2018 CEC Youth Innovation Challenge Evaluation Panel

Nine experts on the frontier of sustainable innovation in North America will serve on the idea evaluation panel for the 2018 Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) Youth Innovation Challenge. With backgrounds in startup ventures, corporate sustainability, academic collaboration and technical know-how, these experts will bring diverse perspectives and expertise to identify this year’s semifinalists of the Challenge.

Each week, one of the evaluation panel members will act as a featured expert on the platform, commenting and asking questions on submitted ideas.


Meredith Adler

As executive director of Student Energy, a global charity devoted to creating the next generation of energy leaders who will accelerate our transition to a sustainable energy future, Meredith Adler knows that youth innovation can deliver the sustainable solutions we need, and that they need a seat at the table wherever their future is being determined. Her work develops the capacity for young people to be change agents who can advocate for intergenerational collaboration while they work in organizations, with the energy industry, or in government. Under Adler’s leadership, Student Energy was recently named one of the top 50 youth solutions in the world delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Adler has been working on youth empowerment projects since she was 16, and brings over 10 years of working in youth empowerment and experiential education to her role. She holds a B.A. in geography from the University of British Columbia.


Dr. Luis Aguirre-Torres

Dr. Luis Aguirre-Torres is President and CEO at GreenMomentum Inc., a cleantech and market intelligence firm focused on the Latin American industry. He is also the founder of Cleantech Challenge Mexico, Latin America´s top green business accelerator program.

Dr. Aguirre-Torres has been recognized by the US President Barack Obama as Champion of Change, becoming the first Mexican citizen to receive this honor bestowed by the White House. He was also recognized as High Impact Entrepreneur during President Obama’s visit to Mexico in 2013. He is part of the Mexico-US Entrepreneurship and Innovation Council, where he presides the Energy and Sustainability Subcommittee.

Prior to founding GreenMomentum, Dr. Aguirre-Torres co-founded several high-tech startup companies based in Silicon Valley, California, for which he helped to secure investment in excess of 120 million dollars from US venture capital firms. Today, he oversees the operation of GM Capital, a corporate venture fund focused on early-stage cleantech startup companies in Mexico.

Dr. Luis Aguirre-Torres holds a first degree in Computer Engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, an M.Sc. in Computer Science and a doctorate degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from University College London, University of London


David Martínez Biro

An industrial engineer out of Universidad del Caribe, with a master's degree in sustainable energy from University of Twente (Netherlands), David Martínez Biro also holds a pre-specialization certificate in the environment and sustainable development.

He was an instructor at Universidad Anáhuac, where he taught courses on the environment, renewable energy sources and industrial engineering. He has spoken on solar energy topics at engineering and technological innovation congresses.

He currently develops large-scale photovoltaic solar energy projects for Mexico's wholesale electrical market. He also directs the organization Conciencia Sustentable, developing solar power projects for smaller household, commercial and industrial applications.
In June 2016, he was appointed as a member of the Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC).


Dr. Amelia Clarke

Dr. Amelia Clarke has been working on environment and sustainability issues since 1989, including as President of Sierra Club Canada (2003-2006). She is now a tenured faculty member in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED) at the University of Waterloo, where she is also Director of the Master of Environment and Business (MEB) online program. Her main research focuses are related to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. She leads a team project on implementing sustainable community plans (including community climate action plans), and co-leads a second project on youth & innovation. Dr. Clarke’s work has been published in journal articles, book chapters and practitioner reports.

Dr. Clarke holds a PhD in Management (Strategy) from McGill University. She has also served on numerous advisory committees, including the Canadian Advisory Committee to the U.N. Habitat’s World Urban Forum III; and the Canadian delegation during the U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development negotiations. In 1996, she founded the Sierra Youth Coalition (SYC), and is proud of having launched SYC’s sustainable campus program which helped create significant change on more than 80 Canadian campuses. She is also proud of her efforts to help influence the creation of 10 new protected areas in New Brunswick.

Connect on Linkedin and Twitter.


Dr. Carmela Cucuzzella

Dr. Carmela Cucuzzella, is an Associate Professor in the Design and Computation Arts Department and is holder of the Concordia University Research Chair in Integrated Design, Ecology and Sustainability for the Built Environment (www.ideas-be.ca). Her research work is framed within the broad domain of design studies where she investigates questions of sustainable design for urban living. Her varied background and expertise in environmental and social life cycle analysis, in green building rating systems, and in design and architecture, allows her to adopt a framework revolving around design’s interrelated dimensions of the cognitive-instrumental, the moral-practical and the aesthetic-expressive forms of conception and discourse.

