Session 21 - Design Track

KPU SkyFarm: Food Production on a Shallow Soil Roof

Dr. Katherine Dunster, MBCSLA, RPBio, Kwantlen Polytechnic University School of Horticulture

Dr. Kathy Dunster, BCSLA leads the Bachelor of Horticulture Science Urban Ecosystems program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, which emphasizes the applied and experiential study of urban ecosystems. She coauthored Placing Green Roofs in Time and Space: Scale, Recruitment, Establishment, and Regenerationin Green Roof Ecosystems (Richard Sutton, ed.), published in 2015 by Springer.

2017 Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design

Linda Velazquez, ASLA, GRP, LEED AP, Founder & Publisher,

Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA, GRP, LEED AP is founder and publisher of (1999).  She writes extensively, including the annual “Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof and Greenwall Design” since 2007.  Holding a Bachelors of Landscape Architecture, Linda also is principal of Sky Gardens Design (2004). is an interactive website, online media company, vibrant social network, and comprehensive online resource producing the international Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database and Directory, plus the biennial Greenroofs & Walls of the World’s Virtual Summits: Connecting the Planet + Living Architecture since 2011.

Bay State Medical Center: A Healing Rooftop Garden with Complex Design Features

Nicholas Smith, National Sales Manager, ZinCo USA, Inc.

Nicholas Smith is the National Sales Manager for ZinCo USA since 2008. He’s completed hundreds of vegetated roof projects amounting to millions of sq. ft. throughout the country, ranging from extensive sedum assemblies to complex roof gardens, many of which have become high profile institutions of the vegetated roof industry.

A New Model of Urban Re-Generation: Making Resilient, Sustainable and Socially Just Neighborhoods

Eric Corey Freed, LEED, Founding Principal, organicARCHITECT

Eric Corey Freed is Chief Community Officer at EcoDistricts, a nonprofit that helps cities and developers create regenerative, resilient and socially equitable neighborhoods for everyone.  He is also Founding Principal of organicARCHITECT, a visionary design leader in biophilic and regenerative design.  As a licensed architect, Eric brings over 20 years of experience in helping architects, builders and homeowners use sustainability to improve the design and operational savings for thousands of buildings around the country.  Companies like Autodesk, Pixar, Apple and Lowe’s have hired Eric to help them incorporate deeper sustainability into their businesses.

Eric is the author of 11 books, including "Green Building & Remodeling for Dummies", a bestseller with over 200,000 copies in print, and "Sustainable School Architecture."  His how-to book, “Green$ense for your Home” won the 2011 Outstanding Book Award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors.  He is also co-founder of Architect Exam Prep, providing innovative study guides for young architects.

Eric is considered a leader in the field; named by San Francisco Magazine "Best Green Architect" in 2005; "Best Visionary" in 2007; and "Green Visionary" by 7x7 Magazine in 2008.  In 2012, he was named one of the 25 "Best Green Architecture Firms" in the US, and one of the "Top 10 Most Influential Green Architects."  He also holds a prestigious LEED Fellow award from the US Green Building Council.

Session 22 - Research Track

Developing a Regional Green Roof System for Hot Climates

John Hart Asher, MLA, Environmental Designer, Project Manager, Department of Ecological Research & Design, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

John Hart Asher has been an environmental designer with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and a lecturer for The University of Texas at Austin's School of Architecture since 2009. His projects include the Mission Reach Ecosystem Restoration and Recreation Project in San Antonio, Texas, which transformed an eight-mile stretch of the San Antonio River into a quality riparian woodland ecosystem, and the Blanco River Design Guidelines, a design manual for Blanco River residents who were affected by the Memorial Day and Halloween floods of 2015, which received an award in 2016 from the National Association of Flood and Stormwater Management Agencies for excellence in communications. Asher also worked on green roof design and implementation for Bercy Chen Studio’s Edgeland House, which was featured in Dwell and Texas Architect magazines and has won several awards, including Architizer’s A+ Jury and Popular Choice Awards, the 2016 Design Award of Excellence from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and the Texas Society of Architects 2016 Design Award. Edgeland House will also be featured in “Elemental Living: Contemporary Houses in Nature,” out November 2016 from Phaidon.

Asher holds a bachelor’s in history from the University of Mississippi and a master’s in landscape architecture from The University of Texas at Austin. His research interests include green roof design, urban prairies and ecology, sustainable roadside design, riparian restoration, sustainable water quality and detention practices, soil restoration/conservation practices, compost for restoration purposes, invasive species treatment and removal plans, and native plant species selection. He has a pocket prairie in his backyard that he enjoys each day with his wife, Bonnie, and their son, Adler.

