Who We Are

 

June Blotnick

Executive Director

As the Executive Director of Clean Air Carolina, June has led the organization since 2005, creating innovative programs and partnerships designed to raise awareness about air pollution and to advocate for the stronger air protections needed to improve public health. She also leads the Charlotte Climate Leaders, a stakeholders group advising the City of Charlotte, on the implementation of their recently adopted Strategic Energy Action Plan, which seeks to reduce carbon emissions from city operations and ultimately across the city. Sustain Charlotte honored June with a sustainability award in 2012, and presented Clean Air Carolina with another sustainability award in 2014. The EPA’s Southeast Diesel Collaborative also recognized June with a 2014 Visionary Leader award for her work in reducing diesel pollution in North Carolina.

Gerald Babao

Director of Operations

Gerald is a nonprofit “lifer” and brings a passion for the environment and over 15 years of leadership, management, and support experience. Day-to-day, Gerald leads and monitors CAC’s internal operations, works closely with June on execution of strategy, and has complete business responsibility for programs and activities. Prior to joining Clean Air Carolina, Gerald worked for various emerging, national, and international non-profits. However, he is most proud of helping athletes achieve their dream of becoming an Olympian/Paralympian. For years, Gerald also worked tirelessly with the Olympic movement advocating for accessibility for people with disabilities in sport and the inclusion of canoe/kayak at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio. When he is not at work, Gerald loves being active outdoors, travelling, rooting for his favorite Washington, D.C. sports teams, and exploring the craft beer scene wherever his travels take him.

Kerstan Ryan

Manager, Development

Kerstan works to build a culture of philanthropy, securing private and public support for essential programs in the fight for clean air. She spent the last decade honing fundraising and program management expertise in advancement offices for universities and colleges in Michigan and Arizona, where she specialized in annual giving, donor relations, and individual giving. Kerstan received her Master of Nonprofit Leadership and Management from Arizona State University and her Bachelor of Arts in both Organizational Communication and Spanish from Western Michigan University. A Michigan native, Kerstan is an avid traveler, dreams of being a contestant on NPR’s Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, and enjoys spending time exploring the Southeast with her husband, Spenser, and their two rescue pups, Sanders and Roary.

Kelly Picarsic

Database Administrator

Kelly manages the organization’s day-to-day database and website operations to ensure our cloud-based systems run securely, efficiently, and effectively. As a member of our team for over 14 years, Kelly has worn various hats in marketing, communications, and development. She joined our team as a volunteer in 2004 to re-design the organization’s very first website. During that time, she also played an instrumental role in launching the organization’s first educational program, Clean Air for Kids. Since then, Kelly has held various positions in communications and development to ensure the ongoing success of the organization. She is also a certified yoga teacher and volunteers her time as President of the nonprofit Friends of Northwest School of the Arts, a parent/teacher organization in Charlotte.

Andrew Whelan

Manager, Marketing Communications

Andrew oversees outreach and engagement, content creation, communications strategy, and brand development. Andrew grew up exploring the lakes, mountains, and forests of upstate New York, inspiring his passion for the outdoors. Andrew comes to Clean Air Carolina with a background in water resources, wildlife conservation, and environmental communication. He previously worked with the National Wildlife Federation, advocating for the health and restoration of the Great Lakes. Andrew holds a double Masters in Environmental Management and Public Policy from Duke University, and a Bachelors of Arts in Biology from Amherst College. Andrew is happy to be back in North Carolina with his wife and daughter after spending five years living in Michigan and New York. In his spare time, Andrew enjoys hiking, rooting for Duke basketball, and both watching and talking about movies.

Joel Porter

Manager, Policy

As the Policy Manager for Clean Air Carolina, Joel leads advocacy efforts and creates policy solutions to limit pollution, mitigate climate change, and protect public health for North Carolinians. Among the roles Joel has previously taken on, he has worked with a Government Affairs team for a national trade group of energy utility providers in Washington, D.C., as a lobbyist for North Carolina municipalities and localities, and as an advocate with a non-governmental organization pushing national market-based energy and climate policies. A native of Kansas City, Joel enjoys bar-b-queuing and will gladly discuss the strengths and weaknesses of vs KC- vs Carolina-Que. Joel did his bachelor’s in political science at Benedictine College in Atchison, KS, and completed his master’s coursework in Government and Security Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C.

