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Names in the News

Plastics initiatives get new leaders; micromobility makes moves

Q3 sees many industry leaders find new CSOs, Rocky Mountain Institute expand and aviation try for sustainability.

The profession of sustainability is expanding, in both breadth and depth. The other news? We have a long list of names for you. From micro mobility startups to research institutions to industry giants, chief sustainability officers are being added, recycled and retired.

Also, have any tips or news for our next installment? Send us an e-mail at [email protected].

Who's news

Christine Fraser, Dell Technologies

As the tech sector seeks to increase its environmental leadership, Dell Technologies picks up a new chief responsibility officer and senior vice president. She replaces Trisa Thompson, recently retired 20-year veteran of the role (and 2018 GreenBiz Twitterati), and enters the role from Dell EMC, Dell's sector that deals with IT and data services. That background could be useful as Dell the company looks towards its ambitious 2020 goal: "By 2020, the good that will come from our technology will be 10 (times) what it takes to create and use it."

Kirk Myers, Alaska Air

Sustainability buff Kirk Myers has joined Alaska Air as its director of sustainability, coming from 11 years as REI’s senior sustainability manager. Looks like he’s already hit the ground running, partnering with Neste to work on renewable fuels, which looks to be a major focus for the notoriously high-emitting aviation industry.

Justin Adams, Tropical Forest Alliance

The Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, a public-private-partnership hosted by the World Economic Forum, has appointed a new director, Justin Adams, coming from the Global Managing Director of Lands at the Nature Conservancy. 

Julia Farber, Legrand

Julia Farber has joined Legrand, the digital building infrastructure company, as the new sustainability manager of research and marketing. She has a long history in the environmental field, from sustainability consulting for Quantis to PR at UL Environment to business development at Google.

Paul Pellizzari, Hard Rock International

The new vice president of global social responsibility for Hard Rock International is Paul Pellizzari, starting as the entertainment company grows its CSR programs. He formerly led social responsibility at Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG).

Kathleen Merrigan, Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems

Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan takes the first executive director role at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability’s new research, policy and education center. The recently created center, which focuses on holistic sustainable food systems, could take advantage of Merrigan’s decades of experience — from helping write one of the first organic food production acts in 1990 to serving as the deputy secretary of agriculture for Barack Obama’s first term to chairing a conference for the FAO.

On the move

— The long-term think-and-impact-tank Rocky Mountain Institute has picked up two new senior staff members:

  • New senior fellow Bruce Nilles previously served as the senior campaign director for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, which he helped launch and lead for the past 15 years.

  • Uday Varadarajan comes on board as a principal, bringing experience from leading the Climate Policy Initiative's (CPI) U.S. Energy Finance team, as well as time at the White House Office of Management and Budget.

The Dow Chemical Company is creating two new senior leadership roles to address recent global plastics recycling and waste management challenges. Its new business unit, Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics, has led to some organizational changes in leadership:

  • Tim Boven, formerly Dow’s global integrated supply chain director for Hydrocarbons, which is Dow’s natural gas subsidiary, is the new recycling commercial director for Latin America and North America.

  • His complement as the new recycling commercial director for EMEA and APAC is Carsten Larsen, moving from Dow Industrial Solutions’ commercial director for Europe, Middle East, Africa and India.

— Micromobility San Francisco-based startup Bird is expanding quickly. As it grows its geographical and user markets, it also grows its team to support that influence, with senior experts from another transportation tech companies and from national public transportation coalition. It’s grabbing:

  • As senior manager for sustainability and environmental impact, Melinda Hanson, coming from the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), where she was deputy director of the Global Designing Cities Initiative.

  • YJ Fischer as senior director of government partnerships. Fischer previously was managing director of international business development for Virgin Hyperloop One.

Robin Newmark, environmental academic research extraordinaire, has retired from NREL's leadership team and from her role as executive director of special initiatives.

Lindsey Longendyke, former communications director of WRI, is now communications director at Greater Washington Board of Trade.

Joachim Marc Christensen, former communications manager at Sustainia, is now the network manager at the Global Compact Network Denmark, the Danish network for the United Nations Global Compact.

— Energy expert Blaine Collison has joined David Gardiner and Associates as senior vice president to help advance clean energy. Prior to this, he was at Altenex, an Edison Energy company, and before that, he worked for almost two decades on ENERGY STAR programs at the EPA.

Skanska USA has promoted Dale Kopnitsky to executive vice president and general manager for the DC Metro Region from vice president of preconstruction services.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) will have John Smirnow rejoining as general counsel and vice president of market strategy, and Tony Chen serving in the newly created position of vice president of business development.

 Long-time sustainability principal Helen M. Sahi has been appointed vice president of global corporate sustainability of textile producer Unifi Manufacturing, Inc.

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