2018 Speakers

Abby Ruskey

Abby is a scholarly change agent for climate literacy and action. She catalyzes and co-creates state-of-the-art education, social change and policy tools and initiatives for community-to-global transformative impact. She recently worked with Governor Inslee’s staff, legislators and partners to secure $4 million in the 2018-2019 budget for K-12 climate literacy, with Drawdown and other scientists internationally to identify climate action at scale, and to launch the Climate Reality Project-Thurston County. She was the Executive Director of E3 Washington and the National Environmental Education Advancement Project, and President of the North American Association for Environmental Education, the world’s largest EE organization.


Aji Piper

Aji is a Washington native from Port Orchard, and one of the 21 youth plaintiffs suing the United States Government in a Landmark U.S. Federal Climate Lawsuit, and is also a plaintiff in another youth-driven lawsuit demanding that Washington’s Department of Ecology take action on climate change.Aji’s activism was sparked initially when he was driven to take part in protests and legislative hearings once he learned about oil trains coming through his city and along the coast.His contributions to his community include founding the Seattle Chapter of Earth Guardians, serving as previous President of Plant for the Planet, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting climate change through planting trees, and co-founding Future Voters for 350 ppm.




Allyson Ruppenthal

Allyson wants to live in a world where people are empowered to make educated decision, equality is universal, and emails are brief. She is an environmental professional and organizational leader with more than 15 years of experience. She’s been an environmental planner for the Washington State Department of Ecology, Washington State’s Deputy Director of Elections, a business manager for a brewery and winery, and is currently working for Thurston County Public Works as the Recycling and Waste Reduction Supervisor. When she is not at work fostering sustainability, you can find her baking pies, kayaking the Sound, and digging in her garden. To learn more about Allyson’s current recycling, waste reduction, and sustainability work efforts, please visit ThurstonSolidWaste.org.



Amber Huffstickler 

Amber Huffstickler

Amber holds leadership in Dining For Women’s Olympia chapter; as a young professional with experience in development work, Amber gravitated toward Dining For Women due to its well-rounded, sustainability-oriented vetting process of grantees. With limited income to invest in positive social change, she was impressed with Dining For Women’s capacity-building philosophy and trusted that her contributions would make a difference. She has been active in the local Olympia chapter since 2011. Amber holds a BA in International Development & Social Change and a MA in Teaching from Clark University. She is currently an active leadership team member with the Community Café Collaborative (www.thecommunitycafe.org) and Associate Consultant with the Athena Group (www.athenaplace.com) in Olympia, WA.



Barb Scavezze

Coordinator of South Sound Climate Action Convention.


Representative Beth Doglio

Beth Doglio

Beth is a progressive, community organizer currently serving her first term as a state representative from the 22nd legislative district. Beth serves as the campaign director at Climate Solutions, a Northwest-based clean energy economy nonprofit. She also served as the regional co-director for the Power Past Coal campaign. She was the founding executive director of Washington Conservation Voters and served in that role from 1991 – 1995. In 1996 she was a field organizer for National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL). She also served as a campaign organizer and later the development director for Audubon Washington. Beth has worked in public, private, and non-profit sectors, and has served in leadership staff positions in numerous political campaigns. Beth has a Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University in Political Science and Telecommunications.



Bill Moyer

Bill is a the Project Lead for the Solutionary Rail Campaign, and a fourth generation Washingtonian, now living on Vashon Island.  He co-founded the Backbone Campaign and has served as Executive Director since 2004. Bill and his Backbone colleagues have designed and produced hundreds of creative protests and trained thousands of change agents. They have helped transform mundane demonstrations into cultural happenings, with innovative tactics like spotlights to project messages onto buildings and kayaktivism during the sHellNo! campaign to stop Arctic drilling. Bill’s moral and strategic commitment to balance critique with proposal resulted in the innovative Solutionary Rail project.  This people powered campaign works to transform a broken and dangerous railroad business model into a catalyst for social and environmental solutions. Solutionary Rail is hailed by many as an integral component of a just transition to a sustainable societyFor more information visit www.SolutionaryRail.org

Brenda Snyder

Brenda has an undergraduate in Landscape Architecture from University of Washington and a Master of Urban Design from University of California Berkeley. She currently works for a local civil engineering firm working on corporate/commercial projects. Her urban design thesis explores an alternative urban design strategy for sea-level rise within the coming century for the City of Olympia. She theorizes that a proactive, planned response by municipalities when faced with a gradual rise in sea-level is a significant opportunity for establishment of long term economic, social, and environmental resilience.



