CONFERENCE SPEAKERS

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

David R. Montgomery


David R. Montgomery is a MacArthur Fellow and professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington. He is an internationally recognized geologist who studies landscape evolution and the effects of geological processes on ecological systems and human societies. He has authored more than 200 scientific papers and 5 popular-science books, and has been featured in documentary films, network and cable news, and on a wide variety of TV and radio programs. Dr. Montgomery's books include:

  • Growing a Revolution: Bringing our soils back to life (2017)
  • The Hidden Half of Nature: The microbial, roots of life and health (2015)
  • Key Concepts in Geomorphology (2013)
  • The Rocks Don't Lie: A geologist investigates Noah's flood (2012)
  • Dirt: The Erosion of Civilization (2007)


Connect with him at www.dig2grow.com or follow him on Twitter (@dig2grow).

Representative David Zimmerman

Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 99th District


Elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2014, David H. Zimmerman was born and raised on a dairy farm in the 99th Legislative District, Dave was instilled with the traditional Lancaster County values of hard work, thrift and community service. 


Agriculture is the backbone of the 99th District’s economy, and Dave has a long history of working in agri-business. Working for an international company of 1,100 employees, he served as a sales manager for seven eastern states, including Pennsylvania. He has also served on the Lancaster County Agricultural Preservation Board for the past five years. 


Dave’s public service also includes serving on the Lancaster County Transportation Committee and the Lancaster County Planning Commission. In these positions, Dave worked with the state Department of Environmental Protection, the Conservation District and the state Department of Transportation.

Dominique Lueckenhoff

Deputy Director, Water Protection Division, USEPA Region 3


Dominique Lueckhoff has over 25 years of multi-programmatic experience with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including recently serving as Acting Director of the EPA Region 3 Water Protection Division, directing the region’s second largest programmatic organization, addressing clean water and safe drinking water needs through cooperative work with the Mid-Atlantic states (Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia) and the District of Columbia.


She leads and supports the management of all division activities, including funding and oversight, water and wastewater infrastructure funding and sustainability, and more recently, innovative, public-private partnerships for improved watershed protection and resilient, stormwater infrastructure to protect public health and the environment, while strengthening local economies. Ms. Lueckenhoff has recently been selected by the National Council for Public Private Partnerships to receive its 2017 Excellence in Public Leadership Award honoring exceptional, innovative and visionary public sector P3 leaders who are developing and/or implementing P3 projects.

Dr. Robin Morgan

Provost of University of Delaware


Dr. Robin Morgan became provost of the University of Delaware in July 2018, after serving as interim provost since October 2017. Her career at the University began in 1985 when she joined the Department of Animal and Food Sciences as assistant professor. She became a full professor in 1991, and later held a joint faculty appointment with the Department of Biological Sciences. In 2001, she was named acting dean of the UD College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, a role she took over officially the following year. After 11 years as dean, she became the interim chair of the Department of Biological Sciences for two years before being named chair in 2016. Dr. Morgan earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Meredith College and her Ph.D. in biology from The Johns Hopkins University. She also did post-doctoral research at the University of California at Berkeley.

Dr. Patrick Dube

Water Environment Federation


Dr. Patrick Dube is the Biosolids Program Manager for the Water Science and Engineering Center at the Water Environment Federation. He is a graduate of the University of Florida with B.S.and Ph.D. degrees in Biological Engineering where he focused on anaerobic digestion and nutrient recovery. In addition to his work at the Water Environment Federation, he also serves on the Advisory Board for the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance.


Thomas R. Miles

Executive Director of US Biochar Initiative


Thomas R. Miles has been the principal of T.R. Miles, Technical Consultants, Portland, Oregon, since 1997. He is an expert in combustion and gasification of biomass fuels such as wood, straws, stalks, and manures. Since 1975 he has designed, developed, installed, and tested systems for processing wood, agricultural, and urban residues, materials handling, pollution control, biomass energy, and biochar. He has sponsored and hosted internet discussions of biomass energy and biochar since 1994. He is a board member of the International Biochar Initiative and Executive Director of the US Biochar Initiative.

Kenneth Pantuck

Senior Environmental Scientist, Water Protection Division, USEPA Region 3


Ken is a senior environmental scientist and the innovative technologies practice leader in the Philadelphia Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He has an extensive background in biosolids and was the winner of EPA’s National First Prize in Biosolids Research for his innovative work in using biosolids to revegetate coal and smelter waste piles in Poland. This background in biosolids lead him to study biochar where he has become an advocate and champion of its use in a variety of waste treatment and remediation applications. He is also the Regional expert in emerging water and wastewater technologies. Ken has won an Emmy Award for his contribution to the PBS educational series, “What’s Up With The Environment?” which was shown nationwide and used in several public school systems.


