Learn, lead, partner for a sustainable Ohio
What is OELI?
OELI - Ohio Environmental Leaders Institute has been created to give Ohio environmental and natural resource professionals the unique opportunity to collaborate, converse, connect, and evaluate the many, and sometimes opposing, positions that develop around the diverse topic of the environment.
Friends will be made, lessons will be learned, open dialogue will be accepted.
Participants will be asked to leave pre-conceived ideas at the door and enter a forum to learn the leadership skills necessary to change and direct the conversation from fear, judgment and dismissiveness to clarity, acceptance and understanding.
Participants will learn how to:
- Effectively manage conflict that often sparks up during controversial topics related to the environment and natural resources;
- Develop and employ leadership skills that direct environmental policy initiatives and inspire change;
- Conduct and facilitate constructive, respectful dialogue on controversial environmental issues;
- Partner with colleagues and peers across disciplines and sectors to align visions and goals;
- Build and participate in networks focused on effective environmental leadership in Ohio.
The Ohio State University's team of environmental professionals has searched for the finest talent to lead each session.
Anne Baird, Extension Educator, OSU School of Environment & Natural Resources Anne plans, conducts and evaluates environmental education programs and facilitates environmental planning efforts. She co-coordinates the Ohio Environmental Leaders Institute as well as the Ohio Watershed Academy, a professional course for the purpose of building the capacity of current and future watershed group leaders in Ohio to facilitate the development and implementation of community-based watershed action plans. Anne also coordinates watershed management webinars and distance short courses on a variety of topics which includes sustainability, climate change and social science research techniques for watershed managers.
Joe Bonnell, Program Director, Watershed Management, OSU Extension, is responsible for managing the project team that develops and maintains the Ohio Watershed Network Website and the Ohio Watershed Academy distance-based education course for in-service watershed coordinators and watershed group leaders. He uses community-based and collaborative approaches to watershed management in Ohio, human dimensions of ecosystem-based management.
Dr. Neil Drobny is a member of the Fisher College of Business faculty at The Ohio State University where since 2004 he teaches undergraduate and MBA courses in sustainable business practices. Additionally, he is the Director of the Ohio State campus-wide major, Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability (www.eeds.osu.edu) which was launched by the College of Food Agriculture and Environmental Science in 2012.
Prior to assuming the role as EEDS Director, Dr. Drobny was Executive Director of the Association of Ohio Recyclers, the trade association for the recycling industry in Ohio. Previously he directed the Waste Not Center, a reuse organization that collects and receives donated items from businesses and individuals that are made available to teachers, artists and other non-profits.
Earlier in his career Dr. Drobny held a number of executive level positions with for-profit organizations, all in the environmental industry, including as CEO of a mid-size environmental consulting firm which he founded and subsequently sold. Early in his career he worked at Battelle. He earned his PhD from The Ohio State University in environmental engineering and did his undergraduate work in environmental engineering at Dartmouth College.
Karen Koster, J.D. is Executive Vice President, Environmental, Health & Safety for Momentive. Prior to joining Momentive, Karen served as Vice President, Safety, Health and Environment for Cytec Industries. Under her leadership, Cytec significantly improved its safety and environmental performance and implemented global management systems for occupational health and risk reduction, and led the Company’s development of a sustainability strategy. Prior to leading EHS, she served Cytec in environmental services and legal management roles. Karen earned a bachelor's of science degree in Finance from Northern Michigan University, and a law degree from the University of Notre Dame. She also served as a captain in the U.S. Army JAG Corps, assigned to the Chief of Engineers in Washington D.C.
Erin Miller was appointed by Mayor Michael B. Coleman as the Environmental Steward for the City of Columbus in 2009. She is responsible for carrying out the Mayor's Get Green Columbus initiative, directing the Mayor's Green Team and educating and engaging members of the community in sustainability initiatives including development of the City's first comprehensive residential recycling program. Prior to serving with the City, Erin was the Director of the Center for Energy & Environment at Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. She has been working in the environmental field for over 16 years. Erin serves on the Board of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and is a member of the Governor's Solid Waste Management Advisory Council. Erin graduated with a B.S. degree in Environmental Sciences & Ecology from Otterbein University.
