1. Tell us a little about your background in sustainability and how did it all start for you?
I first came to Texas from my hometown of Milwaukee, WI in 2008 to attend Southern Methodist University in Dallas. At the time, I had high hopes of pursuing a path in International Commercial Real Estate after watching the riveting 2006 classic, James Bond: Casino Royale. I saw Bond at the casino in Serbia/Montenegro and got the inspiration to build the next great vacation getaway; the next Cancun! Fast forward to first semester freshman year in my microeconomics class at SMU. Halfway thorough the monotonous class, I knew I needed to find a passion for something else, but didn’t know where to begin. After a call to my mother asking what I should do, she replied: “That’s why you’re at school! Go find something you care about!” My background/passion in sustainability started soon after that microeconomics class when I began to explore the campus and ventured to SMU’s Geothermal Laboratory. There, I got the opportunity to meet Maria Richards. Her unwavering optimism and positive outlook was inspiring and drew me in to learn more about geothermal energy. After experiencing that environment for a couple days, I was blown away by the sheer potential for the development of renewable energy during my lifetime. I worked with Maria in the lab and continued to pursue this newly found inspiration for renewable energy for the remainder of my college career.
During my time, I was fortunate enough to attend a five-month Sustainability Discourse in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2011. This was a great opportunity to witness sustainability on the international level, especially in a country with energy policies far ahead of the US. I thought I’d have to move to Denver or Portland where the “green” culture is more established, but am very grateful that I made the cold phone call to Earth Day Texas back in February 2014. Oh, and Maria was the one who encouraged me to make that cold call…the rest is history!
2. What does Earth Day Texas mean to you?
EDTx is a platform where, over the course of three (five) days, people from all walks of life are welcomed to learn, present, network, showcase, educate and foster the bright ideas that will be instrumental for the success of our collective existence. EDTx is about education and inspiration. Come expand your knowledge and find yours!
3. How many years have you been involved with EDTx? What has been your most memorable moment?
I started in February 2014 after I left my previous job as a truck load broker at a third-party logistics company. Needless to say, that certainly wasn’t “my jam.” This will be my fourth Earth Day event and man, has there been a lot of information to digest along the way! I’ve been able to greatly expand my knowledge in so many areas within “The environment.”
4. Tell us about your new Environmental Stewardship programs this year.
I want to give people the tools to take the next step toward a more sustainable future. You can’t live a dream unless you have a dream, and we won’t save the world in one fell swoop. It’s our collective responsibility to understand how we can benefit our environment, one step at a time.
5. What do you want people to take away from Earth Day Texas 2017?
I want people to plant a seed. I want people to scuba dive in the dive pool in Dallas, Texas. I want people to discover where they can take a hike in their city. I want people to find their passion for the environment they never even knew they had. It’s all about experiences in this lifetime and I hope to offer our attendees the opportunities to experience what can inspire those to take the next step toward finding their passion to benefit any part of the environment. It’s all about taking that first step. I want people to become even more evolved, responsible human beings!