The Sustainable Connections Team

We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams.
Derek Long

Derek Long

(he/him/his)

Executive Director
Connector, family man, thought-leader, runner, visionary

360.647.7093 x 101
derek@sustainableconnections.org

Read Derek's Bio
Derek has a long record of entrepreneurism and program development in government, for-profit, and nonprofit sectors. He co-founded Sustainable Connections in 2002 and became Executive Director of Cloud Mountain Farm Center prior to an anticipated merger with Sustainable Connections at the end of 2018. Derek was also the first co-National Coordinator of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) in 2002. He is deeply committed to creating a community that works well for all people, and believes our region is rich with the potential to do so.

Before his foray into the nonprofit world, he co-founded Viatru, an online Fair-Trade retail service, and also worked with the Federal Reserve Bank. Derek attended the University of Toledo, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with Honors. He has served on the boards of the Washington Business Alliance, Waterfront Advisory Group, Countywide Affordable Housing Task Force, Community Food Co-op, and Cloud Mountain Farm Center.

Rose Lathrop

Rose Lathrop

(she/her/hers)

Program and Finance Director
Vivacious, party-bus, imagination, bright, skillful, determined

360.647.7093 x 107
rose@sustainableconnections.org

Read Rose's Bio
Rose has been involved with Sustainable Connections in one way or another since the very beginning! As a local leader in the green building movement, she has been instrumental in establishing some of Bellingham’s most-loved building projects including Millworks Cohousing, KAPOW!, and Solarize Whatcom. Rose obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Planning and Environmental Policy from Western Washington University, and is a LEED Accredited Professional and Certified Sustainable Building Advisor. Rose was also named as one of the 2016 Under 40 Honorees by the NW Energy Coalition! She is continually energized by the innovation and creativity in our community and is committed to helping Bellingham create spaces that transform, nourish, and reflect the beauty of our place.
Pamela Jull

Pamela Jull

(she/her/hers)

Program Director
Enthusiastic, analytical, planner, listener, action-oriented

360.647.7093 x 120
pamelaj@sustainableconnections.org

Read Pamela's Bio
Born and raised in the Northwest, Pamela spent her childhood climbing trees and playing on the Northwest’s chilly beaches. She lived in Colorado, New York, North Carolina, and Japan before moving to Bellingham in 1996 to teach Sociology and work in administration at Western Washington University. Pamela has a PhD in Sociology from Cornell University and spent 20 years as owner and President of Applied Research Northwest, a Bellingham-based social research company. Her company specialized in program evaluation, community studies, and survey research for government agencies and nonprofit organizations, including Sustainable Connections! Most recently, Pamela worked as a Grant Writer and Resource Development Lead at United General Hospital District 304. In her spare time, Pamela loves to cook and garden. She serves on the board of the Center for Local Self Reliance (aka Chuckanut Center), enjoys skiing and hiking, and with her husband Burrell, is learning to fly.
Delaney Skordal

Delaney Skordal

(she/her/hers)

Grants Manager

360.647.7093 x 121
delaneys@sustainableconnections.org

Read Delaney's Bio
With over ten years of experience working in non-profit and government sectors, Delaney is eager to identify strategies to best garner support for Sustainable Connections’ programs. Delaney has a B.A. in Art History from Lewis & Clark College, an M.A. in English Education, and is a veritable word nerd who loves reading, writing, and crossword puzzles. Delaney’s background includes advising students as a vocational counselor, teaching ski lessons at Mt. Baker, managing a workforce training program for low-income individuals, and fighting fires in the woods of Colorado. As someone who grew up in a tight-knit community in the PNW, Delaney values the sense of belonging and connectedness that communities foster and is honored to work for a non-profit that places inclusion, collaboration, and community at its center.
Amy Vergillo

Amy Vergillo

(she/her/hers)

