Troy Von Otnott
Mr. Von Otnott serves as President of Clean Terra, Inc., a Clean Technology Development Company with offices in Little Rock, AR, Atlanta, GA and New Orleans, LA. Troy recently served as President and Founder of South Coast Solar, the largest and most successful solar energy company in the Southeast.
He launched the company with two business associates and a small amount of capital but within two years, strategically grew the company into a 35-person firm that has received extensive recognition as the best solar integration company in its class. He positioned the company to become a qualified government contractor and subsequently the company has received contracts with the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, Federal Prison Industries and the Shaw Group.
Von Otnott, a U.S. Army Veteran who specialized in both Finance and Nuclear/Biological/Chemical projects, has over ten years of experience in real estate development consulting for several of the largest developers in the Southeast.
The diversity of his real estate experience has resulted in his participation in numerous real estate development projects throughout the country. In 2008, Mr. Von Otnott served as the Executive Director of the New Orleans based First Bank and Trust Community Development Corporation.
He currently serves as a technical advisor to MWH, the City of New Orleans’ Engineering Consultants an is a Board Member of Louisiana CleanTech and the LSU Ag Center’s Advisory Committee.
“‘Going Green’ is just a catch phrase without innovative organizations like LifeCity pioneering programs that provide everyday people and businesses the knowledge and resources to act on their good intentions. I am proud to support LifeCity, whose creative solutions will one day be the standard for New Orleans’ green economy.”
Allen has devoted most of his professional career to starting or managing entrepreneurial organizations. He has consulted dozens of emerging ventures over the last ten years as co-founder of The Idea Village.
Allen’s career began as an account executive in the Houston offices of national advertising agencies Bozell & Jacobs and Benton & Bowles. In 1987 he started his first entrepreneurial venture in Atlanta, a marketing agency, serving a roster of high profile national and regional brands including Time-Life Video & Television, SeaWorld, USA Networks, Cox Cable and Tabasco.
Prior to co-founding The Idea Village, Allen was General Manager of NOLA.com, a pioneer in Internet publishing and New Orleans’ most visited local Internet site. Allen served as a board member for New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity from 1997 – 2003 and was Board President in 2001.
A New Orleans native, Allen received a BBA from the SMU Cox School of Business.
“LifeCity has clearly identified the greatest challenge in improving living conditions in any city, education. When you combine education with execution, you affect change. That is what excited me about LifeCity. We all live and work in our communities and the ability to help the residents and businesses learn and act improves the viability of our community and health of our environs and our families. Elizabeth Shephard has demonstrated that she is clearly the leading expert in this field.”
Darin has co-founded four highly successful travel technology companies and has worked as a Senior Executive with large corporations. As Co-founder and COO of Turobotrip.com, Darin designed and managed the team that built one of the first on-line hotel booking engines. Turbotrip.com grew as a New Orleans based online retailer, to eventually transact business in 55 countries and over 360 destinations worldwide. The company was purchased by hotels.com in 2002. Darin Co-founded and was the COO of neworleans.com, a destination advertising portal that catered to inbound travelers to New Orleans.
Founded in 1993, neworleans.com was a leading edge portal introducing new revenue and advertising models to the Internet. The company was purchased by the Hammack-Jones Group in 2007. Darin Co-founded and was the President of Internet Destinations, LLC, an Internet website development and hosting company. Founded in 1994, at its peak, IDC had developed over 1300 websites and hosted over 500 companies web presence. It was later folded into neworleans.com. Darin also co-founded and was President of Hotel Booking Solutions, Inc., a demand management software suite utilized by over 15,000 hotels and hundreds of online distribution, tour operators, originating in Zell am See, Austria.
After relocating the world headquarters to the United States and receiving significant Venture Capital investment, HBS was sold to Trivandrum, India based I Believe Systems. He later served as Vice-President of Distribution Solutions for Pegasus Solutions, the world’s largest travel technology provider. In that capacity, Darin directed global sales for Pegasus’ distribution products. Darin is a frequent speaker at events on the topics of Entrepreneurism, E-Commerce, and Revenue Management.
“I have been living in New Orleans for five years now, working on Make It Right and other community-focused green building projects in the Lower 9th Ward. There is a vast network of green-living proponents in this city, but cohesion and organization are lacking. The formation of Life City marks the beginning of a powerful movement toward correcting this and toward achieving a new level of environmental justice, and I am honored to be a part of it.”
Sarah Howell is an Architect and LEED Accredited Professional who practiced in California and New York before moving to New Orleans. As a student at Yale, she developed an interest in Sustainable Design, which led her to Austin Veum Robbins Partners, a firm in California specializing in “green” design and building practices. She later moved to New York City, where she gained experience in residential design and historic preservation. Sarah has experience with project types ranging from large institutional to small-scale residential and in her time at John Williams Architects, she has focused exclusively on affordable residential design that meets the most rigorous green building standards.
As Project Architect for Make It Right, Sarah and her team produce the construction documents and oversee the construction of LEED Platinum houses for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Sarah also manages the LEEDCertification process for each house, working closely with the contractors to achieve a LEED Platinum rating for every Make It Right home. Sarah is also the Project Architect for phase V of Project Home Again, a non-profit organization building 100 affordable green houses in the Gentilly area and donating them to families who lost their homes in Katrina. For this flagship project, Sarah and her team are providing architectural services from Schematic Design through Construction Administration.
