Business Leadership On Climate Change, Internal Organizing Around Sustainability, and Now That You&#
We are two weeks from the 11th Annual Wisconsin Sustainable Business Conference held at the iconic Monona Terrace Community Center. We are incredibly thankful to WMEP for their dedication to hosting this carbon neutral event, and we look forward to seeing you on December 13th! This week, we have decided to showcase some of the thought provoking breakout sessions that you can attend in two weeks. Ranging from Business leadership on climate and carbon to internal organizing around sustainability, these breakout sessions allow you to learn first hand how other business icons are adapting to changing consumer environments.
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Business Leadership On Climate Change
The challenge of carbon linked climate change has become a priority for both business and government. The US initially entered into the Paris ClimateAccord, and then pulled out under the Trump administration. Fortunately, Wisconsin has business leaders who understand the impact and consequence of continuously increasing carbon emissions. These leaders have stepped forward with a commitment to cut their own emissions and are leading their business sectors forward. You'll hear about the development of strategies, implementation experiences, and ways these successes are being communicated to others.
Robert Zimmerman - Kohler Co.
Rob is currently the Director of Sustainability at Kohler Co., in Kohler, Wisconsin, USA. In his position, he leads efforts to create strategies and tools to capitalize on Kohler’s leadership in design, energy and water efficiency, and sustainability while reducing the environmental impacts of Kohler’s operations, products, and supply chain.Rob helped create Kohler’s formal sustainability program in 2007 and has been an active member and leader ever since. His areas of emphasis include partnering with executives to align sustainability strategies with other business needs, driving innovation in new products that reduce lifecycle environmental impact, and reporting progress within and outside the company. Rob also establishes and grows relationships with key non-governmental organizations that are global advocates for environmental education, and corporate sustainability. Rob has presented training sessions on water efficiency and sustainability issues at national conferences and universities, written numerous articles for trade publications, and is frequently quoted on water efficiency and sustainability issues in the media. In addition, he is actively involved in developing and implementing Kohler’s corporate responsibility programs, and supporting business development activities in underserved markets.
Kristofer Canto - American Family
Kristofer’s passion lies at the intersection of the natural and built environment, where he seeks to understand our interactions with nature, urban systems and each other. Kristofer holds a B.S. in Natural Resources/Landscape Architecture from UW-Madison as well as M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning. He has worked professionally in the private, non-profit and public sectors. Kristopher sees his purpose as transcending systemic barriers that inhabit public-private partnerships by building relationships, identifying innovative solutions, and measuring impact.
Clay Nelser - Johnson Controls
Clay Nesler is the Vice President, Global Sustainability and Regulatory Affairs for the Building Technologies and Solutions business of Johnson Controls. He also chairs the company’s global sustainability council. 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. Nesler serves on the board of American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, the executive group of the US DOE/EPA SEE Action network and is a member of the Alliance to Save Energy International Steering Committee. 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. 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.
Internal Organizing Around Sustainability
Sustainability meets organizational design. Some companies have senior managers responsible for implementing sustainable actions. Some have teams. Organizational designs frequently change over time. This session focuses on how sustainability is addressed within company hierarchy and the pros and cons of the various approaches. The speakers will also talk about how internal structure evolves and changes over time.
Kevin Tubbs - Oshkosh
Kevin Tubbs is the Vice President, Chief Ethics, Compliance & Sustainability Officer for Oshkosh Corporation. He is responsible for the development and implementation of ethics & compliance and environmental & sustainability processes and programs for Oshkosh Corporation’s worldwide operations. Prior to joining Oshkosh Corporation in 2012, Kevin held senior environmental management and sustainability positions at Ingersoll Rand Company, Trane Company, and American Standard. Kevin began his career at Exxon Corporation. Kevin holds a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from Clarkson University and MS degrees in Engineering Management and Occupational Safety and Health from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Kevin also holds a certificate from the Wharton School’s Executive Development Program. For three years Kevin was the Mayor of Chatham Township, NJ during which time Chatham Township was named the “Best Place to Live in New Jersey” and was one of the first communities to receive Sustainable Jersey certification. Kevin is on the Advisory Board of the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council, the Advisory Board of the University of Wisconsin’s Master of Science in Sustainable Management program and the Board of Trustees of the Fox Cities Leadership Academy.
