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Podcast

Green Exploration: Rockford logo

Guests Heading link

Brad Roos headshot

Brad Roos

 

Brad Roos is a Rockford native with Chemistry degrees from the University of Illinois/Champaign-Urbana where he then taught high school.  For more than 40 years Brad has been doing neighborhood and community development work with most of his work focused on affordable housing development using  sustainable building design. He has also served in leadership and consulting roles in the Rockford area and in Illinois, Ohio, Minnesota and Washington State.

Kristen Hayden headshot

Kristen Hayden

Kristen Hayden is currently a Health Equity Associate with the Region 1 Planning Council, where she works on a range of sustainability and community impact projects. She has a BS in Earth and Environmental Science and Environmental Studies from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor).

Sydney Turner

Sydney Turner has been with Region 1 Planning Council for 6 years, where she serves as the Director of Regional Planning. She is responsible for managing the transportation planning initiatives of the Metropolitan Transportation Organization (MPO), including the development of the recently adopted 2050 Metropolitan Transportation Plan, as well as land use planning initiatives. She received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville.

Shelby Best Headshot

Shelby Best

Shelby Best is an environmental and sustainability specialist. Shelby has a multi-disciplinary background in communications, research, planning, and environmental policy and economics. To date her research has involved conservation development, ecosystem services, and the circular economy. Shelby holds a BSc in Psychology from Loyola University Chicago and a MSc in Environmental Technology from Imperial College London.​

Chet Headshot

Chester D. Kolodziej

Chet is a Co-founder and Treasurer of Sustain Rockford “a Not for Profit” located in Northern Illinois. He iscurrently active in a number of State Wide Working Groups promoting Energy Efficiency and Solar Systems legislation. He was formally (2007-2019) a founder and Executive Director of Freedom Field Renewable Energy, Inc. Chet has 40 years of management experience in manufacturing, product distribution and services delivery. He has focused during the last 15 years primarily on CleanTech companies and their related technologies. He has been on the Board of Directors of three not-for-profits promoting these technologies, and is a graduate of the NREL Golden Colorado’s EnergyExec program. He has also consulted for the local County government and the regional Economic Development Agency concerning CleanTech technologies. Informally he has mentored a number of local clean energy start-ups, and advised on numerous Solar and Energy Efficiency projects. . Chet is an active member of a number of other not for profits both in Illinois and Wisconsin that promote energy efficiency and clean technologies both to commercial and consumer communities. Chet received his M.B.A. from Northern Illinois University and his B.B.A. from the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater, and is a CPA in the State of Illinois. He has represented the local County government economic development agency, and has twice been speaker at the International Bio Energy Conferences in Lidkoping, Sweden. He is a very active networker both as a participant and an organizer promoting the subjects of sustainability as part of business development, and STEM education, and hands on training in learning environments. He has lived in Northern Illinois since 1974.

Dan Kane Potrait

Dan Kane

Dan Kane is the Executive Director of the Boone County Conservation District and has served in this capacity since April of 2000. Dan is currently serving his second term as the Vice President of the Illinois Association of Conservation Districts (IACD). Dan has a BS in Geology from Winona State University and is a Licensed Professional Geologist by the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation. He served three terms as the Chairperson of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s Northern Regional Groundwater Protection and Planning Committee, and serves as a member of Technical Advisory Committee of the Boone County Regional Stormwater Planning Committee. Dan has also served two terms as President of the Kishwaukee River Ecosystem Partnership. Currently, Dan is serving as the Co-Chair of Boone County’s Water Preservation and Protection Action Committee, which is now engaged in efforts to assess sensitive groundwater recharge areas and develop action items that will minimize and reduce local impacts to surface and groundwater resources. During previous employment Dan was a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control by the Soil and Water Conservation Society; and was a Certified Soil Tester – Morphological Soil Evaluator by the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Safety and Professional Services. Dan also has previous work experience with exploration of petroleum resources.

Mark Luthin Potrait

Mark Luthin

Mark Luthin is a retired Environmental Science/Biology teacher, having taught in the Belvidere School District for 32 years. He taught for 23 years at Belvidere High, then moved to Belvidere North for the remaining 9 years. He currently serve on the Board of Trustees for the Natural Land Institute and is one of the Vice Presidents. Mark also served for 18 years on the Belvidere Township Park Board, and was also involved with the Parks and Conservation Foundation for many years. In his retirement, he works with the Boone County Conservation District as a volunteer land steward, as well as the Natural Land Institute doing stewardship and working on 3 different committees. He happens to be the chair of the Education Committee with NLI.

Kyle Saunders Headshot

Kyle Saunders

Kyle Saunders is the Director of Public Works for the City of Rockford where he is responsible for the culture, strategy, and leadership of the City’s Public Works Department. Kyle graduated Magna Cum Laude from Rockford University with both a Bachelor of Science degree and an MBA, and is currently enrolled in the University of Colorado’s MSOL program where he is studying organizational leadership. He represents the Illinois Section of American Water Works Association (ISAWWA) as a Water Matters! Fly-in delegate where he’s lobbied on behalf of the water industry regarding regulatory and water infrastructure finance matters. Kyle currently serves as vice-chair of the ISAWWA Water Utility Council.

