Capital Sustainability is a Washington, DC based Benefits Corporation that works with key stakeholders from the private, public and non-profit sectors to create solutions to recurring problems. Our triple bottom line approach emphasizes holistic outcomes. We measure results not just in economics, but also in the number of lives that are positively impacted, and the environmental improvements. Our principals and consultants have vast experience working across multiple asset classes and cities of varied sizes. Capital Sustainability is a Washington, DC Certified Business Enterprise.
John Settles is a proven leader known for crafting innovative strategic plans that advance organizational objectives and capabilities. John offers a unique blend of leadership, strategic thinking, team building,and creativity. He is an expert in the areas of real estate finance, real estate development, construction management, sustainability, and community/economic development.
Over the past 20 years, Mr. Settles has been instrumental in creating new mortgage lending strategies for prime and underserved markets; influencing public policy initiatives; developing numerous adaptive reuse strategies for properties; and fusing real estate transactions into broader community development programs. Additionally, he has pioneered the revitalization of several underserved neighborhoods.
His unique experience working as a developer and financier, coupled with his understanding of program and policy development at the federal government level equips him with the unique ability to design innovative solutions and strategies.
As an entrepreneur he has successfully built companies in several arenas such as Construction, Real Estate Development and Real Estate Finance. Additionally, he has written several white papers and created innovative programs addressing Community Economic Development. At the age of 30, Mr. Settles became A Vice President for Fleet Bank in charge of Sales and Operations for their Emerging Markets division. Prior to joining Fleet, Mr. Settles was a Sales Manager for Wells Fargo. His accomplishments in the mortgage industry include being selected as a Future Leader of the Mortgage Bankers Association.
John Settles is effective in high-profile executive roles. He acts with decisiveness in stressful situations,develops creative solutions to complex challenges, and is respected for work ethic, integrity and dedication to continued learning. Moreover, he is skilled in Operations and Finance. He understands financial processes, prepares and administers program budgets, manages facilities, technology and performs personnel appraisals while also developing performance improvement plans. His experience includes Start Up, Turn Around, Growth and Change Management. Further, he is experienced with Funding and Capitalization Strategies, Risk Management, Property and Asset Management and Customer Relations.
Mr. Settles received his BA in Finance from Howard University. He began his career working for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In addition to governmental experience, Mr. Settles has held several management positions in the Mortgage Banking Industry.
Mr. Aurbach is a problem solver with over 25 years helping clients address their needs through marketing, communications, production and engagement. He has extensive background in outreach tools such as digital solutions and video productions with a focus on the strategy behind the message. Aurbach produced a number of award-winning broadcast and non-broadcast videos and has developed multimedia and communications strategy tapping into a variety of technologies including websites, mobile apps, social media and digital marketing. His clients have ranged from Fortune 500 companies, federal, state and local governments, major institutions of higher learning, trade associations to small businesses and community groups.
Aurbach is involved with a wide variety of community initiatives related to transportation, planning, energy and cultural and environmental sustainability. He serves on the Champions Council for the Coalition for Smarter Growth and the steering committee for Ward 3 Vision, providing guidance for community building, capacity building, and outreach. He also served on the steering committees of Connecticut Avenue Pedestrian Action and the DC Office of Planning’s Neighborhood Sustainability Indicators Pilot Project. He is a Mayoral appointee to the District of Columbia Historic Preservation Review Board where he serves as a lead on the Board Sustainability Task Force. Aurbach is a member of the American Planning Association and wrote his masters thesis for Urban Planning on innovative technology platforms in the community engagement process.
Dr. Dickens received his Doctorate and Masters from Howard University and Cornell University, respectively, in the field of Electro-physics. He is certified in efficient lighting technologies and is a subject matter expert in Smart Grid and alternative energy technologies. For the past 4 years, Dr. Dickens worked as an instructor teaching electronics, semiconductor device physics, power systems, power electronics and alternative energy systems. And before that, Dr. Dickens held the position of Director for the Semiconductor Center for Electronic Devices (SCEDC) at Morgan State University where he specialized in the modeling and simulation of wide band gap (SiC and GaN), power devices (HEMTs and HBTs), and power amplifiers.
His extensive background and experience span the range of engineering science that underlies the various sustainability solutions present in today’s green environment. From solar and wind generation to battery back-up, building systems and lighting technology, Dr. Dickens has developed the methodology to test and maximize energy generation and output. In addition to his field work, Dickens has also developed curricular materials for every level of education, k-12, college and post-graduate studies. Corey is an active member in IEEE Power and Energy, American Society for Engineering Education, African Scientific Institute Fellow and African American Blacks in Energy.
Since 2004 Fred Widicus has been involved with virtually all aspects of the solar project development value chain. He worked as a solar consultant for a variety of entities from 2004-2007 ranging from large residential developers (e.g., Pulte Home; KB Home) to venture capital entities, where his responsibilities included vetting solar business models/technologies, financial model due diligence, state and Federal policy review, site evaluation and system design.
In 2008 Fred was with Tecta America Corporation, the largest commercial roofing company in the U.S., as a management consultant tasked to develop strategic and tactical plans for Tecta’s roofing divisions to enter the solar contracting market. Tecta’s national footprint required review and analysis of numerous states’ solar policies, then integrating this information with Tecta’s national customer roof portfolios which included Coca Cola, Prologis, and several of Walmart’s primary suppliers. Ultimately, Fred’s work helped guide the formation of the “Tecta Solar” division.
