Meet the Summit Leaders

Click the pictures for information on each summit leader.

Executive Director, Center for the Environment

Dr. John E. Wear, Jr., is the Founding Director of the Center for the Environment at Catawba College and Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science. During his tenure at Catawba, he assumed responsibility for establishing the college's Environmental Program, coordinating the faculty's creation of four different degrees.

He has committed his energies to environmental initiatives at the local, regional and state level. His leadership has been instrumental in launching a number of sustainability initiatives in the state relating to air and water quality and land conservation.

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Executive Director and General Counsel, Rocky Mountain Institute

As Executive Director and General Counsel, Marty Pickett focuses on RMI’s strategic direction to shift the transition from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewable energy; she also leads RMI’s development strategy and board governance. She is a founding director of the Snowmass Western Heritage Association and current president of the Windstar Land Conservancy.

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Senior Consultant, Rocky Mountain Institute

Michael Kinsley, a Senior Consultant for Communities and Campuses at RMI, specializes in sustainable communities and college campuses, workshop design and execution, and the behavioral aspects of RMI initiatives. He has extensive experience with and is a frequent speaker on local sustainability, economic development, college climate initiatives, natural capitalism, integrative decision-making, and growth problems and solutions.

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Research Librarian and Knowledge Manager, Rocky Mountain Institute

Betsy Herzog is Rocky Mountain Institute’s Knowledge Manager, responsible for organizing RMI’s vast collection of research materials and institutional memory. She provides reference and instruction to RMI’s researchers, manages RMI’s extensive digital library, and created RMI’s research library. She is also responsible for RMI’s “Research & Consulting Forum,” a quarterly event at which RMI researchers to present their latest findings to staff.

Herzog has a Masters’s Degree in Library Science from the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill. Prior to coming to RMI, she was a librarian at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Assistant Professor of Biology

B.S., Virginia Tech; M.S., Ph.D., Old Dominion University; Post-Doctoral study, Smithsonian Institution Dept. of Botany

Dr. Jay Bolin holds a Ph.D. in Ecology from Old Dominion University and a B.S. degree in Environmental Science – Plant Resources from Virginia Tech. Jay has been a faculty at Catawba College since 2011 and is crazy about plants and plant ecology. Prior to coming to Catawba, he was a fellow at the Smithsonian Institution’s Botany Department. In addition to interests in our indigenous plants he has botanized  (studied plants) all over the world including South Africa, Namibia, Borneo, Turkey, and Greece.

Summit Focus Group: Invasive Alien Plants and Animals: Friend or Foe to the Environment?

Associate Professor of Economics

B.A., Ph.D., University of Tennessee

Dr. Eric Hake received his B.A. in History and his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  Trained as an institutionalist economist, he believes the economy - how human society satisfies its basic material needs -  is a historically constructed and socially evolving system.  This means the economic system is not something separate from the rest of society. In order to come to grips with our economic and environmental problems, we must be willing to analyze the interconnections between what we believe, what we value, and what we do as a society.  Dr. Hake is a member and officer of the Association for Evolutionary Economics ( and a member of the Association for Institutional Thought.  Prior to coming to Catawba College in 2010, he has traveled, worked, and lived in Europe, the former Soviet Bloc, and in the Northeast, Midwest, and Pacific Northwest United States.

Summit Focus Group: The Price of Everything?

 Assistant Professor of Philosophy and is serving as Chair of the Religion & Philosophy Department

B.A., M.A., Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Since 1998 he has been at Catawba, where he teaches almost all of the philosophy courses. He is the advisor for the Department's club, Catawba Conversations. His most recent publications are several articles in Routledge's Encyclopedia of American Philosophy. He opposes the dominant scientistic philosophy of scientific naturalism, instead defending a philosophy of the humanities worked out by his mentor, the late E. M. Adams.

Summit Focus Group: "Go Ahead: Change Your Mind" this summer.

Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts

B.A. and M.F.A. in Arts Administration

Linda teaches "Introduction to Theatre Arts" to general education students, and "Theatre Arts Administration" to upper level theatre majors.  She coordinates "Applied Theatre" courses, and supervises the Management Shop, Box Office, and Front-of-House for the Theatre Arts Department.

Summit Focus Group: Sharing Stories in Support of Your Cause

Assiociate Professor of Biology

B.S., Butler University; Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Prior to coming to Catawba College, Dr. Poston was a Postdoctoral Fellow and Adjunct Instructor at the University of Kentucky. He is a member of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology, the Association of Southeastern Biologists, the North Carolina Academy of Science, and the American Ornithologists’ Union.

Summit Focus Group: A Backbone for Conservation

Lecturer in Communication Arts

M.A., Southern Methodist University; B.A., North Carolina State University; Over 20 years as Freelance Newspaper, Magazine and Internet Writer; Freelance Writer for SAS Software (Cary, NC).

Wittum has been writing professionally for over thirty years and has been publishing online for about fourteen years. She owns her own blogs and web sites as well as freelancing with major corporations. “I take a few projects each year to stay in the loop and on top of what’s going on in the world of online media,” says Wittum.

Journalism, new media, online publication, blogging and public speaking are Wittum’s key areas as a faculty member at Catawba College. She is also the advisor of the student campus newspaper, The Pioneer, and advisor for the Communication honor society, Lambda Pi Eta.

Summit Focus Group: Green Ink: Blogging for a Better Tomorrow