Michelle Bertelsen, Ecologist, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Michelle Bertelsen oversees the on-site land management research program and provides project management and ecological support to consulting projects. She has experience in ecological restoration, geospatial analysis, including trail suitability analysis, facilitation, ecological assessment of vegetation and soils, invasive species management, and prescribed fire implementation. She has received training in interpretation, land management, water resources, recreation resources, user experience, and marketing and financing in parks, recreation and conservation. 

Monitoring Two Large-Scale Prairie-Like Green Roofs in Manhattan, Kansas

Jeffrey Bruce, FASLA, LEED, ASIC, GRP, Jeffrey L. Bruce & Company

Jeffrey L. Bruce is owner of Jeffrey L. Bruce & Company (JBC). Mr. Bruce has received over 80 separate design and leadership awards, and has served as an invited lecturer, visiting critic, and speaker at over 200 conferences and trade shows. In 1996, Mr. Bruce was elected Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects. He is President of the American Society of Irrigation Consultants (ASIC) and Chairman of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC). Mr. Bruce is a LEED accredited professional, a certified irrigation designer and an EPA WaterSense Certified Professional. He was one of the first accredited Green Roof Professionals in North America and is a founding member of the Sports Turf Committee for the National Interscholastic Association of Athletic Administrators. Mr. Bruce is author of the “Integrated Water Management for Buildings and Sites” seminar series for GRHC.

Lee Skabelund, PLA, ASLA, Associate Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional & Community Planning College of Architecture, Planning and Design Kansas State University

Lee R. Skabelund is an Associate Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture / Regional and Community Planning at Kansas State University (KSU). He is currently the Mary K. Jarvis Chair in Landscape Architecture at KSU and is focusing his research on several mixed-species green roofs.


Allyssa Decker, PhD Student, Kansas State University

Effect of Microniches on Plant Growth Found On the Millennium Science Complex Green Roofs at University Park, PA

Julie Razryadov, Graduate Student, Pennsylvania State University

Julie Razryadov is a fourth year PhD student in the Plant Science Department at Pennsylvania State.  Her undergraduate degree is in environmental law and biology.  She is the president of the Penn State Community Garden.  She enjoys climbing, hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities in her free time.


Desirae Wood, LAIT, Principal, Dobro Design

Desirae Wood, LAIT is the principal of Dobro Design, a landscape design firm in Portland, Oregon.  While also serving as the Project Manager and Assistant to the Garden Curator at the Portland Japanese Garden, her background in landscape architecture, gardening and construction support her mission to connect people to nature.

Session 23 - Design Track

Choosing Sedum Species for Survivability on Extensive Greenroofs

Robert Long, President/Owner, Carolina Stonecrops Inc

Robert Long has a BS from Clarkson University, an MS from the University of Wisconsin, and a PhD University of Alberta. He has 30 years industrial experience in chemistry at GTYE Sylvania and Osram Sylvania. He also has 10 years’ experience in founding/operating Carolina Stonecrops to grow Stonecrop plugs and pre-vegetated modules for green roof industry.

Biological Research on Extensive Green Roof on Calgary's Municipal Hall

Kerry Ross, Principal, Green T Design Inc

Kerry operates Green T Design, Inc. a design-build company focused on lessening impacts of buildings on the environment through the continuum of landscape and architecture.  Engaged in regional testing of green roof technology and enrolled in an MSc in Geography, she currently serves as steward for the Vegetated Roof Replacement at Calgary’s Municipal Hall project.

Sasha Liston, Green Wall Sales, Estimator, Research and Development

Sasha Liston is a plant ecologist with six years’ experience in species diversity and distribution projects across Canada. Sasha holds a M.Sc. Plant Science, McGill University and a B.A. International Development and Environmental Studies, Dalhousie University. She has worked with green roof and wall design, installation, maintenance, research and education at Green T Design and the Alberta Ecoroof Initiative in Calgary, AB and is currently working with green wall sales, estimating and installation at Ginkgo Sustainability, Toronto, ON.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure: How Well Do These Techniques Stand the Test of Time

Tom Liptan, Green Infrastructure Specialist and Researcher, LIVE Center

Tom is a landscape architect and stormwater specialist. He worked as an urban environment designer with the City of Portland for 25 years and was the catalyst behind research and development of vegetative systems.  He has contributed to five books, received several awards, and is internationally recognized for using vegetated systems in urban design. Tom is also the author of a new book, Sustainable Stormwater Management: A Landscape Driven Approach to Planning and Design Timber Press.  He serves on the Urban Greenspaces Institute Board of Directors, and is the director of research on vegetated systems at the Landscape Infrastructure and Vegetation Experiments center in Portland.

