Michael Walton AIA, NCARB, LEED AP

Executive Director

An architect by trade, Michael has worked for over a decade to integrate sustainability into the building practices, business operations, and public policy in the city in which he lives to improve both the quality of life and the quality of the environment. After growing up in Greeneville, Tennessee, Michael attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville where he received his Bachelor of Architecture, studied at the ETH Zurich in Switzerland as guest student, then moved to Washington, DC to practice architecture at Envision Design and Perkins+Will. His award-winning work served national environmental non-profits, national tech companies, and mixed-income, mixed use developments in underserved neighborhoods. In addition, he served as an advisor to draft the first Green Construction Code in a major US city as part of the District of Columbia's Sustainable DC Plan before returning to Tennessee in 2014 to take over as the executive director of green|spaces.

Currently, Michael focuses the programming at green|spaces as a reflection of the values of its donors and members on the shared responsibility of pushing the envelope of sustainability while simultaneously ensuring the economic, social, and environmental benefits of sustainability are shared equitably throughout Chattanooga and the region. 

Michael serves on US Green Building Council's Tennessee State Advisory Board, the ACE Mentorship Program Board, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's Interior Design Advisory Board and as a regional team leader for the American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment. 

Michael, his wife Bailey, and their two sons love the opportunities that Chattanooga affords to appreciate the strong sense of place in the urban design surrounded by opportunities for hiking, camping and other outdoor sports. Their favorite trail is the Rock Creek section of the Cumberland Trail. 



Dawn Hjelseth LEED GA

Director of Development

Originally from Holland, Michigan, Dawn Hjelseth graduated from Grand Valley State University with a bachelor's degree in International Business and Marketing with an emphasis in Spanish, Sales and Non Profit Management.

She fell in love with Chattanooga after trail blazing on the Cumberland Trail near Soddy Daisy. After college, she was brought to Chattanooga through AmeriCorps where she served at Habitat for Humanity in grant writing, marketing development and event management.

As a child, her upbringing emphasized recycling, gardening and enjoying nature. She was attracted to green|spaces as they are recognized as a driving force behind educating the public on sustainable building practices. Her focus now is to raise funds to provide support to the various programs, classes and events provided by green|spaces. Her favorite green space is Greenway Farms as she and her husband enjoy canoeing in the river, playing frisbee in the large open spaces and has a great dog park for their two dogs to run.


Natalie Hostetler LEED GA

Program Director - green|light


Natalie Hostetler joined green|spaces as the green|light program director in June of 2015.  Natalie is a lifelong Chattanoogan with a love for this city that drives her to make sure the same beautiful city she grew up in is around for her children. 

Natalie has over 10 years of progressive experience in corporate training, sales, and marketing and has worked for three Fortune 100 companies since she graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2005.   She brings to the green|light program a vast knowledge of program development and implementation from her work with local non-profits and her career in corporate sales.  Her reputation for connecting people and incorporating fun with work is well known and she is looking forward to growing the green|light program and making sure businesses have the tools they need to adopt a lifelong culture of sustainability within their organization.

North Chattanooga is home for Natalie, her husband Peterson, their son Winston, and their puppy Rollins.  Natalie also is a member of the Junior League of Chattanooga where she has worked to grow their membership and retain existing members since 2008.  She also is on the Circle of Red for the American Heart Association and is an avid runner. 


Sam Fulbright

Program Coordinator - Empower Chattanooga

Sam Fulbright is a freelance filmmaker and whitewater kayaker from Chattanooga, TN. He grew up kayaking in the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina.  

Originally from Chattanooga, TN, Sam has returned after 9 years away. Sam spent his time away whitewater kayaking around the world competing and filming in China, Chile, Costa Rica, and the United States. Kayaking sparked Sam's interest in both film and environmentalism. The first film project he worked on, Facing East, about the damming on the Yangtze River in China, won the best environmental film in the National Paddling Film Festival. 

When not on the road, he called Charlotte, NC home. Sam was instrumental in starting Charlotte Environmental Action, a climate justice organizing group focused on climate and energy issues in North Carolina and Appalachia.

In addition he also volunteered with Greenpeace NC and continues to volunteer with Greenpeace US. In 2013 Sam directed and produced a climate change documentary, Shift | Beyond the Numbers of the Climate Crisis, that was named top 10 most influential films of 2013 by Films For Action. 



Donivan Brown

Outreach Coordinator - Empower Chattanooga

Donivan Brown is a consultant, writer and organizer focusing on a variety of community growth challenges in the area of critical race theory and racial reconciliation.  He is co-founder and principal teacher in a city wide conversation on race known as Forty Folks. He is from Chattanooga, and studied at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. His past experience includes decades of local residential remodeling and revitalization and over 5 years in the mortgage industry.  His personal interest include, engaging in political discourse,  playing sports and a deep commitment to college football.

“I love the beauty and complexity, the nexus of the natural beauty of Chattanooga and urban development. I love the Tennessee Riverwalk and the more contemporary modern designs of commercial and residential buildings.”

green|spaces Board of Directors

Ben Harper, Past Chair
Hutton Company

Ricky Supan, Chair
Patton, Albertson & Miller, LLC

Grace Frank, Vice Chair
Grace Frank Group

Miguel Partap, Treasurer
S&H Trucking

Nick Cookson, Secretary

Matt Brown
Franklin Architects

Anthony Roden
Tennessee Solar Solutions

Erwin Ovalle
MCS and Ovalle's


Irene Hillman
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Clint Dean

Jeff Sundean
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee

Ira Weiss

Chanda Maldonado
Chambers Welding & Fabrication

Wayne Williams
Workshop Architecture

Gary Crowe
Uptown Firm