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Movers & Shakers

What should a sustainability careers column look like?

Who's moving where? Who's doing what? Each month, "Movers and Shakers" chronicles the comings and goings, the promotions and achievements, of sustainable business professionals.

Got a tip about someone (maybe you!) who's worthy of a shout-out? Send a note to: [email protected].

Confession time. When we launched this column last month, we thought writing the opening paragraphs might become a tad onerous. Does it really require an editorial perspective to celebrate new hires and promotions? Are we really adding value here?

Then we read the comments. A long discourse on Robertson Davies’ novel Fifth Business as metaphor for practitioners “working below the radar, taking satisfaction in knowing they've made a difference, while allowing mousse-headed, or peroxide blondes with bleached teeth to take the photo-ops.”

Another who saw it as a “meh” list. Frank wrote that it’s “a lot of traditional corporate MBA types being ‘promoted’ or shifted more likely to some pseudo sustainability area. Color me skeptical at best.”

But others, both in the comments section and in personal emails, noted that it was encouraging to read about these positions. One commented, “There are many, many, many more that are likely more worthy of mention -- again based on their actions, not titles.”

And to all of these commenters, we have one thing to say: “We agree!” For those who asked us if we take submissions, the answer is yes -- please send them in. For those who wrote “This page needs some younger folks!” we agree -- please send them in. And for those with a skeptic’s eye -- let’s continue the conversation. Sure, there are practitioners who have been at this for more than 25 years who aren’t duly recognized, but sustainability as a profession is still fairly new. Let’s make this a place for dialogue.

Speaking of those who have been at this a long time, McDonald’s Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility Bob Langert told us about a couple of high-powered additions to the company’s sustainability team: Director of Sustainability Ian Olson and Senior Director of CSR and Sustainability Jeff Hogue. While there haven’t been any blockbuster announcements from the company about their program so far, they’ve promoted internally while also bringing in sustainability leaders from Danisco and Darden to build one of the stronger teams we’ve seen.

Here are some other recent movers and shakers:

PJ Newcomb has shifted from the public sector at the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority to Coca-Cola, where he serves as the beverage giant's sustainability program manager. Newcomb brings a 17-year history working sustainability into everything from manufacturing to government to higher education.



Building services firm Harvard Maintenance Inc. has picked up Jason Lee as its director of sustainability and process optimization. Before taking up this position, Lee was director of sustainability and business development at GCA Services Group, another facility services provider.



Linda Lowson, the CEO and founder of consultancy firm CSR Insight LLC, has started Global ESG Regulatory Academy, a Webinar training series for companies navigating global environmental, social and governance (ESG) regulation.



Ian Olson has joined McDonald's as director of sustainability. Olson is coming from Darden Restaurant, a restaurant brand operator that includes the Olive Garden and Red Lobster, where he was also director of sustainability.



McDonald's has won another dedicated sustainability professional with Jeff Hogue as its senior director of CSR and sustainability. Hogue previously worked food ingredients corporation Danisco as vice president of sustainability.



Smart meter technology developer Itron has appointed Philip Mezey as its new president and CEO. Mezey had been the company's president and chief operating officer for its global energy segment.



Jeff Adix has been chosen as the new president and CEO of Veolia Environmental Services North America, a publicly traded environmental services firm that does work in industrial cleaning and maintenance as well as disposal in industrial waste. Adix had previously worked a Veolia between 2000 and 2009 in a variety of roles that include senior vice president of support services and chief financial officer of its former solid waste business.


Serial entrepreneur Steve Chadima has jumped into the public policy advocacy world as director of California initiatives and senior vice president of communications at Advanced Energy Economy, a trade association for the advanced energy sector. With almost 30 years in the energy and technology fields, Chadima recently was vice president of external affairs at China-based Suntech Power Holdings, which is the world's largest manufacturer of solar panels.


Sustainable paper giant Domtar has shifted Lewis Fix from his previous role as vice president of sustainable business and brand management at Domtar. He now serves as to be the vice president of pulp sales.



Taking Lewis Fix's old role at Domtar is David Struhs, the new vice president of sustainability.




Utility Integration Solutions Inc., a utility software company, has hired five new senior leaders to expand its smart grid consulting services:

Robert Uluski, a long-time veteran in smart grid technology, joined the company as vice president of distributed automation and distribution management systems.



Andrew Gay, most recently director of projects and product development leader for General Electric's smart grid solutions business, is now vice president of the project management office.



Manuel Atanacio brings more than two decades of experience in electric systems operation to his position as senior director for control center services. Prior to this position, Atanacio worked with utilities and electricity councils as senior principal consultant at DNV KEMA, an energy and sustainability services firm.


Another former DNV KEMA employee, Dr. Siri Varadan has joined as vice president of asset management solutions. He led DNV KEMA's asset management practice to South America.



For marketing this expansion, Cindy Menon has taken the lead as director of marketing, communications and tendering. Her background includes more than 20 years of marketing for the energy and utilities field.



Image of people climbing ladder provided by Mopic via Shutterstock.

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