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Maryland Chief Sustainability Officer and Chief Resilience Officer: 9 Things to Know

November 16, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

Maryland Governor Wes Moore has named Meghan Conklin as the state’s first chief sustainability officer and Michael Hinson as the state’s first chief resilience officer.

Together, Conklin and Hinson will work to address the current and future effects of climate change, the governor said. Here are nine things to know about Conklin, Hinson and the state's sustainability and resilience strategies.

1. Maryland's Population and Climate: Maryland's population is roughly 6.2 million people. It is the fifth most densely populated state with nearly 650 people per square mile. Most of the state has warmed one to two degrees (F) in the last century, heavy rainstorms are more frequent, and the sea is rising about one inch every seven to eight years, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

2. Maryland Renewable Energy Strategy: Maryland's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires 50% of overall electricity generation sales in Maryland to be met by renewable energy resources by 2030 -- including a solar carve-out at 14.5% by 2028.

Wes Moore, governor, Maryland
Wes Moore, governor, Maryland

3. Maryland Incupates Sustainability Startups: Under a budget proposed by Maryland Governor Wes Moore, general fund appropriations for TEDCO, officially known as the Maryland Technology Development Corporation, would rise from $38.8 million in FY23 to $54.5 million in FY24, according to TekNovation.biz. Some of that money would be earmarked for advanced manufacturing, aerospace, agriculture, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, blue technology, cybersecurity, defense, energy and sustainability, life sciences, quantum, and sensor and robotics, the report said.

4. CSO and CRO Responsibilities: The chief sustainability officer will work to ensure Maryland meets the state’s bold climate and environmental goals, while the chief resilience officer will ensure Maryland is prepared to adapt, mitigate, and recover from all hazards and emergencies, including disasters that have increased in frequency and intensity from climate change, the governor said.

5. Governor Perspectives: In a prepared statement about the two appointments, Governor Moore said: “Addressing the existential threat of climate change requires bold and decisive action. We must think strategically and we must address our present challenges to prevent future effects. I am confident that Meghan Conklin and Michael Hinson possess the leadership qualities necessary to meet this moment and I look forward to working with each of them to promote a cleaner, greener, more resilient and more sustainable Maryland.”

Meghan Conklin, chief sustainability officer, Maryland
Meghan Conklin, chief sustainability officer, Maryland

6. Chief Sustainability Officer Background: Conklin has more than 20 years of experience in climate change, environment, and energy policy, having served in senior roles in the Obama Administration, the U.S. Senate, and the U.S. House of Representatives, the governor noted. Conklin previously served for four years as policy advisor to U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen on issues including climate, environment, energy, agriculture, and more. In the Obama Administration, Meghan served as deputy assistant secretary for transmission permitting in the Office of Electricity at the Department of Energy and Associate Deputy Secretary of the Interior, the governor's office said.

7. Chief Sustainability Officer Responsibilities: Conklin will collaborate with internal and external stakeholders to coordinate efforts and resources needed to design, implement, and track progress toward the state’s nation-leading environmental and climate goals, the governor said. Conklin will participate as a member on the Governor’s Climate Subcabinet and Bay Subcabinet, developing and implementing climate-related policies, regulations, and programs, and fostering partnerships with federal, state, local, and private stakeholders to provide additional resources needed to meet the state’s climate goals on time, including reaching net-zero emissions by 2045, improving water quality, and making Maryland the "greenest state in the country," the governor's office said.

Michael-Hinson, chief resiliency officer, Maryland
Michael-Hinson, chief resilience officer, Maryland

8. Chief Resilience Officer Background: Hinson spent more than 10 years with the Howard County Office of Emergency Management, including more than three years as director. He previously served as deputy director and as a senior emergency management specialist in the office, assisting with recovery efforts after the 2016 and 2018 floods in downtown Ellicott City. Hinson is also an adjunct faculty member at the Mid-Atlantic Center for Emergency Management and Public Safety at Frederick Community College.

9. Chief Resilience Officer Responsibilities: Working within the Maryland Department of Emergency Management, Hinson will "focus on developing a comprehensive, multidisciplinary resilience strategy for the state to adapt, mitigate, and recover from all hazards and emergencies," the governor's office said. Leading the Office of Resilience at the Maryland Department of Emergency Management, Hinson will c"oordinate state and local efforts to build resilience to risks identified in the Maryland Hazard Mitigation Plan; ensure that investments prioritize vulnerable communities and environmental justice; coordinate across state and local agencies to prepare and implement resilience strategies; and identify and provide funding and technical assistance for state and local resilience efforts," the governor's office added.

Maryland Chief Sustainability and Resiliency Officers: Why Technology Partners Should Care

By 2027, 25% of Global 2000 companies will have assigned a chief sustainability officer (CSO) responsible for meeting their organization’s ESG goals and making ESG-related IT purchasing decisions, according to IDC.

The bottom line: Technology partners need to extend their sales, marketing, engagement and support strategies to successfully fulfill those CSO customer needs, Sustainable Tech Partner believes.

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