The Team

Della van Heyst, Founder

Della, founder of Billion People Project, has developed and managed more than 400 high-level conferences in 16 countries including China, Japan, France, Bahrain, Dubai, India, Russia, and Georgia (Tbilisi). She was an intrapraneur at Stanford University for 30 years where she launched executive education programs in publishing, digital design, and management; created a book series publishing 50 titles, some in multiple languages; and developed a multimillion dollar educational travel program. Upon leaving Stanford she launched The Van Heyst Group which is respected for strategic and innovative thinking delivered in high-impact events.

Greg Allum, Founding Partner & Operations Manager

Greg, co-founder of the Billion People Project, has been with the National Park Service since 2001, working in resource protection, emergency medical services and environmental education at Yellowstone National Park, Great Basin National Park, Channel Islands National Park, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, and currently Rocky Mountain National Park. In his presentations, he has taught more than 10,000 people about the sustainability of the Parks and the effects of climate change on the environment.

Albert Chu, Founding Partner & Business Strategist

Albert is an experienced executive in the mobile and consumer electronics industry. He led global marketing, sales and business operations, product planning and ecosystem partnerships for Apple, AT&T, Palm, PalmSource and ACCESS. Most recently, he was Vice President and General Manager for ACCESS Systems Americas. In his career, Albert brought dozens of innovations to market, including digital publishing and multimedia solutions, mobile OS platforms and connected home/connected car solutions.

Jenny Damitio, Project Coordinator

Jenny-of-all-trades performs administrative, marketing, and writing projects for Billion People Project. She was born near the Cascades in Washington, grew up near the mountains in the countryside of Japan, and currently calls Boulder, Colorado’s Rocky Mountain foothill, her home.  She’s an undercover neo-hippie who rides her bike in major snow storms because she can. Jenny enjoys discovering new technology and loves seeing the power of the Internet and big data used for social causes, especially to save our beautiful planet, Earth!

Patrick Deegan, Technology Director

Patrick is CTO of and Lead Architect of the Open Mustard Seed Project. Prior to joining ID3, he pursued a career in personal/social robotics, where he refined his vision for new types of web-enabled social networks that connect and benefit people in the real world. He co-founded digitROBOTICS with the ‘uBot-5′ and ‘uBot-6′ platforms, supported the NASA Johnson Space Center Robonaut program, and developed several applications to assist the elderly day-to-day tasks. His work has been utilized as the mobile dexterous base for the MIT Media Lab ‘Nexi’ platform and was named one of TIME Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2008. Most recently he served as the Senior Robotics Engineer at Rethink Robotics, founded to develop a collaborative and sentient humanoid robot for manufacturing and supply chain operations. ‘Baxter’ was named one of TIME Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2012.

Kevin Flannery, Editorial Director

Kevin is University of Oregon graduate who recently returned to the US from a year living in Shanghai, China. His time spent in Oregon continues to have a distinct influence on the way he thinks and acts, along with the passions that he carries. These passions include: sustainable business, entrepreneurship, Nature, distance-running, and genuine friendships with people from all walks of life. Kevin proclaims: “Living in China has taught me that the world is full of wonderful people who are dedicated to their cause… I want to leave Earth cleaner than how I found it.”

Nigel Holmes, Graphics Director

Nigel was graphics director of Time Magazine from 1978 to 1994. Since then, his company, Explanation Graphics, has made diagrams, data visualizations, and animated movies for many organizations, including the New York Times, the National Geographic Society, and United Healthcare. In the environmental field, he has worked with the Friends of the Earth (subsequently titled OneEarth); Good Magazine, with the City of Stamford, CT; General Motors; and with Rick Smolan on his Blue Planet Run (global water supply) book, and more recently on his Human Face of Big Data.

Kay Watanabe, Director of Development

Kay is a seasoned communications executive, and has spent her career focused on framing and explaining the exciting combination of business, innovation and technology. After Apple and most recently at Cisco, Kay is now consulting with leading Silicon Valley companies and startups. Kay graduated from St. Mary’s College of California and is currently a city commissioner.


“Study Nature, love Nature, stay close to Nature. It will never fail you.” -Frank Lloyd Wright