Communications Director
Designer, creative, visualizer, idea generator, helper

360.647.7093 x 105
amy@sustainableconnections.org

Read Amy's Bio
Amy makes our world beautiful and is the genius behind Sustainable Connections’ communications strategy! She has an extensive background in various marketing and sales roles, including owning her own firm, Fidalgo Designs. She’s been with Sustainable Connections since 2013, and has headed several large communications projects like the Bellingham Energy Prize, in addition to being the artistic force behind our content and collateral for programs and events. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the University of Minnesota – Duluth, and is driven to create messages that inform, motivate, and inspire action through thoughtful design.
Taylor Webb

Molly Bressers

(she/her/hers)

Business Engagement Specialist
Optimizer, water woman, loves to laugh, organized, determined

360-647-7093 x110
mollyb@sustainableconnections.org

Read Molly's Bio
Molly is a Bellingham native who grew up alongside her mom’s family-run restaurant, and earned her sustainability chops through a Masters of Urban Studies in Sustainable Development, and subsequent professional roles in the Campus Sustainability Office, at Portland State University. A systems-thinker, Molly loves process improvement and making connections between people to increase collaboration and maximize our collective potential. She knows that local businesses are an integral part of a thriving, sustainable community, and is passionate about supporting businesses while also promoting actions that honor and respect all members of our shared ecosystem. Molly joined the Sustainable Connections team in 2022. Outside of work, Molly loves being on the water in her kayak, bird-watching, family bike rides, yoga, and enjoying good, local food. (Ella habla español.)
Employee in cream sweater against a brick background

Melissa Daniels

(she/her/hers)

Administrative Manager
Puzzle solver, bike rider, ice breaker, mood maker

360.647.7093 x 104
melissad@sustainableconnections.org

Read Melissa's Bio

Melissa’s career journey, driven by her passion for community building, has taken her across the landscapes of Colorado, New Jersey, Virginia, and Illinois. With a diverse background spanning data management, volunteer coordination, partner engagement, natural resource management, and ecology, she has spent time in small nonprofits and state and federal government agencies. In her free time, Melissa finds joy in skiing, cycling, hiking, sewing, and board games, each activity complementing her commitment to connection through shared delight.

photo coming soon

Annika Sampson

(she/her/hers)

Communications & Events Coordinator
Storyteller, adventurer, curious, creative, islander, local food hypewoman

360.647.7093 x 116
annikas@sustainableconnections.org

Read Annika's Bio
Annika came to Sustainable Connections in 2021 with a deep love of community, food, justice, and sustainability. She gathered these interests as a student at Macalester College, an educator with nonprofits and public schools, a Fulbright Scholar in India, and an engaged public citizen in Bellingham. Annika is excited to facilitate meaningful connections that inspire people to create positive change not just in their lives, but in the lives of those around them. Outside of work, she spends her time hiking, biking, cooking, and reading.
Katy Coleman

Kaela Joslyn

(she/her/hers)

Bookkeeping Extraordinaire

360.647.7093
kaelaj@sustainableconnections.org

Read Kaela's Bio
Jessica Gillis

Jessica Gillis

(she/her/hers)

Food & Farming Program Manager

360.647.7093 x 115
jessicag@sustainableconnections.org

Read Jessica's Bio
Jessica has been involved with Sustainable Connections since its inception. As a business member and supporter through her business Ciao Thyme, she has witnessed the impact of Sustainable Connections in the community. These two organizations began at a similar time and developed together, sharing a mission of growing awareness about local food. Jessica and her husband, Mataio, spent 20 years building relationships with local farmers, producers and food artisans in Whatcom and Skagit Counties. They educated their customers about seasonal cooking by highlighting the best the seasons had to offer through their menus for special events, cooking classes, restaurant lunches and CT2GO meals. In the early days you would often see her at SC events, serving up delicious meals! Jessica brings her many years of event planning experience and her passion for local food to Sustainable Connections and the Food and Farming program. She hopes to expand the networks of chefs and farmers and encourage more local restaurants to incorporate the incredible food grown in Whatcom County. She holds a degree in Environmental Education from Huxley College at Western Washington University.
Maressa Valliant

Maressa Valliant

(she/her/hers)

