Program Instructors:


Kai Abelkis has been Boulder Community Hospital's Sustainability Coordinator since 1999, where he is responsible for minimizing the hospital's environmental footprint. The Foothills hospital was the first LEED certified medical facility in the world. Abelkis sits on Colorado's Pollution Advisory Committee, the City of Boulder's Climate Advisory Group, and is a board member of the Boulder East Transportation Management Organization. Hospitals and other organizations around the country have consulted with Abelkis on their sustainability efforts. He also heads up Community Source Funding, a startup nonprofit dedicated to raising funds for folks doing good work. Read more about Abelkis in The Denver Post: "Boulder hospital reduces waste, also saves money."

Ghita Carroll

Ghita Levenstein Carroll, Ph.D. and LEED Green Associate, is the Sustainability Coordinator for the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD), located in Colorado. In this role, Dr. Carroll is directing and coordinating existing efforts around sustainability, and garnering support and partnerships for further integrating sustainability into district operations and curriculum. She has led the district toward defining, meeting and exceeding sustainability goals in the areas of buildings, education, transportation and materials, and BVSD received the 2014 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools District Award for this work. Previously, Dr. Carroll managed the energy program for CU-Boulder’s Environmental Center.  She has presented her work at many regional, national and local forums, including the National Green Schools Conference and GreenBuild.  Dr. Carroll received the Clean Energy Education and Empowerment 2014 Government Award from the U.S. Department of Energy and MIT Energy Initiative. She lives in Boulder with her husband and two children.

Monica Emerich

Monica Emerich, PhD, is the author of The Gospel of Sustainability: Media, Market and LOHAS (University of Illinois Press, 2011), an analysis of the discourses about sustainability that are generated within the media and the marketplace. She’s the co-editor of Media, Spiritualities and Social Change (Continuum Publishing, 2010) and has been actively involved in sustainability communications since 1991 through her roles as a trade and consumer journalist, a communications consultant, director of research for two publishing firms, and a scholar. She holds a doctorate in Communication from the University of Colorado.

Christopher Juniper is an economist/consultant whose skills include management of economic development, small business and non-profit organizations; and leading-edge sustainability performance consulting, training/education and tool development. As a sustainability consultant since 1997, he has helped US and international communities, governments and businesses on behalf of numerous organizations including Rocky Mountain Institute, Natural Capitalism Solutions and currently Shadowcliff Associates ( His clients have included international development organizations, the US Federal government, city/regional/state governments, and small and large businesses.  He has developed tools for organizational sustainability management, lifecycle management, and community/regional sustainable development.  He was Co-founding Director of the Sustainability Leadership Institute, and has served in leadership positions at several sustainability-related NGOs.  He has over 10 academic years of experience teaching college-level economics and sustainable development sources at the undergraduate and graduate levels and has given dozens of sustainability presentations at domestic and international conferences/classes. Chris recently became one of the first 50 professionals worldwide certified as a Certified Sustainability Professional by the ISSP.

Paul Lander Paul W. Lander, PhD, ASLA, LEED A.P. has worked in the fields of water, energy and land conservation for over 30 years, including 16 years directing the City of Boulder’s Water Conservation Office. His teaching includes courses in Western U.S. Water, World Water, and Landscape Sustainability at the University of Colorado-Boulder and through professional webinars. He is active professionally, having recently Chaired committees of the Am. Society of Landscape Architects, the Alliance for Water Efficiency, and the Am. Water Works Assoc. He serves on the advisory boards of water conservation programs at Lane Community College, OR, and the University of Florida.
Eric Lombardi Eric Lombardi is the Executive Director of Eco-Cycle, Inc. (, and has had a long career in resource conservation, social enterprise development and non-profit (NGO) organizational management since 1980. Eco-Cycle, founded in 1976, is considered a nationwide pioneer in the recycling industry and has grown under Eric’s tenure (since 1989) to become the largest community-based recycling organization in the U.S. with a staff of 66 and processing of over 50,000 tons of diverse recycled materials per year. Eric is recognized as an authority on developing comprehensive community-based resource recovery programs and is often a keynote speaker and consultant on the social and technical aspects of creating a “Zero Waste - Or Darn Near” society. Eric has experience both nationally and internationally as a project consultant, keynote speaker and workshop leader for government and private sector clients across the U.S., and in New Zealand, England, France, Italy, Scotland, Romania, American Samoa, Wales and Saipan. Lombardi was invited to the Clinton White House in 1998 as one of the Top 100 USA Recyclers, and he co-founded the U.S. GrassRoots Recycling Network (, and the Zero Waste International Alliance, based in Wales  He has an advanced degree from Washington University (St. Louis) in Technology and Human Affairs, and has been working at the interface of where society/technology/business come together to bring beneficial change to all the stakeholders.
K.J. McCorry

K.J. McCorry is the CEO of eco‐officiency, a company which offers sustainability consulting services to small and medium businesses. She specializes in sustainability planning, assessments and employee training. She is a contributing author to Simple Path to Sustainability; Green Business Strategies for Small and Medium Sized Businesses released in 2011. K.J. also serves on the University of Colorado Denver Managing for Sustainability Advisory Council as well as Leeds School of Business Sustainability Council. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals. Based in Boulder, CO she has been an avid environmentalist for over 25 years cultivating sustainability within her personal and professional life.

