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 SmartGridNews.com, 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.  
Jesse.Berst@SmartCitiesCouncil.com
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.

Philip.Bane@SmartCitiesCouncil.com
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.
Jason.Nelson@SmartCitiesCouncil.com
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. Stuart.Cowan@SmartCitiesCouncil.com

 

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.  Kevin.Ebi@SmartCitiesCouncil.com

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 Jon.Dekeles@SmartCitiesCouncil.com

Connie DeSpirito Heath, Director of Partnership Engagement
Connie DeSpirito Heath is Manager of City Engagement.  Her career includes over 25 years in institutional advancement working in higher education, healthcare, and the independent school sectors.  She served as Executive Director of the Horizons Student Enrichment Program and as Director of Development at Stevens Institute of Technology, Monmouth Heath Care Foundation and most recently at 180 Turning Lives Around, Inc. connie.heath@smartcitiescouncil.com 
 
 
Isabelle Deniaud Lassara, Member Board of Directors

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.

Philippe Léonard, Executive Director, SCC Europe

As Executive Director Europe, Philippe Léonard is in charge of developing European activities of Smart Cities Council, the global organization dedicated to help cities improve liveability, workability and sustainability through a better (smarter) use of Technology. As the world’s premier consortium of smart city practitioners and experts, Smart Cities Council engages 120+ member and advisor organizations and has already been involved in 11,000+ smart city projects globally.

As a background, Philippe Léonard is a development expert & consultant with focus on lobbying & development for private sector & industry.  Philippe Léonard is an innovator and entrepreneur actively engaged in various ethical projects focusing on innovative solutions to environment & energy challenges; He holds several patents on renewable energy and smart grids solutions and started several companies on both sides of the Atlantic, including Aeolta in France and urbanwinddesign, in the US, dedicated to researching and licensing technologies on international markets ; Philippe is also a partner in the development of the ‘TK’ technology promotion’ platform and serves as president of TK-selfsufficient, company dedicated to promote and develop a portfolio of relevant residential self-sufficiency technologies (energy, water, air, waste, etc.) on global markets. Philippe is a French citizen.

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. Liz.Enbysk@SmartCitiesCouncil.com

Michelle Grace, Executive Assistant

After eight years in radio production and sound recording in Honolulu, Michelle moved to Boston to continue her studies in telecommunications, electric engineering and mechanical engineering at Northeastern University.  She spent nine years in LNG transportation, distribution, sales and procurement before moving back to Seattle, her home town, to become the office manager for Global Smart Energy, Smart Grid News and the Smart Cities Council as well as personal assistant to Jesse Berst.  Michelle.Grace@SmartCitiesCouncil.com

Doug Peeples, Readiness Editor

Doug Peeples is a former news reporter and public affairs director. He has since worked extensively as a writer and editor for a variety of companies and publications, including Expedia, Microsoft and Pon, a global Dutch holding company.  He also covered the business, regulatory and technology aspects of the energy industry for Smart Grid News. At the Smart Cities Council, Doug writes about the technologies that are making cities smarter.  Doug.Peeples@SmartCitiesCouncil.com 

Bethany Siegrist, Executive Assistant
Bethany Siegrist is Administrative Assistant. Bethany spent 14 years as an administrative assistant for a world-wide financial planning company, working in Connecticut, Georgia, and Northern Virginia.  During those years, she volunteered to provide financial assistance counseling to families and individuals seeking debt consolidation and relief.  She also co-founded a Georgia-based chapter of a national spouses-mentoring-spouses organization for Navy wives. Her initial venture into renewable resources was as Administrative Assistant to the President of a U.S.-based end-to-end sustainable aquafarming company implementing a sophisticated and environmentally responsible aquafarm system offering a solution to dwindling world fish stocks in the face of rising demand.  Moving to Smart Cities Council, she supports the Smart Cities staff. bethany.siegrist@smartcitiescouncil.com
Tanveer Padode, Readiness Associate
Tanveer Padode is Associate for Partner Engagement. He recently graduated from McGill University, majoring in Economics and minoring in Computer Science. He has worked with Frost & Sullivan providing country profiles and research for consultants. He has also helped launch a digital platform (DezignGenie) which enables users to source products and design their homes or offices and brought over 300 vendors onto the digital platform to showcase their products.
He has worked with an IT consulting firm selling Enterprise Resource Planning Software and conducted extensive market research to create a database of target customers to pursue as part of a new sales strategy. At the council, Tanveer interacts with companies around the world to build the partner ecosystem. tanveer.padode@smartcitiescouncil.com
 
 
Pratap Padode, Executive Director, Smart Cities Council India

A chartered accountant by qualification, Pratap Padode, has specialised in financial research when he set up Corporate & Economic Research Centre in 1986 and developed financial models to evaluate corporate performance. He pioneered equity research in India by launching India’s most successful specialised equity journal, ‘Dalal Street Journal’ as its co-founder. He is the founder of ASAPP Info Global Group and his passion for infrastructure over last 20 years is reflected in the innovative thought leadership through ten specialised magazines, conferences & awards organised in the fields of construction, infrastructure & engineering.

Further he is the President of FIRST (Foundation of Infrastructure Research Studies Training) which was set up in 2003, that brings out research reports and newsletters on various infrastructure segments. His research encompasses construction, infrastructure, real estate, economy and finance sectors. He has received the award for his research in the construction sector at CIDC Vishwakarma Awards 2010 at the hands of Dr C Rangarajan, Chairman of Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Committee. Since early 2014 he has been promoting the move to smart, sustainable cities and contributing to Smart Cities Council Partners’ business success through advocacy and action, as the Founder and Executive Director of Smart Cities Council India. In this role he has been supporting Government of India’s Smart Cities Mission through thought leadership, policy advocacy and creating awareness about the challenges and opportunities in city planning. He has launched the India Readiness Guide which is a custom framework for India’s city planners.