International Center for Sustainable Development (ICSD)

ICSD Gaithersburg:
22923 Wildcat Road Gaithersburg, Maryland 20882 U.S.A.

Phone: 1.301.428.1040 Fax: 1.301.916.8786

ICSD Baltimore:
111 S. Calvert Street,
Suite 2310
Baltimore, Maryland 21202 U.S.A.
Phone: 1.443.514.7122 | Fax: 1.443.451.8386


ICSD Board of Directors

John W. Spears | Makarand V. Dehejia | Ernest Lowe | Lynn Sharp Spears | Jill Sorensen

John W. Spears, C.E.M., LEED AP
President, Sustainable Design Group
President, CEO, International Center for Sustainable Development

22923 Wildcat Road, Gaithersburg, MD 20882
Phone (301) 428-1040, Fax (301) 916-8786 |

John Spears is the president of Sustainable Design Group and President/CEO of the nonprofit International Center for Sustainable Development in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He is an internationally recognized expert with 30 years experience in energy conservation, renewable energy systems, indoor air quality and sustainable design. Mr. Spears provides design and consulting services in the areas of residential and commercial building energy conservation, renewable energy systems, “Green Building” design, indoor air quality and sustainable community development. As a home designer, his homes have appeared in publications such as Better Homes and Gardens Building Ideas, Popular Science, Solar Age, New Shelter, and Environmental Design and Construction and has been featured on Home and Garden TV (HGTV), Dream Builders and Old Homes Restored. Since 1973 Mr. Spears has been consulting with clients such as The Department of Energy, EPA, Electric Power Research Institute, Gas Research Institute, National Association of Home Builders, utilities and product manufacturers. As the Senior Architect for the National Association of Home Builders Research Center, Mr. Spears headed the energy, indoor air quality and building systems research. As Senior Energy Planner for Montgomery County Maryland in the early 1980s, he developed and managed a comprehensive energy management plan to lead the county to energy self-sufficiency by 2020. Mr. Spears has served on the board of directors and founded local chapters of the American Solar Energy Society and the Energy and Environmental Building Association.

Mr. Spears is a Certified Energy Manager (CEM) by the Association of Energy Engineers and was awarded the Environmental Professional of the Year 1995. He is also a member of the US Green Building Council and a LEED Accredited Professional.

Mr. Spears has helped numerous institutions and developers develop sustainable community projects in the USA and around the world. Mr. Spears designed the first passive solar, sustainable community development project in South Africa. This project was presented at the UN Global Warming Conference in Kyoto Japan in December 1997 as an example of how developing nations can grow and prosper while minimizing the emissions of greenhouse gases. Known as a “no regrets” project, this development cost no more to implement than conventional development and creates sustainable economic growth and stable healthy communities.

Mr. Spears has extensive experience working throughout China. Working together with the USDOE and the Beijing Ministry of Science and Technology and local Guanghan, China city government Mr. Spears designed a model sustainable village with approximately 100 new homes, town center and community building, sustainable water, waste and energy systems and a sustainable agriculture system. The concept of recycling village resources has become central to making this a sustainable design, with renewable energy powering the village: solar heating as well as biogas production to provide cooking gas and a biogas-powered generator for electric power. The biogas is generated on a farm, which serves as the main revenue source alongside the agriculture. The village economy and environment is further aided by new enterprises: compressed earth block technology, straw board manufacture, and flexible home designs that allow villagers to operate small shops to serve villagers and tourists. This sustainable village serves as a model not only for villages in China, but throughout the developing world in agricultural based regions.

Mr. Spears has been working with the Chinese Ministry of Health through the World Bank and the GEF to design, build, monitor and evaluate over 30 passive solar health care clinics in 3 north western provinces of China and to train their Design Institutes on energy efficient passive solar building design.

Mr. Spears has worked with 5 cities in China, providing sustainable development technical assistance in both rural and urban development and is playing a key role in the US-China cooperation on Greening Beijing for the 2008 Olympics.

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Makarand V. Dehejia
President Alliance for Sustainable Energy & Industry, LLC
5411 Surrey Street
Chevy Chase, MD 20815 USA
Phone: 301 938 9144 Fax:301 656 9583

Makarand V. (“Mak”) DEHEJIA, a former Vice President of the World Bank Group in Washington D.C., has for the 45 years worked extensively in the area of global business and international trade in a wide variety of industrial sectors in more than 45 countries.

