ISI And ZPH Present:

Equitable & Sustainable Infrastructure
Delivering Merit & Climate Resilience Virtual Conference


The Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at Harvard University (ZPH) and the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) are proud to be hosting the Equitable and Sustainable Infrastructure / Delivering Merit and Climate Resilience conference on November 17 & 18, 2021.

This conference takes a 360-view of what it means to design, build, and implement infrastructure systems that deliver merit, by deconstructing the term, as well as defining and measuring “merit.”

Merit can be viewed through a series of lenses, including economic, social, environmental and climatic implications. Experts will share new perspectives on the factors that influence the way infrastructure is implemented. Since public policy and funding opportunities often shape the direction of the industry, infrastructure professionals must balance responding to both policy and stakeholder needs, all while securing adequate funding for projects to be successful.

Historically, infrastructure decisions have played a role in creating and amplifying the vulnerability of underserved populations. With climate change, those populations tend to be even more vulnerable to extreme weather. The mindset must now be shifted to correct historical injustices and use infrastructure to provide equitable services to all communities.

Participants in this conference will walk away with a better understanding of the broader landscape of the infrastructure industry today and will see new ideas for how infrastructure can better serve communities with merit.

Download the conference agenda

Who should attend?

      • ENV SPs
      • City officials
      • Thought leaders
      • Infrastructure industry professionals (planners, architects, engineers, developers, owners, constructors, operators)
      • Public sector agency employees
      • Students
      • Sustainability and resilience experts and novices alike – anyone with a desire to learn something new!

Virtual Conference Agenda

Day-1 Agenda, November 17

Wednesday, November 17, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
– 10:00 a.m. / Welcome and Opening Remarks

Moderator: John Williams, Chairman and CEO, Impact Infrastructure, Inc. and Board Chair, ISI
Welcoming and Opening Remarks: Anthony Kane, President and CEO of ISI & Professor Spiro Pollalis, Professor of Design Technology and Management, Emeritus, Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure

Day-1 Keynote

– 10:15  a.m.  / Day One Keynote Speaker (to be announced) and moderated Q&A
Zoom registration link

Minelly De Coo, Director, Capital Project Management Office of the First Deputy Mayor of NYC Office of the Mayor

Minelly’s Keynote Presentation: The increased frequency of extreme weather events is causing devastating impacts to our cities’ most vulnerable populations and its aging infrastructure. These events, and the influx of funding – federal, state, and local – that typically follows— provide cities with an opportunity to reimagine infrastructure solutions that can respond to the needs of our communities today and into the future. The presentation will focus on lessons learned in executing those types of solutions in New York City.

Session 1: Thinking from the Outside-In

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.   
Zoom registration link Session 1

Moderator: Marty Janowitz, Vice President of Sustainable Development (Retired) Stantec, , SIAB Representative

– 11:30 a.m.  / Panel 1: Evolving Public Policy and Funding

Andrew Mayock, Federal Chief Sustainability Officer

Linh Do, Senior Vice President, AKRF

Lisa MacTavish, M.Eng., P.Eng., Climate Resilience Engineer, WSP

– 12:30 p.m.  / Panel 2: Local Examples of Implementing Policies and Securing Funding

Kathy Collins, Director of Sustainability, NV5 , SIAB Representative, presentation title: 40 percent Decarbonization

Michael Sussman, Chairman and CEO, Strategic Rail Finance and OnTrackNorthAmerica, presentation title: The Future of Land Freight Lifecycle Impact Assessment, A Case Study: Port of Long Beach

Vanessa Velasco, Senior Environmental Scientist, California Department of Water Resources, presentation title: Fitting Envision in to a State Agency’s World

The technical program opens with a discussion of the factors that shape infrastructure development. Speakers will discuss the needs of the “outside world” and how those needs can be met by infrastructure professionals or the “inside world.” the speakers addressing public-policy issues will touch on climate change, lifecycle cost-effectiveness, and equity in a post-pandemic recovery. Experts will shine a light on public-sector funding in the form of stimulus and grants as well as private-sector financing. Examples of localized success stories will be shared.


Awards Ceremony and Moment of Recognition

1:45 p.m.– 2:45 p.m. 
Zoom registration link awards ceremony

Moderators: Melissa Peneycad, Managing Director, ISI & Anthony Kane, President and CEO of ISI

 Join our special one-hour webinar as we celebrate the recent achievements of the ISI and ZPH networks. Recent project award recipients will be invited to share highlights from their Envision projects. Select project highlights include:

Garage souterrain Côte-Vertu —Alexis Lautard, Conseiller corporatif, Développement durable, Société de transport de Montréal

City of Red Deer Water Treatment Plant Residuals Management Facility —Kingsford Amoah, Environmental Planning Engineer, City of Red Deer

Miami-Dade County Dolphin Station Park-and-Ride/Transit Terminal Facility —Patricia Gómez, Ph.D., Senior Resilience/Energy Program Manager, Miami-Dade County Office of Resilience

Westminster BDCWWTF Solids Dewatering and Campus Wide Improvements —Julie Koehler, Utilities Engineering Manager, City of Westminster

Oxford Retention Basin Multiuse Enhancement Project —Ryan Virgin, Associate Civil Engineer, Los Angeles County Public Works

VTA’s Berryessa Transit Center –Ann Calnan, VTA Environmental Programs Manager, Rachael Keish, CEO, Keish Environmental

Session 2: Engaging Stakeholders

3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.  
Zoom registration link Session 2

Moderator: Michael Mucha, Chief Engineer and Director, Madison Metropolitan Sewage District

