Administration and Operations
Kelly directs MEC’s work to improve the health of our ecosystems and to fight climate change in local communities across Kansas and Missouri.
Kelly left her first career in book publishing to pursue work in sustainability. She has filled various roles at MEC, from program coordinator to project manager and program director. She was inducted into the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Hall of Fame in 2017 and was named an Agent of Change for her leadership in transportation sustainability by the Kansas City Regional Clean Cities Advisory Board in 2010. She serves on the Metro KC Air Quality Forum and participates in climate and energy policy groups across Kansas and Missouri.
Her passion for the environment was cultivated early in life on her family’s farm in Kentucky. In her free time, she enjoys supporting area farmers markets, barn dancing, and cheering on Sporting KC and the KC Current.
Joy Ellsworth (she/her)
Joy supports the strategic direction of MEC as it responds to emerging connections between the energy sector and everyday people. In addition to expanding MEC’s crowd of supporters, she analyzes funding opportunities to ensure potential grant programs are in alignment with our mission and that we are successful in our pursuits.
With an MPA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Bloch School of Management and a fundraising certificate from the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership, Joy focused her formal training on nonprofit management, social entrepreneurship, and diversified fundraising. Informally, for over two decades Joy has run her own businesses while consulting for small businesses on capacity improvements and marketing.
Joy actively volunteers for numerous KC-area environmental nonprofits and is board president of Clement Waters, a community environmental organization she co-founded with her husband. When Joy isn’t working or volunteering, she dotes on two darling children and two fuzzy furbabies.
Jeff currently helps develop/administer MEC contracts for both the Sustainable Transportation and Building Performance programs and also assists with other administrative and project tasks. He brings extensive air quality, health (public health and clinical research), management, and administration (contracting and purchasing) experience to the table. He has a master’s in public administration and in Government/Business Relations; and BA in Political Science.
He is most interested in finding ways to help businesses and local governments cut costs by going green. In his free time, Jeff likes hiking, traveling, gardening, reading, and photography. You have likely seen some of his pictures on MEC’s social profiles and event flyers.
In addition to leading MEC’s policy and advocacy efforts, Emily promotes MEC’s mission via communications and coordination of public events for both the Sustainable Transportation and Building Performance programs.
Prior to MEC, Emily worked at a health information technology corporation for six years spending three on their Benefits & Wellness team. She managed multiple programs and events for employees all over the world. However, she decided to change her career path and received a master’s degree in social work. More than ever, Emily believes social workers have an ethical responsibility to advocate for a sustainable future, ensuring everyone is included.
Emily is a lifelong resident of Kansas City, KS. She enjoys antique shopping and spending time with her friends, family, and her daughter MJ.
Prior to joining MEC, Mary worked in the building performance industry conducting energy assessments, testing, and consultation in both the residential and commercial sectors.
Mary founded Small Step Energy Solutions which became a leading home energy assessment provider. Small Step worked with municipalities – including Kansas City, MO – to review and update their building energy code. She also worked closely with area developers to create sustainable developments and multifamily housing based on equity goals. Mary then moved into commercial-business sustainability, helping start-up businesses in passive house design, energy benchmarking, and efficiency upgrades in HVAC systems. She currently serves on the Programs Committee for USGBC Central Plains and the Equity Committee for Climate Action KC.
In off hours Mary enjoys the great outdoors with her husband and dog; practicing aerial arts; and watching Royals baseball.
As part of the Building Performance team, Brittanie oversees the Healthy Housing Taskforce, co-leads the Energy and Water Benchmarking service, creates social content and newsletters, and conducts community outreach and events on topics from urban heat to healthy home retrofits and building codes.
Brittanie joined MEC as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in 2020. She came to MEC after completing a previous AmeriCorps service year in the City of Evanston, IL’s Office of Sustainability where she led climate education initiatives and facilitated the city’s compost program.
Brittanie received her bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Vanderbilt University. When she has free time, Brittanie enjoys going to concerts, cooking Caribbean dishes, and canoeing in many of Missouri’s lakes.
Justice Horn (he/him)
Justice is a community leader, social justice activist, and political strategist. He fights for representation everywhere and broke barriers as the first openly gay multicultural college wrestler in the NCAA. Now in politics, he worked on the Biden campaign in the African American, LGBTQ, and Pacific Islander division of the 2020 Joe Biden Presidential campaign. He was also senior advisor to the Missouri for Biden team as well.
