An Evening of Sustainable Innovation
Bloom! is Seattle’s showcase evening of innovative speakers working in sustainability: social, environmental, and economic. Eight speakers will have eight minutes each to inspire us with their stories, and the bar will have all night to inspire us with their cocktails. February 7th’s event had a serious rockstar lineup talking about the likes of nuclear power, cupcakes, commercial and residential development, food forests, and re-inventing the toilet (check out bios in our archive). Join us June 27th for the next Bloom! TICKETS HERE.
Do you have an interesting story at the intersection of local, sustainable, and innovation? Read here to learn more about what we’re looking for. Or, are you interested in sponsoring Bloom? We’d love to hear from you!
Wallace Kempkey, President, Pterofin, Inc.
A CSU Sacramento graduate and lifelong admirer of nature, Kempkey and his grandfather shared the same idea that someday there would be free renewable energy for everyone. In particular, Kempkey envied the efficiency of a bird's wing flapping through the air and the way fish fins slice through water. With one crazy idea in mind, he went to the local hobby shop and spent about fifty bucks on balsa wood, copper tube and rod, and glue. Many iterations later, Pterofin is a mechanical wing or fin that can pump water or generate electricity in a wide range of wind or water currents more efficiently, quietly, and sustainably.
Yaw Anokwa, Founder, Nafundi
Dr. Yaw Anokwa founded and runs Nafundi, a technology company with expertise in building and deploying mobile data collection systems that work well in challenging environments (e.g., offline villages in rural Kenya, humid rain forests in Brazil, and even the International Space Station). Yaw is best known for creating Open Data Kit (ODK), a set of tools that replaces paper forms with smart forms on phones and tablets. ODK is primarily used by organizations in the "social good" space who use it to measure indicators, track performance, and maximize their impact. ODK's users include Google.org, World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, Carter Center, Jane Goodall Institute, Kiva, and the Grameen Foundation. Yaw has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Washington. He enjoys building software that wows, riding fast motorcycles, and eating chewy bacon.
Holly Houser, Executive Director, Puget Sound Bike Share
As Executive Director of Puget Sound Bike Share, Holly is leading the effort to bring a transformative and successful bike sharing system to King County. She is currently overseeing a bike share operator selection process as well as working to identify and secure private sector system sponsorships, foster community support, and collaborate with King County, the City of Seattle and others to receive federal, state and other grant funds. A Seattle native who’s equally passionate about smart urban design, sustainable development, social justice and the arts, Holly’s background includes project management in both the commercial real estate development industry as well as the fine arts world. In her free time, she serves on the board of Rain City Rock Camp for Girls, an organization she co-founded in 2008, and is an active musician in the local music scene. She holds a B.A. in Geography and a Certificate in Commercial Real Estate from the University of Washington.
Muraco Kyashna-tocha, Founder & Director, Green Buddha
Formerly at UW with more than a dozen teaching awards under her belt, Muraco Kyashna-tocha is an anthropologist who specializes in the medical cannabis field. Muraco is the Founder and Director of the Green Buddha Patient Co-op, which is the oldest medical cannabis collective in Washington State. Additionally, she is the director of the state’s oldest cannabis trade association, the Evergreen State Cannabis Trade Alliance, which is currently working on the implementation of I-502 licensing for marijuana producers, processors, and retailers. As featured in The Stranger, Muraco developed an innovative strain of cannabis, M’Otto, which is high in the medically important cannabidiol (CBD) yet low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which means that anyone in our state technically may possess it and grow it, as it so low in THC as to not be prohibited.
Meg Chadsey, Ocean Acidification Specialist, Washington Sea Grant
Some girls dream of having their own horse; Meg wanted a saltwater aquarium for the unfortunate creatures she was always bringing home from the beach. She still loves a good low tide, but her focus has shifted to marine conservation and advocacy. Meg found her calling a few years ago, while attending a lecture on ocean acidification—the greatest threat to marine life you’ve probably never heard of. Before the talk was over, she was already hatching plans to raise awareness about “OA”—sometimes referred to as “global warming’s evil twin.” That year, she organized an OA symposium for scientists and policy makers at the UW, which many participants credit with prompting then-Governor Chris Gregoire to convene a Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification, making Washington the first state in the nation to tackle OA at this level. Since completing her work with the Panel, Meg has joined Washington Sea Grant as their Ocean Acidification Specialist, where she is full of ideas for inspiring people to take action to halt OA. Prior to joining Washington Sea Grant, Meg worked with the UW School of Marine Affairs, the Marine Stewardship Council, and Seattle Chefs Collaborative. She trained at the University of Washington and Cornell University.
Jessie Israel, Resource Recovery Section Manager, King County's Wastewater Treatment Division
Jessie leads waste-to-resource initiatives for King County's wastewater treatment utility. As an urban utility dedicated to protecting public health and the environment, WTD leads the country on harvesting carbon, nutrients, methane, waste heat and non-potable water resources from what Jessie considers to be the "ultimate" renewable resource. Every day, Israel and her colleagues balance running an unfailingly reliable, safe and efficient business operation, with environmental envelope-pushing and innovative public service. Prior to joining WTD, Jessie helped to reshape King County Parks into an entrepreneurial, performance-driven governmental organization. This transformation allows Parks to generate non-tax revenue and ensure green space remains open, even during tight fiscal times. As a public servant, consultant and non-profit leader, Jessie has a fifteen year track record of bringing together groups to invest in community development, environmental and equity issues. She has trained around the world on public-private partnerships and building sustainable communities. In 2006, Jessie was honored to be named one of the Puget Sound Business Journal's 40 Under 40. Jessie spent more than two years as a volunteer with the United States Peace Corps in rural Guinea, West Africa and has a BA in Political Science from Seattle University.