Authors of blog posts are staff and students of the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, as well as guest contributors.

Erin Riggs is the Executive Director of the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She conducts applied research surrounding legal, policy, and accounting framework that influences environmental finance issues around the country. She graduated from the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law where she pursued a law degree with a specialization in Environmental and Land Use issues. She spent her third year of law school as a visiting student at UNC’s School of Law, where she worked as a legal intern with the Environmental Finance Center on sustainability issues in both North Carolina and Georgia. After law school, Erin worked as the Assistant Executive Director of Waterkeepers Carolina, a statewide organization representing the interests of the Riverkeepers across the state. She then spent three years working in Florida as a staff attorney for state court judges in the areas of both criminal and family law.

Shadi Eskaf joined the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 2004 and has worked on environmental finance projects in local, state, and national settings. Shadi leads teams conducting applied research on a range of topics, including but not limited to water and wastewater rates and rate-setting, utility finance and management, water consumption, infrastructure capital needs and funding, and utility partnerships. Shadi has a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Evan Kirk joined the EFC at UNC in 2016 as a rates dashboard student, later serving as a research assistant until May 2019. In his current role as project director, he conducts applied research on water, wastewater, and stormwater finance topics and administers technical assistance and trainings for small systems. Kirk graduated from UNC in 2016 with a BS in environmental science. He later earned a master’s certificate in GIS science from the Department of Geography at UNC in 2017 and a master’s in city and regional planning with a concentration in land use and environmental planning from UNC in 2019.

Elsemarie Mullins joined the EFC in the spring of 2020 as a Project Director. She provides trainings and technical assistance for water and wastewater providers, and works on a variety of EFC projects. Elsemarie completed her M.S. in Geological Sciences at UNC in 2018, and holds a B.S. from Wheaton College in Environmental Science.

Stephen Lapp joined the EFC in 2018. He majored in Environmental Studies, with a minor in Urban Studies and Planning. As an undergraduate, Stephen interned with UNC’s Sustainability Office, New Hanover County’s Urban Planning Department, and Farmer Foodshare. When not at work, Stephen enjoys playing and watching soccer, spending time outdoors, and listening to music.

Austin Thompson joined the EFC at UNC in 2018 as a project director. In this role, she conducted applied research and provides technical assistance and training for environmental service providers. Thompson holds a BS in Biological Sciences from the University of South Carolina and a Master’s of Environmental Management from Duke University, with a concentration in Environmental Economics and Policy. She is currently pursuing a PhD at NC State University, while continuing to work at the EFC conducting applied research.

Past Contributors

Jeff Hughes was the Director of the Environmental Finance Center (EFC) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill until November 2019. Jeff is currently a commissioner for the North Carolina Utility Commission. Jeff has thirty years of environmental finance experience as a researcher, policy analyst, consultant, and practitioner. Prior to joining UNC, Jeff worked as a utility director for Chatham County, NC, and as an international finance advisor with RTI International. He received a master’s degree in environmental engineering with a focus on water economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Duke University.

Carol Rosenfeld was a Senior Project Director at the Environmental Finance Center until June 2019. Carol previously advocated for green banks at the Coalition for Green Capital and managed energy use for the City of Philadelphia.  She has also worked on sustainability strategy at the University of Pennsylvania, Exelon, and Environmental Defense Fund.  Carol holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Princeton University.

staceyStacey Isaac Berahzer was a Senior Project Director with the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She has an undergraduate degree from North Carolina Central University in Environmental Science. Her Master’s in Public Administration is from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Stacey works from a satellite office in Georgia. Here she is very involved in leadership in the environmental community, serving on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership, and teaching in the Georgia Association of Water Professional’s Leadership Academy. Her main areas of expertise are pricing and affordability of water/wastewater services, and financing stormwater management.

glennGlenn Barnes worked at Environmental Finance Center at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 2006 – 2019, ultimately serving as associate director. He conducted professional development courses and provided direct technical assistance to drinking water systems and other environmental service providers across the country. Glenn co-directed the EFC’s training and technical assistance program for small water systems, funded through an EPA grant. Glenn holds both a BA and an MPA from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Annalee HarkinsAnnalee Harkins was a Data Specialist and Project Manager with the Environmental Finance Center. She holds a BS in Information Science with a minor in Environmental Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as a diploma in Art & Design from London College of Fashion. Annalee was responsible for data visualization and project management of utility rate surveys and online dashboards. Before joining the EFC at UNC, Annalee worked as an Analyst for IronOak Energy Insights and as a photographer.

Liz Harvell served as Communications Manager at the Environmental Finance Center until August 2019. Liz coordinated communications and outreach for the EFC at UNC, helping to ensure that all of EFC at UNC services and resources are available to those seeking guidance in environmental finance. She maintained the EFC at UNC’s website and blog and coordinates marketing for workshops and other events. Liz is currently pursuing her Masters of Environmental Management at Duke University and her MBA at UNC, while working at the EFC as a Graduate Research Assistant. Liz graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in May 2017 where she majored in Business Journalism with a minor in Environmental Science and Studies. Before joining the EFC at UNC, she worked with The Institute for the Environment, The Dow Jones News Fund, and the Three Zeros Initiative.

Kay_Lexi_2015_webLexi Kay Herndon was the Director of Communications and Business Operations at the EFC.  Lexi oversaw all communications and outreach procedures, including the website, blog, and other EFC events. In addition, Lexi oversaw development and implementation of processes, procedures, and systems that contribute to successful business operations of the EFC. Lexi joined the EFC at UNC after completing her Master’s degree in Environmental Management at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. At Duke, Lexi focused on environmental communication and education, and she holds a certificate in community-based environmental management.

Mary Tiger was the EFC’s  Chief Operating Officer until August 2015. Mary is currently the Sustainability Manager at Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA).  Mary holds a masters of public administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a BS in Environmental Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Prior to moving to Chapel Hill, she served as the Utility Conservation Coordinator for Loveland Water and Power in Colorado.

Jennifer WeissJen Weiss was a Senior Environmental Finance Analyst at the EFC until September 2015. Jen is currently the Energy Efficiency Policy Manager at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. Jen focused on financial models and mechanisms that can be used by universities, non-profits, and other public organizations to encourage the implementation of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Jen holds a Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke University, an MBA from the University of Michigan, and an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of California in San Diego. Jen has over 13 years of consumer and small business banking experience including commercial lending, product management, and online services.