Ramiro Diaz, President of the board of directors of Groundwork New Orleans, is an architectural designer and photographer employed at the New Orleans firm of Waggonner & Ball Architects. A graduate of Tulane University School of Architecture, Ramiro has lived and worked in New Orleans for over 14 years. Prior to joining Waggonner & Ball Architects in 2004, Ramiro worked for Eskew+Dumez+Ripple in New Orleans, Kaplan/McLaughlin/Diaz in San Francisco and the artist collective Atelier Van Lieshout in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. After Hurricane Katrina, the firm was involved in various recovery planning efforts, including developing a planning framework for St. Bernard Parish. The Dutch Dialogues, initiated by Waggonner & Ball and cosponsored with the Royal Dutch Embassy and the American Planning Association, is an ongoing collaborative planning process that incorporate Dutch water management practices. Conceptual urban designs that incorporate water into this specific urban area have been proposed, with opportunities sought that increase value as well as safety at multiple scales. The Dutch concept of “living with water” has been incorporated by Waggonner & Ball into the New Orleans Master Plan, a sustainable water management design study for the Lafitte Greenway, and most recently, the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan.
Jennifer Snape, Board Treasurer, is currently a co-owner of Batture Engineering, LLC where she is responsible for completing a variety of civil and environmental design projects. She has worked closely with the Sewerage and Water Board in the recent past as a project manager for the sewer system rehabilitation program. Ms. Snape obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in civil engineering with departmental honors from Tulane University in 2004, and she is currently enrolled in the Coastal Engineering Master’s Certificate program at Old Dominion University. After college, Jennifer worked as a project engineer on many civil site design, utility, and drainage design projects in the southwest. She returned to New Orleans in 2009 to work for Gaea Consultants. Ms. Snape holds her P.E. license in civil engineering in Louisiana, California, and Arizona.
Yarrow Etheredge, incorporating member of the board of directors of Groundwork New Orleans, is a 1999 graduate of Tulane Law School, with a certification of specialty in Environmental Law. She began her career as a plaintiff-side environmental attorney with Waltzer and Associates before joining New Orleans’ Mayor Ray Nagin’s first administration as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Affairs. She continued her career as Director of Public and Legal Affairs for Toxicological and Environmental Associates, an environmental consulting firm, and as a visiting adjunct professor of Environment and Development at Tulane University’s Payson Center for International Development and Technology Transfer. She currently teaches at Tulane University, is a Senior Staff Analyst in Transmission Compliance at Entergy Services Inc., and serves as the Vice President and a founder of the Louisiana Brownfields Association, and board member of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana.
Don Blancher, Ph.D. Don is a native of New Orleans, is CEO of Sustainable Ecosystem Restoration, LLC. and is a nationally recognized expert on estuarine ecology, habitat assessment and water quality and biological impacts of discharges to ecosystems. For the last few years he has been evaluating coastal wetland systems for coastal decision making processes using Energy Analysis. He also has been working on analyses and planning for implementation of sustainable low-impact infrastructure in Gulf Coast urban areas. Dr. Blancher received his bachelor’s in Biology from University of New Orleans (1972), his masters in Zoology and Physiology from LSU (1974) and his Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering Sciences from the University of Florida (1979). Dr. Blancher has authored over 50 technical reports and papers and numerous presentations at national and international meetings. He was formerly Chairperson of Ecology and Aquatic Resources Committee of the Water Environment Federation, is Adjunct Associate Professor in the Environmental Toxicology Program at the University of South Alabama, and Chair of Goundwork NOLA’s Technical Advisory Committee
Jared Sessum, is a sustainability professional with over 10 years experience working with organizations to develop processes, procedures, and standards to ensure economic viability of projects while having a positive impact on society and the environment. With a unique expertise in contributing to the development and robustness of various programs in numerous fields, Jared is now working independently to create collaboration in the marketplace with a personal mission to increase awareness of environmental justice and social responsibility. He is driven by a passion to have a positive impact in his community through behavior change, resource efficiency, waste reduction, access to healthy food, and innovative technologies.
Brooke Morris is currently a designer at Batture Engineering, LLC. She specializes in green infrastructure design by integrating engineering and landscape architecture techniques. She uses stormwater modeling, spreadsheets and site specific sketches to quickly optimize stormwater performance and construction limitations with site design. Brooke obtained her Masters in Landscape Architecture and her Bachelors in Biological Engineering, with honors, from Louisiana State University. Between 2009 and 2016, Brooke served as a project manager for the LSU Community Playground Project, where she collaborated with public elementary schools’ students, parents and staff to provide safe accessible playgrounds. She applied this experience in community based design and service learning as a teaching assistant for the Landscape Architecture Masters Water Studio and Dr. Marybeth Lima’s Biological Engineering Service Learning Playground Design course. She is a contributing author to Service Learning: Engineering in Your Community, 2nd edition.