Eat Local First Director

Details, connector, resourceful, nurturing, dance & music, kind

360.647.7093 x 103
maressa@sustainableconnections.org

Read Maressa's Bio
Maressa has a wide range of marketing experience, garnered from working with all kinds of organizations from small family businesses to high volume retail outlets. With over ten years in graphic design, website development, and communications she is a wealth of knowledge. She’s also passionate about creating a sustainable food system, and educating people — especially children — about how to find, prepare, eat, and enjoy fresh local food! She has held a variety of roles for both nonprofits and private entities, managed retail stores, and previously helped a manufacturing company excel as its Director of Marketing. She has volunteered with the University of Washington Autism Center, and multiple community based organizations. Spend a few hours with Maressa, and you will be sure to notice a deep love for Bellingham and the Pacific Northwest.
Taylor Webb

Jess Meyer

(she/her/hers)

Food & Farming
Outreach Coordinator
Enthusiastic, conscientious, food nerd, adventurer
360.647.7093 x 111

jessicam@sustainableconnections.org

Read Jess's Bio
Jess has a diverse background in the food industry. She’s been a cook, farmer, waitress, bartender, and food educator and spends a lot of her free time talking, reading, and writing about food. She is a firm believer that if we improve our relationship with our food, we can improve our relationships with each other. Since moving to Bellingham in 2018, she has been an active participant in our vibrant community and has loved connecting with local growers, restaurant owners, and food producers in this place we’re so lucky to call home. Jess joined Sustainable Connections at the start of 2022 and is excited to help connect food industry partners and members of the community through the relationship building power of food!
Taylor Webb

Jenna Deane

(she/her/hers)

Towards Zero Waste Manager
Outside adventures, family and friends, growing vegetables

360.647.7093 x 108
jennad@sustainableconnections.org

Read Jenna's Bio
Jenna has spent over a decade in the field of environmental education and brings a passion for supporting climate change solutions and community resilience. From sharing tide pools and redwood trees with fifth graders, investigating science topics in the garden with elementary students, to providing experiential workshops on teaching climate change to local teachers, she believes that people are most likely to take action about things they feel a connection to. She’s excited to be a part of the Toward Zero Waste Program because along with reducing and diverting waste from the landfill she gets to support the Food Recovery Program and help connect good food to those who need it.

Jenna has a B.A in Environmental Education from Western Washington University and has worked in residential outdoor education, school gardens, and for environmental education non-profits. She loves spending time outdoors and fills her free time gardening, running or hiking local trails, or in the bay paddling an outrigger canoe.

Brandi Hutton

Brandi Hutton

(she/her/hers)

Toward Zero Waste Assistant Manager
Energetic, creative, plant nerd,
hiker, mom

360.647.7093 x 119
brandih@sustainableconnections.org

Read Brandi's Bio
Brandi loves connecting with our community and helping to inspire a brighter future. She’s beyond ecstatic to be part of the Toward Zero Waste and Food Recovery Initiatives where she has the opportunity to have an active role in shaping effective programs that promote sustainable practices. Originally a Midwest native, Brandi arrived in Bellingham in 2006 to pursue a degree in Environmental Conservation from Fairhaven College at Western Washington University. Since graduating, she has passionately pursued and developed an authentic understanding of practical approaches to natural resource management. Whether it be working with private landowners through Whatcom County to protect water quality, or educating the public through specific outreach programs, Brandi’s unwavering commitment to our community is a constant.

Outside of work, Brandi enjoys participating in all of the unique and exciting community events in Bellingham, as well as hiking the hundreds of trails nearby with family.

Emily Larson-Kubiak

Emily Larson Kubiak

(she/her/hers)

Energy & Green Building
Program Manager

Connector, energetic, geek-out, facilitator, bookworm, adventure

360.647.7093 x 113
emily@sustainableconnections.org

Read Emily's Bio
Emily Larson Kubiak is committed to making energy efficiency affordable and accessible through innovative programs and partnerships. Devoting her career to using technical expertise to make sustainable action easy for her community, Emily has extensive experience in both residential and commercial energy efficiency and is a Certified Energy Manager (CEM). She is proud to play a role in making Western Washington a leader in the energy transition as a consultant, collaborator, and advocate for local climate action. Emily loves helping people and businesses thrive while reducing environmental impact!
 
