Connecting Environment, Economy, and Community
Board of Directors
Bob Berkebile | Principal, BNIM Architects
Bob leads BNIM’s sustainable design work. He also chairs the Kansas City Environmental Management Commission. Bob’s passion is exploring the restorative capacity of the relationship between nature and human nature.
Cari Ferrara | Director of Marketing, Evergy
Bio coming soon!
Tom Gerend | Executive Director, Kansas City Streetcar Authority
Bio coming soon!
Ashok Gupta | Senior Energy Economist, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Ashok Gupta is Senior Energy Economist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) www.nrdc.org , a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting public health and the environment, where he works with his colleagues on clean energy issues. He has been with NRDC since 1991. Mr. Gupta served as NRDC’s representative on Mayor Bloomberg’s Sustainability Advisory Board and Energy Policy Task Force. He received the US Green Building Council’s 2007 Leadership Award for Advocacy. Mr. Gupta also serves on the Boards of Directors of NYC Energy Efficiency Corporation, PACE Nation, and Smart Growth America. Mr. Gupta has a bachelor’s degree in physics and math from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in economics from American University. He lives in the Kansas City area.
Amy Hargroves | Owner, Stark Caverns
Bio coming soon!
Tom Jacobs | Environmental Program Director, Mid-America Regional Council
Tom has over twenty years of experience working in Kansas City and internationally to promote sustainable development patterns and an improved ethic of environmental stewardship. He has worked for the Mid-America Regional Council for twelve years, serving as Director of Environmental Programs since 2001. In this position, Tom oversees regional environmental policy and planning initiatives related to open space conservation, air quality, watershed management and solid waste management.
Dr. Marvia Jones | Director, Kansas City, Missouri Health Department
Bio coming soon!
Jasmin Moore | Director of Sustainability and Impact, Earthjustice
Bio coming soon!
Brad Nies |Deputy Director & Branch Chief Facilities Management Division, General Services Administration, Region 6
Joining the GSA in 2010 as the first Sustainability Program Manager for the Heartland Region Brad inspires, facilitates and manages regional implementation of the GSA Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan for the Heartland Region. Prior to joining the GSA Brad was Director of Elements, the sustainable design and research division of BNIM, the 2011 American Institute of Architects Firm of the Year. Brad’s experiences are in his book “Green BIM: Successful Sustainable Design with Building Information Modeling”, Wiley Publishing, 2008. Brad’s founding of The Kansas City Construction Waste Forum in 2005 led to the development of recyclespot.org.
Jason Parson | President and CEO, Parson + Associates
Jason Parson is President/CEO of Parson + Associates, which he founded in 2007. He has led regional and national initiatives related to public safety and green-collar jobs, youth career and life-skills training as well as major transportation, capital improvement and water-quality projects. Jason has a keen understanding of governmental process and has extensive experience in message development and management of public campaign strategies. His company has been an integral part of successful events that positively impacted the sustainability policies of the region. Jason is also a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and spent a decade serving in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Mary Ramm | CPA, Partner – RubinBrown LLP
Mary is partner in the tax & entrepreneurial services groups working with small to mid size companies.
Eric Ziegenhorn | Creative Planning Legal P.A.
Eric is a real estate and estate planning attorney who has been volunteering with Bridging The Gap since its inception. Eric is an avid skier, mountain biker and organic gardener.
Heartland Tree Alliance Steering Committee
Kim Bomberger | NC and NE District Community Forester, Kansas Forest Service
Kim Bomberger has been a District Community Forester for the Kansas Forest Service since March 2003. Her primary duties are to provide technical assistance, education and training to tree boards, city departments and other interested individuals who care for and manage the public tree resource in 28 counties of North Central and Northeast Kansas. She works with more than 50 communities who participate in the Tree City USA program and assists in local program development.
Dustin Branick | Horticulture and Forestry Supervisor, City of Leawood
Dustin Branick learned the importance of trees at an early age while growing up in central Kansas. He graduated from Kansas State University and is a Board Certified Master Arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture as well as a Kansas Certified Arborist with the Kansas Arborist Association.
Corey Creed | Horticulture Specialist, University of Missouri Extension
Cory Creed is a regional horticulture specialists for the University of Missouri Extension in Platte County. He graduated with a BS in Agriculture from Truman State University and an MS in Plant Science from Missouri State University. His past experience includes several years of crop consulting as an agronomist in northwest Illinois, as well as work in the research orchard at Missouri State Mountain Grove. He teaches various programs on horticulture in the Kansas City area, as well as assisting growers and homeowners with issues related to their crops and landscapes
Chuck Conner | Community Forester, Missouri Department of Conservation
Chuck Conner is a Community Forester with the Missouri Department of Conservation in the Kansas City region. He works with trees and the people who care for them in Jackson, Cass, Lafayette and Johnson County Missouri. His duties include the management of four urban Conservation Areas, two counties of private land forestry technical service, and Urban Forestry program delivery in the Kansas City metro area. He has previously worked for the Forestry Departments of Southern Illinois University, South Dakota State University, and Purdue University; has ten years’ management experience in the landscaping industry; and is an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist / Municipal Specialist.
