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SLPS Presenter Biographies
  • Ben VogtBenjamin Vogt has a PhD in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His writing and photography have appeared in over 60 publications from journals and magazines to anthologies. Benjamin writes a native plant gardening column at and speaks nationally on sustainable and wildlife landscapes. He owns Monarch Gardens LLC, a prairie garden design firm, and lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.

    Rachel AndersonRachel Anderson works in Lincoln, Nebraska as the Community Landscape Specialist of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum. Rachel holds a Master of Landscape Architecture from Iowa State University and a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is passionate about how ecological garden design can connect people to the outdoors while protecting our wildlife, water and soil.

    Dan Gompert

    Daniel Gompert is an Information Technology and Systems Instructor at Central Community College – Hastings.  Daniel has been involved in the Information Technology(IT) Industry as an Instructor and Consultant for the past 25 years. Daniel has been a member of the Environmental Sustainability Across the Curriculum Committee at Central Community College as well as being involved in the development of the E-Badge Award Program and other sustainability initiatives.  In addition, Daniel has developed and taught courses in Green Technology, Wind Energy Fundamentals, Wind Turbines and Solar Energy. Currently, Daniel is involved in developing sustainability awareness in students at Central Community College in various career fields. Daniel has earned Associate of Science degrees from Central Community College in Computers and Automation and Electronics Technology.  He also has a B.S. in Business Information Systems from Bellevue University of Omaha.  Daniel is currently a certified Cisco Networking Academy Instructor, VMware Academy Instructor and EMC Academy Instructor.

    Michael HelgersonMichael Helgerson is Transportation & Data Manager at the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA)– the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Omaha-Council Bluffs region. In this role, Michael leads the transportation planning process for the three-county MPO region that includes Douglas, Sarpy and the urbanized portion of Pottawattamie Counties. Michael is currently leading the development of MAPA’s 2050 Long Range Transportation Plan, an effort that is tying the Heartland 2050 Regional Vision to the region’s transportation planning process. In addition to these roles at MAPA, Michael has served as the Regional Active Transportation Coordinator for the City of Omaha, advising on the development of the Complete Streets Design Manual and the incorporation of recommendations from MAPA’s Regional Bicycle-Pedestrian Master Plan.  Michael received his Bachelor of Science in Community & Regional Planning from Iowa State University in Ames, IA, and his Master of Public Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

    Greg NorrisDr. Gregory Norris is an internationally acclaimed Life Cycle Analysis expert. In addition to serving as the Institute’s Chief Scientist, Gregory is the co-director of the Sustainability and Health Initiative for NetPositive Enterprise within the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard School of Public Health. He has taught Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) at HSPH since the late 1990s. Gregory is also the founder of New Earth, a non-profit institute developing technologies that enable people across the globe to drive sustainable development “from the bottom up.” Its projects include Earthster, an open source platform for product-level sustainability assessment, Handprinter, which helps people take actions at home and work that more than compensate for their environmental and social “footprints,” and the Social Hot Spots Database, a transparent data source on supply chain impacts and opportunities for improving human rights, working conditions, community and other social impacts.

    Dr ShresthaDr. Shrestha is UNL's first full time employee dedicated to sustainability affairs. Hired soon after his graduation with a PhD in Human Dimensions of Natural Resource Sciences in the School of Natural Resources at UNL, Dr. Shrestha has been instrumental in setting up UNL's first Office of Sustainability and leading efforts to lower UNL's carbon footprint. Since his tenure UNL: has gained "Silver" rating in its sustainability affairs from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education; has made it to the Princeton Review's "Guide to 353 Green Colleges"; and Sierra Magazine's list of Top Cool Schools 2016. Under his leadership, UNL has seen remarkable progress in its sustainability operations, planning, academics and engagement.