11th Annual Sustainability Summit highlights environmental advancements and recognizes outstanding contributions
Speakers at the MWRD’s annual Sustainability Summit included (L-R): University of Illinois at Chicago Professor Dr. Şevin Yildiz, Commissioner Eira L. Corral Sepúlveda, Vice President Patricia Theresa Flynn, Managing Civil Engineer Joe Kratzer, Senior Environmental Soil Scientist Dr. Theresa Johnston, Commissioner Daniel Pogorzelski, Principal Environmental Scientist Dr. Kuldip Kumar, Chicago Bird Alliance President Judy Pollock and Principal Environmental Scientist Tom Minarik.
The Ford Calumet Environmental Center in Big Marsh Park played host to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago’s (MWRD’s) 11th Annual Sustainability Summit, inspiring conversations about how to tackle the many challenging issues facing the MWRD and partners in their mission to protect the environment. Topics covered stormwater management, carbon reduction, climate resilience, wildlife conservation and the protection of invaluable water resources. The event featured an impressive lineup of speakers and honored outstanding individuals, municipalities, firms, partners and organizations for their contributions to sustainability. Watch a recording of the program.
Speakers included: MWRD Vice President Patricia Theresa Flynn; Commissioner Daniel Pogorzelski; Commissioner Eira L. Corral Sepúlveda; Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos; a dedicated team of MWRD scientists and engineers, including Joe Kratzer, Dr. Kuldip Kumar, Dr. Theresa Johnston, Tom Minarik; University of Illinois at Chicago Professor Dr. Şevin Yildiz; and Judy Pollock from the Chicago Bird Alliance.
MWRD Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos served as a speaker at the MWRD’s 11th annual Sustainability Summit.
“This year’s Sustainability Summit brought together many like-minded professionals and residents sharing a collective vision for a sustainable and resilient future,” said MWRD President Kari K. Steele. “We look forward to continuing our commitment to environmental conservation and fostering innovative solutions to address these pressing challenges.”
The event united experts from various sectors and provided a platform for in-depth presentations and discussions on critical issues and innovative solutions for a more sustainable future. Topics ranged from the pressing concerns of record rain events and flood mitigation to the essential role of preserving biodiversity, such as macroinvertebrates, snapping turtles, bass fish and migratory shore birds. The summit aimed to inspire positive change and foster collaboration among attendees to advance sustainability efforts.
From L to R: MWRD Commissioner Daniel Pogorzelski, Commissioner Eira L. Corral Sepúlveda and Vice President Patricia Theresa Flynn recognize Northlake Mayor Jeffrey Sherwin for his enthusiasm, partnership and advocacy in addressing stormwater management solutions.
From L to R: MWRD Commissioner Daniel Pogorzelski, Commissioner Eira L. Corral Sepúlveda and Vice President Patricia Theresa Flynn present an award in sustainable landscaping to the team from Omni Ecosystems, including CEO & Founder Molly Meyer, Omni Workshop President Michael Skowlund, Prologis Development Manager Jenny Trautman, V3 Companies Senior Project Manager Brad Prischman, and Omni Rewild Director of Business Development Sam Irwin. Omni Ecosystems was commended for their inventive green infrastructure installations at the new Salt District in Chicago.
Awards were presented to individuals and organizations that met many of these goals of sustainability, including:
- City of Northlake Mayor Jeffrey Sherwin received accolades for his unwavering advocacy of green infrastructure solutions, exemplifying strong leadership in environmental conservation.
- Hey and Associates, Inc. was honored for their exceptional incorporation of sustainable practices in the design of stormwater management systems, setting a standard for environmentally conscious engineering.
- Omni Ecosystems received praise for their outstanding efforts in sustainable landscaping at the new Salt District in Chicago, proving that innovative landscaping can enhance both functionality and eco-friendliness.
- The City of Calumet City was recognized for its community initiative to reduce runoff through the use of permeable materials in a green alley collaboration, demonstrating a practical approach to sustainable urban development.
- For those who missed the event, the presentations were recorded and are posted to the MWRD’s YouTube channel.
“We encourage all Cook County residents and partners to consider many of the topics discussed at our Sustainability Summit and be part of the ongoing conversation about how we can all live more sustainably,” said Vice President Patricia Theresa Flynn. “We can seek out new solutions to help us prepare for the next storm, improve our area water quality, lower our carbon footprints, and the MWRD is proud to collaborate on many of these urgent issues.”
For those who missed the event, the presentations were recorded and are posted to the MWRD’s YouTube channel.
From L to R: Calumet City Consulting Engineer Ken Chastain, of the Farnsworth Group, MWRD Vice President Patricia Theresa Flynn, Commissioner Eira L. Corral Sepúlveda, Calumet City Operational Supervisor Juel Stanley, consulting City Engineer Matt Buerger of the Farnsworth Group, and Commissioner Daniel Pogorzelski celebrate the City of Calumet City’s Sustainability Summit award for Calumet City’s commitment to green infrastructure and creative green alley program partnership with the MWRD.
From L to R: MWRD Commissioner Daniel Pogorzelski, Commissioner Eira L. Corral Sepúlveda and Vice President Patricia Theresa Flynn (right) present an award to Hey and Associates, Inc. President Jeff Wickenkamp in recognition of Hey and Associates’ integration of sustainable stormwater management design, much of which is on display as part of the Buffalo Creek Reservoir Expansion project that the MWRD partnered on to mitigate flooding in Buffalo Grove and improve amenities in the Lake County Forest Preserve District.