In January 2011, Kendal joined the Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office as an Outreach Specialist for the BetterBuildings for Michigan program. He educates residents on the benefits of the BetterBuildings for Michigan program and walks them through the process of making their homes more energy efficient. He is also the program’s liaison to public officials.
Prior to joining the Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office, Kendal worked as a community organizer in metro Detroit and in Georgia. He has diverse experience in community organizing, having worked on national and local campaigns for nonprofit organizations as well as for candidates for elected office. Kendal enjoys being a community organizer because it allows him to be a change agent for the causes he is most passionate about.
Kendal was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He is a proud graduate of Samuel C. Mumford High School and Wayne State University, where he earned a B.A. in Political Science. He is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration at Oakland University. He is also a 2006 graduate of the Congressional Black Caucus’s Political Education and Leadership Institute Political Boot Camp Training held at Morgan State University.
In his spare time, Kendal loves to work out. He enjoys learning about health and fitness and is a Certified Personal Trainer. He is currently working on an innovative concept that he hopes will help reduce the obesity rate in our community.
Jacob Stevens Corvidae, LEED AP, is the Green Programs Manager for WARM Training Center, where he oversees WARM’s technical assistance division. With a passion for making sustainability fun and accessible, he geeks hard so you don’t have to.
An experienced program designer, Jacob has developed regional and statewide programs to advance energy efficiency and green building. He spearheads WARM’s work as a founding partner of the Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office, providing technical assistance to local governments. Jacob also serves on the steering committee for Better Buildings for Michigan and oversees the program’s design and outreach efforts in Southeast Michigan. BetterBuildings for Michigan aims to provide energy retrofits to over 4,000 homes in Detroit and the Metro area.
Jacob conducts seminars and consults on energy efficiency, green building and renewable energy for a variety of audiences and clients. He performs (and sometimes that word is quite accurate) 30-50 seminars a year, including at national and statewide conferences. In addition, he has taught sustainable design at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture. He has also authored a variety of reports, guides and essays on energy savings and green building, including blog posts at warmtraining.org and lagomorph.org.
With a passion and commitment to social and organizational sustainability, Jacob has been working with collaboratives and local groups on sustainable development since 1997 and is a co-founder of Sustainable Detroit and the Urban Ecovillage Network. He is a trained mediator and has studied integral theory and sustainable development at the Integral Institute.
And in the rest of his time? You can find him doing anything from designing games to improve the world, making music, building robots, making delicious food, climbing things that probably shouldn’t be climbed on, and making impromptu obstacle courses with his kids. While this is the “rest of the time” there’s no real “rest” in that time. But apparently, that’s the way he likes it.
Joel has been at WARM Training Center since March 2010, serving as the sustainable communities coordinator, which is the main liaison to local governments around energy, climate and sustainability issues.
Prior to joining WARM Training Center, Joel earned a dual Master’s Degree focused on Urban Sustainability from the School of Natural Resources and Environment and the School of Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. He is a passionate advocate for sustainability as the force through which cities can revitalize, thrive, and innovate. Prior to graduate school, Joel spent 5 years teaching high school in the City of Detroit, preceded by several years working in organic agriculture.
In his time at WARM Training Center, Joel has served as a main technical liaison to local governments regarding energy, climate, and sustainability issues. He led a project that provided technical assistance to 41 local governments that received EECBG grants through the State of Michigan Energy Office. That assistance ranged from presenting at workshops and conferences to compiling case studies on key projects and providing one-on-one assistance. Joel handled energy data analysis and DTE rebates for Regional Energy Office members who received EECBG grants. Over the last 10 months, Joel has spearheaded WARM’s work with Oakland County on a Tri-City Sustainability Plan. In addition, he has be the project manager for the GHG Assessment portion of three Climate Action Planning grants. Furthermore, Joel is involved with the City of Detroit’s Green Task Force, helping the City develop green building policies and other policies to move the city towards greater sustainability.
