The Straight Scoop on Shale

A project of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania Citizen Education Fund

2017 THRIVE: Sustainable Economy Summit

was held on April 21, 2017 at the Rustic Lodge in Indiana PA. Presented by the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania. In collaboration with League of Women Voters of Indiana County, Center for Community Growth, Evergreen Conservancy, IUP Sustainability Studies Program, Indiana County Office of Planning & Development.

Speakers Bios


The Sustainable Economy Is Here
Sharon Pillar E2 Environmental Entrepreneurs/Clean Jobs PA
 Energy Innovators Panel 
 Dan Boone (Windmills) Video
 John Stolz PhD (Biodigesters) Video
Allison Rohrs (PA Wind
Maps/St. Francis Institute for Energy)
 Hal Saville (EIS Solar) Video
 Green Chemistry and the Transformation to Clean Manufacturing 
 Terrence Collins PhD Carnegie Mellon University Institute of Green Science Video
 Mine Land Reclamation and Jobs 
 Joe Pizarchik Former Director, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation
and Enforcement U.S. Dept of Interior
 Lunch Speaker: 
Finding Pennsylvania’s Solar Future
Jessica Shirley Policy Director, PA Dept. of Environmental Protection
Eco-Tourism & Sustainable Asset Mapping 
Jamie Douthit Evergreen Conservancy &
Maria Jack Indiana County Tourist Bureau
Sustainable Agriculture, Jobs and Economic Development
Hannah Smith-Brubaker Exec Director,
PASA/Former PA Deputy Secy Agriculture
Implementing Sustainable Development Projects in Your Town or Borough 
 Mario Leone Jr. Monaca Borough Manager Video
 Ten Steps for Sustainable Municipal Planning & Implementation  
Patricia DeMarco PhD Author, Pathways to a Sustainable Future
Visiting Scholar, CMU Institute for Green Sciences; Forest Hills Borough Councilor
 Sustainable Municipality Certification 
 Jim Price Sustainable Community Manager, Sustainable Pittsburgh Video
 PANEL: Sustainability Education and Community Engagement 
 Amanda Poole PhD, Susan Comfort PhD Co-Directors IUP Sustainability Studies Video
 Michael Sell, St. Francis Institute for Energy Video


The Hon. Sherene Hess After a career in conservation and public policy work, Sherene Hess is now serving her first term as Indiana County Commissioner.
The Sustainable Economy is Here
Sharon Pillar is owner of the Hot Earth Collaborative, LLC and works as the Pennsylvania Consultant for Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), one of the producers
of the Clean Jobs Pennsylvania report. Sharon also manages the Solarize Allegheny project for SmartPower, a national non-profit marketing firm for clean energy which encourages homeowners and businesses to go solar, and she is a facilitator for the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s Finding Our Solar Future project. She serves as the elected president of the Solar Unified Network of Western Pennsylvania (SUNWPA), the region’s solar trade organization, and as a steering committee member for the first solar cooperative in western Pennsylvania. During her eight years at PennFuture, Sharon was the Project Manager for solar programs and provided community outreach for climate change and clean energy policy. She holds an M.A. in Earth Literacy from St. Mary’s-of-the-Woods College in Terre Haute, IN and a B.A. in Psychology from Mansfield State University.

Energy Innovators Panel
Dan Boone (Windmills) is Professor Emeritus at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the Philosophy Department. Since his retirement he has obtained 5 patents on a new concept of vertical axis wind turbine and associated refinements. He is working on another patent on a generalized energy storage process. His company, Ekodyne, Inc., is presently engaged in R & D on the wind turbine design and hopes to have a prototype evaluated this summer at the Penn State Wind Turbine Field Test Facility.
John Stolz Ph. D. (Biodigesters) has been at Duquesne University since 1990, and is Director of the Center for Environmental Research and Education. He is a professor of environmental microbiology. His teaching includes a course on environmental science for business professionals. Dr. Stolz has a BS from Fordham University and a PhD from Boston University. He was an NRC Post doctoral fellow at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Department of Geology and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, and had an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Plant Biology in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. An environmental microbiologist, he has researched microbes that metabolize arsenic, selenium, and chromium, and more recently the feasibility of biodigesters for natural gas production. Dr. Stolz has published 81 journal articles, 34 book chapters, and authoredited two books.
Allison Rohrs (PA Wind Maps) is the Director of the Saint Francis University Institute for Energy. Allison holds a Master’s degree in Energy and Mineral Engineering from Penn State and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado in Environmental Science. She is a BPI certified home Building Analyst and Envelope Professional. Allison spent years working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as working in Grand Teton National Park. In 2011, she moved to Pennsylvania to work as a wind turbine technician and has worked on Pennsylvania renewable energy issues ever since.
Hal Saville (Solar) has been involved in the Western PA solar scene for almost 30 years. He received his degree in Architectural Engineering with emphasis in solar and energy conservation from Penn State in the mid-eighties, before the solar industry really existed. He has served in the energy conservation manufacturing and home building industries for over 10 years as well as many years in healthcare informatics. A few years ago Hal decided to follow his earlier passion to help solve the energy crisis in the renewables industry and literally helped launch the solar industry in Western PA, creating a new career for himself in the process. He is currently an Energy Project Consultant for EIS Solar, Western PA’s premier solar solutions provider where he has sold and designed both residential and commercial solar power systems for over 6 years. Hal has also been active in the local green workforce development movement in the region, participating on
the Green Jobs and the CCAC Solar Program advisory boards as well as writing a successful grant for Conservation Consultants Inc. with the Community Foundation of the Alleghenies to operate certification classes for solar installers. He was also a founding member of SUNWPA the Solar Unified Network of Western PA. This organization, originally founded by solar professionals and other affiliates has expanded to include solar power system owners and other enthusiasts interested in growing the local industry. It has undertaken lobbying at the state level to improve the financial viability of solar investment as well as working with local municipalities at developing a consistent ordinance and permitting process for solar through DOE’s SunShot Initiative.

