Management Team

Kurt Shickman
Kurt Shickman is the Executive Director of the Global Cool Cities Alliance (GCCA), a non-profit dedicated to accelerating the use of passive cooling solutions in urban and rural communities around the world to enhance their resilience to extreme heat.  GCCA works with over 40 global cities as part of the Cool Cities Network, with a focus on knowledge sharing, awareness raising, research, and policy development.  He serves as an expert to the Clean Energy Solutions Center and has led projects for the U.S. Department of Energy, the World Bank, Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the Clean Energy Ministerial.  Kurt is the lead author of the Primer for Cool Cities: Reducing Excessive Urban Heat, published by the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program and the Global Platform for Sustainable Cities program, which details passive cooling options for cities and a roadmap for developing and implementing policy promoting heat resilience.  Prior to launching GCCA in 2011, Kurt was the Director of Research for the United Nations Foundation’s Energy and Climate Team.  Kurt holds an MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a BA from Wake Forest University.

Maria Koetter
Maria is a Program Director at the Global Cool Cities Alliance and leads the Cool Roadways Partnership that was formed to advance the use of cool roadway solutions that help cities build heat resilience by reducing surface and air temperatures. This includes engaging with industry, academics, and jurisdictions to provide market leadership towards developing and installing cost-effective, high-performance, and scalable solutions. Maria is also leading efforts to monitor and quantify the overarching impacts of cool roadways.

Maria formerly served as Louisville, Kentucky’s first Director of Sustainability and led city-wide strategic sustainability planning, policy development and program implementation. Maria developed Louisville’s first comprehensive sustainability plan “Sustain Louisville” in 2013. Under her direction, the City conducted the first-of-its kind urban heat island study that identified the most effective strategies to manage urban warming.  Key programs under her direction included green infrastructure expansion, energy management, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, climate adaptation, and citywide tree canopy reforestation.

Bipin Shah
headshot_shah-copy Bipin serves as Technical Advisor to GCCA, and is currently President of WinBuild Inc, a private consulting firm. He has a B.S. and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and over 20 years of experience in building energy efficiency research and technology advancement. He is a CEM-Certified Energy Manager, CBEP- Certified Business Energy Professional, CDSM – Certified Demand-Side Management Professional and National Fenestration Rating Council Certified simulator. He is currently a Board of Director of Cool Roof Rating Council and National Fenestration Rating Council. Through his company WinBuild and as a US-DOE consultant, he has worked internationally to develop and establish energy efficiency ratings programs and policies. He specializes in providing simulation trainings and for establishment of testing laboratory for building envelope, essential for implementation of Building codes and policies. He interacts internationally with industry, decision makers, technical experts, government officials and researchers, on work related to building envelope research, policies, technical services implementation and codes and standards development that creates demand for advanced emerging technologies.

Dr. Laurence S. Kalkstein
headshot_kalkstein Dr. Kalkstein serves as a Technical Adviser to GCCA, and currently serves as a Professor within the Voluntary Faculty in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Kalkstein’s career has been dedicated to evaluating the impact of climate and climate variation on several environmental parameters, including human health, air quality, insect migration, and various climate change impact issues. He shared the Nobel Peace prize in 2007 with lead authors of IPCC working groups; Dr. Kalkstein’s group dealt with climate change and extreme weather impacts on human health and well-being. He heads the University’s Synoptic Climatology Laboratory, which is dedicated to evaluating the impact of weather situations upon various environmental features, and his work has been funded by a variety of federal government agencies, as well as NGOs, utility companies, and public health agencies. He and his research group are responsible for developing heat-health warning systems, used by the National Weather Service to issue advisories and warnings for over 30 cities in the United States, as well as 30 more major urban areas around the world.

Marcel El Khoury
Marcel is a recent graduate from the Sustainability Management program at Columbia University. He is originally from a small village in Northern Lebanon, where he grew up spending most of his time in the outdoors exploring the mountainous regions. He graduated with a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the American University of Beirut and came to New York to pursue his passion of saving the environment. Prior to living in Lebanon, Marcel lived in Benin, Africa for the first ten years of his life. Growing up in developing countries made him witness the lack of concern for the environment and the need for it. Marcel puts forward extensive knowledge on the renewable energy industry, policy analysis and critique, project planning and financing, feasibility analysis, and energy and GHG benchmarking in the built environment. His academic and professional experiences have given him a keen interest on green building design, maintenance, and operation.

In his free time, he enjoys hiking, camping, snowboarding, rugby, and soccer.