Leslie Dick | Belton Tree Board and Long Time Volunteer
Leslie Dick has been a resident of Belton since 2007. She has been an active volunteer all her life and was a founding member of the Belton Tree Board. Leslie has been instrumental in the establishment of Memorial Park Arboretum which just received Level II accreditation. She sits on the Belton Arboretum Committee as Co-Chair, a 2011 TreeKeepers graduate and was recently awarded the Missouri Arbor Award of Excellence, Individual Citation of Merit by the Missouri Community Forestry Council.
Jared Lind | Landscape and Forestry Supervisor, City of Lenexa
Jared is the Park Maintenance Crew Leader for the Forestry division at the City of Lenexa and is responsible for the trees at all city parks, facilities, Rights of Way and Boulevards. Before a 5 year run with the City of Shawnee as the Landscape Supervisor and just recently back with Lenexa, he worked for more than a decade with the City of Lenexa as one of their arborists. While working for Lenexa, he developed a strong background in tree inventories using GIS and ArcMap systems. Jared is an ISA certified arborist as well as a Kansas Certified Arborist. He also serves on the Board of directors for the Kansas Arborist Association.
Lynn Loughry | Horticulture Specialist, K-State Extension
Lynn has a Master’s of Science in Horticulture from Kansas State University. For twenty years she worked in various marketing roles with DuPont Crop Protection Chemicals before becoming a Horticulture Agent with Kansas State Research & Extension thirteen years ago.
Janese Reed | Horticulturist, Small Business Owner
Janese is very active in the horticulture community. Having served on the boards of Friends of Powell Gardens, Garden Center Association of Greater Kansas City, Gardener’s Connect and a member of Kansas City Native Plant Initiative, she is also a graduate of Missouri Master Gardeners and Tree Keepers. Janese is the owner of Hamadryas, a private gardening and consultation firm, and co-owner of Roots & Table, a commercial urban farm. As an advocate of The New Wave Movement, which encourages naturalistic plantings in public and private spaces, Janese enjoys speaking, writing and producing videos on this subject in her spare time.
Wendy Sangster | Community Forester, Missouri Department of Conservation, Discovery Center
Wendy began her career with the Missouri Department of Conservation in 1997 as a Wildlife Biologist. After 9 years in that position, she became a Community Conservationist, advising communities about land-use planning and design practices that help to conserve natural resources. She is currently a Community Forester and continues to provide technical assistance to individuals and communities about our urban forest. She has a B.A. in Biology from Barnard College, a M.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University, and is an ISA Certified Arborist.
Jim Summers | Long Time Volunteer, Resident
Jim has over two decades of experience with nonprofit tree organizations, the majority of that time as the Forestry Director of TreePeople, the Los Angeles-based urban forestry organization that helped launch the community forestry movement in the 1970s. Looking for a healthier place to raise his young family, Jim and his wife Tina relocated from Los Angeles to Overland Park in 2007. For the next several years, Jim continued to work for TreePeople as a long-distance employee, overseeing a corporate-based reforestation initiative in Southern California’s national parks. More recently and more locally, Jim has been the Executive Director of the Forest and Woodland Association of Missouri, and the Executive Secretary of the Missouri Community Forestry Council, two Missouri advocacy and networking groups funded by the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Geoff Vossen | Vegetation Management, Kansas City Power & Light
Geoff Vossen was introduced to the green industry while attending Kansas State University. While earning a degree in Park Resource Management, Geoff worked for the Kansas Forest Service, participating in the Conservation Tree Planting Program. After seasonal stints as a Park Ranger for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Perry Lake, Kansas and Assistant Park Supervisor for South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department, Geoff accepted a position with Environmental Consultants, Inc. working as a contractor for Kansas City Power & Light. Geoff held several positions in seven years with ECI before accepting his current position of Program Manager with KCP&L in October, 2009. Geoff is married and has one son and one daughter.
Robert Whitman | ASLA, PLA, AICP, LEEP AP Gould Evans Associates
Robert, a licensed landscape architect and certified planner, is a project manager with over 16 years of comprehensive project experience. As a project manager, he is involved with project design and implementation, and has considerable experience in site development, urban design and community planning projects. He is an avid researcher on regional plant materials, and an important resource for every Gould Evans’ project. Robert consults with communities in the Kansas City area on their street tree programs and similar horticultural endeavors.
Kansas City WildLands Steering Committee
Matt Garrett | Field Biologist, Johnson County Parks and Recreation District
With over a decade of experience in prairie restoration and management, Matt currently manages 10,000 acres in Johnson County, including 120+ acres of remnant, tallgrass prairie. One of these remnants supports federally endangered Mead’s milkweed that has thrived under Matt’s care. Matt has implemented production plots from plants grown from local genotype seed. Additionally he has a progressive seed collection program. These seeds are used to increase genetic diversity on remnants around the KC area.