Green Chemistry and the Transformation to Clean Manufacturing
Terrence Collins Ph.D., Hon FRSNZ is the Teresa Heinz Professor of Green Chemistry and Director of the Institute for Green Science at Carnegie Mellon University.
At CMU in 1992, Terry taught the first course in the world in green or sustainable chemistry. He is renowned for inventing the first small-molecule mimics of oxidizing enzymes, thus solving a multibillion dollar research challenge that has occupied a large branch of chemistry for over five decades. Oxidation chemistry is a huge component of industrial chemistry. The Collins catalysts, called “TAMLs” and “NewTAMLs” can enable important industrial processes to be carried out Nature’s way, thereby providing potent tools for avoiding toxic byproduct. Among his many honors and awards is the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (EPA-1999).

Mine Land Reclamation and Jobs
Joseph Pizarchik, as principal of Pizarchik Advancements, is working as an independent advisor/consultant/lawyer in the fields of mining reclamation, reforestation, and water protection and improvements. Previously he served as director of the Department of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) in the Obama administration (2009–2017) and before that as director of Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Mining and Reclamation, part of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. Pizarchik was one of the authors of Pennsylvania’s Environmental Good Samaritan Act and provided counsel during the development and implementation of the Good Samaritan program. In addition to working on various mining-related statutory and regulatory amendments, Pizarchik played important roles in the development of Pennsylvania’s program for volunteers to clean up abandoned coal refuse sites, the state’s program for mine operators to establish trust funds obligations, and measures to secure explosive storage facilities. He also eliminated impediments to the construction of the Flight 93 National Memorial. He is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law.

LUNCHEON SPEAKER “Finding Pennsylvania’s Solar Future”
Introduction by Indiana County Commissioners Sherene Hess and Rod Ruddock
Jessica Shirley is Policy Director of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
The Policy Office is a highly specialized executive office that works closely with all DEP programs and the Governor’s Office of Policy and Planning. The office is
responsible for engaging the public in meaningful dialogue and coordinating the Department’s initiatives through its many advisory committees. The Policy Office also manages the agency’s regulatory development, review and approval process, and is responsible for principal administration of the Environmental Quality Board and Board of Coal Mine Safety. Jessica also oversees the Office of Pollution Prevention and Energy Assistance (OPPEA), which performs and administers the functions of the Pennsylvania Energy Office. OPPEA works with citizen’s groups, businesses, trade organizations, local governments and communities to help them reduce pollution and save energy. The office works to foster and develop alternative energy solutions. Ms. Shirley joined the DEP Policy Office in 2011 after spending a year in the Department of Labor & Industry’s Office of Policy, Planning and Development. Jessica received her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Penn State University and her Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Political Science from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Panel: Ecotourism & Sustainable Asset Mapping
Jamie Douthit is an AmeriCorps OSM/VISTA volunteer with the Evergreen Conservancy and the Crooked Creek Watershed Association.
Her goals for the year include increasing outreach efforts for both organizations, building the capacity of water monitoring efforts in the South Branch of Plum Creek, and creating an EcoTour for Indiana County. She has been working closely with local partners and community members to identify and highlight environmentally significant areas and projects in the county.
Maria Jack handles Group Sales and is the Public Relations Specialist for the Indiana County Tourist Bureau, the designated tourism promotional agency for the county. For four years she has provided step-on guide service to most all incoming tours to the county, assisting in itinerary building for schools, seniors and leisure travel. Representing ICTB at numerous national and local travel and public relation shows, she keeps a pulse on marketing Indiana County to a variety of demographics, with ecotourism being a vital subject of interest to visitors.

