PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Governor Gina M. Raimondo, House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello, and Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed recently appointed the first-ever members of the Rhode Island Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council Advisory Board.
The members include:
• Barbara Cardiff (appointed by the Governor)
• Sheila Dormody (appointed by the Governor)
• Stephen Larrick (appointed by the Governor)
• Frederick Presley (appointed by the Governor)
• Tina Shepard (appointed by the Governor)
• Andy Andrade (appointed by the House Speaker)
• David Caldwell (appointed by the House Speaker)
• Amy Rainone (appointed by the House Speaker)
• Dr. Gregory A. Wellenius (appointed by the House Speaker)
• Paige Robert Bronk (appointed by the Senate President)
• Albert Dahlberg (appointed by the Senate President)
• Chistopher J. McNally (appointed by the Senate President)
• Brigid Ryan (appointed by the Senate President)
"Climate change is not only an environmental issue - it impacts public health and the economic strength of our communities," Raimondo said. "The Rhode Island Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council Advisory Board will use its collective strength and expertise to develop practical solutions to address climate change and adapt to its impact. I am grateful to these individuals for their promise to dedicate their time and knowledge to help protect our state's important resources."
"Raising the importance of climate change is an issue that prepares our communities for the potential health and quality of life threats," said Speaker Mattiello. "The creation of this advisory board is an important first step in assisting cities and towns that might be negatively impacted by climate change. Rhode Island officials have a responsibility to keep our residents safe from serious health risks, so I look forward to learning about the board's suggestions on this issue."
"The advisory board brings talent from a range of perspectives to help the Ocean State address the challenges associated with climate change," said President of the Senate Paiva Weed. "Our most effective solutions will be developed when we all work together, across state agencies and across professional sectors, towards our common goal of mitigating the impacts of climate change. I am grateful to all of these individuals for serving our state in this important way."
"Over the past year, it has become increasingly clear that our cities and towns are where the rubber meets the road when it comes to addressing issues related to changing precipitation patterns, sea level rise and warmer weather due to climate change," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "We are so fortunate to have a number of talented, innovative and experienced municipal representatives advising the Council as we develop strategies moving forward."
The Rhode Island Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council Advisory Board was created last legislative session to oversee efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Specific duties of the Council include:
• Coordinating climate change efforts throughout state agencies to reduce emissions, strengthen the resilience of communities, and prepare for the effects of climate change;
• Advancing the state's understanding of the effects of climate change including sea level rise, coastal and shoreline changes, severe weather events, critical infrastructure vulnerability, and ecosystem, economic, and health impacts;
• Identifying strategies to prepare for these effects and communicating them to Rhode Islanders;
• Submitting a plan to the Governor and General Assembly no later than December 31, 2016, with strategies, programs and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels: 10% by 2020, 45% by 2035, and 80% by 2050; as well as measuring progress in the interim and evaluating whether these targets can be adjusted upward;
• Working with municipalities and other stakeholders, including the business community, academic institutions and members of the public, to support the development of sustainable and resilient communities;
• Identifying and leveraging federal, state, and private funding opportunities for emission reduction and climate change preparedness and adaptation work in Rhode Island.
Barbara Cardiff, native of Rochester, New York, is currently the Chair of the Town of Westerly Economic Development Commission and is a member of The Town of Westerly Comprehensive Plan Review Advisory Committee. . Ms. Cardiff is a member of the Town of Westerly Concerts on the Beach Committee and the Co-Owner of Westerly's The Villa Bed & Breakfast. Prior to moving to Rhode Island, Ms. Cardiff lived in Southern California for thirty-four years where she held various positions, one of which was Production Manager for ABC Television Network.
Sheila Dormody is the director of policy for Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza. Prior to this she was the Director of Sustainability for the City of Providence. Ms. Dormody serves on the boards of the Providence Plan, the Distributed Generation Board, the New England Municipal Sustainability Network, and the New England Grassroots Environment Fund. Previously, she was New England co-director for the environmental advocacy group, Clean Water Action. She won a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Merit Award in 2008 for her work to prevent mercury pollution.
Stephen Larrick is the Director of Planning and Economic Development for the City of Central Falls; to date, he is the youngest Planning Director in the State of Rhode Island. Since 2011, when he became the city's first new hire post-bankruptcy, Mr. Larrick has played an integral role in Central Falls' efforts to bolster its perceived image, quality of life, and long-term economic viability. In addition to his duties as city planner, Mr. Larrick has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Central Falls Public Library since 2013. And for the past year, he has served on the Board of Directors of the Blackstone River Valley National Corridor, Inc. He received his A.B. in Urban Studies and Political Philosophy from Brown University.
