GreenTown Will County Agenda

KEYNOTE - Sustainable Economic Development: The Future of Will County

Debra Rowe, Ph D.

Dr. Debra Rowe, a leading advocate in sustainability and education for sustainable development , will address the national trends and local actions for a sustainable future. Dr. Rowe, a professor at Oakland Community College in Detroit, will discuss the aspects of sustainability in both higher education and in the community. She will focus on sustainable economic development and the impact it will have on the future of Will County, its employees and residents. This presentation will have an emphasis on resilience and on the leadership from the business sector while also including government and nonprofits.  Attendees will learn how they can help create and benefit from a more sustainable Will County.

Where and When


Joliet Junior College
Renaissance Center
214 N Ottawa St, Downtown Joliet


Friday, October 26 from 8:30 AM - 4:15 PM,
Craft Beer and Networking Social 4:15 PM - 5:30 PM


7:30am-8:30am Mayors and Elected Officials Breakfast

8:30am-9:00am Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00am-9:30am Welcome Addresses

9:30am-10:20am Keynote

10:20am-10:30am Break

10:30am-11:45am Breakout Session #1

11:45am-12:45pm Lunch

11:50pm-12:10pm Optional Anaerobic Digester Tour

12:45pm-2:00pm Breakout Session #2

2:00pm-2:15pm Break

2:15pm-3:30pm Breakout Session #3

3:30pm-3:45pm Break - Snacks provided by University of St. Francis

3:45pm-4:15pm Will County Regional Sustainability Network/Event Closing

4:15pm-5:30pm Craft Beer and Networking Social

Topics and Sessions


Energy Efficiency - 10:30 - 11:45 a.m.
MODERATOR: Sam Bluemer, Energy & Conservation Specialist, Will County

Jeff Hettrick, External Affairs Manager, ComEd

Amy Jewel, Senior City Advisor, City Energy Project, IMT

Lindy Wordlaw, Senior Manager, Public Sector Programs, Elevate Energy

Solar Energy - 12:45  - 2:00 p.m. | Breakout Supporter - Illinois Solar Energy Association
MODERATOR: Mark Burger, Community Solar Consultant

David McEllis,Government Affairs Rep, Environmental Law and Policy Center

Sarah Wochos, Director of Policy and Business Development, Borrego Solar Systems

Tim Montague, Solar PV Sales & Business Development, Continental Electrical Construction Co.

Sam Bluemer, Energy & Conservation Specialist, Will County

Sustainable Development - 2:15 - 3:30 p.m.
MODERATOR: John Harris, a5 Inc.

Edith Makra, Director of Environmental Initiatives, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus

Jim Rickert, Commissioning Manager, Farnsworth Group, Inc.

Lois Vitt Sale, Senior Vice President, Chief Sustainability Officer, Wight & Co.

Lisa Dorothy, Civil Engineer, City of Joliet


What does Farm to Table Really Mean? - 10:30 - 11:45 a.m.
MODERATOR: Kathy Pecora, Program Manager, We WILL Grow, Will County Land Use

Joe Pecora, President, Heroes West Sports Grill

Tom Schoenbeck, Schoenbeck Farms, Heart and Soil Heirlooms, Inc.

Joe Cokinis, Chef, Heroes West Sports Grill

Jerry Hauert, Omega Beef

Defining a Local Food System - 12:45  - 2:00 p.m.
MODERATOR: Kathy Pecora, Program Manager, We WILL Grow, Will County Land Use

Janice Hill, Farmland Protection Manager, Kane County

Matt Tansley, Land Use Planner, Kane County

Emily Weber, Liberty Prairie Foundation

Karen Lehman, Artisan Grain Cooperative

Farm to School - 2:15 - 3:30 p.m.
MODERATOR: Kathy Pecora, Program Manager, We WILL Grow, Will County Land Use

Diane Chapeta, Program Manager, Seven Generations Ahead/Illinois Farm to School Network

Linda Mallers, Founder, Farm Logix

Misty Soderholm, Vice President, William E. Young School and Volunteer Coordinator of its Garden Club, Homer Glen Parent Teacher Organization


Regional and Local Water Issues (Joliet, Great Lakes) - 10:30 - 11:45 a.m.
MODERATOR: Janine Hicks, Sustainability Coordinator, University of St. Francis

Tom Weisner, Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Planning Council