Stephanie Johannes

Manager, Health

Stephanie is a pediatrician in the Triangle with a long-standing interest in health equity and environmental justice. She completed medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, and her residency in Pediatrics at Duke University. She holds a master’s degree in molecular genetics and previously worked in translational research developing immune-based therapies for Type 1 Diabetes. Stephanie loves taking care of kids and their families one-on-one, and also wants to help improve their lives in the community. Seeing so much of her patients’ health and future put at risk by climate change impacts outside of her clinic led her to get involved in advocacy. She serves as a North Carolina climate advocate for the AAP Council on Environmental Health, and is a founding member of the NC Pediatric Society Task Force on Climate Change. Stephanie is excited to be working with Clean Air Carolina to advocate for healthy air and climate-smart policies that protect health, and to support healthcare organizations adapting to climate change impacts. Outside of work, Stephanie loves outdoor adventures, traveling, and spending time with her husband and three kids.

Maria Sharova

Manager, Citizen Science

Maria is a researcher with a background in both social science and environmental science, who is passionate about community engagement. Originally from Maryland, Maria earned her Master of Science in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology from North Carolina State University, and a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Maryland College Park. She is particularly interested in facilitating science engagement through effective project design, management, and evaluation. Maria worked with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and the Ecological Society of America before joining Clean Air Carolina. As CAC’s Citizen Science Manager, she is looking forward to working with local communities to push for public health and environmental justice. In her free time, Maria enjoys hiking, cooking, and eating her favorite flavor of ice cream: Rocky Road.

Board of Directors

We are actively recruiting additional board members who can contribute unique skills and backgrounds to Clean Air Carolina. For more information about joining our board, please contact [email protected].

 

Kwame Alexander, Esq., Chair

Project Manager
Barton Malow Company

Bob Brownlee, MD

Physician, Internal Medicine
Tryon Medical Partners

Donnetta Collier

Financial Capabilities Coach
Self-Help Credit Union

Leroy Fields

Operational Risk Consultant
Wells Fargo

Andrew George, PhD

Senior Consultant
Thrivner, Inc.

Eric Hall

Physical Scientist
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Michael Jemison, Vice Chair

Senior Financial Business Analyst
Bank of America

Brian Magi

Associate Professor, Atmospheric Science, Climate Change, Air Quality
UNC Charlotte

Joy Marshall

Sr. Manager
TIAA

Allison Navarro, Secretary

Founder
RESET Integrative Health Coaching

DeAndrea Newman Salvador

NC State Senator, District 39

Lorraine Piephoff, Treasurer

Certified Public Accountant

Allison Shockley

Project Architect
ODELL

Scott Shuford

Community Planning and Resilience Principal
CASE Consultants International

James Smith

President
Executive Sellers Realty

Deb Watt

Chief Human Resources Officer
Foundation For The Carolinas

Board Advisors

Nancy Bryant

Founding Director
Clean Air Carolina

Betty Chafin Rash

Independent Public Policy Professional
Former Charlotte Mayor Pro tem

Lawrence Raymond, MD, ScM

Director, Occupational & Environmental Medicine
HEALTHWORKS Division
Atrium Health

Lisa Renstrom

Campaign Co-founder

DivestInvest

Arts & Science Council
Asthma Alliance of North Carolina
Belk
Belmont Middle School, Gaston County
Blumenthal Foundation
Capital Area Friends of Transit
Carolina Raptor Center
Carolinas HealthCare Levine Children’s Hospital
Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation-Clean Air Clean Water Alliance
Central Piedmont Community College
Charlotte AHEC (Area Health Education Center)
Charlotte Regional Environmental Network
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
City of Charlotte
Davidson College
Dogwood Alliance
Duke Medical Center
Duke University Environmental Scholars Program
Duke University Climate Coalition
Duke University Stanback Internship Program
East Carolina University
EarthShareNC
ERG Associates
Fred and Alice Stanback
Great Outdoor Provision
Grubb Properties
Historic Washington Heights Community Association
Justice Action Mobilization Network
Leadership Charlotte
MAHEC (Mountain Area Health Education Center)
McDowell Park Nature Center
Mecklenburg County Air Quality
Mecklenburg County Air Quality Commission
Mecklenburg County Health Department
Mecklenburg County Medical Society

Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation
Moms Clean Air Force
Mothers and Others for Clean Air
NC Air Awareness Program
NC Conservation Network
NC Interfaith Power and Light
NC Justice Center
NC Public Health Association
NC State University Center for Human Health and the Environment
NC State University Clean Energy Technology Center
NC WARN
Northwood Estates Neighborhood Association
Novant Health
O2emc
Oaklawn Park Community Improvement Association
One Percent for the Planet
Renewable Energy Design Group
RePower Our Schools
Rodgers Leeper
Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association, Chapel Hill
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Southern Environmental Law Center
Sustain Charlotte-Transportation Choices Alliance
Triangle Clean Cities Coalition
Trinity Episcopal School
UNC Institute for the Environment Healthy Homes Task Force
UNC Chapel Hill Appel Internship Program
UNC Health Care System, Preventative Care Residents
US Environmental Protection Agency
Vannoy Construction
Wilson Heights Neighborhood Association
Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation