Course Instructors


Christopher Wedding is an Adjunct Assistant Professor with the Nicholas School of the Environment, and CEO of IronOak Innovations, a sustainability strategy consulting firm. In addition, he is an investment professional, entrepreneur, start-up advisor, sustainability expert, speaker and author.  He has 15 years of experience in environmental science and management, sustainable business, private equity, angel and seed investing, innovation, entrepreneurship, real estate development, international research and teaching.  His other professional roles include: Co-Founder/Principal of g-bit, a market intelligence software platform for environmental sustainability trends; Director of R&D and Sustainability of Cherokee, an environmentally focused investment company; Adjunct Professor with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s (UNC) Kenan-Flagler Business School; faculty member with the Institute for Defense and Business, an executive education program for the US military; and a LEED Accredited Professional with the US Green Building Council since 2004. He served as green building advisor for the first two LEED Platinum certified projects in North Carolina and one of the first ten Gold certified LEED for Neighborhood Development projects in the world.  He also served as the catalyst and asset manager for the two largest solar PV landfill projects in the US.

Charles Adair is the Program Manager at the Duke Carbon Offsets Initiative. The Initiative was founded in 2009 and is responsible for developing an offset strategy for Duke University to meet its climate neutrality goal by 2024. He holds a Bachelors degree from the College of William and Mary and a Masters of Environmental Management from the Nicholas School.

Michael Becketts serves as the Director of Durham’s Social Services.  He comes from Baltimore, MD where he served as the Deputy Director of the Baltimore Department of Social Services and oversaw a workforce of 1100 staff and a budget of approximately $100 million. One of his major accomplishments in Baltimore was the implementation of strategies exiting over 800 children from the foster care system. His masters’ degrees in social work from University of Maryland and health administration from the University of Baltimore provide him with a strong understanding of the health and human services systems. He has also been on the faculty of the University of Maryland’s School of Social Work. His experience within health care agencies, educational institutions, and public welfare agencies provides a depth of experience that help move Durham forward.

Terry Bellamy, the Director of the City of Durham Transportation Department, has significant experience in developing transportation options that include multi-modal, implementation of sustainable infrastructure, and ensuring equitable access which includes his current position as assistant director of Transportation Planning, Engineering & Operations in the Department of Transportation and Capital Improvements for the City of San Antonio, Texas. In his current position, he provides leadership in the development of the San Antonio’s 2040 Multi-modal Transportation Plan and the development of Vision Zero, the city’s pedestrian safety initiative. Bellamy also currently serves on the San Antonio Mobility Coalition Executive Committee, VIA Metropolitan Transit Advisory Committee, and is vice chair of the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Technical Advisory Committee.

Allison Besch directs the Executive Education program for the Duke Environmental Leadership (DEL) program, part of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University.  Her interests focus on creating and implementing education programs related to science, sustainability, and the environment.

MaryAnn Black, Associate Vice-President of Community Relations at Duke University, is one of the community’s most respected and experienced leaders. 

Ms. Black is a leading health advocate for health and human services with a background as a social worker specializing in psychotherapy with children and their families.  She was named the 1994 “Social Worker of the Year” by the National Association of Social Workers.     Her experience was further heightened in the political arena during her lengthy tenure and strong leadership as a Durham County Commissioner (1990-2002), and as the Chair of the Durham County Commissioners (1996-2002). 

Ms. Black’s experience as a clinical social worker, combined with her strong leadership of the county commission, gives her valuable insight and expertise that will help strengthen the delivery of health care to underserved populations.  Further, her experience with the government is a valuable link between the health system and the diverse communities it serves.

The mission Ms. Black established for the Office of Community Relations (OCR) centers around the enhancement and development of Duke Medicine relationships with local governments, community leaders, faith communities, and other groups that support the health and human service needs of the people served by Duke Medicine.

Dorian Bolden is an entrepreneur with a financial services background. He is the founder and owner of Beyu Caffe, a restaurant, bar and live jazz club in downtown Durham. He worked at Bank of America after graduating with his Bachelor’s from Duke, but decided to pursue his dream of opening a restaurant. He worked at numerous coffee shops, bars and restaurants to learn how to run the various components of a restaurant before opening Beyu Caffe. Beyu Caffe has won numerous awards, including being named “Retail Business of the Year” by Downtown Durham Inc. and “Best Place to Hear Jazz in the Triangle.”

