Cleanweb Conversation Starters

Get an insight into the latest cleanweb trends when the following cleanweb thought leaders kick off the conversations at our highly interactive Cleanweb & The City Executive Summit:


Kristin Barbato was appointed to Deputy Commissioner / Chief Energy Management Officer for NYC in March 2013.  Her team manages capital efficiency and renewable energy projects as well as performance for the City’s 4000+ buildings in support of PlaNYC, New York City’s long term sustainability plan. Her team is responsible for the City’s energy procurement and management of the energy utility budget which is about $800M per year.  Before this appointment, she was Director of Business Development in New York for Veolia Energy.

Blake Burris is an advocate for the cleanweb movement as CEO and Chief Hackticist of Cleanweb Initiative. Blake is the Founder of Dynamo Labs, where he leads their vision to engage consumers about energy choices. He landed the 1st grant from Facebook’s fbFund and since 2005 he has actively organized grassroots events like Barcamp, iPhoneDevCamp, and Facebook Dev Garages.

Nicholas Eisenberger is a successful entrepreneur and investor in the clean economy. He is the founder and Managing Partner of Pure Energy Partners, a venture catalyst firm that invests in high impact, high potential cleantech companies, projects, and funds. Nicholas is also a co-founder of GO Ventures, which invests in pathbreaking cleantech enterprises and was a co-founder of the Clean Economy Network.

Michael Ellis leads Cleantech Group/GreenOrder’s Advisory practice, bringing expertise in strategy, marketing, and change management. He leads on work with General Electric, where the firm has been the principal strategic advisor on the creation and implementation of ecomagination since its inception. Previously, he was at the consulting firm Katzenbach Partners, where he founded and led the firm’s cleantech practice area.

David Gilford is Vice President & Director of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, leading the Clean Technology & Energy group. David builds partnerships between the private and public sectors, with projects in solar, energy efficiency, smart grid, and entrepreneurship. He has also worked in finance, sales, marketing, and strategy for organizations including GE, McKinsey, and the Federal Reserve.

Ron Gonen is Deputy Commissioner of Sanitation for New York City, responsible for New York City’s extensive recycling program. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business, teaching a course on entrepreneurship. Prior to joining the Bloomberg administration, Ron was the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Healthy Planet Partners and the Co-founder and CEO of RecycleBank.

Jonathan Gonsky is Regional Vice President for Zipcar,  dedicated to advancing sustainability by taking car sharing mainstream in North America.   He is currently launching and expanding Zipcar operations throughout the U.S. and Canada by integrating Zipcar into local transportation infrastructures, and establishing strategic partnerships with many top businesses, universities, and government agencies.

Richard Kauffman (Invited) joined the administration of New York State Governor Cuomo in 2013 as the Chairman of Energy and Finance and is also Chairman of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). He has worked at the highest levels of the public and private sector, including working as Senior Advisor to Secretary Steven Chu at the U.S. Department of Energy and Chief Executive Officer of Good Energies, Inc. 

Micah Kotch is Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly). He played an integral role in launching NYU-Poly’s first new-business incubator in partnership with the City of New York, on Varick Street in Hudson Square in 2009.  He is the Founding Director of the New York City Accelerator for a Clean and Resilient Economy (NYC ACRE) incubator for NYU-Poly, which develops the ‘clean economy’ sector in New York City. He directed the launch of the NYU-Poly DUMBO Incubator that fosters digital media, mobile and creative technology startups.

Riggs Kubiak  is co-founder and CEO of New York City based Honest Buildings, Inc. - an innovative web platform and mobile application utilizing transparency to make buildings better and the people in them happier. brings together building service providers, occupants, owners, and other stakeholders onto a single portal to exchange information, offerings and needs to catalyze transactions and reduce friction in scaling innovative technology.

Yoav Lurie is the Founder and CEO of Simple Energy. In this capacity, he is responsible for the company’s overall strategy and direction. Simple Energy is changing how millions of people consume energy, by changing how utilities engage customers. The Simple Energy Customer Engagement Platform leverages the power of game mechanics and the social web to change how consumers think about and act on saving energy.

David Mahfouda is the CEO of Bandwagon, a ridesharing platform for taxis and car services. David graduated from Harvard's Visual and Environmental Studies program in 2005 and earned his masters degree, studying Product Architecture and Engineering at Stevens Institute in 2009. After graduating, David co-founded the Very Polite Movers, a Brooklyn-based furniture moving cooperative.


Mike Moss is Director of Corporate Environmental Affairs for Samsung Electronics America. He has been with Samsung over 12 years. Mike currently leads an expert team that handles recycling, energy, sustainability culture and sustainability branding. In 2008, he developed and implemented the Samsung Recycling Direct program (SRD) based on deep experience during the previous 5 years, while working and collaborating with industry leaders to gain insights about global e-waste issues.

Matthew Palevsky has leveraged the tools of large-scale civic engagement as both a journalist and an organizer. Over the past year he has worked with Purpose, Airbnb, Lyft and others to launch Peers, a platform for global organizing within the sharing economy.  In its first four months, Peers has brought together over 100,000 people through campaigns and dinners to protect, mainstream and grow the nascent sharing economy. 

Ulrich Quay has been working for the BMW Group for more than 13 years. He has been Managing Director of BMW i Ventures since July 2011. Ulrich is on the board of Chargepoint and MyCityWay. Before heading the Venture Group of BMW, Ulrich was a department manager in the legal department of BMW, both in Germany and England. He holds a phD in International Private Law.