Joel is an avid, year round bike commuter, gardener, cook, and athlete. He loves and lives in the City of Detroit with his wife; Ana Howrani Heeres. He serves as the President of the Board of The Hub of Detroit, a non-profit that educates and empowers youth and adults to build, fix, maintain, and ride bicycles as means of both transportation and recreation.
Joel’s wide-ranging skills include policy and program development, data analysis and systems, and the design and facilitation of public processes.
Sam came to the Suburbs Alliance in 2010 to serve as the director of the Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office. At that time, the Energy Office had just received a $3 million grant from the Michigan Public Service Commission to fund municipal facility projects. With Sam’s background as a manager and administrator, he was able to organize the fledgling Energy Office, select staff members, and coordinate energy projects in several member communities. Sam also directed the implementation of Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG) for 8 cities and another group of 20 projects for 14 cities. As the Energy Office’s Co-Director, Sam has also been involved in administering the BetterBuildings for Michigan program, which is providing home energy upgrades in 12 neighborhoods in the Detroit metropolitan area.
Sam came to Michigan in 1964 as a freshman at the University of Michigan. Five and half years later he had earned his B.B.A and M.B.A at the U-M Business School, had just married, and went to work for I.B.M. as a computer marketing representative. Later, he joined AAA Michigan as a systems analyst and spent 6 years honing computer programming and analysis skills before leading their market research group. He soon became a branch manager and eventually a strategic analyst for AAA, spending time working in Monroe and Southgate, Michigan and Madison, Wisconsin.
Sam then returned to the University of Michigan as the general manager of Student Publications, handling the business, financial and administrative matters for publications like The Michigan Daily. Working with students at these publications provided Sam with a good look at new trends and issues in publication and media. It was during this time that newspapers and other similar publications developed their websites and began to realize that news and information is a 24/7 business and everyone needed to adapt to the new technology.
Sam lives in Ann Arbor and regularly follows U-M athletics, especially football. He is the middle of a three generation continuum of U-M graduates – his father attended, his in-laws attended, his wife attended and his daughter attended. As a citizen planner, Sam spent 9 years on the Ann Arbor City Planning Commission, and he is currently in his 6th year on Ann Arbor’s Parks Advisory Commission and his 3rd on the Board for the Leslie Science & Nature Center.
Gillian joined the Regional Energy Office in 2010, shortly after receiving an M.S. from the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan. Her masters’ studies focused on environmental behavior and communication, or “how to talk to people about environmental issues.” Gillian was thrilled to find a job doing just that at the Energy Office, and in April 2011 she took on the role of communications coordinator for the BetterBuildings for Michigan program.
In addition to her interest in writing and traditional communications, Gillian is a huge geek when it comes to databases, infographics and all things interactive. She has been a key player in developing the new Energy Office website and in customizing and implementing Salesforce contact management for the organization. She has been known to spend her evenings making interactive excel spreadsheets and colorful maps while watching “The Daily Show” and trying to keep the dog from sleeping on her keyboard. Still, she makes time for outdoor activities, like sledding and cross country skiing in the winter, camping, disc golf and bike touring in the summer, and cooking and eating delicious food year-round.
Gillian was born and raised in Ann Arbor, MI, and earned a B.A. in Political Science from Kalamazoo College before receiving her M.S. from the University of Michigan. She worked at environmental and international development organizations in Berkeley, CA, Baltimore, MD, Toronto, Canada and Chiang Mai, Thailand before returning to Michigan to make a difference in her home state. Gillian also has a background in environmental education, and currently serves on the board of Camp Talahi, a summer camp near Brighton, MI. She lives in Ypsilanti with her partner, Adam, and their dog and two cats.
Conan, our noble leader, has served as Executive Director at the Michigan Suburbs Alliance since August 2004. His passion for cities – matched only by his insatiable desire to create straw replicas of the Seven Wonders of the World – stems from a life supporting innovative policies for urban development and regional collaboration strategies. (We’re serious about the straw; plans are already in the works for a backyard Stonehenge.)