– 3:00 p.m. / Panel 1: Connecting Communities through Robust Stakeholder Engagement

Melissa Figueroa
Chief of Strategic Communications, California High Speed Rail Authority, presentation title: The Role of Stakeholder Engagement in Delivering California High-Speed Rail

Oscar Cortes
Vice President International Relations
FEMCIC, presentation title: Stakeholder Engagement and Infrastructure – Integrating Best Practices for Construction

Diana MendesCorporate President, Infrastructure and Mobility Equity, HNTB, Bridging the Gap to Unite Communities

– 4:00 p.m. / Panel 2: Results and Outcomes: Effective Stakeholder Engagement In Practice

Kari Hewitt, President
Hewitt Sustainability Strategies, LLC, presentation title: Avoiding False Solutions – Centering People and Equity in Infrastructure

April Mendez
CEO, Greenprint Partners, presentation title: Designing Equitable Rainscapes with Mission-Based Communities in St. Louis

Assessing stakeholder needs allows us to be better positioned to identify appropriate solutions, and this session puts a laser focus on best practices in stakeholder engagement. Speakers in this session speakers share perspectives from the asset owner, infrastructure users, and the “host” community to create a two-way street of communication between stakeholders and infrastructure professionals. Special attention will be paid to engaging multiple public community groups in cases where stakeholders have been previously disconnected and where communities are working toward climate resilience. Additionally, lessons learned from the pandemic will be discussed, including how COVID-19 has changed engagement with stakeholders and which new best practices are here to stay.


Networking Session

5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. 
Remo registration link Networking Session – Click “Save me a Spot!”
Register to attend this interactive networking session using the Remo platform. Participants will be able to engage with conference attendees through round table discussions.


Day-2 Agenda, November 18

Thursday, November 18, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. 
Zoom registration link

— 10:00 a.m.  / Welcome and opening remarks

Moderator: Melissa Peneycad, ISI’s Managing Director

Day-2 Keynote

— 10:15 a.m.  / Keynote speaker (to be announced) and moderated Q&A

Catherine Flowers, author and internationally recognized environmental justice advocate for equal water and sanitation access, will be speaking 10 a.m. ET. Her thought-provoking talks leave audiences with modern-day tangible solutions and ways to take action to address today’s current environmental challenges, including addressing equal access to water, the effects of climate change on different communities, and the impacts of history on today’s inequities.

Session 3: Serving the Underserved

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.  
Zoom registration link Session 3

For generations, infrastructure projects have resulted in a mixture of impacts and benefits. Many of the impacts flowed to communities that struggle to access opportunities to improve their lives. In this session, we will shine a light on the realities of infrastructure development, including tradeoffs that all of us have faced striving to deliver solutions to serve the needs of the broadest communities.

— 11:30 a.m.  / Panel 1: Who are the underserved and what is their infrastructure reality?

Panel  One will focus on the practical realities of infrastructure development, including ramifications of our decisions and how steps are being taken to ensure that the long-term interests of entire communities are addressed adequately.

Jade Begay, Climate Justice Campaign Director, NDN Collective

Sonal Jessel, Director of Policy, WE ACT for Environmental Justice,
presentation title: Climate Justice & Infrastructure in Northern ManHattan

— 12:00 p.m. / Panel 2: How can infrastructure serve as connections to opportunities?

Panel two will examine how three generations of engineers view their evolving roles in infrastructure development and the challenges of gentrification versus connectivity to enable less-advantaged people to access opportunities that enhance their lives.

Cris B. Liban, Chief Sustainability Officer, LA Metro

Jean Paul (JP) Liban, Environmental and Ecological Engineering Student, Purdue University

— 12:30 p.m. / Panel 3: How is the infrastructure community engaging with Envision to lift the underserved that are impacted by climate change?

Panel three will focus on specific examples of 21st Century Infrastructure projects that deliver solutions to serve present and future generations in ways that lift all lives.

Elizabeth Knauer, Principal, Sive, Paget & Riesel P.C., presentation title: Community Equity Agreements

Jason Waldron, P.E., Transportation Director, city of Kansas City, MO

— 1:00 p.m.   / Moderated Q&A with all panelists


Posters and Networking Session

1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Remo registration link Poster and Networking Session

Register to attend this interactive poster and networking session using the Remo platform. The poster session is an opportunity to share your work on sustainable infrastructure and engage with conference attendees. For more information and to submit a poster for consideration, please click here and complete the Google form.


Session 4: Thinking from the Inside-Out

3:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Zoom registration link Session 4

Moderator: Eric Bill, Chief Economist, Autocase

Throughout the virtual conference, external “influence” factors have been analyzed with respect to how they may inform infrastructure decisions. As a session intended to culminate the ideas and best practices, the final session is forward-thinking. It showcases how infrastructure professionals can plan for and design systems that meet current demands. Speakers will define “merit” in the context of infrastructure design and spotlight technology and innovation to deliver merit.

– 3:00 p.m. / Panel 1: Designing for Merit

Eric Bill, Chief Economist, Autocase, presentation title: Merit Based Decision-Making

Gregory Huang, Vice President, CCR Airports, presentation title: Sustainability and Equity Case for a Vertically Integrated Air Cargo Facility at LAX

– 4:00 p.m. / Panel 2: Data, Technology, and Innovation that Deliver Merit

Thomas Bucci, Vice President of Global Building and Facilities Leader, Wood Group

Joel Burroughs, Account Manager, NV5 Geospatial, 3D Elevation Program: Enabling Infrastructure Equality Across Communities

– 5:00 p.m. /  Closing remarks

Download the conference and pre-conference agendas at this link.


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