As an African American, Caucasian, Pacific Islander, Native American, and LGBTQ individual, he represents the many communities he comes from and currently serves on the Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Advisory board and the Kansas City Streetcar Advisory committee. Justice is one of the many voices of the future here in our community.
Born and raised in Kansas City, Jacob is a dedicated professional with a passion for community work and a track record of success in various industries. He has a degree in Public Relations and a Minor in Business Administration. His unique blend of skills is a perfect fit to implement MEC’s 8 Principles of a Healthy Home program in partnership with Children’s Mercy Hospital.
Throughout his career, Jacob gained valuable experiences in technology sales, radio promotions (starting at one of the city’s oldest stations), and community work. Jacob also took on roles in the nonprofit sector. Recently, he worked in the very neighborhood where he grew up teaching youth the importance of financial literacy. He also worked at one the largest and most active neighborhood associations in Kansas City.
Jacob runs a small print shop named One and Only Prints. He enjoys quality time with family and friends, music, and his favorite sports teams (Chiefs, Spurs, and Royals).
Anna is one of two Customer Service Representatives at MEC who helps local building owners and property managers input their energy and water data into Energy Star Portfolio Manager. She brings with her over 15 years of experience in customer relations, business management, and customer care.
Outside of MEC, Anna owns Hollywood Hair Clinics & Co. LLC located in Raytown, MO and specializes in hair restoration services. As the facilitator for the American Cancer Society “Look Good Feel Better” campaign, she educates cancer patients in exploring different style options while experiencing hair loss.
In her free time, Anna enjoys international traveling, family time, and crafting.
Adrien Townsend (they/them)
Adrien (they/them) manages the energy code training MEC offers in partnership with the City of Kansas City, MO and Energy Smart Institute and assists with other workforce development initiatives and community outreach. They have a passion for the nonprofit sector that drew them to MEC.
While not born in KC, Adrien has planted roots here after graduating from Rockhurst University with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy, with a History minor. They previously worked for the City of Kansas City as a policy aide and for Legal Aid of Western Missouri as a paralegal, with a focus on eviction prevention.
In their spare time, Adrien enjoys listening to true crime podcasts, solving the daily Wordle, and hanging out with their wife.
Danielle is one of two Customer Service Representatives at MEC who helps local building owners and property managers input their energy and water data into Energy Star Portfolio Manager.
In November of 2011, Danielle began working in the energy efficiency and building performance industry as an Administrator for Small Step Energy Solutions. Going out in the field and assisting with energy audits and HERS Ratings were two of her favorite duties. During her time at Small Step and prior, she contracted and volunteered for several local Kansas City nonprofit organizations such as United Services and Smiles Change Lives to name a few.
In Danielle’s spare time, she enjoys cooking and hosting family and friend events, relaxing on her patio with great music, trips out of town, and football season.
Miriam oversees MEC’s Sustainable Transportation Program. Before joining MEC in 2019, Miriam worked for the Missouri Department of Economic Development, supporting environmentally beneficial community development projects for low-moderate income rural communities. She is passionate about bringing proactive environmental solutions to communities that need them most and ensuring meaningful participation for all people in climate action.
She received her bachelor’s degree in business administration with concentration on International Business and minors in French and Economics from Truman State University and her Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Southeast Missouri State University.
Miriam currently serves on Mid-America Regional Council’s Climate and Environment Council. When she has free time, she enjoys hiking Missouri’s many state parks and conservation areas with her dog and exploring new restaurants in Kansas City.
As the Director of the Kansas City Regional Clean Cities Coalition, David helps manage clean fuel deployment programs for the U.S. Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency, working with everyone from small school district bus fleets to national long-haul trucking companies. He also manages MEC’s energy efficiency demo home, Project Living Proof, and would love to give you a tour.
David has a B.A. in History and German from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a Master’s in East Asian Studies from the University of Kansas. Prior to MEC, he was Director of Business Research at the Greater Kansas City Chamber and before that, Executive Assistant at the Consulate-General of Japan. When time permits, he enjoys keeping bees, bicycling, gardening, and whitewater kayaking.
As a Sustainable Transportation Intern for MEC’s Clean Cities Program since 2022, Drew has helped with various tasks such as campaign outreach, event coordination, and other organizational work. Currently as he is studying abroad, he contributes to MEC efforts through newsletter production and blog-writing.
In the midst of his internship, Drew is also a student at Truman State University where he studies Environmentalism. At Truman, he is involved in a variety of environmental clubs and efforts, including being a part of a campus-wide climate inventory, teaching a class about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and helping lead the university Sustainability Office.