Myra Moss is Extension Educator, Community Development, with The Ohio State University. Responsibilities include program development and implementation, education and research throughout Ohio. Moss holds the faculty rank of Associate Professor with The Ohio State University. Her areas of specialization include sustainable community planning and development, energy and entrepreneurship. Over the past 13 years she has assisted 10 Ohio communities in the development and implementation of community plans based on sustainability principles. She has shared her insights and experience in building sustainable communities with professionals and community leaders throughout the U.S. Moss is a past President and Board member of the Ohio Economic Development Association. Her education includes an MBA and MA from Ohio University and a BA from Long Island University.
Sandy Nessing, Managing Director, Sustainability & ESH Strategy & Design, American Electric Power, has responsibility for managing sustainability strategy, corporate stakeholder engagement and annual performance reporting for American Electric Power (AEP). She oversees annual production of AEP’s Corporate Accountability Report, including a dedicated sustainability web site and, new in 2013, an app. This is the fourth year AEP has produced an integrated report that combines financial with nonfinancial performance.
She currently serves as 2013 Chair of the Electric Power Research Institute’s Sustainability Interest Group Steering Committee. Nessing also serves on the Grange Insurance Audubon Center Stewardship Board in Columbus, Ohio and was president of the board for two years. She serves on the Board of Directors and the Board of Regents for NAEM, an environment, safety & health and sustainability professional organization, and is a member of SustainAbility’s Engaging Stakeholders and the Utility Environmental Benchmarking Forum. She also led AEP’s participation in the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Electric Utility Sector Supplement Pilot Program, an international project to develop electric utility-specific sustainability performance indicators.
Jeffrey Rogers is Professor of Geography and Atmospheric Sciences at The Ohio State University. He also currently serves as the State Climatologist for Ohio and has since 1986. Jeff has a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado (1979) and Bachelors and Masters Degrees from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. His academic research focuses on the role of the North Atlantic Oscillation on sea ice and climate variability across the Arctic, northern Atlantic and Europe. Current projects include an analysis of temperature and dewpoint variations during the U.S. droughts of the 1930s and 1950s. Jeff's other projects involve United States climate variability which has occurred during the last one to two centuries, as well as, the role of El Niño in Midwestern United States climate and streamflow variability.
Eric Romich is an Ohio State University Extension Assistant Professor and Field Specialist for Energy Development. His background in renewable energy began as an OSU Extension Educator in Wyandot County. In that position he served as the Director of Wyandot County Office of Economic Development and was deeply involved in the details of finalizing the PSEG Wyandot Solar Project. The PSEG Wyandot Solar Project is a 12 MW 85 acre solar generation facility that is the largest solar facility in Ohio and one of the largest in the Midwest.
Eric focuses his Extension efforts in the areas of renewable energy development, energy policy, wind energy, solar energy, and bioenergy resources. He works with elected officials, community planners, community residents, OSU faculty and Extension Educators, and state and federal government agencies to deliver educational programs.
David Rutter is the Watershed Coordinator for Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. With an eclectic education background that includes history, theology, paleolimnology, environmental education, general science, teaching, and adult education, David possesses the necessary prerequisite for watershed coordinator - "Jack of all trades, master of none." His accomplishments include the Rocky Fork Creek Watershed Action Plan, Our Blacklick Creek Watershed Action Plan, contributions to the five central Ohio Balanced Growth Plans, and completion of Our Scioto River Basin Our Future, a report on the water resources of central Ohio.
David Holds a B.A. in History from Ohio Wesleyan University, teaching licenses in History, Science and Social Studies as well as an M.S. in Adult Education and Environmental Education from The Ohio State University. David is also Co-author of the paper, "Paleolimnology of the Burning Tree Mastodont pond," presented at the Geological Association of Canada, Mineralogical Association of Canada Annual Meeting, 1994.
