Shannon Binns, Founder + Executive Director

Shannon is the founder and Executive Director of Sustain Charlotte. Prior to moving to Charlotte in 2007, Shannon worked at The Nature Conservancy in Washington, DC where he was part of their climate change science and policy team. Shannon has also served as an agroforestry volunteer with the Peace Corps in Senegal, helped found a tsunami relief organization in Thailand, and served communities across the Northeast US as a member of AmeriCorps. In the private sector, Shannon has worked as an industrial engineer for Motorola, General Motors, and Trane. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Iowa State University and a Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University. He has served as a Supervisor on the Mecklenburg County Soil and Water Conservation Board and as an adjunct professor in the Sustainable Technologies program at Central Piedmont Community College. In December 2014 he was named one of "Seven to Watch in 2015" by the Charlotte Observer and in January 2015 he was named one of the Charlotte Business Journal's "40 Under 40".

Meg Fencil, Program Director

Meg educates, engages and unites the community through our programs and is actively involved in fostering partnerships within the community and assessing program outcomes. Prior to her work with Sustain Charlotte, Meg designed and implemented original research programs as a U.S. Fulbright grant recipient in Croatia and a National Science Foundation East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute Fellow in Japan. While completing her dissertation research in coastal south Texas, she advocated for responsible coastal management, protection of freshwater flows to estuaries and sustainable fisheries. Meg holds a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from University of Connecticut and a Ph.D. in Marine Sciences from The University of Texas at Austin. She taught project-based mathematics to 9th grade students at West Charlotte High School through Project L.I.F.T. and Ten80 Foundation. An experienced educator at both the university and K-12 level, Meg enjoys developing educational materials and reaching diverse groups of stakeholders in relevant and innovative ways.

Branyn Calegar, Community Engagement Coordinator

Branyn is primarily responsible for supporting and advancing Sustain Charlotte's programs and events. Branyn's knowledge and ability to coordinate community outreach efforts, especially related to sustainability initiatives, was gained through earning her B.A. in Sustainable Development at Appalachian State University, working as a Community Outreach Intern for EcoVillage Ithaca, and later, her study abroad experience living in an EcoVillage in Scotland and study in five major cities in China.  Branyn moved to Charlotte in 2013 to bring her knowledge and passion for sustainable development into practice through obtaining her M.A. in Urban Design at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Through her graduate study and work as a graduate assistant, Branyn composed several research and design reports including planning for challenged urban neighborhoods, threatened coastal cities, transit-oriented development, and rapid urbanization in China. Branyn has since been involved in several planning and development initiatives in Charlotte, in an effort to explore creative ways to encourage the sustainable growth of Charlotte and the surrounding region.

Kate Cavazza, Bicycle Program Manager

Kate engages the community to grow the use of bicycles for transportation. She works to support a connected network of protected bike lanes that will make it possible for residents of all ages and abilities to safely ride a bike to the places they need to go. Prior to Sustain Charlotte, she advocated for smart growth principles at Renew Lehigh Valley as a Lehigh University Community Fellow while she completed her M.A. in political science.  Between undergraduate and graduate life, Kate worked in the executive mobilization office at for the People’s Climate March in New York City, handling logistics for major climate-related action events.  She completed her B.A. in political science and French language studies at Susquehanna University, concentrating her research interests on mobilization politics and sustainability issues.

Christine Romot, Administrative Assistant 

Christine helps with the efficiency and operations at Sustain Charlotte.  Her trajectory in arriving at Sustain Charlotte is like a meandering path.  Prior to her work here, she worked as a Children’s Ministry Director, where she planned, organized and implemented programs. She also interned with CHS, where she established health programs for seniors.  Aside from her past work experiences she holds a BA in Biology and an MBA.  She has a passion for using her skill-set and education to inspire others to make healthier choices in all areas of their lives. 

 Laura Heiser, Development Director 

Laura started as Sustain Charlotte's Development Director in October 2016 and enthusiastically raises funds from individuals, companies, and other sources to support Sustain Charlotte's important work.  Laura recently moved to Charlotte from Portland, Oregon where she lived for the past 15 years and was the Development Director for a nonprofit advocacy organization called Upstream Public Health.  With over 20 years of fund raising experience, other nonprofit organizations that Laura has worked for include: Children First for Oregon, Habitat for Humanity, St. Andrew Legal Clinic, Women’s Funding Network, Sixteenth Street Community Health Center, Sojourner Truth House, YMCA and United Way.  Laura grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and received her BA from University of Wisconsin Madison – GO BADGERS!  After graduation, she also spent a few years working in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  In her free time you will most likely find Laura on her bicycle.  She has done 44 century rides over the past 6 years!


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