The Hilton Downtown Columbus was recently buzzing with activity as 600 attendees filled the venue for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission’s (MORPC) annual Summit on Sustainability. The event serves as a cornerstone for environmental discussions in Central Ohio, bringing together a diverse group of leaders to explore sustainable solutions. This year’s theme, “Collaborate. Innovate. Inspire,” set the stage for a day of impactful conversations.
Star-Studded Speaker Lineup
Keynote speaker Todd Brady, Chief Sustainability Officer for Intel Corporation, delved into Intel’s global sustainability initiatives, covering topics from climate change to green buildings. Mitchell Silver, Vice President of Urban Planning at McAdams, took the stage during lunch to discuss urban planning with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. “This Summit is a testament to the fact that change begins with collaboration, innovation, and inspiration,” said William Murdock, MORPC’s Executive Director.
Recognizing Regional Champions
MORPC annually honors individuals and organizations that demonstrate exceptional commitment to sustainability. This year’s Regional Sustainability Awards celebrated Aryeh Alex, Sustainability Manager with the City of Columbus; the City of Columbus & IMPACT Community Action for their Solar Workforce Development Programs; and Geno Tucker, founder of Remember US Urban Scout. For more details on the award winners, visit the Summit on Sustainability page.
Voices from the Community
Kerstin Carr, MORPC’s Chief Regional Strategy Officer, emphasized the importance of collective action. “When we come together with purpose, we can change our communities for the better,” she said. The Summit also featured Pecha Kucha-style presentations from Mary Mertz, Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and other community leaders.
Public Opinion on Sustainability
MORPC unveiled its newest survey in the “Leaders Listen” series, conducted in partnership with Measurement Resources Company and The Columbus Dispatch. The survey, which included more than 2,000 residents across the 15-county region, revealed that conservation of green spaces and waterways was the highest priority among respondents. Additionally, more than 70% felt that leaders are not adequately addressing environmental quality needs. A comprehensive report on the survey findings will be released later this fall.
A Community Effort
The Summit was made possible by a host of sponsors, including NOPEC, Open Road Renewables, and SWACO. Presentation materials from the event can be viewed on MORPC’s website.