• 1 Hotels Fellowship at E2 will support young entrepreneurs in advancing smart environmental and clean energy policies and issues issues nationwide

  • Kick-off luncheon to feature Starwood Capital Group Chairman Barry Sternlicht and NRDC President Rhea Suh

  • Winning Fellows from across U.S., including CA, CO, GA, LA, MA, MI, NC

CONTACT: Michael Timberlake, (202) 289-2407, for E2; or Elizabeth Traub, (212) 518-4771, x105, for 1 Hotels

NEW YORK (October 31, 2017) – The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and its E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) program, together with sustainability-driven hotel brand 1 Hotels today announced the winners of the first-ever 1 Hotels Fellowship at E2. The unique Fellowship—made possible through a generous personal donation from Starwood Capital Group CEO, Chairman and 1 Hotels Founder Barry Sternlicht—provides 10 early and mid-career entrepreneurs and business leaders from across the United States $25,000 each to organize and execute projects designed to advance policies that address pressing environmental and clean energy issues.

Examples of the winning projects include the creation of an online cleantech marketplace for small commercial buildings in Boulder, Colo.; a multimedia platform to communicate success stories from the sustainability industry; creating of monthly roundtable between businesses, labor groups, and environmental organizations in Massachusetts; and a survey of green job training programs in California.

“1 Hotels is so much more than just another hotel brand,” said Sternlicht.  “We’re a cause and strive to be a platform for sustainability and change in our country and around the world.  The projects these future leaders are embarking on backed in part by our scholarships are truly exciting and the exact type of work and innovation that we want to support. From advancing renewable energy to developing talent to further technology and policy, I look forward to seeing their vision for a cleaner world realized. We are all very proud to have them join our 1 Hotels family.”

A kick-off luncheon announcing the winning Fellows and their projects will be held November 9th in New York City at 1 Hotels Brooklyn Bridge. The luncheon will feature an introduction of the inaugural Fellowship class with remarks from Barry Sternlicht, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) President Rhea Suh, and E2 Executive Director Bob Keefe. E2 is a project of NRDC.

Winners will also be awarded membership into E2’s Emerging Leaders program and will be connected to their local E2 chapter to have access of all the benefits of E2 membership.

“While the rest of the world is doubling down on clean energy and sustainable technologies, leaders in Washington and across the country are trying to take us backwards—damaging the environment and our ability to compete in the global 21st century economy,” said NRDC President Rhea Suh. “Now more than ever, we need our young business leaders to stand up and present their visions for America’s energy future if we are to continue on the path towards a strong clean economy.”


  • WHEN: 12:00-2:00 pm | November 9, 2017
  • WHERE: Wood Aster room at 1 Hotels Brooklyn Bridge, 60 Furman St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
  • WHO:
    • Barry Sternlicht, CEO and Chairman, Starwood Capital Group
    • Rhea Suh, President, NRDC
    • Amanda DeSantis, Vice President of Sustainability & Innovation, Starwood Capital Group
    • Bob Keefe, Executive Director, E2
  • RSVP: To attend the event, contact Ying Li at

For updates about 1 Hotels Fellows’ projects throughout 2018 visit or contact Michael Timberlake (202) 289-2407,

Salem Afeworki, Los Angeles, CA
Inclusive Communication of Electric Vehicles

Salem Afeworki,Ms. Afeworki aims to advance the science of clean energy communication, help leaders communicate more effectively, and increase the public’s understanding of electric vehicle (EV) risks and opportunities. The project’s main goal is to understand disadvantaged communities’ viewpoints on EV technology, and work to tailor the messaging on how private sector/developer/elected officials can address concerns to “clean up and green up” the most polluted and underserved neighborhoods.

Ms. Afeworki says her personal goal will be to “improve my leadership skills and connect with peers to implement solutions that align with United Nations SDGs.”

Salem Afeworki, LEED GA, ENV SP is the Founder and Program Director of Value Sustainability, a leading provider of sustainability, climate change and community engagement advisory services headquartered in Orange County, CA. Ms. Afeworki is also a member of Los Angeles County Sustainability Council, serves at the City of Irvine Green Ribbon Committee, and is a United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN SDSN) Local Pathway Fellow.

