About.

The Need

We need nature in our lives more than ever today. People in the United States, in particular, have spent decades consuming the planet’s resources and adopting unhealthy practices that have led to myriad crises, from polluted air and water to an obesity pandemic and increasing chronic health problems. While humans have an urge to affiliate with other forms of life, too many in the developed world have adopted isolated lifestyles that appeal to the consuming ego but leave people sick and more and more alone.

Nature is not optional. It is an essential ingredient for a healthy and meaningful life.

Mission

The mission of The Biophilic Institute is to improve individual and public health and well-being – and to generate sustainable and prosperous economic systems – by providing knowledge and action steps that enable communities to transform themselves.

The Institute accomplishes this mission by creating programs, partnerships and experiential opportunities that advance education, research, and best practice sharing in all aspects of sustainability.

History

The Institute was established in 2013 by a group of engaged professionals from a range of disciplines who share a common passion for educating and sharing best practices in fields that promote well-being, prosperity and a sustainable future.

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Jim Durrett


Jim Durrett

Jim Durrett – President

Jim Durrett, an Atlanta native, directs all activities of the Buckhead Community Improvement District. He has been promoting smart growth development and livable communities since 1996, when he left his hydrogeology practice and went to work
at the Georgia Conservancy. From there Jim’s career took him to the Metro Atlanta Chamber where he was VP of Environmental Affairs, to the Urban Land Institute where he was founding executive director of ULI Atlanta, and to the Livable Communities Coalition where he was founding executive director. He came to the Buckhead CID in September of 2009. Jim is an avid bicyclist, a member of Leadership Atlanta’s class of 2013, and serves on several boards, including MARTA’s board of directors. Jim and his wife, Pat, have two boys currently attending college.

Steve Nygren

Steve Nygren

Steve Nygren

Steve and Marie Nygren discovered the property now known as Serenbe on an outing to introduce their children to the Georgia countryside. They purchased the first 60 acres, along with the existing buildings, in 1991. Weekend visits for Marie, Steve and their young daughters literally transformed their lives and in 1994 they sold their Atlanta home and relocated full-time to Serenbe. In 1996, they turned the 1930s horse barn next to their house into guest rooms and opened the Serenbe Bed & Breakfast.

Steve was raised on a Colorado farm and began working part time for Stouffer’s Food Corporation while attending the University of Colorado. Seven years later, Steve was the National Director of Sales and Marketing for Stouffer’s Hotels. In 1973, Steve opened the Pleasant Peasant restaurant, which grew to a corporation of 34 restaurants in eight states by the time of his departure in 1994.

He has been active in many civic and charitable organizations, including serving as Chairman of the Midtown Alliance, Chairman of the Georgia Hospitality and Travel Association and Chairman of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau and Chairman of The Chattahoochee Hill Country Alliance. He currently serves on the Department of Community Affairs Board and chairs the Task Force for Comprehensive Planning for Georgia.

Mark Mykleby

Mark Mykleby

Mark “Puck” Mykleby – Vice President

Mark Mykleby was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps following his graduation from the United States Naval Academy in 1987. He was designated a naval aviator in April 1990 and as a qualified F/A-18 pilot in December 1990. From January 1991 to May 2006, he served in five fleet fighter squadrons and performed numerous operational squadron billets to include Director of Safety and Standardization, Pilot Training Officer, Aircraft Maintenance Officer, Operations Officer, Executive Officer, and Commanding Officer. Mark’s operational and combat experience includes numerous deployments (land based and ship borne) to the European, Pacific, and Southwest Asian theaters in support of Operations PROVIDE PROMISE, DENY FLIGHT, SOUTHERN WATCH, and IRAQI FREEDOM. In June 2007, Mark was assigned to the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) where he developed strategy for Special Operations Forces.

From July 2009 until April 2011, he served as a special strategic assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In that capacity, he co-authored with Navy Captain Wayne Porter “A National Strategic Narrative,” a concept and vision for a 21st Century grand strategy for the nation. Mark retired from the Marine Corps in July 2011.

Mark is now a co-director of the Strategic Innovation Lab at Case Western Reserve University where he continues his work on grand strategy and sustainability.

Michael J. Taylor

Michael J. Taylor

Michael J. Taylor – Secretary

Michael J. Taylor was born and raised in Washington, D.C. As an undergraduate student at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, Michael won a seat on the Ithaca City Council representing the Cornell student dominated neighborhood of
Collegetown. Michael advocated for student involvement in civic life and participated in the first national convening of the progressive Young Elected Officials network. After graduating from Cornell cum laude and the expiration of his City Council term, Michael began working for the New York City Economic Development Corporation. While at NYCEDC, Michael focused on waterfront redevelopment projects in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn and Citywide transportation policy initiatives including congestion pricing and commuter ferries.

