Casius Pealer is trained as an architect and an attorney with 15 years of community development experience. His professional experience uniquely combines building design and planning with time spent as legal counsel for public agencies and nonprofits engaged in affordable housing development. Casius was the first Director of Affordable Housing for the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and he continues to specialize in using green building as a tool to achieve long term affordable housing goals. Casius spent four years in private practice as legal counsel for public housing authorities in the United States, implementing redevelopment projects with a variety of public and private financing structures. Casius also worked in-house at the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA) as the Assistant General Counsel for Real Estate and Development. And he is currently engaged as a consultant with the Affordable Housing Institute (AHI), a non-profit consultancy that focuses on creating healthy housing ecosystems worldwide, with an emphasis on the Global South. With a background in architecture, Casius has worked directly in building design and planning and these experiences informed his early interest in green building. Casius is a LEED Accredited Professional and one of less than 100 green building professionals in the U.S. to be approved by USGBC as a LEED Faculty. As a native of Florida who has worked extensively in the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean, Casius has focused much of his green building work on hot and humid climates. He recently received certification as a Pearl Qualified Professional (PQP) through the Estidama Rating System created by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Casius has been published in the ABA Journal of Affordable Housing and Community Development Law as well as the AIA Journal of Architecture and Architectural Record, and is a regular speaker at professional conferences nationally and internationally. In the past two years, Casius has presented at the USGBC Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Annual Convention, the United Nations World Urban Forum, and the International Quality and Productivity Center (IQPC) Affordable Housing Development Summit, Middle East. In addition to the above work, Casius currently serves on the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Housing Committee (2008-2012), including as the 2011 National Chair. And Casius is an Adjunct Lecturer at Tulane University School of Architecture, coordinating the capstone research class for the Master of Sustainable Real Estate Development program. Casius holds a J.D. cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School and a Master of Architecture from Tulane University School of Architecture.
David Heap is an energy consultant, focused on solutions in renewable power generation and energy efficiency. His expertise covers energy project management, technology development, and tech investment consulting. He has over 15 years of experience in the energy and construction industries, with successful engagements in North and South America, Europe, and the Middle East. David holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Louisiana State University, an M.B.A from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, and a M.S. in Environmental Technology Management from Arizona State University. He is a LEED AP, and a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Power and Energy Society, Engineering for Change, and the U.S. Green Building Council.
Michael Ben Eli
Michael Ben-Eli is an international consultant on management and organization. His work has focused on strategy development, organizational design, sustainability, and change management. He graduated from the Architectural Association in London and later received a Ph.D. from the Institute of Cybernetics at Brunel University, where he studied under Gordon Pask. He was a close associate of R. Buckminster Fuller, with whom he collaborated on projects involving research on advanced structural systems and exploration of issues related to the management of technology and world resources for the advantage of all. Dr. Ben-Eli pioneered applications of Systems Thinking and Cybernetics in management and organization. Over the years he worked on synthesizing strategy issues in many parts of the world and in diverse institutional settings, ranging from small high technology firms to multinational enterprises, manufacturing companies, financial institutions, health care and educational organizations, government agencies, NGOs, and international multilateral organizations. In recent years, he has been working primarily on issues related to sustainability and sustainable development, focusing on helping inspire leaders in business, government, community, and youth accelerate a peaceful transition to a sustainable future. He is founder of the Sustainability Laboratory, established in order to develop and demonstrate breakthrough approaches to sustainability practices.
Mark Venczel Ph.D.
Mark Venczel moved to New Orleans in 1997 to study engineering at Tulane University. He studied Chemical Engineering, including coursework in biology, biochemistry, and bioengineering. After earning an MS in 2003, Mark became interested in green building principles as well as alternative energy technologies. In 2006, he moved to upstate New York to conduct research related to alternative energy production in agriculture. Mark received his PhD in 2010, having conducted mathematical modeling of energy and environmental benefits of biogas production from dairy farm waste. During that time, Mark also took part in the construction and operation of a pilot-scale anaerobic digester, and used his own research topic to develop and teach a 5-week curriculum on environmentally sustainable transport for a high school environmental science class. Since returning to New Orleans, he has become involved with sustainable development projects in the city. Mark is a board member of Friends of Lafitte Corridor (FOLC), a non-profit group advocating for the development of the Lafitte Greenway – a 3 mile linear greenspace being designed to promote more non-motorized transport in the city. The Lafitte Greenway could also become a pilot project as part of the Integrated Water Management Strategy currently in development. In the latter half of 2011, Mark worked for a solar installation company, becoming familiar with the installation, operation and maintenance of various types of solar photovoltaic systems.
Don is CEO and Chief Scientist at Sustainable Ecosystem Restoration, LLC, located in Mobile, Alabama and New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Blancher received his bachelor’s in Biology from University of New Orleans (1972), his masters in Zoology and Physiology from LSU (1974) and his Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering Sciences from the University of Florida (1979). He is a Systems Ecologist who has applied various techniques, including energy synthesis, for evaluation of systems of nature and man. He has worked on numerous planning projects throughout the Gulf Coastal area evaluating the ecological impacts for a variety of landscape changes. He is also an expert in the discharge of contaminants in aquatic and marine environments, and their subsequent impacts to biota and habitats (including wetlands impacts).