Prior to joining Suburbs Alliance, Conan worked with the Michigan Environmental Council. As their Land Programs Director, he helped build cohesive support in the environmental community for Smart Growth policies among the state’s environmental organizations and their constituents. His past work has been integral in creating conservation subdivision design standards for local governments, instituting an asset management program within the Michigan Department of Transportation, advancing regional governance opportunities and securing more than $55 million in increased funding for mass transit in the state.
In his time at the Suburbs Alliance, he has transformed the organization. Perhaps his most impressive accomplishment is the Lego building he recently architected – all by himself, might I add. However, his white board drawings have given new life to our office space, and undoubtedly take a close second. Others point to his more pragmatic impacts, including a budget that has grown from $150,000 to more than $4M in FY 2011. Under his leadership the Suburbs Alliance was named one of the state’s “Most Innovative Companies” in 2006 by the Michigan Business Review. The organization’s programs have brought more than $40M to Michigan communities and advanced pioneering approaches to redevelopment, climate change and talent attraction and retention.
Conan also serves as a Washtenaw County Commissioner representing the City of Ann Arbor, a position he’s held since 2005. He serves as chair of the board for 2011. For the previous two years, he chaired the Ways & Means Committee, successfully leading the County through a $30M budget deficit challenge by working to address strategic cuts and restructurings that saved hundreds of jobs and protected critical public services.
Conan was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan where he lives today with his wife, Michigan State Senator Rebekah Warren. He serves on the board of directors of Michigan Saves and as an executive committee member at SEMCOG. Conan attended the Residential College at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, where he earned a B.A. in Creative Writing and Literature.
With his combination of professional, personal and educational qualifications, Conan is the ideal leader of the Suburbs Alliance and a role model for its employees. It is his habit of picking up the lunch tab, however, that has secured his popularity with the staff.
Sheila is an Outreach Specialist with the Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office, BetterBuildings for Michigan Program in Southeast Michigan. Sheila is the community relations liaison for all of the neighborhoods selected for the energy savings program. She is responsible for building relationships with local communities, partner organizations, homeowners and contractors. She is also responsible for social media, making media contacts and managing the Salesforce data for the sweep neighborhoods.
Her skill set includes grant research, writing and review, event management, community organizing, non-profit board and community volunteer experience, workshop facilitation, office management and relationship building.
Sheila is a graduate of the Detroit Regional Chamber Leadership Detroit program and the New Detroit Inc. Multicultural Leadership Program. She holds a degree in Human Services from the University of Detroit Mercy and degrees in Public Relations and Intercultural/Interpersonal Communication from Macomb Community College.
As the Energy Office’s program coordinator, Jennifer provides grant administration and project management assistance on energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to local governments throughout Southeast Michigan. In this capacity, she facilitates communication and collaboration among City staff, grant administrators and the Energy Office’s project team.
Since May 2010, she has provided grant administration and project management assistance to over 10 local governments on over 38 municipal energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. These projects range from interior lighting upgrades to solar panel installations.
Jen also coordinated the efforts of six participating communities in a joint bid effort to receive bulk pricing on energy efficient lighting equipment, resulting in the communities saving over $50,000. She also works closely with local governments build a regional endowment to fund energy programs and services accessible to Energy Office member governments, creating a sustainable source of funding for energy programs and services that will benefit member communities for years to come.
Prior to working with the Michigan Suburbs Alliance, Jennifer worked as an independent consultant on energy and environmental projects. Jennifer holds an M.S. in Resource Policy and Behavior from the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan and a B.S. in Biology from Eastern Michigan University. For her master’s thesis, Jennifer conducted a social science research project in the Galápagos Islands to discover the motivations for volunteer participation in a conservation research project in the famous archipelago.
It is Jennifer’s privilege and honor to serve communities in fulfilling their commitment to creating vibrant, sustainable and attractive communities where residents live, work and play.