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GreenLab@LightCity presented by BGE, Supporting Sponsors: UMBC, Accenture, Lyft

Thursday, April 19

Join the conversation about how we think about climate change, greening our cities, the green economy and the innovations that provide a more sustainable path to the future.

• The day kicks off with a panel discussion of Plastic Oceans. It will be moderated by Robyn Stegman, the marketing mind behind the social media phenomenon of Mr. Trash Wheel, in conversation with Michael Gonsior, of the UM Center of Environmental Science, Kris Hoellen, of the National Aquarium, Ashley Traut of Blue Water Project.

• Then, we’ll hear from one of the most celebrated leaders in the environmental justice movement, Peggy Shepherd from WeAct in Harlem. She’ll give a TED-style talk entitled, “Empowering People to Power Change.”

• Liz Cornish of Bikemore will moderate a panel featuring two local councilpeople, Councilman Leon Pinkett, D-7, and Councilman Ryan Dorsey, D-3, along with Mike Heslin of LYFT, in a discussion entitled, “Complete Streets Creativity for Equity, Connectivity, and Public Health."

• One of Baltimore’s most civically engaged CEOs, Calvin Butler of BGE, will debut a new TED-style talk on Power and Purpose.

• Jeremy Yoni Bedine, a former Israeli soldier and founder of energy services company, GridLion, will talk about his journey from the front lines of war to the front lines of the war on climate change.

• After spending seven weeks in Antarctica, Artist Helen Glazer was inspired to see her art as a medium to cause people to think about their impact on the earth and to consider ways to live more green.

• Farming is about more than food, and three local farmer/activist/entrepreneurs will share their perspectives on how urban farming is good for business, good for the environment, and good for the community. Dominic Nell of CityWeeds, Ausur Daniels of the Greater Mondawmin Empowerment Project, and Walker Marsh of Tha Flower Factory will participate in the panel.

• The day closes out with a high energy discussion with one of the country’s most innovative movement builders and environmental leaders, Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip-Hop Caucus. Rev. Yearwood works alongside a diverse set of celebrity allies to raise awareness and action in communities that are often overlooked by traditional environmental campaigns.

Jeremy Bedine, Founder, GridLion

Jeremy Bedine is Founder and CEO of GridLion, a Baltimore based company that is developing technology the lowers cost and improves access to low carbon energy for commercial and industrial buildings, while helping utilities manage a cleaner, more reliable, power grid. Jeremy has led and supported energy transformation programs for the US Government, Public Service Commissions, large hospital systems, and commercial building owners. He has been instrumental in the deployment of utility-scale renewable energy projects around the US, and his Smart Building work advanced the application of technology to address energy and climate challenges. Jeremy has been active in international development. He oversaw field work in numerous post-conflict regions and led in-country operations on a 5-year USAID funded Monitoring & Evaluation program in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He recently advised on a USAID funded energy project in Afghanistan. Jeremy earned a BA in Economics from Brown University and an MS in Energy Policy and Climate from Johns Hopkins University. He is LEED Accredited and is a certified Project Management Professional. He lives in Baltimore, MD with his wife and their 3 children.

Calvin G. Butler, CEO, BGE

Calvin G. Butler Jr. is the chief executive officer of Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE), the nation’s first gas utility. Butler is responsible for BGE’s successful execution of the following key areas: safety, reliability, distinctive customer service, innovation and technology, and diversity and inclusion. Butler also is a member of BGE’s Board of Directors and a member of the executive committee of BGE’s parent company, Exelon. Butler currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and RLI Corp, where he is a member of the Audit and Nominations/Governance committees.

Liz Cornish, Executive Director, Bikemore

Liz Cornish is executive director of Bikemore, a bicycle advocacy organization in Baltimore whose goal is to increase and improve bicycle infrastructure, policies and awareness to create a safer, healthier and more livable cycling city. Cornish is an experienced nonprofit leader and talented community outreach specialist who believes bikes have the ability to transform people’s lives. She most recently served as the Women Bike Manager for the League of American Bicyclists in Washington, DC.

Ausur Daniels, the Greater Mondawmin Empowerment Project

Councilman Ryan Dorsey

Ryan Dorsey is a progressive democrat and a lifelong resident of the 3rd District. He does not come from years of political entrenchment. He loves Baltimore, the arts, and believes the solutions to Baltimore's problems lie in the hearts, minds, and hard work of its people.


Helen Glazer, Artist

Helen Glazer makes photographs and photo-based sculpture based on complex natural forms, informed by an understanding of scientific concepts of growth and form in nature and the physical processes that shape the landscape. She has spent her entire career since her early 20s as a working artist. Over time, her focus shifted from drawing and painting, to painted sculpture, to a current emphasis on photography and photo-based sculpture combining digital fabrication and hand finishing. She has also completed two large public art projects. Photography became central to her process about 10 years ago, as a way to investigate and understand complex, ephemeral forms in nature, and capture the quirky incidents and surprising and evocative moments of transformation.


