Identifying Business / Industry Needs for Resilience Planning

Partners and Sponsors

The Executive Forum on Business and Climate is an inaugural education-based activity initiated in 2013 with an underlying concept that business and industry engagement is critical for advancing climate information for effective decision-making. To that extent, CICS-NC, a NOAA partner, collaborates with other industry leaders and other partners to:

  1. Identify opportunities in the business value chain that can make best use of detailed climate data, and
  2. Deepen our collective understanding of business processes for improved climate risk management, and uses and applications of climate information for building adaptation capacity.

Our partners include:

GEORGE BRIGGS Director, NC Arboretum

george-briggs George Briggs has served since 1987 as executive director of The North Carolina Arboretum, an affiliate institution of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system. He has guided development of the Arboretum through $35 million in capital development and oversees annual budgets exceeding $3 million, 60 employees and 275 volunteers. The North Carolina Arboretum attracts almost 500,000 visitors annually and implements place-based strategies in a variety of economic sectors.

Mr. Briggs serves as president of the Centers for Environmental and Climatic Interaction, Inc., a regional collaborative that has created economic and scientific value through partnership with the National Centers for Environmental Information of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and in the form of a NOAA Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites based in Asheville. He also serves on the North Carolina Biotechnology Center board of directors and has been instrumental in fostering a growing regional economic sector in natural biotechnology and integrative health.

DR. CHRIS BROWN Vice President for Research and Graduate Education, University of North Carolina General Administration

chris-brown The Vice President for Research and Graduate Education promotes research, sponsored programs, and graduate education across the full spectrum of academic disciplines and interdisciplinary activities carried out by UNC's sixteen university campuses. He helps advocate for increased levels of external support from federal, state, and private sources and works closely with UNC General Administration staff and campus administration to support a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship and to develop research and sponsored program agendas that are supportive of the mission of each.


otis-brown Dr. Brown is the Director of NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites – North Carolina and his specialties are satellite oceanography, development of quantitative methods for the processing and use of satellite remotely-sensed observations to study Earth System processes with a focus on ocean color and infrared observations, and the development and application of new approaches to study climate variability and stakeholder engagement. Over time, his research interests have shifted to areas of observable climate change impact including the development of basin scale climatologies for SST and color fields, use of longer-term space-based observations to quantify the impacts of climatic variability, and the engagement of stakeholders. He collaborated with Professor Mary Doyle at the University of Miami to found the Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy as a sustainable approach to the training of the next generation of Earth System managers and researchers.

Dr. Brown served as Dean of the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science for 14 years, while being at the University for more than 40 years. He received the University of Miami President’s Medal in honor of his outstanding leadership and distinguished accomplishments in his field of expertise as well as for his contributions to society. Dr. Brown is a tenured Professor of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at the University of Miami (on leave) and a Research Professor at NC State University. Dr. Brown holds a Ph.D. degree in Physics, with a specialty in underwater optics, from the University of Miami; a Master of Science degree in Theoretical Physics from the University of Miami; and a Bachelor of Science in Physics from North Carolina State University.

JOHN F.A.V. CECIL President, Biltmore Farms, LLC, Asheville, NC

john-cecil Mr. Cecil has served as President and CEO of Biltmore Farms, LLC, since 1992. Established in 1897, Biltmore Farms has focused its efforts on community building, through completing an extensive portfolio of real estate projects from a regional shopping mall, corporate offices, hotels, mixed-use master planned communities, urban villages, medical office buildings and over 600 homes. Mr. Cecil is past Chairman and member, Board of Directors, Mission Health, Inc., and Mission Hospitals, Inc.; Executive Committee, Secretary, and Director, N.C. Biotechnology Center; Finance Committee, Executive Committee, Board of Trustees, Carolina Day School; Governor, Vice-Chair, Secretary, UNC Board of Governors; Director, N.C. Arboretum; Member of the National Advisory Board, Institute for Emerging Issues; Chair, WNC Regional Advisory Board, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.; Governor, Urban Land Institute Foundation, and Member, Urban Land Institute, serving on the Responsible Property Investment Council. Mr. Cecil received his M.I.M. from The American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) and his B.A. from UNC-Chapel Hill. He has been happily married to Sarah M. Cecil since 1993, and they have four sons, Thomas, Hugh, John, and Owen.

NANCY COLLETON President and Founder, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies

nancy-colleton Nancy Colleton is an internationally known and respected leader in environmental communication and information. As president of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) she leads numerous initiatives that promote better understanding of the changing planet. Through high-visibility meetings, networking, opinion pieces, government liaison, testimony and media appearances, Ms. Colleton has worked vigorously with senior-level government and industry executives to increase the awareness, value and use of Earth observations and to emphasize the need for a comprehensive strategy to ensure that citizens, business, and government at all levels have the environmental intelligence needed for improved decision making. She has also developed educational programs that engage children in doing science.

In addition to serving as the deputy chair of the Commission on Education and Communication (CEC) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Ms. Colleton leads the Alliance for Earth Observations and co-chairs the Environmental Information Services Working Group (EISWG) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Science Advisory Board.

MS. JENNY DISSEN Director of Outreach and Engagement, CICS-NC

jenny-dissen Ms. Dissen is the Director of Climate Literacy and Outreach at NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites North Carolina. She leads a program of informal and more formal outreach activities across public and private sector to advance climate science and improve understanding of interests and needs on climate impacts on sub-decadal time scales, adaptation strategies, and options for building resilience to climate change. As CICS-NC is also part of NC State University Office of Research, Innovation and Economic Development, she provides catalytic support to advance the uptake of climate data and information on the climate adaptation timescale.

