Meet the Team

Meet the Team

Leadership Team

Jeffrey Seay, Ph.D., PE

President and Founder

Dr. Jeffrey Seay is the President and Founder of Empowered Solutions for Environmental Sustainability. He also holds appointments as the PJC Board of Trustees Engineering Professor and Professor of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Kentucky College of Engineering Paducah Extended Campus Program and Visiting Professor in the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.

Dr. Seay joined the University of Kentucky in 2008 after a 12-year career as a process engineer in the chemical industry.  His research interests include process simulation and modeling, waste to energy processes, appropriate technology and sustainable development.  Dr. Seay has served as Chair and Co-Chair of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Sustainable Engineering Forum (SEF); Vice Chair of the AIChE International Committee; Programming Chair for the AIChE Environmental Division. He is a member of the Managing Board for the AIChE Institute for Sustainability

Shelby Browning

Vice President and Co-founder

Shelby Browning is a graduate from the University of Kentucky (UK) with her BS in Chemical Engineering and her Master’s degree in Applied Environmental and Sustainability Studies.  Shelby has served as both the Project Director and Webmaster for ESES, and now holds a position on our Board of Directors.  She has traveled to East Africa multiple times over the course of her undergraduate and graduate research experiences studying plastic waste in developing communities, and she enjoys working directly with community members while implementing appropriate technical solutions in an effort to achieve global sustainable development.

Sarah Cranor


Sarah Cranor received her bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Kentucky. She currently serves as the Secretary/Treasurer for Empowered Solutions for Environmental Sustainability. Sarah has been working with waste plastic in underdeveloped regions of the globe since 2015. She has traveled to Cameroon, Uganda, and India to implement this research while a student at the University of Kentucky. She currently works as a production engineer in the specialty chemical industry.  

Dimitrios Karadimas

Project Director

Dimitrios is a sophomore transfer student from Greece. He is currently studying chemical engineering at UK Paducah. Dimitri is very passionate about combating any form of environmental issues through his knowledge of engineering principles. His training in chemical engineering has led him to collaborate with other fascinating and passionate individuals to find and implement solutions to the difficulties Mother Earth is facing.

Joshua Nelson

Global Outreach Director

Josh is a senior studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Kentucky. Upon receiving his BS in May, Josh will start persuing his MS in Diplomacy and International Commerce. Josh has traveled to several African and Asian countries to implement ESES research. Sustainability and Engineering come naturally to him, but people are his passion. Working and communicating with people from all around the globe to help make our world a more sustainable one is what inspires him to continue on and forge new alliances with any who wish to help save our world from this plastic epidemic.

Board of Directors

Betsy Beymer-Farris, Ph.D.

Board Member

Betsy Beymer-Farris is the Director of the Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program at the University of Kentucky. She holds a PhD degree in Geography from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has over 20 years of experience working in Tanzania where she conducts research on gender, climate change, marine and coastal resource conservation, and human rights.

Email me: bbeymer-farris@uky.edu

Dr. Quinta Warren, P.E., P.M.P

Board Member

Dr. Quinta Warren, PE, PMP is a chemical engineer and an energy professional. She is the Founder and CEO of Energy Research Consulting (EngrRC.com) which provides energy and water expertise for clients in Africa. The company focuses on solutions that are sustainable, fit-for-purpose, and tailored for cultural context.

Dr. Warren previously worked for ConocoPhillips on CO2 capture research, and as a reservoir engineer for heavy oil and tight gas assets. She was a AAAS Fellow with the US Department of Energy and also with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). At MCC, she provided technical energy expertise and contributed to the development of electricity projects in emerging economies in Asia and Africa.

Dr. Warren holds a PhD in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering from Georgia Tech, and a Bachelors in Chemical Engineering from Penn State University.

Mary Ellen Ternes, Esq.

Board Member

Mary Ellen Ternes is an environmental attorney and partner in the Oklahoma City office of D.C.-based Earth & Water Law, LLC. For over 25 years, Ms. Ternes has represented energy, manufacturing, and other industrial and municipal clients, relying on in-depth experience in environmental programs, regulation and remediation including air, hazardous waste, wastewater, drinking water program permitting, compliance, with particular emphasis in developing efficient regulatory strategies for technically and legally complex projects, from permitting and rulemaking, to litigation, administrative proceedings, transactions and remediation.

Ternes began her career in 1985 as a chemical engineer for the U.S. EPA Region 6 in Superfund emergency response and RCRA hazardous waste incinerator permitting, then left EPA to join industry, managing environmental compliance for a commercial hazardous waste incineration company, negotiating air, hazardous waste, and toxic substances treatment and disposal permits, demonstrating compliance, conducting audits and completing permit equivalency demonstrations for on-site CERCLA incineration projects.

Mary Ellen is the Immediate Past President of the American College of Environmental Lawyers, and a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Kenneth Wheeler

Board Member

Mr. Wheeler is a retired engineer with 45 years of experience in a wide range of activities, all associated with various elements of the maritime industry. His experience includes construction and operation of nuclear submarines, as well as management of inland marine shipyards, towing companies and affiliated facilities. He has served in many roles representing various maritime organizations, including that of President of the International Propeller Club of the United States .

William Murphy, Ph.D., PE

Board Member

Dr. William Murphy is Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Kentucky.  He retired from UK after 35 years in academia, at Texas A&M University, the UK Lexington campus, and his final 17 years establishing the UK Engineering Extended Campus in Paducah. 

His research specialization is in HVAC&R with his more recent activity in ground source heat pump system design and applications.  He was most active with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).  He chaired and served on many ASHRAE standing committees, as well as on the ASHRAE Board of Directors, while also serving on the ABET Board of Directors and the ABET Engineering Accrediting Commission.  He currently serves on the board of the ABET Foundation and the ASHRAE Research Activities Committee that oversees a $3 million annual research program.  Dr. Murphy continues to serve as a research proposal reviewer for Department of Energy programs related to HVAC&R and building energy use.