Recipients Announced!
2024 Ascending Leader Award

2024 marks the eighth year of the EBC Ascending Leader Award. The Award recognizes professionals in the energy and environmental sectors demonstrating exceptional leadership and industry involvement early in their careers.

Award Information & Selection Criteria | Past Award Recipients

This year, EBC will continue the tradition of recognizing the recipients of the EBC Ascending Leader Award at the EBC 28th Annual Summer Garden Party! The event is scheduled for Thursday, August 1, at the Exchange Conference Center in the Seaport District of Boston, MA.

Please email Jackson Bailey, EBC Director of Programs & Membership, with any questions.

The 2024 Award Recipients

Michael Campinell, Associate
Beveridge & Diamond PC

Michael assists clients in cleaning up contaminated sites, and navigating regulatory and compliance challenges related to their environmental stewardship.

Michael’s practice focuses on contaminated site remediation and cost recovery under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Superfund) and its Massachusetts counterpart, the Massachusetts Oil and Hazardous Material Release Prevention and Response Act (Ch. 21E), where he advises private parties, groups of potentially responsible parties, and municipalities. Michael assists the B&D teams on the Portland Harbor and Berry’s Creek Superfund Sites, and counsels clients involved with recently listed and soon-to-be listed Superfund sites. His expertise also includes defending clients against government enforcement actions under state and federal environmental laws. In addition to his hazardous waste and contamination practice, Michael has experience in complex insurance coverage disputes and Massachusetts land use law.

Michael takes care to learn his clients’ industries, business goals, and obstacles. He strives to understand the unique challenges that every client faces – whether those are legal, technical, financial, or something else entirely. These efforts lead to positive, long-term results for his clients. Michael also maintains a commitment to pro bono service, assisting individual and non-profit clients in land conservation, housing, and immigration matters, and is currently developing an environmental mock trial program in partnership with Boston Public Schools. He makes himself available to meet with law students and recent graduates.

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly featured Michael’s dedication to pro bono work in its 2023 Pro Bono Spotlight, and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court named him to the 2023 Pro Bono High Honor Roll.

Prior to law school, Michael was a wildlife technician in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana and Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, where he used radio telemetry to track the movement and habitat selection of ocean and coastal bird species, and bobwhite quail.

Adrienne Dunk, WPIT, Project Manager
GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc.

Adrienne is a Project Manager in GZA’s Ecology and Natural Resources discipline. She joined GZA in the Fairfield, NJ office in 2018 after a three-year stint as a fisheries technician and biologist for the US Forest Service and National Park Service in the western US. She moved to GZA’s Springfield, MA office in May 2020, rapidly undertaking leadership roles in projects and initiatives there, often creating efficiencies and innovations in the work of GZA’s Natural Resources and Permitting Department. Adrienne’s areas of specialization include: State and Federal Permitting and Planning, Community Engagement, Technical Reporting, and Data Mapping/Visualization (GIS).

Adrienne graduated from Northwestern University with her B.S. degree in Communication, with majors in Environmental Science and Theatre. She is currently completing her M.S. degree in Environmental Conservation with a focus on Wetland and Watershed Management from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her thesis, titled “Quantifying Wetland Change Following Small Dam Removals in Massachusetts,” seeks to document the conversion of regulated resources following dam removals to support the ongoing effort to streamline dam removal authorization. Adrienne received grant funding from the Society of Wetland Science, New England Chapter to pursue this research.  She is also certified as a Wetland Professional in Training (WPIT) and FEMA Public Assistance Program Delivery Manager.

Adrienne frequently works with colleagues across GZA’s 32 offices, contributing planning and permitting skills to projects in other locations or as a member of internal GZA committees.  She has contributed to GZA’s Solar Energy Steering Committee and is the only non-Principal involved in GZA’s Land Use and Planning Steering Committee. She was also invited by the Lead of GZA’s Dams, Levees and Hydropower Group to help launch a multi-disciplinary training program focusing on technical best practices for dam maintenance/operations and wetland permitting. This training initiative will support GZA to better navigate the challenges of evolving dam regulations and continue to provide clients a high level of service. Collaboration with multiple GZA offices and practice areas, as well as her leadership roles, contribute to Adrienne frequently being a “matchmaker” connecting colleagues with teammates or resources in other offices or being sought after for advice on a planning or permitting aspect of a project she’s not directly involved in. In the Springfield office, she supervises younger professionals and serves informally as a mentor to others.

A recent project highlight includes Adrienne’s leadership providing critical and complex permitting and sequencing support for the largest electric utility corridor maintenance project in western Massachusetts, involving replacement of 286 transmission structures on over 30 miles of right-of-way in 7 communities.  Additionally, for projects throughout the Commonwealth, Adrienne’s in-depth knowledge of the MEPA Environmental Justice (EJ) regulations introduced in January 2022 have made her a subject matter, advising on EJ protocols on many projects within the firm.