Danielle Gallet, Manager, Metropolitan Planning Council

Allison Swisher, Director of Public Utilities, City of Joliet

Nick Gornick, Plant Operations Superintendent, City of Joliet

Water Quality Protection and Agriculture - 12:45  - 2:00 p.m.
MODERATOR: Gary Cuneen, Executive Director, Seven Generations Ahead

Trevor Sample, Coordinator, Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, Illinois EPA

Larry Thurow, Special Projects Coordinator, Champaign County Soil & Water Conservation District

James Isermann, Illinois Field Manager, Soil Health Partnership

Practices and Products for Water Savings - 2:15 - 3:30 p.m.
MODERATOR: Sam Bluemer, Energy & Conservation Specialist, Will County

Cary McElhinney, WaterSense Coordinator, US EPA Region 5 (Chicago)

Rebecca Raines, Manager of Outreach and Public Education, CNT RainReady

Jeff Freeman, Vice President, Engineering Enterprises, Inc.


Community Mobility - 10:30 - 11:45 a.m.
MODERATOR: Mike Schwarz, Planning Director, City of Joliet

Maggie Melin, Advocacy Manager, Active Transportation Alliance

Ed Barsotti, Chief Programs Officer, Ride Illinois

Will County Community Friendly Freight Mobility Plan and Transportation Issues and Solutions - 12:45  - 2:00 p.m.
MODERATOR: Elaine Bottomley, Director of Transportation, Will County Governmental League

John Greuling, President & CEO, Will County Center for Economic Development

Elizabeth Irvin, Senior Transportation Planner, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning

Justine Reisinger Sydello, Deputy Secretary, Illinois Department of Transportation

Will County Public Transportation and Bikeable, Walkable Community Initiatives - 2:15 - 3:30 p.m.
MODERATOR: Marta Keane, Recycling Program Specialist, Will County

Cori Crawford, Planning and GIS Coordinator, Forest Preserve District of Will County

Elizabeth Gonzalez, Community Relations Representative, Pace Suburban Bus

HEALTH - Sponsored by Silver Cross HOSPITAL

Community Health Assessment, the MAPP Collaborative, and Food Recovery - 10:30 - 11:45 a.m.
MODERATOR: Chuck Colley, Director of Business Development, a5 Inc.

Shannon Jermal, Regional Director of Community Health Integration, Presence Health

Hester Bury, Director of Foundations and Grants, Northern Illinois Food Bank

Jennifer Lamplough, Director of Nutrition Programs & Exec. Chef, Northern Illinois Food Bank

Opioids and Issues Around Health, Water Quality and Waste – National, Local, Barriers, Solutions - 12:45  - 2:00 p.m.
MODERATOR: Dr. Kathleen Burke, Director of Substance Use Initiatives, Will County Executive Office

Terry Lemming, Police Chief, Village of Lockport

Nick Ficarello, Police Chief, Braidwood

Jim Vehrs, Mayor, Braidwood

Dr. Kathleen Burke, Director of Substance Use Initiatives, Will County Executive Office

Food is Medicine: Links Between Sustainability and Health - 2:15 - 3:30 p.m.
MODERATOR: Sharon McNeil, Manager of Healthy Community Programs, Northern IL Food Bank

Martha Clare Morris, Professor and Director, Rush Hospital, author of Diet for the Mind

Bettye Gavin, Executive Director, Forest Park Community Center, Joliet City Councilwoman, District 4


Legislation, Ordinances and Planning: Recycling, Waste Reduction and Composting Initiatives - 10:30 - 11:45 a.m.
MODERATOR: Marta Keane, Recycling Program Specialist, Will County

Lisa Disbrow, Public Affairs Manager, Waste Management

Jen Walling, Executive Director, Illinois Environmental Council

Marta Keane, Recycling Program Specialist, Will County

Infrastructure and Programs Driving Waste Reduction and Composting - 12:45  - 2:00 p.m.
MODERATOR: Dean Olson, Resource Recovery & Energy Director, Will County

Debra Shore, Commissioner, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

John Trelo, Commercial Account Manager, Organix Recycling

Stephanie Katsaros, Founder & President, Bright Beat

Composting, Waste Reduction and Recycling at Educational Institutions - 2:15 - 3:30 p.m.

MODERATOR: Joan O’Keefe, Environmental Educator, Will County

John, Lerczak, Sustainability Coordinator, Lewis University

Kate Caldwell, Interpretive Naturalist, Plum Creek Nature Center

Joan O’Keefe, Environmental Educator, Will County