Organizing Committee

Callie Babbitt

Callie Babbitt

Callie Babbitt is an Associate Professor in the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at Rochester Institute of Technology, where she conducts research to proactively quantify and minimize environmental impacts of emerging technologies. Callie’s research group creates new methods and models in the field of industrial ecology that are inspired by fundamental concepts in ecological systems. They apply these models to study sustainability challenges and solutions for consumer electronics, lithium-ion batteries, electric vehicles, and nanomaterials.

Callie also collaborates widely on life cycle assessment studies related to the food-energy-water nexus, critical minerals, biofuels, waste management systems, and renewable energy technologies. She translates this research into courses at RIT in Sustainability, Architecture, and Industrial Design and into informal education programs at the K-12 level. Her collaboration with Rochester-area schools and Women in Engineering at RIT aims to increase the number of female students who pursue science, engineering, and sustainability degrees and careers. These efforts have been recognized by national and international academic and research communities. In 2013, Callie was awarded the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program Award by the National Science Foundation, and in 2010, she received the AT&T Technology and Environment Award for her research and teaching efforts in sustainability.

Eric J Beckman

Conference Co-chair
Distinguished Professor
Eric Beckman

Eric Beckman received his BS in chemical engineering from MIT in 1980, and a PhD in polymer science from the University of Massachusetts in 1988. Dr. Beckman assumed his faculty position at the University of Pittsburgh in 1989, was promoted to associate professor in 1994, and full professor in 1997. He received a Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation in 1992, and the Presidential Green Chemistry Award in 2002. He previously served as Associate Dean for Research for the School of Engineering and Chairman of Chemical Engineering. In 2003, Dr. Beckman co-founded the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, a school of engineering institute that examines the design of more sustainable infrastructure. In 2005, he co-founded Cohera Medical Inc. to commercialize surgical adhesive technology developed at the University. Dr. Beckman took an entrepreneurial leave of absence from the University in 2007-2009 to help move the products to market. Dr. Beckman's research group examines the use of molecular design to solve problems in green product formulation and in the design of materials for use in tissue engineering. He has published over 175 papers and has received more than 40 US patents.

Melissa Bilec

Melissa Bilec(1)

Dr. Bilec is an associate professor in the Swanson School of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; she is the Deputy Director of the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation. Dr. Bilec’s research program focuses on the built environment, life cycle assessment, sustainable healthcare, and indoor air impacts. She is interested in improving system-level environmental performance of buildings, while developing a deeper understanding of indoor environmental quality, occupant impacts, and energy use.

She is the Principal Investigator of a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research project, NSF EFRI-Barriers, Understanding, Integration – Life cycle Development (BUILD). Dr. Bilec has over 40 journal publications and has secured over $6 million in funding, including 8 National Science Foundation grants. She has received four education excellence awards. Dr. Bilec’s work prior to academia included tenure at the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh where she worked on green infrastructure projects, including the conversion of a 100-year bridge into a pedestrian bridge. Dr. Bilec serves on the Green Building Alliance board.

Angelica Ciranni

Angelica Ciranni

Angelica Ciranni is the Senior Director of the Pittsburgh 2030 District, an initiative of Green Building Alliance. The Pittsburgh 2030 District is a voluntary community of more than 500 buildings in Pittsburgh committed to aggressive goals of 50 percent reductions in energy consumption, water use, and transportation emissions by the year 2030, while improving indoor air quality. Angelica has worked in a variety of capacities within the green building industry, with a focus on existing buildings, at both PNC Bank and the Sports & Exhibition Authority. Angelica holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, with a concentration in Construction Management and Sustainability. She is a LEED AP O+M, a Certified Energy Manager, a GPRO instructor, and was recognized by GreenBiz’s 30 Under 30 list in 2016.

David Dzombak

Conference Co-Chair
Hamerschlag University Professor
Department Head, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
David Dzombak

David Dzombak is the Hamerschlag University Professor and Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon. The emphasis of his research and teaching is on water quality engineering and energy-environment issues. His current research is focused on climate change adaptation for infrastructure, forecasting the sustainability of water supplies, recovery of rare earth elements from brines, and water management and reuse in thermoelectric power production.

