Judges

Robert Suarez - Robert Suarez
Robert Suarez

Robert is the Managing Director, Innovation and Design for SU Labs, where he provides design and innovation direction for corporate, startup and field impact teams. Robert is constantly investigating human behavior, nature’s strategies, and emerging technology to find new opportunities for design and innovation that drive positive impact for the world.

Before joining SU, he was on the founding team of Level Money, a mission-driven design-led financial services organization in San Francisco. Level’s mission is to empower America’s young adults to take control of their financial futures, both individually and collectively, by creating fair and trustworthy personal financial services and by educating and advocating for financial sustainability. Throughout his 15-year career in consumer experience design Robert has created product and service experiences that change the way people live, work, and play. He was a Senior Portfolio Director at IDEO, where his design direction focused on building new offerings in mobile experiences, financial services, cross-platform gaming and emerging technologies. Robert strives for solutions that integrate social, environmental, and educational considerations while proving that purpose and profit can combine for the greatest impact.

Gamelihle Sibanda - Gamelihle Sibanda
Gamelihle Sibanda

Gamelihle Sibanda

Gamelihle, a Certified Biomimicry Professional, fuses his training in civil engineering (BSc Eng Honours), business (MBA) and biomimicry (CBP) towards creation of a sustainable world; where there is enough for all forever. A visual story teller and rapid ideator, his diverse skill set enables him to abstract strategies from nature to create solutions for human challenges. He co-developed the Biominga Innovation Model based on evolutionary strategies that nature has continuously tested and refined over the past 3.8 billion years. Where others see things that are and ask "why?", Gamelihle dreams about things that do not exist and asks "why not?"

John Lanier -
John Lanier

John Lanier

John A. Lanier is Executive Director of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, a Georgia-based private family foundation honoring the legacy of the late Ray C. Anderson (1934-2011). In May 2013, Lanier made a bold and exciting career move, leaving a successful career with Sutherland, Asbill and Brennan, LLP to assume his current role at the helm of the foundation that bears his grandfather’s name and legacy. Ray Anderson was a globally recognized industrialist and pioneer for environmentalism, and Lanier continues his legacy today through Foundation programs that seek to create a brighter, more sustainable world by funding innovative, educational, and project-based initiatives. From 2011 to 2013, Lanier worked in Atlanta as an Associate Attorney in Sutherland's Tax Practice Group, specializing in U.S. Federal taxation. He represented the interests of various Atlanta-based nonprofits, gaining experience in nonprofit formations, compliance and applications for recognition of tax-exempt status. During that time, the Ray C. Anderson Foundation was one of his clients.

Lanier currently serves on the Board of Directors for Southface Energy Institute, the Southeast's nonprofit leader in the promotion of sustainable homes, workplaces and communities through education, research, advocacy and technical assistance. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Chattahoochee NOW, a Georgia-based nonprofit that directs the efforts to catalyze the economic development and quality of life potential along a 53-mile corridor of the Chattahoochee River. Lanier is also a member of the 2014 class for the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership (IGEL), a network of diverse statewide leaders consistently collaborating to solve Georgia’s environmental challenges.

Lanier earned his Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from the University of Virginia School of Law, and he holds Bachelor of Arts Degrees in History and Economics from the University of Virginia. He is an Atlanta native and a college sports enthusiast who enjoys travel, hiking and snow skiing in his spare time.

Sara el Sayed -
Sara el Sayed

Sara el Sayed

Sara is responsible for the coordination of all slow food activities for Egypt and is coordinating many food related activities including providing consult on value chain issues in Egypt.

Patrick Baumann - Patrick Baumann
Patrick Baumann

Patrick Baumann

Patrick Baumann is founder and CEO of a mechanical engineering company and a managing partner of Biomimicry Switzerland. With 20 years of experience and proven ability to manage and complete R&D projects to the highest standard, he maintains a top level overview on system interdependency and careful attention to user-friendliness.

