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 and the Advisors feel there is a good fit.  


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 have 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. 

2021 Thomas L. Eggert Leadership Forward Award Winner: Mark McDermid

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Mark McDermid


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 below.

2019 Thomas L. Eggert Leadership Forward Award Winner: Clay Nesler

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.