Outside of work, Adrienne enjoys skiing, hiking, and cultivating a large vegetable garden. She works to advocate for improved healthcare and mental health services for US military veterans and participates in food pantry fundraisers and activities to improve food security in her community.

Kelsey Kern, EIT, Senior Water Resources Designer
Nitsch Engineering

Kelsey Kern is a Senior Water Resources Designer at Nitsch Engineering in Worcester, MA. A native Midwesterner, she moved to Massachusetts in 2020, became an Engineer in Training in 2021, and plans to take the PE exam in 2024. As a member of the Resilience Planning and Design Team at Nitsch, Kelsey brings a unique perspective to stormwater management. With degrees in both landscape architecture and civil engineering, Kelsey’s passion for people and places informs her approach to sustainable solutions, application of technical knowledge, and ability to communicate and visualize design concepts. Her recent work at Nitsch includes a wide variety of projects including site-scale stormwater designs, MS4 Permit compliance, and watershed-scale planning. Kelsey works closely with clients and colleagues to seek input from all parties and drive consensus around problem-solving and decision-making. She aims to balance what is right for all parties and right for the environment. Kelsey has taken on a leadership role in several areas at Nitsch Engineering and enjoys planning team-building activities and events for the Worcester Office Culture Crew and Resilience Planning and Design Team.

Kelsey is passionate about STEM education and K-12 outreach – both for civil engineering and landscape architecture. She helped organize activities for Nitsch Engineering’s Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day event and has been a guest speaker and volunteer at elementary, middle, and high schools in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Kelsey is a graduate of Kansas State University where she earned a Master of Landscape Architecture degree. She also earned B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Nebraska. Kelsey is an active member of the Boson Chapter of ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) and ASCE EWRI (American Society of Civil Engineers Environmental & Water Resources Institute), recently presenting at several local and national conferences.

Samantha Meserve, EIT, Director, Renewable and Alternative Energy Division
Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources

Samantha Meserve is the Director of the Renewable and Alternative Energy Division for the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources. She first began her career at the Department in 2015 as an intern fresh out of her undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Resources Engineering from the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and was later hired to join the Department as a full-time employee, where she has remained for the past nine years.

After several months working on solar policy, Samantha transitioned to managing the development and implementation of renewable thermal technologies in the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard. After spending several years in the thick of program development and implementation, Samantha became the Deputy Director of the Renewable and Alternative Energy Division. During this time, her focus expanded from the APS to include a wide array of renewable thermal and decarbonization policies. She contributed to key policy initiatives such as assisting in the development of the Massachusetts 2050 Decarbonization Roadmap, sitting on the Task Force supporting the Commission on Clean Heat, and was selected to attend the International Clean Energy Challenge in Upper Austria in 2019. Additionally, during this period, Samantha attended the University of Massachusetts at Boston to earn her Master’s in Business Administration.

Currently in her role as Director of the Renewable and Alternative Energy Division, she focuses on innovative ways to deploy renewable energy across the Commonwealth. This includes overseeing the Department’s portfolio of incentive programs. Key projects completed during her tenure as director include the Massachusetts Technical Potential of Solar Study, supporting the Commission on Energy Infrastructure Siting and Permitting as a Task Force member, and securing $156.12 million in federal funding through the Solar for All program to support solar deployment in low-income and disadvantaged communities.

Despite the wide array of exciting opportunities, nothing has brought as much joy and fulfillment as serving as the manager of the Renewable Division’s twelve team members. Every exciting milestone and hard-fought achievement was only made possible due to the intelligence, collaboration, and dedication of the team, without whom none of this would be possible.

In her free time Samantha enjoys spending time with her friends and family, performing improv comedy, obsessing over Taylor Swift, and watching Tik Toks.

Kelly Siry, PE, Water Resources Specialist
VHB

Kelly is a Water Resources Engineer at VHB’s Watertown, MA office where her career has been marked by continuous growth and innovation. After earning her BS in Environmental Science from SUNY Plattsburgh in 2016, Kelly attended Northeastern University’s Gordon Institute for Engineering Leadership program. During the last year of her master’s program at the Gordon Institute, Kelly advanced her real-world technical knowledge and leadership skills through a year-long internship position at VHB to support the research and development of the firm’s new asset management software. Upon earning her MS in Environmental Engineering in 2018, Kelly joined VHB full-time, quickly making her mark and advancing to a Project Manager role within two years.

Kelly manages complex, multimillion-dollar projects focusing on stormwater management design, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) compliance, water quality improvements through green infrastructure, watershed analyses, and data management. As a trusted advisor to her clients, Kelly serves as Project Manager to several state agencies throughout New England as well as Massachusetts municipalities and institutions.