Cory Connolly, Detroit, MI
Crafting Clean Energy Leaders

Cory ConnollyMr. Connolly will create the Michigan Clean Energy Leaders Program to support the growing community of clean energy volunteers and professionals in Michigan. The project will involve hosting three retreats that will educate young professionals about policy and advocacy, deepen understanding and solidarity across sector and industry, and build a lasting and strong clean energy community that will be cohesive and collaborative. The Michigan Clean Energy Leaders Network will also identify one Michigan-specific policy challenge during the first retreat that the whole cohort will work toward solving collaboratively.

Mr. Connolly hopes his Michigan Clean Energy Leaders Program will cultivate “a diverse, collaborative, connected, and talented community of young clean energy leaders that will drive policy and business initiatives now and for years to come.”

Cory Connolly is the Chief Operating Officer for Levin Energy Partners, a firm specializing in clean energy finance via a clean energy finance mechanism called Property Assessed Clean Energy or PACE. Previously, Cory worked as a Senior Research Associate at the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Law Institute. He holds a Bachelors of Arts in International Relations from James Madison College at Michigan State University.

Alex DeGolia, Denver, CO
Analysis of Non-Partisan Clean Energy Projects

Alex DeGoliaBy producing analyses and narratives of local clean energy projects, Mr. DeGolia will show that trusted members of the public and private sector making non-partisan decisions to pursue clean energy projects are neither liberal, nor elite, nor environmentalist.

Mr. DeGolia says his project “has the opportunity to have a meaningful impact on future climate and clean energy political strategy.”

Alex DeGolia is an environmental researcher, political organizer, and outdoor educator. He received a PhD from the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UC Santa Barbara.  Previously, Mr. DeGolia worked as a research manager for the Analyst Institute, in the Obama Administration for the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Commerce, and as an organizer on the 2008 Obama for America campaign.

Adam Fischer, Durham, NC
Synergy Analysis of Corporate Renewable Commitments

Adam FischerMr. Fischer aims to bring together the ambitious commitments of corporations and cities to source 100 percent of their electricity from clean energy. The research project will examine the promises and pitfalls of joint solutions.

Mr. Fischer says his project “will help craft practical, action-oriented strategies for collaboration between cities and companies that are paving the way for ambitious climate action.”

Adam Fischer is pursuing dual Masters degrees at the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment and Sanford School of Public Policy, and has worked in energy and climate policy as an intern, researcher, and consultant. At Duke, he serves as Senior Editor for the Duke Environmental Law and Policy Forum, co-teaches the UN Climate Change Negotiations Practicum, and previously held a research assistantship at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Prior to beginning his studies at Duke, Mr. Fischer spent five years as a Senior Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, supporting the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) in Washington, D.C.

Kevin Fitzwilliam, New Orleans, LA
Advancing Renewable Energy Generation

Kevin FitzwilliamMr. Fitzwilliam project focuses on working with electric cooperatives and municipal utilities in Louisiana to diversify their electricity generation mix with clean energy, and to implement energy-efficiency programs. Kevin’s project aims to replicate the success found with similar projects in Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi.

Mr. Fitzwilliam relishes the opportunity “to advance the renewable-energy economy in Louisiana and the Gulf South” and believes “it is especially important for clean-energy advocates in traditionally less-receptive areas of the country to receive support from organizations like E2.”

Kevin Fitzwilliam works for Joule Energy, a solar-energy firm that has been a leader in helping New Orleans to become a top 10 solar city in America. Kevin also has created three business ventures pertaining to sustainability. Kevin is from New Orleans, LA, and his interest in environmental protection began with the awareness of coastal land loss and its effect on livelihoods and the seafood industry in Louisiana.

Adam Hasz, Cambridge, MA
Equitable Communication of Community Driven Policy

Adam HaszMr. Hasz will build an interactive website highlighting the economic benefits of equitable, community-oriented energy policy in Massachusetts through 2030. He will also create a monthly roundtable to build trust and understanding between the various energy stakeholder groups.

Mr. Hasz says he is excited to use the Fellowship to expand his research “around ways to develop energy systems that are just and democraticand, and to demonstrate the potential for the clean energy economy to create shared wealth for marginalized communities.”

Adam Hasz is a Master in City Planning candidate at MIT. Most recently, Mr. Hasz directed the climate advocacy organization SustainUS and worked towards a net-zero emission goal within the Paris Agreement.

