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The Smart Cities Council Team

Jesse Berst, Founder and Chairman

Jesse came to the smart city sector from the smart grid where he was one of the pioneering thought leaders and chief analyst of, the Internet’s oldest, largest and highest-ranked smart grid site. Prior to that he was a well-known technology analyst and featured columnist at leading magazines, including Computerworld, InformationWeek and PC Week. Working with Ziff-Davis, he launched ZDNet AnchorDesk, which became the publishing company's most popular and profitable Internet property.

Convinced that smart energy is the foundation of a smart, ICT-enabled city, it was a natural transition for Jesse to launch the Smart Cities Council and engage some of the world's most respected technology companies to work with him toward a more livable, workable and sustainable future.
202-650-0023 ext. 102

Philip Bane, Managing Director

Philip is an expert in applying technology to achieve sustainability. He has been a pioneer in resource informatics for sustainability (managing multiple resources streams via integrated data management). Philip has held senior, global positions in sales, operations and law. He has taken a company public as its General Counsel, established businesses in Russia and India, and led complex, multi-million dollar projects managing data in the oil and gas industry. He was an Army Ranger while in the military, completed 200 hours of Vinyasa Yoga Training and is now studying to be a Zen Buddhist Chaplain for sustainability at Upaya Zen Center in Sante Fe, N.M.

At Smart Cities Council, Philip is responsible for managing all day-to-day activities including relationships with our global affliates and licensees. He also focuses on developing the Council’s new revenue generating opportunities including resource informatics offerings for cities. He also develops the Council's new business opportunities globally.
202-650-0023 ext. 103

Jason Nelson, Executive Director for Partner Engagement

Jason Nelson has successfully built businesses, systems and teams from the ground up. As Senior Vice President at FierceMarkets, he launched multi-platform media brands in several industries, including energy, telecom and IT. He eventually had P&L responsibility for 25 publications across six industries. Jason was responsible for building company systems for accounting and sales management and for developing new products such as webinars, eBooks and events.

At the Council, Jason engages with companies around the world to encourage them to partner with us to build more livable, workable and sustainable cities.
202-650-0023 x104

Adam Beck, Executive Director SCC ANZ

Adam has spent more than 20 years influencing infrastructure and urban regeneration projects across the world. In this time, he has worked for global consulting firms, as well as transformational non-profit organisations. For the past seven years, he has supported the building of movements and marketplaces for sustainable cities. Most recently, as Director of Innovation at EcoDistricts, a Portland-based non-profit think tank, Adam was central to the design of new model of sustainable urban regeneration that was built using a collective impact framework. From 2009, as Executive Director of the Green Building Council of Australia, Adam’s work was focused on designing tools and assessment systems for accelerating and benchmarking sustainable city projects and infrastructure development.

Adam was chief architect of the Green Star – Communities rating tool, one of the world’s most comprehensive sustainability rating tools for urban development. As an Associate at global consulting firm Arup, he spent almost a decade working on some of Australia’s largest urban redevelopment and infrastructure projects. Adam was also lecturer and studio lead for the University of Queensland’s social impact assessment program for more than four years. During this time, Adam co-founded of the Queensland Division of the International Association for Public Participation Australasia.


Stuart Cowan, Ph.D., Chief Scientist

Stuart co-founded Autopoiesis LLC, which offers ecological design, integrated modeling, feasibility analysis and sustainable finance services for large-scale green development projects. Autopoiesis LLC is one of six organizations leading the international Economics of Change initiative to transform real estate investment models to include a comprehensive range of ecological and social value layers. Stuart served as a Transaction Manager and founding team member with Portland Family of Funds, an innovative sustainable community investment fund.

He served as Conservation Economy Research Director at Ecotrust, where he led the development of the Reliable Prosperity framework for bioregional planning. He is a Faculty member at Bainbridge Graduate Institute in the Sustainable MBA program, and received his doctorate in complex systems from U.C. Berkeley with a focus on ecological economics.


Kevin Ebi, Global Managing Editor

After working as a business editor and marketing strategist, Kevin now works to protect the wilderness and the wildlife that calls it home. He has traveled across North America, Iceland and New Zealand to craft dynamic nature images to help people care about places they won’t get to see with their own eyes. He documented how bald eagles learn to fly, had the rarest penguins in the world march past him, and even crawled inside a dormant volcano’s magma chamber.

At the Smart Cities Council, Kevin manages our editorial team and enjoys writing articles that help cities reduce their environmental impact.

Jon DeKeles, Global CIO

For over 40 years Jon has been using technology to try to make this world a better place. He pioneered innovative, web-based technologies working for ZDNet in the 1990s and later for Smart Grid News.Today he oversees website development and performance initiatives, including the recent mobile optimization effort on the Council website.  He has also spent nearly 25 years working in the area of public safety.  

He was instrumental in making the Post Falls Police Department one of the first in the U.S. to have computers in their patrol cars, as well as using computer-aided dispatch. He helped create a Virtual Patrol Ride Along program to keep Post Falls citizens informed and to maintain police accountability.  Jon currently holds the role as Chaplain for the department

Liz Enbysk, Compassionate Cities Editor

Liz spent her early career working on newspapers, spending time in city halls and legislative buildings to report on the ebb and flow of the public's business. An award-winning writer and editor, she ended her print career after a stint as city editor at a suburban Seattle daily. She moved to online journalism and covered technology topics for ZDNet, then co-founded State Street Writing, which produced and managed content for a variety of clients – Microsoft, the Seattle Public Library and Smart Grid News among others.

She joined the Smart Cities Council in 2012 as Editorial Director and is now Editor of the Council's Compassionate Cities program.

Isabelle Deniaud Lassara, Director PCO & Asset Development

Through creative live experiences and digitization, globalization, brand enhancement and content strategies, Isabelle helps multinational companies and international associations to enhance organizational performance, grow globally, energize communities and drive business results.