Who we are
About Resources for the Future
Resources for the Future is nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that conducts independent research ? rooted primarily in economics and other social sciences ? on environmental, energy, natural resource and public health issues. For more than 50 years, RFF has pioneered the application of economics as a tool to develop more effective policy about the use and conservation of natural resources. Its scholars continue to analyze critical issues concerning pollution control, energy and transportation policy, land and water use, hazardous waste, climate change, biodiversity, ecosystem management, public health, and the environmental challenges of developing countries.
Our team profile has been divided into:
The Atlas Design Team:
Shalini Vajjhala is the inventor of the Adaptation Atlas and Chair of the Atlas Advisory Board. From 2005-2009 she was a Fellow at Resources for the Future and her research portfolio focused on evaluating the social impacts of large-scale development and environmental policies with critical public participation components. She has worked extensively on integrating participatory mapping methods and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology and applying mapping approaches to diverse domestic and international issues including climate change adaptation, environmental justice regulation, renewable energy siting, and carbon sequestration risk management. Shalini holds a Ph.D. in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University.
Dan Spadaro, a Vice President in the Technology Division at Goldman Sachs, joined the RFF team through the Goldman Sachs Public Service Program, for one year beginning December 1, 2008 as the full-time Strategic Leader of Technology on the Atlas project. He is a technology professional with over 20 years experience supporting various industries and technologies, with the last 12 years primarily focused on the design, implementation, and support of systems technology infrastructure for financial applications at firms including Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, and Goldman Sachs. He has since returned to Goldman Sachs as focusing on technology risk management to enhance application security and resilience for the Information systems used by Goldman Sachs and their clients.
Janet Nackoney is an environmental conservation professional with 10 years of experience in natural resources research and GIS. As part of her own consulting company, Summit Geographics LLC, she worked on adaptation research and the Atlas project as a part- time GIS Specialist at Resources for the Future for almost two years. She specializes in spatial data analysis and mapping for a diverse array of natural resources, conservation, humanitarian, and international development applications. She is now pursuing her Ph.D. in Geography at the University of Maryland.
Nisha Krishnan is the Project Manager for the Atlas and a Research Assistant at RFF. She holds a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Macalester College, St. Paul and a M.A. in Applied Economics from the Johns Hopkins University.
The implementation of the Atlas design would not have been possible without our application developers,Blue Raster and GIS consultant, Demian Rybock.
Michael Lippmann has more than 10 years of experience in environmental policy and web application development. Since 2002, Michael has managed information technology projects at Blue Raster. He currently provides web application development, web geographic information system (GIS) development, policy analysis and project management support. He has broad experience with environmental research and has worked with numerous federal agencies in his management of the design, development, and deployment of many award winning interactive mapping/GIS and database-driven web applications.
Stephen Ansari has more than 10 years of experience in website and web application development that provides the foundation for managing and developing business mapping solutions and customized web application solutions.
Brendan Collins has over 5 years of experience in GIS applications and modeling for environmental systems research. He has worked previously for The Nature Conservancy and now is instrumental in designing and implementing web-based GIS applications.
Demian Rybock is a certified GIS Professional (GISP) with over five years? experience in GIS analysis, data collection and management, cartography, and web map development relating to the field of environmental conservation. Demian has been working part-time on the Atlas project through his GIS Professional consulting company, GeoConnects LLC, for the past six months. He specializes in developing geospatial data management strategies and creating and integrating ESRI ArcGIS Server web map services with rich internet applications.
In addition to the above core staff, our 2009 summer interns were indispensable in shaping the outcome of the Atlas.
Ewan Robinson is pursuing a M.A. in Geography at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His thesis focuses on the role of local institutions in enabling effective adaptation in the face of climate variability and change. Ewan has received a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue this research in Senegal in 2010. His insight into the linkages between adaptation and rural livelihoods was instrumental in building a well-thought out structure for the Atlas.
Leah Stokes recently received her M.P.A. in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University?s School of International and Public Affairs. She came to us with an extensive knowledge of climate financial institutions and development practices and played a critical role in building and visualizing an easily accessible and detailed database of adaptation activities. She now serves as a Parliamentary Intern at the Canadian Parliament.
Jess Wilhelm is currently a graduate student in international development studies at the University of Pittsburgh and an intern at the International Food Policy Research Institute. As an intern at Resources for the Future in the summer of 2009, he contributed to the Atlas using GIS to build layers. He is currently seeking full-time employment in the fields of international environment and international development.
The Current Management Team
Ray Kopp is a Senior Fellow and the Director of the Climate and Electricity Policy Program at RFF. In addition to being on the Atlas?s Advisory Board, he currently serves as the team leader. During his career, Kopp has specialized in the analysis of environmental and natural resource issues with a focus on Federal regulatory activity. He is an expert in techniques of assigning value to environmental and natural resources that do not have market prices, which is fundamental to cost-benefit analysis and the assessment of damages to natural resources. Kopp's current research interests focus on the design of domestic and international polices to combat climate change. He has authored numerous articles, provided Congressional testimony, and he serves as a member of Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Nisha Krishnan continues to play the role of Project Manager for the Atlas and is the primary point of contact for information and collaborating with the project.