Leading the Way: Federal Green Initiatives

Listen live June 30th, 2010

On October 5, 2009, President Obama issued Executive Order (EO) 13514- Federal Leadership in Environment, Energy, and Economic Performance- aimed at making ambitious and broad improvements in the overall sustainability of the federal government. The order requires all federal agencies to inventory their greenhouse gas emissions, set emissions reduction targets, and develop strategies and action plans for meeting a wide range of sustainability goals encompassing water and energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The EO puts the federal agencies in the position of being trail blazers. This ambitious goal presents great opportunities for green transformation and its own set of unique challenges. Noblis is pleased to announce a panel discussion on “Leading the Way: Federal Green Initiatives,” where key public sector stakeholders will discuss the strategies they are pursuing, the challenges they are facing and expect to encounter, and steps they are taking to ensure the success of their sustainability initiatives.



Stephen R. Leeds– Senior Counselor to the Administrator, U.S. General Services Administration
Mary Catherine Pleffner– Director for Administrative Services, Office of the Secretary, United States Department of Commerce
Dr. Thomas Armstrong – Senior Advisor for Climate Change, U.S. Department of the Interior
Dr. David L. Evans– Director, Center for Sustainability, Noblis
Marguerite Coffey– Director, Office of Management Policy, Rightsizing and Innovation (M/PRI), U.S. State Department
Michelle Moore– Obama Administration’s Federal Environmental Executive

Moderator- Beverly Kirk– Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Bevkirk International

About the Panel:

Beverly Kirk
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Bevkirk International

Beverly Kirk is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bevkirk International, a professional media services company providing media messaging strategy, interview preparation, training and coaching to executives and others in the public eye, voiceover work, speechwriting and editing, opinion analysis and editorial writing. In addition, Ms. Kirk is an excellent public speaker, covering topics such as politics, media, their impact on each other, and the state of television news, diversity and race, and national security.

Prior to founding Bevkirk International, Ms. Kirk anchored Live Tonight, Federal News Tonight, and the Latenight Report on NewsChannel 8, the local cable station serving the Washington, DC television market and was a fill-in anchor on sister station WJLA/ABC7. She wrote a blog and established Federal News Tonight as THE place for news concerning the federal government and workforce and Beltway politics.

Ms. Kirk’s journalism career also included a stint as an anchor of hourly newsbriefs produced by National Public Radio for PBS stations around the country and as a correspondent for NBC News Channel, the affiliate news service of NBC News, covering September 11th and the War on Terrorism, the 2000 Summer Olympics, 2000 Presidential Election, the DC Sniper Attacks, the Clinton Impeachment, and other breaking news events for all NBC stations. In addition, she contributed occasional feature stories to the Weekend Edition of the NBC Nightly News.

Before joining NBC News Channel, Ms. Kirk was an anchor and local government reporter for WLEX-TV in Lexington, Kentucky, where she also produced and hosted the station’s monthly minority public affairs program. Ms. Kirk began her television news career at WBKO-TV in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where she anchored the morning and midday news.

A native of Kentucky, Ms. Kirk holds a Master of Arts degree in Diplomacy and International Commerce with a focus on International Politics from the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. She also is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Western Kentucky University with degrees in History and Broadcasting.

Ms. Kirk is very involved in her community. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the World Affairs Council of Washington, DC and is a Fellow at Atlantik-Bruecke, a Berlin-based think tank focused on U.S.-German relations and Transatlantic affairs, as well as a sustaining member of the Junior League of Washington and a National Advisory Board Member of the University of Kentucky Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues. She is also a co-founder of Iask, Inc., a service organization dedicated to helping women of color achieve their full potential.

Stephen R. Leeds
Senior Counselor to the Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration

Stephen R. Leeds was appointed as Senior Counselor to the Administrator for the U.S. General Services Administration on August 10, 2009. As Senior Counselor, Leeds advises and assists the Administrator on a variety of GSA’s enterprise initiatives. He also coordinates the activities of the Regional Administrators.

Leeds has been designated the Senior Accountable Official for Recovery, placing him in charge of the agency’s efforts to implement the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. He is also the Agency Senior Sustainability Officer, leading GSA’s efforts under Executive Orders 13423 and 13514 to fulfill GSA’s responsibilities and opportunities under those EOs as well as assisting GSA’s Federal agency customers with solutions to help them integrate sustainability throughout their agencies and achieve their sustainability goals.

Leeds has been involved in commercial real estate for more than 35 years. Before coming to GSA he was a founding partner of the Atlanta law firm, Rogers & Hardin LLP, where he was Chief Operating Officer, a Member of the Executive Committee, and specialized in commercial real estate.

Throughout his career, Leeds has been active in real estate and economic development matters, having served as an emeritus trustee of the Georgia Research Alliance, and a member and chair of the Board of Directors of the Georgia World Congress Center during the facility’s largest expansion. He has also been involved with civic, community and arts organizations in the Atlanta area. Leeds was a member of the National Finance Committee for the Obama Campaign. Earlier, he served as chair for former Senator Max Cleland’s campaigns and committees as well as his principal advisor and in various capacities with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Leeds graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts in business and received a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan.

Mary Catherine Pleffner
Director for Administrative Services
Office of the Secretary
United States Department of Commerce

Mrs. Mary Catherine Pleffner was appointed to the position of Director for Administrative Services in the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Commerce in January 2010. In this position, Mrs. Pleffner oversees Departmental policy and programs for a variety of administrative functions, including energy and environmental management, real and personal property, and travel and transportation, among others. She also has operational responsibility for Commerce Headquarters, and is currently overseeing the Herbert C. Hoover Building Renovation and Modernization Project on behalf of the Department, a complex 12-year, $958 million project. Ms. Pleffner holds a Masters of Science Degree in Accounting from the University of Maryland and a Masters in Management from Purdue University.

