

December 12, 2024, 1:30pm - 3:00pm

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