Dr. Dzombak serves on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board, the U.S. Department of Defense Strategic Environmental Research and Development Science Advisory Board, the Water Science and Technology Board of the National Research Council, the National Academies Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability, and the National Academies Roundtable on Oil and Gas Development in the 21st Century. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Pennsylvania, a Board Certified Environmental Engineer by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Sarah Haig

Sarah Haig

Dr Haig's research combines environmental microbiology, environmental chemistry, and public health to improve water quality with a focus on drinking water systems.

The overall aim of the Haig research group is to develop and advance our understanding of the drinking water microbiome; how to manipulate it to provide safer water in a more energy-efficient way, and understand its role in human health.

Vikas Khanna

Vikas Khanna

Vikas Khanna is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Khanna received his PhD from the Ohio State University in Chemical Engineering. His research and teaching interests are in the areas of sustainability science and engineering, industrial ecology, and complex systems. His doctoral work focused on the environmental evaluation of emerging nanotechnologies and multiscale modeling for environmentally conscious design of chemical processes. While in graduate school, he also completed a science and technology policy fellowship at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC. His current research focuses on the development of life cycle oriented methods for assessing environmental sustainability of advanced biofuels and supply chains and network theory approaches for understanding resilience in engineered and large-scale systems. His research is funded by the Department of Energy, US Department of Agriculture, and the National Science Foundation. 

Leidy Klotz

Leidy Klotz

Leidy Klotz is a faculty member jointly appointed in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Architecture at the University of Virginia. His scholarship merging design and behavioral science has been consistently funded, including through an NSF CAREER award and through one of the first awards through NSF’s interdisciplinary INSPIRE program. Leidy also plays a lead role in programs, funded by grants from NSF and the Department of Education, which support cohorts of graduate students on interdisciplinary research in a more resilient and sustainable built environment. He also developed and teaches courses related to sustainability in the built environment. Before becoming an academic, Leidy worked managing school construction projects in New Jersey and before that he played for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds professional soccer team.

Kristen Parrish

Kristen Parrish

Kristen Parrish is an Assistant Professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University (ASU). Kristen’s work focuses on integrating energy efficiency measures into building design, construction, and operations processes. Specifically, she is interested in novel design processes that financially and technically facilitate energy-efficient buildings. Her work also explores how principles of lean manufacturing facilitate energy-efficiency in the commercial building industry. Kristen’s work also explores how project- and experience-based learning foster better understanding of engineering and management principles in the classroom; she has won two Top 5% Teaching awards from the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University and a Distinguished Professor Award from the Construction Industry Institute in recognition of these efforts.

Prior to joining ASU, Kristen was at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) as a Postdoctoral Fellow (2009-11) and then a Scientific Engineering Associate (2011-2012) in the Building Technologies and Urban Systems Department. She worked in the Commercial Buildings group, developing energy efficiency programs and researching technical and non-technical barriers to energy efficiency in the buildings industry. She has a background in collaborative design and integrated project delivery. She holds a BS and MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Michigan and a PhD in Civil Engineering Systems from University of California Berkeley.

Annie Pearce

Annie Pearce

Dr. Annie Pearce is an Associate Professor in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech specializing in sustainable facilities and infrastructure systems. Throughout her career, Annie has worked with practitioners in both public and private sectors to implement sustainability as part of building planning, design, construction, and operations. As a LEED Accredited Professional, Annie brings the latest in green building methods, technologies, and best practices to the classroom. Her specific areas of interest include metrics of sustainability for built facilities, green building materials and systems, cost modeling to support sustainability implementation, and in situ performance of sustainable facility technologies.

Sean Qian

Sean Qian

Zhen (Sean) Qian joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at CMU in July 2015, where he directs the Mobility Data Analytics Center (MAC). Qian was most recently an assistant research professor jointly appointed at the Heinz College and Institute for Complex Engineered Systems. Qian's research lies in the integration and optimization of civil infrastructure systems. The primary focus of his research is to manage aging and overcrowded transportation infrastructure systems, and to build sustainable and resilient infrastructure networks. He is particularly interested in large-scale dynamic network modeling for multi-modal transportation systems, in development of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and in urban system interdependency modeling.

He was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University from 2011 to 2013, and received his PhD degree in Civil Engineering at the University of California, Davis.

David R Riley

David Riley

Dr. David R. Riley is a faculty member in the Department of Architectural Engineering at Penn State.  His fields of expertise include Sustainable Building Methods, Affordable and Sustainable Housing, Renewable Energy, Smart Grid Systems, Engineering Education, and Education for Sustainability. Dr. Riley currently leads multiple energy education and workforce programs in energy launched through funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. Dr. Riley led Penn State’s Center for Sustainability from 2004 through 2013, and now serves as a Scholar in Residence for the Sustainability Institute at Penn State.

