Keynote Speakers & Presentations



Opening Plenary & Keynote Speakers
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

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Susannah C. Drake

Founding Principal

Susannah C. Drake, FASLA, RA, RLA is the founding principal of DLANDstudio Architecture + Landscape Architecture pllc. The firm, winner of the 2014 AIA New Practices New York Award, has received city, state, and national AIA and ASLA awards. In 2013, Susannah was awarded the AIA Young Architects Award and Fellowship in the ASLA, and was recognized as an Architectural League Emerging Voice. As an architect and landscape architect, Susannah specializes in complex projects that require a synthesized, analytical, and research-based approach. Her large-scale planning work engages diverse systems to create ecologically and socially progressive projects that are equally well-crafted and beautiful.

Susannah’s research has been at the forefront of innovation on urban ecological infrastructure. Her campus landscape design and large-scale urban infrastructure work has received grant funding from the Graham Foundation, EPA, NEIWPCC, NYSDEC, and NYSCA. Susannah is the former President and Trustee of the NYASLA and former Trustee of the Van Alen Institute. She lectures globally about resilient urban infrastructure, and has taught courses at The Cooper Union, Harvard University, Syracuse University, Washington University in St. Louis, Florida International University, The City College of New York, and Illinois Institute of Technology. Susannah delivered the keynote addresses at the 18th Congress of the International Union of Women Architects in Blacksburg, VA in 2015, and at the XXV International Union of Architects World Congress in Durban, South Africa in 2014. She contributed to Nature and Cities, the 2016 Lincoln Land Institute book with her chapter entitled “WPA 2.0: Beauty, Economics, and Politics in the Creation of Public Infrastructure.” Her work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. DLANDstudio’s recent projects include The QueensWay Metropolitan Hub, Public Media Commons in St. Louis, Missouri, “A New Urban Ground” for MoMA’s Rising Currents project, BQGreen, and Gowanus Canal Sponge Park™. 

Susannah received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Dartmouth College and Master in Architecture and Master in Landscape Architecture degrees from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.


Alan Steel

President & CEO, New York Convention Center Operating Corporation, Javits Center

Alan Steel is the President & Chief Executive Officer of the New York Convention Center Operating Corporation, which operates the Javits Center. Under Mr. Steel 's leadership, the Javits Center underwent a comprehensive renovation including significant investments in security, sustainable and technology improvements. Mr. Steel has spent more than 30 years as an event management executive and United Kingdom trade development official. He is the former President of George Little Management (GLM), a major producer of trade shows in the United States and Canada, where he was responsible for the creation of new events, oversight of corporate strategic planning, marketing programs and the direction for various company events including NY NOW (formerly New York International Gift Fair), the National Stationery Show, the International Contemporary Furniture Fair and SURTEX. Mr. Steel was also active in developing domestic and international markets for the company. Before joining GLM in 1982, Mr. Steel worked for more than 15 years with the British government in a number of trade-related positions at the Department of Trade and Industry in London, the British Consulate in Chicago and the British Trade Development Office in New York. In these roles, Alan bought and sold exhibit space to participants in trade and consumer shows, conferences, and special events. In 2014, Mr. Steel was awarded with the King’s Glove award by the International Association of Exhibitors and Events (IAEE) for his enriched contributions to the trade show industry in New York and beyond.

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Raphael Espinal

Council Member, 37 District, New York City

A lifelong resident of Brooklyn, Rafael L. Espinal Jr. is the Council Member for the 37th district, proudly serving the vibrant communities of Bushwick, Brownsville, Cypress Hills and East New York. Council Member Espinal is Chair of the Council’s Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing, where he has overseen the implementation of NYC’s successful Paid Sick Leave Law, passed consumer protections for women, seniors, and immigrants, and continues to fight for a more fair and vibrant marketplace in NYC. Council Member Espinal is committed to finding consumer solutions to environmental problems and ensuring New York City remain a leader in sustainability. He has introduced legislation related to banning plastic bottles in city parks and beaches, expanding access to urban agriculture and mandating green roofs.

Morning Plenary & Keynote Speakers
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
8:30 am - 9:30 am

Announcement Coming Soon


Morning Plenary & Keynote Speakers
Thursday, September 27, 2018
9:30 am - 10:30 am



Dr. Ken Yeang

Principal of Hamzah & Yeang

Ken Yeang is an architect, planner and ecologist who is best known for his signature green architecture and masterplanning, differentiated from other green architects by their authentic ecology-based approach, by their distinctive green aesthetic and green performance beyond conventional rating systems. He trained at the AA (Architectural Association, UK) and received his doctorate from Cambridge University (UK) on ecological design and planning. His key buildings include Solaris (Singapore), Menara Mesiniaga (Malaysia), Spire Edge Tower (India), Genome Research Building (Hong Kong), Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital Extension (UK). He is principal of Hamzah & Yeang with offices in Malaysia, UK and of North Hamzah Architectural and Engineering Company in China. He is a recipient of the Malaysian Institute of Architects Gold Medal, the Government of Malaysia Merdeka Award and the Architectural Society of China Liang Sicheng Award 2016. The UK Guardian newspaper named him as one of 50 individuals who could save the planet, and he is named by CNN as the leading architect in ecological design.