In his free time, Drew enjoys reading, writing, exploring the outdoors, traveling, and hanging out with friends and family.
Vincetta Baker, Ph.D.
Dr. Vincetta Baker Ph.D. supports the Sustainable Transportation team, including staff located in Wichita, KS, overseeing several projects ensuring deliverables and deadlines are met according to project management plans.
Vincetta has five years of experience in project management working with state and nonprofit organizations. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Wichita State University and went on to complete a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology as well as a Ph.D., in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Capella University. Vincetta’s interests’ organizational development, Diversity Inclusion and Equity, counter productive work behaviors, and emotional intelligence.
Outside of work, Vincetta enjoys spending time with his family, listening to music, anime, and gaming.
In addition to assisting the Clean Cities Directors with outreach, Darrien helps coordinate MEC’s EPA-funded Diesel Emission Reduction projects and oversees the deployment of electric yard trucks through a U.S. DOE grant project.
Darrien was born and raised in the heart of Kansas City, MO. He brings to MEC 7+ years of experience in transportation and logistics. Darrien previously worked within the Fedeal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and is a US Army Veteran.
In his free time, Darrien likes to enjoy family, friends and the Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bulls. He also likes to travel and listen to music.
Taylor specializes in electric vehicle (EV) deployment and serving overburdened communities. His work on the DRIVE Eletric USA program and other projects focused on EVs, such as coordinating local ride & drive events, helps pave the way for making new technology more accessible to all communities in Kansas City. His roots in the area stem deep, and combined with his collegiate journey in environmental science, he understands the importance of sustainability in the KC metro and the world.
He fills his free time with everything music and is a solo artist by the stage name Tay Dreamin. Producing original songs from start to finish, his drive is making waves in the local scene and catching the attention of professionals and fans alike as he discovers himself through music and performance.
Liz assists in a wide variety of projects and tasks as a Sustainable Transportation Intern for MEC’s Clean Cities Program. She has always had a strong passion for the environment, which is what inspired her to begin her journey at MEC.
Liz is also a full-time undergrad student at Missouri Valley College, where she majors in psychology. However, she is currently undecided on what she would like to do post-graduation.
In her free time, Liz enjoys reading, being outside/camping, and hanging out with family and friends.
Shane supports data analytics and verification for MEC’s Sustainable Transportation Program. He also leads the Mid-America Green Fleets Program working with municipal fleets that wish to transition to alternative fuels – providing them detailed plans that include scheduled replacements for each vehicle, recommended facility changes, funding opportunities, and policy recommendations. Shane also handles back-end record keeping, as well as budget tracking for all MEC projects.
Shane was born in Kansas City and has lived in the area his entire life. He has always wanted to help those around him, which guided him into a career path where he can positively change his home. Shane has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In his free time, he enjoys reading, writing, playing video games, spending time with friends, and spending time outdoors.
Raised to think globally but act locally, Austin is passionate about his work at MEC engaging with community-based organizations to help design projects that meet their needs.
Born and raised in the vibrant city of KC, Austin’s strong connection to his hometown has shaped his career trajectory. With a desire to make a positive impact, he embarked on a journey that took him across the globe, engaging in private contract work in various countries. From his international experiences, Austin gained valuable insights and honed his expertise in community engagement. However, his unwavering love for Kansas City ultimately brought him back to serve the community he holds dear. Through his tireless efforts, Austin strives to improve lives and shape the city’s future in sustainable development.
Djessicka works with MEC’s staff in Wichita, KS to promote sustainable transportation to underserved markets and communities throughout the Midwest, notably in Kansas.
Djessicka is a recent graduate from Wichita State University with a bachelor’s degree in information technology and management information systems. Soon, she wishes to pursue a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in finance.
In her free time, she enjoys reading, trying out new restaurants, going on walks and spending time with family and friends.
Nikhil Kumar Yara
Nikhil is a Sustainable Transportaion intern at MEC and is pursuing his master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Wichita State University, hailing from the vibrant country of India. Fueled by a deep passion for the environmental and renewable sector, Nikhil’s journey has been nothing short of remarkable. As he immerses himself in enlightening classes and seminars, his fascination for this field ignites like a spark. With unwavering determination, he eagerly joins forces with his professor as a research assistant, delving into the captivating realms of solar cells and BNNTs.
When not revolutionizing the future of sustainable technologies, Nikhil can be found serenading the world with his guitar and embarking on captivating expeditions, exploring the hidden gems of Wichita.