A lifelong resident of the PNW, Emily is fortunate to have made Bellingham her home for two decades. Emily is at her happiest losing herself in a good book, walking anywhere, devising ways to bring people together, and spending time with her supportive husband and adorable kids.
Elodie Cerauskis

Jordan Olson

(he/him/his)

Commercial Energy Advisor
Analytical, reader, questioner, builder, outdoor athlete

360.647.7093 x 117
jordano@sustainableconnections.org

Read Jordan's Bio

Jordan grew up in Seattle and put down roots in Bellingham in 2023 after living in San Luis Obispo, Portland, Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, and Sacramento. His work on the Energy & Green Building team is informed by his previous experience working as a mechanical engineer, energy analyst, and sustainability consultant on commercial, multifamily, education, tech, government, and healthcare projects. He spent several years working in a Living Building and strongly believes that the technology exists today to create a sustainable and resilient built environment. He’s excited to be focused on reducing barriers and increasing access to energy conservation measures.

Jordan holds a BS in mechanical engineering from Cal Poly, a BA in philosophy from the University of Washington, and a MA in the history and philosophy of science from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Washington and has also worked as a professional bike mechanic.

In his free time Jordan enjoys rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, reading science fiction novels, and chilling with his cats.

Katy Coleman

Elizabeth Vaughn

(she/her/hers)

Energy and Green Building Program Assisstant
Solution Minded, Analytical, Granola, Adventurous, Dog Obsessed

360.647.7093 x 123
elizabethv@sustainableconnections.org

Read Elizabeth's Bio

​Elizabeth Vaughn is an Oregonian who made her way up the coast, to find the perfect home in Bellingham in 2021. Elizabeth is a graduate of Western Washington University’s Business and Sustainability B.A. program with a minor in Economics where she took great interest in sustainable energy systems and their potential environmental and economic impacts. She is excited to dive deeper into her interests in expanding access to energy efficient technology access to equitably serve local communities after working on a project examining the connection between legislature and energy efficiency in buildings.

Elizabeth loves spending time outside with her dog on forgotten trails and logging roads or paddle boarding. When the weather takes a turn, she enjoys the challenge of cooking new things and reading voraciously.

Mary Tully

Scott Pelton

(he/him/his)

Housing & Smart Growth Manager
Energetic, Pioneer, Systems, Dynamic, Community-Builder

360-303-1430 (text welcome)
scottp@sustainableconnections.org

Read Scott's Bio
Scott was born and raised in the PNW and has lived in Bellingham since the late 1990s. He considers Bellingham to be magical and loves building community here. He received his MA in Political Science from WWU, where he learned that politics were his first love. He wants to use it to build a stronger, more engaged and vibrant community.

He has managed local political campaigns; sat on the boards of some of your favorite local nonprofits; worked at prominent local businesses; co-founded a popular local business. He has developed a deep understanding of what and who makes Bellingham tick and what we need to support its growth.

He spent a few years working remotely in the corporate and startup world, leading national and international sales teams, with a brief foray in the global tech-mobility industry. He then chose work that put him back in touch with his community and was reminded how good it felt to build something of value.

Clara Colton Symmes

Clara Colton Symmes

(she/her/hers)

Events and Outreach Coordinator
List-maker, magnetic poetry enthusiast, karaoke singer, snacker, trip planner

360-647-7093 x102
claracs@sustainableconnections.org

Read Clara's Bio

Born and raised in New Hampshire, Clara’s drive to connect has taken her to non-profits in South Africa and Sri Lanka, abandoned fishing towns in Newfoundland, and across the Atlantic on a cargo ship!

She graduated from Goucher College in 2019, inspired to motivate environmental stewardship through community and storytelling. Shortly after relocating to Washington in 2020, Clara began working on public relations efforts for water research projects across the Global South. Eager to connect more with the PNW, she refocused on sustainability efforts closer to home.

If you were looking for Clara at a party, you would probably find her next to the recycling bins, asking friends to dispose of their waste properly, so she is so excited to be a part of Sustainable Connections as an Events Coordinator!