Mike Bacon Headshot

J. Maichle (Mike) Bacon

Mike has 40+ years of local public health practice experience, serving two different northern Illinois jurisdictions (McHenry and Winnebago Counties) as their public health administrator. Graduate work was through the University of Illinois Chicago, School of Public Health, with a focus on environmental / occupational health, health policy and community health improvement. Professional interests have focused on the integration of personal health care and community-based preventive health services, with an emphasis on identifying and addressing needs of at-risk populations and populations with the greatest health disparities. Mike shares that “the public’s health is not just a job but a lifelong commitment”. In retirement he works on national accreditation for public health departments, climate change / environmental sustainability and recently completed a Certificate in Climate Change and Health from Yale School of Public Health

Episodes Heading link

  • Brad Roos, Sustain Rockford: Part 1

    Brad Roos is well-versed in the field of sustainability. As a co-founder of Sustain Rockford, a nonprofit sustainability organization, he continues to give back to the city of Rockford by staying involved in the sustainability conversation. Currently, he is promoting the creation of a sustainability plan for the Rockford region via the GreenTown Rockford conference.

    For updated information on the GreenTown Rockford conference, click here.

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  • Brad Roos, Sustain Rockford: Part 2

    Continuing our conversation with Brad Roos, we discuss sustainability in Rockford even further. Inspired by neighboring communities, Brad, Sustain Rockford, and a growing number of others are leading the effort to develop and implement a sustainability plan in the Rockford region. He talks about how important it is to establish and track sustainability metrics and Brad offers his opinion on how important moral leadership will be in engaging cooperation among our neighbors in what is bound to be one of the greatest challenges the human race has ever faced.

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  • Kristen Hayden & Sydney Turner, Region 1 Planning Council

    Meeting with Kristen Hayden and Sydney Turner from Region 1 Planning Council, we discuss plans to implement sustainability within the Rockford region. They highlight some of the region’s current and recent plans, including the Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan, 2017 Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan, Keith Creek Corridor Study, and the 2021 Greenways Plan for Boone, Ogle & Winnebago County.

    Disclaimer: The audio is choppy during various parts of the interview, due to the limitations of zoom and the internet at that time. I sincerely apologize for the disruption.

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  • Shelby Best, Region 1 Planning Council

    Meeting with Shelby Best, the Sustainability & Resiliency Coordinator of Region 1 Planning Council, we further discuss plans to implement sustainability throughout the Rockford region. She highlighted how they are approaching the implementation phase of the Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan, as well as plans to curb flooding around the Keith Creek, while additionally promoting active transportation around Rockford, via the implementation of the completed 2021 Greenways Plan and Map. Similarly to Brad Roos, Shelby expressed the need for a sustainability plan for the region.

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  • Chester D. Kolodziej, Sustain Rockford: Part 1

    Meeting with Chet Kolodziej, a co-founder of Sustain Rockford, we discuss sustainability in Rockford from a business and energy perspective. As someone who has plenty of experience in both fields, Chet advocates for solar in the region, specifically via the Illinois Solar for All program, and gives his insight on various other environmental issues affecting Rockford.

    Disclaimer: Chet sometimes mistakenly refers to the Natural Resources Defense Council by other, albeit similar, names. However, just know that the correct name is the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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  • Chester D. Kolodziej, Sustain Rockford: Part 2

    Continuing our discussion with Chet Kolodziej, co-founder of Sustain Rockford, we dive further into sustainability topics, such as solar energy, electric vehicles, and community development and organization. Chet encourages organizations advocating for sustainability within Rockford to collaborate and coordinate, as some neighboring municipalities do.

    Disclaimer: Chet sometimes mistakenly refers to the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Law and Policy Group by other, albeit similar, names. However, just know that the correct names are the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Law and Policy Group.

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  • Dan Kane, Boone County Conservation District: Part 1

    Meeting with Dan Kane, executive director of the Boone County Conservation District, we discuss sustainability and rapid urban sprawl in the Rockford region within the context of conservation. Exploring sustainable development futher, we discuss combating urbanization by integrating conservation within our residential neighborhoods and utilizing paths connecting these various natural spaces, increasing accessibility and awareness throughout the community.

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  • Dan Kane, Boone County Conservation District: Part 2

    Continuing our conversation with Dan Kane, executive director of the Boone County Conservation District, we discuss sustainability and urban development further, focusing on conservation design. Dan highlights conservation projects throughout Belvidere, a neighboring town that resides within the greater Rockford metropolitan area.

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  • Robert Wilhelmi & Kyle Saunders, City of Rockford: Part 1

    Meeting with Robert Wilhelmi, the Brownfields Redevelopment Specialist, and Kyle Saunders, the Director of Public Works, both working for the City of Rockford, Illinois, we will be discussing Rockford’s environmental issues, and how the City has been working towards a more sustainable future. Rob highlights various brownfields redevelopment projects the City has done and how that has affected its urban core, while Kyle explains new projects Rockford has been undertaking within Public Works on the water side.

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  • Robert Wilhelmi & Kyle Saunders, City of Rockford: Part 2

    Continuing our conversation with Robert Wilhelmi, the Brownfields Redevelopment Specialist, and Kyle Saunders, the Director of Public Works, both working for the City of Rockford, Illinois, we will keep discussing Rockford’s environmental issues, and how the City has been working towards a more sustainable future in the context of brownfields redevelopment and stormwater management. Rob and Kyle dive deeper into this discussion, highlighting the measures that the City of Rockford has been making towards equitable implementation of these city improvements.

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  • Mark Luthin, Natural Land Institute

    Meeting with Mark Luthin, a member of the Board of Trustees for the Natural Land Institute and a volunteer steward for the Boone County Conservation District, as well as a retired environmental educator, we discuss conservation and sustainability in the greater Rockford metropolitan area, while emphasizing the importance of education in combating environmental issues. As part of an equity task force for the Natural Land Institute, Mark also stresses the importance of equity in combating these issues.

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  • Mike Bacon, Winnebago County Health Department: Part 1

    Coming soon..