Prior to joining CICS-NC, Ms. Dissen worked in Southeast Asia for the William J. Clinton Foundation in their Clinton Climate Initiative. She also served as an experienced manager at Accenture for nearly ten years in the Resources Industry Group, and was a member of the High Performance Asset Management Team for their North American Utilities Practice and supported the Climate Change and Sustainability Group. Ms. Dissen received her M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering in Environmental Systems Analysis and B.S. in Environmental Engineering, both from North Carolina State University. She has participated in Harvard Business School Global Energy Seminar is currently enrolled in the Climate Change and Society curriculum at University of North Carolina.

TAMARA HOUSTON Sectoral Engagement Lead, NOAA’s National Cli Data Center

tami-houston Ms. Houston engages with public, private, and academic users from a variety of climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture, energy, health, insurance, and transportation in order to identify user needs and enhance their climate literacy. She has also worked on a variety of applied research projects including the development of snow and freezing rain climatologies.

Prior to joining NCEI, Ms. Houston served as the Service Climatologist at the Midwestern Regional Climate Center in Champaign, IL. In this position, she answered and processed requests for climate data and information from public and private user communities. Ms. Houston received her M.S. in Geography with an emphasis in Applied Climatology and B.S. in Meteorology, both from Northern Illinois University.

THOMAS R. KARL, L.H.D. Director, NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Chair, U.S. Global Change Research Program

thomas-karl Thomas Karl currently serves as director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information in Asheville, N.C., and Chair of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Karl is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society and has recently completed his term as President. He is also a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and has published more than 150 peer-reviewed scientific reports and articles and has authored several books as Editor and Contributor. He has received many awards and recognition for his work in services and scientific contributions in climate-related work including: two Distinguished Presidential Rank Awards, five Gold Medals from the Department of Commerce and two Bronze Medals; the American Meteorological Society's Suomi Award; National Associate of the National Academy of Sciences; the NOAA Administrator's Award, and several others. He has served as Editor of the Journal of Climate (1997-2000) and has been the Convening and Lead Author and Review Editor of all the major IPCC assessments since 1990. He was Co-Chair of two US National Climate Assessments. He has received a B.S. in Meteorology from Northern Illinois University, a M.S in Meteorology from the University of Wisconsin, and a doctorate of humane letters (honoris causa) from North Carolina State University.

R. TERRI LOMAX Vice Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Economic Development, North Carolina State University

terri-lomax Terri L. Lomax is the Vice Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Economic Development at NC State University. The Vice Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Economic Development at North Carolina State University is responsible for state, federal, industry, and foundation-sponsored programs (total NCSU research and development expenditures are surpassing $380 million per year); university regulatory compliance, sponsored program support, university project development, technology transfer and commercialization, Centennial Campus and NC State University graduate school (more than 9,500 graduate students in 10 colleges).

MACK PEARSALL President and CEO, Pearsall Operating Company

mack-pearsall Mack Pearsall is a lawyer, entrepreneur and environmentalist of diverse accomplishments in the fields of agriculture, hospitality and food services, land development and the automotive industry.  Currently President and CEO of Pearsall Operating Company, he has served as Chairman of the Board for PSC Automotive Group, CEO of Belmont Farms Partnership and chaired two North Carolina gubernatorial campaigns.  A strong advocate for regional economic advancement, climate and environmental initiatives, Mr. Pearsall is also the President of Asheville-Buncombe Sustainable Community Initiatives, is a member of the Asheville Hub Alliance, and serves on the Warren Wilson College Board of Trustees.  In 2005, Mr. Pearsall was honored with membership in the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina’s highest civilian public service award.  He holds a joint A.B.-L.L.B, Juris Doctor with Honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

MICHAEL TANNER Deputy Director, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information

mike-tanner Michael D. Tanner is the Deputy Director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, headquartered in Asheville, North Carolina.  Mr. Tanner oversees the day-to-day operations of the Center and also supports a variety of executive-level activities under the U.S. Global Change Research Program, Executive Office of the President.  Mr. Tanner has over 25 years of experience in government in program management and technical management, covering NOAA, NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the U.S. Air Force.  Mr. Tanner is a graduate of Notre Dame University (B.S., Biology) and West Coast University (M.S., Research and Development Management).


Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to advance strong policy and action to address the twin challenges of energy and climate change. Launched in November 2011, C2ES is the successor to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, long recognized in the United States and abroad as an influential and pragmatic voice on climate issues. The Pew Center’s founder, Eileen Claussen, and its senior team continue to lead the effort.





University of Michigan Erb Institute

The University of Michigan Erb Institute is committed to creating a socially and environmentally sustainable society through the power of business. Building on nearly two decades of research, teaching, and direct engagement, the Institute has become one of the world’s leading sources of innovative knowledge on the culture, technologies, operations and governance of business in a changing world.

The Institute’s impact is realized most powerfully through our vibrant global network of students and alumni who are the transformative change agents in business, government and the non-profit worlds. Created in 1996 through the generosity of Frederick A. Erb (BBA ’47) and his wife, Barbara, the Institute is a partnership between the School of Natural Resources and Environment and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan