ESG Conference | Advanced Environmental Research Institute
October 13, 2023

ESG Conference

Growing Sustainably: Partnering for a Resilient Future

October 13, 2023

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) takes a broad view of sustainability. It goes beyond environmental impact to include a concern with how organizations manage risks and pursue opportunities to create innovative technologies and partnerships. Across public, private, and civic sectors ESG initiatives have the potential to reshape the workforce and research activities to effectively address 21st century challenges.

Through its work as an interdisciplinary research center of excellence, the Advanced Environmental Research Institute (AERI) supports initiatives that address our region's most pressing environmental issues. As the Dallas-Fort Worth region continues its unprecedented economic growth, AERI aims to deepen collaborations with industry and local partners to foster innovations and workforce training initiatives for a sustainable and resilient North Texas region.

Our inaugural conference builds off longstanding partnerships to bring together industry representatives, university researchers, and students. Focused on environmental sustainability, conference activities will showcase pioneering research endeavors, foster new partnerships that positively impact communities and industry, and ignite meaningful dialogue on cutting-edge practices. Programming for the conference includes two keynote speakers, panels with industry and government leaders, industry networking, and a showcase of research initiatives. Don't miss this chance to be an active participant in shaping the future of environmental sustainability!

Sponsorship Information:

Business, organizations or individuals can sponsor the conference at a variety of levels. Sponsorship proceeds benefit AERI student programs, cover conference costs and may be considered tax deductible. For more information on sponsorship or registration contact Tara at or click here .

Register now at:

Students and Faculty affiliated with AERI should email Tara @ to register for the event for free.

Conference Schedule:

Morning sessions for registered participants:

Read more about our Speakers and Panelist here: Conference Speakers and Panelist Bios

8:00 AM

Registration, breakfast, networking

8:30 AM

Keynote speaker #1: Robert Kent, Associate Vice President, Texas State Director, Trust for Public Land

9:30 AM

Panel 1: Urban Development and Sustainability - Contemporary Challenges

David Handwork, Chief Engineer for United Commercial Energy Partners, LLC

Claire Powell, Lewisville City Manager

Mohit Patel, Campus Energy Manager, University of North Texas

Keith Massa, Director, Environmental Compliance, PepsiCo Foods, North America

Don Penn, Founder, Image Engineering Group, Ltd. (IEG)

11:00 AM

Panel 2: Future and Emerging Issues in Sustainability in North Texas and Nationwide.

Preetha Prabhakar, President, Nanban ESG Solutions

Philip Boyd, Vice President of Science and Research, Dixon Water Foundation

Michelle Finchum, Director of Sustainability, PineGate Renewables

Mark Hitchcock, Environmental Engineer - Sustainability, Toyota North America

Zeke Campbell, Assistant Deputy, Water Treatment and Conveyance, North Texas Municipal Water District

12:30 PM

Lunch with Keynote speakers Sandy Lancaster, Assistant Vice President, Environmental Development Programs and Robert Horton, Vice President, Environmental Affairs & Sustainability from the DFW Airport Environmental Affairs office.

Afternoon open to campus community:
2:00-5:00 P.M

Shaping the Future - Afternoon activities for the conference are open to all UNT faculty, staff and students.

Planned activities will facilitate networking with a focus on interactions of industry, private sector, and government leaders, UNT faculty and students:
•"3 minute madness" research talk competition. Students can submit their application and abstract for consideration here: 3 minute madness research talk competition
• Lightning talks by industry, private sector, government leaders and/or sponsors 
• Product overviews, time to visit sponsor booths
• Job fair for current UNT students with companies that have employment and internship opportunities