Sarah Jones earned her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Iowa State University. She is the Utilization Engineer at Metropolitan Utilities District (M.U.D.) in the Marketing division. She assists large volume utility customers with assessing their gas and water consumption, and coordinates the District’s internal sustainability efforts. Sarah also enjoys educating the public about water and energy efficiency as a member of the employee speakers bureau at M.U.D. Sarah loves spending time outdoors and prefers to walk or bike whenever possible.
Rieko Ikeda-Hayes earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry and mathematics from Dana College and her master’s degree in computer information systems from the Bellevue University. She has been with Omaha Public Power District for 17 years, the last 10 years as a project manager. Her engagement in projects reflects her interest and passion for reducing carbon footprints by offering electronic form/channel to the utility customers. In her personal life, she takes an initiative to make smart purchasing choices of appliances and home improvements to reduce energy consumption.
Asher Ball is an attorney in national law firm Kutak Rock LLP’s Omaha headquarters. He practices in the firm’s corporate department in the area of tax credits, primarily the low-income housing tax credit, historic tax credit, and the renewable energy tax credit. His projects range from the development of large-scale multi-phase developments to homes and multi-family apartments based in rural locales. He earned both his Bachelor of Journalism and Juris Doctor degrees at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Asher also actively volunteers his time with the Nebraska State Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Project, which aids less fortunate and unrepresented individuals in their pursuit of equal justice under the law.
Ned Bagniewski is a Professional Engineer and Envision® Sustainability Professional for HDR specializing in transportation infrastructure design. He also serves as HDR’s Freight Rail Sustainability Liaison. In this role, he leads clients and co-workers in implementing sustainability into the planning and design of freight rail infrastructure. Ned graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, and is enrolled to begin an online graduate program in the summer of 2017 through Virginia Tech to obtain his Master of Natural Resources. In March of 2017 Ned was trained as a Climate Reality Leader through the Climate Reality Project. He is a native of Wisconsin, but has lived in Omaha for the last eight years. Ned is passionate about the environment and can’t wait for his kids to become old enough to begin camping and enjoying the outdoors with him.
Elisa DiCarlo is a Realtor and Green advocate. She has earned NAR’s Green Designation for sustainable real estate, building, and resources. Elisa is a graduate of Creighton University with a BSBA in International Business and Marketing. Her previous career was working with organic and non-gmo agriculture. Elisa is very active in the urban community and is working to help Omaha develop even more vibrancy. In 2016 she completed the Citizens’ Academy for Omaha’s Future.
Nicole Engels is a City Planner at the City of Omaha’s Housing and Community Development Division. She previously worked as an Air Quality Inspector for the City of Omaha, and has earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Anthropology from Creighton University and a Master of Public Health from UNMC.
Sally Hopley is an Illinois native who has lived in Omaha for a combined total of eight years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies from UNO and a master’s degree in natural resources from Virginia Tech. She joined the sustainability consultancy Verdis Group in 2013, where she became a master of data analysis, strategic planning, and engagement programs. Her career is driven by a passion to find efficient, productive sustainability solutions that work for companies, the environment, and the bottom line. In 2014, Sally also completed the inaugural Citizen’s Academy for Omaha’s Future classes. Sally is an avid pedestrian and prefers walking as her favorite mode of transportation.
Jerry McNerney is a Nebraska native and earned his bachelor’s degree in sustainability management at Bellevue University. Jerry is a Commissioning Agent at Morrissey Engineering where his passion is delivering well performing buildings and projects. Jerry has an active role in the sustainability field as a member of the LEED Flatwater Chapter, ASHRAE and the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure. Jerry brings this passion home as this year he plans to make his green home Net-Zero.
Kyle Johnson is the owner and founder of EverWild Greenspaces. He obtained his horticulture degree from Metropolitan Community College and has worked in the landscape industry for the last two decades, most notably as the sole caretaker of Joslyn Art Museum’s gardens–recognized as 2017’s Affiliate Site of Excellence by the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum. Kyle has received various awards and recognitions, including Earth Day Omaha’s Friend of the Environment and Nebraska Forest Service’s Volunteer Awards, and has been featured several times in the Omaha World Herald and other local publications. Kyle has a desire to create and maintain landscapes that are beautiful, sustainable, and environmentally beneficial. By observing and mimicking nature, he strongly believes that urban landscapes can provide valuable habitat to struggling native wildlife while being low-maintenance, functional, and aesthetically pleasing.
Kelly Szurpicki has worked at Nebraska Medicine for the past 10 years as an Licensed Practical Nurse. As part of LiveGreen at Nebraska Medicine, she has been inspired to recycle as much as possible in the clinic as well as at home. Kelly is a long time vegan and advocate of purchasing local foods and leading a plant-based way of living. She believes that just one person can make a large impact towards limiting waste, and as a mom of two young boys, feels it necessary to advocate for change and to promote healthy living.