Greg Hopkins, Boulder, CO
Developing Online Crowdsourced Cleantech Marketplace

Greg HopkinsMr. Hopkins aims to develop an online cleantech marketplace for small commercial buildings, connecting eligible energy efficiency and distributed solar projects with qualified energy service contractors and crowd-sourced investment capital. His city-based approach will pilot in Boulder, CO.

Mr. Hopkins says his project’s online marketplace “will streamline and scale clean energy projects in small commercial buildings – addressing the market barriers holding back this sector by connecting crowd-sourced equity with turnkey implementation.

Greg works within the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Buildings Practice. Before joining,, Greg worked in the commercial real estate industry in New York City. Most recently, he helped launch the U.S. real estate investing platform of Allianz, where he was responsible for evaluating acquisitions of office, retail, and multifamily. He earned a master’s degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, focusing on energy and environmental aspects of buildings.

Genevieve Liang, Los Angeles, CA
Enhancing the Clean Energy Workforce

Genevieve LiangMs. Liang project will survey the enrollment, graduation and employment rates of participants in green energy job training programs in California, and apply this research for establishing such training programs in the greater South Los Angeles region where there is a significant lack of clean energy workforce development opportunities.

Ms. Liang says she is “excited for the opportunity to produce a living resource that can strengthen clean energy policy benefits for local economies”.

Ms. Liang  serves as Executive Director of Cardborigami, an early-stage nonprofit centered on temporary shelter innovation. Previously, Genevieve was SVP of Development for Mirasol Development LLC, VP of Business Development at community solar pioneer Clean Energy Collective, and Manager of Utility Scale Projects at Sharp Corporation’s Solar Electric Solutions Group. Ms. Liang has an MBA from the USC Marshall School of Business, and extensive experience in energy projects, markets, and regulatory policy.

Bronte McGarrah, Somerville, MA
Creating a Multimedia Platform for Successful Entrepreneuers

Bronte McGarrahMs. McGarrah’s project addresses the threat of federal budget cuts to programs for cleantech and clean energy innovation by creating a multimedia platform to share the stories of successful environmental entrepreneurs. The stories will be framed and specifically targeted towards an audience not likely to support an increase in federal spending but who also may not have realized the connection between cleantech innovation and economic growth.

Ms. McGarrah says she hopes her multimedia platform “allows the voice of the entrepreneurs to be at the forefront of the movement advocating for the expansion of investment in federal clean energy policy.

Brontë McGarrah serves as the Executive and Government Relations Coordinator at Greentown Labs, the nation’s largest cleantech incubator located in Somerville, MA. Ms. McGarrah completed her Bachelor’s Degree at Connecticut College where she studied Government and Environmental Science.

Marilyn Waite, Atlanta, GA
Communication Campaign for Careers in Clean Energy

Marilyn Waite

Ms. Waite project, #AdvancedEnergySoutheast, intends to highlight and promote opportunities in the Southeast clean energy economy using a social media campaign and flagship career event during the Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) conference at Georgia Tech in April 2018.

Ms. Waite says she hopes the project will “create excitement for sustainable energy career opportunities among budding engineers and future business leaders.”

Marilyn Waite is Director of Cleantech Strategy & Investments at Cox Enterprises. Author of Sustainability at Work, Ms. Waite serves on the Board of Directors for The Biomimicry Institute and lectures on sustainable business at UIBE in Beijing. Marilyn previously led the energy practice at Village Capital, modeled and forecasted energy solutions to climate change as a Senior Research Fellow at Project Drawdown, and served on the Board of Directors for Engineers for a Sustainable World. She holds a Masters Degree with distinction in Engineering for Sustainable Development from the University of Cambridge and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, magna cum laude, from Princeton University.


Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) is a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy who advocate for smart policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Our members have founded or funded more than 2,500 companies, created more than 600,000 jobs, and manage more than $100 billion in venture and private equity capital. For more information, see or follow us on Twitter at @e2org.

1 Hotels is a luxury lifestyle hotel brand inspired by nature. The brand cultivates the best of sustainable design and architecture, together with extraordinary comfort and an unrivaled level of service. 1 Hotels, which launched in 2015 with the opening of exclusive properties in Miami’s South beach and Manhattan’s Central Park, followed by Brooklyn, located on Pier 1, in February 2017, is inspired by a simple idea: those that travel the world also care about it. 1 Hotels upholds this vision by channeling nature through design and culinary partnerships, while connecting with the local community and taking sustainable steps to make a big difference.

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