Connect with him at Pantuck.Kenneth@epa.gov

Genxing Pan

Chief Professor in Soil Science

Director of the Institute of Resources, Ecosystem and Environment of Agriculture, Nanjing Agricultural University


Dr. Pan has been working on soil and environment issues of China since his completing PhD program in 1988 and has been a world class soil scientist since the 2000’s. Dr. Pan has been actively involved in greenhouse gas mitigation and soil carbon sequestration. Dr. Pan was a contributing author on low carbon agriculture methods in China’s Second and Third “National Climate Change Assessment Report” and its comprehensive “Catalog of Key Low Carbon Economy Technologies”. 


Since 2009, Dr. Pan has led a group in evaluating biochar technologies for recycling biowastes mainly from crop residues and animal wastes in order to reduce the need for, chemical fertilizers while promoting a green agriculture culture.  In addition, Dr. Pan has been also actively engaged in international training and exchanges in biochar research and technology, particularly with Asian and African countries. In concert with the Ministry of Agriculture, he has lead China’s efforts in straw crop recycling and the application of biochar to increase agriculture production. 

Björn Embrén

Tree Officer City of Stockholm Traffic Administration

Keynote Title: Waste Management for Climate Positive Energy Production and Indestructible Urban Soils


Mr. Embrén is a horticulturalist with over 40 years of experience. He currently serves as the Tree Officer at the Traffic Administration in the City of Stockholm. For the last 10 years he has been responsible for the City of Stockholm’s tree investment and maintenance program. Mr. Embrén has been a driving force in the City of Stockholm tree development program and has authored a manual for plantings in the urban areas which has evolved to include accepted solutions for stormwater management, and soil protection and restoration during the pre- during and post construction phases. Use of the stable carbon materials has also become a mechanism in counteracting the negative effects of climate change in cities as well as minimize damage to the recipients of the Baltic Sea and Lake Mälaren. As the visionary for the Stockholm Project, Mr. Embrén, since 2009 has further developed the planting process where biochar has become a critical element in planting bed preparation. The biochar is being used as a substitute for soil and can also act as a filter to capture nutrients in storm water. After winning the Mayors Challenge 2014, the City of Stockholm in 2016 built its own plant to produce biochar from garden waste submitted to the city's recycling facilities.  

Mattias Gustafsson

Keynote Title: Waste Management for Climate Positive Energy Production and Indestructible Urban Soils


MSc. Mattias Gustafsson has a background in waste water treatment, biogas production and recycling in Sweden and India. He discovered biochar in 2010 and realized that there was only a very small community in Sweden knowing that biochar even existed. Together with a few passionate people Mattias started the Stockholm Biochar Project that eventually was one of the five winners in Bloomberg’s innovation race Mayor’s Challenge in 2014. Mattias is motivated by creating complex sustainable cycles and turning waste into resource. Through his company, EcoTopic, Mattias works with many different clients to make biochar a part of their core business. 

Mike Liberati

Principle Project Director

DuPont Corporate Remediation Group


Mr. Liberati earned BS degrees in Plant and Soil Science, and Agricultural Engineering, and a MS degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Delaware. His 36-year professional career began as an engineering consultant specializing in innovative land-based wastewater treatment systems. His employment with the DuPont Company started almost 30 years ago where he served on the management team of a new business venture. Since 1992 he has been a member of the DuPont Corporate Remediation Group and, as a Principal Project Director, has responsibility for managing large and complex environmental remediation projects throughout the U.S.  


Mr. Liberati served as a Delaware State Chamber of Commerce Committee Chairman, on the Board of Directors for KEMA-North America, and was awarded the University of Delaware Citation for Outstanding Achievement. He is a Fellow with the University of Virginia Institute for Environmental Leadership, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Roger Tory Peterson Institute.


James Gaspard

Co-Founder and CEO of Biochar Now LLC 


James Gaspard's career in start-ups, mid-size and Fortune 1000 companies gives him a unique perspective on all aspects on a company's life-cycle from birth, through growth and harvest. He returned to school after 10 years in the workforce and graduated from the University of Texas with a JD/MBA with honors. His career has been highlighted to date by his sales talent and his ability to close larger dollar volumes of transactions in several diverse industries. James continues to serve, and has served in the past, on several Boards and Commissions concerning State level and Federal level transportation issues as well as State level and Local level waste diversion issues.