Sustainable Agriculture, Jobs and Economic Development
Hannah Smith-Brubaker is the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture (PASA). She is the former Deputy Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. As Deputy, she focused on agricultural markets and economic development, farmland preservation, and the charitable food system. Hannah operates Village Acres Farm & FoodShed – an organic produce and pastured poultry farm in Juniata County. Village Acres has been in operation for 35 years, 25 of which have been organically certified and nearly 20 of which have involved year-round community supported agriculture.
Hannah brings more than twenty years of off-farm experience in nonprofit education, community development, business administration, and a proven record of working with the full diversity of agriculture, insisting on inclusion and open dialogue.

Implementing Sustainable Development Projects in Your Town or Borough
Mario Leone, Jr. is the Monaca Borough Manager and winner of the American Public
Works Assn. Sustainability Award for his sustainable energy initiatives in Monaca, PA. Monaca Borough is also a Gold Certified PA Sustainable Community, and the 2016 Small Municipality winner of the Sustainable Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge. Ten Steps for Sustainable Municipal Planning and Implementation
Patricia DeMarco, Ph.D. is a member of Forest Hills Borough Council. She is also a Visiting Researcher & Writer at CMU’s Institute for Green Sciences, and the author of the new book, Pathways to A Sustainable Future. Dr. DeMarco has spent a 30-year career in energy and environmental policy, including as Commissioner of the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, and Demand Side Manager for the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative. She was President of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation. She also was Director of Chatham University’s Rachel Carson Institute. She holds a doctorate in biology from the University of Pittsburgh. The Charles Showalter Show on The Union Edge Radio carries her regular segment on “Just Transitions.”

Sustainable Municipality Certification
Jim Price is the Sustainable Community Manager for Sustainable Pittsburgh where he manages the Sustainable Pennsylvania Community Certification program in coordination with the Pennsylvania Municipal League (PML). He also works with developers on projects considered Developments of Regional Importance to encourage them to include sustainable best practices. Prior to coming to Sustainable Pittsburgh Jim served as the Policy and Project Manager for the Congress of Neighboring Communities (CONNECT), an innovative policy advocacy organization representing the City of Pittsburgh and its 36 first-ring suburbs. Jim also worked as the project coordinator for a US Department of Energy funded solar project designed and managed by Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture), a
statewide environmental organization. Jim holds a BA from Cleveland State University in Political Science and History and a Master’s of International Development focused on Development Planning and Environmental Sustainability from University of Pittsburgh.

Panel: Sustainability Education and Community Engagement Amanda Poole & Susan Comfort (Co-Directors, IUP Sustainability Studies Program)
Amanda Poole Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches classes on environmental, applied, and cultural anthropology and African studies. Dr. Poole is the Director of IUP’s Center for Northern Appalachian Studies. She earned her Ph.D. from the environmental anthropology program at the University of Washington, where she worked on research projects in both academic and applied settings. Her dissertation research focused on state-society relations around resource management and refugee resettlement in the Horn of Africa. Her interests in political ecology and community based resource management emerged from that research project, and continue to inform her work, most recently on the topic of
hydraulic fracturing. Poole also mentors students in applied participatory research through the Appalachian Teaching Project and serves as co-chair of a new Sustainability Studies Program at IUP.
Susan Comfort, Ph.D., is an associate professor of English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches Postcolonial and Third-World Studies (especially Anglophone South Asian and Caribbean Literature), and Feminist Environmental Justice Studies. In recent years, she received a Fulbright Fellowship to study in India, where she researched feminist agents of environmental change in Indian culture and literature. In her inquiry into how varieties of feminist agency have emerged in response to an ecological and social crisis in India, Dr. Comfort interacted with numerous scholars and representatives from Indian universities and non-profit organizations through the Centre for Women’s Development Studies in New Delhi. She currently co-directs the new IUP Program on Sustainability Studies, and serves on the board of the IUP Center for Northern Appalachian Studies.
Michael Sell is Project Coordinator of St. Francis University Institute for Energy. Michael has been involved with a variety of projects at the Institute since 2008, ranging from organizing seminars and conducting renewable energy assessments, to maintaining the Institute’s website and educating everyone from toddlers to adults about energy. He holds several renewable energy certificates and is a BPI certified Building Analyst and Envelope Professional. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree from SFU in 2010 and is in his final semester of the university’s M.B.A. program.