He won the prestigious TATA Scholarship to pursue engineering studies at Cambridge, UK. After graduating from Cambridge, Mak worked for private sector industrial groups in the U.K., and France and with TATA in India. He joined the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector affiliate of the World Bank, as a Project Engineer in 1966 and quickly rose through the ranks to become the head of the Engineering Department in 1976. In 1981 he was made a member of IFC’s Management Group and Promoted to Vice President, Engineering & Technical Assistance. When he retired from IFC in December 1994, he was Vice President in charge of Corporate Business Development.

During his long tenure at IFC, Mak Dehejia was directly involved in the search, evaluation and selection of technologies for projects in developing countries. Being responsible also for the supervision of project construction, Mak became acutely aware of the common pitfalls encountered in doing business in emerging economies. His long experience in this field makes him an ideal interpreter of technology and technological issues in global finance and trade matters. Recently, at the request of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization he wrote a retrospective review of issues in the use of technology in developing countries.

Mak is currently President & CEO of the ALLIANCE FOR SUSTAINABLE INDUSTRY & ENERGY, LLC. He continues to advise investors seeking to promote business in emerging markets. His expertise is also sought by multinational corporations and governmental institutions to develop industrial investment strategies. He was a member of the secretariat of the Task Force on Multilateral Development Banks established by the G-7 countries to define a clearer role for the private sector in economic development. He is a founding member of the INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR INDUSTRIAL ECOLOGY at Yale University, New Haven, CT., and serves as the Book Review Editor for the Journal of Industrial Ecology.

He is an accomplished watercolorist and has won numerous awards at shows in the Washington DC area.

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Ernest Lowe
Ernest Lowe
Indigo Development

2815 Spring Creek Dr., Santa Rosa, CA 95405
tel: 01-707-542-4723 cell: 01-510-387-5964

Ernest Lowe is CEO of Indigo Development, the first consulting firm to put industrial ecology into practice in regional sustainable development, beginning in 1993. He is also a Founding Partner of Earth Home International, the ICSD related Social Enterprise for village development. He has played a central role in creating the concept of eco-industrial parks (EIP) as a model for local and regional economic development. He is author of the Eco-Industrial Handbook for Asian Developing Countries, prepared for the Environment Department of Asian Development Bank, an update of the Eco-Industrial Park Handbook which he co-authored for US Environmental Protection Agency in 1994-5. ( ) China has made EIPs a key strategy in its circular economy planning with support from Lowe. He has also applied industrial ecology to planning of the transition to sustainable farming, climate adaptation, sustainable new town development, and integrative regional action planning.

In later 2010-11 Lowe has focused his work on village reconstruction in flood-damaged Pakistan, working in team with other ICSD board members to create the joint venture and first project in Pakistan. Projects in 2007-10 include a pre-feasibility study for a proposed port-related Eco-Industrial Park in Portsmouth Virginia, and consultation on real estate development and recruitment strategies for a proposed eco-industrial park in Oneida County in Northern Wisconsin. The report for this project also outlined a sustainable region strategy for the five county Northwoods region. In 2007 he served as the industrial ecologist on a team preparing a report, Toward Resource-efficient Economies for Asia and the Pacific, for Asian Development Bank’s Regional and Sustainable Development Department. In 2004-6 he led strategic planning and training on an ongoing Korean initiative to transform large industrial complexes into eco-industrial parks.

Lowe has been strategic planning consultant for eco-industrial park developments in China, Sri Lanka, Australia, South Africa, Thailand, the Philippines, South Korea, North Korea, and Vietnam. In the US he has consulted on EIPs in California, New York, Puerto Rico, Texas, Wisconsin, Maryland, and West Virginia. He has also worked as strategic planner with Sandia National Laboratory and Science Applications International Corporation on developing their industrial ecology research agendas and consulting practices.

He has been active in eco-industrial development work in China since 2001. He has worked with the Dalian Development Zone in an eco-planning process for a 430-sq km economic and technological development zone in Northeast China and the planning of an eco-industrial park there. This process explicitly linked the eco-industrial park with fulfillment of the Zone’s obligation to model the Circular Economy mandated by Liaoning Province and the State Environmental Protection Agency. He led a Tonjii University research team in a study of three proposed eco-industrial parks in Shanghai.

