green|spaces Staff


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 as Vice President of the Chattanooga American Institute of Architects, the US Green Building Council Tennessee Advisory Board, the ACE Mentorship Program Board, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's Interior Design Advisory Board, and as a Cub Scout Den Leader for the Boy Scouts of America. He attended the Harvard Business School Young American Leaders Program in 2018.

Michael loves soccer, fly fishing, hiking, and camping with his wife Bailey, and their two sons.


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.


Kelley Cureton

Program Director - green|light

A native of beloved St. Petersburg, Florida, Kelley moved to Chattanooga a little over two years ago, drawn by the city’s outdoor lifestyle.

Kelley received her bachelor's degree in Tourism and Event Management from the University of Florida and her Master's degree in Global Sustainability from the University of South Florida. Her previous positions have taken her from the professional sports realm as the Community Relations Manager for the Tampa Bay Lightning (Go Bolts!), to the whiskey world as the Director of Communications for Chattanooga Whiskey. With the commitment to sustainability as her life-long personal and professional passion, Kelley is thrilled to join the green|spaces team as the Program Director for green|light!

An adventurous traveler, she has spent ample time in Paris, lived on the beautiful island of Kaua’i and trekked to Machu Picchu, determined to visit a new country every year. When here in Chattanooga, she calls Signal Mountain home where you you’ll find her tending to her honey bees, drawing and painting, or playing music far too loud.


Christian Shackelford

Program Director - Empower Chattanooga

Christian Shackelford is a Building Analyst, HERS Rater, and building science consultant bringing expertise from the home performance industry in California to green|spaces.

Christian has worked in home performance and energy efficiency for 6 years. From energy efficient construction to performing energy audits and running utility programs to helping homeowners save energy and live comfortably in their homes, his career as balanced the administrative side of the industry to the technical side of building science. He loves all things building from cabinetry work and timber frames to HVAC and insulation and enjoys weaving sustainability into the trades and crafts. He is excited to share his experience with others and learn more from the sustainability community here in Chattanooga.

Originally from NC, Christian moved back to the south east from Oakland CA searching for a smaller community centered in the outdoors. Christian is an avid rock climber and gets out regularly to Chattanooga’s cliffs and wilderness areas. When not at the cliff you can find him renovating an old house or searching for the best taco shop in town.


Allen Shropshire

Outreach Coordinator - Empower Chattanooga

Mr. Allen Shropshire a known community leader from the Avondale area of Chattanooga, Tennessee.  He has a passion for helping those who are normally not accepted in the  workforce community.  Allen is a Brainerd High School honors graduate, and he was in the top ten percent of his class.  He had multiple opportunities to pursue a college career right after high school, but he chose a path that lead him to a spiral downhill of trouble.

Doing his process of building his life back he had become a father of three children.  He became a participant of the Jobs for Life program.  After graduation in 2012 he began to volunteer as a mentor that landed him a job as the Summer Camp Coordinator at Hope for the Inner City.  He also became the Student Relation/ Site Leader for the Jobs for Life program at Hope. While at Hope for the Inner City he build a network of partnerships around the City of Chattanooga. Allen is also a certified forklift operator, overhead-crane operator, Plasma Burner operator, and a Oxi-fuel operator.

In addition to coordinating outreach for Empower Chattanooga, Allen is a recruiter for the Build Me a World Organization. He is graduate of green|spaces' Build in Green Program (BIG), also he partners with a local film business called Lil Mo Films to help develop a relationship with the inner-city communities around the City or Chattanooga to help them develop themselves and to reach their full purpose. 

Allen has a goal to create his own non-profit organization that deals with gang members who want to make a difference in their life's. He feels that those are the people who have many hidden talents, but done have the means and resources to make them develop to become very valuable to their communities and their city. They will one day have the opportunity to one day show everyone around them their true value and worth all over the City of Chattanooga and World!


Ella Kliger

Rural Outreach Coordinator - Empower

Ella moved to Chattanooga after enjoying multiple trips here for science fiction conventions and finding fun things to do every visit. She has spent the past ten years working as a community catalyst in NC and TN, collaborating with communities to leverage resources.

Additionally, Ella works as the Field Operations Director for Coming Alongside, an environmental health organization. Founded in the wake of Katrina, Coming Alongside developed a new sensor for measuring formaldehyde in trailers that were provided to survivors of the storm. In conjunction with the work of The Sierra Club's Toxic Trailers initiative, she worked with residents along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi to measure and respond to unhealthy indoor air environments.

Ella, her honey, Jonathan, and their retriever, Sable, enjoy walking less traveled paths in the area, finding a swimming spot for Sable whenever possible.

green|spaces Board of Directors

Ricky Supan, Past Chair
Patton, Albertson & Miller, LLC

Grace Frank, Chair
Grace Frank Group

Erwin Ovalle, Vice Chair
MCS and Ovalle's

Paul Beckmann, Treasurer
Wind River Homes

Nick Cookson, Secretary
Sewannee University

Matt Brown
Franklin Architects

Kevin Christopher
Ridgeline Venture Law

Clint Dean
Modus Build

Becky English
Scout Realtor Group

Irene Hillman
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Ken Jones

Christine Smith
Certified Health Coach

Ira Weiss
Weiss Associates

Wayne Williams
Workshop Architecture