Candace Penn


Candace is the Squaxin Island Tribe’s Climate Change Ecologist and received her bachelors in Science from the Evergreen State College. Candace partnered with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to develop a monthly forage fish sampling program and also works with the Squaxin Island Tribe’s Hydrologist and GIS manager to design maps and future modeling scenarios in relation to climate change. She is a fully qualified scientific diver, works with partners to identify funding opportunities, manages our social media account, and makes time to work with tribal youth in the  community. Previously, Candace worked for the sustainability in prisons project a program through the Evergreen State College where she worked side by side with incarcerated men and women. She worked with offenders to design plant propagation systems and construct green houses.



Carrie Zeigler


Carrie creates multi-faceted art and action projects involving hundreds and thousands of people, with the goal of inspiring positive environmental and social change. Learn more about Carrie’s Earth Art at www.CarrieZiegler.com

Chris Hawkins 

Chris works as the Community Engagement, Evidence & Partnerships Manager for the Thurston County Public Health & Social Services Department, where he helps lead education and outreach efforts in active living and environmental health. He engages partners to improve community health across the county through collaborative efforts brought together in the Thurston Thrives initiative. Chris holds a Masters degree in community and regional planning from the University of British Columbia. He is a regular bicycle commuter and tries to accomplish most of his transportation and recreation by human power.



Chris van Daalen

Chris is a veteran environmental activist in Olympia since 1995 who has worked with the Capitol Land Trust, Thurston Blue-Green Alliance and the NW EcoBuilding Guild. In 2011, Chris created the Code Innovations Database to document successful permitting and policy innovations that make it easier to build green, which recently led him to co-found Shift Zero: the Zero Net Carbon Buildings Alliance now with 30 green building organizations speaking with the power of their collective voice to scale-up ultra-efficient zero net carbon buildings.



Clark Gilman

Clark Gilman

Clark serves on Olympia City Council. He is chair of Olympia’s Land Use and Environment Committee and represents the City on the Intercity Transit Authority and the Transportation Policy Board of the Thurston Regional Planning Council.


Congressman Denny Heck

Headshot of Congressman Denny Heck

 Congressman Heck serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the committee in charge of oversight of the seventeen elements of the U.S. Government’s Intelligence Community and the Military Intelligence Program.

Heck is the only Member of Congress from the Pacific Northwest that serves on the House Financial Services Committee. He is a member of the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee, and the Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee.  




Heather Willis

Heather currently serves as a Recycling and Solid Waste Reduction Specialist for Thurston County Public Works. She focuses on increasing solid waste diversion for the county through waste assessments and audits; stakeholder collaboration; program development, implementation, and continual improvement, and hosting community events and public presentations to increase recycling and diversion efforts.

Heather holds a B.S in Sustainability in the Built Environment and a minor in International Development & Humanitarian Assistance from the University of Florida. Her background has taken her to Death Valley National Park where she last worked as a Sustainability Director, managing environmental compliance under the ISO14001 international standard. She has background in NPO work related to sustainable fisheries management, and advocating for education for youth in areas affected by social injustice; oyster restoration efforts and their impacts on the local community; messaging climate change to a wide demographic including guests in National Parks; and regulatory/compliance specific to environmental and risk management.


Hobe Williams

Hobe is the former chair of the Thurston Democratic Party. 



Jessica Koski

Jessica is an associate organizing representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign and the main organizer for the Carbon-Free PSE initiative. She completed a Ph.D. in sociology at Northwestern University focused on the use of human rights law in climate change activism and first joined the Sierra Club as a volunteer in 2014, campaigning for Illinois’s clean energy future. A love affair with the mountains brought Koski to Seattle in June 2015. She enthusiastically joined the Carbon-Free PSE campaign shortly thereafter, and is grateful to be part of the movement for a just transition to a clean energy grid.