As a leader, Kelly mentors junior engineers, co-leads VHB’s Water Resources Community of Practice, and organized the inaugural Water Resources Summit to facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing. Her innovative approach and commitment to quality earned her the position of VHB’s Environmental Representative in the firm’s Innovation Ambassador program, where she fosters an environment of creativity and change. Kelly is dedicated to promoting a positive work culture, co-captaining the VHB Soccer Team and as a member of the VHB Environmental Group’s Fun Committee. She is also deeply involved in furthering technical excellence and inspiring the next generation of water resources engineers. She has engaged with a local Watertown Girl Scouts troop through interactive activities on the water cycle and filtration, fostering curiosity and understanding.

A licensed Professional Engineer in Massachusetts, Kelly continues to contribute to her field as an active member on the Environmental Resources Committee of the Environmental Business Council (EBC) of New England, including the Water Resources Committee where she is on the leadership team.

Cassidy Yates, EIT, Climate Resiliency and Sustainability Engineer
Weston & Sampson

Cassidy Yates, EIT is a Climate Resiliency and Sustainability Engineer at Weston & Sampson where she provides technical leadership for a variety of climate-related projects. Prior to joining Weston & Sampson, she served as a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory consultant to over 35 higher education institutions, advising on data collection, data entry, and results interpretation for the Sustainability Indicator Management & Analysis Platform (SIMAP), the leading higher education GHG emissions inventory tool. Cassidy brought this experience to Weston & Sampson, expanding the firm’s capacity to provide GHG emissions modeling and climate action planning to support decarbonization efforts. She has since led local and regional climate action plans that have encompassed over 270 communities throughout New England.

In addition to sustainability and resiliency client services, internally Cassidy has been a thoughtful and impactful leader behind the firm’s first-ever Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Report, along with other corporate sustainability efforts. She also leads the firm’s Emerging Professionals in Consulting and Sustainability Committees. In particular, she is a driving force behind the firm’s bi-annual volunteer trash cleanup events where she has worked to expand companywide participation in offices up and down the east coast.

Cassidy is also very active in her neighborhood of East Boston in a variety of social and environmental activities. She serves both as an advisor to the Sustainability Fellowship program hosted by the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Sustainability Institute and on UNH’s University Committee for the Sustainability Dual Major. Cassidy is passionate about expanding sustainability education and strives to practice it in her professional and personal lives.

2024 Ascending Leader Award

2024 marks the eighth year of the EBC Ascending Leader Award. The Award recognizes professionals in the energy and environmental sectors demonstrating exceptional leadership and industry involvement early in their careers. All nominations are reviewed by a committee of both established professionals from the EBC Board of Directors and members of EBC’s Ascending Professionals Committee.

Award Selection Criteria

  • Demonstrated leadership, either formal (through position and role) or informal (i.e. thought leadership on critical issues)
  • Early career success and rapid advancement in the energy / environmental sectors
  • Industry and/or civic involvement, or recognition outside of employment
  • 1-10 years of industry experience
  • Employed by an EBC Member company or a government agency

This year, EBC will continue the tradition of recognizing the recipients of the EBC Ascending Leader Award at the EBC 28th Annual Summer Garden Party! The event is scheduled for Thursday, August 1, at the Exchange Conference Center in the Seaport District of Boston, MA.

Nomination Deadline:

The nomination period closed on Friday, May 24, at 5:00 p.m.

Please email Jackson Bailey, EBC Director of Programs & Membership, with any questions.

2024 Ascending Leader Award

2024 marks the eighth year of the EBC Ascending Leader Award. The Award recognizes professionals in the energy and environmental sectors demonstrating exceptional leadership and industry involvement early in their careers. All nominations are reviewed by a committee of both established professionals from the EBC Board of Directors and members of EBC’s Ascending Professionals Committee.

Award Selection Criteria

  • Demonstrated leadership, either formal (through position and role) or informal (i.e. thought leadership on critical issues)
  • Early career success and rapid advancement in the energy / environmental sectors
  • Industry and/or civic involvement, or recognition outside of employment
  • 1-10 years of industry experience
  • Employed by an EBC Member company or a government agency

This year, EBC will continue the tradition of recognizing the recipients of the EBC Ascending Leader Award at the EBC 28th Annual Summer Garden Party! The event is scheduled for Thursday, August 1, at the Exchange Conference Center in the Seaport District of Boston, MA.

Nomination Deadline:

Please note that the nomination period will close on Friday, May 24, at 5:00 p.m.

Please email Jackson Bailey, EBC Director of Programs & Membership, with any questions.

Nomination Form

Please submit your nomination for the 2024 EBC Ascending Leader Award below.