After almost four years at NYCEDC, Michael returned to Washington, D.C. for law school at the Georgetown University Law Center. After graduating from Georgetown Law cum laude, Michael returned to New York City and worked as an associate in the transaction real estate practice of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. While at Paul, Weiss, Michael was a board member of the Young Leaders Group of the Urban Land Institute’s New York District Council and represented, pro bono, a very prolific developer of affordable housing. Michael recently relocated to Serenbe, a national leader in New Urbanism and agro-development located in Chattahoochee Hills, GA. At Serenbe, Michael leads their commercial development efforts and assists in the overall development strategy.

Peter M. Vantine

Peter M. Vantine

Peter M. Vantine

Peter Vantine is a Lecturer at the College of Management at Georgia Tech. He teaches undergraduate and MBA courses in marketing, international business, principles of management, and sales and sales management. He also teaches non-degree executive sessions in the area of marketing and marketing management.

Prior to joining Georgia Tech as Associate Dean and Director of Executive Programs, he held similar positions at the business schools at Carnegie Mellon University and Emory University.

Before moving to academia, Vantine spent twenty years in industry, with PepsiCo and other consumer products companies, and lived and worked in Asia, Latin America, and Europe. He led two start-ups, three major turnarounds, and served as CEO of three different operating companies.

He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, with a BA in sociology, and he earned his MBA in marketing at the Wharton School.

Harriet Anderson Langford

Harriet Anderson Langford

Harriet Anderson Langford

Harriet Langford is President and Trustee of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, a Georgia-based private family foundation honoring the legacy of her father, the late Ray C. Anderson (1934-2011), Founder and Chairman of Interface, Inc., the world’s largest modular carpet manufacturer, and a global leader in sustainability.

Prior to assuming her current role as President and Trustee for the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, Harriet owned a specialty printing business in LaGrange, Georgia.

Harriet’s entrepreneurial leadership skills, her servant spirit and her passion for team sports led her to a natural transition into nonprofit leadership in 2011, when she assumed her current role with the Foundation.

In 2013, she was appointed to the boards of the Georgia Conservancy and Sustainable Atlanta. In 2015 she was appointed to the boards of the Biophilic Institute and the Troup County Strategic Planning Committee.

Advisory Board

Advisory Board

Phyllis Bleiweis

Phyllis Bleiweis

Phyllis Bleiweis

Phyllis Bleiweis, now retired, served as executive director of The Seaside Institute from 1996 to 2009. She also served as executive Director of the Performing Arts Center Foundation of Greater Miami from 1994 to 1996 and onsite state coordinating officer for Hurricane Andrew Recovery from 1993 to 1994.

Karen Flanders

Karen Flanders

Karen Flanders has over 20 years experience working on sustainability issues. She is a Senior Associate (Fellow) with the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership. She’s a faculty Member of the Prince of Wales’ Business & Sustainability Programme.

Lee Marston

Lee Marston

Lee Marston is an IT executive delivering IT strategies and innovations linked to corporate goals. He has led companies to effectively envision and apply emerging information technologies to create business value in a variety of industries and countries.

Renee Moorefield, PhD

Renee Moorefield, PhD

Renee Moorefield

Renee Moorefield is CEO and Well-being practice leader at Wisdom Works Group, a strategic development firm that advances well-being and sustainability in companies and communities worldwide. She’s held faculty positions at Duke Corporate Education and the Creating Healthy Communities and the Cardio-vascular Health Fellowship of the American Hospital Association Health Forum.

Garnie Nygren

Garnie Nygren

Garnie Nygren

Garnie Nygren is director of operations for Serenbe Development Corp. She graduated from the University of Cornell, School of Hospitality, in 2007.

Maria Rey, PhD

Maria Rey, PhD

Maria Rey

Maria Rey is founder of the Latin American Logistics Center. She’s an educator and executive consultant to multilateral organizations, corporations, governments, and firms in supply chain strategy and corporate performance management. She’s an advisory board member for the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Catherine Ross, PhD

Catherine Ross, PhD

Catherine Ross, PhD

Catherine Ross is the first endowed faculty member in Georgia Tech’s College of Architecture and directs the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development. Dr. Ross serves on the White House Office of Urban Affairs.

Treasurer

Treasurer

 

Pat Durrett – Treasurer

 

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