Rachel Hahs -
Rachel Hahs

Rachel Hahs

Rooted in the firm belief that life-centered design will lead us to a sustainable future, Rachel Hahs is Certified Biomimicry Professional and sustainability expert working to expand the sustainability discussion to business strategy, innovation and product development where significant sustainability and competitive advantage gains await. Building on ten years experience at URS Corporation focusing on sustainability in business operations, Rachel is interested in how the use of biomimicry in innovation can result in disruptive sustainable system innovations that can accelerate our transition to a sustainable future. She is also an Innovation Fellow of The Art of Science Learning 2014 Chicago Incubator for Innovation focused on finding solutions to urban nutrition challenges. Rachel consults, speaks, writes and conducts workshops on biomimicry and sustainability for a variety of public and private audiences.

Mark Juergensen - Mark Juergensen
Mark Juergensen

Mark Juergensen

Mr. Juergensen is an expert in commercialization of clean and sustainable technologies including; renewables, bio-fuels, bio-tech, transportation and traditional clean energy. He is a Principal Advisor to the NSF through the Los Angeles Regional Technology Alliance (LARTA). He is a corporate advisor to LightSource Renewables, Wellhead Electric and SeaBreeze Power. Mr. Juergensen has judged for reviewed multiple clean technology competitions including; NREL’s Industry Growth Forum (IGF), California Clean Innovation (CACI), Connect Most Innovative Product, the UCSD von Liebeg Center and CleanTech San Diego.

Jane Toner - Jane Toner
Jane Toner

Jane Toner

Jane Toner is an architect, sustainability consultant and Australia’s first Biomimicry Specialist. Jane has a firm belief that nature has the answers to living sustainably on planet Earth - it's just a matter of asking the right questions. Jane is the founder of BiomimicrySwarm Australia, a collaborative network seeking to share knowledge of biomimicry to promote its uptake. Jane is passionate about the potential for biomimicry to contribute to design solutions that are environmentally regenerative, socially just and joyous. She is a strong advocate for the integration of sustainable design concepts at the earliest stage of a project and sees intra-disciplinary collaboration as key to successful sustainable design outcomes.

Travis Heneveld - Travis Heneveld
Travis Heneveld

Travis Heneveld

As United Nations' Account Director, Travis Heneveld oversees the delivery of business critical communication solutions to peacekeeping, emergency response and development agencies worldwide. Prior to joining Motorola's Europe, Middle East and Africa Strategy team in 2003, Travis spent several years as a Strategy Consultant driving new product & marketing initiatives for Fortune 100 companies such as Levi's, United Airlines, IKEA and Ericsson. A global citizen with living experiences in Europe and Asia, Travis is currently based in Germany and is a Guest Lecturer in Cross-cultural Management at The Berlin School of Economics and Law. He is a contributor to "Digital Kenya, the New Generation of Entrepreneurs", a management textbook that will be published later this year. Travis is a BA graduate of Pomona College and holds an International MBA from the University of South Carolina.

Denny Royal - Denny Royal
Denny Royal

Denny Royal

As a principal and Azul 7’s design practice leader, Denny Royal has grown and nurtured our human-centered design approach. With a background in design research, customer experience, brand, design and technology, he is able to help clients solve challenges from a holistic perspective. Denny is a life-long learner. He completed design thinking training at Stanford's d.school and attended B.J. Fogg’s persuasion bootcamp. He is currently working toward his Master's degree in biomimicry with the Biomimicry 3.8 and Arizona State University. In 2012, Denny was selected as a Presidential Innovation Fellows finalist. He applies that same drive to learn and share information when developing a design thinking education specialty at Azul 7.

Emily Sadigh - Emily Sadigh
Emily Sadigh

Emily Sadigh

Trained as an educator and certified as a Biomimicry Specialist, Emily Sadigh helps organizations build sustainability into their culture by creating experiential learning and teaching opportunities for employees. Toyota and the National Audubon Society named her a TogetherGreen Conservation Leadership Fellow for her pioneering work applying biomimicry to organizational change.