Bets McNie

Elizabeth McNie, Ph.D, is a Research Scientist at the Western Water Assessment at the University of Colorado’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science where she is also a Research Affiliate at its Center for Science and Technology Policy Research. She is an expert in science policy and the design and implementation of use-inspired research, particularly in the field of climate-change adaptation. She currently serves as the evaluation coordinator at WWA where her research focuses on understanding the effectiveness of use-inspired research and boundary organizations. She has also worked with the Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes at Arizona State University/Washington D.C. in developing a typology of research approaches to improve the usability of science for decision making. She also consults with a variety of organizations in leadership development, team building and organization effectiveness. Previously she was an Assistant Professor at Purdue University in the departments of Political Science and Earth & Atmospheric Sciences. Dr. McNie received her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Science and Technology Policy Research. She also holds an MA in Organization Development from Sonoma State University, California. 

Dave Newport

Dave Newport, LEED AP, is a veteran environmental and sustainability professional with over 35 years experience in this arena. He is currently the Director of the Environmental Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The Environmental Center operates the nation's oldest and largest sustainability operations program that partners with campus stakeholders in recycling, zero-waste, alternative transportation, energy outreach and climate action, and a myriad of other sustainability initiatives. Mr. Newport also chairs the campus carbon neutrality working group that is researching and designing pathways for the campus to achieve carbon neutrality as it has pledged under the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). He teaches Campus Carbon Neutrality Planning Course in the Environmental Studies Department, and Chairs CU's Carbon Neutrality Working Group. Dave is also active in national sustainability issues currently serving as the Secretary of the Board of Directors for the Green Sports Alliance, and as the former Secretary of the Board of Directors for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Prior to joining AASHE's Board, Dave helped create the Sustainability Tracking and Ratings Systems (STARS), a set of campus sustainability metrics similar to the LEED system--and dubbed by the Chronicle for Higher Education as the "gold standard of campus sustainability metrics." Dave has written, published, and presented widely on the topics of sustainability reporting, campus greening, and the practices and principles of sustainability and leadership. Dave has served on dozens of related boards and committees including US Environmental Protection Agency Higher Education Sector Performance Monitoring Task Force and ULSF-UNEP-GRI Sustainability Indicators Working Group.

Tom Ochtera

Thomas Ochtera, MA, LEED-AP, CEM has a background in small business, construction management, energy management, and international sustainable development. He holds a Masters degree from Prescott College in Sustainable Development, and has served on the board of the USGBC in North Carolina chairing the State Advocacy and Green Schools Committees. In addition, he has lived and worked as a sustainability consultant in Guayaquil, Ecuador for INTERVIDA, an international NGO based in Spain. Thomas has extensive knowledge of the design/construction process, LEED standards, and educational outreach and cultural change within large organizations. He has authored the book Sustitution: A Sustainable Strategy for Higher Education, and is a 2011 graduate from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Energy Executives programCurrently, Thomas is the Energy and Capital Projects Coordinator for the City of Westminster, CO, a suburb of Denver, with a population of 110,000.

Will Toor

Will Toor, Ph.D is currently the Transportation Policy Director for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, and a member of the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission. He served for fifteen years in a variety of political roles, including County Commissioner, City Councilor and Mayor of Boulder where he has played a leadership role in advancing sustainability initiatives at both the local and statewide level. Mr. Toor served as the Director of the University of Colorado Environmental Center for over twelve years. Toor holds a PhD in Physics from the University of Chicago, and has served in leadership roles on a wide variety of boards and commissions including the Colorado Governor’s Climate Action Panel, Denver Regional Council of Governments, Xcel Energy SmartGrid Advisory Committee and the Boulder County Consortium of Cities Energy Strategy Taskforce.

Jeff Yorzyk

Jeff G. Yorzyk, P.E., C.E.M. has over 18 years of experience in strategic environmental projects across a number of industries, with a focus on life cycle assessment, organizational management system development and data management tools.  His career originated in the “nuts and bolts” of environmental compliance, waste management, and site characterization/ remediation, evolving quickly into strategic planning, waste stream assessment/ reduction, and environmental management systems. Jeff’s expertise in Life Cycle Assessment developed alongside the emergence of the field over the last decade, and he has both managed and conducted Life Cycle Assessment projects for numerous clients in mining, consumer products, and manufacturing.  Mr. Yorzyk is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Colorado and a Certified Energy Manager by the AEE; he holds an MBA from the University of Colorado at Boulder, an MS in Environmental Science & Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines, and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Lafayette College. Jeff recently became one of the first 50 professionals worldwide certified as a Certified Sustainability Professional by the ISSP.


Program Staff: 


Kelly Simmons Kelly L. Simmons, M.Ed, C.S.P. is one of the first 50 sustainability professionals recently certified by the ISSP, and holds a Diploma in permaculture design education and community service. She was the founding Director of the Boulder Sustainability Education Center and has managed the Sustainable Practices Program for the University of Colorado, Boulder for the past six years, where she has been instrumental in developing online curriculum for the Certificate Program. She also teaches permaculture design in the Environmental Studies Department at the University of Colorado, Boulder, at Naropa University, and a variety of community venues around the state of Colorado (and beyond).  Kelly recently won a Sustainability Award from the University of Colorado, Boulder for her work designing the Population Conversation Training program to preserve Dr. Al Bartlett’s award-winning presentation “Sustainability, Population and Energy” after his death.  She is active in sustainability issues both in her community and nationally. She currently serves on the City of Boulder’s Solar Grants Committee, and the Diversity and Inclusion Training Committee for CU Boulder’s Student Affairs Division. She also co-chairs the Preferred Education Provider Development Committee with the International Society of Sustainability Professionals. Kelly has a Master’s Degree in Education and a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Studies.