Frederick Presley is currently serving as the Town Manager for West Warwick, where he is responsible for all organizational and financial management for the town. He is also a member of the International City and Council Management Association. Prior to serving as the Town Manager, Mr. Presley held various positions such as the Town Planner and Economic Development Coordinator for West Warwick, the President of Frederick Presley Consulting, and the Director of Planning and Economic Development for the town of Smithfield. From 2000-2005 he worked for the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management as the Supervising Environmental Planner, where he was a primary planner in the development of the State's urban coastal regulations and a key participant in the flood damage assessment project for the Blackstone River Valley. Mr. Presley received a Bachelor's Degree in Resource Management from the University of Rhode Island, and a Master's in Public Administration from Norwich University.
Tina Shepard is currently the Director of Community Initiatives at the Olneyville Housing Corporation. Prior to this, she worked for numerous Rhode Island organizations such as The Providence Center, John Hope Settlement House, and Rhode Islanders Sponsoring Education. Ms. Shepard holds a Bachelor's Degree from Rhode Island College and Masters of Science and Human Services in Organizational Management and Leadership from Springfield College.
Dr. Gregory Wellenius is a research professor at Brown University, specializing in the environmental determinants of cardiovascular disease. Dr. Wellenius' work has focused on studying the effects of ambient air pollution on the risk of cardiovascular events and its effects on cardiovascular physiology. He served as a member of the writing group for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2009 Integrated Science Assessment for Particulate Matter.
Amy Rainone serves as Director of Intergovernmental Relations at Rhode Island Housing. In her role, Ms. Rainone serves as liaison to Rhode Island's Congressional delegation, General Assembly, and Governor's office as well as working with government officials on the local level. During her 20 years of legislative and government affairs experience, Ms. Rainone has been a strong advocate for implementing effective policies surrounding housing, homelessness and community development.
Andy Andrade has served as Special Assistant to the Commissioner of Education in the State of Rhode Island since 2007. In his intergovernmental relations role, Mr. Andrade coordinates policy, communications, community relations and legislative activates of the Rhode Island Department of Education. He received a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Government from Eckerd College and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from the University of New Haven.
David Caldwell is a founding partner and owner of Caldwell & Johnson for more than 40 years. A lifelong resident of North Kingstown, he served a tour of duty in the U.S. Naval Construction Battalion Seabees as a carpenter, followed by a full apprenticeship at L. Vaughn Architectural Millwork in Cranston before founding Caldwell & Johnson with Gordon Johnson in 1968. He has served as a member of the RI Building Contractors Registration and Licensing Board since 1994 and he is a director of the RI Builders Association.
Paige Robert Bronk, AICP, recently began serving as the Director of Development for Rhode Island Housing with a focus housing development. Prior to his recent capacity, he was the Economic Development Manager for the Town of North Kingstown addressing activities such as business attraction, market and fiscal analyses, marketing, infrastructure planning, and redevelopment. Other previous experience included planning and development positions in Pawtucket, Newport, and Frankfort, Kentucky as well as being a Natural Resources/Environmental Planner for the Chatham County/Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission. He is certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners. He holds a Master of Community Planning degree from the University of Rhode Island, a Bachelor's degree in environmental studies and geology from Alfred University, and a Master Mariner License – 100 GT – from the U.S. Coast Guard.
Albert Dahlberg is Director of State and Community Relations for Brown University. Prior to joining Brown, he was Deputy Rhode Island Secretary of State and Chief of Staff to the Rhode Island Secretary of State. He previously worked at the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee as counsel on clean air issues. He also served as Rhode Island coordinator for Project Get Ready, a national not-for-profit, initiative helping cities prepare for and welcome plug-in electric vehicles. Mr. Dahlberg graduated from Georgetown University and Boston College Law School.
Chistopher J. McNally is an attorney with the law firm of Sayer Regan & Thayer LLP, where he focuses on ocean and coastal law, admiralty, immigration and business. A professional mariner licensed by the US Coast Guard and the Royal Yachting Association/Maritime and Coastguard Authority (RYA/MCA), Mr. McNally is actively involved in many aspects of the maritime industries. He earned a degree in Marine Biology from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL, and he earned his law degree from Roger Williams University School of Law.
Brigid Ryan is Project Development Director for Emerald Cities Providence, the local branch of a national nonprofit network of organizations working to advance a sustainable environment while increasing economic opportunities. She served on Providence's Sustainable Providence Energy Working Group. Ms. Ryan has also served as adjunct faculty for the University of Rhode Island and Roger Williams University, and she has conducted trainings for professional organizations. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Illinois University and a Master of Science degree in Regional Planning from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.