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Conference Speaker Bios

Dr. Bhavik Bakshi

Dr. Bhavik Bakshi is a professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and Civil, Environmental & Geodetic Engineering at the Ohio State University.  He is the Principal Investigator for the Process Systems Engineering Group.  The group’s research is motivated by the fact that many environmental problems are solved within a narrow boundary, so that the problem may be eradicated within the set boundaries, but will continue to persist outside.  Dr. Bakshi uses a broad systems view for finding sustainable solutions.  The projects are interdisciplinary – the studied fields extend to statistics, operations research, thermodynamics, systems ecology and economics.  Some projects include life cycle evaluation of emerging technologies (e.g. nanotechnology, fuels, etc.), process monitoring, and designing networks of technological systems and supporting ecosystem services.  Think about all of the goods and services essential for human activities provided by ecological systems – air, water, carbon and nitrogen cycling, pollination, pest and climate regulation.  Most disciplines and decisions ignore nature’s inputs, but Dr. Bakshi believes these goods and services of the ecosystem should be the basis of sustainability engineering.  This viewpoint results in complex problems with large uncertainties and trade-offs.  The research aims to develop and apply scientifically sound and theoretically rigorous methods, tools and techniques to improve the efficiency and sustainability of engineered products and processes.

Dr. Glenn Daehn

Talk title: Time and Change and Sustainability

Dr. Glenn Daehn is a professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the Ohio State University and program director of the Honda-OSU Partnership.  He is the Principal Investigator of the Impulse Manufacturing Laboratory Group and has been actively developing electromagnetic metal forming technologies for the past 20 years.  The long-term theme in his work is using unusual mechanics or reactions to open new pathways to manufacturing processes.  Lightweight structures are going to be the key to energy savings needed for the environment’s sustainability.  To do this, the vehicles of tomorrow will need to have a high percentage of multi-material joints and composites.  There is a need for new ways of making things and Dr. Daehn investigates this through studying impulse-based metalworking, high strain rate behavior of materials, and ceramic matrix composites and castings.  Through a gift from the Alcoa Foundation, Dr. Daehn is overseeing many projects dedicated to reducing the environmental burden of vehicles over their life cycle by reducing their mass, and using materials that are easily recycled and processes that are energy-efficient.  He has also been working to engage university assets to improve the local technical and economic environment.  As a former director of the Ohio Manufacturing Institute, he is involved in Ohio-based manufacturing initiatives.  He has a profound respect for making the things we rely on for everyday life and the equipment, processes and people that are part of that production process.  Dr. Daehn is also engaged in outreach efforts and is working to integrate materials science into high school education.

Dr. Jessica D’ambrosio

Assistant Professor of Cooperative Education at Antioch College.  In addition to her research on the concept of alternative designs for agricultural channels and the geomorphology and ecology of stream systems, she has managed grant-funded education and outreach projects for over 10 years.  Jessica has a Masters degree in Environmental Science and a PhD in soil and water engineering from The Ohio State University.  She has acted as a technical advisor to many groups involved in both urban and agricultural water resources management across the U.S., Canada, China, and South Africa. Jessica is a current Board member of the Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District.

Dr. Neil Drobny

Talk title: Why Business has a Sustainability Agenda

Dr. Neil Drobny is the Program Director of the Environment, Economics, Development & Sustainability (EEDS) major at the Ohio State University.  This new undergraduate program cuts across many colleges and departments at OSU, but concentrates on the human dimensions of sustainability.  Dr. Drobny’s professional career began in environmental consulting, where he typically consulted with manufacturing organizations on issues related to waste management and emissions.  Through this work, Dr. Drobny realized that the root cause of client issues was the business having problems evolving from the unwise use of resources.  He then turned to academia to work with the next generation of business leaders, hoping to instill in them an appreciation for, and awareness of, opportunities to operate in a preventative mode when it comes to environmental issues.  Too often, businesses operate in the much more expensive and less effective fix-it mode.  Dr. Drobny continues to take interest in the business case for sustainability and the business strategies, practices and tools that are being adopted and evolved to enable the execution of sustainable business agendas.  His goal as program director for the EEDS major is to instill in the next generation of business leaders a passion for incorporating a sustainability agenda into their personal and professional lives.

Dr. John Lippold

Dr. John Lippold is a professor in the Welding Engineering Program, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and a College of Engineering Distinguished Faculty.  He is the Principal Investigator for the Welding and Joining Metallurgy Group. The group works on a wide range of topics including friction stir welding and processing, filler metal development, weldability testing, phase transformation analysis, additive manufacturing and hybrid processing.  The research has a high degree of industrial relevance.  Internationally, Dr. Lippold is recognized in the field of stainless steel and high alloy welding metallurgy, and weldability testing. Ohio State has the only ABET accredited undergraduate welding engineering program in North America.  It is recognized worldwide and its welding engineering graduates are highly valued in industry.  It has been estimated that welding engineering impacts more than 50% of the products manufactured in the United States.  Almost every segment of our economy depends, to some degree, on welding and materials joining.  Welding and materials joining also have considerable and unseen effects on sustainability.  Consider, for example, the pipes that must contain extremely hot steam in power plants.  The welds in these pipes are the limiting factor to the temperatures and pressures that can be reached, and thus dictate the efficiency of power generation. For over 30 years, the common theme for the research programs Dr. Lippold has been actively involved in is gaining a better understanding of the welding metallurgy and weldability of engineering materials to solve the pressing problems faced by industry.


