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Michelle Pedraza

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Michelle Pedraza began her career providing business and strategy analysis for global markets, and corporate and investment banking in New York. She did this for five years before traveling around the world and volunteering at a variety of places, including organic farms in France and a vegetarian kitchen in London.  Following her travels, Michelle served as a director for a beverage distribution microenterprise in Bogotá, Colombia.

After learning first hand about the challenges that microenterprises face in scaling their business, Michelle became interested in entrepreneurial studies and completed a Master’s program at the University of Luxembourg. During her program, she wrote a business plan on an e-bike food delivery service that focused on using healthy ingredients, and she completed a thesis on a solar energy project focused on social benefits for the University’s main campus.

Upon graduation, she researched the circular economy in Luxembourg, and completed the spring internship for the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, where she reviewed and developed commitments for the Market Based Approaches and Food Systems tracks.

Michelle obtained a Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from the University of Luxembourg, and a Bachelor's in Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Boston University.

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Demetrios Papaioannou

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Demetrios is a Civil Engineer in the transportation field who specializes in mass transit, demand modeling, user satisfaction, and sustainability. 

Following school, Demetrios joined the MIT Portugal Program as a PhD Student in Transportation Systems. His PhD studies focused on mass transit and the relation between transit quality, user satisfaction, and mode choice. During his PhD program, Demetrios also spent a year at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts where he had the opportunity to work alongside leading professors and researchers in the transportation field. 

Demetrios has presented his research at international conferences and published peer-reviewed research papers. Prior to his PhD, Demetrios received an MSc in Civil Engineering with a specialization in Transportation from Democritus University of Thrace. 

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Kapil Narula

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Kapil is an electrical engineer, development economist, and an energy and sustainability professional with 15 years of experience in the maritime domain. He has worked onboard ships, as a faculty at academic institutes, and as a researcher. Kapil’s career goal is to to provide a leadership role to the world, onto a path of sustainable development. Kapil currently works as a Research Fellow at a maritime think tank and is a Research Fellow of the Earth System Governance Project hosted by Lund University in Sweden. Energy security and sustainability, climate change, its linkages with maritime emissions and ocean governance are some of the areas on which he is currently working.

Kapil has participated in various international programs organized by reputed institutes such as IIASA, Vienna (2011); UKERC, Coventry (2013); Santa Fe Institute, New Mexico (2015), IEA, Paris (2016), IASS, Potsdam (2016) and as a Commonwealth Professional Fellow at UCL, London (2016). As an emerging leader in the field of energy and sustainability, he aims to contribute with new ideas for furthering the concept of sustainable development and intends to move beyond academic research to put his ideas into practice.

Kapil is the co-editor of four books and his latest book titled Asia and the Arctic was published by Springer. Kapil’s papers have appeared in Energy, Energy Policy, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Applied Energy (Elsevier), Strategic Analysis (Routledge), Oxford Energy Forum, and in other international and online forums. Kapil has a PhD in Development Studies with a focus on energy economics and energy policy. His PhD studies were interdisciplinary in nature and integrated the subjects of engineering, economics, social sciences, earth sciences, and statistics in a system of systems approach. He also has an advanced university degree in Electrical Engineering and a fist level degree in Engineering and Science.

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S. Karthik Mukkavilli

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Karthik Mukkavilli is a computational scientist and engineer whose research focuses on solar energy forecasting, dust and smoke aerosol-cloud interactions. He is the Founder and Director of an early-stage tech-start up at the intersection of satellite observations and computer vision, supported through a European Space Agency innovation contract and the Rutherford Appleton Labs, Oxfordshire.

Karthik’s multidisciplinary research methods include radiative transfer physics, machine learning, and satellite remote sensing. His research is affiliated with the University of New South Wales’ (UNSW) School of Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy Engineering and the Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). At CSIRO he works in the Ocean and Atmosphere division on their flagship Earth assessment and complex systems unit. Here he serves as an Office of Chief Executive Scholar, and is funded through the Australian federal government. Some of his research collaborators include NASA, NREL and NCAR.

Karthik has also worked in energy and software sectors, with experience including projects on off-grid island photovoltaics, Alcatel-Lucent on Transpower’s HVDC inter-island link, hybrid PV/thermal systems for UK building heating and electricity, nanoporous supercapacitors at the Australian Institute of Bioengineering & Nanotechnology, and mining, oil, and gas risk factor analysis at the Sustainable Minerals Institute. He has also worked at CSIRO in the Autonomous Systems Robotics lab on simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM) decomposition algorithms, and at Orion Health in bioinformatics.

Karthik serves on the technical advisory group of the World Energy & Meteorology Council and the American Meteorological Society Committee on Artificial Intelligence Applications to Environmental Science. He is a visiting research scientist at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics investigating dust in planetary atmospheres. He received a master’s in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College London’s Centre for Process Systems Engineering, and received his bachelor’s in Engineering from the University of Auckland’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

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Ida Midzic

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Ida Midzic specializes in mechanical engineering and product development with over six years of experience in research and teaching. She is a PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering, and is also currently working as a product development engineer for a leading European manufacturer of professional road maintenance machinery.

Ida has worked on projects dealing with global product realization, traceability of engineering information, product lifecycle management for the automotive industry, and development of models and methods for innovation management in complex engineering systems. She also specialized in the development of software solutions for computer-aided design in product development, robot vision, and automatization in manufacturing. Her work on computational design synthesis was awarded University of Zagreb’s Rector’s Award.

As a part of her doctoral research, Ida developed a method for eco-evaluation of technical systems in the conceptual phase of product development. She aims to highlight the importance of sustainability for mechanical engineers and develop solutions towards making sustainability a more intuitive and integrated part of engineering design process.

