August Meeting 8/3/23

Good afternoon Big Bend Branch APWA Members,

The month’s meeting will be held on Thursday, August 3, 2024 from 11:30 AM to 1:45 PM. This meeting has an extended meeting time to accommodate both a presentation and a tour. The meeting will be held at the Tallahassee International Airport in the Boeing Room. Additional information will be provided in advance of the meeting.

This month we welcome speakers Mariben Espiritu Andersen and Ben Cowart from Michael Baker International. This meeting will be a presentation and site visit for the new solar farms at the Tallahassee International Airport (TLH). The TLH solar farm is currently the nation’s and world’s largest airport solar farm at 320 acres. The meeting will consist of a presentation from 11:45 am to 12:30 pm followed, for those who are able to stay, by a site visit of the solar farms from 12:30 pm to approximately 1:45 pm.

Mariben Espiritu Andersen is an environmental scientist with 40+ years of experience in the environmental field. She has a B.S. in Biology from the University of the Philippines.  She is an Associate Vice President and Southern Region Lead for Environmental and DEI at Michael Baker International.  She is an FAA airport wildlife biologist and an FAA and FHWA certified NEPA specialist.  She is and has been the chairwoman of the Florida Airports Council Environmental Awards Committee for the past 16 years.  Mariben is a founding member and the past president of the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) Tampa Chapter.  She is a mother, wife, professional and community leader.  Her current focus is giving back to the community and inspiring young professionals to pursue their dreams. She is passionate about protecting the environment and proud to be Asian American. She was the program manager and environmental consultant for Tallahassee International Airport Solar Farm II and the environmental consultant for Solar Farm 1.    

Ben Cowart is a mechanical engineer with more than 37 years of experience in Electric and Gas Utility.  He has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Certified Public Manager from the Florida State University.  He is the Alternative Energy Manager at Michael Baker International and was the previous Alternative Energy Manager for the City of Tallahassee Electric & Gas Utility.  Ben’s specialty is renewable energy and alternative fuels.  He is an active member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers local and national chapters. He is currently working on several solar and EV charging stations projects.  Ben was the project manager of the Tallahassee International Airport Solar Farm I and Solar Farm II. 

Lunch will be available for purchase to those members who RSVP by 11:00 AM Tuesday, August 1st ( The lunch will be coming from Firehouse Subs and will include your choice of sub with drinks and a cookie. The cost for lunch is $15.00 per person. Please RSVP with your Sub choice from the list below.

Sub Options available for catering

  • Ham Sub
  • Turkey Sub
  • Roast Beef Sub
  • Turkey & Roast Beef Sub
  • Turkey & Ham Sub
  • Pepperoni, Salami, & Ham Sub