2018 VERGE Vanguard Awards: Leaders in the Clean Economy

For all the technologies, policies and market developments propelling the clean economy, success ultimately boils down to people: the visionaries, network builders, corporate leaders and innovators who show the way for the rest of us. That’s the spirit behind our inaugural class of VERGE Vanguard Award winners, nominated by the VERGE community and selected by the GreenBiz editorial team. They include leaders from companies big and small, nonprofit organizations and the public sector.

This year, we’ve chosen five winners in each of the three areas of focus at this fall’s VERGE 18 Conference: clean energy; sustainable transportation and mobility; and the circular economy. More on the conference being held October 16-18 at the Convention Center in Oakland, CA at- www.greenbiz.com/events/verge-conference/oakland/2018

In addition to the 15 awarded individuals we’ve also selected five companies — startups and multinationals alike — that have demonstrated leadership in one or more of these areas. See their names below.

Combined, the 20 VERGE Vanguard Award winners demonstrate the promise of the clean economy: the vast opportunities that exist around the globe and at all income levels for healthier, prosperous and sustainable communities, solving some of the planet’s most pressing social and environmental challenges. – GreenBiz Editors

Read more details about all the 20 VERGE Vanguard Award winner listed below.


Renewable microgrid maverick
Seth Baruch, National director for energy and utilities, Kaiser Permanente; Oakland, CA

Google’s regenerative designer
Kate Brandt, Sustainability officer, Google; Mountain View, CA

Urban transportation innovator
Robin Chase, Co-founder; Veniam, NUMO; Cambridge, MA

Bringing carbon down to Earth
Noah Deich, Executive director, Carbon180; Berkeley, CA

Tesla’s Swiss Army knife
Jerome Guillen, President, automotive; Tesla; Palo Alto, California

Making Cradle to Cradle material
Jeffrey Hogue, Global chief sustainability officer, C&A; Brussels, Belgium

Barrier breaker for affordable clean energy
Holmes Hummel, Founder and principal, Clean Energy Works; Washington, DC

Showing the way to circularity
Ellen MacArthur, Founder and chair, Ellen MacArthur Foundation; Cowes, UK

Renewable energy champion
Rose McKinney-James, Managing principal; Energy Works, McKinney-James Associates; Las Vegas, NV

Godmother of impact investing
Nancy Pfund, Founder and managing director, DBL Partners; San Francisco, CA

Transit operator
Daniel Ramot, CEO and co-founder, Via; New York City, NY

Smart City chief
Shireen Santosham
, Chief innovation officer; San Jose, CA

EV advocate
Janea Scott, Commissioner, California Energy Commission; Sacramento, CA

Turning trash into treasure
Tom Szaky, CEO, Terracycle; Trenton, NJ

Ringleader of renewable energy buyers
Bill Weihl, Former sustainability and energy czar for Facebook, Google; San Francisco, CA

Innovating toward circularity
Apple, Cupertino, CA

Inventing the future of transportation
General Motors, Detroit, MI

Microgrid maven
Go Electric, Anderson, IN

Logistics leader
, Atlanta, GA

Wind champion of middle America
Xcel Energy, Minneapolis

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