She has two main areas of research. In her CoLLaboratoire research, she seeks to understand how the collaborative design and implementation of interactive art-architecture in public urban spaces can contribute to a critique, deeper understanding and/or embodiment of sustainable urban, professional, community, and even human practices in the long term. ​ In her second area of research, her interests lie predominantly in responsible design practices with a particular interest in understanding the challenges of accommodating sustainability diagnostic or rating tools such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) alongside the creative conceptual exploration that takes place during the design process. She addresses the limits of current sustainability assessment tools as a means to gain a complex understanding of social, cultural and environmental repercussions of design practice.


Yusef Jacobs Kuri

Yusek Jacobs Kuri is a passionate entrepreneur, engineer and leader.  He is CEO & Founder of Vitaluz, a company that provides electricity service via solar home systems and a pay as you go energy model to supply off-grid communities that lack access to the public grid. 

His areas of work are focused on renewable energies, sustainable technologies and computer science.   He is determined to develop technologies that have a direct impact on the development of marginalized communities. He has experience in scientific research, tech development, entrepreneurship and development of commercial projects with a social impact for leading companies in Mexico. 

Kuri graduated with a BS in physics engineering at Universidad Iberoamericana.


Christina Page

Christina Page is an independent consultant on renewable energy and climate change based in Seattle, WA. She previously worked as Director of Energy and Environment at Amazon and Global Director of Energy and Sustainability Strategy at Yahoo!, where she was responsible for corporate environmental activities, including renewable energy procurement, carbon reduction goals, and onsite generation projects for fuel cells and solar.

Prior to her time with the Fortune 500, Chris worked at Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a Colorado-based “think-and-do tank” led by energy efficiency guru Amory Lovins. She has also been a field instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School and a writer/editor for the public radio environmental program "Living on Earth.”  While living in Colorado, Chris was a member of the all-volunteer Mountain Rescue Aspen team, providing aid to lost and injured parties in the Rocky Mountains.

She has an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and Religious Studies from Brown University and a Masters in Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. 


Robert W. Varney

Considered one of the nation’s most experienced and respected environmental leaders, Robert Varney is a former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) New England Regional Administrator, who currently is President of Normandeau Associates, a science-based environmental firm with eighteen offices in 12 states. He was the longest-serving regional administrator and top environmental official in New England and is credited with instituting many innovative approaches and policy initiatives that have served as national models. Prior to EPA, Mr. Varney was one of the nation’s longest-serving state environmental commissioners, appointed by three Governors of both political parties.

Bob is nationally recognized for his efforts on global climate change; energy efficiency and renewables; homeland security and preparedness; clean air, clean water and safe drinking water; superfund and brownfields cleanup and redevelopment; environmental justice and healthy communities; restoration of rivers, lakes and coastal areas; strong and consistent enforcement and compliance assistance; strengthening partnerships; and improved agency management and performance.

Bob is the recipient of numerous environmental awards such as the EPA Lifetime Achievement Award, NE Water Works Association’s John H. Chafee Award, Environmental Business Council of NE’s Paul Keough Award and the ECOS Founder’s Award.


Zach Weismann

Zach is extremely passionate about the intersection of technology and social good, recognizing the power technology, economics, and business have to be forces for good.

Zach is a branding and technology consultant working with clients ranging from some of the world’s largest companies to individuals with the next big idea. He also is the Co-Founder & CEO of CancerQ, a healthtech start-up that builds innovative products and services for families facing cancer.

For the past 10+ years, Zach has worked with major brands, NGOs, Fortune 500 companies, hospitals, healthcare organizations, and startups on key issues such as sustainability, conservation, corporate social responsibility, technology adoption, and business development. His career has enabled him to work on global issues in over 25 countries spanning 6 continents, taking him from the banks of Lake Titicaca in rural Puno, Peru where he lived for a year, to on commercial set in LA with Jackie Chan and Spike, the 6,000-pound live rhinoceros.

For over 3 years he led the International Development at Sustainable Brands, a global community of sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and brand leaders who convene and collaborate to build a more sustainable and healthy future.  He also led global media campaigns and partnerships at WildAid, a wildlife conservation NGO whose mission is to help end the illegal wildlife trade with an emphasis on Asian markets.

Zach graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a degree in Finance and Accounting. He has a Masters in Finance from the University of Texas at Austin.