Board of Directors

John Noel

John Noel

President – Nashville, TN

Mr. Noel is a businessman, preservationist, and CEO of John Noel
Investment Real Estate Co.  He is currently the president of the SACE Board of Directors.

John is the past President of Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation and an active advocate for the protection of Tennessee’s treasured places. He has been at the forefront of several precedence-setting campaigns involving water quality and land conservation. His efforts have been featured in National Geographic Magazine. He serves on numerous boards including The Climate Institute in Washington, D.C., Tennessee Conservation Voters, and currently serves as President of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, an eight-state regional organization, dealing with energy issues and Climate Change. The National Society of DAR honored Mr. Noel with the 2007 ‘National’ Conservationist Award and Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen presented him with the 2008 Governor’s Lifetime Conservation Achievement Award, Tennessee’s highest environmental accolade.  Noel was also appointed to the Tennessee Energy Policy Task Force to help set energy policy for the state of Tennessee. Additionally, he teamed up with the Governor to permanently protect over 70,000 acres of eco-rich Cumberland Mountains lands. A known speaker on the topic of Climate Change, Noel champions energy conservation, renewable energy sources, open lands and all things linked to a healthy life and healthy planet.


Ed Passerini, PhD

Vice President – Merrit Island, FL

Dr. Ed Passerini is Professor Emeritus of Humanities and the Environment at the University of Alabama’s New College. He is currently Vice President of the Board of Directors. Dr. Passserini is widely published in the fields of literature and environmental advocacy. He is also proficient in the development and application of solar technology. In 1989, Dr. Passerini won the American Tour de Sol, a four-day race for solar-powered cars. Dr. Passerini is the former Director of the Alabama Environmental Council. He earned a BA from Harvard University; MA in Literature and History from Northeastern University; and a PhD in Literature and Art from the University of Virginia.


Enid Sisskin, PhD

Secretary – Gulf Breeze, FL

Dr. Sisskin is an Adjunct Professor at the University of West Florida, teaching Environmental Health and Environmental Toxicology. She also works at the local public radio and community TV station producing an environmentally themed TV show and radio spots. Dr. Sisskin worked at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. She has conducted research at Everglades National Park’s South Florida Research Center and also worked in the park’s Resource Management division. For more than 15 years, Dr. Sisskin has been an outspoken advocate against offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and she has been interviewed and published widely on the environmental risks associated with offshore drilling, testifying before Congress on the issue in 2006. Dr. Sisskin also serves on the board of Gulf Coast Environmental Defense and the Florida Conservation Alliance, as well as on various state and local committees concerning a variety of environmental issues. She received a BA from Queens College of the City University of New York, an MS from Southern Illinois University, and a PhD in Pathobiology from Columbia University.


Z. Cartter Patten

Treasurer – Chattanooga, TN

Z. Cartter Patten is an entrepreneur who has over 40 years of experience as a Registered Investment Advisor working in firms he founded in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Currently, he is President of The Patten Group. He has served as a director of two public companies and has been on many private company boards. Cartter has had a lifelong interest in forestry, land stewardship, wildlife habitat conservation, protection of rivers and most of all an environment that is healthy. His work on green movements began with land trusts and broadened over time. He served as a board member of American Rivers and is currently a director of the American Chestnut Foundation. He feels strongly that public policies should prohibit the externalization of environmental costs. Having taken three multi-week wilderness canoe trips in the Canadian Arctic he was an early believer in climate change. Cartter is a graduate of Princeton University and holds the CFA designation granted by the CFA Institute.


