Co-Hosted by the Transportation Research Board's Committee on Environmental Analysis and Ecology


NAEP 2021 Keynote Speakers

Join us in welcoming our expert presenters!


Day 2 Keynote | Dawn Wright

Why the World Needs Geospatial Now More than Ever

Dr. Dawn Wright is Chief Scientist of the Environmental Systems Research Institute (aka Esri), a world-leading geographic information system (GIS) software and data science company. Core to Esri’s mission is to inspire and enable people to positively impact their future by connecting them with the geoanalytic knowledge needed to make the critical decisions shaping the planet. Hence, Esri believes that geography is at the heart of a more resilient and sustainable future.

As Chief Scientist, Dawn is responsible for strengthening the scientific foundation for Esri software and services, while representing Esri to the scientific community. As such, she has served on many advisory boards including the NOAA and EPA Science Advisory Boards, the National Academy of Sciences Ocean Studies Board, and the Science Advisory Boards of Conservation International, COMPASS Science Communication, and the Ocean Discovery XPRIZE. Dawn is also a Professor of Geography and Oceanography at Oregon State University. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Geological Society of America, The Oceanography Society, and the California Academy of Sciences, as well as Stanford’s Leopold Leadership Program. She enjoys road cycling, 18th-century pirates, her dog Riley, and SpongeBob Squarepants. Follow her on Twitter @deepseadawn.

Day 3 Keynote | Brenda Mallory

Presenting: CEQ Updates with Chair Brenda Mallory

Brenda Mallory was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 14, 2021, and sworn in as the 12th Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). She is the first African American to serve in this position. As Chair, she advises the President on environmental and natural resources policies that improve, preserve, and protect public health and the environment for America’s communities. She is focused particularly on addressing the environmental justice and climate change challenges the nation faces while advancing opportunities for job growth and economic development. 

Chair Mallory grew up the oldest of four children in a working-class community in Waterbury, Connecticut. Raised in a family of dedicated community and public servants, she learned the importance of hard work, service, and perseverance. She saw the impacts on her community and the larger city when the industrial base of the “Brass City,” as Waterbury was known, abandoned the area, leaving deep physical and economic scars behind. Her personal experience fuels her commitment to making America’s environmental laws work for all people and ensuring that no community is left behind as the nation pursues a clean energy future.

Chair Mallory and her husband Mark live in Rockville, MD. They have three adult children. The family enjoys visiting the parks and other natural treasures that reflect the environmental values she has worked to protect.

More About Chair Mallory | The White House

Day 4 Keynote | Transportation Research Board: Carolyn Nelson, Kristin Gade, PhD; and Martin Palmer

Presenting: A Tale of Two Interwoven Realms — the Human and the Natural Environments

Carolyn Nelson
Senior Project Development and Environmental Specialist
FHWA Heaquarters, Office of Project Development and Environmental Review

Carolyn Nelson is a Civil Engineer who works as a Senior Project Development and Environmental Specialist for Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA)Headquarters’, Office of Project Development and Environmental Review.  She is responsible for providing technical assistance and project oversight regarding National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance to FHWA Division Offices, federal partners, State and local agencies.  Carolyn is the FHWA NEPA lead for Environmental Justice, Title VI, CSS/D, and Public Involvement.  Carolyn has worked in the FHWA Michigan Division Office as an Area Engineer and the Design Program Manager.  Prior to FHWA, Carolyn worked for the Michigan DOT for 13 years as a Geometric & Safety Engineer, Road Design Engineer and Project Development Specialist.  She also worked for CH2M Hill (now Jacobs) on NEPA and Preliminary/Final Design Projects.  Carolyn is a Licensed Professional Engineer and holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, LA and Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan respectively.

Kristin Gade, PhD
Natural Resources Subcommittee of the AASHTO Committee on Environment and Sustainability

Kris Gade is an ecologist with expertise in vegetation management, wetlands, wildlife connectivity and regulatory compliance. She completed a doctorate in Biology/Urban Ecology at Arizona State University and works in Environmental Planning at Arizona DOT. She serves as co-chair of the Natural Resources subcommittee of the AASHTO Committee on Environment and Sustainability, on the Advisory Committee for the Monarch Butterfly CCAA and is a member of the TRB Standing Committees on Environmental Analysis and Ecology (AEP70) and Roadside Maintenance Operations (AKR20).

Martin Palmer
Engineering Manager
Washington State Department of Transportation

Martin Palmer is an Engineering Manager with the Washington State Department of Transportation. He is also co-chair of the TRB Standing Committee on Environmental Analysis and Ecology in Transportation. Through his four decade career with the WSDOT, he has worked in the fields of construction, design, traffic, engineering support services, program management and environmental. In this last field, he spent six years covering environmental documentation, and air quality and noise studies as well as leading the WSDOT Seattle Region Environmental Services office for close to a decade. He has been involved with the Transportation Research Board on environmental issues since 2000.