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Department of Homeland Security Sustainability and Efficiency Task Force Holds Inaugural Meeting

Release Date: 
July 31, 2009

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) Sustainability and Efficiency Task Force held its first meeting this week. The task force, created in June, is an experienced group of energy and environmental experts who will advise Secretary Napolitano on ways to bolster national security by maximizing resource efficiency.

“Expanding our sustainability efforts will allow us to more effectively deploy our resources to fulfill our critical security mission,” said Secretary Napolitano. “This task force will accelerate our efforts to pursue renewable resources and increase efficiency throughout the Department.”

The task force—comprised of experts from academia, business, government and architecture—will look for ways to incorporate sustainable practices into DHS operations in order to enhance national security and generate cost savings.

Dr. Lydia Thomas, a current trustee and former President and CEO of Noblis, Inc., will chair the task force, and Dr. Jared Cohon, President of Carnegie Mellon University, and Sunil Paul, founder of Spring Ventures, will serve as vice chairs. The inaugural meeting of the group was held this week in Washington, D.C.

The new task force complements the Department-wide Efficiency Review Secretary Napolitano launched in March, which emphasizes streamlining operations, eliminating waste, and improving customer service.

The Sustainability and Efficiency Task Force members include:

Lydia Thomas (Chair) is a trustee and former President and CEO of Noblis, Inc. She is a member of the Virginia Governor’s Commission on Climate Change and serves on the boards of directors of the Cabot Corporation, the United States Energy Association, and the Northern Virginia Technology Council. 

Jared “Jerry” Cohon (Vice-Chair) is President of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. Dr. Cohon previously served as a Legislative Assistant for energy and the environment for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and on President Clinton’s Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board.

Sunil Paul (Vice-Chair)  is Founder of Spring Ventures. He founded and served as CEO of several companies and previously worked in the U.S. Congress’s Office of Technology Assessment.

Majora Carter is President of the Majora Carter Group, LLC, a green-economic consulting firm. She previously served as Executive Director of Sustainable South Bronx, a non-profit organization she founded in 2001. She also hosts Eco-Heroes on the Sundance Channel.

Aimée Christensen is Founder and CEO of Christensen Global Strategies. She previously worked at Google.org, the World Bank, the law firm of Baker & McKenzie, the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Lawrence “Larry” Coben is Chairman and CEO of Tremisis Energy Corporation, LLC, and a director of NRG Energy, Inc., and SAESA (Chilean utility). He previously served as CEO of Bolivian Power Company and Senior Vice President of Catalyst Energy Corporation.

Mark Frisch is Principal in Charge of Technical Design at Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB). He consults on emerging design technologies that utilize alternative energy solutions and is a speaker and lecturer on architectural technology, exploring prefabrication and the relationship between enclosure and fundamental building systems.

Heather Henriksen is Director of the Office for Sustainability at Harvard University and a partner at Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2). She holds an M.A. in Public Administration with a focus on energy and environment from the Harvard Kennedy School and previously was Director of Corporate Marketing and Business Development at Time Warner.

Kathleen McGinty is an Operating Partner at Element Partners, LLC, and a member of the board of directors of NRG Energy, Inc. McGinty is the former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and served as chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality for six years under President Bill Clinton.

Muscoe Martin is the Principal of M2 Architecture in Philadelphia. He is the former chairman of the AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE), a current member of the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Steering Committee and LEED Faculty and teaches at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design.

Michael Polsky is Founder, President and CEO of Invenergy LLC. Prior to founding Invenergy LLC, Mr. Polsky founded both SkyGen Energy LLC and Indeck Energy Services Inc and held various positions at Fluor Engineers, Brown Boveri Turbomachinery, and Bechtel Power Corporation.

Jeff Speck is a city planner and urban designer who advocates internationally for smart growth and sustainable design. He is the co-author of Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream, and is currently completing the manuscript for The Smart Growth Manual.  He founded his planning consultancy, Speck & Associates LLC, in 2007.

Katarina Tesarova is Senior Project Manager of Energy and Environmental Division of MGM MIRAGE. Prior to joining MGM MIRAGE, Tesarova was the Finance Department Manager for an international trading company.

Gail Vittori is Co-Director of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems. She is Chair of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)'s Board of Directors and Founding Chair of the USGBC's LEED for Healthcare core committee.

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