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The Crew

Michael Goff is the president and primary researcher of Urban Cruise Ship.

From 2016 to 2018, he worked as an Energy Analyst at The Breakthrough Institute. Previously, he was an Assistant Professor in the Mathematics Department at Vanderbilt University, where he taught undergraduate courses and conducted research in the field of combinatorics.

Michael's volunteer work in policy and advocacy includes the YIMBY (Yes In My Back Yard) movement in San Francisco; advocating for a carbon fee and dividend with Citizens Climate Lobby; the Advocacy Chair for the Nashville, Tennessee chapter of the United Nations Association; lobbying the Davidson County Metro Government to improve its recycling program; lobbying with Tennessians for Fair Taxation for a state income tax in Tennessee; and active work in the Democratic Party in Nashville, Washington County, OR, and Seattle. In 2014, Michael was a fellow in East-West: The Art of Dialogue, a program of the Shafik Gabr Foundation, to foster ties between the United States and Egypt.

Michael earned his Ph. D. in mathematics from the University of Washington in 2010. He is interested in machine learning and data science and in 2014 completed a programing at The Data Incubator, where he built a predictive model of usage of New York City’s CitiBike program. His hobbies include game programming and urban hiking.




John van der Harst manages research aims, graphic and language standards, human resources, and development for Urban Cruise Ship.

Since 1975, John has been a designer, draftsman and illustrator in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, civil engineering and planning, which have included some interior and graphic design, and structural, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical drawings. Previously, a variety of health-threatening factory work and odd jobs brought gratefulness for often-scarce design work opportunities and sensitivity toward work opportunity and environmental safety.

Since 1992, John has been president of Recycling Advocates of Middle Tennessee, with accomplishments that include the world’s only voluntary closure of a large, financially-viable waste-to-energy plant with up-to-date air pollution control equipment, banning treated WTE ash as a loose construction fill material in many U.S. states, and establishing the first statewide “soil-based” compost quality standards as an incentive class. Doing so involved economic comparative analysis, risk assessment, conducting four pilot wet/dry source separation/processing systems, and touring over 200 facilities across the U.S. and Ontario. John has described how to achieve true zero-waste across entire municipal waste streams, including economic structures which enable this. Those include calculating and internalizing presently externalized disposal costs.

John’s advocacy has included leadership on issues ranging from health care, peace, third party and bioregional politics, mass transit, scenery preservation and billboards, economic disparity, and human and animal rights. Since 2002, John’s methods, successes, and personal lifestyle led to various published profiles, in two newspapers, two magazines, a 2004 documentary “Immaterial John”, by Red Clay Pictures, and listings in Marquis Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, and Who’s Who in Science and Engineering. John is among the 5% of their listees Marquis has given a "Lifetime Achievement Award" to. Hobbies include gardening, cartooning, and triathlons.



Lee Nelson is a Researcher and Exhibit Producer with Urban Cruise Ship.

He grew up on a large dairy and agriculture farm in central California. He has worked for over 12 years as an environmental chemist and while in that position was a member of the safety, financial, and wellness committees. He has also volunteered as 4-H counselor, church counselor, Master Gardener (in Tennessee and Michigan), garden club leader, Big Brother, and Vegfest Coordinator.

In February of 2019 Lee was elected to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Unity Spiritual Center of Lansing. Lee teaches yoga and tai chi at a local YMCA and enjoys seeing his students learn and grow through practice. Lee has always had a love for environmentalism and also enjoys trail running, yoga, tai chi, hiking, gardening, and reading.



Past Associates

Andrew Evans was a researcher and exhibit producer with Urban Cruise Ship.

Andrew has an MS degree in sociology. He has participated in Nashville/Davidson County activities for Recycling Advocates of Middle Tennessee.



Al-Fassi Jones was a part-time researcher and exhibit producer with Urban Cruise Ship.

Al has education in accounting and work experience in retail sales.