Kristina Slagle is a third year Ph.D. candidate working on wildlife and fisheries-related policy. She holds a B.A. in political science and an M.S. in environmental social science. She focuses on decision making under risk and how this impacts policies related to fisheries and wildlife management. She is particularly interested in carnivore conservation in mixed landscapes.
Whether Bill Stanley is camping in the rainforests of Brazil, hiking the ridges of southern Ohio in search of new ways to engage the people of Ohio with nature or walking the halls of congress in Washington DC, he has been happiest when his work was also an adventure. Bill is the Director of Conservation and Assistant State Director of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Ohio where he leads a team that sets the program’s conservation priorities and strategies and ensures their successful implementation. Starting with TNC in 1999, his current interests include developing a stream and wetland restoration program for Ohio, eliminating the harmful algae blooms that plague Lake Erie and productive and sustainable forest land management in SE Ohio. Prior to this work, Bill was the director of TNC’s Global Climate Change Initiative where he led forest carbon science research in support of projects that help to eliminate carbon pollution and worked with others to design approaches to reduce the threats posed by sea level rise, weather variability and climate change. Bill serves on Ohio’s Forest Stewardship Committee and Forestry Advisory Council. He has contributed to book chapters, been published in scientific journals and has been interviewed about climate change and other conservation issues for The New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, National Public Radio and other media. He has a forest science (MFS) degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a BA in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia.
Commissioner M. Beth Trombold was appointed to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) by Governor John Kasich in 2013. Commissioner Trombold is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners where she serves on the Electricity Committee. She also serves on the board of the Organization of PJM States, Inc. (OPSI).
Beth Trombold most recently served as Assistant Director of the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA). Prior to ODSA, she served in a variety of roles with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), most recently as Director of Economic Development and Public Affairs.
During her 15-plus year career with the PUCO, Commissioner Trombold focused on high-level policy issues and agency communications. She also advised the chairman and commissioners in developing the biennial budget, defining objectives and policy positions, and strategizing economic and legislative initiatives. While with the PUCO, Beth led legislative efforts on many important utility laws including electric restructuring, the establishment of natural gas choice, and telecommunications regulatory reform. She has also testified before the Ohio General Assembly concerning PUCO policies.
Beth Trombold received her bachelor's degree in business administration from Ohio University, and her master’s degree in public policy and management from The Ohio State University John Glenn School of Public Affairs.
Sara Ward, Director of Ohio Interfaith Power and Light. Sara serves as the Earthkeeping Task Force Chair of the Southern Ohio Synod, ELCA and the Chair of the Green Team in her home congregation of First English Lutheran Church, Columbus, Ohio. She also serves as the Spiritual Director for Trinity Lutheran Seminary and Bexley Hall Seminary, also in Columbus, Ohio.
Formerly Sara served as Director of Ohio’s State Energy Office in the Ohio Department of Development, responsible for oversight of the State’s energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. On the national level, Sara served as the Chair for the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and was a founding board member and board secretary of the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA). In 1996 she was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Energy to serve on the State Energy Advisory Board.
In Ohio Sara served on the Ohio Power Siting Board of the Ohio Public Utility Commission and the Technical Advisory Committee of the Ohio Coal Development Office during her tenure as Energy Office Director. She established the Office of Weatherization within the Ohio Department of Development in 1982 and served as the Chief until 1992.
Sara graduated from Kent State University with a B.A. and has received graduate credits from the Ohio State University in Public Policy and Management.
For the past 8 years, Rick Westerfield has been the City of Columbus Administrator of the Division of Water. He has over 35 years experience in the fields of water and wastewater. He received an M.S. degree in civil/environmental engineering and a Ph.D. in public administration. Rick has a State of Ohio Professional Engineer License and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency operator certifications of Class IV Wastewater and Class III Water.
He is married to a school teacher with three grown daughters practicing in the fields of civil engineering, biomedical engineering and anesthesiology. He has eight grandchildren.
Cost for all three sessions:
- Cost for all three sessions: $
- Student rate: $
Registration is now closed