In the past, Ida has worked as a research and teaching assistant at the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, from where she also received bachelor’s and master’s degree in mechanical engineering. Her research is supported by the Ministry of Science, Education, and Sports of the Republic of Croatia, and the Croatian Science Foundation.

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Alex Michalko

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Alex Michalko is a Sustainability Program Manager at Amazon.com, where she focuses on identifying Amazon’s key social and environmental opportunities across all business areas globally. As part of the Worldwide Sustainability team, she works to apply Amazon’s scale and inventive culture to help solve some of the world’s most demanding sustainability challenges. She specializes in materiality, business engagement, and sustainable product development.

Prior to joining Amazon, Alex worked on sustainability initiatives at REI and The Walt Disney Company. At REI, she developed and implemented sustainable business strategies that aligned REI’s efforts to connect people to the outdoors, protect outdoor places, and have a positive impact on both people and the planet. At Disney, Alex worked to help the company achieve its vision of being as admired for its corporate citizenship initiatives as for the quality of its family entertainment experiences, and she specialized in consumer expectations research, stakeholder mapping, and sustainability reporting.

Alex is a member of the Advisory Council for the Center for Leadership & Social Responsibility at the UW Tacoma Milgard School of Business. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Seattle Net Impact Professional Chapter, as a mentor for the Association of Women in Business at Duke University, and as a member of the Industry Working Group of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB). Alex is a LEED Accredited Professional in Building Design and Construction. She received a MBA and Master of Environmental Management from Duke University, where her master's thesis focused on consumer goods eco-labelling. She holds a BA in International Relations from Standford University. 

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Ruth Metzel

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Ruth Metzel is the Co-founder and Director at Azuero Earth Project in Pedasi, Panama. The mission of Azuero Earth Project is to preserve the earth's ecosystems, protect biodiversity, and promote healthy communities by helping people to make informed decisions, take sustainable action, and share knowledge. Prior to this, Ruth received a Master of Forestry from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and an MBA from the Yale School of Management. At Yale, her research explored the agriculture-forest interface and understanding ways in which actors from multiple sectors interact to achieve integrated landscape management objectives.

Ruth has worked with initiatives such as The Forests Dialogue, the International Society of Tropical Foresters, and Yale’s Governance, Environment and Markets Initiative. Before pursuing her graduate studies, she served as the Azuero Earth Project’s first Program Director in Pedasi, Panama. Ruth has a BA in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with concentrations in International Relations, Latin American Studies, and Environmental Studies from Princeton University. Her thesis “From Finca to Forest: Forest Cover Change and Land Use Management in Los Santos, Panama,” allowed her to combine her passion for the Latin American region, environmental issues, and public policy with her love of biological field research. Her environmental research experience includes work with projects in Panama, Costa Rica, Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, Venezuela, and the United States.

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Mamta Mehra

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Mamta Mehra is an environmental professional with expertise in climate change, agriculture, and natural resource management. She has more than ten years experience working in these sectors.

Dr. Mehra joined Project Drawdown in 2015. Currently, in her role as a Senior Fellow, she is focusing on Drawdown solutions in the Land Use and Food sectors. She is also presenting Project Drawdown at various conferences, and creating awareness of Drawdown solutions. She is also working as an independent consultant and working with various national and international organisations on climate change issues, and is one of the analysts of the Keeling Curve Prize. 

Previously, Dr. Mehra worked in different research capacities for Swiss Aid, UNDP-Australian Aid, and World Bank on projects involving community-based agriculture insurance, capacity-building of civil servants on climate change issues, resource conservation, and diversified farming systems. 

Dr. Mehra is very passionate about application-based research and has started working on a restoration project for the revival of the abandoned croplands through agroforestry practices in her native state in India. In the next phase of work she wants to work on the implementation of Drawdown solutions at various scales.

Dr. Mehra has a master's degree in Water Resource Management and PhD in Sustainable Resource Use Management from TERI University, India.

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David Mead

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David has more than 13 years of experience as a high performance building specialist, engineer, and architect. He works to integrate engineering and architectural solutions into unified sustainable designs. This involves research, innovation, engineering, and verification of concepts. He has extensive experience in sustainable design, including greenhouse gas inventory tracking, passive building strategies, renewable energy system designs, and the creation of sustainability guidelines for large organizations.  

David is a committed advocate for net-positive buildings and brings an innovative approach to greenhouse gas and energy analysis to advance building performance towards a carbon neutral future. David received a BA in Architecture from Iowa State University.

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Victor Maxwell

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Victor Maxwell is a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland Business School where he is investigating technical evolution in socio-economic systems and specifically volatility effects in decentralized renewable energy based economies. Before beginning his PhD studies, Victor worked for the Patagonia Sur Foundation in Chaitén, a town in the northern part of Chilean Patagonia. In this role, he facilitated educational workshops and developed sustainability initiatives with the local community. These included a reforestation plan for areas that have suffered from volcanic eruptions and a pilot project for cold climate biogas digesters.

Prior to Patagonia Sur Foundation, Victor completed a Master’s of Science program in Sustainable Energy Planning and Management, where he focused on connecting renewable energy systems with community development. During this time, he worked on a variety of projects, including a household biogas digester initiative in rural South Africa, and a project to integrate wind energy and electric vehicles into a smart grid system on an island in Denmark. Prior to this, Victor worked on nuclear and particle physics experiments, part of which took place at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research in Geneva, Switzerland. He was also involved in physics and mathematics education research, and worked as a teacher for high school and college level students. Additionally, he organized science education events in conjunction with the Miami Museum of Science.

Victor completed his Master’s of Science degree in Sustainable Energy Planning and Management at Aalborg University in Denmark, and completed his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Physics at Florida International University.

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