Breakout Session 1

Breakout Session 1 is from 10:40-11:50 a.m. 



Environmental Legislation in the 84th Legislature 

David Griggs 

David GriggsThis session will explore several of the environmental bills proposed in the Texas Legislature this year and discuss their significance. Public input is needed during the final two months of the session to help educate our legislators on conservation initiatives. Given the current political climate in Austin, environmentally-minded citizens must remain vigilant and prepared to take action to protect safeguards which we now enjoy and to ensure that Texas stays on course toward a more sustainable future. Come hear how you can participate in the legislative process and make a difference

David Griggs is a former civil prosecutor with the Federal Trade Commission who practices law in the Dallas area. For the past 20 years, he has also served as an adjunct instructor of government and criminal justice at Brookhaven College. He is a concerned environmentalist and has been active with the Sierra Club’s Texas Lone Star Chapter and the Dallas Group. He serves on the state chapter's executive committee and also serves as the chair of the Sierra Club Political Committee of Texas. He is active nationally with the Sierra Club's Council of Club Leaders and has held positions on several national task forces on environmental initiatives. He has a B.S. and J.D. from the University of Tennessee and a Master of Liberal Arts from Southern Methodist University. 

Urban Farming as Community Development

Don Gatzke
photo of Don GatzkeLearn about the development of the La Bajada Urban Youth Farm in Dallas. A collaborative project between the University of Texas at Arlington School of Architecture and West Dallas Community Centers, the Farm provides education and employment opportunities for local high school students, as well as a facility for neighborhood activities, and contributes to the "greening" of urban environments. The presentation will include background on similar urban farm projects.

Don Gatzke is a professor in the School of Architecture at UT-Arlington where he served as dean from 2004-2014. He was a member of the architecture faculty at Tulane University from 1987-2003 and was dean of architecture from 1997-2003. Gatzke now leads the La Bajada Urban Farm Project and is involved in a number of other community development-related projects. In 2014, the Texas Society of Architects presented him with the Romieniec Award for contributions to the profession through extraordinary leadership in design architectural education.

Falling Crude Prices: A Clog in the Wheels of the Burgeoning Biofuel Technologies

Gbenga Oyedepo
photo of Gbenga OyedepoThis presentation will focus on the recent nosedive in the prices of crude oil and what it portends for the immediate future of the development in biofuel technologies.  

Dr. Oyedepo is a chemistry professor at Brookhaven College.  

Designing with Trees for a Resilient Community

Matt Grubisich
photo of Matt GrubisichOver the next 20 years, the population of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is expected to double. Designing communities with an impetus on trees will make communities healthier and more resilient. In the past, cookie-cutter developments have been designed without the natural environment in mind. As we enter a new era in construction and development, the focus must be turned to natural resources and the environment and designing tree-focused communities for a sustainable and resilient community.

Matt Grubisich received his Bachelor of Science in Urban Forestry and Forest Management from Iowa State University and has been working in the urban forestry field for more than 15 years in the DFW area. Matt joined the Texas Trees Foundation staff as the operations director/urban forester in September 2010 after working two years as a private consulting arborist/urban forester specializing in assisting communities, developers, landscaping companies and others with urban forestry related issues. Prior to consulting, he served eight years with the Texas Forest Service as the regional urban forester serving Dallas and surrounding areas.                                                                                                                

Performance with Purpose: How PepsiCo Delivers on Sustainability

Robert ter Kuile
Wherever we operate, Performance with Purpose guides PepsiCo. We believe that delivering for our consumers and customers, protecting our environment, sourcing with integrity and investing in our employees are not simply good things to do, but that these actions fuel our returns and position PepsiCo for long-term, sustainable growth. Come learn about PepsiCo's programs and goals on sustainability and our approach to some of today's most pressing challenges.

Robert ter Kuile is the senior director of Sustainability in the Global Public Policy Group for PepsiCo where he actively develops, implements and operationalizes PepsiCo’s policy on a broad range of sustainability initiatives and is responsible for developing, maintaining, and partnering with global stakeholders, shareholders and policy makers. Prior to joining the public policy and government affairs team, Robert served as the director of energy and climate change for three years in PepsiCo’s global operations, developing and implementing energy and carbon reduction strategies. Robert also served as a corporate environmental manager at Frito-Lay North America (a Division of PepsiCo) for six years. Before joining PepsiCo, Robert served in various governmental roles for what is now the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and has held several environmental and sustainability consulting roles. 

Environmental Action: Turning Best Intentions into Meaningful Results

Zac Trahan
Zac TrahanOne encouraging sign of the gains made by environmental advocates is that most people now agree we need a cleaner, greener world. Even if some still disagree about the specific steps we should take toward that goal, there is broad public support for protecting public and environmental health. But how do we translate that support into concrete, real-life improvements? How do we turn good intentions into real results? And how does one person — anyone, really — get involved and make a difference? This interactive workshop will feature a discussion about how individuals and organizations can turn abstract ideas into everyday realities and how anyone with a passion for the environment can play a part in progress with consequences.

Zac Trahan has been working with Texas Campaign for the Environment since 2002 and currently serves as DFW program director. The group helped pass state legislation for computer and television recycling in Texas and played a leading role in passing Dallas’ strict gas drilling and single-use bag ordinances. 

How to Save Money and Energy in Your Home 

Gary Olp
photo of Gary OlpThis session will address strategies that homeowners can follow to live more energy efficiently and sustainably, which translates into money savings. Topics include the house envelope, plumbing, living space, heating, air conditioning, lighting, indoor air, appliances, your yard, your vehicle and environmentally friendly products.

Gary Gene Olp directs the highly acclaimed GGO Architects, a boutique green architectural practice in Dallas dedicated to excellence in design and sensitivity to place and the environment. GGO Architects is a general practice established in 1987 to effect a fundamental change in the application of the craft of architecture based on an understanding of environmental stewardship. Gary’s efforts reflect an enterprising approach to energy efficiency, passive solar techniques, natural day lighting, enhanced fresh air systems with an emphasis on reducing construction waste and the use of natural, non-toxic building materials. His firm has secured the USGBC LEED Platinum certification for the Plano Environmental Education Center, LEED Silver LEED certification for the McCommas Bluff Eco-Training Center, Gold level certification for the city of Dallas Northwest Service Center, Silver for the city of Dallas Hampton-Illinois Library and many more. Two of his residential buildings have also received significant achievement awards. Gary's own home was awarded IBO's EVHA Silver Award, Custom Category for Hot Humid Climate in 2005. He has served as a board member on various cultural, educational and civic boards, committees and task forces, including the nonprofit Sustainable Dallas organization. Gary is actively involved with the Boy Scouts of America and is one of the originators and co-chairs of the Committee on the Environment, Dallas Chapter AIA. He is immediate past chairman for the board of the North Texas Chapter of the USGBC. Gary was elected to the American Institute of Architects, Prestigious College of Fellows in 2014.