Megan Meier

Megan (Welsh) Meier has five years experience in the green roof industry including design and cost analysis, installation and maintenance.  As one of only four certified Green Roof Professionals in the state of Ohio, Ms. Meier is a local resource for the national market with involvement in more than 10 green roof projects including the 12,000 square-foot, public green roof at Chadwick Arboretum on the Ohio State University main campus.  Ms. Meier started Higher Ground Green Roofs, LLC in 2013 and is a LEED Green Associate with education in Construction Management and Horticulture at OSU.  

Tyler Reed, Maya Culpa, LLC

Tyler Reed grew up on a small farm in rural northwest Ohio. The son of an OSU extension agent, he grew up tending the family garden, orchard and livestock. He spent 8 years participating in the local 4-H program. During college, he volunteered in the Defiance College greenhouse and worked on restoration ecology projects in the area. He has been a backyard gardener since 2000 and in 2009 built his first hydroponic system in the basement of his home. Surprised at the level of effort, time, expertise and discipline required to consistently produce high-quality food in a small hydroponic system, he began thinking about opportunities for automation.

In 2012, Tyler officially launched HAPI, the Hydroponic Automation Platform Initiative. HAPI is an open source collaboration between individuals, companies and schools with participants in the USA, Portugal, Netherlands and Slovakia. The project has expanded substantially in scope since its initial creation. In addition to core technology development, the team is actively developing educational programs. While HAPI is essentially a social enterprise, Tyler acts as the defacto leader, spokesperson, funder and webmaster, as well as a key contributor of software and firmware code. His company, Maya Culpa, LLC, owns and maintains a HAPI-centric prototyping effort and runs the HAPI website,

Dr. Giorgio Rizzoni

Talk title: Sustainable Mobility and the Future of Personal Transportation – what cars will our (grand)children drive?

Dr. Giorgio Rizzoni is the Ford Motor Company Chair and a Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Professor at the Ohio State University.  He has also been the director of the Ohio State University Center for Automotive Research (CAR) since 1999.  CAR is a multidisciplinary research and education center devoted to educating the future generation of automotive leaders.  State-of-the art facilities place OSU CAR as a leading automotive center.  Within OSU, CAR is held in very high regard. It earned fame when a team of students and faculty built and raced the Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3, which holds the record for world’s fastest electric vehicle.  CAR conducts research on advanced automotive and transportation technologies and systems engineering, focusing on sustainable mobility, advanced propulsion systems, human safety and the environment. In addition to directing CAR, Dr. Rizzoni researches in the areas of system dynamics, measurements, control and fault diagnosis with application to automotive systems.  He has a special interest in future ground vehicle propulsion systems, including Diesel engines, electric and hybrid-electric drivetrains, and fuel cell systems.

Brandi Whetstone, Environmental Program Manager, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission

Brandi Whetstone is a program manager in MORPC’s Energy & Air Quality Department with fifteen years of experience planning and implementing environmental programs. In addition to overseeing the air quality program, she manages special projects including the U.S. EPA funded ME3 program. She coordinates ME3 with public and private partners to deliver low-cost energy and environmental assessment services to manufacturing companies, and reports the financial and environmental outcomes resulting from the program.  Prior to MORPC, Brandi was a Conservation Program Coordinator with the Sierra Club Ohio Chapter, Executive Director of the Buckeye Forest Council, and Research Database Manager at Ohio Citizen Action. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Policy and Analysis from Bowling Green State University.

Dr. Lonnie Thompson

Talk Title: Global Climate Change: The Evidence, Options and the Importance of Sustainability.

Dr. Lonnie Thompson is a Distinguished University Professor in the School of Earth Sciences and a Research Scientist in the Byrd Polar Research Center at the Ohio State University.  Dr. Thompson’s research uses ice cores to reconstruct Earth’s past climate.  Previous to Dr. Thompson’s work, drilling was limited to polar regions.  It was believed that ice in alpine glaciers in the tropics would be too technically difficult to obtain and would not yield useful data.  Dr. Thompson’s idea to drill in locations such as the tropical South American Andes, the Himalayas, and on Kilimajaro proved to be revolutionary.  After 58 expeditions, Dr. Thompson has gathered invaluable information about the Earth’s historical climate.  In addition, his team has developed light-weight solar powered drilling equipment to further propel the field of ice core paleoclimatology.  Dr. Thompson has spent more time above 18,000 feet than anyone alive.  The Byrd Polar Research Center is now home to the largest collection of ice cores retrieved from alpine glaciers in the world.  His observations of glacial retreat over the last three decades provide evidence that the warming occurring over the last 50 years is now outside the range of climate variability for several millennia, and possibly longer.  Dr. Thompson and the scientists he works with have been using the insights gained from ice cores to fight the onslaught of misinformation on global warming.