Speaker Date Topic
Robyn Jackson Jan 22, 2019 5:30 PM
The Civility School: For the Comfort and Convenience of Others
The Civility School:  For the Comfort and Convenience of Others

Robyn Jackson is the founder and director of The Civility School, a Charlottesville-based business, which teaches social skills, modern manners, and global business etiquette.  In this capacity, Robyn works with children, teens, college students, and business professionals.  The Civility School also presents the Jefferson Cotillion, a Charlottesville tradition for forty years.  Robyn has a B.A. in French and an M.Ed in Community and School Counseling  from the University of Virginia.  She has taught middle and high school French and has been a guidance counselor at both levels.  Robyn has also directed a violence prevention grant that provided peer mediation, high risk counseling services, and parent workshops to students and families in the City of Charlottesville upper elementary, middle, and high schools.  She is active in the area community and has chaired several volunteer initiatives.  In addition, Robyn is proud of the work that The Civility School is doing to make social skill learning more widely accessible to children of all economic backgrounds.  Robyn lives in Charlottesville with her husband, Brian, and their three sons.

Craig Benson Feb 12, 2019 5:30 PM
UVA Engineering: The Model for Differentiation in Knowledge Creation

Craig H. Benson is Dean of the School of Engineering and the Janet and James Hamilton Endowed Chair in Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Virginia (UVA). Prior to his appointment at UVA, Benson was Wisconsin Distinguished Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Geological Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison). At UW-Madison, Benson held several leadership roles with an environmental engineering emphasis, including Director of Sustainability Research and Education for the university, Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Chair of the Department of Geological Engineering, and Director of the Recycled Materials Resource Center. Dr. Benson has a BS from Lehigh University and MSE and PhD degrees from the University of Texas at Austin, all in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in geoenvironmental engineering and waste containment systems. Dr. Benson is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering.

Dr. Benson has been conducting research related to protection of the environment for three decades, with primary focus on environmental containment of solid, hazardous, radioactive, and mining wastes; beneficial use of industrial byproducts; and sustainable infrastructure. He is recognized as the foremost international authority on engineered barriers for waste containment and is widely sought after for his expertise in design, operation, and performance assessment of waste disposal facilities. His expertise includes municipal solid waste (MSW), hazardous waste (HW), coal combustion residuals (CCR), mining and mineral processing wastes, low-level radioactive waste (LLW), mixed radioactive waste (MW), and uranium mill tailings. Dr. Benson leads the Landfill Partnership for the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Consortium for Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation (CRESP), which provides research and technical support on issues related to performance assessments for LLW and MW disposal facilities as well as evaluation of the performance of existing and historic DOE disposal facilities. He frequently consults as an expert in waste containment systems and sustainability.

Dr. Benson’s research experience involves laboratory studies, large-scale field experiments, and computer modeling. He has published more than 300 refereed articles based on his research and has received numerous research awards, including the Ralph Peck Award, the Huber Research Prize, the Alfred Noble Prize, and the Croes Medal (twice), Middlebrooks Award (twice), Collingwood Prize, and Casagrande Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Award of Merit, Ivan Johnson Award for Outstanding Achievement, and the Best Practical Paper Award (twice) from ASTM International. Dr. Benson is former Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, past President of the ASCE Geo-Institute (GI), past Chair of the GI Geoenvironmental Committee, past Vice Chair of the Executive Committee of ASTM Committee D18 on Soil and Rock, and past Chair of ASTM Committee D18.04 on Hydraulic Properties and Barriers.

Dr. Benson’s research is funded by a diverse set of sources including industry, local and state government, and federal agencies. His recent research has been funded primarily by the US Department of Energy through the Office of Environmental Management, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Electric Power Research Institute, and the Environmental Research and Education Foundation. Early in his career, Dr. Benson was awarded the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation and the Distinguished Young Faculty Award from the US Department of Energy to support his research.


Woody Zantzinger Feb 26, 2019

Vice President Of Business Development at WillowTree, Inc.

Creating and managing new business opportunities for WillowTree, a leading digital product agency servicing Fortune 500/5000 clients and large government agencies.

Charles Ridgeway “Ridge” Schuyler III Mar 12, 2019

Charles Ridgeway “Ridge” Schuyler III, community leader and founding director of the Charlottesville Works Initiative, recently joined Piedmont Virginia Community College as the dean of community self-sufficiency programs.

A new position at PVCC, the dean of self-sufficiency programs is responsible for creating new programs focused on self-sufficiency for low-skilled and low-income individuals in the college’s service region and serving as the program coordinator of PVCC’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment and Training (E&T) Program, a federal job training program offered through the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service.

With more than 25 years of experience in economic development and government relations, Schuyler is well-known throughout the Charlottesville region for his work in matching low-income individuals with job opportunities. In 2013, Schuyler, along with Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce President Timothy Hulbert, founded the Charlottesville Works Initiative, which helps low-income families secure jobs by creating and identifying jobs within their reach and providing support and access to services that will help individuals excel in these positions.

Schuyler also founded and directed The Orange Dot Project, an innovative study that exposed the importance of creating sustainable sources of jobs for low-income residents after research revealed that 29 percent of Charlottesville families did not earn enough income to be self-sufficient.