Sustainability Summits > 2017 > Synergy Sessions

Sustainability Summit 2017: Synergy Sessions

Synergy Session 1: 10-11:45 a.m.

Paul Quinn College — We Over Me Farm

James Hunter

The presentation will cover the history, operations and future plans for the Paul Quinn College, We Over Me Farm. In March 2010, Paul Quinn College decided to convert its football field into an organic farm. The move symbolized the college's dedication to a team of a different kind — the team of individuals and organizations fighting to end food insecurity and injustice in the United States. Originally located in a food desert, the Farm has produced more than 40,000 pounds of organic produce since its inception, and 15 percent of this produce has been donated to neighborhood charitable organizations. The rest supports community members, the college and restaurants and grocers throughout Dallas. Under the guidance of the farm director, the Farm is operated and maintained entirely by Paul Quinn student-employees, who engage in all farm activities, from business planning to marketing. The Farm thus serves as a model of socially and environmentally driven servant leadership.

Backyard Biospheres

Joyce Connelley, Marshall Grain Co.

While many of us have heard about the plight of the European honeybee and the Monarch butterfly, what most don't realize is that there are hundreds of other species of insects, reptiles and even mammals whose numbers are rapidly dwindling. There are two main reasons for their decline: Habitat loss and pesticide use. Both are easy to fix! All you have to do is start thinking of your home as an oasis — a mini nature center that is self-sustaining. We can never return the prairie to what it once was, but by building “oases”  we can begin to replace some of the lost habitat used by both migratory and stationary species. While the Monarch Waystation Project and Million Pollinator Garden Challenge focus on plantings for migratory species along the main North American Flyway, my presentation will present solutions that backyard gardeners can use to sustain the full range of native animals.

Urban Farming/Gardening

Synergy Session 2: 1-2:45 p.m.

Bicycling, DART and Ride-Sharing Services


  • Jared White, city of Dallas alternative transportation program manager
  • Rob Parks, DART senior manager of passenger support 
  • Leandre Johns, Uber manager of external affairs for Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma
  • Bud Melton (moderator), Halff Associates, Inc. 

Alternative transportation and mobility options are changing rapidly and becoming far more sustainable. This panel will explore ways we connect from trip origins to destinations. Dallas Area Rapid Transit is pursuing innovative approaches to mobility to help reduce the dependency on the single occupant automobile within the North Texas Region. The city of Dallas is making plans for improving bicycle and pedestrian accommodation. Uber's corporate mission is “To make transportation as reliable as running water everywhere, for everyone” while looking for ways to create multi-modal partnerships that lead to more-efficient, more-environmentally friendly mobility solutions. The focus of this panel is on what many refer to as the “Last Mile” of any trip, and the array of changes that are emerging to help make cities more navigable, bikeable and walkable without driving alone.

Jared White joined the Dallas Park and Recreation Department in 2006 overseeing the continued implementation of the city’s Trail Network Master Plan. Now with the Mobility and Street Services Department, Jared coordinates the overall planning and implementation of the Dallas Bikeway System, including both on-street bicycle routes and trails. His work includes coordination of bicycle transportation related projects among other government agencies including Dallas County, TxDOT and DART. Prior to joining Dallas, he spent seven years at the North Central Texas Council of Governments in planning and funding of regional bicycle and pedestrian transportation projects.

Robert B. Parks, AICP, is senior manager of passenger support in the Growth and Regional Development Department at DART, where he has worked since 1985. He worked previously for ATE Management and Service Company, and for transit authorities in New Orleans and San Antonio. He has spent his entire career serving the transit passenger, leading projects and supervising in the areas of service, policy and bus facilities planning and implementation. He holds a Master of City and Regional Planning degree in Transportation Planning and Policy Analysis from Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Pomona College in Claremont, California.

In 2012, Leandre Johns started Uber in Texas. In addition to expanding Uber’s presence across the state, Johns has served as general manager of Uber Dallas/Fort Worth, West and North Texas. In his current role, he manages External Affairs for Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Prior to joining Uber, Johns worked in the venture capital and startup space serving as vice president for a health care technology and media portfolio company in Chicago. He spent 3½ years with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Chicago consulting in the health care and finance sector, and has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a master’s in public health from University of Michigan, and a bachelor's in psychology with Honors Distinction from SMU.

Moderator Bud Melton, a longtime specialist in mobility alternatives, will guide the panel through a variety of approaches and perspectives centered on the subject of emerging mobility options and exploring why people choose which. He works with Halff’s North Texas Planning and Landscape Architecture division, is a trustee for the Texas Trees Foundation as well as the Deep Ellum Foundation and is a member of Urban Land Institute’s North Texas TOD Product Council. As an AIA Dallas Allied Member, Bud serves on the nation’s seventh largest chapter’s Columns magazine editorial advisory board.

Alternative Transportation and Mobility

From Recovery to Resiliency: Lessons Learned From Hurricanes Harvey and Katrina

Amy Margaret King