Ginevera Moore | The Conservation Fund
Ginny Moore is Midwest Field Representative for The Conservation Fund, managing conservation acquisition projects across a number of Midwestern states. The Conservation Fund is a national non-profit organization working at the intersection of conservation and economic vitality. The Conservation Fund has conserved over 7.5 million acres across the nation. Ginny previously served as executive director of the Kansas Land Trust, a community based land trust that has conserved over 23,000 acres of natural habitat, open space and productive farm and ranch lands in Kansas. A lawyer by training, she has worked in the environmental field for many years, focusing on environmental protection, natural resource conservation, and all aspects of real estate acquisition.
Mary Nemecek | Kansas City Native Plant Initiative
Mary Nemecek is an avid conservationist and prolific nature writer. Along with serving on the Kansas City WildLands Steering Committee, Mary serves as the Conservation Chair for Burroughs Audubon, Board Secretary for the Kansas City Native Plant Initiative, and Advisory Board for the Platte County Land Trust. Mary is also a certified Missouri Master Naturalist and writes bi-monthly ‘Grow Native’ articles for The Conservation Federation of Missouri magazine.
Chad Scholes, Ph.D. | Rockhurst University
Chad grew up in South Dakota. His Master’s degree research involved sampling prairie across South Dakota and describing differences in plant species diversity with respect to latitude and season. For his dissertation, Chad worked on alternative control methods (including biological control) for leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L.), an exotic rangeland plant. Chad has been teaching biology for over years at the college level. He is currently teaching plant biology, general biology, and environmental science at Rockhurst University. Chad has been involved with KC WildLands since before the first official workday. He attended a majority of the monthly partnership meetings and his students have consistently participated in restoration workdays. Chad brings a strong commitment, energy, and great intellectual resources to the Kansas City WildLands organization and mission.
Megan Shumaker | Environmental Chair, Shumaker Family Foundation
Megan is the Trustee in charge of environmental grants for the Shumaker Family Foundation. As one of the founding trustees, she chose the area of environmental justice as her strategic direction for grant-making, because of her passion for protecting the environment and creating a sustainable future. Under her direction, the foundation has made grants in a wide range of areas geared toward increasing awareness of environmental issues, promoting a sustainable future, and increasing empathy toward animals. Megan studied Mechanical Engineering at Kansas State University and has worked as an engineer for Orbital Sciences in Phoenix, AZ in their launch systems division and Buhler Aeroglide in Overland Park, KS in the design of industrial dryer systems. Megan was born and raised in the Kansas City area and is excited to join the KC Wildlands steering committee in their mission of managing and protecting important remnant wild lands in and around her home town.
Green Business Network KC Steering Committee
Cassandra Ford | The Recycling Partnership
Bio coming soon!
Donna Grime | ATC Associates
Donna currently works for ATC Group Services LLC as a Senior Project Manager with a focus in building sciences. She manages the asbestos, lead, and microbial project services business line for the Kansas City ATC office and assists with the industrial hygiene services business line for the region. She manages and conducts consulting on a wide range of projects throughout the world, primarily in the Midwest, that include environmental management, quality control, regulatory compliance, and occupational safety for private and public clients. She also manages and runs the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) proficiency program for the region which is comprised of asbestos air sampling analysts in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Minnesota. She has been in the environmental field for 17 years and graduated from the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Kansas. She is married and has a beautiful and talented step-daughter. She has lived in Kansas City, MO for approximately 20 years and loves to call our fair city home. She enjoys hiking, cooking, gardening, and spending time with family.
Kerry Herndon | Environmental Scientist
Kerry is retired from public service with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Park Service. With EPA she cleaned up and encouraged redevelopment of hazardous waste sites, worked with communities, businesses and environmental organizations to improve water quality and waste management and assisted them to develop sustainable business practices. With the Park Service, she was a seasonal Naturalist at the Grand Canyon. She is an outdoor enthusiast, Boy Scout leader, gardener, hiker, a student of leadership and healthy living and enjoys travel and the performing arts. She holds a BA and MS in Natural Science from Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas.
Gerald Shechter | City of Kansas City, Missouri
Gerald currently serves as Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Kansas City, Missouri in the City Manager’s Office of Environmental Quality. His responsibilities include, among other assignments, implementation of the Kansas City, Mo Climate Protection Plan, implementation of and public education about the Kansas City, Missouri Energy Efficiency and Conservation Programs. Previously, he worked for the Metropolitan Energy Center assisting in development of Project Living Proof (PLP) – the redevelopment of an historic house being used as an educational tool for promotion of energy efficiency and renewable energy. From 1985 to 2005, Gerald served as Executive Director of Westside Housing Organization, a non-profit community development corporation (CDC) responsible for redevelopment of the housing market in the Hispanic community focusing on new and renovated affordable, energy efficient housing, property management, home repair lending, and community organizing. From 1973 to 1985, he was employed by the City of Kansas City, Missouri during which time he wrote and implemented a number of housing related programs including the residential energy conservation programs and was a co-founder of the Metropolitan Energy Center.Gerald holds a Master of Arts degree in Urban Economics from the New School for Social Research in New York City and is a Year 10 alumnus of the leadership training program – Kansas City Tomorrow. He facilitates the KCMO Policy & Regulations Green Team and holds positions on the boards of the Green Business Network and Riverfront Heritage Trails.
Trent Thompson | Johnson County, KS Department of Health & Environment
Bio coming soon!