Architectural Systems for ZERO Potable Water and Stormwater Runoff

Paul Kephart, GRP, ASLA, CPSE, CEO & Ecology, Rana Creek Design

Paul has a keen ability to see the geologic, natural and cultural history embodied in a landscape, and simultaneously imagine its most vibrant future.  For thirty years, Paul has given himself to observation, scientific understanding and intimate relationship with the great diversity of natural systems here on the Central Coast of California – from coastal terrace prairie to chaparral, serpentine grassland, coastal scrub, oak woodland, redwood forest, wetland, dune, and bluff.  It is Paul’s deepest joy to design landscapes that integrate regionally adapted biodiversity and goal-driven ecological function into both restored wildlands and the built environment.

As Principal Ecologist and Designer at Rana Creek, Paul is sought after as a pioneer and innovator of living architectural systems, a thought-leader in ecological design, and a dedicated horticulturalist.  Paul has consulted on many groundbreaking and iconic projects, including large-scale living roofs at the Croton Water Treatment Plant, Vancouver Convention Center, Transbay Terminal, and California Academy of Sciences; impressive living walls at 8800 West Sunset Boulevard and Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre; site and master plans for Deacero 3M, AltaSea, JNBY Headquarters, and the island of Lanai; and the cumulative restoration of many thousands of acres of grassland, wetland and coastal landscapes in the Western U.S.

Paul regularly shares his expertise and passion at public lectures and keynotes for USGBC, ASLA, Bioneers, Cities Alive, International Green Roof Conference, Green Build, and various universities.

Session 24 - On the Roof With... Panel

On The Roof With - Best Practices in the Maintenance of Green Roofs in the Cascadia Region

Ron Schwenger, GRP, President at Architek Sustainable Building Products Inc.

Ron was educated at the University of Guelph in architecture and fine arts, and continued his education in marketing, advertising and communications at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).

He started his career with a short period as an architectural technologist and draftsman, and later pursued a path in creative marketing and communications. Early in 2004, Ron combined his experiences along with his original passion for architecture and formed Architek Sustainable Building Products Inc., which was incorporated in 2007, and opened a Seattle office in early 2008. Recently he has also started a new division specializing in architectural hardware: Rope + Cable Canada.

Ron has over ten years of expertise in building envelope technology and living architecture systems namely: green roof systems, green façades, living walls, renewable energy, and integrated site water management. In 2010, Ron wrote the GRP exam and obtained his credentials as an accredited Green Roof Professional (GRP).

Employing a biophilic design-build methodology and a fully integrated approach to site water management with Architek’s in-house storm water mitigation and water conservation technologies has become a driving passion for Ron moving forward.

Ron is an active member of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and The British Columbia Society of Landscape Architects. He continues to be involved with a number of industry organizations such as the Center for Architectural Ecology at BCIT and The World Green Infrastructure Network (WGIN).

Michael Wisshack, GRP, National Sales & Product Manager, Etera

Michael is an experience plantsman and production horticulturalist specializing in the production and cultivation of Sedums for green roofs for the past 10 years. He’s the National Sales & Product Manager for Etera, one of the nation’s largest Sedum producer’s with more than 100+ acres of Sedum stock offering bulk Sedum cuttings, plugs and pre-vegetated SEDUM TILE® mats to the green roof industry.

Lynda Wightman, Industry Relations Manager, Hunter Industries

Lynda Wightman has worked for Hunter Industries (irrigation equipment manufacturer) since 1984. During the 31 years, she has held positions in sales, education and training. Lynda is currently Hunter’s Industry Relations’ Manager, assisting with the company’s worldwidespecification efforts; education opportunities; allied association representation (strength being focused on water conservation and sustainable landscapes, specification and sports turf). Her education background is in Ornamental Horticulture, Landscaping and Irrigation. She is involved in various industry associations including ASIC,STMA, NALP, ASLA, Irrigation Foundation, IA, NIAAA, NRPA, ASBA, MNLA,and many regional chapters of these associations. Lynda lives in Missoula, MT and enjoys teaching others about efficient irrigation practices.

Andy Creath, President, Green Roofs of Colorado, LLC

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Jon Crumrine, RRO, GRP, Vice President of Business Development, DiademUSA


Adam Flint, Branch Manager, Pacific Landscape Management (Invited)

Session 25 - In the Design Studio With... 

Debra Guenther, FASLA, LEED AP BD+C, Partner, Mithun

Deb is a regular contributor to conversations on equity, resilience and climate change at venues such as Greenbuild, Living Futures, and the Urban Land Institute. Nationally recognized for her leadership on green infrastructure and ecosystem service issues, she was awarded the American Society of Landscape Architects President's Medal in 2010.