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Thomas L. Eggert Leadership Forward Award

The Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council Board of Advisors has developed a Special Award in honor of Tom Eggert's extensive contributions to the Wisconsin business community.  The Thomas L. Eggert Leadership Forward Award memorializes Tom's legacy and countless contributions to the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Community. As founder of the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council, Tom provided students with real-world experience while interfacing with Wisconsin businesses, large and small, to grow the adoption of sustainability strategies and practices in Wisconsin businesses. Tom’s influence on the Wisconsin business community and the resulting economic, environmental, and social impacts are immeasurable. His legacy continues to grow and expand through the work of WSBC and the thousands of students, practitioners, and business leaders he has mentored and guided over the years.   

 

This award recognizes individuals who have supported and contributed to growing and extending the network of resources available to the Wisconsin business community. Award recipients have in a significant way contributed to the growth of the sustainability community and in doing so have grown, expanded, and shared Tom’s legacy. The award is determined by the Advisory Board of the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council and is reserved for special recognition of unique individuals who made outsize contributions with lasting impact on many in the community.

 

Tom has mentored, coached, and inspired many over the years. He successfully brought together the academic and business communities to build the infrastructure required to advance sustainable principles. Under Tom’s guidance students created the Green Masters’ Program, Wisconsin’s first third-party certification for businesses implementing sustainable practices. This award celebrates Thomas Eggert's tremendous contributions to our discipline, our community, and the state.

 

Nominations for this award are open throughout the year yet determined by WSBC Advisors during the annual awards cycle. The award will only be given out only when someone meets all the predetermined criteria outlined below.   

 

The Thomas L. Eggert Leadership Forward Award will go to someone who:

  • Develops and promotes sustainable practices and principles in the business community throughout the state, region and beyond.

  • Demonstrates thought leadership that has contributed to the design, development, and or implementation of standards, innovative tools, and/or programs that had a broad reach and impact on the business community and state economy.  

  • Multiplies efforts and outcomes by teaching, mentoring, and developing others, including students, co-workers, sustainability practitioners, and business leaders.

  • Tirelessly contributes to and facilitates access to the ever-expanding body of sustainability knowledge and best practices.

  • Directly and indirectly contributes to positive and measurable environmental, social and economic impacts across many industries and sectors.

  • Is seen or known as an influencer and leader; has integrity and widely known within the Wisconsin sustainability community. Is likely a person that comes to mind when a sustainability initiative, challenge or need arises. 

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2023 Thomas L. Eggert 
Leadership Forward Award Winner 

 

Jeff Thompson, MD, Executive Advisor
& CEO Emeritus Gundersen Health System

As CEO of Gundersen Health System, Dr. Thompson was the Executive Sponsor and driver behind Gundersen Health System’s sustainability effort. Dr Thompson and his team led the promotion and implementation of the concept that sustainability is both a moral and financial strategy that is good for organizations, communities, the state of Wisconsin, our country, and the world. By partnering with and teaching local and regional organizations, Gundersen became the first large health system to produce more energy from renewables than they used. While others were starting to measure, the team at Gundersen had delivered impressive results. By proving you could save money, improve the local economy, and improve health Gundersen has inspired thousands to start down this path. Dr. Thompson and his team set a goal in 2008 to become Energy Independent by 2014. Energy Independent was defined as generating more energy using clean renewable energy than what was consumed using fossil fuels for the entirety of the health system.  Gundersen achieved this goal as it recorded the first day of energy independence on October 14th, 2014.  Through this effort the system became experts at reducing energy consumption in existing facilities, renewable energy generation, and the design and construction of extraordinarily efficient new facilities including net zero health care buildings.  This type of effort was unprecedented in healthcare. 

 

Dr. Thompson was able to gain alignment with the board of directors and create internal engagement of employees by tying the effort to the mission of the organization and healthcare at large.  The teamwork and engagement of employees in this effort is a huge part of the Gundersen Health System culture. He created the connection between energy independence and lowering the cost of healthcare and improving the health of communities.  Using less energy, providing renewable energy to our own facilities, and selling renewable energy back to the utilities reduced expenses for the organization and created a new revenue stream that supplemented the business operations.  Additionally, the organization’s requirement for fossil fuels was greatly reduced, minimizing harmful emissions.  When Dr. Thompson stepped down as CEO of Gundersen, the organization was saving over $3 million dollars a year in energy expenses and had reduced CO2, Particulate, NOx, SOx, and mercury generation by over 80%.  Along the journey, the board and many internal stakeholders questioned why the health system wanted to continue down this path.  Dr. Thompson’s relentless commitment to this drove the organization to achieve this unprecedented sustainability performance with all the other pressing demands of a health system.  Gundersen became an icon for sustainability in the healthcare industry.  Other systems, like Kaiser Permanente, reached out to Gundersen and understand how these efforts could be achieved.  This created excitement and interest for other health systems to follow suit.  This effort also allowed Gundersen to financially give back to the community.  By purchasing renewable energy such as methane from the county landfill and wood biomass from local sawmills, Gundersen shifted energy spend from non-regional sources to local sources.  Not only did Gundersen spend less on energy, but what was spent, stayed in the community. The energy piece of sustainability was a huge part of the work, but other forms of waste reduction and re-cycling were also major initiatives