Dr, Michael Gonsior, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Dr, Michael Gonsior is a tenure-track assistant professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. He is a trained analytical/environmental chemists and his research is largely centered on aquatic biogeochemistry. His lab’s interest is in characterizing complex dissolved organic matter in natural and engineered systems using modern analytical approaches such as ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry, and optical properties characterization of chromophoric DOM (CDOM). He also has developed a unique photo-degradation system and he was awarded for this development the Honorable Mentioning to the Masao Horiba Award in Kyoto in 2017.

Mike Heslin, Baltimore Market Manager, Lyft

Mike Heslin is the Baltimore Market Manager for Lyft, where he leads the team responsible for the growth and health of Lyft's business and brand locally. He is an experienced leader of growing companies, including startups in the transportation, financial services, and marketing spaces. Mike began his career at Google and has worked in consulting, where his clients included Google, Twitter, Hewlett Packard, and Deloitte, among others. Mike is a native of Severna Park, Maryland and a graduate of Dartmouth College.

Kris Hoellen, Senior Vice President and Chief Conservation Officer, National Aquarium

As Senior Vice President and CCO, Hoellen is responsible for leading and directing the National Aquarium’s conservation initiatives and programs, including the organization’s field, education and advocacy initiatives, as well as the Seafood Smart program. She is charged with building the organization’s conservation team, establishing key alliances with both the public and private sectors, and creating and scaling comprehensive conservation solutions that achieve maximum impact locally, regionally, nationally and globally. Hoellen is committed to the notion that for conservation to be meaningful and impactful, it must be made relevant environmentally, economically and socially in order to achieve lasting results.

Kristen Jeffers, Author, Founder and Editor-In-Chief, The Black Urbanist

Kristen E. Jeffers is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Black Urbanist, author of A Black Urbanist (second edition forthcoming), creator of the public speaking course Plan to Speak and 1/2 of the podcast Third Wave Urbanism, as well as a freelance writer, urban planner and advocate.  She holds a Master of Public Affairs focused on community and economic development from the University of North Carolina Greensboro, and a Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in public relations from North Carolina State University.

Walker Marsh, Farmer & Founder, Tha Flower Factory

Walker is the farmer and founder of TFF. Formerly working at Civic Work’s Real Food Farm, Walker has gained lots of experience farming and has attended various workshops about beginning your own farm that he feels very confident in the success of his own farm. He looks to set an example for other up and coming farmers.

Dominic Nell

Dominic Nell is a farmer and founder of City Weeds and #BeMoreGreen STEM programming, CEO at MyNiche, and director of photography at The Griot’s Eye Program. 

Councilman Leon F. Pinkett, III

Peggy Shepard, Co-Founder and Executive Director, WE ACT For Environmental Justice

Peggy Shepard is co-founder and executive director of WE ACT For Environmental Justice and has a long history of organizing and engaging Northern Manhattan residents in community-based planning and campaigns to address environmental protection and environmental health policy locally and nationally. She has successfully combined grassroots organizing, environmental advocacy, and environmental health community-based participatory research to become a national leader in advancing environmental policy and the perspective of environmental justice in urban communities — to ensure that the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment extends to all. Her work has received broad recognition: the Jane Jacobs Medal from the Rockefeller Foundation for Lifetime Achievement, the 10th Annual Heinz Award For the Environment, the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award from the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and an Honorary Sc.D from Smith College.

Robyn Stegman, Director of Design and Development, ChangingMedia

Robyn has been creating digital tools, campaigns, and programs to empower changemakers since before it was cool. Her first social change campaign was organizing a student strike in protest of the unfair conditions in her third-grade classroom. She went on to found Geeks for Good – an organization that matches nonprofits with tech-savvy volunteers – and work with a broad range of mission-driven organizations including AmeriCorps VISTA, George Washington University, and Bloomberg Philanthropies. Robyn is best known as the voice of Mr. Trash Wheel, a Baltimore invention that’s become a global voice for ocean conservancy. As Mr. Trash Wheel she has hosted three AMAs that have made it to #1 on Reddit. The account has grown an international audience that includes New Zealand soccer team players, Indonesian politicians, and a prominent NASA scientist. Mr. Trash Wheel was Discovery’s #1 story of the year, featured in The National Geographic, and was named Best Twitter Account by the Baltimore City Paper and Baltimore Magazine. 

Ashley Traut, Senior Manager, Blue Water Baltimore

Ashley Traut is a conservation biologist with experience working with threatened and endangered species, urban ecology, and sustainable design. As Senior Manager for Innovative Stormwater Projects, Ashley develops and leads programs focused on community-wide stormwater reduction strategies, in particular through the Blue Water Congregations Program. Ashley earned a Bachelor of Science in terrestrial ecology from University of Vermont and a Master of Science in wildlife ecology and conservation from University of Florida.

Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., President and CEO, Hip Hop Caucus

Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., President and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus, is a minister, community activist and one of the most influential people in Hip Hop political life. He works tirelessly to encourage the Hip Hop generation to utilize its political and social voice. Rev Yearwood is a national leader in engaging young people in electoral activism. He leads the national Respect My Vote! campaign and coalition ( In the 2012 Elections, numerous celebrity partners have joined the campaign to reach their fan bases, including Respect My Vote! spokesperson 2 Chainz.