Jill MacIntyre Witt

Jill MacIntyre Witt

Jill has made it her lifelong passion to help others connect their behaviors to protecting our planet. Her master’s project is a Climate Justice Field Manual, a how-to guide for action, downloadable at climatejusticenow.earth. Jill lives in Bellingham, WA and organizes for 350 Bellingham and is a Climate Reality Mentor for Former Vice President Al Gore. Some of the environmental stewardship projects she’s been a part of include researching climate activists in Paris for COP21 and coordinating many successful environmental actions in Washington State. For example. she helped in her community along with the Lummi Nation to stop the construction of the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal, at the time North America’s largest proposed coal export terminal. Jill currently works at Western Washington University as a Physical Education and Environmental Studies Instructor and Peace Corps Campus Representative and also serves as the faculty advisor for Students for Renewable Energy Club.

Jim Lazar

Jim Lazar

Jim is an economist with more than 40 years experience analyzing electric utility rates and resource planning.  He has had a global consulting practice, and current serves as a Senior Advisor with the Regulatory Assistance Project, which provides training and technical assistance to utility regulators and policymakers worldwide.  He is the lead author of Electricity Regulation in the US: A Guide, Smart Rate Design for a Smart Future, and many other publications.

Karen Messmer

Karen has thirty years involvement in active transportation advocacy and government and thirty years experience administering and implementing energy efficiency programs.
She was a member of the City of Olympia Planning Commission for eleven years and on the City Council for four years. She is actively involved in the Thurston Thrives Community Design Action Team and represents that group on the Thurston Thrives Coordinating Council. She has been a Citizen Representative on the Transit Authority Board for seven years. The mission of Intercity Transit is to provide and promote transportation choices that support an accessible, sustainable, livable, healthy, prosperous community.


Kim Adelson

Kim is Treasurer of the Black Hills Audubon Society, and regularly writes a column on climate change for The Echo, BHAS’ bimonthly newsletter. She was a college professor for 30 years. She has an M.A. in evolutionary biology and a doctorate in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Kim got the “birding bug” about 20 years ago, when she and her husband decided to turn hikes into treasure hunts. Kim moved to Washington 4 years ago, fulfilling a life-long dream to do so. She is passionate about preserving our beautiful habitat and the wildlife in contains.


Kirk Haffner

Kirk is a former award winning High School math and science teacher. After earning his Master’s in Physics, he became a manager at Intel where his focus was on product development and support. Now as president of South Sound Solar, he leads an experienced team of electricians, project managers, and sales technicians and assists in the design and planning of almost every project. As part of his commitment to education, Kirk is a regular presenter at local schools, organizations and colleges such as St. Martins University, Centralia College and The Evergreen State College.


Lynn Reveal

Lynn Reveal

Three years ago, coming from a professional public health background focused on lung health, Lynn became certified as a facilitator in the lifestyle intervention program, CHIP (Complete Health Improvement Program), developed by the Lifestyle Medicine Institute in Loma Linda, Ca., and certified in an education program for the transition to a whole food plant-based diet sponsored by Dr. John McDougall in Santa Rosa, California. Her current efforts revolve around disseminating the knowledge that chronic diseases resulting from our western diet can be prevented, and, in some cases, reversed – with adoption of a whole foods plant-based lifestyle.

Michael Burnham

Michael is a TRPC Senior Planner received his Master of Urban & Regional Planning degree from Portland State University, and a Master of Science Journalism from Northwestern University. He has broad experience in environmental planning, communications and policy development. At TRPC, he works on environmental, housing, and transportation issues. Previously, as a journalist in the Pacific Northwest and Washington, D.C., Burnham wrote about politics, business, energy, and the environment. His articles were published by The New York Times, Seattle Times, Greenwire, Sustainable Industries, Scientific American, and other news organizations.


Mike Massa  

Mike is an engineering professional with interests in economics, energy, psychology, and sustainability. After spending many years in the technology industry, he now focuses on accelerating the transition to a more sustainable, low-carbon economy. Mike currently serves as Board Chair of Carbon Washington, a grassroots organization focused on accelerating the transition to a vibrant clean-energy economy. CarbonWA was the primary sponsor of Initiative 732, the nation’s first statewide carbon tax proposal to go before voters, in November 2016. For more information, visit http://carbonwa.org


Rhonda Hunter

Rhonda is member of Climate Reality Project: Thurston Chapter, an ecosystem biologist by training and an educator by vocation. She retired from Washington Dept. of Ecology as Environmental Education Manager for climate & water. Presenting Climate Reality slideshows statewide and locally, she has also worked on Divestment campaigns and helped hold the ‘Thin Green Line’ by testifying at multiple public hearings against fossil fuel export facilities. She leads a faith-based Climate Shepherds group and taught a 4-week Climate 101 class.