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2022 Thomas L. Eggert 
Leadership Forward Award Winner 

 

LeeAnn Glover, Real Estate Director
American Family Insurance, Madison

LeeAnn Glover is the recipient of the 2022 Thomas L. Eggert Leadership Forward Award. She is known throughout the Wisconsin sustainability community as well as the Wisconsin Commercial Real Estate community. LeeAnn realized the significance of sustainability and was instrumental in focusing on becoming a sponsor and manager of the American Family Sustainability program since its 2007 inception.  She was influential in hiring the inaugural sustainability administrator at American Family in 2012.  LeeAnn was fundamental in shaping the Green Master’s Program, including her encouragement to broaden beyond environmental categories. She has been influential in co-leading with AmFam facilities leadership for championing the protection of habitat around company headquarters and is a champion of the overall AmFam sustainable land management strategy across its portfolio.  She served on the Director team as a co-sponsor of the 2019 Sustainability and Climate Action Strategy and the 2021 refresh of that strategy for the American Family Enterprise. She managed and monitored sustainability investments such as the 1.3 MW solar arrays across American Family facilities, including the 1 MW array at its national headquarters. LeeAnn has worked side by side with AmFam’s Director of Facilities to initiate sustainable impacts further.

Additionally, she volunteers as a mentor for students at the University of Wisconsin Business school, where she inspires the next generation of sustainability leaders.  For over a decade, LeeAnn has been responsible for advancing and advocating for sustainability within her professional and personal commitments. The Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council is honored to acknowledge and recognize her for her dedication and achievements as the 2022 Thomas L. Eggert Leadership Forward Award recipient.

2021 Thomas L. Eggert
Leadership Forward Award Winner 

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Mark McDermid, WMEP

For nearly a quarter century, Mark McDermid has been a pioneer in engaging the business community in the implementation of sustainable practices. Mark has lead the development, implementation, promotion, and management of the following programs and initiatives in WIsconsin: Green Tier, Green Masters, Profitable Sustainability Initiative, 21st Century Pathways, Milwaukee E3 Program, Cool Choices, The Alliance for Water Stewardship North America, and the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council. Mark is an essential leader in the sustainability community. He has devoted countless hours mentoring students, practitioners, co-workers, and business leaders. His goal is to provide resources and tools that make other self-sufficient. to the growth of sustainability throughout the state. Not only is he a visionary leader in the business community, but also a mentor, co-worker, and friend who is passionate about sharing, connecting, and implementing sustainable practices in Wisconsin. 

​Learn more about Mark and his impact over the last 30 years on sustainability across Wisconsin in this video.

2019 Thomas L. Eggert
Leadership Forward Award

Clay Nesler
VP Johnson Controls

Since joining Johnson Controls in 1983, Clay has held a variety of leadership positions in research, product development, marketing, strategy and corporate sustainability in both the United States and Europe.

He helped establish the UN Sustainable Energy for All Building Efficiency Accelerator and serves as chair of the Industrial Advisory Board of the US-China Clean Energy Research Center and is a member of the International Energy Agency Energy Efficiency Industry Advisory Board. Clay has previously served as vice-chair of the 

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World Environment Center and participated on the Wisconsin Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming, the Task Force on National Energy Policy and Midwestern Regional Competitiveness and the advisory boards of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of International Studies. 

 

A frequent international speaker, Clay has presented at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, Fortune Brainstorm Green, VERGE, Greenbuild, US-India Energy Partnership Summit, US-China Energy Efficiency Forum, International Conference on Green and Energy-Efficient Building, Asia-Pacific Clean Energy Summit, World Climate Summit, World Future Energy Summit, Abu Dhabi Ascent, Global Green Growth Forum, UN SE4ALL Forum, UN Climate Summit, Rio+20, Global Climate Action Summit and numerous green building conferences around the world.Nesler received BS and MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a co-inventor on sixteen patents. He is a winner of the 2005 Corenet Global Innovator’s Award, the 2012 VERGE 25 award, a 2015 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering and a 2017 leadership award from the U.S. Green Building Council.

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