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2019 National Sustainability Summit &

National Extension Energy Summit


Wednesday, April 17th 


Pat Kemp

Hillsborough County Commissioner


Patricia “Pat” Kemp was elected to the County Commission in 2016, representing Countywide District 6. Commissioner Kemp has more than three decades of public service in Hillsborough County. She was Chief Aide to Congresswoman Kathy Castor when Castor served on the Hillsborough County Commission.

Pat Gerard

Pinellas County Commissioner

Commissioner Gerard was elected to the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners in 2014. Previously, she served as the mayor of Largo, elected in 2006 and then re-elected in 2009 and 2012. Before becoming mayor, she served as a Largo commissioner for two three-year terms, first elected in 2000.



U.S. Representative Kathy Castor

Florida’s 14th Congressional district


Kathy Castor is Tampa Bay’s voice in the U.S. Congress. She is serving her seventh term representing Florida’s 14th Congressional district, which includes Tampa and parts of Hillsborough County. She was originally elected in 2006, and is the first woman to represent Hillsborough and Pinellas counties in the U.S. Congress.

Castor started her professional legal career with the Florida Department of Community Affairs working to enforce environmental and growth management laws that protect wetlands, Florida’s coastline, endangered species and sensitive lands.  In private practice, Castor continued her commitment to Florida’s environment as a land use/environmental attorney representing local governments.  As a Hillsborough County Commissioner, Castor served as chair of the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission that is charged with protecting the air, water, wetlands, and land of our large and diverse county, and the delegated elements of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.  

Virtual Keynote

Katharine Hayhoe

Climate Science Center Director

Texas Tech University


Photo Credit:Ashley Rodgers, Texas Tech University

Dr. Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist whose research focuses on developing and applying high resolution climate projections to understand what climate change means for people and the natural environment. She is a professor and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University and has a B.Sc. in Physics from the University of Toronto and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from the University of Illinois. 


Katharine has served as a lead author for the Second, Third, and Fourth U.S. National Climate Assessments. She has also received the National Center for Science Education’s  Friend of the Planet award, the American Geophysical Union’s Climate Communication Prize, the Sierra Club’s Distinguished Service award, and the Stephen H Schneider Climate

Communication Award.


Robert Horton

Vice President of Environmental Affairs

at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport


Robert Horton has developed one of the leading environmental and sustainability programs for DFW Airport, which is the third busiest airport in the world, the largest economic engine in the DFW Region, and responsible for adding $37 billion to its local economy each year. He provides strategic and innovative leadership for DFW Airport’s environmental and sustainability programs which have resulted in key domestic and global awards for the Airport including:


  • 2016 - First Carbon Neutral Airport in North America and largest airport in the world to achieve Carbon Neutrality to date (ACI-NA).

  • 2016 and 2017 Climate Leadership Award for Organizational Leadership (EPA,Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and The Climate Registry)

       *Only international airport recognized for two consecutive years.

Friday, April 19th 


Nick T. Place

Dean for University of Florida/IFAS Extension and Director, Florida Cooperative Extension Service; and Professor, Agricultural Education and Communication

N Place picture.jpg

Dr. Nick T. Place was named Dean and Director of University of Florida/IFAS Extension in September 2012.  He is a Professor in the Agricultural Education and Communication Department in the UF /College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). He oversees the Florida Cooperative Extension service found in 67 counties, 13 Research and Education Centers, 15 special Institutes and programs and many departments across the Sunshine State.  From 2007 through 2012, Dr. Place served as the Associate Dean and Director of the University of Maryland Extension (UME). 


Interactive Closing Plenary

Gwen Whiting

Director of Training and Leadership Development

Everyday Democracy


From Everyday Democracy

"This is my passion – working with people, addressing issues of conflict, and helping people work together. I love the idea of looking through a racial equity lens.

I’ve been involved with Everyday Democracy since the 1990’s back when it was called the Study Circles Resource Center. At that time there were a lot of churches being burned across the country, and the process of dialogue was introduced to communities to help address that issue. I was trained as a facilitator and I really enjoy working with different kinds of people and working in communities. It’s a practical way of using my conflict resolution background to help people resolve their own issues through a guided process."

Interactive Closing Plenary

Carolyne Abdullah

Director of Strengthening Democratic Capacity Team

Everyday Democracy


From Everyday Democracy:

Carolyne provides management oversight to Everyday Democracy’s community assistance team and Senior Associates who work with neighborhoods, towns, school districts, and communities to find democratic ways of addressing local political and social issues. As the head of the community assistance team, Carolyne provides coaching and mentoring to program directors on the various aspects of Everyday Democracy’s approach to community change and public problem solving. This includes strategies for organizing large-scale dialogue-to-change efforts, creating inclusive discussion materials and designing action implementation and measurement tools.

NSS+NEES 2019 was hosted by the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) 
and organized by the National Network for Sustainable Living Education (NNSLE), National Extension Energy Initiative (NEEI),
Climate Science Initiative (CSI), and Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs) in partnership with USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Hillsborough County, and the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County.
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