 Roy Treadway

Roy received his PhD in Sociology (Population Studies and Human Ecology) from The University of Michigan. He has taught and done research at Yale University, Hacettepe University (Ankara, Turkey), Population Council (New York City), Princeton University, and Illinois State University, focusing on fertility, population dynamics, and community relationships . While at the Population Council, he designed studies to evaluate family programs in several developing countries. With his wife, Carolyn Treadway, he moved to Lacey to be nearer daughters and grandchildren in Seattle. His interests now focus on local actions to address climate change.

Senator Sam Hunt

 Rep. Sam Hunt, D-22

Sam was elected to the Senate in 2016 after serving sixteen years in the House of Representatives.  He is the ranking member of the State Government Committee and also a member of the Human Services, Mental Health, and Housing Committee.  In addition, he chairs the Legislative Oral History Advisory Committee and serves on the Education Accountability System Oversight Committee, the Capitol Campus Design Advisory Committee, the Washington-Hyogo Friendship Council and the board of the Washington State Historical Society. A graduate of Washington State University, he was a school teacher in Pasco (where he served as Mayor Pro Tempore) and Montesano.  He also worked for the US Senate Appropriations Committee, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Staff Director the Washington Senate Majority Leader, Governor Booth Gardner, and as legislative director at the Department of Information Services.


Sue Patnude

Sue has been working to restore the Deschutes Estuary for 18 years. She is a co-founder of DERT and a strong advocate for a healthy Puget Sound and Salish Sea. Sue’s career has been focused on protecting and restoring the environment recently through work with DERT and in the past with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Ecology and positions in local and regional government. Sue lives on a small farm in the Upper Chehalis Watershed with her husband Tom Hyde and Jax the Prima-Dogga. She works on Environmental policy consulting through her own business from home. Sue is also a board member for Center for Environmental Law and Policy.

Susan Woodward 


Susan is chair of Climate Reality Project – Thurston County Chapter of Vice-President Al Gore’s organization for activating grassroots education and action on climate change. She is a former journalist for such publications as the Los Angeles Times and a member of The Olympian’s 2018 Board of Contributors. Her first passion is expressing her love for our living planet and opposition to her corporate destruction. In her day job, she is Executive Communications Specialist at MultiCare Health System in Tacoma.


Thad Curtz


An opportunity to check out a variety of plug-in cars and to talk with local owners about their experiences with them. Check out the new Nissan LEAF, the new Chevy Bolt, the Tesla Model S, the Chevy Volt, and a Ford CMAX Energi.About Thad
Thad is a retired Evergreen faculty member, and the Vice-President (and Secretary!) of a local non-profit, Electrify Thurston, which focuses on supporting the electrification of transportation in Thurston County. Our website at www.electrifythurston.org provides extensive information about the range of plug-in cars that are currently available in Washington, including details about estimating your costs and emissions driving on our local electricity from PSE.



Tom Crawford


Tom currently serves as board President and is a founding member of Thurston Climate Action Team (TCAT). He organized the county-wide greenhouse gas inventory and led a county-wide poll of residents’ attitudes toward climate change and clean energy. He has been active promoting local government action on climate change and clean energy, and is a founding member of the Thurston Thrives Climate and Clean Energy work group.

Victoria Leistman

Victoria hails from Long Island and grew up with an appreciation for the beaches that are vital to the character of lover New York. She has been an organizer in the Pacific Northwest since 2014, and has developed a love for the people and landscapes in Washington. Victoria is based in Seattle and works on stopping new fossil fuel infrastructure in the Puget Sound region. She has a B.A. in English and anthropology from Tufts University in Boston; and completed a post graduate organizer training program. 

Vlad Gutman-Britten

Vlad is currently working with Climate Solutions. He is responsible for guiding policy development and building an integrated communications, advocacy, and government affairs strategy to foster a clean energy economy in Washington. Before coming to Climate Solutions, Vlad was Senior Policy Director for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, where he successfully secured tens of millions of dollars in state investment in habitat and recreation lands.  A veteran campaign operative, he has run congressional and state legislative campaigns and worked on races ranging from mayoral to presidential. Vlad is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he received a degree in political science.