FORT COLLINS - Northern Colorado takes to the international stage this month to promote innovation in energy, renewables and cutting-edge green technologies.

The first Net Zero Cities symposium, a working conference dedicated to sharing resources and ideas to develop net-zero energy, carbon and waste communities worldwide, is scheduled for Oct. 16-17 at the Hilton Fort Collins, 425 W. Prospect Road.

Community members, businesses, government and political leaders from across Colorado and the globe will participate in the event, with the charge of creating action plans for transforming cities, states and countries into zero-waste communities.

The symposium - organized and sponsored by the Northern Colorado Business Report, the cities of Loveland and Fort Collins, CSU Ventures and One Tribe Creative - will focus on a community-based approach to carbon-emission reduction in its two major sources: energy and transportation.

There will be both a presentation and classroom format to the event, which will include hands-on opportunities for attendees to contribute.

The first day's agenda will focus on policy, cultural engagement and value, technologies and innovations. The second day will focus on real-world applications, education and mentorship.

With an aim to develop a "systems approach" to sustainability, the conference will apply to multiple sectors of a society, from government to education.

Each segment will include an array of international, national and regional speakers, including Prasad Ram, the founder and chief executive of Gooru and former head of Google R&D India. Ram left Google to pursue Gooru as a nonprofit education technology startup that would develop into a search engine for learning. Its mission is to honor the human right to education.

Kazuyuki Tohji, the director of energy at Tohoku University in Japan, will speak on rebuilding his country after a tsunami, earthquake and nuclear disasters. Tohji discovered an efficient way to produce hydrogen, which can be used in fuel cells to produce clean energy by exposing a hydrogen sulfide solution to sunlight. This discovery reduced the cost of producing hydrogen for fuel cells.

Other headliners include: Bret Lessman, the enterprise organizational development manager for United Launch Alliance; Tom Gendron, the CEO of Fort Collins-based Woodward Inc.; Antonio Roberto de Godoi, a research collaborator with the Laboratory of Animal Nutrition of the Center for Nuclear Energy in Agriculture; and former Gov. Bill Ritter, now director of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University.

On both days of the conference, attendees will have the opportunity to engage in roundtable discussions with the speakers and other participants.

Registration is limited to 500 and general admission is $225, which includes breakfast, lunch and a reception hosted by New Belgium brewery. Educators will be offered a discount rate. For more information or to register, go to

Net Zero Cities speakers and presenters:

Drew Bolin, CEO of the Colorado Clean Energy Cluster.

Gary Caille, Ph.D, former director of System Solutions Group of CSU Ventures.

Steve Catanach, light and power manager for the city of Fort Collins.

Martin Carcasson, Ph.D., associate professor in the communication studies department at CSU and founder and director of the CSU Center for Public Deliberation.

Sunlil Cherian, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Spirae Inc.

Antonio Roberto de Godoi, research collaborator with the Laboratory of Animal Nutrition of the Center for Nuclear Energy in Agriculture and coordinator of the Consortium Technology Lahore in Brazil.

Judy Dorsey, founding president and principal engineer at Brendle Group.

Mike Freeman, CEO of the Rocky Mountain Innosphere.

Chris Garcia, principal of Berthoud High School.

Howard Geller, Ph. D., executive director and founder of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project.

Thomas A. Gendron, CEO, Woodward Inc.

Cecil Gutierrez, mayor of Loveland.

Bert Haskell, technology director for Pecan Street Inc.

Bruce Hendee, chief sustainability officer for the city of Fort Collins.

John Howe, assistant principal at Preston Middle School and founder and director of the STEM Summer Institute.

Barbara Kirkmeyer, county commissioner of Weld County.

David Klahr, executive director of financial planning and analysis and project manager for the Taxi of Tomorrow project.

Bret A. Lessman, enterprise organizational development manager for United Launch Alliance.

Trish Malik, principal of Laurene Edmondson Elementary School.

Jeff Meyers, electrical engineer and former president of Telvent Miner & Miner.

John Phelan, energy services manager of the utilities department for the city of Fort Collins.

Prasad Ram, founder and CEO of Gooru.

Keith Reester, public works director for the city of Loveland.

Bill Ritter, former Colorado governor, director of the Center for the New Energy Economy at CSU.

Thomas Segelhorst, owner of Integrated Mechanical.

Lee Slezak, vehicle systems and testing manager in the Vehicle Technologies Program, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy.

Cynthia Smeraski, consultant for the Science Education and Literacy Program for CSU Ventures Systems Solutions Group.

Lucinda Smith, director of the environmental services department for the city of Fort Collins.

Dr. Kazuyuki Tohji, director of environmental energy at Tohoku University in Japan.

Lynn Vosler, director of workforce development at Front Range Community College.

Karen Weitkunat, mayor of Fort Collins.

Bryan Willson, Ph.D., professor of mechanical engineering at CSU and director of CSU's Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory.

Michael Womochil, program director for agriculture, natural resources and energy for the Colorado Community College system.