Fred’s special expertise in the development history and financial implications of the solar value chain led him to form Carbon Finance Strategies LLC. Fred used his unique solar industry background to manage the needs of the company’s largest clients (Massachusetts Port Authority and Clean Harbors). Over a two year period Fred performed exhaustive portfolio analysis for each entity. Ultimately for Clean Harbors, the process yielded a 1.51 MWp ground mount solar PV project on 8 acres of an “arsenic vault” landfill (owned by Clean Harbors). Fred created the financial model used by company decision makers and exclusively managed the contractor selection process that resulted in a successful project energized in April 2011. In addition, Fred was instrumental in negotiating a lucrative long-term SREC contract, and continues to manage the project’s PJM-GATS (SREC) account and fulfill all SREC contract obligations for Clean Harbors.
The Massachusetts Port Authority (MPA) engaged Fred’s services complete a “renewable energy” evaluation for the buildings and land located at an MPA owned airport. Ultimately, the engagement prompted MPA to issue an RFQ/RFP for a 7 acre PV canopy parking installation with Fred assisting the MPA through the RFQ/RFP. This required intensive review of the financial condition and operational capabilities of many of the leading solar EPCs in the U.S. As responders were eliminated, Fred assisted the MPA in forming a pool of the “best” candidates and then took them through face to face interviews.
In 2012-2014, Fred led a solar development team through final pre-construction activities and negotiations for financing of three (~13 MWp total) ground mount PV projects located in Massachusetts. Over two years of work culminated in the then largest non-utility PPA in the Northeast. The consortium of electricity buyers is comprised of a variety of municipal entities (schools, Town Administrative buildings, senior centers) with over $45MM of electricity to be sold to them over the next 25 years.
Because Fred has remained independent from equipment manufacturers, finance providers, and other industry players, he is uniquely positioned objectively to assess deal structures, equipment choices, warranties, installer credentials, and financing mechanics — and to optimize impartially across numerous variables for projects and suites of projects.
Greg, an Advisor to Capital Sustainability, has played substantial roles in developing the energy efficiency and green building industries, and is a long-time thought leader, innovator and investor in the transition to a low carbon economy. He is President of Capital E which works with cities, corporations and financial institutions to design, scale and implement clean energy and low carbon strategies. Capital E most recent work with partners such as the American Institute of Architects on cities (including Washington DC) to map the full costs and benefits of cool roofs, green roofs, solar PV and solar thermal on city roofs. Greg is a partner in Cleanfeet which invests in project funding for clean energy, storage and green agriculture deployment in the Washington DC metro region and nationally.
Greg previously served as Managing Director of Good Energies, a multi-billion dollar global clean energy PE/VC fund, where he led investments in smart grid, energy efficiency, green materials and green buildings. He served for 5 years as the Director of Financing for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the US Department of Energy. Greg was the Founding Chairman of IPMVP and built it into the international energy and water efficiency design and verification standard for >$50 billion in building efficiency upgrades. He recently helped design the World Bank’s large new green building financing program. Greg is a founder of both the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and the country’s first green bank. In 2011 he was the first recipient of the US Green Building Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Greg Chairs the congressionally established board guiding the greening of 430,000 federal buildings, serves on the Mayor’s Green Ribbon Committee guiding the greening of the District of Columbia, and served on a National Academy of Sciences board on strengthening US global competitiveness. He earned an MBA from Stanford University and (concurrently) an MPA from Princeton, a BA from UNC as a Morehead Scholar, is a Certified Energy Manager and a LEED AP. Greg is the author of Greening Our Built World; Costs Benefits and Strategies. Greg serves on a half dozen boards and regularly testifies on clean energy/green/financing issues. A solar PV system powers his family DC home and an electric hybrid car.
Ms. Russell is a senior level executive with over 16 years of stakeholder engagement and management experience, directing major corporate, government and non-profit initiatives.Her strategic and political acumen has led to a track record of accomplishment in public relations, community outreach, corporate philanthropy, partnership development and has landed her in varying advisory roles to C-suite level executives. Ms. Russell has spent her career developing and executing strategies and initiatives that drive new business development and help achieve organizational priorities and goals. She is recognized for her ability to effectively navigate our region’s multifaceted ecosystems.
Most recently Russell was the SVP for Community Impact at the United Way of the National Capital Area where she led an annual social investment strategy of approximately $2.5 million dollars. She also worked with corporate partners to match their social responsibility goals with many of the organizations member nonprofits and; engaged the social and public sectors around key issue areas. Prior to joining United Way, Ms. Russell held a senior leadership position at the National Capital Revitalization Corporation (NCRC), where she played a key role in re-positioning the economic development organization with both government and business audiences. At NCRC Russell was also the lead negotiator on Community Benefits Agreements for major redevelopment projects including the Howard Theater/Parcel 42, the McMillan Sand Filtration site, and Skyland Shopping center. She was the lead on government affairs, including advocacy efforts with the City Council and in coordinating inter-governmental support of NCRC’s real estate development project. Ms. Russell also spent 4 years as Deputy Chief of Staff under Mayor Anthony Williams, where she was responsible for the management of stakeholder and constituency relationships in the promotion of the Mayor’s strategic goals and priorities, including the trailblazing citizen engagement initiative, Neighborhood Action.
Russell holds a law degree from the University of Maryland and undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Public Administration from James Madison University. Over the years she has held positions on numerous local boards and commissions in both volunteer and job-related capacities. She is an active member of Leadership Greater Washington and resides with her family in Washington D.C.