Prior to this position, Mrs. Pleffner was detailed to the U.S. Africa Command in February 2008 to assist in standing up the Command, serving first as the Deputy Director for Resources, then as Special Assistant to the Commander, U.S. Africa Command. Prior to her assignment to the Africa Command, Mrs. Pleffner served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Management Services and Chief Financial Officer for Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). Her responsibilities included administration and execution of EDA’s $250 million Economic Development Assistance Program, management of an $800 million Revolving Loan Fund Program, and supervision of EDA’s six regional offices and operations. As EDA’s senior career SES member, Mrs. Pleffner served as the Assistant Secretary’s policy advisor and senior spokesperson to OMB and Congress on budget, program and organizational matters.

Mrs. Pleffner began her federal career in 1989 as the Chief of Fiscal Operations at the Aircraft Repair and Supply Center for the U.S. Coast Guard in North Carolina. In 1994, Mrs. Pleffner transferred to Major Systems Acquisition for Information Technology at Coast Guard Headquarters. Following her service with the Coast Guard, Mrs. Pleffner served as the Assistant Inspector General for Management at the U.S. Agency for International Development until 1999, when she moved to EDA. Prior to her service with the Federal Government, Mrs. Pleffner was Comptroller for the Prince George’s Private Industry Council. Mrs. Pleffner began her professional career in 1988 working for M.T. Charlton and Associates as a staff accountant and auditor.

Dr. Thomas Armstrong
Senior Advisor for Climate Change
U.S. Department of the Interior

Dr. Thomas Armstrong is the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Senior Advisor for Climate Change and is responsible for the implementation of Secretary Salazar’s Executive Order on climate change (S.O. 3289), as well as the development of the Department’s climate change-related policies, organizational elements and budget strategies. During his career, Tom has served as the principal for DOI to the United States Global Change Research Program, the DOI lead for the World Climate Conference, the United States Head of Delegation for the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), Co-Lead for development of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) response to Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Implementation Plan, a United States delegate for the United Nations Framework Council on Climate Change, advisor on USGS’ International Polar Year activities, a DOI principal to the CEQ Adaptation Taskforce, and as Chair of the Science Committee for the Department of the Interior Climate Change Task Force. Tom has also participated in numerous testimonies and briefings to various Congressional Committees and high-level briefings for DOI at various international forums regarding climate change and circum-Arctic activities.

Dr. David L. Evans
Center for Sustainability

As director of Noblis’ Center for Sustainability: Earth, Energy & Climate, Dr. Evans is responsible for building company-wide science-based initiatives. His initial efforts are focused on an emerging Noblis program to aid federal, state, and local governments in developing strategies to adapt to climate change. He is also working to expand existing programs in ocean, atmosphere, space, energy, and environmental science and engineering. Dr. Evans is an expert in coastal, ocean, marine, atmospheric, climate, and space and geophysical sciences. He worked as the leader of the United States Global Climate Change Research Program; managed programs in nautical charting and coastal zone management; and received a meritorious service Presidential Rank Award for his leadership and management at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Prior to joining Noblis, he was the Under Secretary for Science at the Smithsonian Institution; Assistant Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research; Deputy Assistant Administrator of NOAA for the National Marine Fisheries Service and National Ocean Service; Program Manager for the Physical Oceanography Program at the Office of Naval Research; and a tenured professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Evans is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union. Dr. Evans received a Ph.D. in physical oceanography from the University of Rhode Island, a BA in mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania and is the author of numerous scientific and popular publications.

Marguerite Coffey
Office of Management Policy
Rightsizing and Innovation (M/PRI)
U.S. State Department

Marguerite Coffey is the Director of the Office of Management Policy, Rightsizing and Innovation (M/PRI). She served in the former Office of Management Policy (M/P) for eight years prior to becoming Director of the new M/PRI in 2007; appointed by the Secretary of State to the rank of equivalent of Assistant Secretary.

Throughout her career, Ms. Coffey has served in a wide range of management positions, including Administration, Consular Affairs, Diplomatic Security, Management Policy and Information Resource Management, where she served as Executive Director – managing the Department’s strategic planning process for information technology. She completed the Senior Executive Service (SES) Development Program in 2004 and did her candidate developmental project at the Foreign Service Institute’s School of Leadership and Management.

In 1998, Ms. Coffey joined M/P as the Project Director for the Department’s 1999-2000 Emergency Security Appropriation. She was appointed M/P’s Deputy Director in 2002 and its Managing Director in 2006. As a member of the Career SES, Ms. Coffey has been actively involved in the Department’s Civil Service Mentoring program since its inception in 2002. Ms. Coffey also serves as an FSI adjunct faculty member and frequently participates in management seminars and classes as a guest speaker. She served on three Administration transitions teams in 2000, 2004 and 2008. Ms. Coffey is coordinating the implementation of Department projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the Economic Stimulus) and serves as the Executive Secretary of the Department’s Greening Council.

Ms. Coffey has a Masters of Public Administration from the American University in Washington, D.C. and a Bachelor of Arts from LaSalle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She and her husband, Tom Greig, live in Arlington, Virginia.

Michelle Moore
Obama Administration’s Federal Environmental Executive

Michelle Moore is the Obama Administration’s Federal Environmental Executive, and is responsible for promoting sustainability and environmental stewardship throughout the federal government’s operations. Housed within the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Office stewards the implementation of President Obama’s Executive Order on Federal Sustainability (EO 13514) and the GreenGov initiative.

Prior to joining CEQ, Michelle was Senior Vice President of Policy and Public Affairs at the U.S. Green Building Council, a non-profit organization that developed and oversees the LEED certification system. She holds a Master’s of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a BA from Emory University.