Richard Johnson, Executive Committee Co-Chair
Executive Director for Sustainability, Rice University
Richard Johnson earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Rice University and a Masters in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia. He currently serves as the Director of the Administrative Center for Sustainability and Energy Management for Rice University, where he leads Rice’s sustainability program and oversees a team of energy managers and analysts. Richard holds appointments as a Professor in the Practice of Environmental Studies in Sociology, as an Adjunct Lecturer in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and as co-director of Rice’s environmental studies program. He is the former President of the Board of the Houston Farmers’ Market, now the Rice University Farmers Market. Richard is a husband, father, foodie, traveler, and has served as a volunteer public radio deejay for 30 years.
Kelly Wellman, Executive Committee Co-Chair
Sustainability Director, Texas A&M University
Kelly Wellman, MBA has served as the Sustainability Director at Texas A&M University since March 2008. She is responsible for developing and administering the campus Sustainability Master Plan, overseeing a grant-giving organization called the Aggie Green Fund and monitoring institutional sustainability performance through the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). Kelly represents the Division of Finance and Operations on the President’s Sustainability Advisory Council, the Sustainability & Environmental Management Committee, the Solid Waste Minimization Committee, and the Tree Campus USA Committee.
Gary Cocke, Communications Committee Co-Chair
Sustainability Director, University of Texas at Dallas
Gary has led the Office of Sustainability at UT Dallas since 2018 with previous sustainability experience in higher education and municipal government. He is responsible for facilitating the integration of sustainability into academics, student life, operations, and administration and monitoring campus sustainability efforts through the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS) Report. Key affiliations and committees include; North Texas Regional Centre for Expertise, Sustainability Committee, Student Government Green Initiative, Tree Campus USA, Bee Campus USA, and Air North Texas. Gary is the point of contact for all sustainability related inquiries at UTD and is always happy to collaborate.
Director of Sustainability, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Marianella Franklin is the founding Director and Chief Sustainability Officer at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, leading the institutions global sustainability efforts with 14 years in higher education. Marianella’s leadership has helped launch various programs and centers that include: the UTRGV – International Center for Sustainability Across Curriculum; The South Texas Industrial Assessment Center; Sustainability Fellows, Scholars and Internship programs and assisted in developing new interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate programs in Energy, Engineering, Entrepreneurship, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. Marianella is a member of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP), International Women’s Board (IWB), American Institute of Architects (AIA), USGBC and a LEED accredited professional. Marianella holds a BA in Architecture from the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, and a Certificate in Sustainability Leadership from The University of Vermont.
Ben Kalscheur, AASHE Liaison
Sustainability Assistant Manager, Texas A&M University
Ben has served in the Texas A&M Office of Sustainability since 2010. He started as a Graduate Assistant and became the Sustainability Assistant Manager in 2013 upon completion of his Master’s in Water Management & Hydrological Science. Hailing from Wisconsin, Ben earned a Master’s of Arts in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In the Office of Sustainability, his core job functions are running an internship program and institutional sustainability assessment. Ben is a strong advocate for the importance of incorporating social justice into sustainability and strives to build diverse and inclusive teams.
Sustainability and STEM Director, Huston-Tillotson University
Karen Magid is the Director of Sustainability and STEM at Huston-Tillotson University (HT) an HBCU in Austin. She works on environmental sustainability and education across academics, engagement, and operations. Karen holds a PhD in Materials Science from the UC Berkeley, a Masters in Nuclear Engineering and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, both from North Carolina State University. After completing a Postdoctorate fellowship at the ETH-Zurich, she transitioned her career to connect with her passion for the environment and to have greater connection to community. She served in the Peace Corps for two years before moving to Austin and starting work at HT in 2014. She serves as the chair of the Austin-Travis County Food Policy Board, and she serves on the board of Earth Day Austin. She is Co-Director of the Dumpster Project, and co-founded Building Green Justice at HT.
Chief Sustainability Officer, University of Texas at Arlington
As UT Arlington’s first Chief Sustainability Officer, Meghna works collaboratively to foster partnerships among academic, research, and operational departments at UT Arlington, and to address opportunities to promote sustainability in several areas such as energy efficiency, waste management, transportation, education, outreach, community engagement, and interdisciplinary and sustainability-focused curriculum. She has spearheaded launching a Regional Center of Expertise for Education in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in North Texas, a program of the United Nations University, and the North Texas Food Policy Alliance. She serves and represents UTA on several Advisory Boards including the National Academy of Science Board on Higher Education and Workforce Development—Policy and Global Affairs, Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), and on the Board of Directors for International Council for Local Environmental Initiative (ICLEI USA). She graduated with an MBA in Sustainable Management, MS in Environmental Science, and MS in Chemistry.
Climate Leaders Program Coordinator, University of Texas at Austin
Caitlin (she/they) coordinates the Climate Leaders Program, a student-led experiential learning program focused on climate action planning at UT Austin. She also manages external office communications through @texassustainability and office newsletter, and lends a hand with Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS) reporting, the campus Tree Campus Higher Education (TCHE) committee, and ArbNet Arboretum certification. She is currently a dual degree-seeking graduate student in the Master of Public Affairs and Community & Regional Planning programs.
Sustainability Coordinator – Collaborative Initiatives, University of Texas at Dallas
Danielle coordinates internal and external stakeholder collaborations between administrative departments, research faculty, and students to achieve community-focused sustainability at UT Dallas. She leads the Office of Sustainability communications channels including newsletters, social media, and outreach events while also organizing campus resources at Earth Week and the Community Garden. She began her university studies with horticulture and entomology, earning a B.S. in Plant and Soil Science. She is currently a graduate student at Texas Tech University completing a Master’s in Ecology and Environmental Sustainability.