“As a new member of the New Orleans community it’s exciting to see endeavors like Life City take flight. Life City represents a new way of thinking about the relationship between New Orleans’ small businesses and the community at large. It’s this type of business activity and new approach to building a better New Orleans that attracted me here. “
Prior to joining Idea Village as an Executive in Residence, Doug Walner served as President and Chief Executive Officer of PSI Services LLC. Under his leadership, PSI fortified its market leadership position in the human capital management and licensing certification markets by developing and introducing cutting-edge technology platforms to provide a comprehensive set of services to its clients. During Doug’s tenure with PSI, the business experienced record revenue and profitability growth. In November of 2006, Walner led the successful sale of the PSI business to a blue-chip Boston-based Private Equity firm.
Before joining PSI, Walner served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of Stamps.com. As General Manager, he oversaw all operations related to the company’s core business, including sales, marketing, product management, customer service, and research & development. As one of the company’s earliest employees, he was personally responsible for developing and managing the company’s strategic alliances and partnerships with industry-leaders such as America Online, Microsoft, Intuit, Hewlett Packard, IBM, and others. Before Stamps.com, Walner held management and senior management positions with several companies in the technology sector, including CyberMedia, Inc., a leading provider of retail software products subsequently purchased by Network Associates, and Ex Machina, Inc., a wireless information solutions company. He has also provided strategic consulting services to industry leading software companies, including Veritas. Walner received his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Tulane University.
“I think that one of the most important and often misunderstood parts about sustainability is that it doesn’t just evaluate environmental impact. It also evaluates social and economic impacts and analyzes the effects that the factors have on one another. It is this philosophy of interconnectedness that is vital to ensure that our future generations can fulfill their needs. LifeCity educates consumers and business owners about this every day and helps connect businesses to the resources needed to successfully achieve greater levels of sustainability. LifeCity’s mission is not only noble but also necessary.”
As Director of Special Projects for Carrollton, a leading technology services company in New Orleans, LA, Lindsay manages brand development, community outreach, and client acquisition. Carrollton builds innovative software-based solutions for clients, ranging from large corporations to small start-ups. Prior to joining Carrollton, Lindsay was a co-founder of Trade Digital Cinema (TDC), a digital media management company in Los Angeles. As the Sales and Marketing Manager, she built a large client base of production companies, television networks, and editorial and visual effects houses. In the years leading up to TDC, Lindsay worked in production and post-production. During those years, she directed and produced a documentary about New Orleans musicians in their first 18 months following Hurricane Katrina called “Swing Low: Hope and Music Helping New Orleans Rise.” After almost ten years in the film industry, Lindsay decided to take her entrepreneurial acumen to New Orleans.
Upon arriving in New Orleans, Lindsay joined the expanding start-up community and became acquainted with companies through Launch Pad and Propeller. During this time she worked with LifeCity to help improve their sales process and overall business model. She loves LifeCity’s mission of connecting businesses to create a more sustainable community. Lindsay is proud to be a contributing member of the growing economy in New Orleans.
Carmen Sunda is responsible for an SBDC region of ten parishes. She assists and advises a diversified group of business owners and manages a team of independent contractors, small business consultants, graduate assistants, students and interns. She was named the Louisiana SBDC State Star in 2007 and awarded the SBA 2009 Financial Services Champion of the Year for the state of Louisiana.
The Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) Greater New Orleans Region earned the Service Excellence and Innovation Center Award in 2011. Sunda has more than 25 years experience working with small businesses, including owning her own business. Her areas of expertise include small business disaster preparedness and recovery, strategic marketing, loan packaging, market research, and management. She also has taught business courses at both Loyola and the University of New Orleans for the past 20 plus years. She holds an MBA from the University of New Orleans.
Klassi Duncan is a seasoned entrepreneur and small business coach. Ms. Duncan currently serves as the Director of Business Support & Evaluation for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program at Delgado Community College. In this role, she leads the Business Support Services team in providing advising and technical assistance to small businesses. She also oversees the program’s Measurement and Evaluation function to capture and assess the critical impact metrics of participating businesses before, during, and after graduation.
Klassi also enjoys teaching. She is a regular course instructor for ‘Starting and Growing a Small Business,” “Writing an Effective Business Plan,” “The Lean Start-up Model,” and “Strategic Planning.” Klassi is a regular instructor at Delgado Community College, The Urban League of Greater New Orleans, as well as, other small business and entrepreneurship-based organizations.
Klassi is an active member of the Institute for Supply Management, Greater New Orleans, Inc., a professional organization committed to advancing the supply chain field through education, professional development, and networking. She is also a Certified Professional in Supply Chain Management and a Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity.
Klassi was recently published in the Huffington Post’s blog series, What’s Working: Small Businesses, where her article “The Power of the Pivot: Knowing When It’s Time to Change Direction” was featured. She was also a guest speaker at the 2016 Essence Festival – Money + Power series for entrepreneurs speaking on the topic of ‘Designing a Winning Team.’