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 country as a member of AmeriCorps' National Civilian Community Corps. 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. He currently serves on the North Carolina Advisory Board for Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). In 2015, he was named one of Seven to Watch by the Charlotte Observer and one of the Charlotte Business Journal's 40 Under 40. In 2018, Charlotte's NPR affiliate, WFAE, named him one of The Most Powerful Voices in Charlotte.
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.
Jessica Freely, Operations Manager
As our Operations Manager, Jessica coordinates human resources, office management/technology, financial management and team communication for the Sustain Charlotte team. A recent arrival to the Charlotte metro area, Jessica was previously the Director of Operations for the Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA), a national health advocacy organization based in Philadelphia, PA. Prior to ACHA, she led regional strategy and operations for the Philadelphia office of the Nielsen Company, an S&P 500 global management company with operations in over 100 countries. There, she was twice recognized with awards in Outstanding Teamwork and Leadership. Passionate about building internal structures and support, so that organizations can fulfill their work and mission, Jessica is thrilled to be part of Sustain Charlotte.
David Samson, Director of Development
David works to diversify and develop the funds needed to maintain, support and grow Sustain Charlotte. As an experienced fundraiser with a passion for grassroots fund development, David has helped raised over $20,000,000 in his 15-year career in the non-profit sector. Before joining the team at Sustain Charlotte, David served as Director of Development for the Ada Jenkins Center in Davidson, NC. Prior to moving to Charlotte in 2015, David lived in Boston, MA where he served as Operations Administrator for Boston Baroque, and Development Manager for both MassEquality and Mainers United for Marriage. David attended Berklee College of Music in Boston where he majored in Music Business & Management. David is an avid concertgoer and is currently studying to become a Certified Wine Specialist.
Eric Zaverl, Bike + Walk Program Coordinator
Eric is our Bike + Walk Program Coordinator and has been a strong advocate for walkable, bikeable, and transit-oriented design in Charlotte's neighborhoods for years. His main area of focus is working with multiple City and County departments and committees, including the Ordinance Advisory Committee on pushing the boundaries of urban design to meet the challenges that face Charlotte. Before his work with Sustain Charlotte, Eric was President of the South End Neighborhood. While president, he advocated for more green space in the neighborhood, safe crossings on the Rail Trail and the creation of the two corridor studies on South Boulevard and South Tryon Street. After leaving the neighborhood association, he attended the University of North Carolina Charlotte. While there Eric received his Masters in Urban Design and finished at the top of his class. Eric has studied Urban Design abroad in Brazil and is a member of the Congress for the New Urbanism.