Notable activities include the creation of the American Indian Housing Initiative (AIHI), National Energy Leadership Corps (NELC), and Renewable Energy in Central America (RECA) programs at Penn State. Each effort engages students in immersive learning and research experiences and the creation of sustainable solutions for diverse communities. As the Director of the Center for Sustainability, Dr. Riley led the development of the Minor in Sustainability Leadership at Penn State. He also helped develop the Professional Master’s program Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems offered through the World Campus, and led the design and establishment of three new course in this program focused on solar photovoltaic systems engineering and distributed energy generation. Dr. Riley also led Penn State’s entry in the 2007 DOE Solar Decathlon leading to the creation the MorningStar Solar Home, which now serves teaching and learning laboratory on Penn State’s University Park Campus. He has also led multiple university-industry partnership efforts, including the Partnership for Achieving Construction Excellence at Penn State and the GridSTAR Education and Research Collaborative. He was recognized as the 2013 Industry Partner of the Year by the National Electrical Contracting Association.

Tripp Shealy


Tripp Shealy is an Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. His research is at the intersection of cognitive psychology and engineering decision making for sustainability. He teaches classes about human behavior and infrastructure systems and how to leverage new technology in the design and construction of more sustainable built environments.

Rodolfo Valdes-Vasquez

RVV headshot

As a former Fulbright Scholar and as an Associate Professor in the Department of Construction Management at Colorado State University, Rodolfo is committed to advancing research and teaching involving sustainability of infrastructure projects. In addition to expanding on previous research related to social sustainability, construction safety, and curriculum development, his current research seeks to integrate social sustainability indicators during project delivery and to understand the impact of occupant behavior in the domain of net-zero and –positive energy/water facilities. He is also interested in understanding how having a diverse group of designers influence sustainable designs and construction practices. Particularly, he has become interested in the need of attracting and retaining more diverse professionals in the construction sector; thus, sustainable decisions can be implemented from a variety of perspectives. In addition, Rodolfo has been leading a multi-disciplinary and -cultural study abroad program in Costa Rica for the last five years, focusing on sustainable buildings and agriculture.

He has received several honors including the ASC Region Six teaching award, the GE Johnson Faculty Scholar, and an ASCE Outstanding Journal Reviewer. Rodolfo believes that the education of the next generation of professionals, researchers, and educators will play a pivotal role in making sustainability a standard practice in the planning, design, and construction of infrastructure projects.

Jeanne M VanBriesen

Jeanne VanBriesen

Dr. Jeanne M. VanBriesen is the Duquesne Light Company Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and the Director of the Center for Water Quality in Urban Environmental Systems (Water QUEST) at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. VanBriesen holds a B.S. in Education and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Northwestern University. She is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Delaware.

Her research is in environmental systems, including biotransformation of recalcitrant organics, detection of biological agents in drinking water and natural water systems, speciation-driven biogeochemistry of chelating agents and disinfection by-products, and impacts of energy extraction. Dr. VanBriesen has published more than fifty scientific articles and given more than 125 professional presentations. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, the Colcom Foundation, the Heinz Endowments, the Packard Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance. She has supervised fifteen Ph.D. dissertations and six M.S. theses. Dr. VanBriesen has served on the boards of the Association for Environmental Engineering and Science Professors and the Ohio River Basin Consortia for Research and Education. She is currently serving on the U.S. EPA Science Advisory Board. Dr. VanBriesen has received numerous awards, including the 2015 American Society of Civil Engineers Margaret S. Petersen Award, the 2015 Carnegie Science Center Environmental Award, the 2013 Philip L. Dowd Fellowship at Carnegie Mellon, the 2009 American Society of Civil Engineers Pittsburgh Chapter Professor of the Year, and the 2007 Pennsylvania Water Environment Association Professional Research Award. Dr. VanBriesen was a selected presenter at the National Academy of Engineering Indo-US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium on Infrastructure in 2008, and an invited speaker at the National Academy of Engineering Education Symposium in 2010.  She was selected as a National Academy of Engineering Gilbreth Lecturer in 2011.









Organizing Committee


Mascaro Center

Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation
University of Pittsburgh
Swanson School of Engineering
153 Benedum Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

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