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 affiliates 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

Pratap Padode, Executive Director, SCC 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.

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.


Bruno De Man, Executive Director, SCC Europe

As Executive Director Europe, Bruno De Man 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.

Bruno De Man is a highly committed and loyal senior business developer with a long-standing experience in the high-end hospitality environment, congress management, medical not for profit sector and ancillary consulting/advisory roles. He has severed as an independent consultant focusing on as business development plans, sponsorship & exhibition fundraising, European healthcare compliance, ethics and regulations and multi-stakeholder relationships. Prior to that, he served as the corporate marketing manager for the European Cancer Organisation.

Isabelle Deniaud Lassara, Director SCC Europe

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.

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.  

 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. Romans 14:19

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 Lead Chaplain for the department.

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.

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. 

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. 
Bethany Siegrist, Operations Manager
Bethany Siegrist is SCC's Operations Manger. 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.
Lila Fleishman, Partner Engagement Associate

Lila has worked as Partner Development Manager for an early stage smart cities startup, Logistics Lead for an Alaskan glacier guiding company and on the Education Team at the National Geographic Society. Lila holds a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Geography with a focus on Urban Planning and Sustainability. Recently, Lila shared her passion for solution-oriented technology with high school students while co-leading a National Geographic Student Expeditions trip: Technology and Innovation Workshop in the Silicon Valley. While at home in Bozeman, Montana she serves on the city’s citizen advisory board for bicycling and builds community through the establishment of a local remote/freelance network. In her current role as Partner Engagement Associate with the Smart Cities Council, Lila connects and supports our ever-growing partner network.

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.