Patricia San Pedro

Miami, FL

Patricia is a four-time Emmy award-winning TV producer, published author, exhibited photographer, writer, PR/media expert, breast cancer survivor, and advocate. She is passionate about environmental protection and making the world a better place. Patricia is the owner of Miami-based San Pedro Productions, a full-service firm that specializes in local, national and international Media & Public Relations, Bilingual Communication Strategies, and Media Training. San Pedro Productions promotes products/services that enhance people’s lives, create value, and make the world, and our communities a better place. Over the span of her career, Patricia has always used her job to help her community. Prior to founding her company, Patricia was Vice President of Event Marketing and Community Relations at The Miami Herald & Nuevo Herald. There she created several social responsibility projects including Operation Helping Hands/Dando Una Mano, which is still activated today, to help disaster victims throughout the hemisphere.


Leon Jacobs

Tallahassee, FL

E. Leon Jacobs, Jr., is co-owner of Williams & Jacobs, Attorneys at Law, LLC. Mr. Jacobs is an experienced consultant and attorney in Tallahassee, Florida, who brings more than 20 years of legal experience, and more than 30 years of experience in the public and private sectors. Mr. Jacobs has been deeply involved in the formation of public policy for most of his career, with a particular focus on the issues now driving the remarkable economic and social transformations underway in the global, information-based economy. Mr. Jacobs presently serves as a member of the Florida Elections Commission, and is a recent past Chairman and Chief Administrative Officer of the Florida Public Service Commission (“FPSC”), having served a four-year appointed term that ended in 2002. During his tenure with the FPSC, Mr. Jacobs also served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), as well as Chair of NARUC’s Consumer Affairs Committee and as Chair of NARUC’s Y2K Ad-Hoc Task Force. Mr. Jacobs additionally served as President of the Southeastern Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (an alliance of thirteen state regulatory agencies), and as Chair of the Energy Market Access Partnership Board (an alliance between NARUC and the U.S. Department of Energy fostering diversity in energy markets). Mr. Jacobs was appointed to serve on an advisory panel to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Small Water Systems Implementation Working Group (under the National Drinking Water Advisory Council), and was appointed to serve on a public/private effort under the Consumer’s Energy Council of America to develop public policy on Distributed Generation technologies. Mr. Jacobs also testified before the U.S. Congress. Mr. Jacobs received a degree from Florida A&M University and a law degree from Florida State University College of Law.


Gary A. Davis

Asheville, NC

Gary A. Davis is an environmental attorney and consultant with 30 years of experience in environmental law, policy, and technology. He currently manages a public interest environmental law firm representing environmental organizations, community groups, and citizens throughout the Southeast in litigation involving environmental permits, violations of environmental regulations, environmental contamination, environmental impact statements, coal-fired power plant certificates of need, and land use. Previously, he was the Director of Environmental Policy for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, a 40-year old regional environmental organization based in Naples, Florida, where he directed the Conservancy’s advocacy efforts focused on estuaries and coastal watersheds protection, land use policy, wildlife habitat conservation, and Everglades restoration. His legal experience in the Southeast has spanned 25 years, beginning with his founding of an office of the Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation in Tennessee in 1983. His academic experience includes founding and directing an environmental research center at the University of Tennessee, called the Center for Clean Products and Clean Technologies, which he directed until 2002. He has also taught environmental law as an adjunct professor in the UT College of Law and taught environmental policy as a visiting professor in the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University in Sweden. Mr. Davis was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Tennessee Environmental Council, a statewide coalition, in 1991. Mr. Davis also has government experience and worked as an environmental policy analyst in the California Governor’s Office of Appropriate Technology in the early 1980s. Prior to attending law school, he worked as an environmental engineer with an environmental consulting firm that focused on pollution prevention in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. He has been widely published and speaks nationally and internationally on environmental topics. Davis earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Cincinnati.


Bob Freeman

Nashville, TN
Bob Freeman has 15 years of experience in construction, spanning project management to development. Bob began his career in construction with Pulte Homes in the early 2000s as a land acquisition manager. Seeing a need in the market for more sustainable construction, he transitioned to commercial construction specializing in green building. He has a Bachelor of Science in Construction from MTSU and a Master’s of Science in Green Building from Lipscomb University.