Laura Marie Davis is a student at Duke University pursuing a Masters degree in Environmental Management (MEM).

Jason Elliott is the Program Coordinator at the Duke Carbon Offsets Initiative. He works on maintaining and evaluating carbon offset projects adopted by Duke University. He holds a Bachelors degree from Manchester University and a dual Masters of Forestry and Environmental Management degree from Duke University.

Gayle Harris has served as the Public Health Director for the Durham County Department of Public Health since February 2009. With more than 41 years of service with the Department, she is committed to promoting health in underserved populations. Gayle earned a BSN from Duke University and a MPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Gayle serves on numerous boards and committees, including: Durham Community Health Network; Project Access of Durham County Board of Directors (Vice-Chair), Durham Directors; Co-PI and Steering Committee member of the Durham Diabetes Coalition, NC Diabetes Advisory Council; United Way of the Greater Triangle Women’s Leadership Council; the Lincoln Community Health Center Board of Directors (Secretary); and the Mayor’s Poverty Reduction Task Force (Health). She is a member of the NC Association of Local Health Directors, NC Public Health Association, American Public Health Association, North Carolina Nurses Association, and the American Nurses Association. She has also received numerous recognitions including the NC Association of Local Health Directors Ham Stevens Award (2013), Auxiliary of the Durham Academy of Medicine, Dentistry & Pharmacy Legacy Award (2012), Duke University School of Nursing 2012 Distinguished Alumna Award (2012), and UNC School of Public Health Alumni Association Distinguished Alumna Award (1995). She was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing in 1990.

Glenda Lee is the Assistant Director of Alumni Relations and Programs at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke. She is also the founder of Rising TIDE, an extracurricular training program to provide students with an introduction to inclusion and diversity and its importance to managing organizations dedicated to environmental stewardship. Prior to her current position, she was the assistant director of the Career and Professional Development Center at the Nicholas School. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of North Texas and a Masters in Career Counseling from North Carolina Central University.

Laura Lipps coordinates materials, student services, and logistics for Executive Education courses, trainings, and events. Prior to joining the Nicholas School team, Laura’s professional positions included team development specialist at AFS Intercultural Programs, policy analyst at the Ecological Society of America, and research assistantships at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. She also served in the U.S. Peace Corps as an Environmental Education Extensionist in El Salvador. She holds a Bachelors in Biology from Earlham College and a M.S. in Environment and Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Sidney McLaurin, Jr. is a student at Duke University concurrently pursing Master’s degrees in Business Administration (MBA) and Environmental Management (MEM).

Kimberly E. Monroe is the Program Manager for the Duke University Health System Office of Community Relations. Ms. Monroe is active on numerous community boards and committees and is the co-chair for the Partnership for a Healthy Durham and was recently appointed to the City of Durham’s Homeless Services Advisory Committee.  Before joining Duke in 1997, Ms. Monroe was a Reimbursement Analyst for UNC Physicians & Associates.  She also worked for Piedmont Health Services, Inc. as the Center Manager for the Carrboro Community Health Center and was active with the Kellogg Community Based Initiative in Orange County, NC. Ms. Monroe earned a BBA in Finance from McMurry University, and a MPA in Health and Human Services Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

David Reese, President and CEO of the East Durham Children’s Initiative, brings more than 20 years of nonprofit leadership experience to the organization. Throughout his career, David’s work has focused on creating opportunity for low-wealth families and developing chances for children to succeed. David previously served as chief operating officer for Food Recovery and Distribution at Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. He is past co-chair of Partnership for a Healthy Durham and past vice chair of Northeast Central Durham Leadership Council. He serves on the Boards of Directors of Downtown Durham Rotary Club, Durham’s Partnership for Children, East Durham Children’s Initiative, Kidznotes, and Leadership Triangle. He also serves on the Downtown Durham YMCA’s advisory board, the Mayor of Durham’s Poverty Reduction Task Force, and the United Way of the Greater Triangle’s Education Council. In 2006, he was recognized as one of Triangle Business Journal’s “Top 40 Under 40” business leaders. David holds a Master of Business Administration.