Arizona Forward, Arizona’s leading non-profit sustainability organization selected a new group of emerging business professionals for the third annual Emerging Sustainability Leaders program. The goal of the program is to empower new leaders with practical sustainability skills and the knowledge to enact change in their organizations and local communities.

“Developing a new generation of leaders who are focused on carrying the torch for sustainability is critical for Arizona’s future.  Arizona Forward seeks to ensure sustainability remains a focus for the long-term, by building leaders prepared to act and create positive change for decades to come,” said Lori Singleton, president and CEO of Arizona Forward.

The Emerging Sustainability Leaders program is designed for early to mid-career professionals who possess leadership potential identified by their employer. Selection criteria include: their commitment to sustainability; capacity to integrate sustainability into their organization; interest in being a long-term influencer in Arizona’s sustainability initiatives; and the capacity to take on new challenges. The 2020-2021 class consists of 18 professionals from government, nonprofit and business organizations.

Arizona Forward priorities influence long-term change in areas such as: forest health, climate action, restoration of urban waterways; mobility and clean air solutions; a sustainable water future and building healthy communities. Emerging Sustainability Leaders participants will learn from experts throughout the state about how these and other priorities can achieve a balance between the economy and the environment and ensure the quality of life and the health of our residents.

This year, the Emerging Sustainability Leaders program is sponsored by Arizona Public Service (APS).

“This Arizona Forward program builds a greater understanding of our state’s complex challenges and unique opportunities while encouraging innovative thinking and solutions to help secure a sustainable, resilient future,” said Barbara Lockwood, senior vice president of public policy at Arizona Public Service. “As a founding member of Arizona Forward, APS is pleased to support the development of our state’s emerging leaders.”


Brett Melendez, Chief Water Quality Inspector, City of Phoenix

Danae Presler, Sustainability Officer, City of Avondale

David Calloway, Transit Coordinator, City of Mesa

Eric MacDonald, Zero Waste Analyst, City of Phoenix

Erin Rugland, Junior Fellow, Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Eva Zambrano, Landscape Designer, SmithGroup

Janet Howe, Associate Attorney, Perkins Coie

Jennifer Love, Senior Transportation Planner, AECOM

Karis Nelson, Senior Environmental Compliance Scientist, SRP

Lana Hall, Senior Program Manager, ON Semiconductor

Laura Sicking, Environmental Engineer, Intel

MacKenzie McGuffie, Sustainability Coordinator, Valley Metro

Nick Cookson, Program Manager, Arizona State University

Nick McDonald, Data Management Analyst Sr., Arizona Public Service

Sean Wilson, Senior Environmental Engineer, Freeport-McMoRan

Shawn Swisher, Architect and Designer, Jones Studio Architects

Trika Graham, Water Quality Senior, Freeport-McMoRan

Vanessa Davis, Employee Engagement and CSR Manager, Octo Consulting Group