The Intersection of Climate Change and Infrastructure

2022 marks the anniversaries of two unprecedented climate events—Hurricane Ida and Superstorm Sandy—both of which had a significant impact on the operation of the basic infrastructure required for the functioning of everyday life. They represent two types of extreme weather flooding events—pluvial and coastal—but other climate change-related effects, like extreme heat, sea-level rise, and drought, are also becoming more prevalent in dense, urban areas like New York City. This panel will address the impact of climate change on infrastructure, specifically what to consider when tackling its complexities, which interventions are actually working, and how to develop and operate resilient infrastructure that can support a functioning urban environment.

Presented By


The Speakers

Karen Appell - AECOM

Karen Appell | Climate Adaptation Lead at AECOM Metro NY

Karen is the Climate Adaptation Lead for the Water group at AECOM Metro New York where she oversees the Extreme Weather Initiative for the region. With more than 20 years of experience, Karen manages multidisciplinary teams that develop strategic solutions for the planning, design, and construction of complex infrastructure projects, focusing on climate adaptation. Working across the engineering, ecology, and landscape architecture fields, she specializes in employing a comprehensive approach in integrating resilient and sustainable elements for both coastal and inland projects. Currently, Karen manages Rebuild By Design – Hudson River for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the municipalities of Hoboken, Jersey City, and Weehawken, New Jersey, and other public and private stakeholders to design and construct a coastal flood risk reduction project that will secure a more resilient future for one of the country’s densest and most transit-oriented areas. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from Cornell University with a concentration in Environmental Systems Engineering and a graduate certificate in Water Resources Engineering from the Stevens Institute of Technology.

Keith Masback -

Keith Masback |  Strategic Advisor at

Keith is a Strategic Advisor to, which helps countries, businesses, and individuals better manage their weather-related challenges with the best information and insights. He is an expert on the intersection of geospatial intelligence, extreme weather, and climate, and a longtime advocate for applying remote sensing data and analytics to chronicle the impact of climate change over time. Previously, Keith was the Chief Executive Officer of the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF). Prior to joining USGIF, he spent more than 20 years as an officer in the U.S. Army and in the government civilian service, culminating as a member of the Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). Keith also served as a member of the Intelligence Task Force of the Defense Science Board and a member of the Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing (ACCRES).

BJ Jones - AECOM

B.J. Jones | President & CEO of Battery Park City Authority

B.J. has more than 20 years of public sector experience, working on a variety of initiatives to improve customer service, safety, transparency, and accountability in government. He started his career in state and local government consulting, working on engagements that included modernizing the Georgia Department of Revenue, conducting a statewide performance audit for South Carolina, modernizing motor vehicle services for the state of New Jersey, and analyzing the economic impacts of expanding Metrorail in Northern Virginia. He then joined New York City government in the first term of the Bloomberg administration, working his way up to serve in a variety of roles, including Assistant Commissioner of Strategic Planning and Implementation at the Department of Buildings and, later, Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations. Throughout his tenure with the city, he has been involved in a number of groundbreaking initiatives, including implementation of the city’s first online permitting system, the first overhaul of the building code in 38 years, expansion of the city’s job application portal, and providing temporary shelter and housing repairs for victims of Hurricane Sandy. As President and CEO at the Battery Park City Authority, he has overseen the development of the organization's first strategic plan, creation of a new five-year capital plan, diversification of community program offerings, the closing of $673 million in financing, and the launch of ambitious new resiliency, sustainability, and affordability initiatives. B.J. received his undergraduate degree in Management from Gettysburg College, a Master of Public Administration from American University, and a Master of Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a certified Project Management Professional.

Cortney Koenig Worrall - The Waterfront Alliance

Cortney Koenig Worrall | President & CEO of the Waterfront Alliance

Cortney is the President and CEO of the Waterfront Alliance with expertise in climate resilience policy, campaign planning, community outreach, and public participation processes. She previously led the National Parks Conservation Association’s (NPCA) northeast office. Among her many achievements, Cortney developed and led the campaign for Stonewall National Monument, which was designated by President Obama in June 2016. She also crafted NPCA’s northeast execution of the campaign to reduce the $12B maintenance backlog affecting national parks—one of many nationally executed campaigns leading to the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act in 2020. Cortney came to NPCA by way of the Waterfront Alliance where she served as Chief Operating Officer from 2009 to 2013. During that time, she developed waterfront policy for the 2010 New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, executed the Waterfront Alliance’s strategy for five-borough ferry service for New York City, and launched the development of the award-winning WEDG® (Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines) for the New York-New Jersey Harbor. Early in her career, Cortney worked in engineering consulting, specializing in state and federal stormwater regulations. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in environmental policy from Mount Holyoke College and her Master of Public Administration in advanced management from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.


Keith Masback

B.J. Jones

Cortney Koenig Worrall


Karen Appell

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