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Lynn Sharp Spears

Lynn Sharp Spears

Performer, Director, Teacher & Designer
Phone (301) 943-8318

Lynn Sharp Spears is a seasoned professional performer, director, teacher and designer who has collaborated with The Kennedy Center, The National Theater, Studio Theater, Source Theater, Washington Shakespeare Company, Atlas Theater, Olney Theater, Toby’s, Networks and Troika National Touring Companies. Her film and television work in set design, costuming, casting and makeup include The Learning Channel, Discovery, National Geographic and more.

Ms. Sharp Spears' theatrical involvement covers the spectrum of innovative smallproductions to famous plays. From acting a lead role in WSC’s well-received The Cherry Orchard to being Production Designer for the World Premiere of Song of Eddie (considered for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize), she thrives on bringing the creative process to audiences.

Utilizing her abilities to foster creativity in young people, she served as Artistic Director of Adventure Theater 2002-2003 season and Drama Department Director for Georgetown Prep from 2003-2007. This will be her 7th year coordinating Summer Theater Experience in the DC metro area, a camp for young actors age 12-17 designed to build their performance and design skills, enabling each camper to find their own unique voice.

Visitors to The National Zoo walked through the whimsically enchanting entrance to the Pollinarium designed, painted and sculpted by this eclectic artist. Commissioned by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to paint a portrait of Archbishop Wood, Ms. Sharp Spears’ masks are on permanent exhibit at Penn State University. Her artwork is in private collections in the United States, Canada and Australia.

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Jill Sorenson
Jill A. T. Sorensen
Bilyan, LLC

Phone (443) 514-7122


Jill A. Tarzian Sorensen is a senior innovation manager with over twenty-five years of experience in intellectual asset and technology management.  She is the founder of Bilyan, LLC, an intellectual property and business development consultancy.  Since establishing Bilyan, Jill has co-founded two health innovation companies, launched an electric vehicle public-private partnership as a division of the International Center for Sustainable Development, co-founded Earth Home International to support off-grid housing for developing communities internationally, facilitated the raise of $5.5 million in capital for technology and economic development, and advised on sustainability strategies for multiple jurisdictions within Maryland, across the U.S. and globally.  Jill is appointed by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley to serve on the Board of the Maryland Clean Energy Center, a statewide clean energy and business incubation center poised to create, steward and grow green economy interests.

Jill served as professional faculty at the Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business 2005-2010, teaching social entrepreneurship and business ethics 2008-2010.  She sits on the American Friends advisory board of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, The Renewal Center for U.S. military health located in Frederick, Maryland, and the Board of Syan Biosciences.  She maintains an active consulting portfolio of technology development clients, from emerging to well-established entities. 

Previous to Bilyan, Jill served as Executive Director of the Johns Hopkins Technology Transfer (JHTT) office, where she oversaw a staff of 30, including corporate relations, business development, ventures and licensing professional staff, a portfolio of approximately 1500 active inventions and 2800 issued patents.  Before joining Johns Hopkins University, Jill served for six years as the Director of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Office of Technology Management where she was responsible for technology commercialization, portfolio management, licensing and equity deals, intellectual property assessment and valuation.  Prior to her assuming the Directorship of UIC’s intellectual property office, she served as in-house intellectual property counsel to the University of Illinois for twelve years, advising research administration on intellectual property matters, sponsored research, conflict of interest, institutional review board and academic integrity matters.

Jill earned her J.D. from DePaul University, her B.A. from Northwestern University, pursued graduate studies in chemistry at the University of Illinois, and was a visiting scholar to the University of Oxford in 2004 and 2007.  She has served on the Board of AUTM, the Association of University Technology Managers, as its Vice President for Membership, 2004-2005 and served as co-Chair of the AUTM Executive Forum in 2004 and 2006, a thought leadership forum for technology transfer directors.  Jill has served as a panel and sole arbitrator in commercial disputes for the past twenty years, is a registered patent attorney in the United States, and is registered to practice law in Illinois and in the federal 7th circuit district court.  Throughout her twenty+ year career in technology and intellectual property management, Jill has provided course instruction, served as guest lecturer and presenter on intellectual property, technology transfer, patent practice, conflict of interest, university-industry relations, intellectual asset management and translational research.  She is an innovation enthusiast working to get new ideas into use.  

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