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Community Stewards to Receive ESF’s Feinstone Award

Neil and Joanne Murphy, Joe Martens to be honored at October event


The College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) will honor community stewards by presenting the 2019 Sol Feinstone Environmental Award to Neil and Joanne Murphy, and Joe Martens ('81).

Neil and Joanne Murphy are strong supporters of ESF and the Syracuse Community.

Neil Murphy has been a pillar of the ESF community since coming to the College as its third president in 2000. Neil led the College through an unprecedented expansion of its physical facilities with the construction of the first ESF residence hall, Centennial Hall, a LEED Gold facility; renovation of the Ranger School; renovation of Baker Laboratory to a LEED Silver certification; and construction of the LEED Platinum-certified Gateway Center. Under his leadership, ESF expanded its academic offerings, improved the quality of the student body and increased its enrollment.

After stepping down as president in 2013, he became a member of the Department of Environmental and Resources Engineering faculty and was named a SUNY Senior Fellow for Environmental and Sustainable Systems.

Neil Murphy joined ESF after a 30-year career with Syracuse-based O'Brien& Gere, an environmental engineering firm, where he rose to the position of president and chairman of the board.

He is active in the community with much of his involvement centered on environmental issues. He served as honorary chair of the 2017 World Canal Conference in Syracuse. He was then elected to serve on the taskforce to Reimagine the Canals of New York State. Most recently, he was named to the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission. In 2017, Neil was recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council as Green Building Advocate of the Year.

He and his wife, Joanne, are members of the Skaneateles Lake Association. Neil has recently been added to the board and is involved in developing strategy to abate harmful algal blooms.

Neil Murphy has served as director of several boards including O'Brien & Gere, Ltd., OP-TECH Environmental Services, Bergmann Associates and the Onondaga Environmental Institute. He has served as an advisor to or board member of the following: Upstate Medical University Foundation, BSA Hiawatha Council, Metropolitan Development Association, Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce, New York State Environmental Technology Institute, Syracuse University College of Engineering and Computer Science Advisory Board, University Hill Corporation, New York Indoor Environmental Quality Center, Success by Six, Syracuse City School District, Syracuse 20/20, Community General Hospital, CNY MedTech Foundation and the CNY Regional Board of Advisors for the American Cancer Society. Neil has served as vice chair of the University Hill corporation, co-chair of Syracuse 20/20 and vice president of CNY MedTech Foundation. In 2007, he was named grand marshal of the Syracuse St. Patrick's Parade - a recognition and celebration of the Murphy clan.

Consistent with his passion for renewable energy, he has served on the USDA/USDOE Advisory Council for Biofuels, Bioenergy and Bioproducts and on N.Y. Governor David Paterson's Renewable Energy Task Force from 2011-2017. Most recently, he served as the co-chair of ConsensUS, the Commission for the Modernization of Government.

His technical expertise lies in the areas of environmental science and engineering management, hazardous waste management, environmental assessment, renewable energy systems, limnology, urban runoff planning, and industrial wastewater treatment.

Neil Murphy has been affiliated with a number of civic and community associations, including the SUNY Health Science Center Foundation and the Metropolitan Development Association Vision 2010 Steering Committee; he has been a member of the CNY Regional Economic Development Council.

Joanne Murphy is an avid reader whose involvement in the Syracuse community has often focused on encouraging reading.

She has served as a member of the Friends of Onondaga County Library board helping choose the authors for the annual Rosamond Gifford Lecture Series. She was a volunteer reader at King Elementary School, helping first- and second-graders read and often spent an equal amount of time listening to them as they shared details of their day with her.

While her husband, Neil Murphy, served as president of ESF, Joanne was active on campus. She is a past board member of the Friends of Moon Library. She assisted the ESF College Foundation with numerous events and dinners at the College president's residence. She was also an honorary member of the Women of the University group.

As a registered nurse, Joanne worked many years the Marcellus Central School District and at a private physician's office in Marcellus before retiring in 2004.

Most recently, Joanne and Neil were honored by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for their dedication and passion to finding a cure for the disease. Joanne and Neil have four grown children and nine grandchildren.

Martens is the director of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance, a project of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York.

Martens joined the Alliance for Clean Energy New York in 2017. Prior to that he was a Senior Fellow at the Open Space Institute, a regional land conservation organization that has protected thousands of acres of land from Maine to Georgia. He served as Governor Andrew Cuomo's Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation from March 2011 to July 2015. As commissioner he chaired the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation and sat on the board of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

From 1998 through 2010, Martens served as president of the Open Space Institute (OSI), directing and overseeing its land protection efforts and adding thousands of acres to New York's parks and forest preserve. He served as OSI's executive vice president from 1995 through 1998. Governor Eliot Spitzer appointed Martens chair of the Olympic Regional Development Authority in 2007, a post he held until 2011.

Martens served Governor Mario Cuomo as deputy Secretary for Energy and the Environment from 1992-94 and as assistant secretary from 1990-92. From 1980-90, Martens held various positions in the New York State Assembly, including team leader on the program and council staff and senior legislative budget analyst for the Ways and Means Committee. Martens studied resource economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and received a Master of Science in resource management from ESF.

The annual Feinstone Awards dinner will take place at 6p.m. Oct. 17 at the Gateway Center on the ESF campus, Syracuse.

The Feinstone program has made more than 100 awards, honoring individuals from across the United States for their significant contributions to protecting the environment, promoting the wise use and management of our country's natural resources, and promoting the spirit of volunteerism.

Sol Feinstone, a widely known historian and author who was a graduate of ESF, established the Feinstone awards program in 1976. His goal was to reward people and organizations that exemplified his belief that the best insurance for a free society lay in people's desire and ability to do voluntarily the things that need to be done for the good of all.