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 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.

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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.

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.

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Christian Shackelford

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.

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

Nick Cookson, Secretary
Suwannee University

Matt Brown
Franklin Architects

Anthony Roden
Tennessee Solar Solutions




Irene Hillman
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Clint Dean

Ken Jones

Ira Weiss

Chanda Maldonado
Chambers Welding & Fabrication

Wayne Williams
Workshop Architecture

Gary Crowe
Uptown Firm