Mike Gabriel -
Mike Gabriel

Mike Gabriel

Mike is the primary contact for RSF’s work in the field of Ecological Stewardship. He works with social enterprises to assess potential fit with RSF’s financing programs from senior debt to equity. Mike recently created and manages RSF’s Regenerative Economy Fund, which will deploy flexible and innovative financing to social enterprises that are working to accelerate the transition to a Regenerative Economy. Previously, Mike served as the Asia Regional Manager for Grameen Foundation’s capital markets team, focusing on providing financing and financial advisory services to microfinance institutions and other businesses focused on alleviating poverty. Mike received an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and BA from Vanderibilt University.

Vikram Shyam -
Vikram Shyam

Vikram Shyam

Vikram Shyam is a propulsion flow dynamicist in the Turbomachinery and Turboelectric Systems branch at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. He received his PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the Ohio State University in December 2009. Vikram and fellow collaborators are studying the application of harbor seal morphology to wind turbine and gas turbine blades, probes, sensors and other objects that are subject to vortex induced vibrations or variable operating conditions. Other research areas and interests include energy harvesting, multifunctional structures, development of new concepts for in-space exploration, long range planning and STEM education.

Jessica Travis -
Jessica Travis

Jessica Travis

Jessica advances solutions to help protect Balboa Park's resources and strengthen economic viability, while enhancing staff and visitor experience and enjoyment. She graduated with a degree in Business Administration from the University of San Diego; obtained a certificate in Sustainable Business Practices from the University of California, San Diego; and completed the Harvard Executive Education for Sustainability Leadership. Since joining the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, Jessica has been involved in facilitating upgrades to historic Balboa Park buildings, launching a goal to achieve 10 USGBC LEED certifications (8 currently), assembling the Balboa Park Sustainability Council, developing public and professional education opportunities, securing new corporate partnerships, and establishing relationships with universities and other key community stakeholder groups. Outside of the Park, Jessica teaches an introductory course on Sustainable Development and an upper division on Cultural Tourism as an adjunct at San Diego State University.

Rosibel Ochoa -
Rosibel Ochoa

Rosibel Ochoa

Dr. Ochoa, is the Senior Executive Director for the von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center at UC San Diego. She provides mentorship and entrepreneurial education to engineers and scientists from the university and around the world.

Carlos Fiorentino -
Carlos Fiorentino

Carlos Fiorentino

Carlos Fiorentino was born in La Plata, Argentina and moved to Canada in 2005 to pursue his Masters in Design. He currently teaches Design for Sustainability and Biomimicry in the Department of Human Ecology at the University of Alberta, Design Fundamentals in the Department of Art & Design, and Information Design at the Faculty of Design Studies at Grant MacEwan University, Canada. He is a doctoral student in Human Ecology at the University of Alberta. The focus of his current research is on structural color, signaling and affordances through biomimetics. He is co-founder of Biomimicry Alberta Regional Network, and the Design for Sustainability Research Group at the University of Alberta. Carlos is advisor to several Sustainability Education Committees in Canada. He has a 20+ year career as a design practitioner, co-founded two design studios, and worked professionally in Argentina, Germany and Canada.

Stu Fram -
Stu Fram

Stu Fram

Stu supports RSF’s work in the field of Ecological Stewardship, working with social enterprises to evaluate loan opportunities based on social, environmental, and financial criteria. He also co-manages RSF’s new Regenerative Economy Fund – created to provide flexible and innovative financing to social enterprises accelerating the transition to a regenerative economy – in addition to running RSF’s fellowship program. Stu previously worked for the High Meadows Fund, an environmental foundation in Burlington, VT. He received a BA in Human Ecology from Middlebury College, where he co-founded an organization working to increase the amount of local and sustainable food served in the college’s dining halls.