Sara Northouse - Sub Zero
Sara Northouse is a Manufacturing Engineering Coordinator and Sustainability Project Leader at Sub Zero Group, Inc. Sara collaborates with departments across the organization to implement sustainability projects and lean manufacturing practices. Sara has worked at Sub-Zero Group, Inc. for 10 years with a dedicated focus on sustainability since 2012. She has supported such projects as: design regulatory and compliance initiatives, waste stream improvements, creating a corporate sustainability policy and employee wellness initiatives. Her major sustainability impacts is through the facility team with a high level of participation on Focus on Energy programs. Energy projects include: LED lighting upgrades, the Strategic Energy Management program with emphasis on fabrication equipment and HVAC systems, a 3.9 MW solar array system at their Goodyear, Arizona facility, and EV charging stations. Sara holds a Bachelor’s degree from UW-Stout in Sustainable Management, is a member of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Gold Community, and a member of Women in Manufacturing.
Caleb Nicholes - Kickapoo Coffee
For most of his adult life, Caleb Nicholes has been a professional gourmand, including three years as an importer of boutique European wines and 13 years owning Kickapoo Coffee. His work in the wine industry took him all over France, Italy, and Spain where he learned that "if you run fast enough, you don't actually run with the bulls." Caleb is married with four children.
Now That You've Embraced Sustainability, What Do You Do?
This session will feature speakers from companies that have committed to sustainability and got some easy early wins. The next projects though cost a bit more, or take a bit more time, or require other people that are busy doing other things. How do these companies maintain the momentum? What tools are available to help companies overcome this inertia? This breakout session really exemplifies this year’s conference theme of “sustainably forward,” because it focuses on moving forward even when it is hard.
Dan Streit - WECC
Dan Streit serves as the Program Manager for Commercial Finance and Sustainability Services at WECC, a mission-based nonprofit headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. In this role, he is responsible for developing and implementing programs for corporate and municipal clients seeking to improve supply chain sustainability, identify and report upon their material sustainability issues, or calculate their carbon footprints. Dan is certified as a Greenhouse Gas Inventory Quantifier and has also completed the GRI training program. He has presented at past conferences and events, including the Better Buildings: Better Business Conference, the New York Home Performance Coalition Conference (formerly Affordable Comfort), Dane Buy Local, and Women in Sustainability, as well as to a variety of local audiences.
Beth Churchill – American Family
Beth is a seasoned Corporate Responsibility/Sustainability strategist. She has experience in strategic planning, program management and facilitation in both business and community. Committed to guiding organizations towards responsible social, environmental and economic stewardship, Beth co-leads American Family’s Corporate Responsibility program strategy & development, project management, education & outreach, and metrics and reporting. A fellow of Edgewood College’s Social Innovation and Sustainability Leadership program, she is a LEED Accredited Professional, a certified Sustainability Associate with the International Society of Sustainability Professionals and a licensed Landscape Architect in California. She serves on Edgewood College’s Social Innovation and Sustainability Leadership Advisory Board and is a member of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals. In 2016 she received the Sustainable Leadership Award from the Wisconsin Sustainability Business Council Earth Day Sustainable Business Awards.
Nathan Nissen - Kohler Co.
Nathan Nissen was on the team that developed the first Kohler Co. Sustainability strategy in 2007 and has lead footprint reporting activities and coordinated footprint reduction activities since then. Prior to that, Nathan had worked in an environmental leadership role with the Kohler Co. corporate Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) department since 1989. While working in EHS, Nathan’s career evolved through hazardous waste management and elimination, emergency response planning, environmental management systems, and industrial waste recycling. Nathan has a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota.